Some of my Favorite (Time and $$ Saving) Kitchen Tips

I pulled up my blog the other day and saw that it consistently gets hundreds of viewers every day.  I was humbled and grateful to see this so I wanted to say a formal THANK YOU to all of you who use my blog as a resource and share it with people you know.

I have a passion for health and for cooking and love sharing the recipes I make in my own kitchen.  Like many of you, I have a very busy schedule so I am always looking for easy meals to make and time-saving tricks to make the job easier.  Here are some of my favorites:

Wet Chop – this is an amazing tip for chopping things like onions, celery, cauliflower (think cauliflower rice) or carrots when you need a lot of them.  I often cook for hundreds of people at a time so this trick is an absolute necessity.  Simply chop the vegetables into large chunks and put them in a Vitamix or high powered blender.  Fill the blender with water to cover the vegetables and start on low then increase the speed.  The higher the speed, the smaller the chop.  Typically, I will go to a 4 on the Vitamix to get a nice dice.  When done, simply drain the veggies into a strainer and they are ready for your recipe.  Here is a how-to video.

Freezer Staples – There are some things I always have on hand in the freezer.  I started doing this when I found I was having to throw away things because I wasn’t using them fast enough.  Peppers – bell peppers, jalepenos, poblanos, etc.  I slice them up and put them in a freezer bag to pop out for fajitas, stir frys, soups, and to add a bit of spice to my recipes.  Ginger – I will buy a giant piece of ginger and put it in a bag and right into the freezer.  When I need it, I pull it out, peel a portion, and microplane it. Another trick with ginger is to use a spoon to take the peel off. Berries- organic berries can go bad very quickly so before the do, I lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze them (if you try to put them all in a bag together while they are fresh, they clump together).  Once frozen, you can throw them into a bag together.  Bones – I will take the bones/carcasses of whole turkey, chicken, t-bones, etc and put them in the freezer.  When I have enough accumulated, I make bone broth. See recipe here.

DIY Money Savers – Many people say that eating healthy is too expensive so I am always looking for budget tips.  One of my favorites is to do things myself that the stores charge a premium for.  For example, you will pay extra to buy shredded cheese as opposed to shredding it yourself.  The other benefit to this is that you avoid the added ingredients they have to use to keep the cheese “separated”.  You can get grass-fed cheese and grate it yourself when you need it.  Another great example is to buy bone-in meats.  Again, when you buy boneless, skinless meats, you are paying for that service.  It is much cheaper and healthier to cook meats with the bones (plus you will have them to make bone broth with afterward).  If you must have a boneless cut, you can de-bone it yourself easily at home with a good knife.  Some grocery store butchers will even do it for you if you ask.  That way, you pay the lower price but still get what you want.  There are so many new and convenient products in the produce section as well.  Rather than picking up the riced cauliflower, the chopped lettuce, the chopped green beans, etc.  Buy the whole item and do it yourself.  You can save a lot of money this way.

Cook Once, Eat Twice – Cook with the intention of having leftovers.  Since you are spending time in the kitchen anyway, it is not any harder to make extra to have for another meal.  You can eat it for lunch the next day or have a second dinner.

Make Your Own Nut Butters and Nut Milks – If you have a Vitamix or high powered blender, it is simple to make your own nut butter.  Simply put the nuts in the Vitamix and blend until desired consistency.  To make your own nut milk, simply soak the nuts overnight and drain.  Put them in the blender with some water and then drain with a nut milk strainer to get rid of the skins. Both of these are quick, easy and will save you a ton of money.

Healthify Your Soups – You can blend cooked cauliflower to add to soups.  This makes a nice, creamy addition to any soup and adds an extra punch of nutrition.

Oven Turkey Bacon – I found that when cooking for a crowd or making multiple breakfast items, it can be labor intensive to stand over a skillet frying bacon.  I started putting it right into the oven.  For easy clean up, you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cook bacon at 350 degrees to desired doneness.  Be sure to flip it over when done on one side.

