Tag Archives: organic

HIGHEST QUALITY FISH AND OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

We all know that salmon is good for you and for your heart.  This is because salmon contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are essential to human life and support optimal health in key organs, systems, and life stages*:

  • Aging
  • Vision
  • Metabolism
  • Inflammation
  • Cardiovascular
  • Fetal development
  • Skin, hair, and nails
  • Joints and movement
  • Cognition (thinking), attention, mood, and memory

The only problem is, most salmon – especially at your local grocery store –  is farm raised.  This means that the fish are fed a diet that contains high levels of contaminants which actually cause a lowering of the salmon’s Omega-3 levels, in addition to the threat of mercury, PCBs, and other toxins.

If that doesn’t sound disturbing enough for you, consider this: Farm raised salmon become so unnatural looking that fish farmers often inject them with an orange-colored dye to make them look like “real” salmon.  They can literally choose from a color wheel, similar to what you would find at a paint store, to decide how orange they want the fish to look.  Ew.

In 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported a study that “focused on commercially raised salmon in both the Atlantic and Pacific. It found roughly 10 times more PCBs, dioxins, and pesticide residues in farmed salmon than in the wild variety.”

Finding unpolluted sources of salmon is becoming more and more difficult; that’s why I’m happy to tell you about Vital Choice, a company that is not only committed to providing consumers with high quality wild fish and other organic foods, but also manufactures what many Nutrition experts believe to be the highest quality fish oil available on the market in the form of pure wild caught Alaskan salmon oil.

Lets take a look and see why I recommend Vital Choice Salmon Oil over other brands.  It is:

  • Gluten-free
  • Made with fish gelatin capsules
  • Virgin, whole, natural, unrefined
  • Purity and potency certified by NSF
  • Pure Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil
  • Certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
  • 600mg omega-3s per serving (with 240mg EPA + 220mg DHA)
  • Contains no artificial preservatives, color, dairy, starch, wheat, yeast, sugar, or soy

Their whole, unrefined, certified-pure virgin Omega-3 Sockeye Salmon Oil is extracted from wild Alaskan sockeye within hours of harvest. The brilliant orange color, which you won’t find in other Salmon Oil supplements, comes from astaxanthin: a potent antioxidant pigment that wild sockeye acquire by eating krill and other zooplankton.

Standard Omega-3 supplements contain oils from different types of fish which vary widely purity and fat composition. The oils have to undergo chemical refinement to ensure their safety and to consistently provide predictable levels and ratios of omega-3 EPA and DHA. In contrast, because it comes from extraordinarily pure fish, Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil does not need to undergo chemical refining.  This is not to say that other fish oil brands are “bad.” There are excellent brands of different types of fish oil on the market; I simply believe that its whole-food attributes make Vital Choice Salmon Oil a rare and powerfully health-promoting omega-3 supplement.  It’s also the one I now personally use on a daily basis  and hope you will consider it to benefit your health as well!

You can purchase Vitality Choice products HERE.  While as of now they only ship their food products to the US, their specialized supplements can be shipped to Canada as well.

Please note:  The links above, as many on this site, are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link and I have not been compensated in any way for review of this or any other product recommended on this site.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

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TOP 10 REASONS TO OWN A FOOD DEHYDRATOR

I thought about getting a food dehydrator for quite a while.  The reason I waited so long is because they are quite expensive and I thought I needed the 9 tray (shown at right) to get the most bang for my buck.  I also wanted the one with the timer, until I realized that it’s a silly extra for another $75 and completely unnecessary.  After a lot of internet research, I recently purchased this Excalibur 5 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator and I’m extremely happy with it.  Excalibur is known to be the best dehydrator out there, although if you aren’t sure and don’t want to spend the money, I have heard that many people are happy with the Nesco Dehydrator as well.

So why did I finally cave in? Well, for all the reasons below:

1) I love dried fruit but they contain sulfites in order to preserve the original color of the fruit.  Unfortunately, sulfites have a distinct unpleasant taste and have also been shown to possibly cause headaches, asthma attacks, and allergic reactions such as flushing, redness, and itchiness. Definitely not fun side effects of trying to enjoy some dried fruit.  You can of course purchase organic unsulphured dried fruit from any local health food store but, frankly I got tired of spending $7 Cnd for a tiny bag of dried pineapple.  Since purchasing my dehydrator, I’ve made dried apple, pineapple, and banana, and they all came out delicious.

2) I am obsessed with kale chips but it is almost impossible to find Kosher-certified kale chips, and when you do, a tiny container costs a fortune!  While you can make them in the oven as explained here, now that I have done them both ways, I can honestly say there is no comparison to how yummy and crispy they turn out in the dehydrator.

3) Sundried tomatoes add a delicious flavor to many dishes – and I prefer the taste of these freshly dehydrated tomatoes to the store-bought variety.  I can also store them in organic olive oil and add the herbs that I prefer for extra flavor.  Alternatively, make them a little more crispy by dehydrating for a longer period of time, store in a container and enjoy as a snack.  That might sound weird but you have to try it to see what I mean!

dehydrator tomatos4) Dehydrated food stays fresh for quite a while so if you have a garden it’s a great way to preserve extra fruits and vegetables.

5) Make your own fresh dried herbs and spices; I haven’t tried that yet, but I plan to in the Summer when I grow an abundance of oregano and cilantro in my little garden.

6) The Excalibur comes with this book which shows step by step instructions on how to properly make every conceivable food item turn out perfectly in the dehydrator.

7) There are a lot of cool things you can make that are super easy – using Paraflexx Sheets, you can have fruit roll ups without chemicals or added sugars – yum! – and also flax crackers like these shown below:

Dehydrated flax crackersTo be honest, the kids weren’t a fan of these particular crackers;  On the other hand, the hubby and I absolutely loved them and ate them all in one sitting – dipped into my favorite store bought hummus of course!

8) While I haven’t tried it yet, you can apparently make your own yogurt using the dehydrator.

9) The dehydrator is the perfect place to rise dough by simply removing the trays and setting to the lowest temperature.

10) If you are so inclined, you can make your own Kosher beef jerky.  The only problem is, you would then need 2 dehydrators if you are strictly kosher.  Yikes! Much to my 14 year old son’s disappointment, I will not be making beef jerky anytime soon. sad

Best of all, using the dehydrator is fun and easy – and the kids love to help!

What are the cons of owning/using a dehydrator?  I’d love to say “none” but there are a few things to consider:

1) It’s quite large and my kitchen isn’t big enough; there is simply not enough room on the counter.  I tried putting the unit in the living room, but it was a real eyesore, so I nixed that idea.  I know some people use their laundry room, but since mine is in the basement, it’s not very practical.  In the end, I settled on my family room near the fireplace which seems to be working well so far.

2) Some foods dry at different times and temperatures than others so if you make 2 trays of one type of food and 3 trays of another, you will have to check it periodically and remove the trays that are ready.  For this reason I am finding it a lot  easier to make 5 trays of one type of food rather than to try to mix and match.  5 trays seems like a lot but when the food is dehydrated, especially if you have a family, it gets eaten a lot quicker than you might think.

3) Initially, there is quite a bit of an investment especially if you don’t already own Mason jars to use for storage, a Mandoline slicer – evenly sliced food makes drying times quicker and more reliable, an apple corer or a pineapple slicer & corer if you plan to dry those food items. I also recommend getting the Paraflexx sheets mentioned earlier in this post if you want to make your own fruit leather/fruit roll-ups or flax crackers.

4) It takes time for the food to be ready so you have to be patient.  This was definitely hard for me at first and I was eating some of the food in the middle of the cycle. I’ve gotten better though. winking

All in all I am very happy with this purchase and I hope this helps you decide if this would be a worthwhile addition to your kitchen appliances! I would love to hear if you have one, what type, if you are happy with it and what you have made in it.

Please note:  The links above, as many on this site, are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. If I post an affiliate link to a product, it is something that I personally use, support and would recommend without an affiliate link and I have not been compensated in any way for review of this or any other product recommended on this site.

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HOW TO EAT HEALTHY ON PASSOVER

Cottonseed oilI wrote this article last year for the Toronto Family Magazine, and I wanted to post it here a week ago but I have been so busy cooking and preparing that I totally forgot! surpriseops: .   Hopefully it’s not too late to incorporate some of these healthy alternatives:

Buy organic potatoes: I know what you’re thinking: “A gazillion pounds of organic potatoes will cost me a fortune!” But this isn’t the case; organic potatoes are really not much more than conventional ones.  The reason to spend a little extra? A 2006 U.S.D.A. test found 81 percent of potatoes tested still contained pesticides after being washed and peeled, and the potato has one of the highest pesticide contents of 43 fruits and vegetables tested, according to the Environmental Working Group.  So with all those potatoes being eaten, wouldn’t you feel better knowing you were giving your family a lot less potentially harmful substances?

