Tag Archives: Nutrition

How To Sprout Grains At Home – Winter 2010 Catalog

How to Sprout Grains at Home

By Peggy Sutton

another sprouted wheat

Many folks have been introduced –or I should say re-introduced– to the goodness and digestibility of sprouted grains and sprouted grain flours. Sprouted grains are not a newfangled food trend but a tried and true traditional means of preparing grains, dating as far back as biblical times and as recent as the industrial revolution.

Until modern farm equipment was invented to gather grains out of the field quickly for shipment to cities and large storage facilities, grains were cut and stored in teh fields until time to use or sell them. While the grains awaited use, the dew and rain would naturally sprout the head of grain. The result was an organically more healthful grain product.Today, at-home methods of sprouting grains before baking entails just a few easy steps and not very much time–and the benefits are worth every minute of the process.

Here’s what sprouting accomplishes:

  1. ~ Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc.
  2. ~ Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds.
  3. ~ Sprouting produces enzymes.
  4. ~ Sprouting breaks down the starches in grains into simple sugars so the body can digest them like a vegetable (e.g., a tomato, not a potato).
  5. ~ Sprouting produces vitamin C
  6. ~ Sprouting increases the grains’ carotene and vitamin B content.

So let’s get started!

The equipment for your sprouting operation is not elaborate, but each item is important. This is what you’ll need:

  1. 1. 4 to 8 1-quart mason jars with large-mouth lids;
  2. 2. 1 plastic needlepoint grid, 7-mesh size (available at WalMart or craft store)
  3. 3. 1 or 2 large round bowls, big enough to place 4 of your mason jars in an upright position;
  4. 4. A large colander and small strainer;
  5. 5. 1/4 cup organic cider vinegar;
  6. 6. 6 to 11 cups of; organic grains (For breads, cookies, pastries, try wheat or spelt. For sour dough starter, try rye.)
  7. 7. Filtered water.

Before setting up the actual sprouting, wash and sanitize your grains. Although not absolutely essential, I strongly recommend it. Grit often adheres to your grains, and you never know what kinds of “critters” walked through the field where your grains were harvested.

So here’s the washing process:

  1. 1. Fill your kitchen sink with room-temperature tap water.
  2. 2. Pour your grains into the water, and agitate them thoroughly for a minute or two.
  3. 3. Using a colander, scoop up all the grains you can. Then use the small strainer and your free hand to scoop the remaining grains into the colander. If you have a strainer that fits into your sink drain, it will work great to get the remaining grains and drain the water at the same time. Hold the grain-filled colander under the tap for a quick rinse.
  4. 4. Clean your sink thoroughly of all grit and fill with 2 gallons of tap water. Stir in 1/4 cup of organic cider vinegar.
  5. 5. Dump your washed grains into the vinegar solution and let stand for 7 to 10 minutes.
  6. 6. Repeat Step #3.

Now your grains have been properly washed and sanitized, and it’s time to begin the sprouting process.

  1. 1. Place about 1 1/3 cups of clean grains into each mason jar (if you’re baking only 1 large loaf of bread you will only need 4 jars).
  2. 2. Fill each jar with filtered water (the grains will sit on the bottom of the jar).
  3. 3. Place mesh lids* and screw-tops onto each jar and tighten well. Let jars sit on your counter for 4 hours. The ideal temperature for fast, even sprouting is 69 to 72 degrees F. You may need to place in your pantry or laundry room to maintain an even temperature.
  4. 4. After your grains have soaked for 4 hours (it won’t hurt if they soak for 5 or 6 hours, so don’t worry if you’re busy and can’t get back to them after just 4), hold each jar over your kitchen sink and turn upside down, letting all the water drain out.
  5. 5. Turn each jar right-side up and fill with tap water. Then turn them over again and let all the water drain out of the jar.
  6. 6. Once you’ve completed steps 4 and 5 for each jar of grains, place your jars in a large bowl at a slant with the meshed lids toward the bottom of the bowl. This will allow more water to drain off the grains as they sprout. Place the bowl on your counter and leave overnight.
  7. 7. If you are completing step 6 by early afternoon, then repeat steps 5 and 6 in the evening, and leave jars in the bowl to sprout overnight.
  8. 8. By mid-morning your grains should be sprouted. You are looking for a distinct white tail on the end of the grains. Usually sprouts begin with a 2-pronged antenna protruding from the end of each grain. (NOTE: Do not let your sprouts grow beyond 1/4 inch in length, or your grains will take on a “grassy” taste and will be hard to feed into your mill or grinder once dried.)