Oven Meatballs – Meatballs can be very labor intensive, from rolling the balls to standing over a pan making sure they don’t burn or fall apart, it is a process.  I started using the oven to my advantage when making meatballs.  I simply put the meatballs into a baking dish (ideally, you want them spaced a bit) and bake until done, turning them over a couple of times.  When done, you can either drain the drippings or use them to make a gravy.  My favorite meatball recipe is for Swedish Meatballs.

Tenderizing Grass-Fed Meats – I’ve had many people tell me that their grass-fed meats are tough.  Slow cooking things like roasts, oxtails, and short ribs make these cuts of meats very tender and juicy.  However, for steaks, I like to use a Jaccard Tenderizer.  It works perfectly every time and makes for a nice, tender steak.

Add an Omega-3 Punch – I have fallen in love with the little hairy guys I wouldn’t have touched with a 10-ft pole in the past – ANCHOVIES!  I can eat them right out of the can now but many people just can’t so here is my trick.  Heat a bit of oil (avocado is preferable but if you use olive oil- DO NOT let it smoke.  You should not heat olive oil very much at all).  Throw in some anchovies and stir for a few minutes.  They disintegrate into nothing and you are left with a salty, smoky infused oil that is LOADED with healthy omega-3’s.  You can then pour it over salad or veggies or use it in soup.

I hope these tips help you in your kitchen and again, thank you so much for your support!

Be blessed

Enzymes – Critically Important, Frequently Ignored

Food is made up of not only protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but also critically important enzymes.

All living things contain enzymes and life cannot exist without them.  Enzymatic activity is involved in every biochemical reaction in the body.  Enzymes are essential nutrients and can easily become deficient in the body. Think of enzymes as the “workers” on a construction site.  Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals are the raw materials but the workers are the ones needed to build the house.

There are three types of enzymes:

Enzymes1. Digestive Enzymes – secreted by the salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and the small intestine.  They break down foods to their simplest forms.

2. Food Enzymes – exist naturally in raw food. Temperatures above 118 degrees F destroy enzymes.  They work to digest food so it can be absorbed into the blood stream. Food enzymes are found in raw fruits, vegetables, eggs, raw unpasteurized dairy, meat and fish.

3. Metabolic Enzymes – produced in the cells and can be found in organs, bones, blood, and inside the cells. These enzymes assist the function of the organs.

You will not see enzymes listed on the US RDA’s but they are extremely important.  Where vitamin and mineral deficiencies can result in outward symptoms, enzyme deficiencies can be happening behind the scenes undetected and eventually manifest as chronic degenerative diseases.

The Processed Standard American Diet

Although it is widely known that enzymes are critically important, this fact is completely ignored when it comes to food manufacturing and processing.  In the early 1900’s there was a shift from rural and agricultural food to industrial, processed food.  In order for food to have a longer shelf-life in a can or a box, enzymes had to be removed.  If they are not removed, they will ultimately digest the food as it sits in a can.

Then…Food manufacturers used to use salicylic acid (aspirin) to destroy enzymes but there were many health ramifications to doing this.  Salicylic acid was linked to blood thinning, irritating effect on the kidneys and bowels and slowed digestion.

Now…new technologies are used to remove enzymes like hybridization.  For example, foods can be hybridized to have less natural enzymes.  (e.g. tomatoes)

It is a common practice to add back in vitamins and minerals in foods where they have been stripped away like grains (think “enriched”) but enzymes are never replaced.  This results in certain

deficiencies and health consequences.  When enzymes are destroyed, it taxes your body tremendously.

How the body works

Digestion begins with your saliva as it secretes enzymes to start working on the food right away (that is why it is so important to chew your food).  If the food also contains enzymes, they also go to work here.

The food goes into the upper part of the stomach where it takes approximately 30-60 minutes for your stomach to produce enough acid to bring the pH from a 5.0-6.0 to a 3.0 where it can work on the food you ate.   In the meantime, enzymes start working right away and are able to pre-digest food in the stomach.  It is estimated that enzymes can allow up to 60% of starch, 30% of protein, and 10% of fat to be pre-digested.  That is significant!

