Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week 26

Clean out your freezer.

Whether you have just a small freezer attached to your refrigerator or you have a deep freeze, this is the week to toss anything that contains man-made, processed, artificial, colored, enriched, hydrogenated or chemically processed ingredients.  I hope you have now memorized the list of foods/ingredients to avoid, and are reading the ingredient lists.  So much of the food available in the standard grocery store contains HFCS (or some form of white sugar) and cheap hydrogenated fats and cheap salt.

It is NOT possible to eat a diet of man-made, man-processed foods and maintain your health or the health of your children.  Is it worth poor quality of life to eat these foods?  Obviously not all pain and suffering with chronic diseases is due to diet, but most is in the United States.  Read the guest posts of a few people who have seen major changes within short time periods by changing their diets.  Also remember that eating real foods is a privilege, a blessing, not a sacrifice.

So are you ready to tackle the last area of food in your home, the freezer?  Again keep two things in mind.

1.  Toss anything that contains foods/ingredients to be avoided if you want to be eating 100%God-made foods.  One addictive food found in many people's freezers is ice cream.  Look at the ingredients of yours.  Is it loaded with sugar (or worse HFCS) and artificial ingredients?  We make our own ice cream because it is extremely difficult to find honey or maple syrup sweetened ice creams.  Occasionally I buy Coconut Bliss as a special ice cream treat.  We also freeze leftover fruit smoothies in popsicle molds.  Try to think about eating in season.  Summer, when it is hot out, is the time to enjoy frozen treats.  Try not to eat them in the cold winter months.    

2.  Toss anything that is unidentifiable or heavily freezer damaged.  How long you can keep something depends upon how it was packaged and how good your freezer is.  Something that is freezer damaged will start to look like a piece of dehydrated food with lots of frost on it.  Typically you can keep things in the freezer for 6 months to a year or so. 

You need to make space for excellent quality foods.  It is important to have some extra space so that when things are in season, such as organic strawberries, you can buy extra and freeze some.  Or when you find 100% grass fed beef or organic free-range chickens on sale you can buy extra and freeze some.

Freezers are one exception for plastic storage.  I NEVER store anything hot in plastic, so if I am freezing homemade broth or some leftovers, I first put them in a glass container and cool them in the refrigerator.  I then transfer them to a plastic container to put in the freezer.  I freeze lots of produce and put that in Ziploc bags.  I do not repackage meats purchased from the store, but freeze them as bought.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to freeze foods in glass but I don't think it is that critical since chemical reactions at the colder temperatures with plastics is minimal or nonexistent.

Advanced Challenge for those who only have God-made foods in their freezer:

This challenge is for me this week!  Go through your freezer and find things that are getting old and plan a meal that will use it.  Sometimes I find GREAT things like a bag of peaches from my trees last summer.  Freezers are very hard to keep organized.  Some tricks to use include: 

1. Date everything that you can before placing it in the freezer
2.  If it is not obvious also write what it is on the label (this is especially important to do for things like shredded cooked chicken)
3.  Keep like items together and place the new ones in the back or in the bottom.

I am going to work on clearing out one of my two deep freezers this week so I can then defrost it.  I have been freezing a lot of fruit and just placing it on the top.  Once defrosted, I will reorganize my freezers putting like items together.  Spend the time doing these challenges (cleaning out your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer) - you will be blessed. 

"Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter."  Proverbs 6: 6 - 8

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Week 25

Clean out your refrigerator. 

You should have been expecting this one, since I mentioned it in last week's challenge.  If you have two refrigerators (one in which you keep sodas, etc.), then clean it out too.  I am blessed to have two refrigerators and two deep freezers. 

When you clean your refrigerator, I want you to look for two things.  First, look through everything and toss anything that is looking like a science fair project (moldy) and anything past its expiration date.  Next, toss anything that contains ingredients on the ingredients/foods to avoid list.  If you are going to eat a diet of 100% God-made foods, you cannot have any poor quality processed food within reach.  These items are addictive; you will not be able to resist them.  Get rid of them.  Find and buy only good quality foods.

The two photos above are snapshots of my refrigerators that I took when writing up this post.  I did not do any cleaning prior to snapping the photos.  I wanted you to see how my refrigerators really look if you would stop in to see me. 

These shots are pretty typical.  The 'leftovers' vary by season and week-to-week depending upon what I have made the last few days.  I just went on my grocery store shopping loop, have made two pots of broth, and thus my refrigerators are very full right now.  We will actually eat all of this food before it goes bad because I have two teenage boys and we eat almost all our meals at home.

