Category Archives for "Food"

Soil: The Final Frontier For Human Health Part 2

Soil: The Final Frontier For Human Health Part 2: How To Get Nutrient Dense Living Soil And How We Relate To It

If you missed part 1, check it out!

Healthy Soil, May the Microbes Be with You!

Healthy soil is living soil with a complete soil food web and plenty of organic matter. The life in the soil insures that it is nutrient dense and has good structure. It contains minerals, bacteria, protozoa, fungi, nematodes, earthworms, arthropods (creepy crawlies), humus (broken down organic matter- not the stuff you dip your chips in) and carbon.


Image Credit: Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS). 2000. Soil Biology Primer. Rev. ed. Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society.

In order to maintain and build healthy soil, the farmer must be ecologically minded to understand the intricate relationships between sun, water, soil, microorganisms, plants, and the creepy crawlies, and how to enhance them.

“The aim of the ecological farmer is to work with Nature, rather than against it.”

A healthy soil food web will ensure that the food produced from it will be packed with nutrition to help you thrive.

From the naked eye you can tell the health of the soil from the amount of earthworms and the soil’s appearance. If there are a lot of earthworms there is healthy soil. If the soil texture has lots of aggregation (little crumbles), is a rich deep color, and smells good, then it is good.

Earthworms and the addition of carbon materials are essential for healthy soil. Earthworms “till” the top layer of the soil and process it into ionic minerals. This is why worm castings are so great. They are called castings instead of manure because only good things are found in their poop.


“Got earthworms?”

Carbon is also needed because plants need it to make sugar. Cellulose is sugar – plants are cellulosic materials. Carbon and these materials are needed to lock in the minerals, which are anions and cations with negative and positive charges. These ions grab onto something of the opposite force and dwell there. Then, these awesome microorganisms come in and produce electrolytes that make these ionic elements available for the roots in the soil and ultimately YOU!

We need to keep the soil covered whether it be mulch or cover crops to continue adding carbon and food to the soil/soil life. Both have their place and you want to get the right mixture of foods for the particular types of microbes you want to encourage to take up residence (again, much like how our gut microbes react to the food we eat for the benefit or detriment of our health).


Weeds also have a place in the process of mineralizing the soil. A weed is simply a plant whose virtues have not been discovered yet, and many weeds actually have roots that go down deeper than crop roots to pull up minerals to the upper levels of the soil, essentially, weeds are the miners of the soil, mining the minerals and bringing them up to where other plants can access them. The catch is balance, I’m not saying to let weeds take over, but it is important to allow their biomass to be reincorporated into the soil to continue adding minerals and nutrients for your future crops.

weed and mulch

Keeping the soil covered and with living plants also aides in carbon sequestration, where it is able to pull carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the soil (where much of it originated before mechanized agriculture) for hundreds or even thousands of years. This is great because remember, plants need carbon to produce sugar/cellulose and then lock in those tasty minerals for nutrient dense fruits, vegetables, and grass (for animals and bugs that then transform these nutrient rich plants into the highest quality animal products – golden butter!).

Glyphosate and GMOs

Let’s talk about GMOs for a moment. Genetically modified food was introduced in the late eighties/early nineties, this is also when a noted exponential increase in disease began and continues.


Genetically modified food is designed to be used with the herbicide glyphosate/Roundup. The use of these chemicals has detrimental effects on the world of soil life.

Glyphosate and POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine) – the surfactant that makes hydrophobic glyphosate stick to plant leaves – are very strong chelators. This chelation effect immobilizes nutrients which make them unavailable for your body. Even though the mineral may be in the plant, it will not be physiologically available for your body to utilize. It is like the mineral is not there at all from the standpoint of your digestion and assimilation. Glyphosate is not only used as an herbicide, but is also an antibiotic. Unfortunately, it kills beneficial soil bacteria and human gut bacteria! Much of the bacteria in your gut that are killed are important for making minerals accessible in the body. The effect of glyphosate on your body’s mineral absorption is a double whammy! The introduction of glyphosate and POEA has initiated a huge increase in illness and disease rates. Guess how much of this stuff is applied each year. You don’t want to know. But sadly, worldwide, more than 1,000,000,000 pounds of glyphosate. The U.S. applies 200,000,000 pounds of this to croplands each year! (1)

This is not good for human health as we need the minerals in our food, not tied up by the combination of genetically modified crops and herbicides. But there’s still hope; right? Yes! Farming ecologically enhances minerals in the soil, as well as mineral absorption by the plants. This leads to mineral dense foods, which as we now know are the foundation of glowing health for people.

How People, Plants, and Soil are Similar

The soil ecosystem nutrient exchange between soil, microbe and plant is very similar to that of our intestines/gut.

Jerry Brunetti (soil and plant expert) explains that the root ball of the plant is the “gut” or intestinal tract of the plant. It is really called the rhizosphere and houses the countless microbes that provide nutrients in an absorbable form, right where the plants need it and at the right times in exchange for these nutrients the plant feeds the microbes. The plant will actually secrete a specific food that a specific microbe is attracted to in hopes of bringing it into its system for a very specific need. Farmers can not possibly be there 24/7 to apply minute amounts at the right time at the right place. A healthy soil ecosystem can take a lot of burden off of the farmer. And a healthy gut takes a lot of burden off of our health by aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption.


Wendell Berry, author of The Unsettling of America, wrote:

“While we live our bodies are moving particles of earth, joined inextricably both to the soil and to the bodies of other living creatures. It is hardly surprising, then, that there should be some profound resemblances between our treatment of our bodies and our treatment of the earth.”

I could not agree more with the ideas of these great minds. We are a reflection of our actions or the actions we support. Conventional agricultural systems mine the soil, inject it with synthetic fertilizers to keep it going, and spray it with chemicals to handle pests or weeds when plants are weak. This process systemically destroys the soil food web and the ability of the plants to absorb proper nutrients. Then it’s repeated. The food from this system severely lacks in minerals and is then covered with chemicals with harmful consequences. Is it any wonder that our health is declining? We eat nutrient deficient foods, and as a result our systems are weakened and we do not function optimally. We then reach for more nutrient deficient foods and eventually our bodies are so deficient that disease takes over. We must look to the soil and restore it to the rich source of nutrients and minerals it once was. If we just ate nutrient dense foods that supported the practices that create healthy soil, and we avoided chemically sprayed and treated food, we would be vibrant with health. Imagine the regenerative cycle we could start.

The last frontier to human health is right below our feet. If we restore the soil, the soil will restore us.

Soil: The Final Frontier For Human Health Part 1

Soil: The Final Frontier For Human Health Part 1: Nourishing Food Is From Nutrient Dense Soil

We are constantly searching for what the answer is for perfect human health.There are many things that contribute to human health, but one of the most commonly overlooked factors may be right below your feet! Soil! Healthy soil creates healthy plants, which become healthy food to make healthy humans. Poor, nutrient deficient, and lifeless soil contributes to nutrient deficiencies in humans, which is ultimately linked to most modern day diseases! Not convinced? Keep reading! I am not saying to just go around eating soil – even though a little dirt never hurt. But really, we should be eating food grown in living soil, this is the answer to great health. So let’s dive in!

Food Should Contain Nutrients to the Max!

Healthy soil produces healthy plants that provide better nutrition.

Healthy Soil = Healthy plants = Better Nutrition for you and me!

Human diseases of the present day originate from depleted soil. We all need certain minerals from our food to keep us healthy. Most degenerative diseases are caused by mineral deficiencies! And guess what? Due to modern commercial agriculture, soils are being stripped of their minerals!

Now it’s not just minerals that we need. Water, macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are also necessary to maintain good health. The macronutrients are where the majority of our energy comes from. We also need vitamins and minerals for our biochemical processes and to maintain optimal health. But instead of popping pills we really should be getting these nutrients from our food. The way it was meant to be!

Research has revealed that there is a critical relationship between minerals and optimal health. There are 18 known essential minerals as well as other trace minerals that are required for excellent health. These minerals interact with each other for many of the body’s metabolic functions. We are not able to manufacture minerals within our own bodies, and therefore deficiencies are commonplace. Nutrition is key to excellent health, and without nutrient dense foods from nutrient dense soils, we are much more susceptible to disease.

Why is this a problem now? Historically, our food was more nutrient dense food because the soil had not been over farmed and there were practices in place that returned nutrients back to the soil in the form of plant and animal wastes, farmers did not have chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. But now, newly introduced farming practices that deplete soil health have been implemented on a massive scale. These practices began with the mechanization of farming that then incorporated the usage of ammonium nitrate fertilizers. Then pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides came into the picture, and now GMOs and glyphosate. It can and has been charted that with each of these new practices, the mineral content of our food dropped and dropped, and dropped, until the pitiful present day levels were reached. And with each practice and the consequential mineral decline, the diseases began to rise – heart conditions, asthma, obesity, and cancer.


Guess how many apples you would have to eat today to get the same amount of iron that one apple contained in 1950. At least 26 (and that is according to the content in an apple from 1998 (1))!

Besides nutritional value, food doesn’t taste as good as it used to either. This is because the minerals have been depleted, and the minerals are what make up the compounds that give fruit and vegetables their flavor.

“When our food lacks minerals, disease becomes inevitable.”


Consider this; heart disease is associated with the mineral deficiencies of chromium, copper, magnesium, selenium, and potassium. The amount of these minerals found in food has been decreasing since 1930/when degenerative agriculture began, but when all these minerals dropped below 4 mg/100 g of food in 1990, heart conditions began to increase rapidly. The rate of this disease has increased 412.3% (in only the past 30 years!) between 1980 and 2011. (1)

Our multivitamins and mineral supplements should be going to/coming from the soil! Pill poppers rejoice! But, unfortunately the minerals are not being returned at a sustainable rate. It is important to choose the highest quality food available from ecologically minded farmers. Healthy food is a vehicle of nutrients derived from the soil. Don’t overlook the value of sea vegetables, as they are chock full of minerals (where do you think all the minerals from the topsoil ended up) – just make sure they are from the healthiest sources possible. The best companies will have tests done for any harmful contaminants that they make available for your review. Look out for Part 2 where we will jump back into the soil and how to enhance its health for our health!


Dr. Mercola


Grow Your Own Microgreens!

Grow Your Own Microgreens!

Microgreens have recently been getting a lot of attention in health circles, but once that first sunflower shoot introduced itself to me once upon a salad, I have been inspired ever since. Microgreens give you the most bang for your bite. Yep, eat less, get more. You maximize the quality of nutrients to the highest level when you grow your own food. Microgreens are so simple to grow and provide awesome benefits for food security right in your own home.


What is a Microgreen?

A microgreen is the second stage of plant development. It is between a sprout and “baby” green.They differ from sprouts in that you are not eating the roots, but are harvesting the stems and leaves once the roots are established and the cotyledons open.


Why are Microgreens Awesome?

Microgreens are nutrient dense packages of goodness. They are loaded with enzymes and contain an increased vitamin content, as well as better mineral availability. The sprouting process dramatically improves their quality of protein that complements other protein sources well. You will even benefit from the essential fatty acids found in them. To top it off, they are also chock full of antioxidants to protect cells against free radicals.

The sprouting process boosts the nutrient content to the maximum level possible for absorption. You would have to eat 3-16 times the amount of mature plant to get the equivalent nutrient levels in one serving of microgreens.

Other than nutritional awesomeness, they can easily be grown locally, in small spaces, year round, and are ready in 1-4 weeks!

How to Enjoy Them

Try them in salads, stir fries, wraps, and egg dishes.


What Will You Need to Grow Your Own

  • Seeds
    • My personal favorites are organic Sunflower, Pea, and Broccoli.
  • Living Soil
    • Okay, so I am pretty excited about sharing this with you, but of course I am a soil freak, so I want to touch on this aspect of growing your microgreens for a moment. If you don’t think you like greens because they taste bitter, well that is because they were not grown in nutrient dense soil. Healthy soil makes tasty plants. If grown in living soil, your microgreens should have a “sweet” taste.
    • Good Soil Should Contain:
      • Organic Matter
      • Microbial Community (mycorrhizal fungi, bacteria, protozoa)
      • Minerals
    • A good sprouting soil blend is:
      • 30% Organic Compost
      • 30% Peat Moss or Coconut Coir
      • 15% Vermiculite
      • 15% Sand
      • 10% Worm Castings (delivers bioavailable minerals to the soil)
      • Trace minerals
      • Organic kelp meal (add to soak water and soil for a nutrition boost)
  • Other than seeds and soil, you will also need:
    • Trays (2, one with drainage holes, one without)
    • Tile to fit in the tray
    • Unbleached paper towels (can go in your compost pail)
    • Heavy stone or brick to weigh down tiles
    • Water: Chlorine is bleach, bleach kills life, use non chlorinated water
    • Air, make sure you have good airflow to prevent mold (a fan or similar and don’t over crowd seeds.)
  • Optimal temperature is between 67 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Set Up Your System

  1. Add your soil mixture to the tray and smooth out, but do and compact. It should be 1-2 inches even of soil. You don’t want the tray to be too much deeper than the soil or there will be some air flow issues.
  2. Soak the seed, if appropriate for seed type. You can add organic kelp meal to the soak water. Broccoli seeds should and be soaked for more than 2 hours. Peas and sunflowers should be soaked overnight or up to 18 hours. You reduce wasted space when you sprout the larger seeds prior to planting in the tray. You can use a half gallon sprouting jar or a similar concept with a bucket. The sprout time is generally 1 – 2 days, or until you see a small tail emerging. You want to make sure you rinse the seeds twice a day during the sprouting process to prevent mold.pea-330337__180
  3. Sow the seeds. The soil should be moist but not saturated. Sprinkle and spread them evenly over the soil. The density depends on the stage in which you are planning to harvest the microgreens. For small, one week microgreens, you can do one thin layer with the seeds touching. For two to three week microgreens, you want to leave a little more space between the seeds/sprouts. Feel free to grow a mixture of seeds the have the same harvest time for greater diversity.
  4. Water, press and cover the seeds. Lay an unbleached paper towel over your seeds, then give it a generous spray down, then place the tiles over them and place a brick or stone on each tile. Alternatively, for smaller seeds, you can just stack the trays in each other and put an empty tray on top with a stone for weight.
  5. Leave trays covered for 2 – 3 days. Check the trays twice a day to see if the soil needs water, it should be moist, not wet.
  6. Once you notice the seeds starting to push up about ½ and inch in the cracks between the tiles, you know your microgreens are ready to be exposed to indirect sunlight. If your microgreens begin to get tall and “leggy”, they may need more light. Grow lights are a good option. Be careful with direct hot sunlight as it may damage the sprouts.
  7. Then harvest in 1 – 3 weeks with sharp scissors by snipping them near the base. Rinse and dry before storing them in the refrigerator.



Dan Kittredge, The Bionutrient Food Association


Want To Know How To Tell If You Are Eating High Quality Fruits and Vegetables?

Are you having trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies? Are you having trouble getting yourself to eat your veggies? Fruits and vegetables don’t taste as good as they used to.

As mentioned in a previous post, this is because the minerals and life in the soil have been depleted, and the minerals are what make up the compounds that give fruit and vegetables their flavor. Yes, organic produce IS better than conventionally grown produce, in regards to less chemical exposure for you and less toxic runoff into the waterways. As far as flavor goes though, it is a hit or miss.

When it comes to flavor, it is about more than just a label. It is about the practices that were used to produce and bring that fruit or vegetable to the shelf. Essentially, the flavor of produce is a reflection of the health of the soil it was grown in, which is a reflection of the awareness of the farmer who managed it.

When the soil is appropriately cared for and crops are produced for quality rather than quantity (although better yields are a side benefit of healthy soils), the flavor of the crops is noticeably more complex and “sweet”. The better flavor coincides with higher nutrition (this is not the case for Doritos, sorry), which leads to increased quality.

How do you tell if you are eating food fit for humans or food that is fit for bugs?


Food that is digestible for insects is not high quality food. If there are insect holes all in your farmer’s market fresh organic greens, then that means the plant was not healthy and did not have all the nutrients it needed to turn amino acids into complete proteins, or the capability to make other complex substances non-digestible by insects. There are two ways to grow hole-free organic greens: ones grown by farmers using “organic” pesticides, or ones grown by farmers who understand the nutritional needs of their plants and put the energy into improving their soil. So, speak with your farmers about their growing practices and express your desire for foods grown in remineralized and “living” soils.

Another benefit of flavorful, high quality fruits and vegetables is that they store longer in the refrigerator and will actually dehydrate, rather than rot! It sucks throwing out vegetables you bought less than a week ago and then having to clean up the mess.

All creatures with a sense of taste and smell use it to help them choose nutritious food (again, junk food and artificially intensified foods do not count!). Produce that has more flavor and better taste, is more satisfying than watery or bitter tasting fruits and vegetables. Once you reconnect to your innate senses and begin treating your taste buds to incredibly delicious nutrient dense produce, you may find that your taste buds become “re-calibrated” to these higher quality foods.

One way to measure the quality of produce is to use a tool called a brix meter, with the higher numbers correlating to better nutrition. There is a direct relation between flavor and brix. Eventually, with the use of this tool, you will quickly regain your ability to select great food by taste alone. Check out more about measuring brix HERE.


Here are some ways to visually tell the quality of fruits and vegetables:


  • A thinner rind indicates higher quality
  • Top quality citrus has five points at the calyx – stem end


  • Look for a boxy shape, it will be better

FOR STONE FRUITS (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, etc.):

  • A split pit indicates poor quality and that there were mineral deficiencies


  • A withered stem and yellow “ground spot” indicate that the fruit ripened on the vine.


  • Look for a natural waxy coating, which indicates good quality. Be aware though, packers, processors, and stores try to duplicate this effect by applying wax to poor quality vegetables.
  • Any hollowness indicates there was a mineral deficiency.


  • Bright, pure color, suggests higher quality (holds true for cut flowers as well).
  • Slime or mold can be washed off the surface, but it has already grown throughout the item. It is wise to reject such food. High quality, high brix produce will not rot in storage, rotting in storage is a sign of poor quality.
  • Fruit should feel heavy for its size.

ACRES USA 2015 Conference Report

ACRES USA 2015 Conference Report

The ACRES USA Conference this year was mind blowing. If you haven’t heard of ACRES USA and what they do, here is a brief description. They are one of the oldest publishing organizations on all things eco-agriculture. They educate farmers on how to produce the highest quality food in the most sustainable, ecological, and economical way for the health of people and the planet. They also hold this awesome conference every year where they bring together farmers and consultants to learn from each other about all things eco-farming.

This year was my first ACRES experience and I am so grateful for all the sharing and inspiration that happened in those few days between the lectures, trade show mingling, and insightful conversations. It was literally impossible to be at every lecture, film, consultation, or workshop. I did, however, go with specific interests in mind: to learn as much about the connection between soil and human health, and what we can do to improve both. So, this is how the course of lectures to attend was chosen.

The first night I listened to the keynote address by Steven Druker on his book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth. He essentially debunked many claims regarding GMO safety and the corruption that has allowed the continued use of them, as well as the deception of the public that prevents massive uproar and change from becoming widespread.

The next day I started off with a small group discussion with Dr. Richard Olree, a mineral nutrition consultant, chiropractor, and co-author of the book Minerals for the Genetic Code, about minerals in agriculture and human health. My brain is still assimilating the knowledge from this session. He went deep on the importance of certain minerals, how they interact, and which ones are harming us. It is about balance and the dangerous exposure to bromine, fluoride, and aluminum pair with deficiencies of iodine, boron, selenium, magnesium, and trace minerals causes unhealthy conditions in the body – aka disease.

Pumped up from that, I then went to a lecture by Klaas Martens, a long-time large scale organic farmer, on how to build a better farming system. His answer was simple, ask the right questions and make observations. We need to have discussions with other people in current situations, because a second pair of eyes is always helpful and people are going to ask different questions, make different observations, and try different things. Soil health is the most pressing factor in the ability to feed the world, and the crop varieties or productivity. There is a difference in being productive and being secure. The current system of agriculture is brittle and relies on a few outside inputs to get yields. These inputs are destroying the health of the soil. His push is to restore the soil and listen to what it is telling us. His answer is to add diversity through cover crops and rotations and to see what the soil is growing as a message of what it needs.

I was excited about listening to Glen Rabenberg, farmer and consultant for growing nutrient-dense crops, as he connected the dots of life between plants animals and humans. His main call is to balance the nutrition in the soil to balance the nutrition for humans. The soil is a living organism and its health can be tested similar to that of humans. He likes to do this by checking the sugar content of the plant, or the Brix reading, as well as the conductivity of the soil, or electricity of the soil. These readings reflect the health of the soil and the plant, as well as its resistance to disease and nutritional value for those consuming it. Our fundamental needs directly correlate to the needs of the soil/plants.


This trend continued throughout the day, as well as the next. There were many more lectures on the many ways to improve our soil and health as well, but the last highlight I want to mention was Dan Kittredge (Founder/Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association) and his lecture on principles of biological systems and their implications for eco-farmers. His approach to remineralizing the soil, and thus improving human health, is the application of rock dusts and seawater. Besides that, keep the soil covered with organic matter, well hydrated, and equipped with the soil life necessary to aerate the soil and make the nutrients available to the plants. The high quality of the plants from this ecologically abundant system will result in an enhanced flavor in the food. Taste and smell are evolutionarily important, as it correlates with nutrition. Except in the case of big food companies that have figured out how to hack your taste buds in a way to get you to eat more and buy more of their products. For the sake of this post though, you know the difference in taste between a farm fresh tomato and one from the store that was picked before it was ripe and shipped across the country. So, we need to grow nutrient dense foods so that we can have food that tastes good, the way nature intended.

When you grow healthy plants, they are naturally more productive because there is a well functioning ecosystem. This is the reason supporting ecological farming is important, because fighting is not the strategy to save the world, creating the solution will, and I feel that most common agricultures today are based on fighting with nature, rather than understanding it. We are not machines designed to just replace moving parts, we are living systems designed to continuously rebuild and regenerate. In order to rebuild, we need the building blocks from food, we are degenerating because our food is, because our soil is. Labels are not an accurate determination of nutrition, “organic” does not equal quality, it just means there were no synthetics used. Organic is a good start, but we must keep improving and mimicking nature. The ideal is to know where your food comes from and that it was produced in a regenerative and ecologically minded way in mineral-rich, living soil. This is where a new era of human health begins, in the soil.

*This article was originally written for Rebel Health Tribe at​ They are an incredible resource for everything you need to know about health!

The Best Butter! And Why Margarine is Killing You.

The Best Butter! And Why Margarine is Killing You.

Setting at the dinner table and watching the joy on my grandpa’s face as he opened the butter platter full of glowing gold, I was clueless as to the war being waged over butter and margarine. 

Now, I must take a stand on this topic and defend this special food item cherished by our ancestors, and with good reason. Butter is better.

I am not saying that butter/dairy is good for everyone, as we are all bio-individuals with different needs, but for those who wish to include it in their diet, make sure you get the good stuff.

So, what is the best butter? The best butter is unpasteurized, cultured, and from cows grazed on chemical free pastures and are well cared for without synthetic hormones or continuous antibiotics. The natural gold color indicates its quality.

This type of butter is packed dense with nutrition, here is a brief list of the specifics:


  • Butter contains vitamin A in its easily absorbed form, which is needed to maintain good vision and endocrine health.
  • Butter also contains vitamins D, E, and K2, which are all fat-soluble vitamins lacking in the modern diet.


  • Butter has trace minerals such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, and selenium found in abundance.
  • It is also a good source of iodine.

Fatty Acids:

  • The short and medium chain fatty acids found in butter boost metabolism, support immune function, and fight pathogens in the intestines.
  • Butter contains omega 3 & 6 in perfect balance, which is important for skin health, prostaglandin balance, and brain function.


  • The conjugated linoleic acid in butter helps protect against cancer and helps the body build muscle rather than store fat.


