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Red Lentil Artichoke Stew - Meatless Monday

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on October 08, 2012
1 comment

Meatless Monday - October 8, 2012

Red Lentil Artichoke Stew


 

RED LENTIL ARTICHOKE STEW:

1-1/2 cups water
2 medium sized yellow onions, diced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin (we always use more cumin than called for in everything – so use more if you want!)
1 tsp ground coriander (take the whole ones and grind them up with a mortal and pestle – no comparison to ground spices in the bottle at the grocery store)
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp fresh organic lemon juice (I use organic cold-pressed essential oil if I don’t have the organic lemons, just a couple drops)
1 can (24 oz) chopped tomatoes undrained
1 can (15 oz) drained artichoke hearts
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté onions until transparent. I like a little brown on them as it sweetens and mellows out the flavors but I also sometimes get distracted and they brown to the point of bitter, so just keep an eye on them. Add the garlic until just warm and you can smell it, then add the spices. Blend this just until the fragrance rises from the pan. Add the water, lentils, bay leaf, lemon juice, tomatoes with liquid, artichoke hearts and red pepper flakes (we don’t always do this, but we’re wimps when it comes to “heat”.) Bring this to a boil. Lower the heat to just a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Now I have to admit that I’ve been writing down recipes since I was 16 yrs old (or younger), so I wasn’t sure where this one came from, but I googled it and apparently I wrote this one down during one of our afternoons at Barnes & Noble since I don’t have the book or at least can’t find it right now, but I have way too many cook books – or so my family would tell me. I’m not sure you can EVER have too many. It apparently was “adapted” from The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I’m much more careful now when I write down a recipe to make sure I also make note of the original author.

Let me know if you try it, how you liked it, or how you would improve it. I have never ever followed a recipe that I didn’t change it somewhat and then change it again the next time I cook it. Which is why I make a photocopy of each recipe and then note the date I first try it, who was there, what was the occasion, and how did we like it. It gives me great joy to go back through some of my recipes and remember some of the family occasions where we first tried them. 

I've posted another artichoke recipe that is one of our favorites - here - and also why we think artichokes are one of nutrition's super hero's here.   AND - three more nutritional reasons to try this recipe - here.

Thanks for listening!

 

 

Easier Veggie Flax Seed Crackers

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on July 20, 2012

Easier Veggie Flax Seed Crackers

 

Our favorite morning "energy" juicing recipe is just a matter of throwing in a few beets, carrots, celery stalks, and sometimes a low-sugar apple such as Granny Smith. We add 1/2 half of a raw lemon sometimes. I recently made our juice for the morning - without the apple - and looked at the stack of pulp that was left. We often just stir that into the dog's food dishes and they surprisingly really like it. For some reason that morning I started considering how I could use that pulp in some raw flax seed crackers. I decided to add ground flax seed, whole flax seed, some fresh minced garlic and some fresh chopped onions, plus some seasoning. By "raw", I mean using the dehydrator at around 105 to 110 degrees rather than baking them. I ended up doing both - one batch dehydrated and one batch baked at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. 

Following those successful batches, I then decided rather than juicing the vegetables why not just put them through the food processor. So I did just that and added walnuts and sunflower seeds - a good choice and certainly enhanced the flavor and feel of the cracker. I baked half and dehydrated half. The nutrition is obviously higher in the dehydrated ones, but I do like the instant gratification (well 2 hours) over the 10 to 12 hours in the dehydrator. Very satisfying for us since we haven't had any bread or cracker products in quite some time.

For the last batch, I did use the food processor and for some reason baking them at 350 degrees for one hour ended up burning a large outside portion of the batch - big bummer. (See important note below - after subsequent batches, I found that 250 degrees worked much better. Bake 1 hour, score and turn the crackers over and bake for another 30 to 45 minutes until crispy.) I had put half of the batch in the dehydrator so we at least had those. I should have checked them rather than just setting the timer for one hour, but was busy outside. Lessons learned. I do suggest that since different combinations of vegetables can certainly be substituted as some people aren't as fond of beets as we are, or onions, that you blend the mixture, add the flax seeds, nuts, sunflower seeds and just enough oil to make it possible to spread onto a baking sheet or dehydrator sheet. I suppose if I were industrious enough I would do a You Tube video of this and perhaps will.

HOW TO BAKE FLAX SEED CRACKERS:

The first time I made them into cookie-sized rounds and smashed them down to about 1/2 inch. The next time I realized how wasteful of space this was and remembered some of my raw food cook books where they simply spread the entire batch over the entire baking sheet pressing it until it reaches the edges and assuring about 1/4 inch thickness. For the other ones, I did the same thing. On both I used the paraflex nonstick sheets. After one hour (or until the crackers feel done on one side), I scored them into cracker sizes with a sharp knife and turned them over on the dehydrator tray without the nonstick sheet to allow for additional drying. I turned the crackers over on the baked ones but left the nonstick sheet in the baking sheet. 

 
Yummy spread with soft goat cheese.

How long do I bake them?:

For the first batch, the one hour on one side and another hour on the 2nd side worked great in a 350 degree oven. (See note below - changed my recommendation to 250 degrees.)  I absolutely do not know why the last batch burned! The dehydrated ones, I dehydrated on one side for 4 hours, turned them over and dehydrated until they felt like crackers should - crunchy. Others may like them chewier, so this will require less time. 

INGREDIENTS: (organic where possible)

2 medium beets, peeled and cut into smaller pieces, the size depending on your food processor or juicer
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into smaller pieces, ditto above
5 stalks of medium sized celery, ditto above
5 medium sized carrots, peeled if using the food process, just scrubbed if using the juicer
1/2 of a medium red bell pepper
2/3 cups crushed flax seed (best to crush the whole seeds freshly each time in a coffee/herb grinder)
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/3 cup olive oil - or just enough to make the mixture stick together in order to spread
2 Tbsp Westporte Special Seasoning (or use your favorite all purpose seasoning)
5 to 6 twists of garlic salt seasoning
2 to 5 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped raw organic walnuts
2/3 cups raw organic sunflower seeds

If you are from my generation, you might remember when Chef Boyardee came out with the pizza kits and our favorite things to do would be have pizza parties where we handmade the pizza's and added the toppings. Everything came in the box - you mixed the yeast with the dough and spread it evening onto a baking sheet. The point here is the same gently pressing and spreading the dough onto the sheet is much the same way I spread the cracker recipe over the entire baking sheets - evenly as possible and about 1/4 inch thick.

 For baking use 350 degree preheated oven (see note below) - and watch carefully for the 1st hour to make sure you don't make the same mistake I did. Score them into the size crackers you want and turn them over to bake for about another hour - or less. For the dehydrator ones, spread them onto the paraflex nonstick sheets for 4 hours. Test to see if they are ready to turn. If they are still too moist, dehydrate for another 2 hours. Test again and when ready, score them and turn them over onto a tray without the nonstick sheet. Dehydrate for about another 4 hours, testing as you go.

This is not nearly as complicated as it sounds! After your first batch you can tweak it as you would like, or be adventurous and tweak it from the start.

Note added: July 23, 2012: I made another batch today and changed the oven to 250 degrees. I watched them every 30 minutes and it took a little over an hour to bake the first side. I scored them and turned them over and they looked and tasted much better than the 350 degree oven batch. 

Would really like to hear about your juicing recipes and any crackers that you make.

Thanks for listening!



Fresh Warm Spring Asparagus Salad

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegetarian Entrees
on April 03, 2012

Warm Spring Asparagus Salad


Well, for our part of the country spring has come very, very early this year. Yesterday, April 2nd, the temperature on our deck was around 95 degrees! No - I'm definitely not complaining! I love spring and summer. One of the things I love about spring is the nice fresh asparagus that is so readily available. We planted it one year and it came back a couple of years, but never where it was big enough to pick. So, we depend on our local farmers. We've noticed too that Trader Joe's has a frozen asparagus which frankly is as good as any fresh I've tasted. We mostly just saute it in a little butter or olive oil, but when I saw this recipe for warm salad, I had to give it a try. The recipe came from George Matelian's daily email (from Whole Foods) we receive and it always has good information and recipes. To read more "in-depth" nutritional information and how to sign up for his newsletter - click here.


This one salad has an amazing array of healthy nutrients. Certainly, enough to give it a try. By using the frozen asparagus spears, you can save some time and effort. We'd use the raw apple cider vinegar and McKay's chicken seasoning. When our bell peppers are ready for picking this summer, we'll use those. In the meantime, we freeze them every year, so I have some and those are what I'll use in this recipe. I do always keep jars of roasted red peppers - maybe I will use those. The balsamic vinegar is a no-brainer for me - love the stuff.

The entire credit for the following goes to Whole Foods and their extremely informational website:

You can add this easy-to-prepare salad to your Healthiest Way of Eating in a matter of minutes. Not only is it an excellent source of health-promoting vitamins A, C, and E, but it provides 16% of your Daily Value for folate. Enjoy!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small onion, cut in half and sliced thin
  • 2 TBS light vinegar (rice, apple cider, or white wine)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 3 TBS low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 7-1/2 oz jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained and slivered (or 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced thin)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Slice onion and place in a small bowl with vinegar and hot water while preparing rest of the ingredients.
  2. After about 10 minutes, remove onion from hot water and squeeze dry.
  3. While onions are marinating heat 3 TBS broth over medium heat in a stainless steel skillet.
  4. While broth is heating, snap off the woody bottom of asparagus stems, then cut the spears into 2-inch lengths. Cutting them into short pieces of equal length ensures quick, even cooking.
  5. When broth begins to steam, add asparagus. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. The outside will be tender and the inside will be crisp. Thinner spears will take about 3 minutes.
  6. Mix together roasted peppers with marinated onion, asparagus, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Marinate for 4-5 minutes and serve warm.

    Optional: If you use fresh red bell peppers, Healthy Sauté them for 7 minutes and toss with rest of ingredients in place of roasted peppers. Serves 4

     

    Let us know if you try this! 

    Thanks for listening!

      

Best supplements to prevent dementia

By Healthy Planet Blog Your Healthy Brain
on January 08, 2012
1 comment

What supplements will help prevent memory loss?

 

Mom died in her 80's but she "left us" when she was in her 70's as her Alzheimer's took over a once incredibly talented and bright mind. It's a horrible thing to watch and the Alzheimer's Association estimates that 4 million people have Alzheimer's disease just in the United States. That's a lot of people and then of course the family members become an important part of that equation first, of course, because of their loss, and secondly because they begin to worry about their own brain health. Which is why I have dedicated a lot of my time doing research on how to maintain a healthy brain and prevent dementia. Dementia is not always Alzheimers. Alzheimer's disease is, however, the most common cause of dementia in older people. If you visit my Facebook page, you will see this picture of me and Mom many years ago. I wonder if we couldn't have been able to help her knowing what we do today about brain health.

 

What is dementia?

As we age, we become more and more aware of some loss of brain function and your doctor will often tell you "you ARE getting older you know", which if you're like me makes you extremely frustrated and you'd like to hit him/her over the head with your chart. But dementia is basically a definite measurable decline in intellectual functioning which can interfere with activities of daily living and family relationships - and, of course, social situations. I still remember one time when my sister and I took Mom to lunch and she had a very difficult time trying to read the menu and order. She was still at the stage where she realized something wasn't right and it broke my heart to see her embarrassed about her inability to do so. I'm sure it was very scary to her as well. Dementia can be caused by Alzheimer's as mentioned, but it is also often caused by strokes which may be a series of strokes or only one that does the damage. A stroke is when the blood supply is blocked to your brain due to a blood clot - the same thing that causes a heart attack, except the clot is supplying blood to the brain rather than the heart. There are other reasons for dementia, but these are the two most common.

What can I do to prevent dementia?

When I was in nursing school, it was believed that brain cells could not be regenerated and once you lost them, they were gone forever. Research has shown this is not true and brain cells can be regenerated - good news for all of us! Researchers at Princeton University discovered that the formation of new nerve cells, a process called neurogenesis disproves that out-dated belief. I don't know about you, but when I first heard that, I was very, very relieved as the potential for developing Alzheimer's can be hereditary.

So now that we KNOW we can actually do something about those dying brain cells, shouldn't we be doing everything we can to make that happen? You will find past articles in our blog (see here) concerning brain health and we will be constantly informing you of new research as well as ways to increase your brain function.

The latest research that is interesting and reveals to us an easy fix is as simple as supplementing our diets with vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. This study showed that when people between the ages of 60 to 74 were given daily amounts of vitamin B-12 and Folic Acid, there was significant improvement in short and long-term memory. The improvement was documented after 2 years of supplementation, but why wait until you're 60 to start! In this study patients were given daily doses of Folic Acid (800 mcg), vitamin B-12 (500 mcg), and vitamin B-6 (20 mg).(1)

Cognitive benefits were also seen in a study that used smaller daily doses of just two of these vitamins: folic acid (400 mcg) and B-12 (100 mcg).This particular study showed that long-term supplementation of these vitamins at these dosages did "promote improvement in cognitive functioning after 24 months."

And yet another study showed additional nutrients that were effective for enhanced brain cognition. This study done with an elderly population (mean age of 87) showed that when blood levels were examined for each participant, those with higher levels of vitamins B (B1, B2, B6, folate, and B12), C, D, and E, as well as high in "marine" Omega 3 fatty acids, closely correlated with better brain functioning and increased brain volume. However, this study also showed that those participants with higher levels of trans fats (can you say hydrogenated oils?) had a lower cognitive function and lower brain volume. (3)

This should be enough to convince you to throw out those tubs of margarine and stop buying so many boxes of processed foods! What this also shows I believe is that it is obvious that what we eat or don't eat has a direct and measurable affect on the health of our brain and our future. I can't think of a better reason to change to a healthier diet. There is a lot of debate that taking supplements just produces expensive urine. I think these studies prove them wrong.

Thanks for listening!

 

(1) Celeste, A, Oulhaj, A., Jacoby, R., Refsum, H., & Smith, A. D. (21 July 2011, 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182436598). Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

(2) Walker, Janine, et al. (2012, January). Oral folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplementation to prevent cognitive decline in community-dwelling older adults with depressive symptoms—the Beyond Ageing Project: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 95.1 (2012): 194-203.

(3)Bowman, G. L. e., Silbert, L.C., Howieson, D. (Published online before print December 28, 2011,). Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging. Neurology.

Beautiful Skin Cocktail

By Aromatherapy Recipes Naturally Nurturing Skin
on November 29, 2011
1 comment

Easy recipe for beautiful skin!

 

I love that some things are easy in life because so many aren't. This is one of those easy things and it really does make a difference in the look and feel of your skin. I know I have days when my skin looks vibrant and other days when it just looks drab (today for instance) - which is why I started reading one of the books on my shelves. I use the same facial regimen every day that I know to be effective and healthy, but sometimes you just have to start from the inside to achieve that healthy look. You need a juicer though - the kind with names like Champion that extracts the juice from the vegetable or fruit and expels the pulp. We got ours used for about $25.00 - just let people know you're looking for one. Or you can opt for a new one. I have an article somewhere that I wrote about which brands and types are available. Will have to find that.This recipe was adapted from Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing For Life by Cherie Calbom, MS.

BEAUTIFUL SKIN COCKTAIL

1 cucumber, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
2 to 3 carrots, scrubbed well (peeled if not organic), tops removed
1/2 lemon, peeled
1/4 green bell pepper (Opt for the red if available, more vitamin C and phytonutrients, see below)

Cut fresh produce to fit your juicer's feet tube. Juice ingredients and stir gently to blend. Pour into a clear glass (I like to see the colors shining through) and drink as soon as possible. Precious vitamins and minerals are lost with each passing minute. Savor the taste - don't just gulp it down.  This should make 1 to 2 glasses.

Why this cocktail? 

Well, many reasons but I'll address mostly the benefits from bell peppers. However, carrots also contain a huge amount of carotenoids and vitamin A and contribute a great deal to healthy skin plus helping protect skin from UV damage. Below are other benefits from this particular juice:

1.  Silicon - cucumber, parsnip and bell pepper are good sources of the trace mineral silicon, which is recommended to strengthen skin, hair, and fingernails along with bones. In studies silicon has been shown to reduce signs of aging such as improving thickness of skin and reducing wrinkles. Silicon - not to be confused with silicone, refers to natural materials whereas silicone refers to man-made materials. Silicon is a nonmetallic element with the atomic weight of 28. Silicon increases absorption of calcium. As we age, silicon becomes depleted, so it can be an important addition to our diet as we age. There is no daily intake requirement but it is important that silicon be consumed on a daily basis.

2. Vitamins -  Bell pepper contains more than 30 different carotenoids. Carotenoids provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Bell pepper is also an excellent source of vitamin C - two times the amount of vitamin C found in your typical orange. Red peppers have twice as much vitamin C as green ones. Go for the red! Every good Nebraskan knows that!! 

Bell pepper is also a good source of another antioxidant vitamin--vitamin E. German researchers report that the antioxidants vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids - lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene - improve various aspects of skin health and reduce the effects of skin aging. "Subjects supplemented with the antioxidants in both groups also experienced a significant increase in skin density and thickness. In addition, roughness, scaling and wrinkling of the skin improved in both groups of subjects receiving the antioxidants." (1) 

Bell peppers contain a substantial amount of vitamin A with ripened red peppers having almost 16 times the amount of vitamin A than green bell peppers. According to WebMd, vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance and repair of skin tissue. "Without it you'll notice the difference." (2). Although being pharmaceutical-minded, they also recommend topical vitamin A creams. I have no doubt that increasing your intake of natural vitamin A would be much better - Mother Nature really does know best. 

Increasing our regular intake of antioxidant phytonutrients can decrease our oxidative stress and lower our levels of inflammation, both of which contribute to dry, aging skin and wrinkles.This is but one of many juicing recipes that can be easy and very inexpensive to do. There are many other health benefits beyond healthy skin, but usually the health of our bodies is directly reflected in the healthy appearance of our skin.

Thanks for listening!

 

 





1.  Source: Heinricha U, Tronniera H, Stahlb W, Béjotc M, Maurettec JM. Antioxidant Supplements Improve Parameters Related to Skin Structure in Humans. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. 2006;19:224-231.

2.  http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition?page=2




Black Bean and Artichoke Medley II

By Recipes for a Healthier You Vegan Main Meals
on November 13, 2011

Black beans and artichokes in a simple vegan stew:

 

Sometime last year I wrote a blog about "The Mighty Artichoke" - see here - and why it is so incredibly healthy and often overlooked as a superfood. And I also posted a recipe that we had adapted from AICR's website with permission - see here. At this time in our household we are dealing with what we believe to be yeast overgrowth which is presenting itself as a large area of Warren's body being covered with rashes. This has been going on for awhile. The dermatologist thought it was psoriasis, so he put him on prednisone, which is a steroid medicine often given for inflammatory conditions. However, it also feeds yeast and makes it worse. Which is what has happened. The reason I'm even telling you this is that we are now VERY interested in changing our diet to eliminate all sources of sugars that would feed anymore yeast growth. We are also treating the rash, but I can tell you it has been a painful miserable process for my husband. In this long process I have been doing a lot more research about yeast and what can be done about it.  Which means I've been searching through a lot of our recipes to see if they could be used now. The black beans and artichoke recipe originally was a simple quick recipe and I made it today. It was a hit and what we call a "keeper". I wanted to share with you this simple but tasty black bean and artichoke simmer II.

Olive oil (just lightly cover the bottom of the pan)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 fresh garlic cloves (one of the best things to fight yeast)
1 quart of Warren's canned tomatoes (I know you can't have these - substitute 2 cans of tomatoes with no sugar or salt added)
1 can (15 oz) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 Tbsp Old Westporte Special seasoning (you'll see me use this spice a lot - here is where you can find it). It's not a "spice" per se but a proprietary blend of dehydrated vegetables.

In medium saucepan, saute the onions until transparent. Add the minced garlic - don't let burn or turn brown. Add the Westporte seasoning and stir in the tomatoes and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add the black beans, stirring to mix well, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until heated throughout. 

I wasn't sure if it would turn out to be a soup, stew or casserole type dish. It was somewhere between a soup and stew and we served it in bowls. It was really very good. We happened to have cooked spinach as a side dish at the time and tried adding that to the stew, but it pretty much overwhelmed the clean, fresh taste of the artichokes and tomatoes. 

According to AICR's (American Institute for Cancer Research) website this recipe contains 9 servings, with 90 calories each, 1.5 grams total fat (0 grams saturated fat), 15 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 4 grams dietary fiber and 420 mg sodium. I think using our own canned tomatoes probably reduced the sodium content. I also did not add any salt while cooking. 

Easy, quick and incredibly healthy! Let me know if you have any recipes you'd like to share or advice about yeast overgrowth. After searching through quite a bit of information, it became clear that there is a lot of disagreement about what can or cannot, should or should not be eaten to control yeast. I've had to weigh my education as a nurse with my education as a holistic nutritionist to filter out those things that just don't make sense. I've also watched closely to see clinical improvements or something that might make it worse. I am certainly open to listening to anyone's knowledge in this area.