Eggs should have no hormones or antibiotics in the feed:  While I don’t recommend buying organic eggs, because there are too many blood spots found in them, the next best thing when consuming as many eggs as we do on Pesach, is eggs with no hormones or antibiotics in the feed. The only brand I have found to specify this on the label is Earth’s Best, which is found in most supermarkets.  Note that eggs labeled Omega-3 are not the same thing and this causes a lot of confusion among consumers.  The Omega-3 label simply means that flax seeds have been added to the feed; it does not mean that hormones or antibiotics have not been given as well.

Use spelt matzah instead of wheat:  Spelt is nutritionally superior to wheat and easier to digest.  While spelt does contain gluten, the gluten content is less, and many people sensitive to wheat find they can tolerate spelt.  (Note that spelt is not suitable for those with celiac disease or those on a gluten-free diet).  Even if you aren’t sensitive to wheat, another benefit to choosing spelt instead is that it remains unaffected by concepts such as ‘agribusiness’, ‘cross-breeding,’ ‘hybridization’ and ‘genetically modified’ – words that have come to dominate our modern food supply.  What does this mean to you? Less toxic substances and chemicals being consumed, better for your health.  It is easy to find Organic Spelt Matzoh at you local grocery store.

Cook and bake with grapeseed oil instead of cottonseed oil:  According to most health experts, cottonseed oil is one of the unhealthiest oils around.  Cottonseed oil contains natural toxins because in order to extract oil from cottonseed, these seeds have to be modified genetically.  The oil also contains unacceptably high levels of pesticide residues, since cotton is not classified as a food crop and farmers use many agrichemicals when growing it.  Additionally, since there is a similarity in the molecular structures of the composition of cottonseed and peanut oil, some people who are allergic to peanuts also suffer from the same allergic reactions after consuming cottonseed oil.

In contrast, grapeseed oil is rich in proanthocyanidins (OPC) a compound that is high in antioxidants which are 50 times more effective than Vitamin E and 20 times stronger than Vitamin C.  Grape seed oil is also able to handle high-temperatures without smoking, burning or splattering.  This means it can be safely used for high-heat stir-frying and baking.  Another great benefit – Grapeseed oil has a light nutty flavor lacking the heaviness of other oils, so it will not affect the flavor of your food.  While Kosher for Passover grapeseed oil is difficult to find in Canada,  De La Rosa Kosher Italian Grapeseed Oil, which has an OU-p, can be ordered from Amazon in the U.S.

Bake, don’t buy, Pesach cakes:  In addition to saving you lots of money, baking your own cakes for Pesach has many benefits over purchasing ready-made ones.  First, you can decrease the amount of sugar in almost every Pesach cake recipe, without affecting the final result.  Second, you can use Organic sugar according to most halachik authorities, as long as it has a reliable kosher symbol, no special Kosher for Passover certification required.  Third, commercial Pesach cakes are loaded with chemicals and preservatives in order to increase their shelf life, contains food coloring, unnatural flavoring and cottonseed oil.  Baking your own allows you to use grapeseed oil and the healthier eggs discussed above, eliminates the need for chemicals and gives you the opportunity to incorporate ingredients like raw almonds or walnuts (if there are no nut allergies in the family) to add healthy fatty acids as well as fiber.  Choose recipes that have the lowest amounts of potato starch for the healthiest result.

Drink dry red wine:  Dry red wine has some antioxidant properties as well as bioflavonoids, which help to fight free radicals — the damaging agents in your body that can lead to heart disease and cancer. What this means is that the cups of wine you consume for the Seder do offer some health benefits in addition to all those calories.  Speaking of calories, avoid sweet wines, which contain more than 45 grams of sugar per liter and therefore a lot more calories, as opposed to the 4 grams of sugar per liter that dry red wine contains.

