Healthy, Natural Living

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What in the World is Tallow?

Beef Tallow is something most people have never heard of. I know I hadn’t heard of it until I was well into my quest for nutrition. Step by step, day by day, as I changed the contents of my refrigerator and cabinets, I also change my appreciation for the gifts God had given us. My husband’s grandmother was aiding in this new appreciation. She would often remind me of what Jesus said:

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” John 6:12

When we started raising our own beef I didn’t get all the “stuff” back from the processor the first time. By the time we sent our second one off, I had learned how easy it was to make tallow, and now, I get that nice piece of suet that the cow grew beautifully for our family; along with all the other cuts. I then render the suet down and make tallow.

Now, I have tallow, what am I going to do with it? I cook with it! It is a great frying oil for chicken and potatoes. On the occasion, I make a pie crust, I will use it in that, too.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine was having some skin challenges that she discovered the benefits of tallow balm. She had amazing results with the balm she had purchased from the internet. She simply said to me one day, “you need to learn how to make this stuff! It is amazing!” The website she was getting it from is a great resource, they share how they make it! Check them out.
At this same time, I had been reading how beneficial tallow balm is for eczema. My nephew has severe eczema and if I can do anything to help his mom help him, I’m in! This could be my nephews legs. I then remembered that grandma always had a jar of tallow sitting next to her chair and when she would apply it she would say, “this is the good stuff, Di.” Of course, this was when I still bought all the name brand, trendy, modern stuff. So, it went right over my head.

Off to my kitchen science lab I went. It took me a few tries to fine tune the recipe. My sister-in-love fell in love with the results from the balm after my first batch, my nephew’s body was getting relief. But, there were some things that I wasn’t happy with so, I made some adjustments. I am now happy with the texture, consistency, aromas, and the spreadability of the balm.
Now, I want to help you understand the benefits of using nourishing tallow balm as our ancestors did before modern science took over the industry.

The most informative article I found was this article “Traditional Nourishing and Healing Skin Care” by Andrew J. Gardner where he shares the traditional use of tallow in skin care for both slight and serious conditions.

Common Sense Principles of Skin Care
We know that the skin is the largest organ of the body and readily absorbs much of what is applied to it, good and bad. That is why so many drugs can be administered through the use of transdermal patches. Therefore, it is an excellent principle and wise precaution not to apply substances to our skin that we would not readily take internally or, in a word, eat. It would be ideal if what we used on our skin were edible, and yet more, a whole food, in which case it would also have the potential of actually nourishing the skin and helping it to heal itself.
Another sound principle of health is to give the body what it needs to maintain and heal itself, since only the body itself can do that job. The modern mentality often seeks to improve on nature or even to supplant nature, which is impossible to do as well as presumptuous and foolhardy to attempt. In the case of skin care, this mentality seeks to manipulate the chemistry of the skin to produce relief or enhancement. It seems logical that such an approach would likely only produce short-term results, if any, and, what is worse, could result in toxicity with possible long-term negative effects on the skin and on the health of the whole body. Therefore, it is no wonder that modern skin care products have to be re-applied, possibly more and more frequently, to maintain their effect, and we can never know all the other harmful effects that their unnatural ingredients may be having on our health.
Indeed, tallow from cows that are only fed grass has a better mineral and micronutrient profile, including higher levels of vitamins. For example, one study found that grass-fed cows have four times the vitamin E of grain-fed cows. Products from grass-fed animals were also found to have three to five times more CLA that those fed a ‘conventional’ diet.

Tallow balm can be used for all manner of skin conditions, including dry, chapped, calloused, cracked and sun-damaged skin, rashes, burning, itching, wrinkles, and so on, because it gives the skin the nutrients it needs to heal itself. It can even be used as a soothing aftershave. One mother applied it all over her baby’s body for eczema, which had been present for a couple months, and it disappeared. Another mother applied it on her baby for a terrible case of diaper rash that did not respond to other “natural” products, and it was gone after three applications. In addition, a man who had had a split lip for over a year and who had already ‘tried everything,’ including ‘natural oils and shea butter,’ had his lip heal in two weeks using tallow balm, and ‘it’s been healed ever since.’ Finally, numerous others have had success using it for calluses, dry and cracked skin, and sunburns, and for moisturizing, smoothing and softening their skin.

