Local Hog Butcher Class

[The following is a guest post by Valerie Stegemoeller, who, with her husband, has a small homestead northwest of Houston. You can follow their progress with farming at Stegesaurus Farm on Facebook. She is a co-leader of the Houston-Galveston Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation.]

Butcher Class – The Barry Farm

BF Pig cuts 1

“The Barry Farm is a small family farm that focuses on pasture raised wholesome food. We strive to renew urban and suburban land and bring agriculture back into our daily lives. We currently offer Pastured Eggs, Pastured Poultry, Pastured Heritage Breed Red Wattle Pork and coming soon local Honey.”

 

 

My husband’s family used to do annual hog butchering until the 90s. Now that we started a small farm, and custom butchering for retail is VERY difficult to find (and more so wanting your animal to have as little stress as possible), my husband has been yearning to learn how to butcher animals on the farm. Chickens and rabbit were easy enough, but what about pork? Luckily, there was a small farm in Needville that hosts small classes for those who are interested in learning this lost art. Geoff and Renee are so friendly and always willing to share homesteading and farming tips for those interested in learning about food! Transparency is a major goal of their farming philosophy.

So when there was a class announced for June, I signed us up.

When we got there it was a very interesting group, with one central thing in common – we all were interested in BF Sheep 2humanely raised food. First, we went out to the area of pasture where the sheep had recently been moved. Like us, the Barry Farm is convinced of the benefit of rotationally grazing animals (for pest management and efficient grass management). As it was Houston and summer and mid-day, all the sheep were huddled together under their mobile shade with their guardian dog. One interested thing is the Barry Farm doesn’t have to castrate their ram lambs because they are freezer-bound well before they pose any significant challenge to the main breeding ram. And yes, these guys are 100% grass fed, well, except for Clarendon the livestock guardian dog.

Then, we got to visit the pigs, which was such a treat for us since our neighborhood doesn’t allow us to raise pork. They had plenty of shade and mud and they actually are trained to drink out of water nipples! The babies were very friendly but they liked to chew shoelaces! These hogs are Red Wattle, a breed known for their fabulous marbling (the fat develops IN the meat/muscle, not just around it, creating a unique flavor and tenderness). Additionally, the Barry Farm blends their own feed to optimize the flavor of their pork.

BF Mud 1BF Pig water 3

BF Piglets 3BF Piglets 4

Finally, we visited tBF Henshe garden and hens before going in to start the butcher class. The Barry Farm delivers eggs through a CSA program as well as supplies Fat Cat Creamery who uses the eggs for their small batch ice cream. (Probably a good reason they aren’t accepting any new egg customers at this time – I mean, it’s definitely ice cream season.) Also, the Barry Farm has bees on site who produce honey for harvesting, which they sell raw and unfiltered. I had some at the farm dinner days before this class and it was remarkable.

Time for learning how to break down a pig!

Whole pig saw 2During the demonstration, a Houston chef showed us how to turn a whole pig into cuts with four basic tools – a saw, and three knives, including a cleaver and a flexible knife (possibly a boning knife) for cutting meat off close to the bones. All of us that attended got a bag full of our portion of cuts from the pig with advice from the chef on various cooking methods. When it was all divided up, the chef prepared a meal of grilled pork tacos.

Whole pig 1BF Pig cuts 2

For more info on the Barry Farm, where to get their pork, lamb, eggs and honey and if you want to be notified of a future butcher class, please go to the website at http://thebarryfarm.com/. And be sure to follow them on Facebook also!

Valerie

Posted in Real Food | 1 Comment

On the Real Food News Front – 7/17/14

Houston Chronicle and mugI know it’s not still morning, but while reading my newspaper today, I did have a cup of homemade chicken bone broth.  Chicken is my favorite broth, but I have made broths from beef, pork, chicken, duck, and goose bones.  Sometimes I mix the bones.  All are good and nutritious!  Breakfast this morning was a bowl of Nutty Granola with local, organic blueberries and Healthyway Dairy whole raw milk.  Oh sooo delicious!

Recent Real Food Houston posts include a look inside the ingredients in McDonald’s French fries plus a delicious new recipe.

Mcdonald's friesAn expose on Wired.com about McDonald’s restaurants prompted me to look into their French fries.  You may be surprised (maybe not if you are a regular reader) to learn just how they made them taste good after they switched from tasty, healthy beef tallow to vegetable oil in the 90’s.  Read more . . .

Slice of blueberry banana nut bread and butterAlso, if you like blueberries like I do, you will love my recipe for Blueberry Banana Nut Bread.  The combination of blueberries and banana just really works!

 

Now for the news . . .