If you or your children are drinking grape juice at the Seder, brands like Kedem and Concord now make organic grape juice with no sulfites. Sulfites, or sodium/potassium metabasulfite as it is commonly labelled, are a potential food allergen that can cause headache, facial flushing and itching and are found in all wines and grape juice unless it specifies “sulphite-free” on the label.  It is more difficult to obtain wine without sulphites, but if you tend to get any of those reactions after drinking wine, you might consider making the switch. That being said, some people get a reaction due to other substances in wine.Since white wine often has a higher sulfite levels than red wines, if you don’t react to white wine, then you know that it’s something in red wine other than sulfites that is causing the problem. (Note that organic wines are not necessarily sulfite free).

Stick to whole foods:  Simply put, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, roasted vegetables, fish, chicken and lean meat and drink plenty of water.  This way, you won’t find your health adversely affected by this holiday!  Check out the Recipes page for healthy recipes suitable for Passover.  While you’re at it, see this previously written post about what to eat on Passover.

Wishing you all a Chag Kasher V’sameach! happy

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BEAUTIFULLY HEALTHY EVENT MARCH 2014

Attention Ladies:  come join us on March 23, 2014 for this fabulous, FREE event! RSVP to reserve your spot and book your free consultations – spaces are limited.  Please spread the word and share with friends.  We look forward to seeing you all there!

Beautifully Healthy Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have specific beauty consult questions regarding this event, please contact Rina; for health & fitness info contact us.

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THE MANY WONDERS OF DAVID’S TEA

weight, Rebecca Lazar - THE MANY WONDERS OF DAVID'S TEAI want to talk about my latest passion – tea! Being a coffee lover, I never thought I’d get taken in by this particular obsession, yet here I am at 9 pm, drinking a matcha green tea latte (with organic skim milk, of course). I realize that may or may not sound like gibberish to you, but in any case, trust me it’s gooood.

So let me tell you how my obsession began.  I thought I knew all I ever wanted to know about tea, and having tried many different boxed varieties, I wasn’t a huge fan.  I drank green tea for it’s antioxidant benefits, of course, but I didn’t really care for any of the other teas I tried.  If I needed a medicinal herb, I occasionally drank it in tea form, but that’s about it.

Then one day my husband brought home a cute silver tin with a label that read “Forever Nuts” and handed it to me saying “This tea is awesome.”  I looked at it and replied “Perfect.  You’ve found a tea that embodies who you are!”  rolling on the floor Yeah, I know, I’m a riot.   One eyeroll (his) and a cup of tea (mine) later and I was sold.  I simply had to know where this tin of yummyness (tin of yummyness? who am I?)  came from and how I could get some more.

The first time I walked into David’s Tea at the Promenade mall and saw the rows of giant silver tins with colored labels depicting the tea flavor inside, 2 thoughts popped into my head: (1) I was going to buy a LOT of cute little silver tins of tea and (2)  At some point, the owner of Starbucks is going to get a little bit annoyed with the popularity of this place!

I credit David’s Tea with not only giving me a great education on all the different varieties and health benefits of tea out there with their awesome, informative brochure and website but also for introducing me to flavors that rival the best desserts (who needs the extra calories?)  Rich and satisfying, there’s a calorie-free, chemical-free flavor to suit your every mood and many don’t even need sweeteners. And fyi, they don’t use sulphites in their drying process which makes a Nutritionist very happy.

So what’s the downside? Well, for me, since I am a kosher-certified-food-and-drink-only gal, I’m saddened to report that not all the teas are kosher certified, but there is a pretty good number of them that are and I am told that more will be in the coming months…..also, a couple of the teas have colored candy bits in them, what’s up with that? thumbs down  But overall, a small amount of negativity in what is otherwise my new favorite place to visit.

For those who want to know, these are my current favorites (in no particular order):

  • Secret weapon, an immune-boosting white tea with an almond flavor
  • Creme brulee, a roobios (S. African decaf tea) whose name says it all
  • Spicy chocolate, another roobios tea that has little bits of dark chocolate in it
  • Exotica, an amazing pineapple/coconut herbal tea that is unbeleivable with manuka honey,
  • Organic detox, an herbal detoxifiying tea
  • …..and the aforementioned Matcha tea, which is pure green tea in a powdered form.

If you haven’t tried David’s Tea yet, you simply have to! And if you have, which ones are your favorites?

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