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Daily Tips

When it comes to food allergies, there is a big learning curve.  To help with the details, we are posting a daily tip about the top food allergens, cross contamination and how to avoid it, crazy hidden places that food allergies hide, cooking and baking tips, and more.  There will be a new one every day!  Read them with your morning beverage, forward to family & friends who need them, and discuss.

 

 

Thursday
Mar202014

This week's PRODUCT LOVE: Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds for Household Cleaning

 

This product is gluten-free and made without harsh chemicals, yet cleans SO, so very well, and has so many uses!

So, despite the crazy label (and partly because of it), I love this soap for household cleaning. All of Dr. Bronner's soaps spout the philosophy of this passionate soap maker who wanted a soap AND a world that is "All in one!" He uses a blend of Christian and Jewish philosophies, and words of great poets to make up his unique world, and preaches them right on the bottle. My eyes crossed when they first grazed the fine print, but a part of me has always wanted to meet the character behind those passionate words.

I've used the body soaps for decades now, heavily diluted (they are potent), as a body wash. I also use them to clean my tub and shower. If you mix the body soap and a little baking soda, you get the same gentle abrasive cleaning as Soft Scrub. With our without the baking soda, it cleans much better and more safely than any other bathroom cleaner on the market. I mean, why use harsh chemicals on the tub into which you put your gorgeous body?

A friend of mine told me that she adds vinegar for a little more power on soap scum. The vinegar and baking soda will have a little harmless chemical reaction, which is fun, too.

So when I saw Sal Suds on the shelf, a product that claims to clean your whole house with just a few teaspoons in a bucket of water, and also does laundry and the dishes, I had to try it.

According to the label, "It is made with plant-based surfactants and natural fir needle and spruce essential oils (no cheap, harsh pine stump oil), without any synthetic dyes, fragrances or preservatives." It's biodegradable, and has a lovely, subtle pine scent.

Your clothes don't smell like perfume, and your house smells like a lovely home, not a recently disinfected New York City subway.

If you are highly sensitive to chemically based cleaners, this is a wonderful thing to have in the house. When I first did the laundry with it, I added a quarter cup, less than half of what I would add if using other concentrated detergents. Guess what? The suds were several inches deep, so I cut that amount in half, too!  It's price tag is $13.99 for 32 oz., but it will last a very long time if you use it according to the directions.

Read a little history of the soap, Dr. Bronner himself, and some other uses for his products.

http://www.businessinsider.com/14-uses-for-dr-bronners-soaps-2013-11

Tuesday
Mar042014

Chef's Tip: Season from on high for even coverage

Pictured: Edison Grainery's Gluten-free HImalayan Pink SaltWhen you watch cooking shows, have you noticed that chefs raise their salt-filled hand high above the meat or veg?  Is this just for show?  Nope. It maybe showmanship, but it is also a matter of physics. If you salt or season from high, it allows the seasoning to fall in a much more even manner, and give your meat more even coverage so that one bite is no more salty than the last.

Now go forth ye, and season like a pro.

Tuesday
Feb112014

This week's PRODUCT LOVE: Carrington Farms Organic Coconut Oil

It isn't just the big bottle at a reasonable price that I love about Carrington Farms cold pressed, unrefined, organic coconut oil, I love the consistency and taste. I also love the care that they take in their processing of their products.

Coconut oil itself is rich in medium chain fatty acids, which are very healthy, easy to digest, and do not put strain on the liver and gallbladder. Once thought to raise bad cholesterol, researchers have recently discovered that coconut oil, because it is a medium chain fatty acid, does not raise bad cholesterol at all. Scientists now believe that coconut oil lowers the risk of heart disease.

There are three types of fatty acids: short chain (SCFA), medium chain (MCFA), and long chain fatty acids (LCFA). Most oils, fats and processed foods contain LCFA.

Coconut oil, because of its caprylic and lauric acids, has also been researched and found to be anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and even anti-viral. It can be used by knowledgeable practitioners in therapeutic doses to treat certain conditions of the gut.