  • First!  Learn how to ferment foods at a Fermentation Workshop and Demo hosted by The Last Organic Outpost. The co-hosts for the demo are Amy Robison and Ali Miller.  The demo will begin at Noon, Saturday, July 26th.  There is no charge to attend this event.  Read more . . .
  • The annual Houston Restaurant Weeks is coming up soon.  The 2014 Weeks will begin August 1 and run through September 1.  Local restaurants will feature special prix fixe meals with a portion of the price going to benefit the Houston Food Bank.  To find out which restaurants are participating go to HoustonRestaurantWeeks.com.
  • The trend to use local produce is a wonderful change that we should encourage.  At least six Houston restaurants are now growing at least some of the food they serve.  If you visit any of these restaurants tell them how much you like what they are doing.  They are Coltivare, Haven, The Grove, Osteria Mazzantini, Patrenella’s Italian Restaurant, Rainbow Lodge, and Zelko Bistro.
  • Do you really want to eat meat preserved this way?  Researchers (notice they are NOT cooks) have developed a new dissolving film to coat meat and protect it from spoilage.  The film is made of “pullulan – an edible, mostly tasteless, transparent polymer produced by the fungus reobasidium pulluns.”
  • This is sad news!  A pesticide in the neonicotinoid family that has been linked to bee colony collapse is now being blamed for a decline in bird populations.  The study published in the journal Nature found a correlation between pesticide concentrations in surface water and decreases in 14 bird species.  How much beauty would the world lose if the birds and butterflies disappeared?
  • Oh wow! There is such a lot of bad news about statins. It’s overwhelming.  When there are so few people who could be helped by taking statins, it is disturbing to learn of even more adverse side effects.  Why oh why do so many people who don’t need them take statins? Here are some of the latest findings:
    • In what I think may be the most alarming study, it was found that statins “may be causing significant and lasting damage to men’s testicles and sperm, and by implication, possibly the health of future generations.”  Link to study.
    • Another study found that statin use is particularly damaging to older people in the 70-90 age range.  the study has found a significantly greater decline in memory in those who take statins.
    • And a third large study shows that those who had high adherence to taking statins were more likely to get diabetes.
    • And still another study found that statin users are 13% more likely to contract common infections.
    • Here’s another one–statin use is found to increase the risk of osteoarthritis and joint pain by 26%.
  • Dallas might just stop adding fluoride to their water supply.  If so, it would be the largest city to remove this toxic industrial waste (usually sourced as a by-product of Chinese aluminum production) from their municipal water.  Apparently Dallas already has a fairly high natural fluoride content in their water at .5 ppm.  Adding more fluoride probably increases the incidence of fluorosis.
  • Does wearing a bra cause breast cancer? There is some evidence that wearing a tight-fitting bra may be harmful to health. In any case, it’s on the safe side to avoid wearing one as much as possible. I’ve stopped wearing one and wow, it’s sooo much more comfortable.
  • It helps to have nutrition researchers do a step-by-step debunking of common nutrition myths.  This week we have two knowledgeable sources with their top choices for nutrition information.  Authority Nutrition has compiled 15 Things That Everyone Needs to Know About Nutrition.  I especially like # 2, Everywhere The Western Diet Goes, Diseases Follow.  That echoes the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, whom he credits.  Dr. Mercola also has a great article about the Top 10 Destructive Nutrition Lies Ever Told.  Although I’m not sure I agree 100% with all of them (probably not with # 1), I do totally like the rest, including his # 2 nutrition lie–Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease.  Check out this “Honest Coca Cola Obesity Commercial” video that Dr. Mercola featured.  Real commercials are never this honest, but we might wish they were!

Not all news is bad! Here are some interesting stories on the brighter/lighter side.

  • An analysis of 323 studies has determined that organic foods are better for you.  They contain more antioxidants and less pesticide residue.  In addition, by buying organic food you support farmers who take better care of the land, and you avoid eating GMOs.  There are many good reasons to buy organic or beyond organic food.
  • Did you know.that there are easier ways to cut up foods?  Check out these videos that show you a better way to cut up 12 foods, including mangos, tomatoes, and avocados.  I will definitely try some of these.
  • Hilarious!  Have you seen all those beautiful photos of fancy foods on Pinterest?  Here are 24 attempts (and failures) to recreate those foods.  I’m not recommending eating these foods, but the photos are fun to look at.

Now here is a selection of delicious, nutritious recipes from other Real Food bloggers to help keep you healthy and happy!

Easy Peasy Cheese CrackersEasy Peasy Cheese Crackers If you are looking for a little crunch, try this easy peasy cheese cracker recipe. Only one ingredient–cheese slices.  You won’t be disappointed! From Healthy Living How To

 

Tomato Soup with only 2 ingredientsHealthy Tomato Soup Recipe With Only 2 Ingredients: Make healthy tomato soup with only two ingredients, diced tomatoes and coconut milk (or heavy cream). Popular condensed tomato soup from a can contains unhealthy stuff like high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour and flavoring. From Healthy Living How To

Low Carb Portuguese FocacciaLow Carb Portuguese Focaccia (Gluten-Free or Paleo). This focaccia recipe uses almond flour and sorghum flour and is low-carb and gluten-free.  To be totally grain-free, you can substitute arrowroot powder for the sorghum. From The Healthy Home Economist

 

Healthy Homemade NutellaHealthy Homemade Nutella If you have every gotten your hands on a jar of Nutella, you know that it does not last long. I start eating it by the spoonful and then it’s GAME OVER! But, this delicious indulgence is not very healthy. Even though the advertisements say that it is made from hazelnuts, cocoa and milk….that’s not really the case. from Real Food RN

Cheddar Jalapeno CrackersCheddar Jalapeno Crackers Grain-free crackers with the cheese already baked in, how perfect is that?  And it never hurts to kick up the flavor with a few hot peppers. from The Realistic Nutritionist

 

 

Cantonese Egg Custard with Minced PorkCANTONESE EGG CUSTARD WITH MINCED PORK A paleo version of this simple recipe for Cantonese-style savory egg custard with minced pork, asparagus, and mushrooms. from Nom Nom Paleo

Posted in Diabetes, Eggs, Ferments, Fluoride, Gluten-free, GMOs, Grain Free, Health, Nutrition, Organic Food, Paleo, Raw Milk, Real Food, Recipes, Research, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Reason McDonald’s French Fries Taste Good, and It’s Not Because They Use Real Food!

French friesIf you think McDonald’s French fries taste good because they are real food, take a look at these exposés from Wired.com, Care2, and Food Babe.  Today’s Wired.com article prompted me to do some research about those famous fries.  Although I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s in many years, I still remember the fries as tasting much better than those at other fast food restaurants.  So what happened?

The story of McDonald’s fries takes a path similar to many of today’s processed and restaurant foods. Many of the Real Food ingredients have been replaced with factory-made, cheaper, more shelf stable substitutes so that calling the resulting products “food” is probably a stretch.  Certainly they are not Real Food!

Here’s what the McDonald’s website says is in their fries.

Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid
[Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt. Prepared in Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean
Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent. CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK.
*Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

Let’s look at some of these ingredients.

Potatoes

The carefully selected, uniformly sized potatoes are par-cooked to remove excess sugars that cause uneven cooking. You will see later how they add back the sugar . . .

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate

The potatoes are then treated with sodium acid pyrophosphate to retain color.  There don’t seem to be any major objections to this food additive, except you might take in excess phosphates if you eat a lot of processed foods, where it is a common additive.  In addition to maintaining color, it is also used to shorten (or lengthen) fermentation time in baked goods, increase shelf life, as “a buffering and chelating agent in canned and processed seafood,” and “as a scald agent in products made from potatoes and sugar syrups.”  [source]

Vegetable Oil and TBHQ

The taste of McDonald’s French fries “played a crucial role in the chain’s success — fries are much more profitable than hamburgers — and was long praised by customers, competitors, and even food critics.” Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, explains why McDonald’s French fries used to taste so good!

