Are you thinking about Spring?

3 Year Crop Rotation IdeaAs I sit here drinking my tea, and musing over the seed catalogs – watching the snow drifting down from the sky, I am thinking of my garden.

I long for Spring Time and the new beginnings of promise that are held in it’s hours. Don’t get me wrong, I love Winter too – but the warmth of Spring; the rebirth; the magic…

So, be looking for ways to expand your garden, and get the most out of it. Crop rotation is GREAT for adding back essential nutrients to the soil. I would actually add a fourth row, which would allow one row to rest a season.

What do you think?

Posted in Self Sufficiency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kale Walnut Pesto

Kale Walnut Pesto

KALE WALNUT PESTO

A delicious alternative to the traditional pesto recipe.

1/2 cup Kale (stems removed) wash and rough chop
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor or blender. Hit the power button, and immediately begin to drizzle the olive oil into the mix. Stop adding olive oil when the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

ENJOY!!!

 

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

See the Wish…

It's all in your perspective...

It’s all in your perspective…

Posted in Herbal Musings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole

Bean Burgers with Spicy GuacamoleBean Burgers

These bean burgers will even please carnivores. The cornmeal coating gives a pleasant crunch and smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro and guacamole add Southwestern flavor.

Makes 6 servings

Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans, well drained (see Tip)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin seeds (see Tip)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal, plus 1/3 cup for coating burgers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • 6 lettuce leaves
  • 6 tomato slices

Guacamole

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Uncover and let stand.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add beans, paprika and ground cumin and mash the beans to a smooth paste with a potato masher or fork. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the quinoa, 3 tablespoons cilantro, 3 tablespoons cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; stir to combine.
  3. Form the bean mash into 6 patties. Coat them evenly with the remaining 1/3 cup cornmeal and transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. To prepare guacamole: Mash avocado with a potato masher or fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons onion, garlic, cayenne and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°F.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron (or similar heavy) skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 burgers until heated through and brown and crisp on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the oven to keep warm. Cook the remaining 3 burgers with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, reducing the heat as necessary to prevent overbrowning. Serve the burgers on buns with lettuce, tomato and the guacamole.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Let cool. Grind into a powder in a spice mill or blender.
  • Ingredient Note: Quinoa is a delicately flavored, protein-rich grain. Rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering. Find it in natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets.
  • Tip: How to Cook a Pot of Beans
  • 1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours.
  • 2. When you’re ready to cook the beans, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small chopped onion, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped celery stalk (optional). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup hot water. When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (Do not drain: beans are best stored in their cooking liquid and the liquid can be used in some recipes.)

Makes about 6 cups.

Nutrition

Per serving: 412 calories; 15 g fat ( 2 g sat , 9 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 60 g carbohydrates; 4 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 14 g fiber; 502 mg sodium; 764 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Folate (48% daily value), Magnesium (26% dv), Potassium (22% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv), Vitamin C (18% dv).

 

Posted in Taste the Herb-sation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PINTO BEANS

Pinto Beans

pintobeansPinto beans have a beige background strewn with reddish brown splashes of color. They are like little painted canvases, a` la Jackson Pollack; hence their name “pinto,” which in Spanish means “painted.” When cooked, their colored splotches disappear, and they become a beautiful pink color.

Pinto beans are the most consumed dried bean in the United States as they are a good source of protein, are very inexpensive, and have become popular with many cultures around the world.

History

Several beans, including the Pinto, Kidney, Navy, and Black Beans, are referred to as “common beans” because they stem from a common bean ancestor from Peru. From there, they spread from South and Central America to Europe, Africa, and Asia through explorers and traders. Today, the largest producers of dried “common beans” are India, China, Indonesia, Brazil and the United States.

Nutritional Profile

Pinto beans are a good source of protein, potassium, Vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, fiber and iron, as well as an excellent source of molybdenum.

They also contain other phytonutrients which have been shown to be helpful in preventing some cancers – including stomach cancer.