I use it in a practice called oil pulling to whiten my teeth and help keep the gums and mouth healthy.

In cooking, coconut oil has a very high smoke point. That means that it is safe to use at high temperatures.

 

Sunday
Feb092014

The Dangers of Caramel Coloring

TODAY'S TIP: Readers often ask if caramel coloring has gluten (it can). It can also contain a carcinogen called 4-Mel. Long-term studies have shown that it CAUSED lung cancer in mice. 

Caramel coloring can be derived from different grains, including barley (high in gluten) &/or corn. In the U.S, it appears to be mostly corn derived. As for the amount of gluten in caramel coloring, there are 2 sides of the argument here - one claims that gluten proteins (or other proteins) are distilled down too far to cause a reaction, while the other side questions this, since there is not testing or laws in place to prove otherwise, and also because there are a significant number of people whose personal experience is that they do react (allergic reaction or celiac reaction) to caramel coloring and other highly distilled grain products.

However, it isn't just people w/ celiac or allergies who should avoid it, we all need to for the sake of our health. Many soy sauces (many restaurant soy sauces list it as the 1st or 2nd ingredient), imitation maple syrup, cola, gravy, etc. contain caramel coloring that uses 4-Mel. And major brands use 4-Mel, acc. to a Consumer Reports study. One can of certain sodas can contain very high amounts, and most soda drinkers drink more than one can per day.

I hate the word, "should", but there are simply to many people w/ cancer and immune issues to softball this one.

Previous studies of 4-MeI have found long-term exposure to the chemical caused lung cancer in mice, according to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That prompted the state to add 4-MeI to its list of potentially toxic chemicals under Proposition 65, which requires warning labels on products containing concerning levels of the chemical -- in this case 29 micrograms of 4-MeI per can or bottle.

Tuesday
Feb042014

This week's PRODUCT LOVE: Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao

This is a fantastic chocolate powder to use in baking. It may be a little stronger than regular cocoa powder, but generally, I find that I like that and use it as a 1 to 1 replacement. This raw cacao is packed with nutrients and is utterly and simply delicious. My favorite all around.

"All of Navitas Naturals products are inherently gluten free and vegan. We do not source or process anything with gluten and therefore our entire production facility is gluten free. We do not have a gluten free certification at this point nor do we test for parts per million for each product, but are working toward doing so for the near future. Our foods are also all dairy free. Again we do not test for parts per million at this time, but no dairy is ever present in our facility."

~Arthur Mullin, Navitas Naturals

  • No Gluten: not sourced or processed with gluten, but not tested. In the process of getting gluten-free certification and performing a ppm test for gluten-free certification for raw cacao. Navitas Power Snack line is gluten-free certified.
  • No Dairy: no dairy is present in the facility, but not tested for dairy at this time.
  • Tree Nuts:  facility processes tree nuts, but handles cashews only.
  • Soy: We do not test for parts per million for soy or peanuts. Our superfoods come from around the world and are grown in natural, native habitats. The risk for cross contamination with gluten, soy, or other legumes is extremely low and/or unlikely.
  • Peanuts: We do not test for parts per million for soy or peanuts. Our superfoods come from around the world and are grown in natural, native habitats. The risk for cross contamination with gluten, soy, or other legumes is extremely low and/or unlikely.
  • Sulfite Free: None of Navitas Naturals products contain sulfites
  • Organic: All products are certified organic and use minimal processing methods such as freeze-drying. The facility is certified organic.
  • GMO StatusNavitas Naturals products are Non-GMO Project Verified! That means they’ve met the rigorous standards of the Non-GMO Project- an independent non-profit reviewer that ensures products are made according to best practices for GMO avoidance. Organic Facility. Under current FDA regulations, no GMOs are allowed in organic foods.
  • Certified Kosher: "Most of our products are certified kosher through Earth Kosher. You can find more information at www.earthkosher.com."

Read the labels for your particular allergens at:  http://navitasnaturals.com