We seldom throw away any food in our house.  Since we have several little containers of leftovers right now, we will be having a smorgasbord of leftovers for lunch.  I love leftovers, a free meal that requires no preparation!  Don't let your leftovers rot in your refrigerator.  I find that home cooked leftovers made with top quality ingredients taste very good reheated, sometimes even better than the first time for some soups and stews.  Remember, don't use a microwave to reheat your foods!

I also plan my meals around the 'oldest' produce that I have so that none rots and needs to be tossed.  Both of my refrigerators are filled with fresh produce; an important staple in our home.  I buy mostly organic produce based on the dirty dozen list.

You need to first clean out your refrigerator before restocking it since you must come home and immediately put your purchases away.  So work on cleaning out your refrigerator, then wipe down the shelves if they are dirty, and you will be ready to go on a grocery store shopping loop.  Here is what I keep stocked in my refrigerator and I will do a summary post soon on my typical grocery shopping loop.

Don't forget, eating 100% God-made good quality foods is a blessing!  It is not a matter of what you don't get to eat, but what you DO get to eat.  Enjoy, have fun, and feel good for doing so.

Next week your challenge will be to clean out your freezer.  So don't buy anything at your next trip to the grocery store that you will need to toss out!

Advanced challenge for those already eating 100% God-made foods:

The same as for last week.  Toss anything that contains processed refined sugar (which has many names such as cane syrup, raw sugar, evaporated cane juice, brown sugar, beet sugar, fructose, glucose, etc., etc. ).  Look at ingredient labels and don't be fooled by the marketing ploys.  Even if something is organic, such as jellies and jams, they are not good for you if the contain sugar, even organic sugar. 

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."  Psalm 143:8

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rainbow Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Simple, nutritious, delicious.  Three of my requirements for most of my recipes.  The deep green veggies like chard and kale are in season from about January through May or June, depending upon the year.  I buy only organic greens and fortunately they are readily available.


1 bundle of organic chard (preferably rainbow or red)
1/2 small onion, diced
1/4 cup organic golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 Tbl olive oil

Rinse chard well (don't dry) and remove stem.  Cut stem into small bite size chunks and tear leaves into bite size pieces.  Keep the two piles separated.  

Heat your large glass soup pot or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat (don't use ones with non-stick coatings) and add the olive oil.  Saute the pine nuts and onions together.  After about a minute, add the chard stems and continue to saute another minute or two.  When onions starting to turn translucent, add the raisins and damp torn chard leaves.  Turn frequently, allowing chard to steam until the chard turns a shiny bright green (a couple minutes).  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Week 24

Clean out your pantry.

This cleaning project will be just a bit different than normal.  It is not about how neat your pantry looks or how clean it is, but about what foods you have in it.  If you have been doing the weekly challenges, you are now half way through the year  and it is time to commit or recommit to eating foods as created by God for our bodies.  Are you ready to go to 100% God-made foods at home?  If you are just starting on this journey, then start at the beginning and work through the weekly challenges.  You will be here to this point before you know it.

Did you start off the year well, but have now slipped back into bad eating habits?  Perhaps you haven't completely embraced the concept of eating only God's foods yet.  It all sounds great but you still have your bag of Doritos in the pantry, your liter of Coke in the refrigerator, or some Blue Bell ice cream in the freezer (or whatever brand is popular where you live that is loaded with sugar, artificial or man-altered ingredients).

It is extremely hard to make permanent changes when you have these man-made addictive foods within reach.  So this week, get serious and start tossing!  Get rid of anything that contains foods/ingredients on the foods to avoid list.  (Items which are unopened and not expired can be donated to your local food bank.)

And more importantly, don't buy more.  This is a great time of year to do this since so many delicious, fresh produce items are available at the stores.  Replace all that junk food with good quality fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheeses, etc.  I have now given you many recipes so that you can make your on treats and have shown you what I keep in my pantry.

So what happens if your family is not on-board with your plan.  Let me tell you how Fred broke his habit of drinking a soda every day about 15 years ago.  His favorite was Dr. Pepper, but I sometimes bought other things like Coke, if it was on sale.  Food prices had been going up drastically (like now), and thus soda prices too.  One week, nothing was on sale so I didn't buy anything.  Then, having two small sons, I was quickly distracted and forgot about it.  About two weeks later I realized the soda had been long gone and nothing had been said.  I waited about a month and asked one morning, "Have you noticed there is no soda in the house?".  Fred answered, "Yes, so I've switched to drinking water with my lunch."  Wow!   That was it.  I was shocked.  Who knew it would be so simple! 

Each situation is different, but if you have good alternatives available, don't assume anything.  Also, don't say anything or harp about it.  Buy the best quality and have only that available.  I think you might be amazed with what happens.

Don't forget, eating 100% God-made good quality foods is a blessing!  It is not a matter of what you don't get to eat, but what you DO get to eat.  Enjoy, have fun, and feel good for doing so.

This week's challenge is to clean out your pantry of man-made foods.  You guessed right - next week we will focus on the refrigerator and then our focus will be on the freezer the following week.  So don't buy anything at your next trip to the grocery store that you will need to toss out!

Advanced challenge for those already eating 100% God-made foods:

Many people who eat well still include a lot of processed sugar in their diet.  My challenge to you this week is to get rid of the sugar in your pantry, including raw sugar.  Replace it with raw unfiltered honey, pure maple syrup, dates, figs and/or molasses. 

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  Hebrews 12:11

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chocolate Ice Cream

Jon has perfected chocolate desserts using cocoa powder!  His latest creation, this chocolate ice cream, is delicious and so easy to make.  Great for hot summer days and very healthy if you use excellent quality ingredients.


2 eggs (don't use store bought eggs!!!**)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbl raw unfiltered honey
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
2 Tbl unsweetened cocoa
1 cup cream (I use fresh raw cream skimmed off of my milk)
3/4 cup milk (I use fresh raw milk)

Whip cream and milk together.  Place rest of ingredients in food processor.  Pulse until ground up and uniform.  Fold into whipped cream.  Place in ice cream container and process until frozen.

** I would never eat an egg raw that I purchased from a store.  But we eat our own eggs raw in ice cream and other things all the time.  When a chicken lays an egg, it places a a protective coating around the egg.  This coating keeps out diseases and bacteria.  Thus when we gather our eggs each night, we dry brush off any hay or feathers but we do not wash the eggs.  Instead we place them directly into the refrigerator and wait to wash them right before we use them.  Unfortunately, eggs which you purchase at the store have been washed and the protective coating removed.  That is why you can get sick from e coli or salmonella from eating raw eggs purchased at the store.  Once the protective coating is removed, the egg is susceptible to contamination.  If you have found a local source of eggs, make sure that they are not washing their eggs if you eat them raw. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Week 23

Include good quality fat, and only good quality fat, in your diet daily.

So many options; so incredibly important for your health.  One of the biggest misconceptions in our culture that has been marketed is that a low fat or no fat diet is healthy.  This is SO NOT TRUE.

What is true is that if you eat cheap quality fast foods such as burgers and fries, store bought ice cream, or sugar-laden chocolate bars and cookies, you will develop health problems such as heart disease and probably constantly fight excess weight and fat around your waist or hips.

So don't miss a key part of the challenge; eat ONLY good quality fat.  Many feel good quality fat will produce the same negative health effects and weight gain that cheap man-processed fats do.  That is a myth, though you do need to eat a balanced diet of foods (if you eat an excessive amount of anything, you will not be healthy or the proper weight).

Why do you need healthy fats?  You need them for your brain and to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients.  It should surprise no one that dementia and Alzheimer's in the elderly has sky-rocketed.  It is so sad to visit an Alzheimer's nursing home.  But that generation was told in the 1970's and 80's to eat a low fat or nonfat diet to prevent heart attacks.  Heart disease is a result of consuming man-processed cheap fats, not from fat in your diet.  Conventional medicine and pharmaceutical companies are not on the right track.  Using more man-made products (drugs) and eating more man-processed foods (low fat and nonfat dairy products, salad dressings, etc.) will not allow you to gain and maintain good health but will make you less healthy.

Good fats are perishable.  That is why they were cut out of foods and hydrogenated oils and fats were developed.  Processed fats last a long-time and allow a long-shelf life.  This was a goal of the food industry at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Long shelf life certainly makes it easier to transport foods a long distance and for grocery stores to stock foods for weeks and months to feed large numbers.  But processing of fats so they don't turn rancid quickly, changes their molecular structure into stiff rods (which is why they cause heart disease and hardening of arteries).  Fats are naturally like slinky toys and are essential to keep our bodies flexible and our brains sharp.  They are also essential for your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins, which are A, E, D and K.  With the low fat diet of today's society, it is no wonder that high dosage Vitamin D supplements are recommended for people - but taking these are not the answer to your health issues. 