Shown below is a nutrient rating chart from ‘Worlds Healthiest Foods’ site. A more in-depth profile containing information on over 80 nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more can be found by clicking the link below:

Pinto beans.

Pinto Beans
1.00 cup cooked
171.00 grams
244.53 calories
Nutrient Amount DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
molybdenum 128.25 mcg 171.0 12.6 excellent
folate 294.12 mcg 73.5 5.4 very good
fiber 15.39 g 61.6 4.5 very good
tryptophan 0.18 g 56.2 4.1 very good
manganese 0.77 mg 38.5 2.8 good
protein 15.41 g 30.8 2.3 good
phosphorus 251.37 mg 25.1 1.9 good
vitamin B1 0.33 mg 22.0 1.6 good
magnesium 85.50 mg 21.4 1.6 good
potassium 745.56 mg 21.3 1.6 good
iron 3.57 mg 19.8 1.5 good

World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

Combine the creamy pink texture of pinto beans with a whole grain such as brown rice and you have a virtually fat-free high quality protein meal. Dried pinto beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins; both canned and dried pinto beans are available throughout the year.

Health Benefits

Fiber

A check of a food & fiber-content chart will show legumes leading the pack in soluble and insoluble fiber. Pinto beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. This fiber combines with bile (which contains cholesterol) to form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that is then carried out of the body.  It is also instrumental in preventing blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal. This makes these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance and/or hypoglycemia, as are most other beans. This provides a stream of steady, slow-burning energy.  Insoluble fiber is a great benefit in preventing digestive disorders, such as diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome, by preventing constipation and increasing stool bulk. A cup of cooked pinto beans provides 62% of the recommended daily intake for fiber.

Lower Your Heart Attack Risk

The nursery rhyme about beans being good for your heart is spot-on! Researchers have found that higher legume consumption was associated with a whopping 82% reduction in heart attack risk!

Pinto Beans are also high in Folate, Magnesium, and Potassium – all heart-healthy nutrients.

Folate is especially important for lowering levels of homoscysteine – an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease. Just one cup of cooked pinto beans provides 73.5% of the recommended daily intake for folate.

Magnesium helps to improve blood flow, which in turns carries much needed nutrients and oxygen to the body. Sufficient magnesium also prevents free-radical damage after an injury to the heart. One cup of Pinto Beans provides over 21% or one-fifth of your daily needs of magnesium.

Potassium is another essential mineral needed to maintain normal blood pressure and heart function. A one-cup serving of pinto beans provides 746 mg of potassium and only 1.7 mg of sodium, making these beans an especially good choice to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

Iron, Copper, & Manganese for Energy

Pinto Beans are an excellent source of slow burning complex carbohydrates, which can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. Iron is an integral component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is part of a key enzyme system for energy production and metabolism. Unlike red meat, another source of iron, pinto beans are low in calories and virtually fat-free.

Manganese and Copper are two trace minerals that are essential to helping our bodies fight free radicals produced in the mitochondria. Copper is also necessary for an enzyme activity cross-linking collagen and elastin, both of which provide the ground substance and flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints. Where iron is used for transporting and releasing oxygen throughout the body, without Copper the Iron cannot be utilized properly. Just one cup of pinto beans supplies 39% of the DV for manganese, 19% of the DV for copper, and 20% of the DV for iron.

Protein Power Plus

If you’re wondering how to replace red meat in your menus, become a fan of pinto beans. These hearty beans are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice, provide protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fat found in these foods. A cup of pinto beans provides 15 grams of protein—that’s 31% of the daily value for protein.

How to Select, Store, and Prepare

Dried pinto beans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Whether purchasing pinto beans in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there’s no evidence of moisture or insect damage and that beans are whole and not cracked.

Canned pinto beans can be found in many markets. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned pinto beans and those you cook yourself. It is suggested that you look for those that do not contain extra salt or additives.

Store dried beans in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for up to 12 months. If you purchase pinto beans at different times, store them separately; they may feature varying stages of dryness and therefore will require different cooking times.