The taste of a french fry is largely determined by the cooking oil. For decades McDonald’s cooked its french fries in a mixture of about seven percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow. The mixture gave the fries their unique flavor — and more saturated beef fat per ounce than a McDonald’s hamburger.  [Read much more about the original flavor of McDonald's fries.]

But, of course, the  misguided “saturated fat police” agitated for McDonald’s to switch to vegetable oil, which doesn’t taste nearly as good (nor is it as healthy either).  McDonald’s now uses a combination of “canola (about 8 percent saturated fat), soybean oil (16 percent), and hydrogenated soybean oil (94 percent)” in the factory, and “corn oil and an additive called TBHQ, or tertbutylhydroquinone” and citric acid for the second, in-store, frying.  [source]

For more information about why vegetable oils are so unhealthy, read here and here and here.

TBHQ

There’s no agreement about the safety of TBHQ although high doses have been linked to stomach tumors and DNA damage; however, no one can call TBHQ Real Food!  [read more about TBHQ here and here]

Citric Acid as a Preservative

Although McDonald’s doesn’t reveal its source for the citric acid preservative it uses in its fries, most commercial citric acid today is not the natural food you would expect from the name.  Instead of an extract of citrus fruits, it is derived from a process using corn that is probably GMO.

. . .the major industrial route to citric acid used today, cultures of A. niger [a fungus that causes black mold on certain fruits and vegetables] are fed on a sucrose or glucose-containing medium to produce citric acid. The source of sugar is corn steep liquor, molasses, hydrolyzed corn starch or other inexpensive sugary solutions. After the mold is filtered out of the resulting solution, citric acid is isolated by precipitating it with lime (calcium hydroxide) to yield calcium citrate salt, from which citric acid is regenerated by treatment with sulfuric acid [source]

MSG

To replace the pleasant taste of potatoes fried in beef tallow, when they switched to vegetable oil, McDonald’s now doctor their fries with “‘Natural beef flavor,’ which contains hydrolyzed wheat and milk proteins.”  Hydrolyzed proteins are among many hidden sources of MSG.

Dimethylpolysiloxane

Dimethylpolysiloxane has a wide range of uses from “contact lenses and medical devices to elastomers; it is also present in shampoos (as dimethicone makes hair shiny and slippery), food (antifoaming agent), caulking, lubricating oils, and heat-resistant tiles.” [source]  Here are some of the ways it is used in food.

Dimethylpolysiloxane is silicone based agent used as an anti-foaming, anti-caking agent, and emulsifier in processed foods. Dimethylpolysiloxane is found in many fast food restaurants to avoid deep frying oil from foaming increasing the life of the oil. Dimethylpolysiloxane is also used in soft drinks, instant coffees, chewing gum, vinegars, cooking oils, confectionary snacks, syrups and chocolates. Dimethylpolysiloxane is used in the manufacturing of skimmed milk and wine fermentation. It can also be found energy or electrolyte drinks. [source]

Although it is apparently not thought to be toxic, whatever it is, it is certainly not a traditional, Real Food!

Final Sugar Coating

To add back the naturally sweet taste of the potato which was removed by blanching at the factory, the fries are coated in a dextrose (corn-derived and probably GMO) solution after cooking.  [source]  Adding sugars is a common method of the processed food industry to make cheap, inferior foods taste better.

GMOs and Pesticides

On top of the unnatural ingredients and hidden MSG, the oils used are genetically modified and none of the ingredients are organic.  They probably contain traces of various herbicides and insecticides as extra unlisted ingredients.  Read more about GMOs here and here.

Are All These Ingredients and All That Processing Really Necessary?

Food Babe is super good at revealing the real story behind processed foods.  She learned that the French fries in McDonald’s in the United Kingdom aren’t prepared at all like those in the U.S.!  In the UK, McDonald’s fries have only four ingredients, plus salt, and one of the four–dextrose–is only added at the beginning of the season (maybe the potatoes aren’t as sweet then?)  Admittedly, the UK fries are cooked in unhealthy vegetable oils (canola/rapeseed and sunflower), but at least the oils aren’t hydrogenated.  If fries can be made with only four ingredients in the UK, why are ours so much more unhealthy?  Is it because McDonald’s can get away with it here?

Acrylamide

I can’t talk about fried foods, especially potatoes, without mentioning the acrylamide that is formed during the high heat process.  Acrylamide was discovered by Swedish scientists in 2002. It is found in many foods but is especially common in starchy foods cooked at temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  “Foods such as French fries and potato chips seem to have the highest levels of acrylamide, but it is also found in breads and other grain products. Acrylamide does not form (or forms at lower levels) in dairy, meat, and fish products.” [source] Some studies have shown adverse effects from high does of acrylamide, [source] so it is probably a good idea to eat starchy fried foods like potatoes only occasionally.

I’m glad I don’t eat at McDonald’s.  Do you?

Posted in GMOs, Health, Real Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blueberry Banana Nut Bread

Blueberry Banana Nut BreadHere in Houston, blueberries are in season, and I love blueberries!  They have always been my favorite berry and one of my overall favorite fruits.  I eat them with my homemade Nutty Granola and raw milk, in smoothies, in homemade ice cream, and now also in banana nut bread.  I found these blueberries at my local farmers market.

Somehow the combination of moist banana and blueberries produced a bread even more delicious than when using either one by itself.  An even bigger plus is that blueberries are very nutritious and pack a lot of health benefits.  Bananas are good for you too!

Here’s how I made my blueberry banana nut bread:

Ingredients

2 ½  cups organic flour (I used Jovial Einkorn high extraction flour so that I would not need to soak the flour)
2/3 cup organic sucanat or other unrefined sweetener (I used Rapunzel whole sugar)
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder (I used Rumford aluminum-free baking powder)
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt (I used Celtic Sea Salt
3 tablespoons oil (I used Olea olive oil, but coconut oil would work well too)
1/3 cup milk (I used local raw whole milk)
1 egg, preferably from pastured chickens
1 ¼ cups mashed organic banana (about 2 to 3 medium)
1 cup organic blueberries (I used fresh local, but frozen would work too)
1 cup chopped nuts (I used chopped soaked and dehydrated pecans)

Preparation

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter bottom only of loaf pan (I used a glass Pyrex 9 x 5″ loaf pan).
Mix all ingredients except fruits and nuts. Beat for about 30 seconds.
Mix in mashed banana.
Fold in blueberries and chopped nuts.
Pour into loaf pan.