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Data from: Smith, G.C. “Dietary supplementation of vitamin E to cattle to improve shelf life and case life of beef for domestic and international markets.” Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1171

What makes tallow so wonderful for skin care applications?
Tallow fat is 50 to 55 percent saturated, just like our cell membranes, making it helpful for skin health and compatible with our biology.
Tallow is similar to our “sebum” the oily, waxy matter that lubricates and waterproofs our skin.
The following are specifically from grass fed cows:
Tallow contains the abundant fat-soluble activators; vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are necessary for skin health.
Tallow contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Tallow contains palmitoleic acid, which has natural anti-microbial properties.

Vitamins A, D, E, and K, along with essential fatty acids make tallow great for skin health. These nutrients are also great for hormone and immune health as well, because they are absorbed into the body. This is a plus considering many people with thyroid and autoimmune issues have absorption and conversion issues. By rubbing them into your skin, you bypass possible gut malabsorption.

This is how people cared for their skin before chemicals. This is the whole food of skin care. Don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t put in your body! A little goes a long way, so a jar lasts an incredibly long time.

Mildly Scented was created with my nephew in mind. This blend contains specific essential oils that many have seen great relief from eczema symptoms. Of course, this is not FDA approved!

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Visit ~My Comfy Cabinet~ for ordering details.

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Who Really Contracts Severe Measles & Who Dies?

When I came upon this article from the World Heath Organization (WHO) I was not surprised how it was written and laid out. As usual it appears very scary. I guess I don’t scare easily and I read through that because, the truth is in here if you can find it.

I enjoyed dissecting the article about antiperspirant so, I am going to do that again. Here is my interpretation:

The very first thing we see is the “scary” numbers in the “key facts.”

Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
Only in poor, developing countries we will read that farther into this article.

In 2012, there were 122 000 measles deaths globally – about 330 deaths every day or 14 deaths every hour.
Where? Who? It is the same people that are severely effected by Malaria. In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627 000 deaths mostly among African children. Where a child dies every minute from malaria.
Why are we not worried about malaria? Did you get a malaria vaccine?

Measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2012 worldwide.
Tuberculosis & Scarlet Fever are recorded having the same decline here in the United States and in developing countries without a vaccine.

In 2012, about 84%* of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.
*We will need this reference later in the article.

Since 2000, more than 1 billion children in high risk countries were vaccinated against the disease through mass vaccination campaigns ― about 145 million of them in 2012.
————————————————————————————————————–

Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an *estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.
According to the CDC, “Measles vaccine was licensed in the United States in 1963. During 1958-1962, an average of 503,282 measles cases and 432 measles-associated deaths were reported each year.”

It remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Approximately 122 000 people died from measles in 2012 – mostly children under the age of five.
Effective? Overall, U.S. vaccination coverage is at record high levels. As we continue to read we will read this: “was vaccinated but did not develop immunity+
I think the quote from the key facts applies here “cost-effective”

Measles is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family. The measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. Measles is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.

Accelerated immunization activities have had a major impact on reducing measles deaths. Since 2000, more than one billion children in high risk countries were vaccinated against the disease through mass vaccination campaigns ― about 145 million of them in 2012. Global measles deaths have decreased by 78% from an estimated 562 400 to 122 000.
*How did it decline from the estimated 2.6 million deaths each year before widespread vaccines to 562,400?

Signs and symptoms
The first sign of measles is usually a high fever, which begins about 10 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for 5 to 6 days, and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days).
(The fever has an important role in both viral and bacterial infections. Read my blog “Hot & Bothered”)

*Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.
I found this very interesting because, the number one vitamin that the medical community warns against is vitamin A!

Most measles-related deaths are caused by complications associated with the disease. Complications are more common in children under the age of five, or adults over the age of 20. The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an *infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia. As high as 10% of measles cases result in death among populations with high levels of malnutrition and a lack of adequate health care. Women infected while pregnant are also at risk of severe complications and the pregnancy may end in miscarriage or preterm delivery. People who recover from measles are immune for the rest of their lives.
(*Don’t break the fever and the infection will not take over the body.)