Cooked pinto beans will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days, if placed in a covered container.

Tips for Preparing Pinto Beans

Before washing pinto beans, spread them on a light-colored plate or cooking surface to check for small stones, debris or damaged beans. Then, place the beans in a strainer, rinsing them thoroughly under cool running water.

To shorten cooking time and make them easier to digest, pinto beans should be presoaked. This is an important step to reduce the sugars associated with causing flatulence.

There are two basic methods for presoaking. For each, start by placing the beans in a saucepan with two to three cups of water per cup of beans.

The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take the pan off the heat, cover and allow to stand for two hours.

The second method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing the pan in the refrigerator so beans will not ferment.

Before cooking, regardless of method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.

Cooking Pinto Beanscooked pinto beans

Pinto Beans can be cooked either on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.

For the stovetop method, add three cups of fresh water or broth for each cup of dried beans. The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. If any foam develops, simply skim it off during the simmering process. Pinto beans generally take about one to one and one-half hours to become tender using this method.

They can also be cooked in a pressure cooker where they take about one-half hour to prepare.

Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after beans have been cooked; adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Use pinto beans in chili recipes in place of kidney beans.
  • Blend together pinto beans with sage, oregano, garlic and black pepper for a delicious spread that can be used as a crudité dip or sandwich filling.
  • Layer cooked pinto beans, chopped tomatoes and onions and shredded cheese on a tortilla. Broil in the oven until hot and cheese melts. Top with chopped avocado and cilantro.
  • Add pinto beans to vegetable soups.
  • Heat pinto beans together with cooked rice. Add cooked chopped vegetables such as carrots, zucchini and tomatoes. Season to taste and enjoy this simple-to-prepare one pot meal.

For an enjoyable treat, follow the link below for

Pinto Bean Blondies – YUM!

http://scarlettabakes.com/pinto-bean-blondies/

 

Posted in The Herb Habit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BEANS

Beans

dried beansIn the book ‘The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods’ by Dr. James A Duke, we read some interesting information concerning legumes, a.k.a. Beans.

In his book, Dr. Duke states that few foods offer quite the unique combination of health benefits and nutrients, all stored in an easily accessible package, like beans. They are an excellent source of protein, brimming with soluble and insoluble fiber. This means they are great for your heart, as well as carrying unwanted cholesterol out of your system. This fiber also aides in slowing the glycemic reaction that occurs when ingesting food – making beans a great food for those with blood-sugar issues.

Most beans are also low in fat – which makes them a great food source for those trying to watch their weight, and they are a source of high levels of isoflavones – or phytonutrients that have been shown to prevent some forms of cancer, improve bone and prostate health, ease they symptoms of menopause, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

This week will spotlight a few bean varieties, known as “common beans”, a bit of their history, their nutrient content, and uses, starting with the Pinto Bean. Enjoy!

Posted in The Herb Habit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A KILLER IN YOUR FRIDGE – SWEET POISON

 A KILLER IN YOUR FRIDGE – SWEET POISON

A woman relates the story of her sister: “In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore. It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.

By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications. The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her. She was in so much pain, and so sick she just knew she was dying.

She put her house, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter’s name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of.

She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida (basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.

On March 19, I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and she said they didn’t find anything on the test, but they believe she had MS.

I recalled an article a friend of mine e-mailed to me and I asked my sister if she drank diet soda? She told me that she did. As a matter of fact, she was getting ready to crack one open that moment.

Diet_Cola1I told her not to open it, and to stop drinking the diet soda! I e-mailed her an article my friend, a lawyer, had sent. My sister called me within 32 hours after our phone conversation and told me she had stopped drinking the diet soda AND she could walk! The muscle spasms went away. She said she didn’t feel 100% but, she sure felt a lot better.

She told me she was going to her doctor with this article and would call me when she got home.

Well, she called me, and said her doctor was amazed! He is going to call all of his MS patients to find out if they consumed artificial sweeteners of any kind. In a nutshell, she was being poisoned by the Aspartame in the diet soda, and literally dying a slow and miserable death

When she got to Florida March 22, all she had to take was one pill, and that was a pill for the Aspartame poisoning! She is well on her way to a complete recovery. And she is walking! No wheelchair! This article saved her life.”