Slice of blueberry banana nut bread and butterBake for 55 to 65 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool slightly then loosen sides and place on a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy with lots of butter from grassfed cows!  (You can see that the butter is beginning to melt.  The bread smelled so good cooking, I just couldn’t wait to try a piece.)

For sources of ingredients and cooking supplies go to my Resources page.

 

Posted in Local Farming, Nutrition, Organic Food, Raw Milk, Real Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

On the Real Food News Front – 7/10/14

Houston Chronicle 07-09-14Yes, I know it’s old-fashioned, but I still read my newspaper every morning while I drink my cup of bone broth and eat my breakfast.

However, the newspaper is not my only, and not even my primary, news source. I read articles from many other sources, from social media to Google alerts to favorite websites and newsletter feeds.

I also read books, mostly in the tangible, paper form, but I may begin to read more ebooks since some are only being published in that format.  Not all of those books are about nutrition and health so I won’t always mention them here.

Now for the news . . .

  • The Farm-to-consumer Legal Defense Fund reports some important successes in 2013 and early 2014, including the acquittal of Wisconsin raw milk dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger, a successful lawsuit protecting heritage pigs in Michigan, a favorable ruling for a Pennsylvania food club distributing raw milk, and passage of an important bill that decreases regulations for family farms in Virginia.
  • Texas cotton farmers have requested permission to use an unlicensed highly toxic pesticide on their crops, which are 90% genetically engineered (GMO), and the weeds in the fields are now resistant to the chemicals currently being used due to overuse.  The request would allow the herbicide propazine to be sprayed on over 3 million acres of Texas farmland.  Propazine, highly soluble in water, is in a class of chemicals linked to “developmental and reproductive toxicity.”
  • Do we really need a GMO banana?  People in the U.S. will soon be the first to test the new banana, which as been genetically engineered to add “vitamin A.”  I put the vitamin A in quotation marks because the GMO banana doesn’t really have any vitamin A.  What it does have is beta carotene, and, although beta carotene can be converted to vitamin A, the conversion efficiency is poor.   Absorption is “estimated to be between 9–22%.” Humans absorb about 80% of true vitamin A from animal sources, but only about 3% of carotenoids from plant sources. (source)
  • You’ve probably heard people say that the anti-vaxers cause epidemics, but even the CDC admits that “they are not the driving force behind the large-scale outbreaks or epidemics” of whooping-cough (pertussis). In one study of 132 patients who had pertussis in 2010 “81 percent were fully up to date on the whooping-cough vaccine.” Dr. Mercola has a great new post about the effectiveness of vaccines. In fact, another recent study suggests that those recently vaccinated are asymptomatic carriers that spread the disease.
  • The Séralini study on the toxic effects of GMOs and glyphosate which was retracted because its results were “inclusive” has been republished, although an editor of the journal admitted “there was no fraud, misconduct, or intentional misrepresentation of data detected.”  After undergoing two more review processes the study has been republished by the journal, Environmental Sciences Europe.  A journal has never before retracted a study for inconclusiveness.
  • Sometimes it helps to have someone do a step-by-step debunking of common myths.  Authority Nutrition does a superb job of debunking “20 Mainstream Nutrition Myths.”  My favorite is # 4, egg yolks should be avoided.  I so agree with Authority Nutrition: “Telling people to throw the yolks away may just be the most ridiculous advice in the history of nutrition.”

Not all news is bad! Here is a natural remedy (no bad side effects) and sources of toxin-free bedding.

  • Natural remedies not only work they have no adverse side effects.  Natural remedies for dandruff include raw honey and tea tree oil.
  • Organic and allergy-free bedding can be a life saver.
    • For Houston area organic mattresses, New Living on Kirby Drive in Rice Village, offers organic toxin-free mattresses and bedding.
    • Online sources of organic bedding include Savvy Rest and Sleeping Organic.  Both have mattresses, sheets, pillows, and mattress pads.

Now for some delicious, nutritious recipes to help keep you healthy and happy!

  • Decadent Black Cherry Chocolate Tart (Paleo, GAPS)Decadent Black Cherry Chocolate Tart (Paleo, GAPS) Cherries are Nutritious: Although most of the calories in sweet cherries come from sugars, the glycemic load is low and there is some omega-3 fat. The most important thing about cherries is the huge amount of antioxidants and various anthocyanins. From Real Food Forager
  • Zucchini Pasta with Artichoke, Mushrooms and Sun Dried TomatoesZucchini Pasta with Artichoke, Mushrooms and Sun Dried Tomatoes: Gluten and grain-free. Zucchini is a good source of Vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, potassium and manganese. The omega 3 to 6 ratio is almost 2 to 1, which is excellent.  From Real Food Forager
  • Summer Berry and Oat CobblerSummer Berry and Oat Cobbler (and a celebration of homemade flour) The mix of berries topped with an oaten biscuit, makes for a lovely dessert or breakfast – especially when topped with homemade yogurt or kefir.
Posted in Dairy, Eggs, GMOs, Health, Nutrition, Raw Milk, Real Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Page on Real Food Houston – Where to Find Nutritious Food and Non-Toxic Products

Produce at farmers marketFor quite a while I have been collecting resources for healthy food and personal care products, as well as for sources of information on a variety of nutrition and health topics.

I have recently published the first page of my Resources.  This page (also listed in the menu above) includes sources for nutritious foods, both local and online; non-toxic personal care products; garden and farm products; and a few sources for organic bedding and clothing.  The page will be continually updated.  Since publishing I have already added several new sources, and even some new topics.

The current topics listed are Food and Cooking Resources, Personal Care Products (includes personal and tooth care products and organic clothing, Household Products (includes cleaners, mattresses, and bedding), Garden and Farm Products, and Other Bloggers’ Resource Lists.

Eventually I plan to add pages which will provide sources of nutrition and health information so keep watching for the new pages to be published.