You’re almost finished! Now it’s time to dry your sprouts.

sprouted pre-dried

  1. 1. Remove the sprouted grains from each jar and spread onto parchment-lined baking sheets (with sides) or place onto racks in your dehydrator (set at 105 to 110 degrees, and let grains dry thoroughly).
  2. 2. If you’re using your kitchen oven, place pans onto racks and set oven at its lowest temperature. If that temperature is above 110 degrees, prop your oven door open about 1 inch at the top using a wooden spoon or dowel. Let grains dry thoroughly. This will take several hours or overnight. (NOTE: Most new ovens, since about 2000, have built-in dehydrators. Check your owner’s manual to see if you have one–it took me 3 years to discover mine!)

Store your dried grains in an airtight container in the pantry until you are ready to mill.

Sprouting is not limited only to common flour grains. I find that sprouting beans before making soups, chili, and hummus eliminates bloating and gas after eating them. Try sprouting wild rice, and mill it for gluten-free baking. There are lots of foods you can sprout for better digestibility. Be creative and have fun!

And, of course, if you are not inclined to do your own sprouting, please let us do it for you. Check out To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co. today at http://www.organicsproutedflour.net. Also, we have lots of recipes on our web site to try with the fresh sprouted flour you made on your own. Happy Baking!

*To make meshed lids for your jars: Remove a solid lid from a jar top. Place the lid on the needlepoint grid and using a pen or Sharpie, trace a circle. Repeat this step for each of the jars you will use. Then cut the mesh lids out using scissors, and place one inside each jar’s screw-top instead of the solid lid.

Peggy Sutton is the owner of To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co., online and wholesale supplier of sprouted flour products. She founded the company in 2006 to produce fine baked goods and now specializes in sprouted flours, including wheat, spelt and rye. Peggy lives with her husband, Jeff, in Alabama.


Pre-Natal Peace of Mind- Fall 2009 Catalog

Pre-Natal Peace of Mind:

And Other Benefits of Folic Acid

By: Nancy Websternancy_small

After massaging countless pairs of names to prepare for the birth of our twins, my husband and I had settled on Grace and Rachel if we were blessed with two girls. Whoever came out first would be Grace. But when Greg held “Twin A,” the name “Rachel” felt more right to him. Within a few days we would realize why “Twin B” would need an extra measure of God’s grace.

After the Friday morning birth, I spent the weekend reveling in the wonder of having delivered the twins that I had prayed for nine months before. My husband spent the weekend secretly studying books and online sources about infant abnormalities. When he first held Twin B, he thought he saw something different about her eyes.

What he saw was Down syndrome. The midwife attending the birth had missed it. Our delivering obstetrician hadn’t noticed and none of the nurses at the hospital detected anything different about Grace. But at the twins’ Monday morning post-natal check-up, our pediatrician confirmed Greg’s suspicion.

Now 13, our twins are a delightful pair, if strikingly different from one another. Rachel rides pony trails and climbs mountains while Grace tours the zoo in a wheelchair, because severely flat feet make her legs and hips ache after much walking. Rachel catches on quickly while simple, often-repeated activities frustrate Grace into blank stares. Rachel’s alto contributes handsomely to classical performances of the local children’s community choir, while Grace can only attend performances.

Of course, Grace would not be Grace if she didn’t have her Down syndrome. Without her, we would miss out on the mysterious, masking-taped presents of a toilet paper tube, a rock, or utensil from the kitchen–accompanied by her standard card, a crayoned picture of a multi-layered cake with candles, signed “GRCE.” And we might take for granted her mastery of reading a new word.

Still, if there was something I could have done to prevent her Down syndrome, I would have done it. There’s no denying life is harder–and maybe burdened with a few more inexpressible disappointments—for Grace.

At the time Grace and Rachel were conceived, I was homeschooling four children, ages two to eight. My oldest daughter needed speech and occupational therapy, which meant hauling the entire crew back and forth to tri-weekly sessions. One son suffered gastrointestinal problems, which entailed specialist visits and many home treatments.

Although by the time I’d learned quite a bit about healthy eating, life was so huge that fish sticks and tater tots made their way onto our table far too often. I knew we should do better with our eating, but Real Life was so overwhelming, it couldn’t happen as I wanted. I didn’t even remember to start taking pre-natal vitamins until four or five months into the twin pregnancy.

The Folic Acid Connectionfolicacid1_1

Researchers have found that nearly 60% of mothers of children with Down syndrome have a genetic mutation that impairs the mother’s ability to metabolize folic acid. “Maternal non-disjunction” occurs before conception and is responsible for 95% of all Down syndrome cases. Mothers of babies with neural tube defects like spina bifada and anencephaly have a similar problem metabolizing folic acid.

Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate, vitamin B9. Found naturally in leafy greens, citrus, liver, tuna, eggs, and legumes, among other foods, folate is necessary for synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins, and for the production and maintenance of all new cells. The body’s requirement for this vitamin increases during periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy and fetal development. As a result, since 1992, the U. S. Public Health Service recommends that all women who might become pregnant should take a minimum of 400 micrograms of folic acid supplement per day. Studies suggest that if all women did this, the risk of neural tube defects would be reduced by up to 70%.

