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Cultured Food Festival Round-Up

Our team was delighted to have shared our gourmet and organic foods at the Cultured Food Festival at the Highland Springs Ranch and Inn on February 23 and 24, 2019.

But hang on, what are cultured foods, you ask? "Cultured" essentially means "fermented." Cultured foods have undergone a process through which they are broken down, usually by bacteria, yeasts or fungi. There are so many different types of cultured food, including yogurt and cheese. Initially produced as a way to preserve foods, cultured foods not only enhance flavor; they have an array of additional health benefits, including fostering gut health by strengthening your gut microbiome. They are packed with good bacteria and they are becoming more and more popular today.

Organic Raw Brazilian Rainforest Honey

We were honored to be invited to present our organic Brazilian Rainforest Honey and organic Black Botija Dried Olive at this year's festival. These are two of our favourite and most popular cultured foods that we offer. High quality ingredients such as raw, organic honey is key to some cultured foods and beverages, like Kombucha. Our Brazilian Rainforest honey is rich in flavor, aroma and nutrients that result from bees harvesting the diverse heirloom blossoms of the forest.

Organic Peruvian Black Botija Olives

Our olives are in the same league as our honey. Our heirloom variety, organic, Peruvian, black, cured olive is unique and likely different from most olives you’ve tasted. It is cured using the old-world style method of processing, which is so special and unique. Check out our post on The Lost Art of Artisan Olive Curing to learn more.

To create a delicious appetizer that’s quick and easy, you only need four simple ingredients. Slice up a cucumber and serve with a slice of Manchego cheese (a Spanish sheep cheese), an olive, a small slice of avocado and a dash of course culinary sea salt. And voilà! You have a tasty and healthy snack for your friends and family to enjoy.

Thank you for everyone that joined us for our talk and tasting or swung by our pop-up shop. Even if you missed it, we hope we've inspired you to create a delicious snack using a few simple ingredients that you can prepare and enjoy at home.


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Raw Chocolate by Sacred Chocolate: Interview with Founder, Steven Adler

We had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Adler, CEO and founder of Sacred Chocolate. In 2006, Sacred Chocolate introduced the first raw chocolate bar in the world. (Raw, in this case, means you’re taking the cacao seed—the primary ingredient of all chocolate—and not roasting it or grinding it at temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit).

What strikes us about Steven’s story is that he’s a rocket scientist turned chocolate scientist! Applying his passion for engineering, raw foods and spirituality to chocolate making, Steven, along with his partner David Wolfe, were able to create one of the finest organic chocolate factories in California and perhaps the United States. Sacred Chocolate’s commitment to create organic, high-quality, clean, healthful and tasty chocolate is impressive… we wanted to know more. Here’s what we learned, after talking with Steven.

Sacred Chocolate, Food of the Gods

ZO - All the chocolate produced by Sacred Chocolate is raw. What’s so special about raw chocolate?

SA - Raw, organic chocolate contains higher levels of nutrients than that of processed commercial chocolate bars. Milk chocolate typically contains only about 30 percent cacao; the balance of the bar is made up of milk powder and cane sugar. The chocolate industry usually calls cacao “cocoa”; but, in reality cocoa is mainly used in reference to cocoa powder or cocoa butter, which are both derivatives of the cacao seed or “bean”. Botanically, cacao is actually a nut and not a bean. The botanical name of the cacao tree is “theobroma cacao”, theobroma meaning “food of the gods”.

Most cacao is roasted over 250 degrees F for 30-90 minutes. When chocolate is cooked at high temperatures, the antioxidants are degraded, as the chemistry changes and heat sensitive nutrients such as phenylethylamine (PEA) are destroyed or diminished. These nutrients, naturally present in chocolate, or more specifically cacao, are beneficial to the human body. A lot of plant chemistry is heat sensitive, and once you start cooking things the nutrients are diminished. The idea behind raw food is to preserve the nutrients and enzymes that naturally occur in the plant or food.

Our raw chocolate has twice the antioxidant content compared to a cooked, roasted and or otherwise high temperature processed chocolate bar at the same cacao content. There was a lot of trial and error involved in mastering our process, which involves slowly stone grinding the cacao below 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This is really special.