I hope you find these resources useful, and, as always, I welcome your recommendations for additional sources, either local or online.

Disclosure: none of the links are affiliate links, including the Amazon links. The resource list is provided as a service to help you find the products you need.  I get no compensation if you buy a listed product.

Posted in Access to Good Food, Access to Real Food, Health, Nutrition, Organic Food, Real Food | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Learn about the benefits of cod liver oil with Houston Real Food Nutrition

Green Pasture ProductsCod liver oil is one of nature’s superfoods according to Dr. Chris Masterjohn, an expert on fat soluble vitamins.  He spoke at the recent Houston Regional Wise Traditions Conference in March.

If you are interested in learning how cod liver oil can help keep you healthy, Houston Real Food Nutrition is having a Meetup on July 12th to discuss the benefits.   There will be a showing of Dr. Masterjohn’s conference presentation, Cod Liver Oil, Our Number One Superfood, followed by a general discussion.

After the presentation and discussion, there will be a drawing for Green Pasture products.  Green Pasture is the maker of Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Blue Ice Royal High Vitamin Butter Oil.

Green Pasture was one of the vendors at the Houston conference and donated their samples, which cannot be sold, to the local Houston-Galveston chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation to benefit its members.  Most of the samples have only a small amount removed, and two of them have not been opened.

You could be one of the lucky winners who get to choose one of the free Green Pasture products.

There is no charge to attend the meeting and no charge to join the Meetup group.  If you are not already a member, join today and RSVP for the meeting.  Join Houston Real Food Nutrition now!

I will be at the meeting!  I hope to see you there!

Posted in Real Food | 2 Comments

Are We Sacrificing Our Children to Profits From Glyphosate (Roundup) and Roundup-Ready GE Crops?

Monsanto's RoundupI have written about glyphosate before (there is a list of posts below), but there have been some important new studies since I last wrote about it, and I thought I should discuss the newly discovered and alarming dangers we are facing from our increasing use of this herbicide.

Although I continually collect links and summaries of articles on subjects of interest, including glyphosate, when I began pulling together research for this update, I was truly overwhelmed by the number of studies and articles describing new information about the damage caused by glyphosate and its adjuvants. There were far more than I had realized.

Before I discuss the new studies, let’s briefly review what glyphosate is and how it is used, then I will talk about what the new research tells us.

What is Glyphosate?

As I wrote in a previous post, “Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it kills almost all plants; it is absorbed through the leaves and spreads throughout the plant, including the roots and seeds. Glyphosate is systemic; it can’t be washed off because it’s inside the plant. . . glyphosate kills by preventing the plant from making proteins needed for growth; it stops an enzyme pathway, the shikimic acid pathway [or shikimate pathway], which is found only in plants and some microorganisms; therefore, glyphosate not only kills plants but also microorganisms.”

If you are not familiar with glyphosate, you probably do know about Monsanto’s Roundup. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup as well as in many other herbicides made by other companies. You have almost certainly seen Roundup at garden supply stores, hardware stores, and almost everywhere that lawn, plant, and crop supplies are sold. You may also have seen your neighbors spraying Roundup on their driveway weeds or around their yards. Walking on those driveways and yards tracks glyphosate into the house and onto carpet and floors, unless shoes are left by the door.

How is Glyphosate Used?

As a herbicide, glyphosate is sprayed as weed control on lawns, gardens and parks, in forests, along roadsides and even on water plants; however, it is most heavily used in agriculture, and its growing use is driven by the proliferation of genetically engineered (GE) crops. [source]

Glyphosate has other uses than as a herbicide. it can be a desiccant for crops like grains, canola, maize (corn), and sunflowers, “to make them dry out, or to make them easier to harvest.” [source] Sugarcane is ripened using various formulations of glyphosate. [source]

Since glyphosate is absorbed by the plant and cannot be removed by washing, that means we ingest at least some glyphosate residue every time we eat food made from crops that were treated with it, from GE canola oil to conventional sugar. Every time! How much is too much?

Where is Glyphosate Used?

Glyphosate is the world’s best-selling herbicide. In 2011 around 650,000 tons of glyphosate were used worldwide. Yes, 650,000 tons were applied in just one year, and the amount used is growing every year, primarily through increased planting of GE crops. In 2010 sales of glyphosate were worth about $6.5 billion, yes, billion! [source] It’s easy to understand why chemical companies don’t want us to know about the harm it causes.

Think of the lost profits if its use were limited or banned!

The amount of glyphosate applied combined with the huge variety of uses means that almost all of us are continually contaminated with it, at home, at work, and at play.

Studies Find Glyphosate Causes Infertility and Organ Damage

In a previous post, I talked about some of the harms from glyphosate, including infertility and miscarriage in farm animals fed with glyphosate-contaminated food; reduction of available minerals due to the chelating function of glyphosate; development of glyphosate-resistant weeds due to overuse of the herbicide; combined with an adjuvant, glyphosate has demonstrated organ and systemic damage; and pregnant women exposed to glyphosate may have a 400% increased risk of having babies with developmental malformations such as microcephaly, anencephaly, cleft palate, cranial malformations, etc. [source and source]

Monsanto Claims That Glyphosate is Safe

Before we list more harmful effects of glyphosate, I want to mention that Monsanto claimed that its glyphosate brand Roundup was “‘safer than table salt’ and ‘practically nontoxic’ to mammals, birds and fish” until 1996, when Dennis C. Vacco, the Attorney General of New York, ordered the company to pull the ads.   From the beginning Monsanto has marketed Roundup as “environmentally friendly” and “biodegradable.” [source]

New Data About Harmful Effects Caused by Glyphosate/Roundup

Glyphosate Damages Red Blood Cells

A recent study analyzing the effect of glyphosate on erythrocytes (red blood cells) found that the herbicide caused damage, including rupturing the cells, at levels well below the ppm (parts per million) allowed by the U.S. EPA.  The study admitted that adding adjuvants to the glyphosate in Roundup would cause more damage. [source]

Glyphosate and Roundup (Glyphosate plus Adjuvants) Are Extremely Toxic

The MEDLINE database of the National Library of Medicine lists studies that link glyphosate to “over 40 health conditions, from Parkinson’s to Leukemia, and over two dozen modes of toxicity, from causing damage to the DNA to disrupting hormone receptors, from suppressing the immune system to damaging neurons.” [source]

Another study of 9 pesticides that compared the toxicity of the active ingredient versus the formulations that also contained adjuvants, found that “Despite its relatively benign reputation, Roundup [glyphosate plus adjuvants] was among the most toxic herbicides and insecticides tested.” Only fungicides were found to be more toxic. [emphasis added] [source]

Studies of safety provided by pesticide manufacturers are not required to include adjuvants and usually only test the active ingredient itself, in this case, glyphosate.  Companies often do not list “inert” ingredients, claiming proprietary formulations. The lack of inclusion of the adjuvants in the original testing has allowed a significant underestimation of the toxicity of glyphosate. In fact, the researchers said “so-called ‘inert’ adjuvants . . . were up to 10,000 times more toxic than the so-called active principle glyphosate itself, revealing them to be a greater source for secondary side effects than the main ingredient itself.” [source]

Glyphosate Environmental Toxicity Underestimated

A study published in Ecotoxicology put “serious doubt on glyphosate’s classification as environmentally safe.” The analysis of toxicity on water fleas, “a widely accepted model for environmental toxicity,” found glyphosate to be toxic a very low levels “well within the levels expected to be found in the environment.” This study concludes that the toxicity of Roundup has been underestimated and that “current European Commission and US EPA toxicity classification of these chemicals need to be revised.”

Glyphosate Kills Beneficial Gut Bacteria

A German study has found that toxic botulism in cattle is increasing because glyphosate is harming beneficial gut flora that normally keep the pathogen in check. Gut bacteria in both animals and humans are very sensitive to residual glyphosate levels. According to the study, “lactic acid producing bacteria that help defend against Clostridium pathogens are destroyed by glyphosate, suggesting that the rise in C. botulinum associated diseases may be due to glyphosate-tainted animal feed.” [source]

As mentioned above in the paragraph about What is Glyphosate? Monsanto claims the herbicide to be harmless because its method of action, stopping an enzyme pathway, affects the shikimate pathway (see above paragraph about What is Glyphosate?), which is not found in animals or humans; however, it is found in microorganisms. Additional research finds this fact to be the “key to understanding how it causes such widespread systemic harm in both humans and animals.”

The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!

Glyphosate causes extreme disruption of the microbe’s function and lifecycle. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow and take over. At that point, your body also has to contend with the toxins produced by the pathogens. Once the chronic inflammation sets in, you’re well on your way toward chronic and potentially debilitating disease. [source]

Another study, supporting the damage of glyphosate to beneficial gut bacteria, says “Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide, is destroying human and animal health as a result of disruption of gut bacteria. Two key problems caused by glyphosate in the diet are nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals and essential amino-acids, and systemic toxicity.” [source]

In addition to the damage glyphosate preferentially causes to our gut bacteria, it also increases aluminum toxicity, which promotes calcium loss, and its disruption of the shikimate pathway depletes tryptophan which is the sole precursor to melatonin necessary to many functions within the body.  [source]

Glyphosate is Estrogenic and Causes Proliferation of Breast Cancer Cells

Still another study, published in the journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, has found that glyphosate is “estrogenic and is capable of driving estrogen receptor mediated breast cancer cell proliferation within the infinitesimal parts per trillion concentration range.”

“The researchers also discovered that the naturally occurring phytoestrogen in soybean known as genistein, produced “an additive estrogenic effect” when combined with glyphosate, raising the serious question as to whether GMO soybeans are contributing to the epidemic levels of breast cancer within countries like the US where they are consumed in relatively high quantities.” The authors stated:

This finding should raise concern about the existence of more than one xenoestrogen such as phytoestrogen and contaminants in plant derived food which may be beneficial or harmful depending on the hormonal and pathological status of consumers. This study implied that the additive effect of glyphosate and genistein in postmenopausal woman may induce cancer cell growth. In this present in vitro study, we showed an estrogenicity of pure glyphosate. In summary, we found that glyphosate exhibited a weaker estrogenic activity than estradiol. Furthermore, this study demonstrated the additive estrogenic effects of glyphosate and genistein which implied that the use of glyphosate-contaminated soybean products as dietary supplements may pose a risk of breast cancer because of their potential additive estrogenicity.” [emphasis added] [source]

The results of this study could possibly explain the large mammary tumors found in the Seralini study of GMOs. [source]

Glyphosate Application Linked to Deaths from Chronic Kidney Disease

An epidemic of chronic kidney disease, toxic nephropathy, in agricultural areas of Sri Lanka, India, and Central America’s Pacific coastline (El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica has been linked to a combination of glyphosate and contaminated fertilizer. Over 20,000 deaths have been attributed to the epidemic so far. The farmers normally do not wear protective gear when applying glyphosate, plus they eat the treated crops, and drink water from steams contaminated with herbicide runoff.  [source]

Dr. Don Huber, Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, with 55 years of experience with agriculture management practices, sums up the dangers of glyphosate by calling the herbicide “the most toxic chemical we’ve ever had in our environment,” and says “future historians may well look back upon our time and write, not about how many pounds of pesticides we did or did not apply, but about how willing we were to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations for the massive experiment we call genetic engineering that is based on failed promises and flawed science, just to benefit the bottom line of a commercial enterprise.” [emphasis added]  [source]

Conclusion

I have only briefly summarized the important findings and implications of each of these studies. You can click on the links to learn more about them; however, it should now be very apparent that glyphosate–and its formulations like Roundup–is far more harmful than Monsanto and the U.S. EPA have claimed. Its safety was not thoroughly tested before it was allowed to become the most widely used herbicide in the world, with thousands of tons being applied every year.

Glyphosate is now found not only in the food we eat, but also in the water we drink and the air we breathe.

Knowing the source of our foods is critical to avoiding contamination with glyphosate, Roundup, and other toxins.  Choosing organic produce, local and grass-fed beef, meat and eggs from pastured animals, and, above all, knowing our farmer and knowing how he raises his animals and farms his produce are essential to minimizing the poisons we eat.  For more information about how our diet can help us stay healthy, read How to Get Started with a Real Food, Traditional Diet.