Who is at risk?
Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death. Unvaccinated pregnant women are also at risk. Any non-immune person (who has not been vaccinated or was vaccinated but did not develop immunity) can become infected.
“Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk?” But it has already said, “*Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.”

Measles is still common in many developing countries – particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. More than 20 million people are affected by measles each year. The overwhelming majority (more than 95%) of measles deaths occur in countries with low per capita incomes and weak health infrastructures.
Still common? But as of 2012, about 84%* of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 72% in 2000.
I am sadden by the death of so many, please don’t mistake my point or take it out of context. But these death are not occurring in the modern world and the vaccine is not the reason why! Instead of vaccinating them how about we nourish them and teach them proper hygiene?
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted, according to an FAO-commissioned study.
Kudos, to this France grocer who figured out a way to sell ugly fruit and vegetables at a reduced cost.

Measles outbreaks can be particularly deadly in countries experiencing or recovering from a natural disaster or conflict. Damage to health infrastructure and health services *interrupts routine immunization, and overcrowding in residential camps greatly increases the risk of infection.
*So, vaccinations are routinely happening most of the time.

Transmission
The highly contagious virus is spread by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact or direct contact with infected nasal or throat secretions.

The virus remains active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours. It can be transmitted by an infected person from four days prior to the onset of the rash to four days after the rash erupts.

Measles outbreaks can result in epidemics that cause many deaths, especially among young, malnourished children. In countries where measles has been largely eliminated, cases imported from other countries remain an important source of infection.

Treatment
No specific antiviral treatment exists for measles virus.

Severe complications from measles can be avoided though supportive care that ensures good nutrition, adequate fluid intake and treatment of dehydration with WHO-recommended oral rehydration solution. This solution replaces fluids and other essential elements that are lost through *diarrhoea or vomiting. Antibiotics should be prescribed to treat eye and ear infections, and pneumonia.
*Diarrhea and vomiting cause dehydration which, becomes the greatest complication of measles. Yes, there are antibiotics available to kill infection, if needed.

All children in developing countries diagnosed with measles should receive two doses of vitamin A supplements, given 24 hours apart. This treatment restores low vitamin A levels during measles that occur even in well-nourished children and can help prevent eye damage and blindness. Vitamin A supplements have been shown to reduce the number of deaths from measles by 50%.
Vitamin A treatment=Nourishment! Nourishing young children is key to fighting all disease.

From the MMR package insert:
I encourage you to read through the Adverse Reaction section. Of course, they state these reactions are rare and a coincidence when caused by vaccination, but is declared a public health emergency when caused by a disease.
Here are just a couple statements I pulled from the insert.
As for any vaccine, vaccination with M-M-R II may not result in protection in 100% of vaccinees.
M-M-R II has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or potential to impair fertility.
It is not known whether measles or mumps vaccine virus is secreted in human milk. Recent studies have shown that lactating postpartum women immunized with live attenuated rubella vaccine may secrete the virus in breast milk and transmit it to breast-fed infants.
If you are wondering about the effects from the vaccine read this blog they took the time to search VAERS and reported the total and shared a few stories.

I have shared this image before, but it is appropriate here, too.
My Grandfather with my Dad, and two Aunts. The children are five, three, and one. They all have measels.

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Why I Switched to Homemade Deodorant from Antiperspirant

Antiperspirants are products that try to prevent sweating by using aluminum. However, most antiperspirants also have a deodorizing component, fragrance; another questionable. I’ll touch on both in this blog.
It might be a surprise to learn that the antiperspirant you use daily is in fact a drug.
The following, is excepts copied from www.medicinenet.com I am going to point out a few things that catch my eye and give you my interpretation of this article.