ZO - What makes Sacred Chocolate different from other chocolate?

SA - The main difference is we’re willing to do things other chocolate makers aren’t willing to do. We are the only chocolate maker that includes the nutritious husk of the cacao bean in its chocolate. There are a lot of phytonutrients in the husks, which are normally sold off as chicken feed or fertilizer by traditional chocolate makers.

Our cacao beans are cleaned in a special proprietary manner that maintains the nutrients and allows us the ability to include those nutritious husks in Sacred Chocolate. If you look at images of our cacao beans, you’ll see they look like almonds because they are so clean. No other chocolate maker is cleaning beans in the way we are. Cacao beans used by traditional chocolate makers are dirty after fermentation and drying, which forces them to roast them and winnow away the nutritious husks to avoid microbial contamination. We’re the only chocolate maker that takes the extra time and necessary steps to make truly “whole bean” chocolate.

There’s a lot of energy, electricity and gas just in the cooking process of making chocolate.

Cooking alone causes so much greenhouse gas, it’s unbelievable. Sacred chocolate is made in a certified organic, certified vegan, certified kosher, carbon balanced, and 100 percent renewable energy facility in California. Our ingredients are always raw where possible and always of the highest quality in terms of nutritional content, flavor, and food safety.

I’m adamant about praying over the chocolate, too. This is done in a sacred space.

ZO - What do you use to sweeten your chocolate?

SA – Our primary sweetener of choice is organic, eco-friendly maple sugar. It’s sustainably sourced from Canada and the USA, and is actually four to five times the cost of cane sugar, a common sweetener in chocolate. Maple is a wild crop which makes it very eco-friendly. Maple is around 55 on the glycemic index, and it is relatively low in free fructose.

The University of Tokyo found in a lab rat study that maple was the only commercial sweetener that improved the liver function of rats. They found it didn’t put stress on the liver of the rats. The University of Rhode Island isolated quebecol in maple, which may help mitigate type II diabetes. Maple is also very high in certain trace minerals such as manganese.

We also use erythritol and inulin (from Jerusalem artichoke) as diabetic friendly sweeteners. All of the ingredients we use are sustainable, eco-friendly and of the highest quality.

According to Steven, cane sugar has caused an environmental disaster around the world because forests have been cleared on a massive scale to grow cane sugar.

Fun fact: Maple trees need to be in the ground for 30 years before they can be tapped for maple syrup and sugar.

Sacred Chocolate | Best Organic Raw Chocolate

ZO - We’ve heard there’s something special about the heart shape of your chocolate. Can you tell us more?

SA - Yes! It has a special characteristic: It’s built from sacred geometry. Each half of the heart is built out of a perfect, logarithmic curve growing at the rate of phi, which creates the perfect spirals. This reflects the Fibonacci sequence of numbers that show up everywhere in nature (conch shell, galaxies, sunflowers, etc.). That natural rhythm of life has been built into Sacred Chocolate: a good reminder to live from your Sacred Heart.

Sacred Chocolate | Best Raw Organic Chocolate

ZO - Where do you source your cacao bean?

SA - We source most of our cacao beans from a cooperative in Ecuador, known for its prized heirloom Arriba Nacional variety of cacao. We also source from Sri Lanka and Hawaii.

ZO - Hybridized cacao is causing deforestation around the world. Some people are aware of this issue around coffee, but many are not aware of the impact that commercial cacao growing is having in contributing to this agricultural disaster. What should consumers look for when buying chocolate?

SA - It’s truly a nightmare – particularly in West Africa. There are satellite images confirming all of this. Most of the chocolate industry is focused on the bottom line, in maximizing their profits using the smallest amount of land. When choosing chocolate you should make sure:

1) It’s organic.

2) It’s fair trade.

3) The cacao bean is heirloom or shade grown in a natural jungle environment. You need to talk to the company directly for this, as you won’t often find it on the packaging.

4) If you’re really health conscious, makes sure it’s raw.