Update May 18, 2014: A study of tropical fish has found that glyphosate causes birth defects:

Generally, survival and hatching percentage decreased as glyphosate concentration increased. Absence of pectoral fin(s) and cornea, permanently bent tail, irregular shaped abdomen, and cell disruption in the fin, head and abdomen are among the common teratogenic effects observed. Furthermore, risk factor also increased with the increased [sic] in glyphosate concentrations. [source]

Update May 20, 2014: It seems that no matter how often I update posts about glyphosate, new significant studies are published. The latest study, Compositional differences in soybeans on the market: Glyphosate accumulates in Roundup Ready GM soybeans, concluded that GE foods are not “substantially equivalent” to non-GE foods as Monsanto and the USDA claim:

Using 35 different nutritional and elemental variables to characterise each soy sample, we were able to discriminate GM, conventional and organic soybeans without exception, demonstrating “substantial non-equivalence” in compositional characteristics for ‘ready-to-market’ soybeans.  [source]

Sources:

Glyphosate is already in our food, air, and water: What is it and why should we care?
What Does Genetically Engineered (or GMO) Mean?
Introducing Glyphosate, the world’s biggest selling herbicide
Sugarcane Ripener Recommendations – Glyphosate
Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling
Teratogenesis by glyphosate based herbicides and other pesticides. Relationship with the retinoic acid pathway
Extreme Toxicity of Roundup Destroys GM/Non-GM ‘Substantial Equivalence’ Argument
Human Blood is Not “Roundup Ready,” New Study Reluctantly Admits
Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say
Introducing Glyphosate, the world’s biggest selling herbicide
Roundup and Glyphosate Toxicity Have Been Grossly Underestimated
Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide May Be Most Important Factor in Development of Autism and Other Chronic Disease
BREAKING: Glyphosate (Roundup) Carcinogenic In the PARTS PER TRILLION Range
New Study Finds GM Corn and Roundup Causes Cancer In Rats
Prepubertal exposure to commercial formulation of the herbicide glyphosate alters testosterone levels and testicular morphology
Roundup Herbicide: ‘The Most Toxic Chemical In the Environment’
Argentines link health problems to agrochemicals
Government Agents Gave Cover for Roundup’s Birth Defects
GLYPHOSATE: DESTRUCTOR OF HUMAN HEALTH AND BIODIVERSITY
Toxic Combo of Roundup and Fertilizers Blamed for Tens of Thousands of Deaths
Sulfate, Sleep and Sunlight: The Disruptive and Destructive Effects of Heavy Metals and Glyphosate
Glyphosate (Wikipedia)
Teratogenic Effects of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides: Divergence of Regulatory Decisions from Scientific Evidence
The teratogenic potential of the herbicide glyphosate Roundup in Wistar rats

My posts that have more information about glyphosate:

Glyphosate is already in our food, air, and water: What is it and why should we care?
Monsanto wants glyphosate limit in food to be raised up to 150 times
Study finds significant new evidence that GMOs can cause harm
What Does Genetically Engineered (or GMO) Mean?

Posted in Environment, GMOs, Health, Organic Food, Pesticides, Poisons, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Studies show that diabetes can be prevented and even reversed naturally

Patient filesSeveral years ago when I began my journey to better health through an improved diet, I frequently had the jitters after eating, especially after breakfast.  At the time, I thought it was probably due to too much caffeine.  I had already stopped drinking regular coffee due to the caffeine, but I was still drinking tea every morning.  However, when I cut out the caffeine, I still had the occasional jittery feeling.

Eventually I realized that it wasn’t just the caffeine, although I am still very sensitive to it.  My jittery feelings were caused by a diet too high in sugar and other carbohydrates.  Especially my breakfasts were high carb, usually sweetened cereal (although whole grain) and sweetened tea.  There was very little fat and only a small amount of protein.  Read more here about how I learned what the problem was and how I changed my diet.

The jitters I had after my high carbohydrate breakfasts were were a symptom of poor sugar handling.  Similar diets are causing huge increases in the incidence of diabetes here in the U.S. and in other countries as they adopt our diet.

We need to find effective, natural ways to treat and possibly reverse diabetes.  One in three children born today are likely to develop the disease and over 100 million adults are already suffering from diabetes, insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome. 1 There are many studies that indicate diet is an important factor in the development of diabetes.  Although most of this research applies primarily to type 2 diabetes, an improved diet can also benefit those with type 1 diabetes.

One recent study found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by eating full fat dairy products, including milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese. The factor responsible for the reduction seems to be palmitoleic acid, or trans-palmitoleate, which “is found almost exclusively in naturally-occurring dairy and meat trans fats. . . palmitoleic acid is heart healthy. It also has anti-microbial properties and is a key compound in cell communication.” Participants in the study “with those with the highest levels [of trans-palmitoleate] had half the risk of developing diabetes” compared to those with the lowest levels. 2   People have been told to avoid full fat dairy for decades due to the war on fat, and maybe the lack of trans-palmitoleate in the diet has helped increase the incidence of diabetes.  The healthy natural trans fat in milk products is beneficial; however, the artificial trans fats formed in the process of hydrogenation of oils are not healthy and should be avoided. 2

Additional studies have indicated that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, treated, and even possibly reversed by changes in diet.  Specifically, carbohydrate intake should be reduced significantly.  The recommended limit may vary, but most recommend under 100 grams per day and those should be spread evenly throughout the day not eaten all at once, to avoid sugar spikes.