The agency (FDA) defines antiperspirant as a drug product applied topically that reduces the production of sweat (perspiration) at the site where it is applied. Antiperspirants, according to the Food and Drug Administration, can safely and effectively reduce sweat for up to 24 hours, *if formulated and tested properly. And for most, this means protection against both wetness and odor.
*(Notice that small but powerful word…IF.)
The FDA issued a final rule in June 2003 establishing conditions under which over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirants are *generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE), and are not misbranded. The final rule establishes allowable ingredients and labeling for the products.
*(Generally: in disregard of specific instances and with regard to an overall picture. Merriam-Webster)

In October 2004, the agency reopened the record on this final rule to consider one manufacturer’s request to double the length of time–from 24 hours to 48 hours–during which an OTC antiperspirant is considered to be effective. The request in this case, called an enhanced duration claim, applies to the testing and labeling of this particular claim.
Matthew R. Holman, Ph.D., an FDA scientist in the Division of Over-the-Counter Drug Products, says that *the agency needs scientific evidence that extended duration products work. “Manufacturers have to back up such claims with studies,” he says. The FDA must be satisfied that the testing is valid for 48 hours.
*(They need scientific evidence that the EXTENDED DURATION works. Not that this new formulation is safe! If the standards of the OTC monograph are met, premarket approval of a potentially new OTC product is NOT necessary.)

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA legally defines products by their intended uses. Therefore, drugs are defined as products intended for treating or preventing disease or for affecting the structure or any function of the body. Antiperspirants are considered drugs because they affect the function of the body by *reducing the amount of sweat that reaches the skin.
*(Sweating is an important function of the body. Sweating is the release of liquid from the body’s sweat glands. This liquid contains salt. This process is also called perspiration. Sweating helps your body stay cool. Sweat is commonly found under the arms, on the feet, and on the palms of the hands. Sweating is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that is not under your control. Sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating temperature.)

People tend to interchange the words “antiperspirant” and “deodorant,” but as regulated by the FDA, they are not the same. Antiperspirants have an *aluminum-based compound as their main, “active” ingredient, which can be any number of compounds within an established concentration and dosage form. The active ingredient gives antiperspirants their sweat-blocking ability by forming a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface.
The aluminum-based compound is always the first ingredient listed on the back of an antiperspirant container. A few common active ingredients are aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum zirconium. An “inactive” is any ingredient besides the active ingredient. Some of the inactive ingredients in an antiperspirant include talc, fragrance, and butane, used as an aerosol propellant.
*(Why am I highlighting aluminum? Research, including one study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, has shown that the aluminum is not only absorbed by your body, but is deposited in your breast tissue and even can be found in nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) a fluid present in the breast duct tree. The authors of this study say, “The reasons for the high levels of aluminium in NAF remain unknown but possibilities include either exposure to aluminium-based antiperspirant salts in the adjacent underarm area and/or preferential accumulation of aluminium by breast tissues.)
This study states: “Systemic Al bioavailability after single underarm antiperspirant application may be up to 0.012%. All intramuscularly injected Al, e.g. *from vaccines, may eventually be absorbed. Al distributes unequally to all tissues.” This may not sound like much until you multiply it by one or more times a day for a lifetime, which adds up to massive exposure to aluminum — a poison that is not supposed to be in your body.
*Wait! What did that say? “from vaccines, may eventually be absorbed…” They don’t know!? Another topic, Diana, stay focused.

The monograph states:

…several citizen petitions have raised concerns about the amount of aluminum absorbed from topical antiperspirant drug products. The agency has no data showing that products containing up to 35 percent aluminum chlorhydrates or aluminum zirconium chlorhydrates increase aluminum absorption and is not revising the monograph to provide for powder roll-on dosage forms containing up to 35 percent antiperspirant active ingredient, without additional safety data being provided.

Notice the agency says, it “has no data showing” the “increase of aluminum absorption” it does not state that there is data proving NO absorption of the aluminum.

But different laws and regulations apply to each type of product. Some products, for example, must comply with the requirements for both drugs and cosmetics. This happens when a product has two intended uses, for example, when an antiperspirant is also a deodorant. Cosmetics are defined as substances that cleanse, beautify, promote attractiveness, or alter the appearance, without affecting the body’s structure or function. Deodorants are regulated as cosmetics because they promote attractiveness only by masking odor, not by reducing sweat.
Unlike drugs, neither cosmetic products nor cosmetic ingredients are reviewed or approved by the FDA before they are marketed. But the agency *urges manufacturers to do any necessary testing to prove that their products are safe. And cosmetic makers must put a warning statement on the front labels of those products that have not been safely tested. The agency *can take action against cosmetic products found to cause harm after they are on the market.
*(Urges: : to ask people to do or support (something) in a way that shows that you believe it is very important. Merriam-Webster
*”Can take action” not WILL take action!
Deodorant’s key ingredient is fragrance. What is Fragrance?
The term “fragrance,” under US law, actually means a combination of chemicals that gives a perfume or cologne its distinct scent. These ingredients may be derived from petroleum or natural raw materials, or they may be produced synthetically. Perfume manufacturers typically purchase fragrance mixtures from companies that specialize in developing fragrances (known as fragrance houses) and then combine them to create a unique scent.
It is this chemical combination that is typically kept protected as a “trade secret,” while other chemicals in the products (solvents, stabilizers, preservatives, dyes, and UV absorbers) may be listed on the label. So what is a typical fragrance actually made of? Some common offenders include:
Parabens: Synthetic preservatives known to interfere with hormone production and release.
Phthalates: Another synthetic preservative that’s carcinogenic and linked to reproductive effects (decreased sperm counts, early breast development, birth defects) and liver and kidney damage.
Synthetic musks: These are linked to hormone disruption and are thought to persist and accumulate in breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood, and the environment. Resource)

Like prescription drugs, the FDA oversees OTC drugs to ensure that they are properly labeled and that their benefits outweigh their risks. OTC drugs account for more than 100,000 products on the market that involve about 800 active ingredients. The FDA classifies these nonprescription drugs by treatment category, such as laxatives, antacids, and antiperspirants, and evaluates their ingredients. So, rather than review thousands of individual antiperspirant products, the FDA evaluates the far fewer active ingredients found in them.
*Most OTC drugs are subject to rules called monographs, which state requirements for categories of nonprescription drugs, such as what ingredients may be used and for what intended use. If the standards of the OTC monograph are met, premarket approval of a potentially new OTC product is not necessary.
*(Most? How many are not? hmmm???)
The *FDA is mainly concerned about claims being made for a product, Holman says. For example, in the familiar slogan, “strong enough for a man but made for a woman,” the company had to prove that the product was tested in both men and women because there are physiological differences between them. Similarly, testing must confirm marketing statements such as “so effective you could skip a day.”
*(I think that safety should be their main concern!)

The final section from the article:
The Cancer Myth
The rise of the *Internet has made it easy for false health claims, scary stories, and rumors to reach millions of people in a matter of minutes. One such myth says that antiperspirants may cause breast cancer.
*(The internet has provided a way for people to investigate things themselves. But of course “they” are the only ones smart enough!)

But the *NCI says that no existing scientific or medical evidence links the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants to the subsequent development of breast cancer. The FDA, the Mayo Clinic, the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association agree. Razor nicks may increase the risk of skin infection, but not cancer.
*(Good thing FDA agrees instead of looking into it themselves!

Because of the Internet we can see what the NCI says about antiperpirants.
Can antiperspirants or deodorants cause breast cancer?
However, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health, are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food, cosmetics, medicines, and medical devices, also does not have any evidence or research data that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer.
*(So, who is looking into it? Appears there is some finger pointing going on here)
What do scientists know about the ingredients in antiperspirants and deodorants?
More research is needed to specifically examine whether the use of deodorants or antiperspirants can cause the buildup of parabens and aluminum-based compounds in breast tissue. Additional research is also necessary to determine whether these chemicals can either alter the DNA in some cells or cause other breast cell changes that may lead to the development of breast cancer.
*(But WAIT…you just said, “It’s a Myth and The FDA, the Mayo Clinic, the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association agree. Razor nicks may increase the risk of skin infection, but not cancer.” Shouldn’t we do the research you’re saying you NEED?)
What have scientists learned about the relationship between antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer?
Because studies of antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results, additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved.
*(More studies need to be done. How can the FDA claim they are safe?)

Sweat itself does not smell. The familiar smell of body odor, or B.O, comes from normal skin bacteria breaking down the sweat secretions released from the sweat glands.
Body odor mainly originates from the apocrine glands in the armpits, which release a thick, oily sweat rich in proteins and lipids which bacteria on the skin feed on.
Because of the bacteria and not being used to using natural products for your armpits you will likely have a detox phase. This is totally normal. If you find that you truly cannot go for a few days without deodorant, you will have to use a natural deodorant for a week or so before you body starts to adjust. Many people who try to use natural deodorants without detoxifying their pits, tend to complain that they don’t work. You have to get rid of the decaying matter in your body before you can ask your body not to smell. And remember, sweating is a GOOD thing! We want to sweat…we just don’t want to stink. I would also, suggest a total body cleanse to assist your body in removing toxins.

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Snack? Oh, Nuts!

image One of our favorite snacks are ‘Crispy Almonds’ with Dried Fruit. Soaking the almonds in salt water, then dehydrating them in a low temperature oven causes them to be so crispy, that they pop in your mouth when you bite them. They become fun to eat. But, of course there is a reason other than texture that I soak the nuts. Phytic Acid. Phytic acid in grains, nuts, seeds and beans represents a serious problem in our diets. Phytic acid chelates or binds with other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, making them unavailable. This study’s recommendation states: This“should be best interpreted in such a way as to prevent the consumption of excessive amounts of phytate, particularly for those whose mineral needs are great.” I don’t know anyone whose mineral needs are NOT great. This problem exists because we have lost touch with our ancestral heritage of food preparation. Instead we listen to those that promote the consumption of raw and unprocessed “whole foods.” But raw is definitely not nature’s way for grains, nuts, seeds and beans.  imageI know what you’re thinking…Really!? Nuts have to be prepared? We have to understand that we have moved away from our traditional diets and practices, which were passed down from generation to generation. With that our health and happiness have suffered greatly. Because we didn’t understand why great great great great Grandma did what she did we’ve stopped doing it. I am not even sure she knew why she was doing it. There was an intuitive Spirit that taught our ancestors how to prepare their food. Convenient, instant gratification, microwave oven, drive-thru food is our way of life, now. The good news is, we do have a choice. Let’s make good food a priority, slow down and breathe, consider meal preparation a joy, and make every single bite you serve yourself and family a powerful influence on your lives. When nuts are properly prepared they become a very nutritious snack. Soaked almonds have much higher protein content than the raw almonds and so does the water in which they are soaked. When nuts are soaked, the germination process begins, allowing the enzyme inhibitors to be deactivated and increasing the nutrition of the nut significantly, as well as making them much easier to digest. Traditional people instinctively knew that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten.image The Indians of the east made hickory nut milk by pounding the nuts, shell and all, into a paste and then adding water and boiling. Some would grill the nuts after soaking them for a few hours, to get a good flavor from the smoke. imageThe Indians of California consumed acorn meal. Converting the acorn from an inedible nut to the soup, mush, or bread required a lengthy process involving a diverse array of tools. The nuts were pounded into flour or meal using a mortar and pestle. Repeated flushing with either hot or cold water in a shallow, sandy basin or in a basket filter, then cooking. imageThe Aztec soaked pumpkin and squash seeds in brine and then let them dry in the sun. (excerpt from “Nourishing Traditions” pg 512) imageThe Aboriginal people made the Moreton Bay Chestnut seeds edible by cracking them and soaking in running water for long periods, after which they were dried and roasted. The seeds of this plant are poisonous when raw.. While doing the research for this section of the blog, I became more aware of just how far a culture can stray from their traditional ancestors. To the point of poverty and starvation. My heart grieves for the people of Central America, God does provide and His people will perish for lack of knowledge. This next paragraph and quotes is proof we need to ‘Think on These Things” and learn about traditional diets to maintain sustainability and health. In Central America the Maya Nut was the staple food for prehispanic cultures throughout the neotropics, who probably ate it boiled and protected it as a source of food. The marble-sized seed can be prepared to taste like mashed potatoes, chocolate or coffee. To those who stumble upon the nuts on the ground, they’re free for the taking.image

“People are living right there, in extreme poverty, not even eating more than one meal a day and there’s Maya nut lying all around,” Vohman said. “They don’t eat it because they don’t know.” It is truly a “lifesaving” tree. Today, however, the food value of the Maya Nut is largely forgotten. Having watched impoverished Guatemalan communities clear rain forests to plant food, it struck Vohman that the key for uplifting Central American communities was to help them return to their roots.The Maya Nut Institute