  • These fatty acids help protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the vulnerable.


  • That is right, cholesterol for health. Healthy cholesterol is necessary for intestinal, brain, and nervous system health.

Wulzen Factor:

  • This substance is similar to hormones and prevents arthritis and joint stiffness. It does this by making sure that the calcium in the body is put into the bones rather than the joints or other tissues. This factor is only present in raw butter and cream and is destroyed by pasteurization.

**If you are unsure how to get this amazingly nutrient dense food, check out**

Now I will cover the reasons that margarine is waging war on your health. First off, anything that used to come as a mass of grey with artificial yellow dye is not appetizing in the least. People know innately that the rich yellow color of butter indicates quality and that is why the margarine industry copied it. Margarine was made as a cheap alternative to butter, and you get what you pay for. But aside from margarine bashing based on history, appearance, and marketing, let’s get down to the nutrition and health details.

Everyone knows that trans fats are not good for you. They are unnatural and form during the process of partial hydrogenation. This is what turns the vegetable oil into a solid. These trans fats contribute greatly to heart disease, cancer, bone issues, hormonal imbalance, skin diseases, infertility, and learning disabilities, among many other forms of health degradation. These types of fats are unsafe at any level and when you look at the amount contained in processed foods, it adds up fast.

In addition to trans fats, margarine also contains free radicals as a by product of the high temperature industrial processing of these vegetable oils. These free radicals are associated with both heart disease and cancer.

In an effort to add any nutrients to margarine, synthetic vitamins are added, such as synthetic vitamin A. These usually have unfavorable effects on the body in comparison to the real nutrients contained in butter.

There are other offenders added to margarine, like preservatives and emulsifiers. The safety of these additives is questionable, especially BHT.

In order to extract the oils, hexane or other solvents are used. These industrial chemicals have toxic effects on the body.

As mentioned before, the margarine is grey in color, so they bleach it and then add coloring. This does not sound like a process that should be used in something we consume! In addition to the unappetizing color, the taste is also unpleasant, so they add artificial flavorings to mask it.

There are other “spreads” out there which tout to have “lower” amounts of trans fats. These contain the trans fats monoglycerides and diglycerides, which are not required to be listed on the label. In order to give these spreads body, highly processed soy protein isolate is added. This actually contributes to thyroid dysfunction, digestive disorders, and many other health concerns.

Manufacturers often add sterols, which are estrogen compounds, that lower cholesterol levels. These cause endocrine disorders and have been shown to cause sexual inversion in animals.

Please, go ahead and eat the good stuff that our ancestors enjoyed and prized for generations upon generations, real and unpasteurized butter.

Any thoughts on butter or margarine?

If you need help finding the best source of butter near you, contact me!​

How to Select the Best Dairy for Health and the Environment

How to Select the Best Dairy for Your Health and the Environment No...

For those of you who are not lactose intolerant and maybe even some who are, dairy can be a beneficial part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, there are many unhealthy and misleading products out there. I would like to demystify the selection process of healthy dairy.

Let’s start with where the milk comes from. This article will refer to dairy from cattle specifically, but is applicable to all types of dairy/milk (cow, goat, sheep, yak, camel, reindeer, water buffalo, etc).

Most milk on the supermarket shelf today is from large scale dairy farms. So, I will start with the background of that which is most common.

The day in a life of this particular dairy cow is spent in a tiny stall, on a hard cement floor, and in an overcrowded building. The cows are hooked to milking machines for the majority of the year. This does not remotely resemble any natural way of life for any livestock.

Due to the concentration of animals in such a compact space, there is an enormous amount of waste that must be dealt with. Most of this waste ends up being forced unnaturally into the environment, polluting waterways and devastating ecosystems. In pasture based systems, the manure is integrated back into the earth to enrich the soil and improve the land in a much more sustainable way.

Due to the nature of these confined operations, the cattle do not have access to fresh grass and are fed a diet of grain. The majority of this grain consists of corn and soy (not a natural diet for cattle), which receive extremely heavy applications of herbicides and pesticides. These toxins ultimately end up in the milk. In addition to this grain based diet, it is legal to feed rendered animal products to the cattle. I would prefer not to get into this aspect, but you can read more here.

The confinement of these animals, as well as the unhealthy living environment, leads to sick animals that require constant ingestion of antibiotics, which are also added into their feed. This is to ensure that the animal is kept alive and producing. As a result, the antibiotics are transferred into the milk in which you drink.

Sounds pretty miserable, right? Well it is obvious in comparing the average lifespan of a factory farmed, confined operation dairy cow, which is 42 months, to the average lifespan of a smaller scale pasture raised dairy cow, which is 12-15 years!

As with other production based businesses, the concept of more is better has driven the development of synthetic hormones to make the cattle produce more and more milk. In the early days, dairy cows produced about 1 ½ gallons of milk daily. Then farmers began selectively breeding cows that produced about 4 ½ gallons of milk per day. Now, with the addition of synthetic hormones, the average dairy cow produces over 6 gallons of milk per day. That is about 50 pounds of milk per day, per cow. The side effects of these synthetic hormones which plague the cattle are reproductive issues, deformities, the increased occurrence of mastitis, the increased need for antibiotics, foot issues, and digestive problems to name a few. Due to the increase in sickness and infection, the milk is lower in quality and contains fluids other than milk such as pus, unhealthy bacteria, and blood.

To deal with all of these issues, the process of pasteurization was introduced to the dairy industry in order to clean the dirty milk. This heat treatment, to kill bacteria, does not remove the herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones from the milk. In essence, pasteurization is a means to cover up dirty milk. In order to convince the public to buy pasteurized milk, the big milk producers claimed it to be superior and healthier than raw milk. They began blaming raw milk for numerous diseases until the public bought into it. These claims were not based on unpasteurized milk from clean facilities and pasture based systems.

In reality, there are more risks in drinking pasteurized milk than clean raw milk, due to the protective nature of beneficial bacteria. On the microscopic level, it is all about competition. When the milk is pasteurized, all life is wiped out, “good” and “bad”. This increases the likelihood of contamination. Pasteurized milk goes rancid as opposed to raw, living milk, which becomes cultured. The healthy microbes eat up all the sugars in the milk and produce a soured product with beneficial properties. With modern day milking equipment and transportation, it is more than possible to get clean and healthy raw milk to store shelves.

Pasteurization also decreases the nutrient value of the milk. This includes the loss of over half the vitamin A, D, E, and C. Vitamin B6 and B12 are actually completely destroyed during this process.​ Pasteurization decreases the digestibility of milk because it destroys enzymes that aid in digestion, such as lipase that helps break down fat and metabolize the fat soluble vitamins A and D. This is why the dairy industry has to fortify the milk with less than optimal sources of vitamins. Raw milk is a better source of calcium than pasteurized milk because this process also destroys phosphatase, which is essential for the absorption of calcium.

You will even see dairy products in the store that are “ultra-pasteurized”. Big dairy producers propose this higher temperature and longer treatment time as a response to certain microbes that they claim have become heat tolerant to the original pasteurization. There are other, less appealing to the consumer, reasons for ultra-pasteurization such as a longer shelf life. This means your milk can be 3-4 weeks less fresh when you get it. Another drawback is that it tastes burnt, and is now an ultra dead food. Most major brands use this process now, even certain organic brands.

Another common process dairy is put through is homogenization, which makes a more “uniform” product by breaking up the fat globules and dispersing them evenly throughout the milk to prevent the cream from rising. This eliminates the need to shake it up first. A large portion of the population is also fat-phobic and seeing the cream on top may be deterring for some. This breaking up of the fat globules increases the surface area of the fat exposing it to more air and oxidation. This makes spoilage more likely to occur. It has even been shown that consuming homogenized products contributes to heart disease and atherosclerosis.

Considering all of this, it is no wonder that there are so many allergies and conditions associated with milk consumption and improve with its removal. This is why it is important to choose milk in the wholesome, unadulterated, living form. Selecting dairy products from farmers who practice sustainable, regenerative, and ethical production methods will contribute to the well being of the animals, the environment, as well as those who consume the products. So choose real, unprocessed, full-fat, milk and dairy products from pasture-raised and happy cows.

Real, unprocessed, full-fat, and pasture-raised milk contains many important nutrients such as vitamin A and D, calcium, vitamin B6 and B12, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid - reduces body fat), complete protein, and plenty of necessary enzymes. It also contains beneficial bacteria for the health of your gut and intestinal flora. Culturing the milk takes these beneficial properties up a notch. Cultured milk products contain increased amounts of probiotics and enzymes that have a therapeutic effect on your health.

In some states, unpasteurized milk is legal. In most states it is not legal to buy at stores, but is okay to buy direct from the farmers. There are some awesome buying clubs out there to make this nourishing food more accessible. Check out The Real Milk Campaign to find a nutritious source near you! If you would like to dig in more to the history and topic of unheated, unprocessed milk, this site is loaded with incredibly detailed information.

For those who want to know more about the many healthy forms of raw dairy and how to select them, keep an eye out for my future musings!

Do you drink unpasteurized milk?

Do you want to try it?

Let me know if you have any questions or would like further guidance in this quest for the best!

Recipe of the Week: Raw Buttercream Protein Chocolates (with real butter!)

Hello lovelies!