Zebra Organics wholeheartedly supports Sacred Chocolate

After chatting with Steve, it’s evident that he is a smart, passionate, creative guy who cares deeply about the product he produces, the land that it comes from, the people that supply it to Sacred Chocolate, and the customers that end up enjoying these special chocolates. We fully support Sacred Chocolate’s mission to continue to produce the most exceptionally tasting and nutritious chocolate in the world.

All of Zebra Organics’ brand cacao and chocolate products are from heirloom variety, shade-grown trees that come from environmentally and socially responsible sources. One hundred percent of our Zebra Organics brand products are eco friendly, non-GMO, certified organic, and fair trade certified.

We carry some of the most delicious flavors of Sacred Chocolate; Twilight Dark Chocolate (69%), India Sunset Heart Bar (61%), Mylk Chocolate (58%) and the dairy-free white chocolate, White Passion. We look forward to hearing how you like them!


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The Lost Art of Artisan Olive Curing

Are you a fan of olives? Do you want to know what the secret is to flavourful and nutrient-dense olives? The way in which they are cured makes all the different to the taste and flavour.

Olive Curing

Olives have to be cured because they're unpalatably bitter when they come off the tree. If you’ve ever tried to eat them, you’ll know it’s impossible. To be able to eat them, they have to be cured in some manner. The Old World way of doing that is fermentation. A lot of people have departed from the Old World way because of time and money, though it's making a comeback today.

Best Black Botija Olive

Old World vs New World Olive Curing

Old World fermentation is the secret to flavourful and nutrient-dense olives. The Old World method is simple. The olives are placed into salted spring water and then sealed in large vats so there’s no air. They are left there to ferment for about two or two and a half months. They are then rinsed, pitted and dried. “Our olives come from a third generation farm in Peru where they just won’t do it any other way." says Randy Olsen, founder, Zebra Organics. "As far as olives go, this is a lost art. There are a few places in the world that still do it, but these are few and far between.”

Nowadays the most common method of curing olives is with lye, a caustic chemical that you have to rinse out. Lye kills a lot of the good bacteria and also takes away the natural flavour and aroma. “The reason most companies cure the New World way nowadays is because of time and money. They don't want to spend the time on fermentation. Curing with lye only takes 12 hours. The Old World way is a huge time commitment. Many companies aren’t doing things because they're mindful of taste, quality and nutrient value; it's just money. They want to get the food out there fast and they want to produce huge volumes of it. They also want to keep it on the shelves for extended amounts of time but the irony of that is fermentation actually preserves the olive - or any other food. When you open up our Black Botija Olives, they don’t have to be refrigerated, unlike olives that are cured in lye. They are already preserved,” says Olsen. Be mindful of the cans on grocery store shelves that say “Black, ripe olives.” These are likely to have been picked as a green olive off the tree and have had all the nutrients cooked out of them with chemicals. They are put into a combination of things like lye and iron salts and other highly caustic and alkaline liquids. (While people talk about being alkaline, being fully alkaline, like being fully acidic, burns though metal). Lye is one of the most alkaline (and dangerous) chemicals on the planet. The olives have to be rinsed multiple times before they’re packaged, so there’s no chance of ingesting the lye. Being extremely corrosive, you can’t get it on your skin or it will burn through it.

Zebra Organics Olives

Our Black Botija Olives offer a robust flavour. Cured in spring water, they are rinsed over a few days, sun dried and pitted. The process is all manual and there is no salt added afterwards. You can enjoy the natural texture, while tasting all the layers of flavour that is preserved via the Old World curing process.

Olives make for a great appetizer. Put these black olives out during a party and they’ll be your most popular snack and are guaranteed to not last long. Olives are also great in pasta salads and pasta sauces. Give them a try and let us know what you think!

The Benefits of Fermentation

Fermentation has been around as long as man. As long as there’s been life on earth there’s been some form of fermentation. Popular foods like beer, bread, coffee, kimchi and sauerkraut have all been fermented. There’s no food that you can’t ferment.

Fermented foods foster gut health. Anytime you’re eating fermented food, you’re increasing the good bacteria in your system, which we cannot live without. (The bacterium that’s harmful to humans is killed during the fermentation process). As a culture, we’ve become afraid of bacteria. We’re a nation of germophobes. What’s important is that the more good bacteria we have in our bodies, the less chance bad bacteria has to grow and cause disease. Fermented foods don’t rot or decay and are more flavourful. There's a lot of research now that has found they regulate our mood, the chemistry of our stomach and our immune system.