Waiting until you’re expecting a baby is not good enough. It takes up to a year to build up reserve of this vitamin, and the lack of folic acid at conception may result in brain and spinal cord damage as the fetus develops. Folic acid supplements taken for at least a year before conceiving is also associated with a 70% reduction in premature births between 20 and 28 weeks and a 50% reduction between 28 and 32 weeks. Another benefit of folic acid is protection against congenital cleft lip (with or without a cleft palate). It is estimated that 1/3 of facial clefts can be avoided with the help of folic acid.

Dads are not off the hook here, either. There’s a connection between folic acid and chromosomal abnormalities in men’s sperm. Men who consume high levels of folate or folic acid tend to have fewer sperm in which a chromosome is lost or gained. Extra or missing chromosomal material causes genetic abnormalities like Down, Turner’s, and Klinefelter’s syndromes. As with moms, future dads should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid per day for a minimum of three months prior to conception.

You are more at risk of preclampsia, placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, or even fetal death if you take medicines for epilepsy, mood disorders, hypertension, or infections because these medications are folic acid “antagonists.” You may require more than the usual recommendation of folic acid to counteract these bad effects.

Folic Acid- Mixed Reviews

In cancer research, there’s good news and bad about folic acid. On the good side: It counteracts cancer by strengthening chromosomes. Folic acid helps prevent colon cancer in men, and a study at Harvard Medical School found it can reduce women’s colon cancer rates by 75 percent.

However, too much folic acid can be a problem. While maintenance levels seem to offer protection against prostate cancer, too much folic acid may actually increase chances of prostate cancer. In other mixed news, studies show that people who get sufficient folic acid reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps by 40 to 60 percent. On the other hand, one researcher estimates that ingesting too much folic acid may cause an extra 15,000 cases of colorectal cancer each year in the US and Canada.

Folic Acid intertwines with vitamin B12 in many body processes, including synthesis of DNA, red blood cells, and the myelin sheath which insulates nerve cells and helps conduct signals throughout the nervous system. But, again, too much folic acid in the interaction can worsen a vitamin B12 deficiency. This problem is common in older patients and causes dementia and other complications like depression, apathy, withdrawal, and lack of motivation. Taking a combination of the two vitamins protects against this problem.

Vegetarians, whose diets tend to be especially high in folate-rich green vegetables and folic-acid fortified grains, are prone to vitamin B12 deficiencies. Because the body stores a good amount of B12 in the liver, though, there may be a delay of 5 to 10 years between the start of a vegetarian diet and the onset of deficiency symptoms.

Folic acid supplements offer good news to people over 50 through improved mental performance and memory. A study of adults age 50 to 70 who had low levels of folate were given folic acid supplements for three years with the result that memory, reaction speeds, information processing, and overall thinking tested similar to that of people two to five years younger.

In addition, a folate deficiency elevates homocysteine levels which contribute to heart disease and stroke. Folic acid supplementation is beneficial in preventing these cardiovascular problems. But too much folic acid throws these levels off in the other direction.

Allergy sufferers will likewise want to be sure their folic acid intake is good. Patients consuming higher levels had fewer antibodies that trigger immune responses such as allergies and asthma.

Folic Acid– The Sources

Since 1996, the USDA has required cereals and grains to be fortified with folic acid to ensure folks get an adequate amount of this vital nutrient. Although this has show a reduced incidence of babies born with neural tube defects, it’s wise for prospective parents to supplement with folic acid as extra insurance– especially mothers who already have a child or two (or more!) and may be depleted.

So how much should you take? Because folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, it is hard to overdose. The ideal dosage is between 400-800 micrograms per day for all populations. This will be safe for you unless your favorite daily snack is liver, which contains 170-190 micrograms for every three ounces!

Healthy bodies seem only able to process a maximum of 1000 mcg/day. Above this, some people report itchiness and rarely, gastrointestinal discomfort or insomnia. Sometimes doctors prescribe up to 4000 micrograms per day of folic acid supplementation for special cases, like a jump-start in healing certain anemias, or for mothers planning another pregnancy when they’ve borne a child with a neural tube defect. The folks at Beeyoutiful urge medical supervision before consuming mega-doses.

The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends getting the necessary pre-natal nutrition (also good for people of any age!) from properly prepared, nutrient-dense foods. This includes organic liver and other organ meats, seafood, eggs, and the best quality butter, cream and fermented (preferably raw) milk products you can find. Organic meats, vegetables, grains, and legumes should round out the diet, with a special emphasis on leafy green vegetables. (For more about the ideal way to prepare and eat foods, I’ll recommend yet again the excellent book by Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, available from Beeyoutiful.)

