Raw Milk Vending Machines in France
Because I skipped the Back to Basics post yesterday (Sorry! Busy lately)…here’s an article (by NaturalNews) that I’ve read recently…it’s quite interesting, and I’m quite jealous:
"While California persecutes raw milk farmers, France unveils raw milk vending machines for happy, healthy consumers"
Back to Basics: What You’re Putting Into Your Body When Brushing Your Teeth
In ancient times, toothpastes varied depending on the culture, although many cultures used crushed shells (including eggshells) and bones, and powdered ingredients such as ashes, bark, charcoal, herbs, and salt. When toothpaste was developed in the 1800’s, many toothpastes were made of soap and chalk. It wasn’t until after the 1850’s when toothpaste actually became made as paste. Before then, “toothpaste” was actually a powder that would turn into a paste substance after mixing with the saliva of the user.
Nowadays, toothpastes contain artificial foaming agents, detergents, artificial flavors, artificial colors, sweeteners, and humectants, such as glycerin. Some commercial toothpastes even include Triclosan (a registered pesticide according to the EPA, and an antimicrobial agent that is known to create super-bugs). Triclosan has been shown to cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, and when mixed with chlorine found in drinking water, can form Chloroform (a probable human carcinogen according to the EPA).
Let’s look at some other common ingredients in your tube of toothpaste:
Fluoride: A neurotoxin that was often used as a poison and insecticide in the past. (See my post on water fluoridation here, and a link about dental fluorosis here).
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): An chemical foaming agent used to create the foam and suds in toothpaste, soap, and shampoo. I posted about the dangers of SLS & why you should go SLS-free here. Remember, foam, bubbles and suds do not = clean! We are conditioned to think that way and feel that a product not foaming may not be working as well, but the foam really is all smoke & mirrors. It’s just a chemical added to your products to purposely create foam.
Saccharin: An artificial sweetener that has been linked to cancer.
Artificial colors, such as FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Red 33, and Yellow 10 Lake: These colors are lab-created dyes that have either been banned in other countries, or banned by the FDA for other uses (such as some eye cosmetics, etc.), and many of these dyes have been linked to toxicity and various tumors. For some reason though, these artificial colors are still allowed in our toothpastes & mouthwashes (which are absorbed through our gums and often minimally swallowed).
Glycerin: A humectant used to keep the paste moist & smooth. Although a natural ingredient that is safe for use, glycerin forms a sticky layer on teeth that has been shown to take 27 rinses to wash off of the surface of teeth. I don’t know anyone who rinses 27 times. The film formed on the teeth due to the glycerin content in toothpastes blocks saliva from coming in contact with teeth, & therefore, blocks the ability for teeth to remineralize.
Any of the ingredients in our toothpastes are easily absorbed through our gums and enter into our bloodstream. But how often have you stopped to think about your toothpaste, the ingredients in it and how it’s effecting your teeth and your health? We tend to buy what’s on a shelf and assume that it’s safe. Why would anything sold in a store be toxic to my health? Plus, my toothpaste is FDA approved, so it must be safe. Well, that’s what you’d think, but the truth is, many of the ingredients in commercial hygiene products are horrible for your heath. Look into these ingredients yourself instead of trusting that the FDA or your favorite store or brand will keep you safe, because, well…they won’t.
Ingredients are often approved based off of the amount of that specific ingredient that is allowed into the product. This doesn’t take into consideration that the ingredients/chemicals in products that we use every day, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, lotion, etc., accumulate in our bodies. This causes a toxic, chemical build up overtime from the constant use of these ingredients. Ingredients that maybe have been determined “toxic, but safe in low doses” is now a high dose ingredient in your body. Not to mention that the ingredients SLS and SLES allow your body to absorb more of whatever it is that’s in the product to begin with. Basically, it enhances absorb-ability. So now, not only is the SLS itself harmful, but it’s allowing the other harmful ingredients in the product you are using to be more easily absorbed by your body. Great.