If it says ‘SUGAR FREE’ on the label; DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! ‘ASPARTAME,’ also known as ‘Nutra Sweet,’ ‘Equal,’ and ‘Spoonful’ is a killer.

The EPA announced in 2001 that there was an epidemic of multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus in the United States. It was difficult to determine exactly what toxin was causing this to be rampant, however they were unsure as to what toxin was causing this problem.

I will explain why Aspartame is so dangerous: when the temperature of this sweetener exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in ASPARTAME converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis. Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants. The methanol toxicity mimics, among other conditions, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.

Many people have been diagnosed in error. Although multiple sclerosis is not a death sentence, Methanol toxicity is!

Systemic lupus has become almost as rampant as multiple sclerosis, especially among diet soda-pop drinkers. The victim usually does not know that the Aspartame is the culprit. He or she continues its use; irritating the lupus to such a degree that it may become a life-threatening condition. Many patients with systemic lupus become asymptotic, once taken off diet sodas.

In cases of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, most of the symptoms disappear. We’ve seen many cases where vision loss returned and hearing loss improved markedly.

This also applies to cases of tinnitus and fibromyalgia. If you are using ASPARTAME (Nutra Sweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc) and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms such as; spasms                    shooting pains               numbness in your legs          cramps                      vertigo                     dizziness                         headaches                                tinnitus                   joint pain                        anxiety attacks                                                              slurred speech       unexplainable depression                                              blurred vision          memory loss

you probably have ASPARTAME poisoning!

Is it reversible? ABSOLUTELY!

STOP drinking diet sodas and be alert for Aspartame on food labels! Many products are laced with it! This is a serious problem. Dr. Espart states that so many people seem to be symptomatic for MS and during his recent visit to a hospice; a nurse stated that six of her friends, who were heavy Diet Coke addicts, had all been diagnosed with MS. This is beyond coincidence!

Diet soda is NOT a diet product! It is a chemically altered, multiple SODIUM (salt) and ASPARTAME containing product that actually makes you crave carbohydrates.

It is far more likely to make you GAIN weight!

These products also contain formaldehyde, which stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs. Formaldehyde is an absolute toxin and is used primarily to preserve ’tissue specimens.’

Many products we use every day contain this chemical but we SHOULD NOT store it IN our body!

Dr. H. J. Roberts stated in his lectures that once free of the ‘diet products’ and with no significant increase in exercise; his patients lost an average of 19 pounds over a trial period. Aspartame is especially dangerous for diabetics. We found that some physicians, who believed that they had a patient with retinopathy, in fact, had symptoms caused by Aspartame. The Aspartame drives the blood sugar out of control. Thus diabetics may suffer acute memory loss due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are NEUROTOXIC when taken without the other amino acids necessary for a good balance.

Aspartame passes the blood/brain barrier and it then deteriorates the neurons of the brain; causing various levels of brain damage, seizures, depression, manic depression, panic attacks, uncontrollable anger and rage. Consumption of Aspartame causes these same symptoms in diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

Documentation and observation also reveal that thousands of children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD have had complete turnarounds in their behavior when these chemicals have been removed from their diet. So called ‘behavior modification prescription drugs’ (Ritalin and others) are no longer needed. Truth be told, they were never NEEDED in the first place! Most of these children were being ‘poisoned’ on a daily basis with the very foods that were ‘better for them than sugar.’ It is also suspected that the Aspartame in thousands of pallets of diet soda consumed by men and women fighting in the Gulf War, may be partially to blame for the well-known Gulf War Syndrome.

Dr. Roberts warns that it can cause birth defects, i.e. mental retardation, if taken at the time of conception and during early pregnancy. Children are especially at risk for neurological disorders and should NEVER be given artificial sweeteners. There are many different case histories relating to children suffering grand mal seizures and other neurological disturbances. Talk about a plague of neurological diseases directly caused by the use of this deadly poison.