Finally, the recipe from “Nourishing Traditions” 4 cups *raw almonds 1 Tbls sea salt filtered water enough to cover almonds Mix almonds with salt and filtered water and leave in a warm place for at least 7 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander. Spread on a stainless steel baking pan (I use stoneware) and place in a warm oven (no more than 150) for 12 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. Store in an airtight container. *Unfortunately, truly raw almonds are no longer available commercially in the U.S. Since 2007, all U.S. almonds must be “pasteurized.” While there are four main methods of pasteurizing almonds, steam processing, high heat treatment (roasting), blanching and highly toxic fumigation treatment with propylene oxide (PPO), two of them are the primary methods that are used most often.. These two are steam processing and PPO fumigation.To get truly raw almonds with all their enzymes and vitamins intact, you must live in California, get them imported from Spain, or order them online. Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship emailed Meijer and Country Life Naturals. These just happen to be the two places I get almonds, and both use the steam method of pasteurizing. No chemicals. I can’t help myself. For the Dr. Oz fans, he is now promoting soaked nuts. It must be true 😉

Where Do I Start?

I have been getting a repeated question. Where do I start? My friend, Anna, has done a series recently called, “The Switch.” She does a wonderful job guiding us on how to make the switch to nutritional, real food eating. I encourage you to read ALL of her posts in her series. I am going to share this one, because she helps you sort out the reasons we consider to be obsatcles.

Barriers to Healthy Eating

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I want to encourage you, I did not get here over night. I have been working on this for years and years. Trust me, I still fall short of where I would like to be. My sons gets foods, that I wish they never ate. Ha! I eat foods that I wish I never ate. We Wards are just a work in process everyday. We are thankful for God’s gifts of Grace and Mercy! And that His Strength is renewed everyday.

He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (Isaiah 40:29 KJV)

Now, What Are You Drinking?

imageKombucha (kom-bu-cha)
What in the world is that? Kombucha is a fermented tea made with a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) also called mother or mushroom, tea prepared with sugar, and some kombucha tea from a previous batch. Kombucha is a traditional fermented tea that has gained popularity in the United States as it is increasingly associated with health promoting effects. Kombucha is a slightly sweet, acidic tea beverage currently consumed worldwide, but historically in China, Russia, and Germany
The beneficial properties of Kombucha have been well documented in past centuries. Early to mid 20th century, mainly German medical research, documented Kombucha primarily as an intestinal regulator and as having excellent effects on general body functions, but also progressively established specific efficacy in cases of digestive disturbances, constipation, hemorrhoids, kidney stones, gall bladder problems, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, cholesterol, high blood pressure, angina, gout, eczema, arthritis, rheumatism, atherosclerosis, irritability, anxiety, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, tiredness.
By the 1960’s kombucha research fell victim to the cold war, with the Russians withholding details of their research, with many known documents still remaining classified. Regardless of the lack of scientific evidence, the fact remains that this beverage has 2,000 plus years of tradition behind it. Although it may seem new to most of you, kombucha is not at all new, it is truly ancient. In fact the name derives from a Korean physician, Kombu, who was called to treat the Japanese Emperor Inkyo back about the year 415 AD.
The kombucha ferment contains various acidic metabolic by-products, including acetic, citric, malic, tartaric, succinic, pyruvic, ascorbic, butyric , glucuronic, hyaluronic, lactic, usnic and chondroitin sulphate acids, as well as glucosamines, heparin, beta-glucans (cell-wall only), B-vitamins, including B-12, more than a dozen yeast strains and also other active antibiotic substances.

Glucuronic acid in the liver binds up all poisons and toxins both environmental and metabolic and rushes them to the excretory system. Toxins once bound by glucuronic acid cannot be resorbed into the system, they are rendered water soluble and made capable of being passed through the kidneys and eliminated with the urine. Kombucha appears to offer an abundance of this key detoxifier.image
Because of our polluted environment, processed food, chemicals in our water, medicines, and stress our liver is overloaded with toxins. A healthy liver producing adequate glucuronic acid is critical to rid toxins that can accumulate. To ensure our liver is healthy and functioning properly, detoxifying the liver is important. Detoxification produces healthy livers and aides cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer. Because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987.
In my post What Are You Drinking, I cover the importance of good gut flora. Kombucha is also a probiotic beverage that will promote good gut health.
I will be covering water kefir too, but before you start wondering, what is the difference? I’ll say this, when comparing water kefir versus kombucha, it seems that water kefir acts primarily as a wide spectrum probiotic, whereas kombucha acts as a digestive aid, a probiotic and detoxifier.

How to ferment Kombucha tea:
I make a 1/2 gallon, but this can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, etc
You will need:
1/2 gallon glass jar

4 tea bags-The type of tea used to brew kombucha is one of the most important influences in how the finished kombucha will taste. However, not all teas are appropriate for use when making kombucha. Click here to read more about which teas are best to use for the health of the a scoby

1/2 cup sugar (this is a good place to use the white stuff  and the only place I recommend using it).

Water-While tap water can be used, it is recommendeed that filtered water free of as many contaminants as possible is used. Contaminants such as chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride can be detrimental to a batch of kombucha and the health of the scoby.

SCOBY  along with 1  cup of kombucha tea from a prevous batch

Brewing Tea & Dissolving Sugar

Brewing Tea & Dissolving Sugar

Put sugar and tea bags into the jar. Fill a third of the way up with boiling water.

Brew tea 10-15 minutes.

Remove tea bags and be sure sugar is dissolved.

Add cold water to jar until it is 3/4 of the way full.

Add your SCOBY and kombucha tea from previous batch

Add more cold water if needed to fill jar.

Cover with a breathable cover (cheesecloth, coffee filter, towel)

Place jar in a spot out of direct sunlight, at room temperature, and several feet away from any other cultures you may have going. Now, forget about it for 7 days. As the kombucha ferments, the scoby consumes the tea and sugar producing vitamins, minerals, enzymes, carbon dioxide, etc. After 7 days using a straw sample your kombucha tea. If it is still too sweet,, allow it to ferment couple more days or until it gets to a flavor you like.

Mother Under the Baby SCOBY

Mother Under the Baby SCOBY

Remove the SCOBYs-You will have two, because there is a baby every batch. You can use both in your next batch, give one to a friend, or search the internet for other ideas. Never use reactive metals when handling your SCOBY.
Bottling your kombucha tea-Whether  you’re keeping your kombucha plain or flavoring with juice, fruit(fresh, frozen, or dehydrated), extracts, or herbs a second ferment is recommended. A second fermentation period allows the flavors to meld and achieve a deeper and more complex flavor. When bottled in an airtight container, the live yeast and bacteria in the kombucha will continue to consume the tea and sugar that remaines, and a byproduct of second fermentation is that the sugar is turned into carbon dioxide giving the kombucha the fizzy texture it is often known for. Allow the kombucha to remain bottled for 2 to 14 days at room temperature. Cultures for Health is a great resources for all things fermented and has several flaovoring ideas.

Frozen Blueberrie

Frozen Blueberrie

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This batch I used frozen blueberries. 1/4 berries to 2 cups Kombucha….YUM!

More science of kombucha check out the Happy Herbalist posted study from Cornell University.

gaiaresearch.co.za
kombu.de

To get a t-shirt click here.

“The Switch” ~ The Staff of Life

Where My Treasure Is

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When you walk into a grocery store and see the dazzling array of products, do you ever stop to think about the fact that most of the products that line the shelves are simply different arrangements of just a handful of ingredients – corn, soy, sugar, vegetable oil and refined flour? These few ingredients form the basis for thousands of food products, from Oreos to salad dressing to chicken nuggets to tortillas to soda pop to mac-n-cheese to cereal.

Today I want to talk about making “the switch” from one of those main ingredients – refined flour – to whole grains.

There are many different types of grain available today – wheat, spelt, rice, oats, corn, millet, barley, quinoa, kamut, amaranth – but the most popular grain in America is wheat.

Wheat has come under intense scrutiny these past few years and now in place of the  “low-carb” craze, we are seeing a tidal…

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