Olives for Good Health

Olives have been part of the Mediterranean diet since the Middle Ages and they come with all sorts of health benefits. Did you know all olives are black? There’s no such thing as a green olive tree. (Mind blowing, isn't it?). Olives are picked at different times of the season, depending on preference. If you let all olives ripen fully they will all be black.

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Interview: Dr. Friedlander on Collagen for Bone Health

As world-renowned physician, chiropractor, professional trainer and coach, Dr. Friedlander has a long history in the sports medicine field. We were fortunate to interview him for this blog post. Read on our listen to the interview on YouTube: Dr. Bernd Friedlander Interview - Collagen.Dr. Friedlander has been developing his current roster of products since 1990, which offer a wide range of solutions that promote health and longevity.

Q - What is Collagen?

A - Next to water, collagen is one of the most important structural substances in the bodyand is a major component of skin, hair, nails, muscles andjoints. It is the mechanism that holds the calcium together in our bones andaccounts for approximately 30% of all the protein content in the human body. I was one of the very first ones to really start using collagen for my patients in the 1980s.

Q - What led you to introduce a new brand of collagen?

A - After extensively researching the collagen on the market, I was unsatisfied with the quality of the products available andfound them to be “watered down.” I conducted extensiveresearch in obtaining the finest sources of collagen, which are largelycomposed of amino acids. I wanted a form of collagen that was ofa very low molecular weight, low density and immediately absorbed without requiringfurther digestive enzymes to break it down. My exhaustive search led what is perhaps the purest form of collagen on the market.I realized that one of the most important things in our bones, ligaments, tendons, skin, cell membrane, the lining of our arteries and spinal cord, is collagen. The principal that created all living systems that have a spinal cord and a central nervous system is called the nodo chord and is made of 100% collagen. This is the basic foundation for life.I wanted to make life simple for everybody and make sure they don’t need to take a million pills to find something that works.

Q - What sort of results have people seen from Collagen?

A - Improvement in the health of hair and nails have been reported by customers, as evidenced from using the product for only a relatively short period of time. Collagen has been proven to assist in cartilage recovery, the regeneration of hips and knees, ligaments, tendons, improve muscle definition, function and bone density and also has an anti-aging function.

Who should take collagen?

According to Dr. Friedlander, he haschanged the lives of individuals from all walks of life. From bodybuilders, toprofessional athletes, to the frail, the elderly, exceptional results have beenachieved from Dr. Friedlander’s work. Many people have said that they feel thatthey have had both short and long-term benefits from regular use of collagen.Dr. Friedlander has shared his products with world-class athletes; from teams that include the Raiders, Rams, Lakers, as well as athletes from across the globe that would travel great distances to seek his professional advice. Patients from a world-class sports facility located in Los Angeles were referred to Dr. Friedlander and he was able to assist in the recovery of some athletes without surgery.

Types of Collagen

Different types of Collagen and musculoskeletal supplements are available in store, depending on the results you are trying to achieve. Here are some options to consider when it comes to musculoskeletal health.

Collagen Peptide (powder) works to nourish your cells with the essential nutrition that may be lacking in the average diet. It is anti-inflammatory, promotes wound healing, supports bone density, immune function, suppresses inflammation, repair/regeneration of ligaments, bones, tendons, skin. Promotes gut function.Collagen with amino acids (powder) The addition of amino acids promotes

anti-oxidant benefit, supports brain function, detoxification, wound healing and gut inflammation.

High performance coconut collagen – a proprietary formulation of collagen + colostrum + coconut milk powder and 22 vitamins and minerals. Promotes increased energy, wound healing, recovery, regeneration, and inflammation. This product was developed for those individuals that want a one stop nutritional product. Excellent for the active individuals such as moms on the go as well as sports enthusiasts. Ultra Blend Probiotic - supports immune function, gut inflammation, assimilation/absorption of foods and nutrients and weight loss.Note: The Team at Zebra Organics has experienced a number of products over the years but few standouts like Dr. Friedlander's Ultra Blend probiotic powder. It sells with consistent satisfaction and enthusiasm from our customers. MCT Oil - extracted from coconut oil, MCT oil is a fat that burns fat. Supports energy, brain function, fat burning function. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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Recipe: Chai Almond Shortbread Cookies

We know how it feels when a sugar craving hits you. You're trying to be healthy and you know cookies are loaded with sugar and excess calories. When you're standing in the chocolate aisle aisle at the grocery store with dozens of cookie boxes begging for you to pick them up, slowly back away. Instead, opt for a healthier option that will satisfy your sugar craving. You won't regret picking up the ingredients for this Chai Almond Shortbread cookie recipe. These crisp and buttery cookies are laced with a delicious nutty chai flavour that your friends and family will love. The beauty of this recipe is that it calls for Tagatose. If you're scratching your head at what this is, it's a low-calorie healthy substitute for sugar. It's a natural sweetener found in milk that is not quite as sweet as sugar but still a great substitute. It has a clean, neutral taste. If you want to learn more about sugar substitutes, Nat Geo baked a number of cakes with different artificial sugars: How Sugar Substitutes Stack Up. This recipe also requires chai syrup. You can buy this at most grocery stores or you can make your own: recipe here.

We believe that anything baked at home is going to be fresher, better tasting and better for you than anything packaged and processed that you buy from the grocery store. How can it not when you add the time, attention and love?

Servings:

Ingredients:

• 1 cup of Almond Flour • 3 Tablespoons softened butter • 3 Tablespoons Tagatose • 1/8 Salt • 1 Tablespoon of Chai Syrup

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer) combine all of the ingredients listed above.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together until a cohesive dough forms.
  4. Scoop 1” balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. You could use a teaspoon cookie scoop or just roll them in your hands. Arrange the ball of dough about 1 ½” to 2” apart, then use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/4 “thick.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. (keep in mind Tagatose browns at a lower temperature than sugar so keep an eye on the cookies) Remove the cookies from the over and cool them on the pan for 10 minutes.
  6. Enjoy with a cup of tea and remember to share with friends and family

In the mood for spending some more time in the kitchen? Here are some healthy recipes you may like to try:

Bone Broth (with vegetarian broth option) • Blissful Anandamide: Tonic Recipe for BeginnersHomemade Nut MilkSimple Green Smoothie Do you have a recipe you'd like to share with us? Please e-mail us at info@zebraorganics.com

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Top 5 of our Favorite Farmers’ Markets in the USA

There are so many reasons why one should visit a farmers' market. What we love most is all the freshly picked produce of course, and the rare opportunity to chat to the farmer directly - you might learn about new ways to store and prepare your favourite foods! Every trip to a farmers' market ignites a new story. All these markets are charming, in beautiful settings and have their own unique personality. Farmers Market in Santa Fe1. Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, New Mexico

Located at the historic Santa Fe Railyard in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this market is one of the best around that features local agriculture of Northern New Mexico as well as a variety of chilies, foods and an abundance of sauces made from recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. More than just a farmers’ market, you’re in for a truly unique experience. Added bonuses include health screenings, food demonstrations, samples of healthy, affordable meals and even the occasional exercise class. Location: 1607 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico Hours: Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Wednesdays 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Visit their website

Wheatgrass shot, Maui Farmers Market, Hawaii, Healthy EatingFlickr
2. Upcountry Farmers' Market, Maui, Hawaii Operating for more than 40 years, this is a magical market has an abundance of organic vegetables (you almost have to go out of your way to find a conventional vegetable on Maui). There are many community chefs that make a variety of vegetarian, vegan and raw foods sold at this market. Apart from fresh, locally grown organic produce you’ll find coconuts, macadamia nuts, fresh fish, tropical flowers, plants and trees, Maui-grown coffee, Lilikoi butter, plus a bunch of new offerings weekly. Check out HawaiiOnTv's coverage of the Farmers' Market.

Location: 55 Kiopaa St, Makawao, Maui Hours: Saturdays 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Visit their website

farmers market, healthy eating, healthy living, palm springs3. Palm Springs Farmers' Market, California

Our very own Palm Springs Farmers’ Market is part of a seasonal trio of markets called the Coachella Valley Certified Farmers’ Markets. It is open year-round the other two in the valley close for the hot summer season. Although Zebra Organics and Palm Springs are situated in the Sonoran Desert, we are surrounded by a profound variety of very nearby climates that provide the perfect growing conditions for a diverse range of produce. Although this market is smaller than those in larger cities, the quality of produce is outstanding - it will make you want to get out your blender and food processor and whip up your favourite dish. Location: Palm Springs Pavilion, California Hours: Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Plus a new Summer Market at Westfield Palm Desert, California Hours: Sundays, 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. May 6 - September 16, 2018

Visit their website

farmers market, heritage cheese, new york city 4. The Union Square Greenmarket, New York City

Featuring more than 140 regional farmers, fishers and bakers in peak season, this world famous market is open a few days a week and is always a special treat. It is an oasis in the city that provides an escape from the hustle bustle of urban life. It’s known for its fresh fruits and vegetables, heritage meats, award-winning farmstead cheeses, artisan breads, jams, pickles, fresh-cut flowers and plants, wine, ciders, maple syrup and more. You can’t beat the electric atmosphere in one of New York’s greatest public spaces. As many as sixty thousand people a day flock to the market, from shoppers that come to chat with farmers, to students of all ages that come to learn about seasonality. Since its debut in 1976 with just a few farmers, this market has grown exponentially. Keep your eyes peeled for cooking demonstrations by some of New York’s most popular local chefs. Location: Union Square, E 17th St & Broadway, New York City, NY Hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Check out their website

Eggs, Farmers Market, California, Healthy EatingFlickr
5. Santa Monica Wednesday Market Welcome to the largest grower-only certified organic market in Southern California. Spread out over four city blocks, Santa Monica’s Wednesday market showcases 75 farmers and a vast selection of goods. Three growers have set up shop here since 1981 when the market first opened; Flying Disc Ranch in Thermal, Mike and Sons Egg Ranch in Ontario and Scotts Farms in Dinuba. Chefs from across Los Angeles gather at the market for the first fresh pick of goods. The quantity and quality of produce is astounding!

Location: Arizona Avenue, between 4th & Ocean, Santa Monica

Time: Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives – Which is right for you?

The industry for non-dairy alternatives to milk has grown exponentially in the last decade. In fact, worldwide sales doubled between 2009 and 2015 to $21 billion.

Buying milk from the supermarket is not as straightforward as it used to be. We aren’t just limited to full cream and skim; there’s a whole world of non-dairy options available. The most popular alternatives are derived from soy, almond, rice, coconut, cashew and macadamia. Oat, pea and hemp milks are also making appearances. Next time you’re at the supermarket, peruse the options and you’ll be surprised at the selection. Non-dairy alternatives are not only popular for those with allergies or intolerances to cow’s milk; they have become a lifestyle choice. Tip: Look for "calcium fortified" varieties, which contain similar amounts of calcium to cow's milk.

Healthy Non Dairy Almond Milk

Almond Milk

This is a fabulous alternative for vegans, as it’s lactose-, soy-, and dairy-free. If you have ever tried to purchase almond milk from the supermarket, you may have struggled to choose between the refrigerated options and long-life options. The only difference is that they have been pasteurized differently. Without getting too technical, they use either UHT (ultra high heat) pasteurization or HTST (high-temperature short-time) pasteurization. The UHT processing for shelf milk doesn’t actually deplete key nutrients like protein and calcium. (Fitness Magazine goes into depth about this).

If you’re tossing up between brands, the best way to choose is to do a direct comparison of the almond content. The unsweetened option is your best bet.

The not so good news

The thing about almond milk is that it’s not so great for the environment. It takes five litres of water to grow one almond. Around 80 per cent of the world’s almonds are produced in California (Almond Board of California) and the state suffered from a drought for more than five years (California Water Science Center).

According to estimates from Euromonitor International, almond consumption grew 15 per cent from 2012 to 2017 and growth is predicted to continue rising through to 2021 by 4 per cent annually.