And you also cannot just assume that because something is a known “all natural” product, that it really, truely, is! A great example of this is Tom’s of Maine, a well-known “all natural” brand. Although they sell a fluoride-free version of toothpaste, their toothpastes list SLS as an ingredient. They are able to get away with this as an ingredient in their “all natural” product by stating that it is “derived from coconut and/or palm kernal oil”. Although Burt’s Bees, another popular “all natural” brand, does not use SLS in their fluoride-free toothpaste, it does use glycerin (described above). And as we know, glycerin is an all-natural ingredient, however, in this specific application (toothpaste), it is bad for us (since it prevents our teeth to naturally re-mineralize themselves, the way nature intended).
The best way to steer clear of unnecessary ingredients in your toothpaste is to research and read labels! Read the ingredients on your tube of toothpaste and find out what each ingredient does, why it’s used, and any harmful effects associated with it. Even with all natural products, read labels to ensure the ingredients truly are all natural and will benefit your teeth/gums in some way. Another way to avoid unnecessary ingredients and uncertainty is to make your own toothpaste or tooth powder. I will end this weeks post on that note and will post a few homemade recipes for toothpaste and tooth powder for next Sunday’s Back to Basics post. Stay tuned!
2011 —> 2012: A year in review
It’s finally 2012! The year that many have anticipated due to the ending of the Mayan calender.
1/1/2012 …the anniversary of my first Tumblr post of the new year, and last night (12/31/2011) was my Tumblr’s official birthday, which started with a post of a quote that inspired the name “Malleable Reality”. So for me, this really is a year in review.
I’ve learned a lot over the year & really changed/grew as a person. As I read over my post from exactly 1 year ago, I realized that I ended my post with my “to-do’s for the 2011 year:
- “Learn more about the things I’m interested in.”
- “Continue to take more steps to living a healthier life.”
I was happy to read those two things & realized that I accomplished those things to the best of my ability within the year. I’ve made a ton of changes in my lifestyle and learned a plethora of valuable information, some of it in which I shared here (via Tumblr) throughout the year. These posts included: Buying organic produce, skin cancer, disease branding, toxic chemicals in our everyday lives, more chemicals in our lives, toxins in our skin care, the dangers of teflon, BPA levels in canned foods, chemicals in baby shampoo, the dangers of water fluoridation, birth control pills, the FDA and arsenic in your chicken, the secret ingredient in your store bought meat, the food revolution, and introduced a Back to Basics series which included posts on some of the changes I’ve made throughout the year that helped me to lead a better/healthier lifestyle. You can view all of my posts posted within this last year here.
With that said and last year behind us, my plan for 2012 is to continue to learn and grow as a person, and hopefully continue with the changes I’ve made, and make even more changes for this year. My “to-do” list for this year is pretty much the same as last year. To continue improving and building on the things I’ve already done. 2011 was a great year for me. I still have plenty of more information that I’ve learned and continue to learn that I have yet to post in a blog. I will continue posting Back to Basics posts and updating everyone on my lifestyle changes & the “how to’s” and recipes, as much as I can. However, this year, the Back to Basics posts will be moved to SUNDAYS, rather than Fridays.
Back to Basics posts every Sunday for 2012, starting this week!
Back to Basics: On a Quest to Eating Traditionally…
I’ve previously posted an introduction to my new venture in life: eating traditionally (video included). Today’s Back to Basics post is in regards to some of the changes that I’ve made so far in my quest for a healthier lifestyle. Most of the changes I’ve made are small things here & there, removing some ingredients used & replacing them with healthier, less processed & unrefined choices. All of these things are simple steps to take in order to begin traditional eating. Most importantly, remember: Any positive change (big or small) is better than none at all.
Here are some of the things I switched out over time:
- Conventional fruit & vegetables to organic. As much as possible.
- Pasteurized milk to raw (unpasteurized) milk. Raw milk must be grass-fed/fresh from a farm.
