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, healthy eating

1. 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 Eating
Picture by Steven Depolo via Flickr

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 springs

3. 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.

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 Eating
Picture by Foodlander via Flickr

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.

Hydration, Fruits, Vegetables, Healthy Diet

Top Hydrating Fruits & Vegetables

Sometimes drinking your recommended daily intake of water can seem daunting. On average, approximately 20 per cent of our daily water intake comes from solid foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Many vegetables that are more than 90 per cent water are low in calories and are easy to digest, making them a great idea for a pre-work out snack.

According to research carried out by the University of Aberdeen Medical School in Scotland, water-rich fruit and vegetables may hydrate our bodies twice as effectively as a glass of water.

Research suggests that they may be more hydrating than some isotonic sports drinks, due to their content of mineral salts, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins lost during exercise.

“To be properly hydrated, you need to replace fluid lost from the body with one that’s similar to the body’s natural composition,”
– Dr Susan Shirreffs, exercise physiologist and hydration expert at Loughborough University.

“Watery fruit and vegetables often contain levels of minerals and sugar that mirror this, so they can hydrate you more effectively than water alone.”

Here’s what you need to know:

Cucumber
Water content: 96.7%

Cucumber has the highest water content of any solid food. Great in salads or served with hommus, it can be blended with yogurt, mint and ice cubes to make a refreshing and delicious chilled soup. A cucumber can produce similar hydration levels to twice the volume of water with the bonus of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

Iceberg lettuce
Water content: 95.6%

Although iceberg lettuce lacks the fibre, folate and vitamin K nutrients found in darker greens such as spinach and romaine lettuce, it has the highest water content of any lettuce. Instead of adding it to a sandwich, it can be used as a wrap for tacos and burgers.

Celery
Water content: 94.4%

Celery’s high water content helps neutralize stomach acid and it is commonly recommended as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux. White containing folate and vitamins A, C and K, celery’s fiber content helps you feel full and curbs your appetite.

Radishes
Water content: 95.3%

Radishes are filled with catechin, an antioxidant that is also found in green tea. They spicey-sweet flavour of radishes can be enjoyed by slicing them up and tossing them with other ingredients in a summer salad.

Tomatoes 
Water content: 94.5%

An excellent hydrating snack that is well-paired with basil and mozzarella as an appetizer.

Watermelon
Water content: 91.5%

Watermelon is one of the richest sources of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Containing essential hydration salts calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, watermelon is also high in vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene, which helps protect the body from UV light.

Spinach
Water content: 91.4%

Raw spinach leaves are rich in lutein, potassium, fiber and folate. One cup of spinach will give you 15 per cent of your daily vitamin E intake, an antioxidant that fights damaging free radical molecules.

Other fruits and vegetables to note are the star fruit, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, baby carrots, green peppers, cauliflower and cantaloupe, which are all more than 90 per cent water.

Beans, healthy food

Top 10 Sources of Plant Protein

What is Plant Protein?

By now, we’re all getting used to the idea of protein coming from sources other than meat. It’s found in legumes, vegetables and whole grains and we don’t have to be vegan to prefer it.

Without reeling off big words in physiology, plant protein is just that: protein from plants. Your body doesn’t mind whether you nourish it with protein from steak or nuts, so you’re not losing anything by choosing plant protein. In fact, by reducing your meat intake, you are lowering your risk of heart disease and you will get the satisfactory feeling of knowing you ate your veggies. You’re choosing a sustainable and healthy option!

“I think that the U.S. is one of several developed countries that have just made it seem like protein is so pivotal to our health when in other countries their base diet is plant protein, beans and grains. I think it’s just evolved to be a cultural thing”
~ Dr. Michael Greger, internationally-recognized lecturer and physician

You do not need to combine a plant-based protein with a meat protein for it to become a “complete protein.” This is a myth. Plant protein is made up of essential amino acids, which our bodies can’t produce so they must come from our diet. All essential amino acids come from plants.

Top 5 Sources of Plant Protein

If there’s one thing you take from this post, is should be which foods are rich in plant protein. Dr. Leslie, registered dietitian and instructor at University of Hawaii, explains ideal sources of plant proteins:

“Any type of whole grain, beans (including tofu and edamame and soy milk), and nuts (including peanut butter). In terms of vegetables – primarily from the dark green leafy vegetables, so broccoli, spinach, kale, all of those have protein and a lot of people don’t realize that.”

Here’s our Top 10 List:

(1) Lentils

Lentils are affordable and easy to cook. From soups to curries and salads, lentils are a versatile ingredient that make for a great meat substitute.

Beans, healthy food

(2) Beans

Beans, especially soy beans, are a great source of protein. Beans are great for salads, tacos, chillies, or simply baked and seasoned on their own. If you buy dried black beans, remember to soak them for a few hours minimum, and then simmer them over heat before eating them. 

Source: Ruby Ran/Flickr

(3) Hemp Hearts

Hemp hearts have a sweet and nutty flavour. Sprinkle them on salads and cereal, add them to smoothies and baked goods and blend into stews and soups to thicken.

chia seeds, healthy food

(4) Chia Seeds

Similar to hemp hearts, chia seeds have a mild natty flavour. Sprinkle them on cereal, sauces, vegetables, yogurt or rice dishes. Add them to a glass of water and they will expand and create a gel-like texture.

quinoa salad, healthy grain, healthy food

(5) Quinoa

Quinoa is similar to couscous and is as versatile as rice. It can be served as a side dish with butter or oil, salt and pepper or other seasonings. It goes very well in veggie burgers, tossed in salads or mixed into stews. If you’re looking for a warm, hearty, flavourful breakfast on a cold day, you can’t go past a quinoa breakfast bowl. Trying mixing quinoa with dried or fresh fruit, cinnamon, almond or coconut milk and honey.

