Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sugar is REALLY that bad

Tom, my college son, sent me the link to this Babble post about sugar.  It sums up nicely all the reasons not to eat sugar that I have been touching on over the past year, so I thought I'd pass this link on to you. 


Read this - take this seriously.  I thank God that I have completely cut sugar out of our diet and that my sons and husband are not addicted to sugar.  Though I freely admit that I was/am a sugaraholic, recovered luckily.  I personally know and understand the power of sugar.  It does make you sick, not only physically, but mentally.  It has absolutely no nutritional benefit and it is so addictive (the only reason people keep eating it when it has no benefit and causes obesity?). 

Though my family eats nothing that contains processed sugar (watch out it has lots of names; cane syrup, brown sugar, raw sugar, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, etc.), we do enjoy sweets in moderation.  But we use the natural sweeteners that God has provided (honey, dried fruits, pure maple syrup), and these (for me) are not addictive like man's processed sugar.  I have provided many recipes to get you started.

Take a look at this post and see for yourself.  Share it with your kids and spouses.  Satan is tricky and cunning.  If you or a family member is trapped in the sugar lure, be sure to take it to God in prayer; He will help you escape.
 
Thanks, Tom, great job finding this!

"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."  1Corinthians 10:12-13

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Week 9

Eat at least one raw vegetable serving each day.


I don't believe an all raw diet is healthy or necessary, but raw foods do provide essential vitamins and enzymes and other nutrients, that are not fully understood by man.  So this week have at least one piece of raw fruit (week 2 challenge) and one serving of raw veggies each day.

This can be very simple.  Some possibilities include organic carrot or celery sticks (see Jennifer's post about swords).  When my boys were little, while I was fixing dinner, I would cut up celery sticks (the swords) and carrot rounds (the eyeballs).  They loved to munch on their eyeballs and swords while playing 'knights' nearby.  I made it fun and thus they loved their veggie snack, especially when they were hungry right before dinner.  Serve with a homemade dip, such as ranch dip, to add good fat to the snack for absorbing the fat soluble vitamins in the produce.  Also be sure to buy organic carrots and celery (celery is #2 on the dirty dozen list).

A salad is another wonderful choice - enjoy a green salad, spinach salad, egg salad, chicken salad, or cole slaw.  If you have a good homemade dressing on hand for your salad, a salad can be as simple as a bowl of lettuce by itself or with just one other ingredient.  Just be sure to use ingredients that are in season when possible.  Put lettuce, spinach, or bell pepper on a sandwich or in a wrap (made with nitrate-free meat and whole grains).  For lettuce, spinach, and bell peppers, again buy organic.  Bell peppers are heavily contaminated with pesticide residues.  Mushrooms and onion slices are good raw additions also, and these are o.k. to buy conventional if organic is not available or too expensive.

 
Another good option is avocado (I count this as a vegetable).  We use fresh avocado on almost all Mexican dishes.  I buy conventional and organic, depending upon price and what looks the best.  Radishes are another spring vegetable, one my husband loves.

Lots of recipes are also available for smoothies that have veggies added.  (Doesn't 'veggies' sound more yummy than 'vegetables' - take advantage of this when introducing your challenge to your family!)  If you have a Bullet or VitaMix or another good blender, give a smoothie with veggies a try.  For this type smoothie, your base ingredients are fruit, veggies, and some ice.

Enjoy the bounty of wonderful fresh vegetables that we have available to us!

Advanced Challenge for those already eating one serving of raw vegetables each day:

Include a raw vegetable(s) with both lunch and dinner, or try something new for you, such as some shredded jicama on a salad.

 

“‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.’ At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”      Daniel 1:12, 15 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Browning Ground Meat or Sausage

 
I purchase meats that come from animals that have been raised outside in humane environments and fed a natural diet (for example grass, only, for cows).  I like to buy local when possible and in north Texas we have many resources.  How the meat was raised is my top concern, not the fat content because the way to determine if something is healthy is to evaluate how closely it was raised or grown to God's standards, not man's.  For example, for 100% grass fed beef, the fat make-up is very different, not unhealthy, compared to an animal that was raised on grains in a crowded feed lot.  So the 'amount' of fat is not the concern, it is the 'type' of fat that one should be concerned about.
 
It is also important to think about what you are adding into your foods with your cookware.  I use heavy cast iron skillets that have been properly seasoned to brown my meat.  I do not recommend using pans that have a non-stick coating to prepare any foods.  These coatings will add toxins to your foods, even if new and not scratched.  Of course, as they age, the situation worsens.  One of the problems that these coatings have been linked with is reduced fertility in people.  This is a serious problem, especially if you are cooking food for your children.
 

How Safe Is Nonstick Cookware?

You probably have some pots, pans, or baking tins in your kitchen that are coated with Teflon. The chemical name for Teflon is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This chemical is what keeps food from sticking to nonstick cookware and it has been used commercially since the 1940s.
The potential problem with nonstick cookware comes from another chemical used in making Teflon. This chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals, and possibly linked to elevated cholesterol, thyroid disease, and reduced fertility in people.
PFOA has come under scrutiny by the EPA because the chemical has shown up in samples of people’s blood. This concerns the EPA because PFOA lasts a long time in both people and the surrounding environment.

The article goes on to say that more testing is needed to determine just how dangerous PFOA's are to health, and if the PFOA's are getting into people's blood from cookware or other sources.  It really concerns me when a pro - 'conventional medicine' site suggests there are risks to some man-made chemical.  Elevated cholesterol, thyroid disease, and reduced fertility in people are all problems today in the USA; don't use nonstick cookware that has been coated with Teflon or other man-made coatings.
 
Instructions:
 
1.  Heat a heavy cast iron (my preference), enameled or glass skillet to medium heat.
 
2.  When skillet is hot (not before), add your meat to be browned.  Stir and flip and break up into chunks.  Continue to cook into no longer pink.

 

3.  Remove from skillet with a slotted spatula and place on a non-plastic plate covered with a couple paper towels.  Place a couple more paper towels on top of meat and press down to remove the excess grease.  I then drain out any remaining grease that is in the skillet into my 'grease' jar which I store in my refrigerator.  I use an old glass jar with lid for this purpose and once full, it goes in the trash.


4.  Once cooked, use the meat in your recipe or place in the refrigerator (up to a couple days) until ready to use.
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Taco Meat


Making taco meat (which we use in quesadillas or on nachos rather than to make tacos) is so easy.  But it is only healthy if you use good quality ground beef and seasoning that does not contain additives such as MSG.  (The reason I no longer make tacos with my taco meat is that I can no longer find acceptable taco shells, even the organic corn shells seem to be tainted with GMO corn and cause finger inflammation for me.)

So what is good quality ground beef?  If you ask the 'world', it means to buy a lean ground beef.  I don't think this is God's advice to us but instead only one of the many bits of man's confused, misleading information that is not working to maintain health.  If you think about God's plan, it means to buy ground beef from cows that have been raised free-ranging on a pasture of grass.  Period - it is all about raising and processing the animals as naturally as possible without the use of man-made chemicals and feeds.
 
So my definition of 'good quality' ground beef is one that comes from cows that are 100% grass fed, organically raised and processed.  I do not worry about the fat percentage in the meat.  I have two main sources of ground beef.  I purchase my beef from Burgundy Pastured Beef (a local source where I have visited and viewed their practices) purchasing their 80%/20% Premium Ground Beef and Organic Prairie brand Organic 100% Grassfed 85%/15% Ground Beef which I buy at Natural Grocer.  We have many good local sources, just make sure the beef you find says that it is '100% grass fed'.  Marketing ploys are amazing, and some ground beef now is labeled 'grass fed', but that means NOTHING.  It must say '100% grass fed'; all cows are fed some grass during their lifetime, even those that are finished in crowded feedlots, injected with growth hormones and fattened on cheap grain or soy-based feeds.

Ingredients:

1 pound 100% grassfed ground beef, browned
2 Tbl taco or Mexican seasoning (I use Frontier brand - read the ingredient label of what you plan to use)
1/4 cup filtered water

Brown the ground beef in a heavy skillet (don't use a skillet with a non-stick coating).  Mix Mexican Seasoning with the water (make sure you use one that does not contain additives on the list to foods/ingredients to avoid). 


Place browned ground beef back into hot skillet on medium heat.  Pour in seasoning mixture and stir until the moisture is removed and meat is evenly coated with seasoning.

 
We love to use this meat on quesadillas or nachos, on which we also put yellow rice, refried beans, green onions, salsa, and cheese.  After cooking/baking, we then add some fresh avocado chunks.  If you keep some refried beans and yellow rice in your refrigerator (make a batch weekly), this make a great, delicious, quick meal or snack.
 
 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 8

Drink only beverages that do not contain sugar (or HFCS) or artificial sweetener.  Choose a better option.


It seems that there are two groups of people:  those who drink sodas*, and those who no longer drink sodas.  Those who no longer drink sodas typically have no desire to have another knowing the struggle and difficulty of breaking this very, very addictive habit.  These substances are so powerful that it can take years without a soda to be truly free and not slip back.
 
* When I use the word soda, I am referring to conventional sodas such as Dr. Pepper, Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sprite, etc.
 
Depending upon which group you are in, this challenge will be very easy, or it will be incredibly hard.  Drinking soda is one of the worst things you can do if you wish to achieve or maintain good health and vitality, and thus one of the first things to tackle.
 
Sodas present several very difficult challenges.  They are loaded with sugar or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and caffeine.  Both sugar and caffeine are extremely addictive substances.  It takes great conviction to claim victory in this area.  You will never gain the health and vitality that could be yours, and thus your greatest potential if you have a food idol such as this in your life.
 
I don't think I need to go into detail about the adverse health effects that soda has including robbing your bones of calcium, lowering your immune system, and rotting your teeth - this is just the tip of the iceberg.
 
A few suggestions to try:
 
1.  You must recognize the seriousness of this addiction to overcome it.  Many people tell me, "Oh, I could quit anytime but I enjoy drinking a soda so I think it is o.k. since I am making changes in other areas."  Don't be fooled into thinking this way.  If you can't give up soda this week without serious side affects (caffeine headaches, agitation, strong cravings), then you are being controlled by what you eat/drink, by sugar and/or caffeine.
 
2.  For some people, slowly weaning off soda works.  For others (like me), only going cold turkey works to stop the soda and sugar addiction.  For the first two or three weeks, the cravings are intense, but then things become easier.  If I keep thinking I can cut down and eat just a little less, I continue the cycle of cravings and eventually end up back to where I started, and thus frustrated and discouraged.
 
3.  Find a replacement, a good substitute, as you transition to a diet of God-made food.  The Izze sodas shown above are a great option.  They are fruit juice sweetened and do not contain sugar or caffeine.  My boys' friends, who drink regular sodas, prefer an Izze over a Coke or other soda.  They are an excellent transition drink.
 
4.  Pray; seek God's strength.  If you sincerely wish to be free of the control food has over you, God will help you succeed.  But you must sincerely ask Him for His help.  God wants no idols to control you - He wants you completely.
 
5.  Be careful that you don't increase your consumption of other man-made foods for your sugar and caffeine cravings.
 
6.  Eat/drink lots of God-made easy foods - fruits, raw nuts, pure water.  Loading your body with good nutrients will help make your struggle easier.
 
Advanced Challenge for those who have already overcome the addiction of soda:
 
1.  If you did these challenges last year, and gave up sodas* for a week, but are back to drinking them, I challenge you to stop for the rest of the year. 
 
2.  Identify another addictive food/ingredient, perhaps sugar, that you eat regularly to cut out of your diet this week.
 
"You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them: for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God ..."  Exodus 20: 3 - 5a

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day


 Enjoy God's natural sweets; fresh fruit in season, raw nuts and seeds, chocolate energy chunks made with cocoa powder and dates, etc.  So many yummy things to choose from that won't spiked your blood sugar level and won't rob your body of nutrients and lower your immune system. 
 
Make up a fun heart-shaped snack tray as shown or enjoy naturally 'red' meals today; we had raspberry yogurt for breakfast and tortilla soup for lunch.  Or stop by Whole Foods for some beautiful organic strawberries, the first of the season and on-sale.
 
Happy Valentine's Day! 


 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gerri's Story of Sharing

 
I LOVE to hear stories like this one.  I actually heard about what Gerri was doing from a friend on the receiving end, so I asked Gerri if she would please share what she was doing with us so she could be an encouragement to all.  It is so important that you share what you are doing with your family, friends, and acquaintances.  Gerri may be really busy next week providing healing soup to sick people, as colds and flu hit persons who indulged in the Valentine's cheap sugary sweets that are everywhere right now.  Thank you, Gerri, for your kind heart and the help and knowledge you are providing to others - you are changing the world!  May you be richly blessed.

Gerri wrote:

My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed the Healing Chicken Soup.  The way the baking chicken and simmering broth smell is alone worth making this recipe.   I've had friends come over during this process who've asked for the recipe just based on the savory scent alone.   Our whole family enjoys this recipe and though it has many steps, they are not difficult steps.  Being aware of the time involved in the simmering process and advance planning are the keys to success.
 
At times I make the recipe strictly according to how it's written. Other times I vary the ingredients and have enjoyed those results as well.  For example, I added kale to the soup to add nutrition for family friends who were sick, then for another friend who can't have rice, I added sweet potatoes and kale instead.  Another time I added navy beans to the mix.   We have found that we like the recipe no matter what combination of vegetables we try.
 
In the past few weeks, with cold and flu season in full swing, I've had the opportunity to take the chicken soup to a number of friends who have all thoroughly enjoyed it.  After asking for the recipe, one friend commented, "My husband said this was made with 'real' chicken broth.  He was right!"  She commented that it was the best soup she had ever eaten (that time, I inadvertently added twice the amount of rice than the recipe called for but it worked nonetheless). 
 
Enjoy this simple recipe and look forward to the FABULOUS smells coming from the kitchen during the baking, the simmering, and the cooking!   
 
~Gerri  
Is Jesus merely useful to you — or is He ultimately beautiful to you? When Jesus is merely useful to me, I want Him to move my world. When Jesus is ultimately beautiful to me, it’s my heart that is moved – and this begins to change the world. ~Voskamp

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Week 7

Cook with fresh garlic.

 
In today's world, everyone wants a 'magic' bullet or pill to cure their current ailment.  Fresh garlic is God's magic bullet.

Please note that I said fresh, not raw.  I am not suggesting that you eat raw garlic, especially if you do not regularly use fresh garlic in your cooking.  The only way I use raw garlic is in salad dressings and sauces, where it is coated with oil or fat.  Eating a raw garlic clove by itself can cause stomach irritation.  Eating raw garlic cloves is not recommended and not necessary to benefit from garlic's magical properties.

I had NEVER had fresh garlic used in any food in my life growing up!  I now ALWAYS have a couple heads of garlic in my house; it is an item I always want to have on hand.  It is an essential staple in my kitchen.  Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties.  Even the traditional medical community has good things to say about garlic.  Besides boosting the immune system and fighting infections, it has anti-inflammatory properties, it fights cancer, it strengthens the heart lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and it is packed with vitamins and nutrients.  This is truly God's superfood.  NOTE:  Garlic also improves blood circulation because it has blood thinning properties, but if you are having surgery or if you are on blood thinning medication, you should be careful when using garlic in your diet.

Some tips concerning garlic:

1.  Store your garlic in a container that breathes and place in a dark cabinet or counter area.  Do not store your garlic in the refrigerator.  My garlic holder is shown in the photo above.
 