Dr. Antti Heikkilä recommends a limit of 60 grams of carbohydrates per day.  Dr. Heikkilä has treated thousands of patients with diabetes, “each of whom has reduced their sugar and starch intake and been able to stop taking all of their medications.” Dr. Heikkilä says “Reducing the amount of carbohydrates is the first step. We do not know why reducing the amount of carbohydrates changes the overall metabolism. After a certain limit, there is a dramatic change. In my experience the border is 60 grams of carbohydrates, and in some cases it is a bit less.”  I totally agree with Dr. Heikkilä’s second step: the food we eat should be nutrient-dense and of high quality. Many of the nutrients in our food can “protect the body from the harmful effects of sugar.” 4

Dr. Wolfgang Lutz also recommends limited carbohydrates.  He says “The bad news is that diabetes is clearly a disease of poor sugar metabolism, and sugar (i.e., carbohydrates) is the dietary source of this imbalance.  The good news is that diabetes can be reversed by the reduction of carbohydrates in the diet.”  [emphasis added]  Dr. Lutz recommends limiting carbohydrate intake to 72 grams per day or less.  He points out that today’s diets can be as much as 90% carbohydrates.  He gives these examples: breakfast might be sweetened cereal or toast and jelly with a big glass of fruit juice or coffee with lots of sugar; lunch is a sandwich with a thin slice of lean meat plus chips and dessert; dinner could be a fast food bun-heavy sandwich with lots of french fries, or a thick-crust pizza washed down with lots of soda.  Although he doesn’t mention snacks, people frequently eat chips, candy, sodas and other high-carb foods between meals, all of which add to the carbohydrate load.  Does this sound familiar?  Many people eat like this most, if not all, of the time. 7

I can’t write about this subject without mentioning that gut health is key to the absorption of nutrients.  Even if you are eating nutrient-dense high quality foods, you will not be healthy if your body can’t process the nutrients and make them available to your cells.  One method that has shown great benefit in healing the gut and restoring health is Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome, popularly known as the GAPS diet.  Find Houston-area certified GAPS consultants here.

Also, many people have reversed health problems, including diabetes, by following a nutrient-dense diet as recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Read here about how to get started on a traditional, real food diet.

I know I haven’t covered everything there is to know about the subject of diet and its impact on diabetes, but I hope I have encouraged you to do some research to find out if any of these changes could help you.

Sources

1 An MD’s Perspective On How To Avoid, Treat And Reverse Diabetes by Russell M. Jaffe, MD, PhD
2 Healthy Trans Fats Slash Diabetes Risk by Margie King
3 trans-Palmitoleic acid, other dairy fat biomarkers, and incident diabetes: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
4 How To Treat Diabetes Naturally – An MD’s Perspective by Antti Heikkilä, MD
5 Dietary Modification: Low Carbohydrate/Ketogenic [link to a list of studies showing the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet]
6 Peter Attia: What if we’re wrong about diabetes? (video about Dr. Attia’s perspective on diabetes and what causes it)
7 Life Without Bread by Christian B. Allan PhD and Wolfgang Lutz MD

You might also want to read

Sugar Brain Fog
Could You Give Up Sugar?

Posted in Dairy, Diabetes, Diet, Fats, Health, Healthy Fats, Low Carbohydrate, Nutrition, Real Food, Research, Science | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nutty Granola – Grain-free, Paleo and Raw

Paleo Granola with BlueberriesI have always loved granola!  It’s crunchy, fruity, and delicious.  However, the recipe I made many, many years ago had lots of oats, unsoaked nuts & seeds and processed vegetable oil.  So, I stopped eating granola.  Anyway, It isn’t as nutrient dense as my smoothies or eggs & bacon.  But I have to admit I did miss my granola, even though I have NOT missed eating unhealthy boxed cold cereals.

Oats, the common mainstay of granola, need to be soaked and cooked to make them more digestible.  Read more here about why toasted oats in granola are not good for you.  Although some people have had success making granola from soaked and cooked oats, most say it doesn’t make the crunchy granola that I like.  It’s more chewy.

I found several versions of grain-free granola and decided to try making my own.  I took some ideas from each, used soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds, and other safe, healthy ingredients to make my own granola. I wanted all the nuts and seeds to be soaked and dehydrated and everything to remain raw but digestible.   This recipe makes granola just the way I like it.  It adds variety and satisfaction that I had been missing in my diet.  I am so glad I can enjoy my homemade granola again!

Here’s how I made my healthier version of granola:

Nutty Granola – Grain-free, Paleo and Raw

Bowl of nutty granola

Ingredients

2 cups almonds, soaked and dehydrated
2 cups raw walnuts, soaked and dehydrated
2 cups raw cashews, soaked and dehydrated
2 cups, raw pecans, soaked and dehydrated
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked and dehydrated
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked and dehydrated
1 cup dehydrated mango chunks (I use Wilderness Family Naturals)
1 cup coconut chips (I use Wilderness Family Naturals)
2 cups organic raisins (I use Woodstock)
1/4 cup coconut oil (I use Tropical Traditions Gold Label)
1/2 cup raw honey, preferably local (I use Gulf Coast Honey Bee Farms)
1 tablespoon organic vanilla
1 tablespoon Ceylon cinnamon (I use Frontier organic)
1 teaspoon sea salt (I use Celtic Sea Salt)

Preparation

Since I do not have a dehydrator, I buy my nuts and seeds already soaked and dehydrated. I have bought nuts and seeds from both Wilderness Family Naturals and Radiant Life but most of those used in this recipe are from Wilderness Family Naturals.  If you have a dehydrator, here’s a video about how to soak and dehydrate your own raw nuts and seeds.

Combine the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt in a saucepan over very low heat until melted and well mixed. To preserve the enzymes in the honey, it is important that the heat is never hotter than your fingers can safely touch. Coconut oil melts at about 76 degrees Fahrenheit, so the mixture should be easy to mix well before it is too hot to touch.

Chopping nutsMeanwhile chop nuts. You can use a food processor or a blender, but I found that the easiest and for me the best way is to put the nuts, one kind at a time, in a gallon Ziploc bag and pound with a wooden rolling-pin. This method results in the most evenly broken up pieces. Both the food processor and blender seemed to turn a lot of the nuts into dust before all the pieces are broken up.

Mixing bowl of granolaPut all the nuts and seeds in a large bowl. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the nuts and seeds and stir well. I add the coconut oil mixture a little at a time to help distribute it evenly. When well combined, add the mango chunks, coconut chips, and raisins.

Store in airtight glass containers in the refrigerator. I use half-gallon or quart mason jars.

This recipe makes about 4 quarts of grain-free granola.

My favorite way to eat this granola is in a bowl with organic blueberries and raw cream or milk. Oooom good! Delicious and crunchy, just like I like it!

Variations: You can add or substitute other dried fruits such as chopped dates or use other kinds of nuts.  Maple syrup can be used instead of honey.

Posted in Gluten-free, Grain Free, Health, Nutrition, Organic Food, Paleo, Raw Food, Raw Milk | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments