Organic solution

It arrived. The rubber tubs grey and low, easy to hold. Two of them, filled with fresh, vegetables the shine as bright as the rainbow.  Smiling I remember how much I look forward to my weekly deliveries knowing that I no longer have the worry of wondering. Wondering if my organic is safe to eat. Wondering where it came from and what it contains.

It wasn’t long ago that I had the worlds biggest rant after finding out that the USDA had approved a list of pesticides deemed safe for organic farming. Yes, that pretty much did it for me. I spoke to a few of  local grocers and Trader Joes, who could not guarantee all their foods were grown without the use of any  pesticide nor could they guarantee my food GMO free. “But ” you say ” Organic is  GMO free ” . That’s right, but there is a catch. While the seeds planted is non GMO, Some major organic growers cannot vouch for the complete absence of GMO contamination due to some wind draft etc.  It was time to wake up and find local growers that were still true to the organic growing practices  craved so much.

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The Coop

I have used food coops for the past 7yrs, as a means of getting discounts on my organic bulk foods mainly, and due to their sustainable practices. I would say over the last 2 years, I have not been as committed to them as my main source of food as I got lazy and time got the better of me. While I still purchased organic foods, I found going to my nearest grocer more sustainable and convenient .

Food Cooperatives are what you would refer to as consumers cooperatives. What that means is that it is owned by the consumers and managed in a democratic manner, by meeting and fulfilling the needs of all it’s members.  As a member of a food cooperative, you are a shareholder in the organisation and the best part, your opinions and concerns count. All food coops follow Rochdales’ Principals: Voluntary and open memberships, anti discrimination, motivation and rewards, autonomy and independence, democratic member control, concern for the community, provide information eduction and training, and finally cooperation of cooperatives with themselves.

With these values, it makes things a little easier knowing that when you pick something off the shelf or purchase fresh foods  that each item has been scrutinized and chosen with all your concerns in mind.  (see link to all food cooperatives inside and outside the USA  at end of this article)

The organic box deliveries

Local deliveries of organic produce to your door direct from local organic farmers. Now they are fantastic, they usually only supply fresh local grown but will also seek foods from other states when needed. Unlike the cooperatives, non perishable goods are rarely available, but this too can vary from country to country, so it is best to check with them. Making a decision on who to choose can be very tricky. Not all organic box suppliers follow the same policies as food coops, but many come close.  The idea is that they develop a first hand relationship with local farmers and provide on seasonal foods as they are available, whiles keeping the prices low. Some have boxes to choose from, whiles others allow individual purchases. Substitutions are allowed making life a little easier if you are not the eggplant type and would prefer more carrots in your box. Either way, it is a cheaper, easier and trustworthy alternative to the shopping cart or pick your own.

When choosing which company to go with, a good start is a phone call. Asking questions with your concerns. You can also have a look at their sites which often list their farmers whom you can call directly and speak with. This creates a direct relationship between you and your local farmers. A wonderful way to build trust.

With no contracts, you can book yourself your first box which can be delivered directly to your door or at a drop spot near you.

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Eating partially organic  

So being realistic, not everyone can do the coop or a box delivery after all or at least for now. Getting to your weekly farmers market or using a CSA  is also an alternative. You still get to know your farmers, you know what you are getting, you buy from who you feel most comfortable with and those closest to your way of thinking.

Aiming GMO free – look for the orange butterly.

I’ll make this quick. Trying to stay GMO free is harder than one might think, even with labeling. At current the main GMO plant products are wheat, sougham, corn, soybean, cottonseed and canola.  The only way to stay 100% free of GMO foods is to never eat out in your life again. A little dramatic I know.

If you are lucky enough to live outside of the United States where most foods containing GMO ingredients are labelled, than you need not worry about this, however, for those of us that call the US our home, there are options. Get to know the NON GMO project. Look for the orange butterfly. Yes, this non profit is your go to for all brands verified GMO free or in the process of verification. This way you can guarantee that you are getting clean food. Most brands do not use their labels on the shelf at your local supermarket so utilizing this site is a good way to reach for your brand that is safe of GMO products guarantee.  (see link to NON GMO project at end of this article)

As I unpack my boxes of lush greens and vibrant fruit, I feel a sense of ownership in my informed decision to keep free and clean.  Knowing that in the next 5 years things may change yet again and I will be forced to re evaluate and make new decisions on what we eat, but until than shareholding is for me.

 

Links

Food Co op Directory (world wide) – http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm

NON GMO project – http://www.nongmoproject.org/

National Cooperative Grocer Association -https://www.ncga.coop/

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Almond Milk Made Simple – What!