Oat Milk

With the market growth in lactose-free alternatives comes the rise in the lesser-known oat milk. Made from steel cut oats mixed with water, oat milk is nut-free, high in fiber and has a neutral and creamy flavor. It requires six times less the amount of water to grow than an almond, making it much more sustainable to produce. Sweden-based Oatly was the world’s first producer of oat milk and has been making it for about 30 years. It has made its way into cafes in the United States and has been praised by coffee drinkers for its taste and consistency. Unlike soy milk, it reacts well to heating and doesn’t curdle. raw-milk-organic-zebra-organics

Raw milk

Raw milk is a growing food fad but sales are restricted. In 17 states, raw milk is allowed to be purchased on the farm on which it was produced. Only 13 states in the US (which includes California) are allowed to sell their milk in retail stores. Selling and purchasing raw milk in Canada is illegal. Read more here. There is a long history and debate surrounding legalizing raw milk in the United States. Raw milk is unpasteurized, a process where milk products are heated to make them safe for drinking. Public health authorities claim that there is a risk of illness from raw milk consumption. Others swear by it and advocate the benefits. The Guardian investigated this further. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to watch the “Milk Money” episode as part of the "Rotten" Netflix documentary series.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from brown rice and commonly found unsweetened. It is often available in different flavours, much like almond milk. It's low in fat and generally tastes sweeter than cow's milk. Research suggest it lowers cholesterol and hypertension, and has anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative effects. Hemp, soy, coconut, macadamia, cashew and pea milks are also great non-daily options. We recommend you do further research to ensure that you are choosing the best option for you. If you enjoy making your food from scratch, read our post on Homemade Nut Milk.

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5 Adaptogens to Help Relieve Stress

Also known as adaptogenic herbs, adaptogens are a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress.

The idea of plants with health-enhancing properties has been around for thousands of years. Although the term “adaptogen” was coined in the 1940s, many of the herbs we know as adaptogens today were first used many generations ago in Ayurveda (one of the world’s oldest medical systems, originating in India) and in traditional Chinese medicine. These plants have adapted themselves in nature over time. They are grown in hot climates, cold climates, high elevations and low elevations and thus that’s how they get their name.

1. Tocos (Rice Bran Solubles)

What it is: Derived from brown rice, Tocos is a powder that has a vanilla-like flavour. Light and fluffy, it is a delicious addition to smoothies. How it works: Tocos is “skin food.” It fosters glowing skin and healthy hair. Rich in Vitamin E, Tocos helps support a health and beauty.

Read more about it: A Powerful Lesser-known Superfood
Ginseng adaptogens | Zebra OrganicsForest Farming via Flickr

2. Ginseng

What it is: Ginseng is a root. It is one of the most well-known medicinal herbs in the world and is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.

How it works: Ginseng contains an array of health-promoting properties, from preventing and treating colds, to diabetes, an upset stomach, to poor circulation and memory problems. From improving concentration to immune function, the list goes on. The University of California will tell you more.
Maca - adaptogens | Zebra Organics

3. Maca

What it is: Maca is a root that is a relative of the potato. It is also a Peruvian superfood. How it works: Maca powder is made from concentrated fresh maca roots. It enhances strength, endurance, fertility, libido and helps the body cope with stress.

It's a great addition to your smoothie.

4. Ashwagandha (also known as Indian Ginseng)

What it is: Ashwagadha is derived from the root of the plant, which is the most potent part. How it works: Well known in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha promotes vigor and strength, tonifies the immune system and reduces the effects of mental, physical and emotional stress.

View a video of the benefits.

5. He Shou Wu

What it is: Root How it works: He Shou Wu is believed to do many different things; including supporting longevity, anti-aging, blood-building, beauty and body rejuvenation. In edition, it may help tonify and nourish the blood, hair, skin, nervous system, sexual center, spirit and help to reduce cholesterol. It may support endocrine glands, improved stamina, cold resistance, red blood cell production, and immune function and antioxidant activity.

Try this morning adaptogen elixir. Sun Potion's He Shou Wu is wildcrafted in the "Di Tao" Region of Origin in China. It's so finely ground, that it dissolves nicely in liquids. Mix with Ashwaganda for a similar taste to coffee.

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Interview with Joshua, Founder of Living Intentions

This week we spoke with Joshua McHugh, founder of Living Intentions, a raw food company based in California. We wanted to learn more and find out what they’re up to.

In case you aren’t familiar with them, Living Intentions were among the early pioneers of the modern sprouted food movement. Over a decade ago Joshua began offering sprouted, activated foods under his Living Intentions brand. He has stayed true to his name, in both his intent to offer clean, nutrient-rich, excellent tasting nuts and seeds and to assure his customers are getting living foods via their sprouting/activation techniques.

Living Intentions | Organic Food, California

What inspired you to start the company?

Many things! I really wanted to start a food company creating innovative snacks that were healthier than the alternative out there. This really kept me on the forefront of sourcing high-quality unique ingredients and herbal extracts from other functional foods.

What are the main benefits of a raw food diet? Would you encourage everyone to try it?

I would recommend anybody try it as part of a balanced lifestyle, I really preach the 80/20 rule: 80% raw, 20% cooked. It’s all about the enzymes. Enzymes create a pathway for the body to rejuvenate and heal.

What product can you not live without?

Two items, Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds and our new Superfood Popcorn.

Tell us how you do what you do in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Well first off, 99% of the ingredients we source are organic. We also source "transitional almonds". "Transitional" is the process from conventional to organic and all farming is done in accordance to organic methods. We have helped a handful of farms move from a conventional crop to an organic crop over the last 15 years.

What’s been the biggest challenge you have faced since you launched the company?

Business is a roller coaster, and things are coming at you from all angles. I'm not sure if there is one specific challenge, however, you just have to take it as it comes and work your way through the process of learning.

Who (or what) inspires you?

I am inspired by innovation. Whether it’s food music or anything else I feel like being at the forefront of any movement takes a lot of courage, strength and perseverance. That's what inspires me.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone that wants to make healthy food choices?

The best advice is actually really simple but under utilized in today’s crazy world. Feel your food! Feel what you're putting in your body, as it knows what's good for you and if you can learn to listen to it, you will be a super healthy person. -- “We’ve been selling Living Intentions since Zebra Organics was founded in 2007. I first tried them an Erewhon Natural Foods in LA, when they first came out over 10 years ago, and fell in love with the flavors and quality" - Randy Olsen, founder of Zebra Organics. “I admire that Joshua and his company always have, and continue to, strive to educate people on the value of sprouted / activated / raw / living foods and the nutrient / health value of such foods.”

View our favourite products by Living Intentions here. Learn more about sprouted foods.

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A Powerful Lesser-known Superfood

If you’ve never heard of Tocos, we’re about to open your eyes to this lesser-known superfood. Move over maca and anandamide (and any other powders and elixirs you may have in your cupboards); it’s time to make way for this nutrient powerhouse of rice bran.

The scoop on Tocos

Tocos, also referred to as tocotrienols, contains protein, minerals, vitamins and healthy fatty acids. It is derived from organically grown brown rice. (A grain of rice consists of three parts; the endosperm and the rice germ and rice bran).

Fun fact: Commercial white rice lacks the germ and the brain. They are removed from white rice to prolong shelf life. Rice bran is the nutritional powerhouse of the rice grain. Its nutritional density is quite remarkable. It is a super rich source of natural Vitamin E. Research suggests that Vitamin E has an array of health benefits. First and foremost, it is an antioxidant that helps to maintain healthy skin. It also helps protect against cancer and other chronic diseases (2010 study). Studies suggest that higher consumption of Vitamin E decreases the chance of developing heart disease.

More research is required to determine the complete role of Tocos.

Why you should try it

Tocos adds a creaminess and frothiness to drinks. It has a delicious vanilla flavour, similar to vanilla ice-cream. It’s like eating some kind of rich, natural protein mix.

How to use it

We recommend adding 1-2 tbsp to the potion of your choice. Our favourite way to use Tocos is to blend it into smoothies. It can be sprinkled on desserts, lattes, yogurt and cereal, and added to nut butters. It can also be used to make face masks with shea butter and raw honey. Try combining it with spirulina, acai berries and chia seeds for a great assortment of nutrients to support your health. Remember to use a high-quality, raw form such as Rice Bran Solubles Tocotrienols.

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