The predigested food moves into the intestine where hormonal signals go out to the pancreas to let it know how much protein, fat, and carbohydrate remain to be digested.  The pancreas produces the precise amount of enzymes needed to do the job.  This is a fragile process and predigestion is critically important.

Specificity

Enzymes have unique properties that allow them to work with very specific coenzymes.  The effectiveness of enzymes is very fragile and is dependent on the environment.  Enzymes require the presence of water, proper temperature, and proper pH

Examples:

  • Protease & Peptidase – found in meats, eggs, milk, cheese, wheat , peanuts.  hydrolyze proteins breaking them down into usable forms.  They are absorbed into the blood where they can have a positive effect on immune function, dissolving blood clots, and helping bloodflow.
  • Lipase – found in avocados, olives, nuts/seeds, bananas, cherries, grapes.  Hydrolyzes fats and is linked to treat pancreatic cancer, as therapy after a heart attack, and to control cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Catalase – hydrolyzes hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen.  (peroxide is a by-product of energy production but must be destroyed in order for healthy cellular function)
  • Amylase – hydrolyzes carbohydrates – the hardest for the body to digest.

Heat destroys enzymes

Temperatures above 118 degrees F destroy enzymes found in food.  Therefore, eating raw foods and/or using a dehydrator set at 118 degrees or below ensures proper enzymatic intake.

Note:  most produce is covered with a layer of cellulose which is not broken down by the body.  This is what most commonly causes gas and discomfort when eating raw produce.  The most common way to combat this problem is to cook the food which removes the cellulose but another way to do it is to chew food thoroughly which also removes the cellulose without destroying the enzymes.

Dangers when food is not adequately digested

When food particles are not digested properly, they pass through the gut wall where the will start to putrefy and become toxic.  These toxins eventually make their way to the blood.

Food that is not broken down properly and that don’t make it across the gut wall will remain in the intestines where unfriendly bacteria will begin to feed on the undigested food.   (this can also occur when protein and refined carbs are consumed at the same time).  This causes irritation to the lining of the colon which leads to a host of other problems.

There are many positive effects of enzymes:

Improves digestion, slows aging (including wrinkles), disease prevention, immune booster, reduces inflammation, prevents allergic reactions, speeds healing, etc.

Supplementation:

If you want to supplement with digestive enzymes, be sure to source a quality product

Maximized Living Resources:  order here

  • MaxGreens – contains a live enzyme blend and probiotics from 34 organic/living superfoods
  • Women’s Multi – contains a specific probiotic and enzyme blend
  • Men’s Multi – contains a specific digestive support blend

Other Resources:

  • Garden of Life Raw Enzymes
  • Designs for Healthy Enzymes

Resources:

Enzymes The Key to Health by Dr. Howard Loomis
http://www.naturalnews.com/022715_enzymes_food_body.html#ixzz3I9Ldamr7                        

http://www.naturalnews.com/022715_enzymes_food_body.html#ixzz3I6hGvtk3

Why Grass Fed Beef?

MYTH: FAT IN RED MEAT CAUSES heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and kidney disease!

TRUTH: There have been many meat eating societies where heart disease, diabetes and cancer are non-existent. Where cholesterol and blood pressure are normal and there is longevity and quality of life.   Studies linking red-meat to disease have all been performed on conventional beef.

It starts at the beginning

Cows were designed to roam green pastures and eat grass, NOT to be raised in crowded feedlots and eat grains like all commercial beef.

It takes 5-8 lbs of “food” to produce 1 lb of beef. That is 5-8 lbs of omega-3 rich grass or 5-8 lbs of pesticide-laden, genetically modified, processed grains (mostly corn). You are not just what you eat but what you eat ate!!!