- Anything white to anything in it’s whole (unrefined/less processed) form. This includes white flour -> whole wheat flour, white rice -> whole grain rice, white bread -> whole grain bread, white sugar -> sucanat/or other natural sweeteners. (I did switch to Sugar in the Raw before I realized even that wasn’t sugar in it’s purest form…just marketing at it’s finest).
- Conventional, store bought (factory farmed) dairy to grass-fed/pastured only dairy. Including: Eggs, Butter, and Cream.
- Store bought (factory farmed) meats & eggs to local/farm meats & eggs.
- Prepackaged/processed snacks/foods to made from scratch foods.
- Vegetable Oils (rancid) to healthy oils. Corn, canola, & soy oils are oils that I never buy, no longer cook with, & always look for in the ingredients lists of any packaged foods that I might still buy (such as bread, mayo, ketchup, salad dressings — If/when I don’t make my own). These oils are replaced with coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil.
- Regular/processed Apple Cider Vinegar to Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Regular/processed honey to raw honey.
- Table salt (iodized) to Sea Salt.
- Improperly prepared grains to traditionally (properly) prepared grains. With anything I make from scratch with grains, I make sure to properly prepare the grains first. I’ve also been switching from regular whole grain store bought breads & bagels -> only traditionally prepared (sprouted) whole grain breads & bagels.
- Store bought items with High Fructose Corn Syrup to items with only natural sugars. This includes pantry items that have High Fructose Corn Syrup as a main ingredient, such as: Jelly (Grape) -> natural/organic grape jelly.
- Pam cooking/baking sprays (oil in a can) to oil in a Misto oil sprayer. The mistro sprayer allows you to use any oil that you want, without the use of toxic chemicals and propellants in the can.
- Canned vegetables to fresh or frozen (organic).
Items I added to the pantry & shopping lists that I never used to use before:
- Grade B Maple Syrup (not grade A!)
- Fermented Cod liver oil
- Butter oil
- Liquid Whey (homemade only)
- Arrowroot powder
- 100% Cacao (REAL cocoa)
- Molasses (Blackstrap)
- Fine & coarse sea salt (including pink Himalayan sea salt)
- Aloe Vera juice/liquid
- Fish sauce
- Coconut oil (organic, extra-virgin, unrefined)
- Rapadura/Sucanat (whole cane sugar - unrefined/unbleached)
- Raw honey
- Raw apple cider vinegar
That’s all I can think of for now! Hopefully this helps give some insight on how I have been transitioning to more traditional eating habits.
For the upcoming weeks Back to Basics posts, I will go into detail of how some of these ingredients can be used and why they are important to have in your pantry/diet. I will also post recipes in the future, as well as products that I’ve invested in & how I made the switch from using less processed/packaged foods and condiments, and more homemade/from scratch items.
Back to Basics: Homemade Granola Bar Recipe
Store bought granola bars may seem like a healthy snack, but after taking a closer look at the ingredients list, you realize how awful these things actually are. They are no better than any other processed, prepackaged snack. Store bought granola bars are filled with sugar, preservatives, MSG (often disguised as “natural and artificial flavors”), and rancid vegetable oils (canola and soy). Aside from that, these store bought snacks are not properly prepared. As I described in my previous post, it is extremely important to properly soak grains and seeds (including the oats, Grape Nuts cereal and seeds used in this recipe). The grains used in store bought granola bars are not soaked, and therefore, are filled with phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. In order for your body to properly digest and absorb the vitamins and nutrients offered in these potentially nutritious snacks, the grains and seeds must be properly soaked, rinsed, and dried before use. In order to get the best out of what should be a healthy granola bar, go Back to Basics and make these bars yourself so you know exactly what is in them and to ensure they are prepared for maximum digestibility.