Herein lies the problem: There were Congressional Hearings when Aspartame was introduced and added to 100 different products, and strong objection was made concerning its use. Since this initial hearing, there have been subsequent hearings, and still nothing has been done. The drug and chemical lobbies have very deep pockets.

Sadly, MONSANTO’S patent on Aspartame has EXPIRED! There are now over 5,000 products on the market that contain this deadly chemical and there will be thousands more introduced. Everybody wants a piece of the Aspartame pie. I assure you that MONSANTO, the creator of Aspartame, knows how deadly it is.

And isn’t it ironic that MONSANTO funds, among others, the American Diabetes Association, the American Dietetic Association and the Conference of the American College of Physicians?

This has been recently exposed in the New York Times. These organizations cannot criticize any additives or convey their link to MONSANTO because they take money from the food industry and are required to endorse their products. Senator Howard Metzenbaum wrote and presented a bill that would require label warnings on products containing Aspartame, especially regarding pregnant women, children and infants.

The bill would also institute independent studies on the known dangers and the problems existing in the general population regarding seizures, changes in brain chemistry, neurological changes and behavioral symptoms. The bill was killed. It is known that the powerful drug and chemical lobbies are responsible for this, letting loose the hounds of disease and death on an unsuspecting and uninformed public.

And if you think “well, fine, I’ll just switch to sucralose – aka Splenda” – THINK AGAIN!

 

 

Posted in The Herb Habit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Fairs & Festivals

SUMMER FAIRS & FESTIVALS

I have been quite remiss of late, keeping my blog on the back burner for a good part of the summer. I confess, I have missed being able to post educational information about the uses of herbs. I hope my excuse is a good one.

Prepping the Dream Pillows

I’ve been preparing for the summer festivals and fairs. I like to take my wares and peddle them where the people are, and have the opportunity of meeting some really great people.

This year, I focused on selling the Basic Herbal First Aid kit that I created, along with someBasic Kit-Contents dream pillows.

 

 

 

I usually buddy up with my friend Char, who creates FABULOUS culinary herbal blends. It was a fun summer, but now – back to work!

Posted in The Herb Habit | Leave a comment

Sunflower Field

SUNFLOWER FIELD

Sunflower Field-compIn a recent trip to the “big city”, I passed by a farmer’s field where a grain crop is normally growing. This year, however, the blessed farmer decided to grace us with this wonderful sight – a field FULL of sunflowers. Acres and acres!

The fun part is seeing how many people pull over to get an up close look, and to marvel at it’s beauty. When I stopped, I happened to meet a gal who was from California. She was so excited because she “had never seen anything like this”, and was amazed. Can’t say as I blame her.

My wonderful husband waited patiently for me while I got up close and personal myself.  Here are a few photos that I took:

Beautiful Single

Beautiful Single-comp

The Pollinator!

Visiting Bee-comp

LOVE this close-up

Visiting Pollunator-comp

and I like to call this one…the Photo-Bomb Sunflower. It’s cool how it looks as if the Sunflower in the back is trying to grab your attention from the ones up front.

Photo Bomb Sunflower-comp

Hope you enjoyed these.

Just remember though…when you’re out an about and come across a stunning field that you just HAVE to get a picture of: please be aware of the other traffic around you and proceed with caution. I saw many “near misses” from drivers being indecisive about their exit strategy from the highway.

Have a great summer!

Posted in Herbal Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Dirty Fruits & Veggies

10 DIRTY FRUITS & VEGGIES

Produce-Stand-TCCI know when I go to the grocery store it’s challenging to buy organic fruits and vegetables because they seem so much more expensive than the conventionally grown produce. BUT, on the flip side how much is my health worth and what is the actual trade-off in doctor bills and eventual health breakdown?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) studied 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a list of 49 of the dirtiest and cleanest produce. I’ve included a link to their website, at the end of this article. They also have an app for your iPhone or SmartPhone to assist you at the grocery store.