Healthy meal preparation too often collides with Real Life making a thoroughly healthy diet difficult to achieve regularly–which is where the importance of using the right supplements come in. For those in their child-bearing years, the elderly, allergy sufferers, heart patients, and people taking medicine for epilepsy and mood disorders, supplemental folic acid intake is essential. You can get it through Beeyoutiful’s SuperMom and SuperDad vitamins as well as Beeyoutiful’s separate Folic Acid tablets which contain an ample 800 mcg. of folic acid, plus 25 mg. of B12. Whatever your stage of life, knowing you’re getting the rewards of proper folic acid intake will add to your peace of mind.supermom_superdad

Nancy Webster is a free-lance writer, homeschool mother of eight, and an avid researcher on health and nutrition. She lives with her family on their partially working farm in Tennessee. Nancy and her husband Greg’s sixth child Grace (smiling atop their old Belgian horse) is a big sister to a brother and sister who do not have Down syndrome or neural tube defects. The Websters believe siblings are the best gift you can give your child with Down syndrome. Nancy has recently started the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation (see Nourishing Traditions in the Beeyoutiful book section for more about the WAP Foundation.)

Good Sources of Selenium- Fall 2009 Catalog

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Food                                                       Selenium Content (Micrograms)*

Brazil Nuts (3-4, 1/2 oz.)**………………………………………………………..272

Tuna, light, canned in water (3 oz.)…………………………………………….68

Flounder or sole, cooked (3 oz.)…………………………………………………50

Sardines, Atlantic, canned in oil (3 oz)………………………………………. 45

Halibut, cooked (3 oz.)……………………………………………………………..40

Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked (1 cup)…………………………………….. 36

Salmon, sockeye, cooked (3 oz.)………………………………………………. 32

Turkey, roasted (3 oz.)…………………………………………………………….. 31

Cream of Wheat, cooked (1 cup) ………………………………………………   31

Beef, cooked (3 oz.)………………………………………………………………… 30

Salmon, pink, canned (3 oz.)……………………………………………………. 28

Ground turkey (3 oz.)………………………………………………………………32

Macaroni, enriched, cooked (1 cup)………………………………………….. 30

Sunflower seeds, dry roasted (1 oz.)…………………………………………… 23

Chicken, cooked (3 oz.)…………………………………………………………… 21

Cottage cheese, 1% (1 cup)………………………………………………………. 20

Brown rice, long-grain, cooked (1 cup)……………………………………… 19

Oats, cooked (1 cup)……………………………………………………………….. 19

Egg (1 large) …………………………………………………………………………. 16

Whole-wheat bread (1 slice)…………………………………………………….. 10

*Average values (values vary, depending on where the plant grew, or what the animal ate.)

** Limit Brazil nuts to two a day to avoid getting too much selenium

The Selenium Difference- Fall 2009 Catalog

The Selenium Difference:

This Trace Mineral Packs a Punch

By Jessica Bischof

selenium

You’d think it would be big news if someone discovered a substance that could

  • Protect from certain types of cancer;
  • Keep viral influenza “mild” and reduce the chance of lung damage;
  • Guard against heart disease;
  • Provide strong anti-oxidation protection;
  • Increase energy by balancing the thyroid;
  • Build a stronger immune system.

You might think that, but something as “ordinary” as a trace mineral isn’t as exciting as a new miracle drug. Nevertheless, selenium is a highly researched mineral, and we know a great deal about its significant contribution to our physical well-being.

A Very Busy Mineral

Selenium works in connection with vitamin E to deliver its benefits. Although our bodies need only a small amount of selenium to receive the protection and health support it offers, we must make it a point to ingest it through food or supplements.

Selenium studies have shown that it protects against stomach, breast, esophageal, prostate, liver, and bladder cancers. It also supports the body undergoing radiation– especially the kidneys, which can otherwise be ravaged by such treatment.

Selenium-deficient patients are known to experience mutations of the influenza virus, often resulting in severe lung damage and a worsened case of the flu. Conversely, adequate selenium in the diet protects against the dreaded “cytokine storm” many researchers think is responsible for the severe respiratory tract damage and many of the deaths in the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Avian and SARS flus, and the current H1N1 Swine Flu.

In addition, selenium plays a key role in the body’s critical conversion of the thyroid hormone T4–the “storage” hormone–into T3, the “usable” form we need for energy and proper metabolism.

Selenium Abounds–If You Can Find It

Selenium is plentiful in the soil in many parts of the world although some areas are more notably deficient. The best source of selenium is always food raised in selenium-rich soil. In the US, for instance, farmlands in the Dakotas and Nebraska abound with selenium and folks there who eat a lot of locally grown foods probably don’t need to take selenium supplements. On the other hand, certain areas of China are known to be particularly selenium-deficient and it is no coincidence that some of the worst flu viruses have come from these parts of China.

The accompanying sidebar lists a number of selenium-rich foods to help guide your selections. However, the levels of selenium are not “guaranteed.” The presence of selenium is always dependent on the soil in which the product is grown or, in the case of animal products, the soil that grew the grass the livestock ate. As a result, the chart shows averages. As far as I can determine, no one has yet compiled selenium charts based on geographical regions that food comes from.

How Much is Enough?

The National Library of Medicine states, “No pregnancy category has been established for supplemental selenium intake although it is generally believed to be safe during pregnancy when consumed in amounts normally found in foods.” It also notes that selenium passes through breast milk to a nursing infant.

The FDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance for selenium is 55mcg. This suggestion is based on studies done in China during the 1970’s concluding that individuals that took in 800 mcg daily were not receiving too much. To be conservative, the FDA then halved the maximum safe recommended amount to 400 mcg daily, in order to allow a “safety net” to make sure people don’t get too much. As with many other nutrients, excessive intake can be harmful.

Another factor to consider when evaluating selenium intake for your family is that food-based selenium is always more usable to the body and is retained better. Also, different forms of supplemental selenium offer varying levels of usability. The form Beeyoutiful sells9, seleonomethionine, is highly usable by the body. In fact, studies show that it transfers more readily to breast milk, probably because the body is able to absorb it more easily than other forms.

The National Library of Medicine suggests that 50 to 75 mcg of selenium should be “adequate” for adults and lactating mothers. This is certainly a conservative number, and it is sometimes helpful to remember that when the FDA uses the term “adequate,” it is referring to the smallest amount needed to avoid specific symptoms of deficiency. It is not a suggestion of an optimal dose for health. Most researchers suggest a supplement between 150 to 250 mcg daily for adults. Children require less.

As the selenium chart suggests, Brazil nuts offer one of the highest concentrations of selenium. So for my children (who are too young to swallow supplements) I give them one Brazil nut each day as a “treat.” Of course, I never remember every day, so I determine how many nuts to hand out based on how often I’ve remembered that particular week. Toxicity from selenium is unlikely from getting a little too much on any given day. Rather, it is from the result of continuously and exclusively eating foods that come from a selenium-rich environment or by supplementing too aggressively.

So even though you don’t need a lot, many rewards of good health can be traced to this little mineral.

jess b

Jessica is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and the owner of Simple Steps Nutrition where she works with clients both in the US and internationally to create customized nutritional protocols to support their health, using nutrition, diet, and lifestyle modifications to support healing and function in the body. 

Her own health challenges started in her early 20’s after the birth of her first child and forced her to become educated about what her body needed to heal. She believes that through healing and supporting the underlying cause you can actually regain health – not just treat symptoms. 

Jessica specializes in restoring energy, resolving fatigue issues, hormonal balancing, digestive issues, and adrenal healing. Jessica offers a complimentary 15 minute consultation for anyone who would like to find out more. Visit www.simplestepsnutrition.com for information.

My Cup of Tea 01- Fall 2009 Catalog

My Cup of Tea

By Sharon Tallent

tea time

My love affair with tea began 35 years ago when I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. This life-changing news required sweeping changes in my diet. I wept. I mourned. I love sweets! One of the most tragic losses was sweet drinks–no more lemonade, no more fruit drinks, no more sodas. Back then, there were few artificial sweeteners and the ones I tried didn’t taste the same as sugar (some were downright terrible!) and weren’t good for me. My solace became drinking tea. I drank lots of it then and I still do.

On cold days, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as sitting down with a cup of hot tea to feel warmed and comfortable. On hot days, a large glass of iced tea hits the spot! What makes tea-drinking even better nowadays is that, through the years, more and more teas have become readily available. Thirty-five years ago, pretty much the only teas you could buy were black or orange pekoe tea (like Lipton’s) and Chinese Black Tea in specialty stores. Now the selections seem endless! There are herbal teas and tea blends that:

  • Aid in digestion, constipation, detoxing, and cleansing;
  • Help with PMS, pregnancy, and nursing;
  • Relieve the symptoms of colds, flu, bronchitis, and allergies;
  • Relax the body and help us go to sleep;
  • Refresh and provide energy.

Of all the herbal teas I’ve tried, there are very few I don’t like. I marvel at people who research herbs, buy them in bulk, and come up with their own blends. I’ve done that, but mostly I’m happy to leave that work to others and stick to prepackaged bags. Traditional Medicinals is my favorite. They’ve already done the research on which herbal blends really work well, combined the herbs, and then packaged them in serving sizes! Because of their dedication to providing the highest quality organic teas, Traditional Medicinal is a brand I’ve trusted through the years.

gypsy cold careGypsy Cold Care

During the cold and flu season, I rely heavily on several teas from Traditional Medicinals. Gypsy Cold Care may be my favorite herbal tea (even though it’s hard to pick just one). Everyone in our family welcomed a warm cup of Gypsy Cold Care when they were down with a cold or the flu. Even when they didn’t feel like eating or drinking anything, the patient would drink this minty-sweet tea. The healing magic is in the ingredients:

Elder Flower has an anti-mucous effect and it, along with the Yarrow Flower, can lower a fever. Hyssop is a decongestant and expectorant to clear nasal and bronchial passages. Peppermint and ginger can ease nausea, vomiting and digestive upset. Peppermint can help clear congestion and cough. Cinnamon has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties. Plus, it helps reduce inflammation. Licorice Root soothes a sore throat and is effective against certain viruses, bronchitis, and stomach ulcers. Rose Hip (high in vita-min C) and safflower boost the immune system.

Organic Throat Coatthroat coat

To especially target a sore throat, I recommend Organic Throat Coat. Unlike other throat-soothing teas I’ve tried, its clinical tests show Organic Throat Coat is truly effective in treating and relieving sore throat pain. And I know from personal experience that it does! It is soothing and good tasting–even without adding sweeteners. However, since the medicinal benefits of honey are well-known, sometimes I add a bit to this and other teas when serving to the rest of my family. Like Gypsy Cold Care, this tea blend includes cinnamon and Licorice Root. Other featured ingredients are:

Marshmallow Root has anti-bacterial and expectorant qualities and also soothes and softens dry, irritated mucous membranes, making it effective in relieving dry coughs and sore throats. Slippery Elm Bark is very soothing and healing to the mucous membranes of the mouth, stomach, and intestines, helping relieve coughs and bronchitis. Wild Cherry Bark relieves dry, nonproductive coughs and asthma-like symptoms. Fennel fights excessive build-up of mucous in the nose and throat. Sweet Orange Peel is an anti-oxidant and aids digestion – plus, it adds a nice flavor to the tea.

Breathe Easy

Breathe Easybreath easy is amazing for allergies, stuffy heads, and chest congestion. During certain times of the year, especially when the pollen or smog count is high, I am miserable, even to the point of not being able to sleep. One cup of this wonderful tea, though, and I can get on with my day–or drop off to sleep. Breathe Easy actually works better and faster for me than the inhaler prescribed for me for my asthma! This slightly sweet tea contains: fennel, licorice, peppermint, and ginger. Plus, it has Eucalyptus Leaf which helps loosen phlegm, open up nasal passages, and reduce fever and inflammation. It also acts as an expectorant. Eucalyptus is anti-bacterial and has antiseptic qualities. Bi Yan Pian is all-natural herbal formulation in Breathe Easy which relieves congestion in the lungs and nasal passages and reduces inflammation. Calendula acts as an inflammatory and an anti-microbial. Pleurisy Root reduces inflammation in the respiratory system, acts as an expectorant, and it is an anti-spasmodic.

Organic Echinacea Elder

Finally, there’s Organic Echinacea Elder, also for relief of colds and flu. Besides Echinacea, which activates and stimulates immune echinaceacells, relieves pain, reduces inflammation and has anti-viral and anti-oxidant effects, this tea contains Spearmint and Lemon Grass, giving it a fresh mint flavor with a hint of citrus.

Spearmint has similar qualities to peppermint but has a milder taste. An anti-spasmodic, it is often more useful than peppermint as a treatment for indigestion, coughs, and hiccups in children. Lemon Grass is effective against bacteria and viruses, is an anti-spasmodic, helps reduce fevers, and much more. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study, Echinacea Plus was effective in reducing symptoms as well as shortening their duration. I like to add sweetener to this tea–usually the liquid Stevia that Beeyoutiful sells (although lately, I’ve started adding a bag of Beeyoutiful’s Organic Licorice Root to most teas that I drink, just because it is so soothing and adds extra smoothness and natural sweetness).

Being sick with a cold or sore throat is no fun. At those times, perhaps you, like I, can’t stand the thought of food, soup, cough medicine, or anything like that. That’s when you might want to welcome a cup of warm tea. Sometimes I put two or more of the Traditional Medicinals teas in a large container of boiling water to get the full range of benefits offered by each. It works great!SharonTallentBio

Sharon Tallent is the mother of 3 wonderful adult sons and the grandmother of 3 adorable grandchildren. Through the years, she has spent countless hours researching and trying even more natural and healthy ways to take care of her own health and that of her family. She also enjoys scrapbooking, drawing, traveling, and spending time with her loved ones.

A Smooth Tansition to Eating More Greens- Winter 2008-2009 Catalog

by Nancy Websternancy_small

Do you know people who think eating the limp piece of iceberg lettuce on their hamburger means they’ve eaten their veggies for the day? Folks sometimes get strange ideas about what constitutes healthy eating. I once knew a family that considered macaroni salad as their vegetable course. While you know the importance of eating vegetables, it can be a challenge to get them into picky kids-and adults. My sister-in-law found a creative way to bring green food in under the family radar. She blended zucchini into the spaghetti sauce they all loved and she was pleased that she could sneak something green into her particularly choosy son’s diet. It was a great idea-a first step in the right direction I would strongly encourage-but there’s a tasty blend of other possibilities that can transform your nutritional health.

Freeing the Green Goodies

The simple and delicious answer to getting more healthful greens into your family’s diet is smoothies. Yes, green smoothies. Too often, people throw out greens such as carrot tops, wrongly thinking they’re just for rabbits, but Victoria Boutenko in her wonderful book Green for Life explains the amazing health offered when you turn them into smoothies (see sidebar on pg. 5). But why blend them? Why not just eat them, rather than hauling out the blender? It’s because green foods have strong cell walls that hold in their valuable nutrients.

Although the walls can be broken down by cooking, heat kills the living, beneficial enzymes, and many vitamins and minerals are lost in the cooking water (that’s why you should always consume the water after cooking vegetables and greens, either as a drink or disguised in soup). You can also eat greens raw, but no matter how long and hard you chew, you won’t break them down into the 1-2 mm sized particles required to rupture all the cell walls. Blending releases all the stored nutrients without destroying any of the health-giving benefits.

The Greatness of Greens

Greens provide a two-fold magic not found in other vegetables: Greens assist the digestion of all our food, and they contain life-giving chlorophyll. In fact, greens are the only food group that helps digest other foods because they stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes.

We’re all born with a limited supply of digestive enzymes because the plan was that we’d regularly consume greens to re-supply them. Instead, we’ve generally abused our gastrointestinal tracts with processed foods, chemicals, and stress. Our birth supply of enzymes is exhausted, so replenishing with greens is desperately needed.

Hydrochloric acid (HCl), a substance our stomachs secrete to help digest food, naturally starts to diminish as we near age 40.  Without HCl, stomachs are unable to break down and assimilate nutrients. You may have noticed that even folks with fairly good health habits develop gray hair as they reach middle age. This is because of nutritional deficiencies caused by reduced levels of stomach acid needed to release the nutrients in food. By blending nutrient rich greens, food is “pre-digested,” leaving less work for the stomach. Advocates of regular greens-blending report that some people have regained color in their white hair!

The other special property of greens is that they harness the sun’s healing energy in chlorophyll, a substance muscularly similar to human blood. By carrying oxygen throughout cells, it shuts down cancer cells, fungus, and pathogenic, “bad” bacteria since these enemies are anaerobic-meaning that they thrive in the absence of oxygen. Boutenko reports, “Abundant scientific research shows that there are hardly any illnesses that could not be helped by chlorophyll.” (And to be sure you get the most from your greens, also consume healthy fats as found in avocados, nuts, seeds and their oils, coconut oil, butter, and other animal fats. As Weston Price taught, your body needs fats to help it use minerals from the foods you eat.)

Some Juicy Tidbits

But what about juicing greens? Isn’t that just as good?  While juicing is very beneficial for cleansing the body of sickness and toxic metals, for a busy family it has two downsides:

— Cost:  It takes a LOT of produce to make a little juice.

— Time:  Juicing is not a quick event, especially if you want to provide its health benefits for every member of a larger family.

Perhaps even more significant, though, when you blend the greens in a high-speed blender (Vita-Mix® or K-tec brands are highly recommended, but any durable blender will be better than none), you also give your body beneficial fiber to cleanse the walls of your intestines and to facilitate regular elimination of toxic waste.

If you can manage to buy organic greens, you’ll get more blend for your buck. Organic produce is grown in soil amended only by composted animal manures and naturally occurring rock minerals, so the roots soak up a full spectrum of essential micro-nutrients not available in synthetically fertilized, non-organic produce. Also, organic fruits, vegetables, and greens are not treated with toxic herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides which your body stores in fat cells-making more if necessary-in an effort to protect your vital organs from the toxins.

Although buying everything organic at the store is cost-prohibitive for our large family, we found a local food co-op through which to order organic produce in bulk, making it equal to the cost of regular produce from the grocery store. To find a similar resource near you, ask your local health food store or Weston Price Foundation chapter leader about the availability of co-ops (see www.westonaprice.org for chapter listings).

Another source for organic foods is local farmers who participate in community supported agriculture (CSA). As a CSA participant, you reserve a weekly box of organic, seasonal veggies and greens. The produce is fresh-picked rather than shipped a thousand or more miles, and you support local agriculture in the process-all for less cost to you than the grocery store.

Then, too, you can grow your own greens, either in a garden or by sprouting them in your house. Keep in mind that herbs are greens and are easy to grow indoors year round. Try to use open-pollinated, heirloom seeds rather than those that have been genetically modified.

The ultimate organic source is wildcrafting, the art of finding edible plants growing naturally since nature’s offerings are the most nutritious of all. If your lawn isn’t chemically treated, you’ll probably find an abundant source of plantain and dandelion greens out your front door, particularly in the springtime. Did you know, for instance, that a half cup of wild violet leaves contains the same amount of vitamin C as found in four oranges? It’s important to learn wildcrafting before you try it, though, to make sure you can accurately identify the plants before eating them (Google “wildcrafting” and browse the many online guides and book recommendations).

Green Gobblin’

To get your green smoothie life started, pull out the blender and try one of these:

Raw Family Wild Banango
Blend well:
2 Cups lambsquarters (plantain, chickweed or other weed)
1 Banana
1 Mango
2 Cups water
Yield: 1 quart of smoothie

Victoria‘s Favorite
Blend well:
6 Leaves of red leaf lettuce
Bunch of fresh basil
Lime (juiced)
Red onion
2 Celery sticks
Avocado
2 Cups water
Yield: 1 quart of smoothie

These are only two of the more than 20 delicious recipes in Victoria Boutenko’s book (available from www.rawfamily.com). Once you get going, you’ll also want to create your own. Vary them from day to day so you get the most well-rounded nutrition and keep your taste buds entertained. With yummy green smoothies, even the pickiest eaters will enjoy this change for the better.

Xylitol- Summer 2007 Catalog

by Nancy Brillaut

From the time we are young children, we are taught to brush our teeth, planting the seeds for good dental hygiene. Good brushing and flossing and restricted sugar consumption can reduce the occurrence of cavities, yet they still remain common. A National Institute of Health survey shows nearly 20% of children, ages 2-4, have already experienced cavities; more than 67% of adults aged 35-44 have lost at least one permanent tooth due to dental cavities, and 25% of people 65-74 have lost all of their natural teeth! Here’s what is going on.smiles1

Tooth decay is a bacterial disease. The bacterium, streptococcus mutans (S. mutans), is one of many millions of bacteria living in our mouths. Most of these bacteria are harmless, some even beneficial. However, S. mutans is the culprit causing tooth decay by feeding on sugars in our mouth. Simple carbohydrates are fermented by S. mutans into lactic acid. Lactic acid increases acidity in the mouth, initiating the process of dissolving tooth enamel, also referred to as de-mineralization. This is a simplistic explanation of tooth decay; however, this article is not meant to be a chemistry lesson, but rather an introduction to a wonderful sugar substitute called Xylitol.

What is Xylitol you ask? Xylitol is a natural sugar, sometimes called wood sugar or birch sugar. It can be extracted from birch wood, raspberries, plums and other fruits, corn, seed hulls, and nutshells. Xylitol is a 5-carbon structure and, unlike the 6-carbon structure of sucrose, is not a substance on which bacteria can grow. In fact, Xylitol may inhibit S. mutans and other bacterial enzymes and actually interfere with the metabolism of other sugars found in the mouth.

So, what does all this chemistry babble mean to us in terms of our dental hygiene and general health? Xylitol is actually a “tooth-friendly” sugar substitute. Xylitol not only discourages tooth decay, but may actively help repair small cavities. Recent research suggests Xylitol attracts and then starves harmful bacteria, allowing remineralization of damaged teeth. Xylitol is not a sugar, so there is no sugar rush, or crash. Twenty-five years of scientific research, mostly on children, has shown that regular use of Xylitol over a period of time reduces the incidence of cavities. There are many studies, the majority conducted in “developing” countries like Belize, Hungary, and Costa Rica, where routine dental care is limited at best, and the results are consistent; the incidence of dental cavities is reduced by large percentages, in some cases as much as 75%. Most research tested gums and candies (mints) containing Xylitol, since the delivery systems that produced the best anti-cavity results were those permitting direct contact with the teeth for the longest time.

Xylitol is also available in toothpastes, mouthwashes, chewable supplements and breath sprays. How much should we use? Studies show using 4-12 grams per day is most effective. If a piece of gum contains 1 gram, chew a minimum of four pieces per day. Given the safety of this product, this is one case where “more is better.” Remarkably, it appears that regular use of Xylitol for a period of time (2 years in the study of children in Belize), provides lasting protection against cavities. These children were examined five years later and the Xylitol group had an average of only 1.5 new cavities, compared to 4 new cavities in the control group.

Another study indicated that regular intake of Xylitol by mom while baby is in the womb, provides lifelong protection for baby. New clinical evidence appears regularly about this safe sugar substitute. Other benefits include prevention of childhood ear infections, lower risk of Type II Diabetes due to the slower absorption of this sugar into the blood, and reduction of subsequent insulin response. A Finnish study has shown improved bone density.

Apparently Xylitol is here to stay. Children who begin chewing Xylitol gum about a year before their permanent teeth erupt may avoid a lifetime of painful visits to the dentist. In fact, one dentist was reported as saying that regular use of Xylitol in the American diet, could put dentists out of business. Time to change our diets people!

Nancy Brillault is a clinically certified herbalist, certified aromatherapist and practicing wellness consultant in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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