2.  Get a good garlic press.  I have purchased many different ones, and have been extremely frustrated with most.  The one I finally found that works well is the Zyliss Susi.  (I have never tried the Susi 2 or Susi 3 presses so I don't know how they work.)
3.  Buy a head of fresh garlic - buying the already minced garlic in a jar or garlic powder is not the same.
 
4.  Start slowly if you typically don't use garlic.  One or two cloves go a long way in a dish.  During the winter, when colds are rampant, I use a clove or two of garlic, along with yellow onion in most of our dinner meals.

5.  Yes, eating garlic can give you 'bad' breath, especially when you first start eating it.  I wonder if this effect is due to the 'kill-off' of germs.  Brush your teeth well and follow the 'break fast' routine.  I have lots of friends who eat garlic daily and they do not have bad breath from the garlic, so don't let this thought scare you away from using garlic.
 
6.  I also have many people tell me they don't like the taste of garlic or that they can't eat it because it upsets their stomach.  However, don't give up on garlic.  Just start extremely slowly and use it in very small quantities, making sure it is well cooked.
 
7.  To use fresh garlic, pull off a clove and cut off both ends.  Then peel off the skin and place in a garlic press and mince.  You can also smash it with the side of a large knife and then finely chop if you do not own a garlic press.  When making one-dish foods, I press out the garlic into my diced vegetables and sauté everything together.  Here is a photo of the vegetables I sautéed for an egg frittata last week.  I then added eggs and cheese, and baked.
 
 

Advanced Challenge for those already cooking with fresh garlic:

Buy and use fresh ginger in your food.  Ginger also has many amazing health benefits, one is that it is a powerful digestive aid.  I store my ginger in the freezer.  When I want to use it, I take a knife and peel away some of the outer skin and then use a very small grater - I've pictured the two types I own.  Start by adding 1/2 to 1 tsp. of freshly grated ginger to a dish - fresh ginger is very subtle and you probably won't even taste it.  Experiment and enjoy.
 
 
 "We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic."  Numbers 11:5
 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Weekly Challenges 2014

I hope you have joined me in these challenges.  You can join in at anytime and with any week, but please read the Weekly Challenge - In Advance posts if you are just beginning.  If you followed the challenges in 2013, I hope you have started over this year and are working on your weak areas!

Here is a list of the challenges for the year thus far:

Week 1:  Drink 8 ounces of room temperature water upon rising. 
Week 2:  Eat at least one piece of fresh fruit each day. 
Week 3:  Read ingredient labels. 
Week 4:  Each a small handful of raw nuts or seeds each day. 
Week 5:  Don't eat or drink anything (except water) after dinner. 
Week 6Buy and use good quality sea salt. 
Week 7:  Cook with fresh garlic. 
Week 8:  Drink only beverages that do not contain sugar (or HFCS) or artificial sweetener.  Choose a better option. 
Week 9:  Eat at least one raw vegetable serving each day. 
Week 10:  Make a meal planner. 
Week 11:  Get 15 minutes of sunshine each day. 
Week 12:  Don't waste food. 
Week 13:  Enjoy a "100% God's Food" meal with a friend. 
Week 14:  Plant and use fresh herbs in your cooking. 
Week 15:  Do some 'body' spring cleaning. 
Week 16:  Drink half your weight (in ounces) of water each day. 
Week 17:  Eat your fruit first.  
Week 18:  Be still and listen, listen carefully.  
Week 19:  Review, refocus, renew. 
Week 20:  Thaw foods in advance in the refrigerator. 
Week 21:  Eat breakfast - a 100% God-made food breakfast. 
Week 22:  Involve those you live with or see frequently with meal preparation. 
Week 23:  Include good quality fat, and only good quality fat, in your diet daily. 
Week 24:  Clean out your pantry. 
Week 25:  Clean out your refrigerator. 
Week 26:  Clean out your freezer. 
Week 27:  Find three deals on different organic/local fruits and vegetables. 
Week 28:  Find your 100% approach (or if you need to go 100%). 
Week 29:  Make a conscious effort to think about every food choice you make this week. 
Week 30:  Splurge!!! 
Week 31:  Try a new dish or recipe.  
Week 32:  Acknowledge your food addiction(s). 
Week 33:  Be creative! 
Week 34:  Find at least one replacement food you can have instead of a food you are addicted too. 
Week 35:  Break free.   
Week 36:  Be intentional. 
Week 37:  Experiment and have fun! 
Week 38:  Replace your plastic food containers and dishes with glass or ceramic. 
Week 39:  Create new food triggers and memories. 
Week 40: Take time to smell the roses, and the lavender, and the basil and oregano and thyme and.... 
Week 41:  No fast foods or drinks.  
Week 42:  Research and evaluate with discernment.  
Week 43:  Recommit - think baby steps. 
Week 44:  Resist, resist, resist. 
Week 45:  Make some homemade bone broth and healing soup. 
Week 46:  Thank God for the clues He gives you. 
Week 47:  Don't skip meals.  
Week 48:  Be thankful!  
Week 49:  Learn to use spices - they are key to making delicious meals! 
Week 50:  Evaluate your cookware and replace that which is unhealthy.
Week 51:  Modify a recipe.
Week 52:  Be glad and rejoice while finding your balance.

The purpose of the challenges is to gently guide you away from the typical American diet, and into a plan of eating foods created by God.  I hope these challenges (yes, some may be difficult) will reawaken your taste buds and help you make permanent, life-long changes to your diet.  I know you will reap the benefits, physically feeling better, mentally being more alert, and emotionally being less tossed about by the trials of life.


May God bless your efforts abundantly.

Join me,

Mary
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Answer - All or None

 
Did you take the quiz?  Here is the answer.
 
The answer is that all these meals can be a good choice or none may be a good choice depending upon their ingredients.  This concept goes against the world’s wisdom, and may be hard to embrace at first.  The determining factor is the quality of the ingredients and how the food has been prepared.  Is it God’s food fixed God’s way?  That is the question to keep in mind at all times.  Quality, quality, quality - I cannot stress this concept enough.  It is key.
For example, wild Alaskan salmon that has been grilled or baked with an organic greens salad and a natural expeller pressed dressing is an excellent choice.  Farm-raised, GMO (genetically modified) salmon fed man-made fish food laced with antibiotics, with an lettuce salad sprayed with preservatives and an MSG laced hydrogenated dressing would fill your body with toxins and provide little nourishment.  (All salmon sold in the store is farm-raised unless labeled  ‘wild’.)
Another example, cookies made with whole grains and honey, with a glass of fresh milk is very nourishing.  Store bought cookies, loaded with sugar, with a glass of pasteurized, homogenized, low fat milk will rob nutrients from your body as these foods are digested and eliminated.
There is a wide abundance of God’s foods.  When eating God’s food, there is not a lot of restrictions, but instead you can eat and enjoy a variety of foods.   A bonus is that God’s foods are naturally delicious. How nourishing the food is all depends upon how it  was grown and processed or cooked.  You do not need to starve yourself eating God’s food, because ‘real’ foods are so packed with nutrients that your hunger is satisfied and you tend to not overeat once you go 100% and have eliminated the man-made addictive foods from your diet that control you (like processed sugars, white flour, cheap fats, etc).
So be encouraged that eating healthy foods can taste great and be fun!  If you need some more encouragement, be sure to read about my son Tom's life-changing experience in 2nd grade.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Week 6

Buy and use good quality sea salt.

 

Phew - a simple challenge for everyone this week (but also VERY important for everyone).  I've photographed a few of the sea salts that I am currently using.  I will explain how I use each and where I buy them, but first some tips.

Some tips concerning sea salt:

1.  Throw away your table salt or use it to make 'play dough'.  It is that bad for you and it is dirt cheap so not much of a loss. 