Of the 49, I’ve broken it down to the top ten offenders:

Celerycelery
This stalky vegetable tops the dirty list. Research showed that a celery cluster, as a whole, contained as many as 67 pesticides, with a single stalk averaging around 13.

Unfortunately, celery has no protective skin and its stems cup inward. This allows chemicals to fester on the vegetable, making it difficult to wash the entire surface of the stalk. If you cannot find locally grown chemical free celery, definitely buy organic.

grapesGrapes
Grapes are definitely a favorite of mine and the family. Often times we will pull them from the vine, wash them, allow them to dry, and then stick them in the freezer for a cool, sweet treat when the mood strikes us. However, because these tiny fruits have extremely thin skins, pesticides are more easily absorbed.

This doesn’t just apply to the grapes in the produce section, but raisins, grape juices and wines can be tainted as well. If you don’t make your own grape juice, or haven’t ventured into the art of home wine making, organic would be a good choice when purchasing these delectable fruits.

And think twice before buying imported wine. Some countries have good laws regarding the use of chemicals in commercial operations. However, many do not. The grapes that go into imported wine could be coming from vineyards that use too many pesticides.

Peachespeaches
As with the celery, this wonderful fruit was also found to be laced with 67 different chemicals, but tends to be a bit more easy to clean. Because of their soft fuzzy skin and delicate structure, they have a high susceptibility to most pests. This translates into them being sprayed more frequently during their growing period.

spinachSpinach, Kale, & Collard Greens
Spinach has gotten a bad rap in the news in recent years due to E. Coli outbreaks from tainted leaves consumed by consumers. A LOT of this has to do with the fertilizer that is used on these crops.

As far as the chemical slurry goes, Spinach comes in loaded with 45 different kinds of pesticides, and Kale a whopping 57.

Strawberriesstrawberry
Research has also shown this red, juicy fruit to be a chemical nightmare. The soft seedy skin allows for easier absorption of up to 53 pesticides and herbicides. Definitely try to grow your own or buy at the local farmers’ market.

cherriesCherries
Cherries are like blueberries, strawberries, and peaches in that they have a thin coating of skin—usually not enough to protect the fruit from harmful pesticides.

Cherries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has been proven to neutralize carcinogens – the stuff that promotes cancer in our body. Research by EWG showed cherries grown in the U.S. had three times the amount of pesticides as imported cherries, so this is undeniably one fruit that worthwhile buying organic.

Applesapple
I LOVE Apples, so this bit of information was not welcoming. Apples are high-maintenance fruit, susceptible to mold, pests, and diseases. This translates into the use of herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides being used during growth. The EWG found 47 different kinds of pesticides on apples. While produce washes can help remove some of the residue, they’re not 100% effective.

peppersSweet Bell Pepper
I like most kinds of Peppers, so I was pretty disappointed to see them here. Another thin-skinned veggie that is highly susceptible to pesticides. According to the EWG, these crunchy sweet bell peppers showed traces of 63 types of pesticides. While some pesticides can be washed away, many still remain.

Blueberriesblueberries
Here is another super immune booster with a dark secret. Blueberries are known for their high antioxidant content, which has been shown to fight free-radicals in our systems. However, that thin skin can allow nasty chemicals to easily contaminate the fruit. The EWG reported that domestic blueberries were loaded with 13 pesticides on a single sample, while imported blueberries made the list at No. 14 for the dirtiest produce.

potatoPotatoes
Now, I am definitely a potato lover. Chips, baked, boiled, mashed…you name it, I like ‘em. But after reading this list, I sigh and realize that I must support my local growers (which include myself) and buy chemical free, or organic. The EWG’s report indicates that over 36 pesticides were found on potato skins.

Did one of your favorites make the list? Don’t worry; the EWG recommends purchasing organic or locally grown varieties, which can lower pesticide intake by 80% versus conventionally grown produce.

So before you hit the grocery store, see how some of your favorite fruits and veggies measured up.

EWG’s 2013 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce – http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Posted in Self Sufficiency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments