How to Find the Healthiest Plant Foods at the Market

This is a guest post by Jenny Prince.

mineralRichAs a longtime vegan turned real foodist, incorporating meat and dairy back into my diet has been a mental struggle. I still cling pretty tightly to that idea that I can satisfy my nutritional needs without disturbing other living creatures. Beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies are still my go-to daily fuel.

However, as a passionate food grower, I’m well aware that many plant foods just don’t stack up nutritionally. Not because they don’t have the potential to be healthy foods, but simply because they were raised without any real attention to their nutritional outcome. I say it’s high time we, as shoppers, figure out how to compare apples to apples, just so that we can always buy the healthier apple.

What if you had a sure-fire way to identify exactly which plant foods at market were the most nutrient-dense and mineral-rich?

No problem. I can totally help you do this.

Calling on all of my experiences as a lifelong gardener and organic soil analyst, I came up with an entirely simple way of finding these nutritional superstars – and it was inspired by pure, spooky fear. Like, horror movie-style.

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My girl, proudly chomping on some spinal column

My scary story, like all good scary stories, is based on real-life events. I didn’t have a close call with a disease or spend any time in the hospital, but it was definitely a nutritional nightmare.

For three years, I kept finding body parts.

My dog and I take a lot of long walks; we visit about 6 different trails within 40 minutes of home. Over the past few years, I‘ve started to notice bones hanging from the trees everywhere we go. Big, long animal bones, usually still connected (as in femur-kneecap-tibia). I was starting to get pretty creeped out.

Finally, I decided to consult some experts about these bones. Posting in a Real Foods Facebook forum, I asked my most outdoorsy friends:
bones
I figured one of these mountain-dwelling brewers, dairy farmers, scientists, chefs, or organic gardeners would know. And guess what? Seemed like everybody knew but me. Multiple replies confirmed this magical forest tradition:

Hunters return the bones of animals to the forest to decompose. They do this just to keep the soil system rich in minerals.

Why do they care about the soil system? Because they care deeply about plant foods.

Because hunters know that removing minerals (bones) from the forest puts the entire soil system in jeopardy, they also realize that it puts the deer population at risk. If the forest is not able to produce mineral-rich plant foods, then there won’t be any deer left to hunt.

The creepy truth is that:

Plant foods cannot sustain life unless they are mineral-rich.

Now you probably see why I got myself so worked up, huh?

So, what’s the easiest way for a health-minded shopper to source mineral-rich plant foods?

Find a veggie vendor at the farmers market who also sells eggs. Really.

Then you’ll know that your veggies were grown alongside chickens and their shells (remember: animal, vegetable, mineral!). If you can’t get to a farmers market, then ask someone at the health food store if they stock produce from any ‘diversified’ farms.

mineralRichPlantFood

Diversified farming incorporates animals and vegetables together, in efforts to keep a healthy soil system. Generally speaking, the vegetables grown on diversified farms alongisde animals are often richer in minerals than other options.

Have you found a good source of high quality vegetables in your area? What makes you feel good about buying your veggies there?

smJennyJenny Prince is a professional vegetable gardener and soil mineralizer,
as well as the author of Eat Like a Farm Girl: 3-Ingredient Plant-Based Recipes.
She shares her love for all things vegetable at jennygrows.com

Why Eat Fruit?

This is a guest post by Angelina Ignatova and she answers “why eat fruit”.

Maybe you’re just not a fruit person, or you’re wondering why eat fruit when you’re not sure you’re even eating enough vegetables? We’ll address both why eating fruit is important, but also how to eat fruit at the right time to avoid the side effects.

Why eat fruit?

Why do we eat food? It’s a rhetorical question, isn’t it? One can say it’s in order to survive and this would be almost right. Let’s close our eyes to the fact of breatharians’ (prana eaters) existence and move the attention to the delightful world of healthy food.

The most important aspect of a daily diet composition is nutrition – and why eat fruit is precisely because fruit is a big part of this rich palette of choices, called a healthy eating pyramid. Scientists say that if you eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day you may lose weight and also keep the right blood sugar level.

So let’s first understand how our digestion works during the day. When we swallow food, the first stop is our stomach. The gastric juice, containing a small amount of acid, starts to transform the food into the perfect consistency for the next step.

This is a very important part of the process; when a delicious apple or a nut cluster turns into a “smoothie”, because only in this form can all the nutrients be easily absorbed by our intestine.

Imagine that you ate, say, two pieces of toast and some fruit. When the fruit is ready to move to the intestine, the bread (which is more difficult to digest) blocks it and restrains it from moving on.

Gastric juice continues to digest the bread, while the fruit also continues to react with the acid and the mixture “fizzes” even more than it should.

That’s why sometimes when a person eats fruit after a meal they experience bloating, belching and a feeling of heaviness. Fruit is a rich source of fructose, vitamins and fiber. If you eat them properly, they will significantly benefit your body.

Why eat fruit if you’re not eating it at the right times?

Here are some tips to help you take full advantage of fruit:

Do not eat fruit when your stomach is full! You can do it at any time, but not after a meal.

After you eat some fruit, wait about 30 minutes before you eat anything else.

The best time to eat fruit is before the afternoon. They gradually increase the blood sugar level and awake the digestive system after night.

Why eat fruit when you’ll get a stomach ache? Try not to eat fruit with foods that are hard to digest.

Bananas and avocados are very heavy, so it’s better not to eat them in the evening. Take a banana or an avocado salad as an afternoon meal when the digestive system is ready for it.

If possible, prefer fresh fruit to frozen and canned ones because the processed fruit contain lots of sugar and, most likely, artificial preservatives, thus losing most of their nutritional value.

Why eat fruit?
Photo Credit

If you used to eat fruit as a dessert and then suffered from unexplained stomach-ache, try to follow this advice and see what happens. You can also find more healthy eating tips and information on this site – http://www.eatinghealthy.org. Stay fit and nature-friendly and don’t forget to wash all the fruits and veggies before enjoying them!

Angelina is a vegetarian and a yoga addicted writer from Aliso Viejo, CA. Her biggest goal is to make everybody be healthy and live happily. Follow her on Twitter at @_eatinghealthy and get more tips that answer why eat fruit!

How to Eat Seaweed: 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy with Sea Veggies

Growing up I always ate a lot of cookies and junk food. That was my de facto standard. But one day my dad showed up with boxes full of seaweed cookies and seaweed bars.

He figured that we could all stand to eat a little healthier, and he planned on selling them at his shop. At first we all wrinkled our noses: “seaweed?! yuck!”

But over time I grew to like these seaweed cookies. They had a different type of flavor, and since my dad was having a harder time than he anticipated selling them, I ended up eating a lot of them.

The Benefits of Eating Seaweed

How to eat seaweed is not something I learned at a young age… unless you count those cookies. I didn’t understand the benefit of eating seaweed back then, but now I’m a huge fan and here’s why:

  • A lot of the food grown on the land is lacking in minerals because of aggressive farming practices and lack of remineralization. Seaweed is packed with minerals from the ocean!
  • If you’re worried about the toxic chemical accumulation the higher up you go in the food chain, especially in fish… well seaweed is as low in the oceanic food chain as it gets.
  • Seaweed is great for balancing out the thyroid gland, which is responsible for producing hormones that keep us healthy and balanced.
  • Seaweed is pure energy, and if you need a boost it is really easy to add to your daily routine.
  • All in all, seaweed is one of the greatest foods that we often neglect to eat. It is a regular ingredient in Asian cuisine, and can add a great taste to many raw dishes!

How to Eat Seaweed & How to Add Seaweed to Your Diet

I often get asked how people can eat more seaweed, and this article will show you all the different ways you can do it!

1. Add spirulina or blue/green algae to your green smoothies or fruit smoothies. I’ve also added it to my green juices, it makes for a fun mix.

2. Make raw maki or sushi veggie rolls, using nori seaweed sheets as the wrapper.

3. Slice up a nori sheet to top your salads or add to wraps for extra crunch.

4. Use Irish Moss in raw pies and desserts to solidify the fillings, and get some extra seaweed into your diet through your sweet tooth.

5. Soak kelp buds and add these to your salads and wraps. I do this one several times per week, and it adds a different flair to my salads!

6. Add kelp noodles (these are raw!) to your raw soups, raw salads, or make a raw noodle dish with them.

7. Use soaked kelp buds or your favorite type of seaweed to your salad dressings by blending with quality oils and vinegars. You get a great Asian tasting dressing, and you sneak more seaweed in!

8. Dehydrate nori crackers by blending regular cracker batter and spreading it on a nori sheet. Then dehydrate and watch the salty nori turn into a delicious cracker you can’t put down.

9. Make a seaweed salad with any type of soaked seaweed, sliced cucumbers, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an Asian feel.

10. Bring nori sheets on camping or cross country trips, they make for a great dry snack or can be combined with fresh veggies for a super simple wrap.

Did you notice? None of these suggestions require you to eat seaweed cookies. But each one will help you remineralize your body, balance your thyroid, and feel incredible.

So go ahead, give seaweed a try. I promise you it gets easier to include in your day to day! The question is not “How to Eat Seaweed” but rather, why not eat more seaweed?

Love, Nathalie

Three Simple Fasting Juice Fasting Recipes That You Will Absolutely Love

This is a guest post by Ingela Johansson.

Having a bunch of fasting juice recipes ready when you’re about to go on your raw, healing juice fast can come in handy. Many use fasting as a tool to lose weight, and I don’t blame them. It often works a lot better than the majority of the diets out there.

Fasting not only cleanses your body internally, but it also detoxifies your body and increases your health tremendously.

If you want to get an extra boost out of your enema, it is usually recommended that you do a small enema before you start to clean out the old stuff.

When you’re juicing, you aren’t getting any fiber or solids into your stomach, so you have to get rid of the old somehow, right?

These recipes are the ones I use the most and they are very simple. I like keeping things simple and I am sure our bodies like that, too.

Healthy Recipe #1 – Orange and Carrot Blend

This is probably one of the juices I drink the most. Whenever I get cravings for something sweet I make one of these and it always satisfies my body.

All you have to do is grab as many oranges as you want and when you’ve juiced all of your oranges, add a few carrots. You can vary the amount of carrots you put in depending on what flavor you want.

I typically put in 2-3 medium sized carrots and that gives the orange flavor a nice boost.

Healthy Recipe #2 – Green Orange Mania

This is a recipe I make because I have to get some greens in my diet! Vegetables are very cleansing internally and they are like a retreat for your soul. So you need to get those greens in and this is my way of doing it.

You can take any vegetable, but let’s go with celery and kale. If you were to juice those two and drink it, it would taste pretty bad, and I don’t know, maybe some people like it, but I don’t!

Juice your greens and at the end add a few oranges and it will improve the taste tremendously and it will be a lot easier to drink. And best of all, your body will get the nutrients it needs.

Healthy Recipe #3 – Pineapple and Mango

Are you starting to notice that my fasting juice recipes tend to only contain two or three ingredients? I’m sorry, but that’s the way I have been doing things for a few years, and it works!

I like keeping things simple, but I by no means discourage your from trying your own recipes. Throw in whatever you want in your juicer and see how it tastes. That’s how you learn.

For your pineapple and mango fasting juice recipe all you have to do is peel your pineapple and mango, slice both into small chunks that fit into your juicer and juice away.

I sometimes like to include a carrot right at the end because my juicer can get clogged when I use squishy fruits like pineapples.

[Editor's Note, Nathalie Says: I don't recommend juicing fruit on a regular basis, or drinking lots of juiced fruit but if you do juice fruit keep to this rule: only juice fruit with other fruit, except apples, pears, and lemons/limes which can be juiced with veggies. Try to make the majority of your juice consist of vegetables, especially if you have sugar issues or suspect you've got a sweet tooth.]

Keep It Simple

Like I said, I like to keep my fasting juice recipes simple, because it means I have to use less brainpower to make them, and to clean everything when I’m all done.

There are tons of great juice recipe books out there, and I’m sure you can find more than plenty online as well, so don’t be shy to trying new things.

Best of luck with your juicing!



Ingela Johansson is in love with natural skin care. If you want more natural anti aging tips, you can visit her blog, where you will find topics ranging from oily skin care tips to home remedies for warts.




7 Fascinating and Educational Fruit Facts

This is a guest post by Ingela Johansson.