Table salt is what is left when sea salt is processed by man and all the trace minerals are removed and then iodine and various chemicals are added to prevent clumping and caking.  This man-made salt has transformed a healthy necessity that God created into a toxic substance which creates numerous health problems.  After realizing table salt was causing health problems, man using the world's wisdom decided salt was not good and began to recommend low salt and no salt diets, instead of going back to God-made sea salt.  Sea salt has been a part of man's diet since the beginning of time.  Don't be misled by this misinformation.  A good quality sea salt contains about 80 trace minerals, 2% of its composition.  Trace minerals are essential for good health. 


2.  Get the best quality sea salt you can find.  Look for one that is minimally processed: hand-harvested or sun-dried.  Don't go for cheap.  Though a good sea salt may be 10 times as expensive as table salt, it is only the cost of one or two Starbucks and should last you for months.  A bag or shaker of good sea salt typically costs about $5 to $10.

3.  Don't put a salt shaker on your table.  While the many trace minerals in sea salt are essential to our health, most Americans tend to use too much salt in their foods.  Try to break yourself of the habit of salting your food at the table.  As you eliminate man-made foods from your diet and your taste buds reawaken and as you begin you use other spices in your foods, you will no longer crave an excessive amount of salt.   

4.  Use only good quality sea salt in everything you cook and bake.  Some people tell me, "I don't use salt so I don't need to buy an expensive sea salt."  But if you are eating a diet of God-made foods, even if you don't cook much, you will need to have a good sea salt available to put in your foods.  You will definitely need it for the recipes I will be sharing with you. 

Advanced challenge for those who already own and use a good quality sea salt:
 
Buy a second or third type of sea salt to use.  Aren't these sea salt grinders fun!  I have added the black Hawaiian salt to my collection this past year, and have these three on my new spice rack so they are readily available when cooking (I have a spice rack on each side of my stove now). I like to have different sea salts from different places for a couple of reason.  First, the naturally occurring mineral content within the sea salt is going to vary from place to place.  Thus by using different salts, I am potentially get a more even mix of the trace minerals that my body needs.  Second, our world is heavily polluted.  Though the hand-harvested sea salt should be coming from clean deposits, just in case, I use different ones to spread out my exposure to potential pollutants that could come from a single source.
 
The sea salts I am currently using:

The salts shown above are just some of the many different sea salts that I have used over the years.  There are many other good ones.  Read the label about how it is made and where it comes from. 

For baking, I like to use the Swanson Himalayan sea salt (on left in top photo) because it is very fine and thus distributes well throughout dough. I order this on-line from Swanson Vitamins.  It comes in a small and large size.  The Celtic sea salt, on the right in the second photo,  is a somewhat fine grain and an acceptable option also for baking.  Any of the grinders could be used, but it is more work to grind and then measure.
 
For soups and stews, I exclusively use the coarse Celtic sea salt, pictured on the left in the second photo above.  I use it in dishes which I am cooking that have a liquid base in which it will dissolve.  This sea salt in the staple that I always have on hand and that I have used since the boys were born.  I buy the Celtic Sea Salts from local natural foods grocery stores.
 
For salad dressings or any dish that needs an unmeasured amount of salt (salt to taste), I use the salt grinders, such as the Frontier salt grinders shown in the top photo.  These are my fun salts and an extravagance.  I purchased the Frontier shakers on-line directly from Frontier (if you have several friends who want to order with you, you can join Frontier as a buying club - a wholesale customer - and receive great reduced prices on all your spices and cleaning products and assorted other items).  The Himalayan pink salt grinder on the right in the top photo I purchased at Costco.
 
I do not recommend buying cheap sea salts - you do get what you pay for with salt.  These two sea salts both cost less than $2 and they are the ones I use to clean my chicken prior to baking (I salt the inside of my chicken to clean it).  The salt is all completely rinsed out of the chicken before stuffing and baking. I do not recommend buying either of these as your good quality sea salt.  I do not use either of these in the food I eat.

 
If you are just beginning the weekly challenges, be sure to read the posts under weekly challenge - in advance

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."  Matthew 5:13