Today I want to share one of my favorite treat recipes with you! This recipe is awesome for anyone who would like to cut sugar from their diet and add more protein and healthy fats. You will find that most of my recipes may seem a little odd, but believe me, your body will THANK YOU!​

1/2 cup raw cacao butter

1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and/or coconut butter

1/4 cup unpasteurized ​cultured butter or organic ghee (see my post here on selecting dairy products

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1 scoop raw grass fed whey protein concentrate and/or 1-2 Tbsp pure gelatin (buy it here!)​

1/4-1/2 cup grade B real maple syrup (or sweetener of choice, I use 1-2 tsp green stevia leaf powder)

pinch of Celtic Sea Salt

Optional Additions:

1/2-1 tsp vanilla (I use raw ground whole bean)

super food powders such as maca, lucuma, yacon, or blue green algae

sprouted nuts, seeds or nut/seed butters

coconut flakes

spices, such as cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, and cloves

1-3 tsp of your favorite prebiotic powder, such as FOS

raw bee pollen sprinkles​

Find a heat safe glass bowl that fits nicely in a pot without touching the bottom. Or if you have a double boiler, that is great too.

Pour about an inch of water into the pot. Place it on the stove over medium to medium high heat until it begin to just boil. Then turn it down to medium low and place the glass bowl over it (without the bottom touching the water).

Grate the cacao butter and measure it out while heating the water. Place the grated cacao butter into the glass bowl and let it start melting over the heat while you measure out the coconut oil.

Add the coconut oil and butter and whisk until well blended.

Then add the cacao powder, protein powder, and salt. Whisk again. When all melted, turn off the heat.

At this point, add the sweetener. Then whisk until completely smooth.

Once smooth, add any extras you like and stir well.

I find it best to use silicone molds. If you don't have any, you can use cup cake papers placed in a cupcake pan.

Pour the chocolate into container of choice and place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes, until it solidifies.

Once solid, you can store it in the refrigerator and delight yourself in the yumminess!

Guess what chocolate creations these will be! 🙂

Have you tried this yet? What do you think of it?

I would love to hear about your own chocolate creation combinations and experiments!

***Leave your comments/questions/stories below.***

DIY of the Week: Bone Broth for Health

Bone Broth, Drink To Your Health!

The Basic Protocol


  • 3-4 pounds bones (beef marrow and knuckle bones, chicken bones, feet, and heads, fish heads and carcasses, pork bones)
  • 2 pounds meaty bones (such as short ribs)
  • ½ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 4 quarts filtered water
  • 3 celery stalks, halved
  • 3 carrots, halved
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • Handful of fresh parsley or other herb of choice (rosemary and thyme are really good with chicken!)
  • Sea salt (optional)


1. Place bones in a pressure cooker (at least 6 quart capacity!), add apple cider vinegar and water, and let the mixture sit for 1 hour so the vinegar can leach the mineral out of the bones.

2. Add more water if needed to cover the bones.

3. Add the vegetables and lock the lid of the pressure cooker and heat until it reaches high pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 1 to 2 hours, then release the pressure naturally, 10 to 15 minutes. For beef bones, this may require a second round of 1-2 hours of pressure cooking. If you are using a stove top pressure cooker, I have found great success with beef bones by cooking at high pressure for one hour, turn to low to medium pressure for one hour, and then turn off the heat and let it cool overnight (I usually start the bone broth when I am making dinner).  In the morning, I warm it up just enough to melt the fat and then strain and jar it.

4. Let the broth cool and strain it. Make sure all marrow is knocked out of the marrow bones and into a container to add to later dishes. Add sea salt to taste if desired.

5. Cool the broth to room temperature, and then refrigerate. Depending on the kind and quantity of bones used in your broth, the chilled broth may become solid and jelly-like once chilled. That's fine! The broth will melt and become liquid again once warmed.

  1. If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350F.
  2. Save the meaty bits! You can save the big pieces of meat from making the stock and use them for other recipes, like stir-fries. Shred the meat into pieces and keep it refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
  3. As the broth chills, the fat will rise to the top and solidify. Once solid, you can scrape it off and use it for cooking or leave it.
  4. Store the broth: The broth will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
  5. Reheating bone broth: Pour out as much broth as you'd like and reheat it gently on the stove top or add to soups.
  6. Bones for bone broth: You can use any mix of beef, pork, or chicken bones for making bone broth. Adding some meaty bones, like short ribs or ham bones, will make a richer-tasting broth; you can also use the meat from the bones in other dishes.
  7. Just as a tip: I love to save all my vegetable and leafy green trimmings each time I make a meal and put them into a zip lock bag in the freezer. I keep adding until it is time to make the broth! After straining, these can then be dumped into the compost pile.
  8. As a warm beverage, use broth in place of water to simmer fresh ginger root tea. This is a great way to start your day!

Selecting Bones

Look for high quality bones from grass fed cattle or bison, pastured poultry, or wild caught fish. Since you’ll be extracting the minerals and drinking them in concentrated form, you want to make sure that the animal was as healthy as possible.

There are several places to find good bones for stock:

  • Save leftovers from when you roast a chicken, duck, turkey, or goose (pastured)
  • From a local butcher, especially one who butchers the whole animal
  • From local farmers who raise grass fed animals (ask around at your local Farmer’s Market)
  • From local buying clubs

Who has experienced the benefits of bone broth?

Have any of you had any mishaps with the process?

***Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.***