Wow, is the first thought that comes to mind as the rich white liquid hits the pallets of the mouth. It’s fresh and cool. The hint of cardamon is enough to have you wanting more. You remember you only made 6 cups, so you better go easy. Next time will be even better. You have complete control over how thick and rich you make it, from lite to full. Why has it taken soo long to get you here when all you need was just a few little ingredients.  You know the benefits of almonds, from the richness in Vitamin E, the high fiber, the vitamin B, protein, calcium, and mono saturated fats. You know the phytosterols in it helps to lower cholesterol. You know that you need to be aware that almonds can still be an allergy and intolerant food so be aware.  Yes, you knew all that. You also remembered to save your almond pulp to make desiccated almond to add to your granola and backing after all it’s all about wholefoods  and complete foods to get the full benefit of your almonds.

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Soo What Do You Need To Make Your Own Almond Milk:

1 1/2 cup of almond. (organic /pesticide free)

7 cups of filtered water

1/2 teaspoon of cardamon seeds

sieve or cheese muslin clothe

mason jars

blender/food processor/ hand held mixer

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Prep:

Place almonds in a container with 1 cup of filtered water. Leave in fridge for 24-36  hours. Make sure to cover it.

Sterilize your mason jars.

Next. Empty water out and place almonds and cardamon in processor along with the reminder 6 cups of filter water. If you would like your milk to be lite, add an additional 2 cups of filter water. Process until water is white and almond is broken down.

Pour through sieve or muslin cloth. Save almond pulp for making desiccated almond to add to your backing or granola. It’s all about wholefoods.

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Place in empty sterilsed mason jars and store.

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Enjoy!

Smoothie of the week – Melon berry bliss!

Yum!  A burst of citrus, that leaves a sweet mellow taste on the tip of your tongue. Cooling,  and my the aroma that hangs at the back of your tongue. Oh, yes the apricots. That’s what that is. Every soo subtle, that it’s gone before you realise what just happened to your mouth. The water melon lingers as a reminder that something exciting just happened to your mouth as it makes it’s way to your stomach. You reach over for another taste of bliss.

IMG_3624Having a fruit smoothie during your day is such a wonderful way to get your body refreshed and filled with an abundance of anti oxidants, nutrients and fibre. It’s easy to do and you can drink it on the run. And lets face it, It’s a wonderful way to get more fruit in you than you could chew in a single day! So get to it!

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You will need the following:

2 cups of chopped watermelon – high in lycopene , which is important for prostate health. Keep in mind, it is high on the glycemic index and should be eaten with other foods that will help low the glucose effect

1 fresh apricot– High in Vitamin A as well as potassium

1 peeled orange with with the pericarp still attached – contains Vitamin, flavanoids and calcium

7 medium strawberries –  high in Vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

1 plum

1 cup of blueberries -high in lutein, potassium. Vitamin A & Vitamin K. Lutein has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. It also can turn the skin bronze. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting. Be aware K can interfere with blood thinning medication. It is however a good way of getting Vitamin k into breastfeeding mothers, and pregnant women with low platelet counts

BLEND EVERYTHING TOGETHER TILL SMOOTH – IE AND ENJOY!

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Rosemary & Fennel Hummus – Simply yum!

The first bite is total bliss. After about a minute you realise your mouth and all digestive path are tingling with excitement. Ah, the rosemary, a gentle sensation that leaves your insides feeling refreshed and warm. Than the sweetness, not always there but pop in ever so often. It’s bliss! As you reach for another bite you are met with a new experience again and again and again. As the rosemary settles mind begins to feel alert and your eyes see clearly. Ah, snack, who lives without them?

IMG_3606I really love my rosemary and fennel hummus. It is something very different for me as I like to use more herbs as food and medicine. Ensuring I can reach therapeutic levels and gain the benefits of my food. As snack is just as important to me as my children, I want to know that I am giving them something that will not just quench their hunger but also nourish them holistically. So was born my first herbal hummus

You are going to need the following:

1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas or as it’s also called channa – they are high in protein, just what your body needs to function

2 table spoons of tahini – now if you can not buy the tahini because of the cost, you can buy sesame seeds, and simple add them to the recipe. It has the same effect. It has 0 cholesterol which is awesome, high in calcium which our heart needs and high in protein. Just two table spoon of this butter, gives you 8gms of protein.

Rosemary fresh is best from a 2 -3 inch stick – I used most of the leaves for this recipe. Great for increasing circulation,  strengthening capillary walls. This rich herb also stimulates circulation to the head helping to improve memory and concentration! I wonder if it helps with procrastination? It also aids the body from recovery from long term stress, something I can always use.

Fennel: I just love fennel, it is great for wind, bloating and low appetite. A great herb for children in low does. With it’s ability to also increase milk production, it is great for lactation mothers as well. Oh yay.

3 table spoon of apple cider vinegar – wonderful for the gut, stimulating digestion, helping to lower blood glucose. Remember though, less is more

garlic:  The awesome bulb this one is. Helping with everything from digestion, to lowering blood cholesterol levels, protects against blood clots, lowers blood pressure, and blood sugar. on top of that it has an antibiotic effect. So if you are feeling ill with cold, have lost your appetite, the fennel in this should get things going enough for you to eat more hummus to get more garlic to help you. Garlic does help to prevent circulatory issues and stokes by keep the blood thin so beware if you are on blood thinners.