Problems when cows eat grains

  • Grain causes the rumen to expand and apply pressure to the cow’s lungs which can cause suffocation.   The animal will often have to have a tube pushed down their esophagus to avoid suffocation.
  • Severe acidosis is common with this unnatural diet. The cow gets very sick (similar to severe heartburn) and begin to eat dirt to try to stop the burning sensation. They will pant and salivate excessively and frequently develop liver disease and ulcers. This results in processors adding a constant, low-level dose of antibiotics to try to combat the problem.
  • Most cow’s also have anabolic steroids implanted in their ears to promote faster growth.
  • All of this obviously weakens the cow’s immune system

Meat Processing

  • Old meatpacking plants slaughtered about 50/hr, 20 years ago 175/hr, now 400+/hr
  • American meat production is very centralized…13 meat packing houses now slaughter most of the beef consumed in the US. This is a breeding ground for bacteria and disease (e.coli, staph, etc). It is estimated that one hamburger can contain meat from 100+ different cows.

Bad for the Environment

It takes a heavy amount of fossil fuels to grow feed crops, fertilize them, spray pesticides and herbicides to them, and transport them to the feedlots. Grass feeding is a natural cycle that feeds animals and replenishes the ground with little to no additional effort. The grass fed model is actually beneficial to the environment and the health of Americans.

Health Benefits of Grass Fed Beef

  • 2-4 times more Omega-3 fatty acids. (Ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6- Grass fed beef 2:1, Grain fed beef 20:1)
  • 3-5 times more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) which is a powerful cancer fighter
  • 4 times higher in Vitamin E
  • Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium

Great websites for more information and to order grass fed beef:

  1. Eat Wild
  2. US Wellness Meats
  3. Hodge Ranch
  4. Two by Two Farms (Bought Vineyard Farms on Macland Rd)
  5. White Oak Pastures (ground beef is available at Publix, roasts/steaks/ground beef available at Harry’s, also available online)

 

Why don’t the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans recommend Pork & Shellfish?

The Basics

  • Pigs are scavengers (they will eat anything)
  • Pork is highly acidic
  • Pork is toxic
  • Pork is inflammatory
  • Pork carries parasites
  • Pork is linked to numerous health conditions
  • Pork has a less desirable omega 6:3 ratio than grass fed beef
  • Pork is not essential for a healthy diet

Shellfish, more of the same…

  • scavengers, toxic, inflammatory, prone to pathogens, etc

Let’s look at the biblical, the scientific, and the common sense

Could it be that the bible was right?

  • Lev 11:2-3 Of all land animals these are the ones you may eat:
  • any animal that has hoofs you may eat, provided it is cloven-footed and chews the cud.
  • Lev 11:6-7and the pig, which does indeed have hoofs and is cloven-footed, but does not chew the cud and is therefore unclean for you.
  • (New American Bible)
  • Lev 11:9-10 Of the various creatures that live in the water, you may eat the following: whatever in the seas or in river waters has both fins and scales you may eat. But of the various creatures that crawl or swim in the water, whether in the sea or in the rivers, all those that lack either fins or scales are loathsome for you,
  • What else is “unclean”? eagles, vultures, owls, lizards, camels, etc.

The Pig Itself

  • Pigs are scavengers of the earth and will literally eat anything.
  • Pigs have a very unsophisticated digestive system. Whatever they eat (and that could be anything) ends up on their flesh within about 4 hours. Cows on the other hand, “chew the cud” and have a more sophisticated digestive system (4 compartments in their stomach) which breaks down and helps in the detoxification process.
  • Pigs are not the healthiest creatures: fat, lumbering, poor skin, skin lesions, tubercles in the lungs, abcesses in the liver
  • Pigs also have no sweat glands to allow for the release of toxins. Many pigs often have open, oozing sores where the overabundance of toxins manifest.

Parasites

  • Pigs are notorious for the amount of parasites present.   Most of these parasites are heat-resistant. This means that even cooking may not kill them. (Even if they are killed off, you may still be eating dead parasites)
  • One of the biggest concerns with eating pork meat is trichinellosis or trichinosis. This is an infection that humans get from eating undercooked or uncooked pork that contains the larvae of the trichinella worm.
  • When the worm, most often living in cysts in the stomach, is opened due to stomach acids, its larvae are released into the body of the pig. These new worms make their homes in the muscles of the pig.   They remain there even as humans ingest the infected meat flesh.
  • Cysticercosis, lives in pork tissue. The larvae are released, reach maturity, and mate in the intestines, the females producing live larvae. The parasites are then carried from the gastrointestinal tract by the bloodstream to various muscles, where they become encysted.
  • According to Consumer Reports, 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested — nearly 200 samples in total — were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica, which causes fever and gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. (Ground pork was more likely than pork chops to be contaminated.)
  • It is recommended to freeze pork before cooking to kill off trichinellosis or trichinosis.

