GETTING REAL WITH FOOD

REAL GoodModern diets consist of over-processed, lifeless foods that produce little enzyme activity and contain little or no fibrous material.  Simply put, we are eating devitalized foods that are not fresh, with fewer nutrients. Substituting processed foods for REAL food options is quickly becoming the link to physical AND mental dehabilitating diseases and chronic conditions such as obesity, lowered IQ and sexual dysfunction – just to name a few of the obvious side effects. Without the nutrition-dense, mineral-intense fuel that the body craves, we collectively drop the bar in life. Have you noticed the uptick in society’s downtrodden nature the past decade or so?

The current average American diet consists of eating lots of chemicals like coloring agents, artificial flavors and preservatives that can make the food appear more attractive and taste fresher.  Even non-processed foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, whole grains and meats often contain chemical residues from pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other products used to make them grow.  All of these substances reduce the amount of Vitamin E available for biochemical and physiological processes.

There are forty nutrients that cannot be made in the body.  They are essential fatty acid, 15 vitamins, 14 minerals, and 10 amino acids.  Collectively these forty nutrients are spoken of as the body’s requirements. From these our bodies synthesized an estimated 10,000 different compounds essential to the maintenance of health.  All the forty nutrients work together. Therefore, the lack of any one might result in the underproduction of hundreds of these essential compounds.

Ergo the Enzyme

Food that has been processed lacks major enzymes.  Every metabolic function in our body and every chemical reaction that keeps us healthy are helped by enzymes.

Without enzymes there is no life.   Enzymes run the body.  Every day your body burns enzymes to run our organs like the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, as well as the trillions of individual cells that carry on life.  Those enzymes need to be replaced as the body uses them up.

An enzyme acts as a catalyst, which makes something work more efficiently. For example, the oil in your automobile engine is a catalyst. Although your engine runs on gasoline, how efficient would it run without oil?

Your body re-supplies enzymes by manufacturing them or by receiving them from an outside source.  They come from raw foods – vegetables, fruits, and even meat.  They can be converted for bodily needs. When there aren’t enough enzymes available on a daily basis, your body begins to cut back from various bodily functions.  For instance, hair may become dry, nails may crack and skin may become dry – giving the appearance of an older person.   Then more critical, the liver will not be able to handle the excretion of waste products.

Fifty percent of all enzymes burned by the body are used in digesting our food.  When insufficient enzymes are available for the digestion process the body steals energy (enzymes) from other bodily functions.  Without these enzymes, due to the lack of them in the food we eat, the average person only digests about 30 to 70% of what they eat.

Processing takes a lot of nutrients out of the nutrient rich foods.

Processed food is made from REAL food that has been put through devitalizing chemical processes and then is infused with chemicals and preservatives. Beef jerky, canned tea, jam, hot dogs, and low-fat yogurt with sugar or aspartame are a few examples of processed food.

Processed foods are also fortified with synthetics. Most of the pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, cholin, inositol, vitamins B6 and E are discarded in the milling of breads and the refining of flour for cereals. To make up for the loss of nutrients during processing, synthetic vitamins and minerals are added.  Although helpful, these synthetics are not as healthy as their natural counterparts.  The amounts of vitamins returned in “enriched” flour are far less than the quantity that naturally occurs.

All the natural fiber, such as grain peels, are also removed in the refining stages. Because of this the diet ends up poor in fiber, digestion is slow and the waste materials stay in the body longer.  This sets up the perfect condition for toxic materials to form.

Processed foods and most all packaged foods also do not contain live enzymes. When any food is heated over 112 degrees Fahrenheit, the live enzyme activity is destroyed. Missing nutrients, discarded in processing and refining foods, allow illnesses to develop.  Research shows that disease produced by a combination of deficiencies can be corrected when all nutrients are supplied.

The bottom line is that when we put foods that are void of adequate nutrition and void of any enzymes into our body, we eventually run down. The destruction of live enzymes does not permit our food to be thoroughly digested. Then our immune system becomes weakened, and we develop degenerative diseases.

Nutrition and Output – What’s Your ROI?

Non-foods have one thing in common; it costs your body a great deal more to digest, absorb, and eliminate them than they offer your body in nutritional value – an extremely poor return on your investment that leaves your body sluggish and depleted.

Our ancestors preserved foods naturally, using salt, fermentation, and sun drying. Food processing has evolved away from these simple practices into more complicated and dubious methods. Today, nearly six thousand additives and chemicals are used by food companies to process our food. Many of them can have a devastating effect on our health. But there is one simple answer to avoiding these tainted treats at all time – shop mindfully. Organic, whole foods can be readily found at local farmers markets, natural food stores, COOP’s, and even your neighbor’s backyard. There’s no reason to fret over GMO’s when you are sourcing places of good intent while grabbing your weekly goods. Not only are there specific rules and regulations to being a vendor, or having a retail product at these markets, but these are also customer quality backed establishments. A savvy [and very saucy] crew of customers frequent these locations, so if there is any “whole foods, half truths” going on, these locally supported businesses will often lose the heart of their business – knowledgeable and caring customers.