I store all of my good quality, perishable fats in the refrigerator except coconut oil and bananas.  I also store unopened jars of nut butters in my pantry, and keep only a small amount of olive oil on my counter.  Everything else is stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

So what good fats do I eat on a regular basis - I have shown some of the staples I keep in my house in the above photo.  I will describe in more detail the many options below.  Please take to heart that spending the money to get the best quality available is essential and a very smart investment. 

1.  Flax Seed:  I add freshly ground organic flax seed to my food at least 3 or 4 times a week, consuming about 1 to 2 tsp at a time.  For more details read this post on flax seeds.

2.  Avocados and Bananas:  Two natural sources of great fat which I also eat regularly, multiple times per week, sometimes daily.  Be careful with these two if you are trying to maintain your weight or lose weight.  Jon's latest creation, his chocolate malt, is a great option (if you use raw milk) for teenage boys who need lots of calories or elderly persons trying to maintain their weight.  I will post his recipe soon.

3.  Coconut oil:  This is an excellent fat to add to your diet.  Studies have been done that suggest adding coconut oil to your diet can speed up your metabolism and actually help you lose weight.  But buy the best!  Get an extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil.  Here is a great article describing the many coconut oils that are available.  Find and buy the best.  It should not smell rancid or have a chemical order.  One note, always use an unrefined, virgin, organic coconut oil in uncooked foods like smoothies or raw foods, such as Chocolate Pudding.  I add coconut oil to my foods (such as smoothies and cooked oatmeal) and when baking.  Coconut oil is naturally very stable and can be stored at room temperature.  It is solid below about 75 °F, and liquid above this temperature.  I love the warmer summer months when my coconut oil is liquid at room temperature and very easy to use.

4.  Olive Oil:  Just as with coconut oil, use your nose when determining which olive oil to use.  Get a good quality, expeller-pressed (or cold-pressed), extra-virgin, organic oil.  If the one you have bought has a strong, unpleasant aroma, switch brands.  I use olive oil to stir fry my vegetables and in my salad dressings.  You also want to get an olive oil that does not 'smoke' when cooking with it.  I use different oils for salad dressings (when I use it raw) and for cooking (when I heat it up).

5.  Butter:  I make my own butter each week (from the cream I skim off my fresh, raw cow's milk).  I use my butter in my baked goods and on toast.  I also buy Organic Valley butter, which I use to grease my baking dishes and cast iron skillet when scrambling eggs.  Don't use the heavily processed cooking sprays when baking.  When you buy butter, only buy unsalted butter.  Then you can add your own good quality sea salt to your food, rather than eating a salt of unknown quality.

6.  Raw Nuts and Seeds:  An excellent source of good quality fat with vitamins and minerals.  So important in your diet and something that I hope you are already eating daily, since it was one of our first weekly challenges.

7.  Cheese and yogurt:  Don't buy any dairy products that say they are low fat or nonfat.  These are all heavily processed and not healthy.  If not heating my cheese, I use raw milk cheeses.  Locally made are the best, but Organic Valley raw milk cheeses are good too.  I make my own yogurt with my raw milk after skimming off the cream layer.  While this makes about a 2% fat yogurt, it is naturally this fat content.  For manufactured dairy products, they take all the fat out of the milk and then add back in fat to make low fat products.  These products are heavily processed and thus become man-made foods.  They also use milk which is pasteurized, but even worse, homogenized.  I do not recommend homogenized milk consumption for anyone.  Homogenization changes the particle size of the milk and becomes a foreign, toxic product in our bodies.  If you wish to learn more about the milk controversy, an excellent book is The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid.  

8.  Nut butters:  Raw are again best.  If you purchase a roasted nut butter, buy an organic variety that does not have added sugar or salt.  We like the consistency of Arrowhead Mills peanut butter, which contains only organic dry-roasted peanuts.  Don't forget to always read the ingredients labels on the products you buy and consume.  Be sure to store your opened jars of nut butters in the refrigerator.

Good quality fats are extremely important for everyone.  Older persons and unborn babies (pregnant women) are at the highest risk if they do not have good quality fats in their diets daily.  Especially in the last trimester of pregnancy when the baby's brain is developing, one needs to eat lots of superior natural fats.

I hope that I have given you enough information and facts to take this challenge seriously and implement it in your life.  May you be richly rewarded for your efforts.

"May the Lord repay you for what you have done.  May you be richly reward by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."  Ruth 2:12