1 table spoon of olive oil

1/4 cup of chopped parsley

1/2 cup of filtered water

pinch of salt 

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combine ingredients and process until creamy and all the rosemary are no longer visible.

Serve with fresh raw vegetables & naan bread

Enjoy!

How to Do A Faux Hawk – Hair Tutorial

I like to wear my hair in half fro hawk when i have a day or two before my hair wash and I don’t have time for resetting my twist outs. So here is an easy tutorial on how to achieve that look in less than 6 mins.

Knowing when it’s time to stop saying no

“mama, I love you” says mr 5yr as he cuddles my neck to hide his embarrassment.  He had just had a really bad fall in the park, doing something I would have in the past warned him about or asked him to stop. This time I had made the decision to let him be, after all trying to ollie on a scooter is what kids do even if it might result in an injury. So long as he stayed clear of other kids and tried in a safe space, he could do as he pleased. As we walked home holding hands I realised, I had no lecture for him on the reasons why doing stunts can be dangerous and the importance of being more calm when on a play date with a young lady. I could tell he was glad for that. The 40min walk home was a  quite and pleasant one, stopping whenever he pleased to admire, flowers, gardens or just ask a question. I did not rush him, and he admired the world in a whole new way.

How I got here took a bit of a re evaluation of my parenting. Where we were and what my children and I were accomplishing together. Sometimes life gets busy, hectic, and pretty loud and all you wish for is a quite, polite, pleasant, well mannered, tranquil child, like the kid next door. Than you remember that you can’t meet all those qualities you are wishing for, for your little one so why expect soo much form them soo soon when you after 30yrs are still working on it.

So now I ask why? And from there we work at it.

 

Sweet potato stir fry – It’s simple but ooh sooo tasty

You’ve opened the fridge several times, and it still seems like there is nothing in there to eat. How is this possible, especially since you just went shopping. You consider a sandwich, after all isn’t the whole point to get something into you, you promise your self you will eat something more substantial when you are out and about. Time catches up with you, the hours have gone by and you start to feel spent.  Your gut starts to hurt and you are pretty sure you are hearing voices; well maybe not, but hunger got. If only you had had the lunch you were meaning too a few hours ago.

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Lets face it, making lunch for yourself is not always soo easy let alone trying to work out what to actually make that will not leave you feeling guilty, sluggish, and still hungry. So I’ve made it simple and quick and tasty for you.

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See if you can find some or all the following ingredients in your house somewhere:

Half a sweet potato – High in vitamin A, beta – carotene. Which helps support the respiratory system as well as the immune system . I just love this root veg. It is also great for keeping the blood sugar low. A nice alternative to white potatoes, and rice.

hand full of broccoli – who doesn’t like broc? We it has calcium, potassium and even lutein, helpful for your eye sight.

2 celery sticks – not only is this vegetable hight in fiber, it is also great for moving excess fluid from the body. This was my go to food during my pregnancy, and I managed to escape the fluid retention associated with pregnancy. It can help lower blood pressure too, so combine with beets and cucumber if possible.

6-7 string beans – 

1 carrot – touching up, high beta – carotene and lutein. I am beginning to think these too  go hand in hand.

2 eggs – great for protein and omega 3. Be careful not to eat more than 1 egg per serve as the yoke is also high in cholesterol. It also contains some vitamin D and folate so, why not.

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4 fresh shitake –  contains and a ridiculous amount of potassium that would put bananas to shame. It also has a good amount of Vitmin D2 when grown outdoors or exposed to UVB rays.

hand full of maitake mushroom – Maitake mushrooms are on my top 5 go to superfoods, sitting in at number 1 at the moment. It is amazing! Grown outside means it is high in Vitamin D, but also contains high anti oxidants. It has been shown to inhibit growth in some cancer cells while possessing anti cancer activity. It’s soo good that the FDA have approved  investigation into the formation of a new drug containing a portion of these mushrooms. Soo eat it up!

grapeseed oil & olive oil

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Preparation:

Peel and cut sweet potato into small flat pieces. Put aside.

Now chop celery, carrots, shitake  into small chunk pieces. Crash maitake in hand and add to chopped veggies. Put aside

Next add 2 tablespoon of grapeseed oil or olive to frying pan. Add sweet potatoes only. Cook until soft and lightly brown.

Now add all vegetables and mushrooms  to frying pan, toss for 2 – 4 mins.

Beat eggs, and pour over veggies.  If you are vegan, skip this step and move on to plating. Once eggs are cooked. It’s ready to eat!

Serve with raw red cabbage & lettuce. Garnish stir fry with sliced red onions. Enjoy!

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