Fruit facts are great, not just because of their fascinating nature, but also because learning more about fruits will inevitably lead to a life with more energy, better sleep, and more joy.

Fruits are natures own multivitamins, they usually contain a lot of vitamin C, dietary fiber and different minerals and antioxidants. I’ve heard a lot of people say that fruits are bad and they’ll do this and that to you if you eat too much of them. Usually these statements aren’t backed up by any solid scientific evidence at all. Now, I’m not saying that consuming only fruit is recommended. We still need variety in our diet (hello vegetables!)

With all that said: let’s look at some quick fruit facts.

#1 – Apples

There are 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide, that’s more than you’d think, isn’t it? 2,500 of these are grown in the U.S.

Apples have been proven to support heart health, protect against certain cancers, alleviate asthma, speed up weight loss and lower cholesterol. This is amazing, all these benefits just from eating apples! I personally like the green ones the best, because they taste sour.

#2 – Avocado

Some say that Avocado is a vegetable, but I personally think that it is a fruit.

Avocadoes are higher in fat than most fruits, because of this it can increase your absorption of carotenoids from vegetables. Just add some avocado to your salad! Avocados also promote heart health by lowering cholesterol.

Because avocados are a rich source of healthy fatty acids, it has been shown to offer significant protections against breast and prostate cancer. I personally don’t like eating avocadoes by themselves, so I mix it into things like salads, smoothies and other yummy recipes.

#3 – Bananas

There are many different varieties of bananas, as to how many, it seems that people disagree on that part. Something they do agree on is their health benefits! Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium.

Potassium is a very important mineral that helps your body maintain a normal blood pressure and heart function. A banana therefore may prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

Bananas are also effective in soothing ulcers because of their antacid effects. I like to use bananas and sparkling water whenever my stomach is feeling off balance, don’t ask me why, that mix just seems to work.

Bananas also help against constipation and I am living testimony to this because whenever I am feeling a bit blocked down there I make a big banana smoothie and things just start flowing ;).

#4 – Blueberries

Mmm, blueberries are delicious. I always sneak back home after summer when my mother has gathered a few buckets of blueberries from our summer cottage. I go in quietly, steal them and sit in the corner and devour them.

Blueberries are supercharged with antioxidants that stop free radicals from damaging your body. Free radicals cause damage to your cells and tissues, which can lead to problems such as glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, ulcers, heart disease and even cancer.

Blueberries have also been shown to improve night vision, how cool is that?

Blueberries help protect your brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There are too many benefits of blueberries to list here, but let’s do one more.

No, let’s do two, I’m in a good mood today! Blueberries also keep your intestines healthy and protect your colon against cancer.

#5 – Grapes

Grapes are one of my favorite fruits, but you have to make sure you get organic grapes, because non-organic grapes can be heavily sprayed with all sorts of chemicals, and since you do not peel grapes, you get more of those chemicals in you.

Grapes keep your heart and lungs healthy, and grapes also fight cancer. Red grapes also contain something called resveratrol, which is believed to be one of the reasons the French live so long even though they eat a bad diet.

#6 – Oranges

Oooh, oranges, squeezing your fresh orange juice, have you ever tried it? If not, I think you should, it is better than candy, cakes, pizzas and any other unhealthy (but potentially yummy) food in the world!

Oranges contain a lot of vitamin C, which protects against some cancers, may lower cholesterol and keeps your stomach healthy because of all the fiber it contains.

#7 – Strawberries

Eating strawberries with raw unheated honey is a good snack that I enjoy in the summer time when strawberries are plentiful here in Sweden. In the winter they come from other countries and are pretty expensive, so I don’t really eat them.

Strawberries protect your body from oxygen damage, rheumatoid arthritis, improve your eyes, decrease the risk of developing cancer and much more that hasn’t been discovered yet!

That’s my list. I know I’ve left many fruits out, but these are my favorites and it is good to not get too overwhelmed if you’re relatively new to fruits.

Remember to buy your fruits organic if you can and wash them gently before you put them in your mouth.

Start eating more fruit today, your body will thank you!

Ingela Johansson is in love with natural skin care. If you want more natural anti aging tips, you can visit her blog, where you will find topics ranging from how to prevent oily skin to finding the best anti wrinkle cream.