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (soaked, rinsed, and dried** -see below)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked, rinsed, and dried**)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (soaked, rinsed, and dried**)
- 1/2 cup rice puffed cereal (I used Nature’s Path Organic Koala Crisps - chocolate flavored rice puffs, from Whole Foods)
- 1/2 cup Grape Nuts cereal (soaked, rinsed, and dried**)
- 1 cup raisins (or dried fruit of choice: blueberries, cranberries, cherries)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar or cane sugar
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix oats, Grape Nuts, puffed rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit in a large bowl.
3. Combine peanut butter, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Over medium-low heat, stir frequently until the mixture slightly bubbles, this will take just a few minutes.
4. While the mixture is still warm, quickly pour the sticky mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until all of the dry ingredients are covered (this may take a little while, just keep mixing and folding over ingredients).
5. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Using a large spoon and/or your hands, press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes; cut into bars. It may be easier to cut if you wait a little while after you remove them from the refrigerator. After cutting, keep individual bars refrigerated.
** Two days before I planned on making my granola bars I began to soak my oats, Grape Nuts (wheat), and seeds. I did this around 7pm that night. I soaked the oats and wheat as follows: 3 cups of each (in separate bowls) in 3 cups of warm water, with two tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar per cup of water. That’s 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for each grain to soak in (oats and wheat separately). *Note: you do not need to use raw apple cider vinegar, that is just what I use because to me, it’s better than regular apple cider vinegar.*
In 2 additional bowls, I added about 2 cups of pumpkin seeds (in one bowl), and 2 cups of sunflower seeds (in another bowl) - I added 3 cups of water to each of these, plus two teaspoons of sea salt to each. Stir salt, water, and seeds. Cover all of the soaking bowls with lid or plastic wrap. I let these soak overnight. Then, in the morning around 7am, I began the next part of the process. Starting with the seeds (since they need less soaking time), I strained all of the water out and rinsed both batches of seeds thoroughly. Then, I used three cookie sheets to spread out seeds evenly to dry in the oven. (It’s probably easier to use a dehydrator for this if you have one, but I do not). After patting the seeds dry with paper towels, it’s important to put the seeds in the oven at the lowest temperature you can (mine was at 170 degrees, but 150 degrees would be ideal). This will take hours to dry out the seeds completely (taste them to feel the insides — they shouldn’t be mushy on the inside), and every so often you should make sure you are checking on the seeds and taking them out, mixing them up, and rotating them in the oven.
Meanwhile, I emptied the water and rinsed the oats and wheat, but refilled the bowls with those grains and added fresh water and fresh apple cider vinegar. I knew that the seeds would pretty much take all day to dry in the oven, so I wanted the oats and wheat to be able to soak until the oven was freed up from the seeds. After the seeds were dried out completely, I then drained and rinsed the oats and wheat thoroughly. The oats and wheat take a little longer to completely rinse. After rinsing, I squeezed them (in large handfuls) to allow excess water to drain out, and then laid them out on the three cookie sheets. Then, I dried them in the oven the same way I dried the nuts (at 170 degrees, mixing and rotating the oats and wheat every so often). Drying the oats and wheat takes less time than the seeds, but require more mixing and rotating. The oats ended up being stuck together when they dried out, so I threw them into a blender to pulse a few times in order to break them up a bit.
Since I did my soaking in a larger batch than I needed to use for this recipe, these ingredients will be prepared and ready to use for future batches of granola whenever I need them. Of course, you do not have to soak and dry all of the ingredients at once (as I did), you can soak and dry whenever you want and spread it out to different days, and make your granola bars whenever you have all of the ingredients ready.
300 Years of FOSSIL FUELS in 300 Seconds
Back to Basics: Healthy (and Easy!) School Lunch Alternatives
Unfortunately, last Friday I was extremely busy and was unable to post a Back to Basics post — so I will pick up on that now.
With this school year now in full swing, I think now would be a good time to dedicate a post to healthy school lunches. As I said in a few posts a couple of months ago, school lunches are not necessarily the most healthy foods. Oftentimes, school meals are prepackaged & highly processed foods that lack nutrients. In Philadelphia alone, 26 full-service school kitchens were closed and replaced with food that arrives in pouches to be microwaved for children to eat. Jamie Oliver (I posted about his views and his Food Revolution here, and a moving video of him speaking here) is attempting to revolutionize the way we eat, and more specifically, the way children are eating at their schools.
Since school lunches are often sugar-filled and lack the nutrients children need, it’s better to pack a healthy & nutritious lunch for children that is filled with lots of fresh foods, including fruits, vegetables, and protein — (at least until schools come around to serving healthier foods). Stay away from packing prepackaged & processed foods such as Lunchables and others like it, as that would defeat the purpose of packing a lunch in order to serve your child more healthy foods.
Here is a link by Jamie’s Food Revolution team that showcases some healthy packed lunches (these lunches were part of a “cook-off” to showcase healthy alternatives to school-bought lunches). These are great alternatives to the mystery food served at schools. Packing a lunch allows you to know exactly what your child will be eating that day, and you will know for a fact it’s a healthy meal.
When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need." - Ayurvedic proverb
Back to Basics: Preventing and Healing Cavities (naturally)
Most people believe (after being told by their dentists) that sugar is the main culprit behind tooth decay…as it turns out, it seems that most of us have been misinformed. We’ve also been told that once a cavity is formed, the only solution is to drill it and fill it. Apparently, however, our teeth are able to completely heal themselves! That’s right — our teeth are alive and decay/cavities can be healed as long as we change our diets to provide the proper nutrients for our teeth to do so.
If you take a look at traditional cultures of the past, tooth decay was a rare find. It wasn’t until these traditional cultures adapted a Western diet, filled with processed foods lacking many beneficial nutrients, that tooth decay became prevalent. So what kind of diet is needed in order to maintain healthy teeth & prevent or heal tooth decay?
A diet that is high minerals (specifically calcium and phosphorus) and high in fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin D, especially), and a diet containing little to no phytic acid (phytic acid prevents your body from absorbing minerals and is found in grains). So although too much sugar is never a good thing (especially processed/highly refined sugars), it seems that grains are the foods we should be most concerned with. Grains such as rice, pasta, seeds, and nuts, contain large amounts of phytic acid, and ultimately prevent mineral absorption. That means, if your eating a diet high in grains, your body will not be able to heal itself as well or even maintain proper nutrient levels.
In the 1920’s and 1930’s, specifically, Dr. Mellanby and Dr. Price separately conducted studies regarding diet vs. tooth decay and both ended up with similar results: diets high in grains caused cavities, diets high in vitamin D (and other fat-soluble vitamins) and low in grains prevented tooth decay and healed already forming cavities. Interesting, huh?
Dr. Weston A. Price (a dentist) who conducted this early research and studied traditional cultures of the past recorded many situations through out 1920’s and 1930’s where tooth decay was healed within his practice without filling cavities. Dr. Price found that vitamin D (found in eggs, butterfat, organ meats, and fish oil), along with vitamin K (found in butter oil, egg yolks, and leafy greens), worked wonders for the immune system and were the main fat-soluble vitamins that helped to heal the teeth, when taken together. These vitamins are found naturally in traditional foods, and should be consumed this way as well. Synthetic vitamins often cause a slew of “side effects”, so vitamins are best obtained naturally. The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends taking fermented cod liver oil along with high quality butter oil (these both come in capsules or liquids) each day to obtain proper amounts of these fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin D and vitamin K2).
Click here for Green Pastures Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Blend (to get both in one dose) - this brand is the recommended brand from the Weston A. Price Foundation
Click here for last week’s Back to Basics post, which gave an overview of curing teeth of cavities, naturally.
Visit the following links for some more information:
How I Healed My Child’s Cavity - The Healthy Home Economist (one of my favorite blogs)
Preventing Tooth Decay - Whole Health Source
Reversing Tooth Decay - Whole Health Source