So the next time you tell yourself “I’m just having a few chips,” or “this is the last time I buy this frozen cheesecake,” remember to ask your body what it thinks. Your taste buds may be easily manipulated by synthesized flavors, but your body will always crave what’s best for it. That’s called evolution my friends!

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HOW FIDO KICKED HIS FLEA PROBLEM

Cat flea2The usual chemical flea treatments only go so far because once those fleas lay eggs on your animals, carpeting, or even strands of hair on the floor, you will have still have fleas somewhere in your surroundings – not to mention these pesky critters have a penchant for resistance after a few generations. Save money and the environment by treating your best bud’s critter problem with a toxic-free arsenal.

For a toxic-free flea removal approach you need to think clean and be proactive. But before following this tried and true prescribed plan for utmost flea removal, take a gander at a few “FYIs” you may have a better understanding of the importance of having a set plan when clearing your home (and dog) of these nasty creatures.

Know this first:

• Fleas are similar to cockroaches in that they adapt to their environment. They become stronger and more immune to the popular commercial flea control chemicals with each generation.

• Most of the fleas are living in your pet’s environment, rather than in its fur. Every flea found on your pet may mean that there approximately 30 more living in your home.

• A single flea can lay as many as 60 eggs per day. The lifespan of a flea is about 90 days, but the hibernating cocoon can survive up to year without feeding.

Scary, right?! But these are the exact knowledge tidbits that help pet owners understand that you can’t just throw monthly treatment on your pooch – especially in “high fleas zones” like the dry west coast. Be proactive and treat your home and dog right after they come in contact with other dogs.  When dogs play, they often rub up against each other – you’re not going to stop that. When you get home you need to groom your dog ASAP, then clean your home (plan ahead and treat the carpeting while at the park). That way both your dog and home are clean together, helping eliminate new eggs or adult fleas.

Grooming:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural flea killer and repellent. Place the dog in the bathtub, and in a dish mix a solution of one cup water, one cup vinegar, and a squirt of botanical shampoo, which will create a lather. Work into the dog’s dry fur until a thick lather has formed, staying away from sensitive areas. Let sit for a few minutes (about 5 mins), then rinse to remove any of the cleaning solution as well as dead fleas. The vinegar bath will also leave a mild odor on the dog’s fur and skin that will repel new fleas from attacking.
  • The best way to check your pet for fleas is to comb your pet with a fine-toothed flea comb, especially over the lower back near the tail base. You may pick up an adult flea, or you may collect black, pepper-like material. To determine if this black material is flea feces, place the debris on a white paper towel and add a drop of water. If it is flea feces, you will see a reddish-brown stain develop around the paper towel since flea feces is actually digested blood.

Home Maintenance:

  • Carpet – Mix four parts of Borax with one part of salt, and sprinkle over your carpet, let sit for an hour (good time to take Fido to the dog park). The mixture gets down amongst the fibers, and dehydrates the fleas and eggs, and prevents them re-hatching. This works great, and it is much more effective, non-toxic and cheaper than “flea bombs.”
  • Flea Trap – You can trap fleas by placing a dish of soapy water under a night light near where your pet sleeps. Fleas are attracted to warm light and will drown in the soapy water. This works for adult fleas only, but with diligence, can be effective reducing the flea population. Fleas already residing on your pet aren’t likely to leave, so you will still need to flea comb and/or bathe them in a mild shampoo (even a baby shampoo will work as fleas don’t survive well in soapy water).

Now, I clearly am a dog owner…and I do not have cats. Of course this same approach could be used for cats – but indoor cats are known to resist baths. So if you are looking at just a natural flea remedy for cats – this is it. Otherwise, you might just want to stick with the treatment. But remember, that will be a chemical rubbed all over your home!

OG MASTA BLASTA IN DA KITCHEN

tomatobarLearn to love REAL food while mastering your creative culinary experience. It’s as easy as “Prep and Play!” Sourcing fresh food options, while omitting processed picks, helps stock your kitchen with solutions to the dreaded question, “what’s to eat?”

Treat your fresh food picks with the gourmet goodness recognition they deserve. The faster you prep, the more options you will have jump out at you when surfing for snack, or entrée options. Below are a few quick tips to help guide you to becoming an OG Master Blaster.

  • Stay away from whole grains that are not sprouted (even if it says “organic”). Wheat is especially unhealthy, so try gluten free options including brown rice, organic corn and/or almond and coconut flour based eatable options.
  • The animal products (beef, lamb, game, organ meats, poultry and eggs) that you consume should come from free-range, pasture-fed animals. Buying locally ensures sure you are getting naturally raised, grass fed products from local businesses (farmers) whose livelihood depends on producing quality results for. If these are unavailable, try to buy organic products at the store.
  • Look for wild caught seafood. Eating wild caught fish and shellfish from unpolluted waters, especially high fat fish like wild caught salmon, is healthier for humans AND the environment. (Avoid farm raised if at all possible.) Wild salmon have higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids than farm raised salmon. Farm raised fish and shrimp are fed diets of genetically engineered grain products, foods that are not normal and increase the omega-6 fatty acids in the final product. Increasing your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids offsets the high levels of Omega 6 fats in the standard American diet.

Chop Tips

  • Save time by prep cooking weekday meals on the weekend. Boil eggs, cook brown rice, grill, slow cook, or roast meats and roots (including potatoes, beets, yams). These will make tasty meal components that will be easy to build satisfying sandwiches, soups, salads, snacks and entrees during the week. If you don’t have time on the weekend either, spend an evening prepping the basics ready for quick evening meals and healthy snacks (instead of reaching for cheap and easy chips, etc.) chop fruits and veggies into bite-sizes, simmer or broil “happy” meats (free-range, organically fed).
  • Cook in stainless steel, cast iron, glass, stoneware, or good quality enamel. Cooking acidic foods in aluminum will result in a metallic taste in the food, and could result in heavy metal poisoning, which affects the kidneys. In addition, Teflon should not be heated to more than 500 degrees as it emits toxic gases at higher temps.
  • Although steaming or sautéing foods is healthy, roasting is the BOMB! Delicious and nutritious, roasting veggies means more flavor and nutrients since there is leaching by steam or boiling water, and whatever you roast becomes instantly delicious as the cellular walls soften and release that full sweet essence of veggie sweetness…especially when smothered with a quality oil.
  • If you use a microwave, make sure you cook the food in a glass container. Transfer any food stored in plastic to a glass or ceramic container first.

SOY – THE NATURAL BREAST AUGMENTATION

how-to-make-your-boobs-grow-faster-300x225While crafting the message about the importance of leafy greens, I crossed the age-old debate about soy  – yay or nay on the REAL food and wellness  chart? This mamacita often wonders how many vegetarian and vegan ladies are still voluntarily eating soy while involuntarily walking around with enormous breasts [wtf?]! No matter the reason when the truth is stacked upon us that we have been fed a cupful of soy latte lies.

Ask any holistic practitioner about soy products, and they will give you the truth about soy including links and information from legitimate sources [read: non-government funded studies] such as the non-profit organization Weston A. Price Foundation. Ask any traditional general practitioner [or anyone affiliated with the AMA] and they will tell you the studies are inconclusive with establishing a relationship between cancers (specifically breast) and the consumption of soy. The one factor that both sides agree on is that soy is a phytoestrogen, the rest of the factors are left for us to decipher.

I don’t know about most women, but in a previous lifetime with western medicine I never had a discussion with my OB GYN on the importance of balancing hormones – especially after the body starts to lose progesterone around the age of 35. This loss of progesterone of course means higher amounts of estrogen often linked to breast cancer, large tender breasts, overly intense periods, and chin hairs [yes, that is the culprit ladies].

Yet because soy has seemingly been well programmed into the political side of American food and culture, many vegan and vegetarian women are being set up for painful aging as [non-fermented] soy has been linked to not only cancer but also stimulated growth of estrogen-dependent tumors, thyroid problems, deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D [both needed for healthy bones], and weakening of the immune system. The phytic acid in soy foods also results in reduced bio-availabilty of iron and zinc which are required for the health and development of the brain and nervous system. So why is soy still so prevalent in our “non meat” sector of the food political chain? The answer is simple: cash crop.

Now, my personal theory is that the soy craze caught on as we Gen X’ers were leaving high school and looking to change an already ailing global society. Being healthy became synonymous with eating non-meat items in the 1990’s as the world population was starting to look towards equality [read: anti-globalism movement], and had become mindful about global issues including the inhumane practices of meat production. Sadly, the government and corporations pounced on this movement and sent out their marketing minions to pave the way for the “eat healthy” revolution…including adding soy to their cash crop portfolio.

So throw out your vegan pressed propaganda ladies, and hike up your big girl boots, because this is just one of many social myths that you will have to decipher on your way up the bumpy path of the great awakening. Our bodies are our temples and as we purify ourselves and our universe, we need to follow the truths and bypass supporting lies. I haven’t even touched on the “banes of grains” of the flawed of the legendary USDA chart. We’ll save that for next time.

BYE-BYE BED BUGS

imagesBed bugs are big enough to be seen with their flat body and reddish brown bodies, but these little suckers create havoc by feeding on their hosts’ blood at night, and hiding in the cracks or crevices surrounding the host’s sleeping area during the day.

Known to outlive temperatures reaching 100 degrees for a short period of time, bed bugs can survive being placed in the freezer, and can live without eating for up to a year. But no need to make a desperate call to your local pest guy (that’s a whole lot of money and chemicals) you can combat these nail head sized vampires in just a few easy steps – naturally!

Come out; come out – wherever you are!
Bed bugs usually hide within 15 feet of their food (i.e. you), and tend to be found in dwellings that are frequently used such as dorms, apartments, motels, hotels, and used furniture departments. These little blood suckers are generally found in boxes, mattresses, pillows, suitcases and other fibrous belongings (bed bugs like to nest in natural fibers including real wood). In multi-unit dwellings, such as condominiums and apartment buildings, bed bugs can sometimes find their way throughout the premises by moving about the walls, cracks, pipes, and wires.

In a severe infestation bed bugs can be found behind anything wall or ceiling mounted: base boards, window and door casings, pictures and picture frames, in sofas and furniture, ripped wallpaper & cracks in drywall, lighting, ceiling fans, and light switch plates.

Many folks tend to point to neighbors (etc.) with less than par hygiene for being a source of infestation. The truth is that while lack of home maintenance is conducive to these little vampires, travel is usually the culprit. Hotels tend to be a hot spot for these little conniving blood suckers with so much suitcase traffic, especially when bed bugs build a immunity to cleaning chemicals and pesticide treatments. When guests settle in for the night, bed bugs may climb into their luggage, where they hang out and then hitch a ride are then transported to a new environment.

Kindly Kill Them
Save money while lowering the air pollutant level in your home by eliminating those pesky little vampires yourself – naturally. The key to approaching any genre of pest is patience – and a little elbow grease. The following steps are a sure-fire way to rid of bed bugs, but you will need to repeat all of the steps until they’re gone. Don’t worry, this is easy – not hard!

  • Use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to kill bed bugs on contact. Find the surfaces bed bugs inhabit, including crevices and harborages. Mix the isopropyl alcohol at a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle with water. Liberally spray the surfaces and crevices and allow air dry, and spray directly on the bugs. Less water is recommended for smaller areas or areas sensitive to water.
  • Wash and dry clothing, linens, textiles, and toys at high temperature — temperatures over 113 degrees are said to kill bed bugs. Leave items in the dryer for more than 20 minutes, then move them immediately into a plastic bag and seal them for 24 hours. This will ensure that you kill all of the bed bugs. Similarly, toys, shoes, backpacks, and other items that can be put in the dryer should be heated. Even wool and silk can usually be put in the machine for this amount of time (not wet, of course). Hot desert climates are also conducive to destroying lingering bed bugs when bedding and clothes are hung in the beaming sun.
  • Steam the seams of all fixed home textiles (i.e. furniture, drapes). Using a high-pressure steamer – a garment steamer or a quality iron will do –  hold the steamer over the seam (pulled taut) for 30 seconds to a minute. This will kill most of the eggs hiding deep in the crevice. If you have carpeting, rent a steam cleaner to steam eggs using a natural cleaner. Be sure to prep first by shaking baking soda on the carpeting 15 minutes prior to a detailed vacuum cleaning.

Aim to Maintain
Even if your first round of detoxing rids all visible bed bugs and eggs, you will most likely need to do one or two more rounds before you have entirely eliminated the adults and eggs. To avoid future invasions it is best to maintaina toxin-free home – which is the best remedy to controlling pests in general. The home is an ecosystem that can be open to invasion once the balance is tipped (crumbs and skin debris are inviting food sources to recon pests), not to mention they are an R Species that become immune to toxic chemicals within just a few generations. Bed bug control is much more difficult in cluttered homes – piles of clothing, scattered belongings, and stacks of magazines are all potential hiding places for bed bugs – so upgrading to a “clean freak” status will definitely help control the bed bug situation before it even gets started.

  • The ClimbUp Insect Interceptor is the best bed bug trap available that can also help with maintenance. You simply place one of these under each of the legs of your bed. The bed bugs get stuck while they die attempt to crawl up the bed legs. This trap will defend your bed, kill bed bugs, and allow you to monitor the progress of your bed bug control methods.
  • Be sure to keep a good eye out for eggs by massaging corners, cracks, and crevices on a near-daily basis with the vacuum suction wand to snag random bed bugs and their debris (HEPA filter required).  Sanatizing all surfaces – using non-toxic, earth-friendly cleaners – will also help detract future infestations.

Sweet dreams, don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Its freaky, we all know it – the nights during infestation. But just keep in mind while holding strong, and surviving the annoying little nuances, that you will make it out alive. The little buggers are creepy, but hey –  it could be worse! Take your mind to another place every night, somewhere comforting, and calm your nerves by only thinking of the good things in your life. Who knows, the infestation might be the greatest therapy session of your life.

CONNECT THE DOTS [#BetheChange]

keep-calm-and-tell-the-truth-6-257x300You can lead a man to water, but you can’t make him think.

We [as a modern day society] have collectively become lazy as a society by succumbing to the “selective perception” that the mainstream media has built their programming on – paid programming that is. By allowing others to lead our analysis of current events – without performing due diligence with what we read – we have allowed ourselves to be divided and conquered as intellectual individuals. We have have systematically given up our freedom to access of truths by allowing media “professionals” to tip the “fair and balanced” in the dir

Any one who has ever taken a Journalism 101 class (including moi) will remember the lesson on selective perception – as well as the journalists’ alleged “responsibility” to be fair and balanced as “gatekeepers”. The 101 also covered  topics such as identifying the target audience (i.e.  public), and writing at a level they can understand (apparently at a “fifth grade” level). That illustrious “gatekeeper” position is nothing more than a proofreading position as “relevant” information passes from the top floor (publisher), down to editor-in-chief, then the city desk editor, and finally to the lowly journalist who is hungry for action (and food since they make less than most elementary school janitors). So, now that you have a quickie lowdown on the school of thought that journalists are squeezed out of, it is easier to see why the “fair and balanced” cannot be achieved through our current mainstream media  paradigm.

You want the TRUTH? You CAN handle the truth.

The truth is out there, but as a society we need to understand that it takes a lot of insight, analysis, and due diligence to find what has been hidden from us. The first step to manuvering through the mainstream media paradigm is to read publications from other countries to find out what is really going on at home (America in my case). For example, there is no hidden agenda or motivation for a paper in Italy to hide key stories about the USA strolling into other countries and funding anti-government factions to “rise up” against their government. In fact with the amount of resentment the American “cowboy” stereotype has built up internationally,  we have to read outside the USA to see how most other countries love to cover our woes and follies!

Become a Hound Dog.

The second key to connecting the dots and gaining REAL information is to follow your hunch. When reading a story online (most muckrackers prefer drudgereport.com as a starting point), look for repeating names, and listen to your “gut” about their characteristics. For the past few decades (or centuries ) we have had a repeat cast of politicians and big business players – not a coincidence. As we working peons know, it takes time to work hard and save to move on to the next level. This cast knows that too, but they also know how to schmooze money out of others using grease (sans the elbow). Back room dealings, elaborate dinners, star-studded charity events – all breeding grounds for exchanging big money. Keep your eyes peeled and listen to your inner voice, there are many dots to be connected from the political theatre to the state of society that we were in.

Implement deductive logic in everything you do (and read).

I’d  like to pose this question to my readers, “Do you believe everything you read, or that is told to you?”  I believe the mainstream media already made up the answer for you, and it is “yes”. Don’t let them do that to you, OK? There’s no such thing as“bi-partisianship” in this country because everyone is now screaming at each other like amped up teens – especially with the topics of “religion” and “politics”. I use the metaphorical quotation marks because in general debates are now based on regurgitated Op-Eds from either the blue or red side of the fence. I side with libertarians and anarchists (always have, always will) because I want to know what, why, where, and how before I even remotely make a statement in conversation. In fact, it sometimes takes me months before I’ll commit to an ideal, or statement, because I will ONLY back a position if I have enough logic to support it.

Here’s the funny little thing about logic, it has to make sense in a Universal realm – not because you want it to, or because it supports some deep seated passion point you have. Deductive logic is parallel to the Scientific Method, which is the foundation for all knowledge we have acclaimed and accomplished up until now. So start backing up your viewpoint with REAL evidence. For example, try quoting industry studies, findings, journals, and historical evidence (i.e. history repeats itself – heard of the Roman Empire?) instead of HuffPo or Fox News. It’ll change your world – I swear – it will also change the decaying world we live in. Now that’s the TRUTH!

MASTERING YOUR CREATIVE CUCCINA

Five Salt MealWhat’s the secret to creating nutritious and delicious weekday meals? Flavor…and working with fresh farm-to-fork quality basics. Say “bye-bye” to recipe cards and over glorified (and processed) “gourmet” boxed food. This season’s hottest movement is REAL – welcome to the delectable world of creative cuccina.

Imagine that your kitchen is a blank canvas, utensils are your tools, and every single item you bring into your pantry or icebox is a beautiful bright paint color waiting to blend effortlessly together. Just like painting with a blank canvas (versus paint by numbers) the sky is the limit and your imagination is the catalyst. Removing restrictions (i.e. recipes) and working with what you have allows for a new approach in the kitchen – fun and flavorful – especially with local seasonal produce.

Just DO IT!

eatAt the end of the day no one is more accountable and responsible than you for how you act and feel. Nutrient-dense, mineral-intense foods are the fuel we need to stay energized, brain fog-free, and overall feeling great. The catch is that in order to stay on top of our game (AND treat our bodies as the sacred temple that they are), processed foods need to be kicked to the curb and replaced with the OG (organic goodness) that can only be found in nature – not from a manufacturing plant.

It’s true that boxed convenience tastes great and supplies our hungry bellies with substance to keep going, but at what cost? Is cheaper really better? Do you really understand what the usual suspects found on food labels are and how they will affect you down the line? Without going in-depth of the truthful phrase “eat to live…live to eat” (also a conversation to be had with a Holistic Practioner), I proudly announce that the creative cuccina approach will keep your taste buds happy while almost completely eliminating that dreadful question “what’s for dinner”.

The Creative Approach

Creative cuccina is simple approach that includes a prepping regiment that is most effective when paired with quality ingredients found at your local COOP, farmers market or local natural foods grocer. This approach also supports the lost art of self-sufficiency that is engrained in the Farm-to-Fork movement. Self-sufficiency brings out the creative genius while learning how to master new tasks…including becoming an impressive force in the kitchen.

ecoinactionThe secret to implementing creative cuccina is to become your own personal prep chef. You don’t have to have culinary experience to make this happen, just 4-5 hours, a few kitchen appliances, and a great attitude (libations can sometimes help!). If possible, the best time to make this happen is after a trip to the market to ensure that you’ll never have to scrape wilted greens off the bottom of your fridge again. When prepping your food after purchasing you can quickly and effortlessly chop, boil, bake your way to a fridge filled with options to whip together meals all week long. The key is to keep it simple when assembling so that the natural OG flavors come alive in less than 30 minutes. That’s right, one afternoon of prepping means easy peas-y gourmet meals that will impress even your worst critic (you, of course!)

POPPIN’ PIMPLES

8415336.cmsPimples…uninvited guests that show up when you least expect – or want them too (dates, public speaking, etc.). They are the worst type of uninvited guests – second to pests of course – who seem to linger MUCH longer than we would like them to. That being said, I’ve decided not to bore you with cliches or positive pimple talk with this intro. Instead I’d like to quote one of my favorite cultural icons (whose words greatly inspired me  at the ripe  age of 19) before diving into the what and how.

When you’re interested in somebody, and you think they might be interested in you, you should point out all your beauty problems and defects right away, rather than take a chance they won’t notice them…On the other hand, say you have a purely temporary beauty problem—a new pimple, lackluster hair, no-sleep eyes, five extra pounds around the middle. Still, whatever it is, you should point it out…If you don’t point out these things they might think that your temporary beauty problem is a permanent beauty problem…If they really do like you for yourself, they’ll be willing to use their imagination to think of what you must look like without your temporary beauty problem. – Andy Warhol

Pimple Prevention:

An ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold when it comes to pimples. While the following tips are a bit of a “duh” there is absolutely no substitution to eating right and drinking lots (and lots) of water to keep the body cleansed and pores clean. You are what you eat, and often times the pimples that pop up are gentle reminders that your liver is pissed because you fell off the healthy eating band wagon. But never fear, your body has nothing but unconditional love for you…its up to you to return that feeling.

Practice Clean Skin Habits

Keeping the skin well cleansed will deter the formation of pimples. Using a mild cleanser at the start of your day, in the evening, and before bed is recommended. Avoid scrubbing your skin, which has the potential to make matters worse.

Hands Off!

Touching your skin passes extra dirt, oil, bacteria, and grime that can trigger acne and other skin irritations. Also, if you see a pimple start to form, you should refrain from squeezing, pinching, or picking.

Shave With Caution

The way you shave can also irritate the skin to provoke pimples to form. Depending on your skin sensitivity, you may have to find a balance between electric and safety razors.

Read Skin Care Labels

When purchasing skin care products, you should be on the lookout for words, such as “oil-free,” “greaseless,” “hypoallergenic,” and “noncomedogenic”, but as always be sure to read the label and source sustainable and ethically engineered products.

The Home Remedies:

There is no doubt [in my mind] that the following are just scratching the surface for home remedies. In fact there are many blog posts out in the world wide web that cover many more home remedies. My favorite post on this subject so far can be found by Crunchy Betty (I absolutely love this saucy site), but please do read on and if this info is a little dry I won’t be offended if you visit Betty.

Vitamins

Pimples have been known to positively react to the addition of niacin (100 mg; three times per day), and vitamin A to a diet. 400 mg of vitamin E taken once per day also works wonders. You may also take 50mg of therapeutic zinc in tablet or capsule form (three times per day). Of course eating fresh organic greens is a MUST, while vitamins are an excellent addition.

Fenugreek:

A useful paste can be created from the leaves of this vegetable, which is then applied to the face before you retire each night. At the start of the morning, the paste should be washed off using warm water. Pimples, especially blackheads are treated with this home remedy.

Orange Peel:

When orange peels are pounded and combined with water, an effective home treatment for pimples is created. Apply to affected areas and watch the results.

Lemon:

Apply lemon juice to pimples to reduce their size and intensity.

Garlic:

If you rub raw garlic on problem areas several times a day, you can clear up skin. You may also eat three seeds of raw garlic once daily for a month to see results. The garlic seeds purify the blood, which aids in keeping pimples at bay.

Coriander and Mint Juice:

A helpful herbal remedy for pimples includes the mixing of one teaspoon of coriander juice, combined with a pinch of turmeric powder. Every night, after thoroughly washing the face, apply the juice for an effective home remedy. Mint juice may also replace the coriander for this home treatment for pimples.

Cucumber:

Try applying grated cucumber over the face, neck, and eyes for the treatment of pimples and blackheads. This process should only take 15-20 minutes of your time.

 

THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Whiteheads

Pimples that remain under the surface of the skin.

Blackheads:

Pimples that appear on the surface of the skin and have a black appearance. Sometimes, individuals have mistaken their formation as a direct result of dirty skin, but this is not the case.

Papules:

Small lumps that are tender to the touch, which are pink in color.

Pustules:

These distinct pimples are red at the bottom and contain a visible amount of pus on top.

Nodules:

These pimples are rather large and painful, found deep in the skin. They are also solid to the touch.

Cysts:

When these deeply seeded pimples appear, scarring may occur. This type of pimple is quite painful and filled with pus.

 

DIG THAT DEHYDRATION

TSISG00ZFood Dehydration is the oldest form of food preservation, but is slated to be the hottest trend of tomorrow. Forget fighting zombies for savaged scraps of Twinkies and Wonder bread — knowing how to dehydrate food will save your cheeky behind.

Food dehydration is safe because water is removed from the food, and is an excellent DIY basic for the future while saving money in the meantime. Dehydration is a passive activity that on average takes vegetables 6-16 hours (fruit 12-48 hours) to dry. Food dehydration is also an excellent skill to know when rations are low  and beasts and looters are plentiful – not to mention you’ll have more friends to watch your back when you entertain them with a dried fruit salad and squirrel jerky!

DEHYDRATION METHODS:

Sun Drying: You will need three to four sunny days of at least 100 degrees in a row. And if you surviving in a sunny coastal climate – Mamacita says “you are a smart one,” and “be sure to use vinegar and lemon juice to clean off your simmering rock.”

Oven Drying: Of course you can try this option fairly easily today, but natural gas may not be around tomorrow. So no matter if you’re using a conventional oven, or you’ve designed a Dutch oven for the fire pit – keep the temp (at the minimum) 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and leave ventilation for constant air flow.

Prepping Produce
All vegetables except onions and peppers, and mushrooms should be washed, sliced, and blanched. Dry vegetables in single layers on trays. Depending of drying conditions, drying times make take longer. Dry vegetables at 130-degrees Fahrenheit.

* Beans, green: Stem and break beans into 1-inch pieces. Blanch. Dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
* Beets: Cook and peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Dry 3-10 hours until leathery.
* Broccoli: Cut and dry 4-10 hours.
* Carrots: Peel, slice or shred. Dry 6-12 hours until almost brittle.
* Cauliflower: Cut and dry 6-14 hours.
* Corn: Cut corn off cob after blanching and dry 6-12 hours until brittle.
* Mushrooms: Brush off, don’t wash. Dry at 90 degrees for 3 hours, and then 125 degrees for the remaining drying time. Dry 4-10 hours until brittle.
* Onions: Slice 1/4-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
* Peas: Dry 5-14 hours until brittle.
* Peppers, sweet: Remove seeds and chop. Dry 5-12 hours until leathery.
* Potatoes: Slice 1/8-inch thick. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
* Tomatoes: Dip in boiling water to loosen skins, peel, slice or quarter. Dry 6-12 hours until crisp.
* Zucchini: Slice 1/8-inch thick and dry 5-10 hours until brittle.

The Drying Process – Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies should be dehydrated between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Begin drying your food at higher temperatures, and then turn the temperature down after the first hour or so (toaster ovens are the easiest and most efficient appliance). The last hour or so of drying time should be turned down on a lower setting. If using a conventional oven, turn to lowest setting (usually 250 degrees Fahrenheit), crack open door and place fan on side to keep temp low and breeze dry. Turn the food and rotate the trays while the food is drying (this includes in the sun).

When drying food, its best not to keep temperatures too low or too high. Temperatures too low may result in the growth of bacteria on the food. Temperatures too high will result in the food being cooked instead of dried. Food that is under-dried will spoil, and food that is over-dried will lose its flavor and nutritive value.

You will know your food is dried when you touch it, and it is leathery with no pockets of moisture. You can test fruit by tearing a piece in half. If you see moisture beads along the tear, it is not dry enough. Meat should be tough, but shouldn’t snap apart. Vegetables should also be tough but can also be crisp.

The Drying Process – Meats

Meats should be dried at 145-150 degrees Fahrenheit. Jerky should dry between 6-20 hours until pliable, but not brittle. Wipe fat off of the jerky while it is drying. Jerky does not store as long as fruits and vegetables.

To aid in the curing of jerky, meat must be marinated in salt and spices. The “OG” pioneers used 1 1/2 cups pickling salt to 1 gallon of water and soaked the meat strips in this for a couple of days. As an alternative to soaking, they also rubbed the meat with salt and spices (like garlic and pepper) before drying. The following is a quick and easy marinade:

1 C. fresh tomato puree
1/2 C. vinegar
1/4 C. brown sugar
3 T. Bragg’s Amino Acids
2 t. dry mustard
1 t. natural salt
1/2 t. pepper

Storing the Stash
Remember this key tip when storing your substances: moisture should not be allowed to enter the container. Dried food absorbs moisture from the air, so the storage container must be airtight. Jars and reseal able glass containers are the safest bet. If storing fruit leather, wrap in wax paper and store in another airtight container. Containers of dried food need to be stored in a cool, dark, dry place (60 degrees Fahrenheit – cellar conditions).

Learning to dehydrate food is also a great way to stay on a budget, maximize usage of seasonal organic produce, and ensure you always have the fresh flavors you love packed away in the pantry. Enjoy!

THE WONDER [less] WORLD OF BREAD

strange-weird-funny-pictures-of_bread-glovesBread is everywhere – in every meal and snack – but most bread options these days bare little to no resemblance to the “daily bread” from history. Just as with other processed foods, most breads (including many “whole wheat” options) contain questionable components that are unnecessary and do not add to human health whatsoever. Add in GMO wheat and you have a few more uphill health battles to conquer including an ongoing “bread” addiction that pulls you away from consuming the fresh foods [intended for humans to eat]. In fact there is no mystery as to why many people are now going gluten-free and substituting “clean carbs” such as organic brown rice, steel-cut oatmeal, and millet for loaves of “pain” – you just look and feel better! But if you must have your daily bread, here’s a few compounds to veer away from when scoping out the labels in the bread isle.

For starters, most bread options have  two primary (and toxic) chemicals used in the bleaching and aging of flour that living beings in general should steer clear of: Potassium Bromate and Chlorine Dioxide.

Potassium Bromate: Potassium Bromate is a carcinogenic that competes with iodine in the body, especially when an iodine deficiency is present. It is linked to kidney and thyroid tumors in test animals. It has been banned from use in food products in Europe, as well as the United Kingdom in 1990, and Canada in 1994, and most other countries. It was banned in Sri Lanka in 2001 and China in 2005. It is also banned in Nigeria, Brazil and Peru. However, it has not been banned in the United States. The FDA sanctioned the use of bromate before the Delaney clause of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act went into effect in 1958 — which bans carcinogenic substances — so that it is more difficult for it to now be banned. Instead, since 1991 the FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.

Chlorine dioxide: a basic disinfectant and bleaching agent. No studies have been done on safety. Some believe it is actually helpful as an anti-viral agent when taken internally.

Other “substances” commonly found in most manufactured breads include:

Agar
A thickening and stabilizing agent made from seaweed. Can cause allergic reactions but generally safe.

Ammonium Sulfate
Ammonium salt. Used as yeast food and dough conditioner. Fatal to rats in large doses.

Azodicarbonmide
A bleaching and maturing additive for flour. A number of reports have been published of individual workers alleging asthma induced by exposure to azodicarbonamide. May also be a skin irritant.

Calcium Sulfate
Also known as Plaster of Paris, this substance is used as a firming additive, yeast food, and dough conditioner. It is also used in cement, wall plaster and insecticides. Because is absorbs liquid and hardens quickly, can cause intestinal obstructions when ingested.

Fumaric Acid
An acidic agent and antioxidant.

Guar Gum
A thickening agent made from cyamopsis tetragonolobus, a plant of Indian origin. FDA says it’s safe in small amounts. Dangerous when used in weight loss products. It expands when wet and produces a feeling of fullness, but can also block the esophagus and stomach valves.

Margarine
The process of making margarine includes using a solvent called hexane. Hexane is a toxic and volatile chemical made from crude oil.

Milk Protein Concentrate
This substance has a shady origin – the dried leftovers of dairy processing from all over the world are mixed together and generically called MPC. Big food processing companies save money by buying this cheap imported MPC rather than paying a fair price to U.S. dairy farmers. Food processors are petitioning the FDA to change the definition of milk, so they can list the liquid form of MPC as “milk” on product labels.

Preservatives
There are three commonly listed:
* Calcium propionate: which is a mold inhibitor, and is also used as an anti-fungal medication.
* Potassium sorbate: a mold and yeast inhibitor that can cause irritation of skin.
* Tocopherols: a form of vitamin E. Used as antioxidant and rancidity retardant.

Propylene Glycol
Prevents discoloration during storage. Large doses have been reported to cause central nervous system depression and kidney changes in test animals.

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
An acidic agent used in leavening flour. FDA says its safe.

Sodium Hexametaphosphate
An emulsifier, a sequestering agent, and texturizer. Prevents scale formation and corrosion, and acts to stabilize product and prevent changes in appearance and texture. May cause respiratory tract irritation. Symptoms may include coughing and shortness of breath. Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the ingestion of sodium hexametaphosphate that may produce mild chest pain. Also linked to pancreatic cancer in continual doses.

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
A form of lactic acid. It is caustic in concentrated solutions.

Sugar
Not toxic in a poisonous sense, but sugar molecules are 50% fructose, and fructose has been linked to health conditions such as metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure.

Titanium Dioxide Color
A white pigment used in foods and industrial products.

Xanthan Gum
Thickening agent made from corn sugar.