Thanks for listening!











Hexane in that veggie burger?

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 03, 2011

Is there hexane in that veggie burger?

And do you know why hexane is used as compared to cold-processed or expeller pressed oils? Are  you worried about hexane residue in your veggie burger?  And as importantly, is there hexane in the oils you use to cook with or used to make your personal care products? We don't think it's a high risk in your veggie burger and the link below shows why, but we do buy and use 100% certified organic cold pressed oils and expeller pressed oils for all of our personal care products. These oils are always more expensive, 2 to 3 times for some oils and butters. We do that because these processes are done at lower temperatures and this retains the vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients in the oils, not so much because we're concerned about hexane in non-organic oils. We're much more concerned about pesticide and herbicide residuals in non-organic oils. Below is some information about the different types of oil processes - things you might want to consider when purchasing your oils for cooking or your creams, soaps and cosmetics.

Why do we buy oils that are expeller pressed?

Our first choice is always cold pressed, but that's not always available in some oils. If we can't find cold-pressed for a particular oil, then we look for expeller pressed oils and butters. This is a process that does not use chemicals to extract the oil - which means, no hexane is used. Additionally, no external heat is applied in order to extract the oil. There is friction and, therefore, higher heat from the higher friction is required in some nuts or seeds that are harder and require more friction in order to extract the oil. So basically, expeller pressed means that the oil is extracted without using hexane or other chemicals. Using chemicals and high heat is a common practice for many conventional oils you find on the grocery stores and your cosmetic counters.

Why do we pay extra for cold pressed?

Well, cold pressed is just that - cold processed where temperatures are controlled to ensure that the seed or nut does not go higher than 100-120 degrees F (some are even processed as low as 80 to 90 degrees F).  By cold pressing, the key nutrients, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients are left intact. Obviously, this is a more labor intensive and expensive process, but worth it we think and definitely the "gold standard" for all oils. When we add these oils to our products, we also are very careful about keeping these oils at low temperatures, as we also do when infusing our organic herbs into the oils.

Avocado oil was the one that was the most obvious to me and finally convinced me we needed to change. We previously purchased a "cosmetic" grade avocado oil and when I asked the supplier if it made a difference whether I purchased the organic or cosmetic grade, he said no. I then asked was this oil "food grade" and he said no. It was then that I knew we should be purchasing not only food-grade oils, but certified organic ones. I decided to sample some of the different oils and purchased a certified organic cold-processed, unrefined avocado oil that is a beautiful deep green, thicker, and it seems obvious to me would contain far more nutrients than could possibly be retained in a high heat process used for cosmetic grade oils and butters. The picture here clearly shows the difference, even in spite of my amateur photography. The oil on the far right is our certified organic extra virgin olive oil, the same that we use for cooking and for our creams and soaps (30% in our soaps). The oil on the far left is the cosmetic grade Avocado oil we used before we knew better, and the middle avocado oil is our certified organic unrefined avocado oil. I'm visual and this was an obvious no brainer for me. The lesser grades of olive oil are also very thin and clear in color but that is what is used in most of the cosmetics and soap on the shelves today - and, unfortunately, in a lot of the extra virgin olive oil you probably pay a lot for at the grocery store - even the health food store. Not ours. Unrefined oils are always darker in color and more true to their natural seed, nut or fruit.

The cosmetic grade oils are refined at temperatures as high as 450 degrees - these oils are not a food grade oil. Some oils are "partially refined" which can include deodorization and bleaching. And, finally, and important we think, is that certified organic oils and butters are rigorously analyzed for chemical, pesticide or herbicide residue. We do not purchase oils that have been processed through high heat extraction as these methods produce unhealthy oils - if we can't eat it ourselves, we don't use it in our products.

So what about hexane in our veggie burgers?!

The link provided below gives a good analysis of whether this is true and to what extent it should influence  your purchasing habits. We do think it's important to look at the label and compare the oils you use for cooking as we believe it makes a difference in the content of vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients retained. Obviously, you're probably not going to know what type of oils are used in your cosmetics and other personal care products- except ours of course. And that's even assuming the product contains real oils and butters or just lots of synthetic chemicals to try to accomplish the same feel at a much lower cost - to them, not usually to you. But that's another story for another day.

 
 
Thanks for listening!


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