Common Conditions Associated with Pork Consumption

  • Cirrhosis of the liver – Pork consumption has a strong epidemiological association with cirrhosis of the liver. Startlingly, pork may be even more strongly associated with alcoholic cirrhosis than alcohol itself!
  • Liver Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis – “The correlation between pork consumption and MS prevalence was highly significant. Also, of major significance was the absence of a significant correlation between MS prevalence and beef consumption. This is consistent with the observations that MS is rare in countries where pork is forbidden by religious customs (e.g. Middle East) and has a low prevalence in countries where beef consumption far exceeds pork consumption (e.g. Brazil, Australia).” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/perfect-health-diet/201202/is-pork-still-dangerous
  • PRRS sometimes referred to as “swine mystery disease,” “blue abortion,” and “swine infertility,” the disease was finally named “Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome” (PRRS), and may afflict about 75 percent of American pig herds. It attacks the pig’s immune system leaving it open to infection (esp. lungs)
  • The Nipah Virus – Deadly for animals and humans, through contact with infected animals. In humans, the virus can lead to deadly encephalitis (an acute inflammation of your brain).
  • Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus (PERV) – According to a study in the journal Lancet, this virus can spread to people receiving pig organ transplants.
  • Menangle Virus – In 1998, it was reported that a new virus infecting pigs was able to jump to humans. The menangle virus was discovered in August 1997 when sows at an Australian piggery began giving birth to deformed and mummified piglets. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/12/eating-pork.aspx

BEWARE OF PROCESSED MEATS:

  • The World Cancer Research Fund reviewed 7,000 studies and deemed processed meats “too dangerous for human comsumption.” Mainly due to carcinogenic compounds like nitrites and excitotoxins like MSG.
  • Nitrites (keeps meat looking fresh and colorful) but are highly carcinogenic
  • MSG (for flavor and preserving). Also listed as hydrolyzed_________, autolyzed__________, yeast extract.
  • A 2005 study at the University of Hawaii showed a 67% increase in pancreatic cancers in people who eat processed meat.
  • Studies also link nitrites with colorectal cancer and other digestive system cancers.

What are nitrites & MSG in?

  • Bacon   •Jerky   •Sausage   •Hot Dogs   • Sandwich/Deli Meat   •Frozen Meals   •Canned Meats   •etc

 

Finally – The Highest Quality Organic Food Straight From the Source to Your Door

I have to say that I am typing this post with great excitement.  With the term “organic” being watered down and misused, it is more and more important to know exactly where your food is coming from and now it will be a reality.

Jordan Rubin, author of The Makers Diet and owner of Garden of Life Supplements has started a new venture, called BeyondOrganic that will bring the highest quality, most nutritious foods directly to the consumer.  The products will be available in October 2011 but they are allowing you to sign up NOW in order to get priority when the products are launched.  Just go to www.beyondorganicinsider.com/becomeaninsider.aspx?enroller=5932
 to enroll.

Here is more information from BeyondOrganic:

Company Overview
Beyond Organic is a food and beverage company with products of unequaled quality and efficacy. Our mission is to transform the health of this nation and world one life at a time. We are vertically integrated farming 9,000 acres, thousands of cattle and produce millions of gallons of water per day from our pristine springs.
Our official company launch is scheduled for October 2011. Rather than using a traditional retail strategy to distribute the Beyond Organic products, we have chosen a “mission marketing” (network marketing) model to reach as many people as possible with our unique, nutrient rich foods and beverages. As part of our Beyond Organic “Insider” program, you can begin learning more about our mission and products, reserve your spot in the network and begin building your own organization between now and the official launch in October 2011.

How to Purchase our Product
Beyond Organic food & beverages will be available exclusively through our virtual farmers market and will be conveniently delivered to your door! (Coming in October 2011)

Initial Product Offering – to watch a short video on each, click here 

Beyond Organic’s GreenFed™ Standard
Beyond Organic offers GreenFed™ beef and dairy products. A GreenFed™ diet is ideal to create health for ruminant animals such as cows, goats and sheep. Our cows are raised on pastures that are pesticide, herbicide and chemical fertilizer free. They consume grass and other forage such as forbs, legumes, and herbs. When consuming GreenFed™ beef and dairy you can be sure you are getting the proper balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. Beyond Organic’s GreenFed™ meat and dairy products are loaded with probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids and CLA.
Reign – Supreme Mountain Spring Water From our spring producing International Award Winning Water for Best Taste Reign Supreme Mountain Spring Water originates from the pristine mountains of North Georgia surrounded by 130 certified organic acres. This clear blue spring is a renewable resource naturally free of contaminants. The supreme purity of Reign provides maximum hydration and utilization of the body’s most important resource, water.
Reign supreme mountain spring water is up to 20 times more pure than other leading brands, which makes it the ideal vehicle for nutrient transport and detoxification. Reign spring water contains the highest percentage of H2O and the lowest percentage of solids else making it the cornerstone for proper hydration.
Reign Botanical Infusions
Reign Infusions combine the purest mountain spring water with clinically studied botanical extracts to support your good health. Reign Botanical Infusions supercharge the body with all natural extracts such as Winter cherry, Indian gooseberry, and Maitake mushroom.
Infusion Varieties:
Reign Energy Infusion
Reign Diet Infusion
Reign Beauty Infusion
Reign Fitness Infusion
Probiotic Water
For the first time, pure hydration and probiotics are combined! Beyond Organic has combined the purest water with a clinically studied probiotic that can survive high heat and moisture and is safe for all ages to consume. Probiotic water can be consumed every day to hydrate your body and support your digestive and immune systems.

Amasai™
Amasai™ is a drinkable cultured dairy beverage that provides vitamins, minerals, probiotics, proteins and healthy fats to your body. Amasai™ is similar to a yogurt or kefir and with its unique makeup, contains powerful nutrients and provides amazing health benefits. This traditional beverage contains CLA and Omega 3 fatty acids and can be consumed every day to support your immune system and digestive functions. Great for those who are sensitive to traditional products. Now available in the United States for the first time!
Really Raw Cheese
Really Raw Cheese is an artisanal, hand-crafted, never heated, cheese infused with probiotics. Our cheese is created by our own award winning cheese maker. Made fresh on a family owned farm from raw milk produced by GreenFed™ cows, and infused with a powerful clinically studied probiotic, Really Raw Cheese is amongst the purest and healthiest cheese in the world! Our Really Raw Cheese provides high quality protein, calcium and vitamins and is easy to digest.
Really Raw Cheese Varieties:
Cheddar
Cheddar Blue
Blue
Havarti
Gouda
Dark Chocolate with Probiotics & Omega 3’s
Certified organic dark chocolate that is hand crafted by a fourth generation Italian chocolatier and is infused with probiotics and the super food flax seed. Our chocolate is a healthy treat containing fiber, antioxidants and Omega 3 fats.
GreenFed™ Beef
GreenFed™ beef is high in nutrients, and loaded with great taste.
This Beef contains powerful nutrients such as CLA, carnitine, carnosine and vitamins B6 & B12. Finally, a GreenFed™ beef using biblically kosher slaughter methods for animal welfare and human health.
GreenFed™ Beef Selections:
Ground Beef
Ground Beef Patties
Hot Dog
Summer Sausage
Probiotic Flax Oil
Our very own probiotic infused flax seed oil that supports the health of your skin, joints, immune system and overall wellness. Our Flax Oil is certified organic, 100% pure unfiltered, unrefined and high in Omega 3 content.

Just go to www.beyondorganicinsider.com/becomeaninsider.aspx?enroller=5932
 to enroll.