Sesame seeds, plant protein, healthy food

(6) Seeds

Protein-rich seeds include hemp, flax, chia, sesame and sunflower. Sprinkle seeds on salads and mix them into desserts and snacks.

Nuts for protein, healthy food

(7) Nuts

Protein-rich nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and brazil nuts. Nuts can be blended into smoothies, mixed into salads, yogurt and can be enjoyed on their own as a snack.

edamame, vegetable protein, healthy food

(8) Edamame

If you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant you’ve probably enjoyed edamame as a snack. Edamame are fresh green soybeans. To cook edamame that’s still in the pod, boil the pods in water with some salt, or steam them. They can be eaten hot or cold and can be added to risottos, stir frys or salads.

chickpeas, healthy legume, protein rich

(9) Chickpeas

Chickpeas are incredibly versatile. You can eat them hot or cold, canned or dried. They can be roasted and added to salads, used as a substitute for croutons in soup, or simply seasoned with salt and eaten on their own. They are best known for being turned into hummus.

tofu, protein rich, healthy food, plants

(10) Tofu

Derived from soya, tofu is a staple ingredient in Chinese and Thai cooking. Tofu is an excellent source of not only protein but amino acids, iron and calcium. It’s best enjoyed stir fried or in noodle bowls.


How much is enough?

You don’t have to spend too much time worrying about your protein consumption, provided you eat an array of grains and vegetables.

According to Harvard Medical School, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That is the bare minimum you need to eat to prevent getting sick. This is calculated by: Weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = recommended daily protein intake (grams).

A sedentary young woman that weighs 155 pounds should be consuming 56 grams of protein per day.

Further reading:

If you’re curious about the risks associated with animal proteins such as meat and dairy, this article by the the University of Hawaii will be of interest to you.

Herb infused chocolate

Why you Need to try Herb-Infused Chocolate

Are you a chocolate lover looking to take your passion to the next level? Herb-infused chocolate will take you there. Prepare your palate for flavourful bliss with the combination of herbs and chocolate. For the first-timers out there that haven’t tried this type of chocolate before, here’s why you should:

  • It’s delicious: herbs in chocolate have a mild and balanced flavor and enhance the chocolate.
  • It has a unique flavor: Compared to milk, white and dark chocolate varieties, herb-infused chocolate will leave a unique lingering flavor on your palate. Mint may be one of the most pronounced flavours you will find, but there are many different types available.
  • It contains more nutrients: adding herbs, means adding nutrients. Learn more. Don’t forget that the right kind of chocolate is good for you. Read our blog post to learn more: 7 Reasons Why You Should Eat More Chocolate.

Herbivore, a farm run by Gabrielle Gaul on the outskirts of Palm Springs, supplies us with fresh-cut organic aloe leaves that are harvested on a weekly basis, as well as herb-infused chocolate.

Located on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, the farm grows an array of herbs, including rosemary, mint and basil, as well as aloe. Once harvested, the herbs are slow-dried for 5-7 days (depending on their moisture content) to preserve and enhance their flavors. In this day and age, slow drying herbs is a lost art. Most big companies abandoned this process a long time ago and replaced it with rapid heat drying, to cut costs. This has negative side-effects, as it results in dried herbs that are almost devoid of taste and nutrients – not the case with Gabrielle’s herbs. Once they are fully dried, they are blended into the chocolate mix.

One of the things that sets Gabrielle’s organic herb farm apart from most others, is her clean, chemical-free, loving growing methods in this pristine high desert area where GMO is not even a thought.

Herbivore-Gabby

We asked Gabrielle a few questions:

What’s your favorite chocolate flavor, or would it be more accurate to say one of your favorites?

My favorite is Salted Pecan & Sage. I’ve always had a thing for the sweet / salty combo.

What made you think of making herb-infused chocolate?  How did you come up with the idea?

The idea struck me when I had a chocolate craving at the farmer’s market. I thought, “I wish someone sold chocolate here… Hey! I could do that!” When I pitched the idea to my market managers, we agreed that it would be have to be a healthy artisan chocolate, utilising the herbs from my farm.

What do you love about the farming and chocolate making, and your business in general?

There are so many things I love about my business. It’s difficult to name just one. To plant a seed, care for it, harvest it and then share it is very satisfying. To share a creation of your own is very satisfying. Working with nature on a small scale, rather than mass producing is very satisfying. To educate folks on the difference between real food and processed gunk is satisfying. Not promoting GMOs, waste, animal cruelty or harm to the environment is very satisfying. Working WITH nature, rather than trying to improve upon it, is the most satisfying.

Zebra Organics was the first ever to give Gabrielle and Herbivore a platform to sell her products, outside of the local farmers market, where we met her many years ago. We are proud to support our friend and passionate artisan farmer/chocolatier Gab and her efforts to produce a quality of chocolate that is rarely seen these days. Her chocolates are a real treat, rich with flavor and texture that surpasses gourmet expectations.

We are happy to help support Gabrielle and Herbivore by bringing her chocolates to your door. Order Herbivore Organic Chocolates from zebraorganics.com

Herb infused chocolate

sauerkraut-cooking

Top Ways to Enjoy Sauerkraut

We recommend eating raw or slightly cooked sauerkraut to maximise health benefits. Exposure to high heat while cooking will kill the probiotic microorganisms in sauerkraut and will reduce their cancer preventative properties.

Sauerkraut goes well with olives, avocados, and fatty fruits. For a simple salad, toss microgreens with olive oil and sauerkraut, and top with sprouted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or pistachios. You can also enjoy sauerkraut straight out of the jar for an instant snack that’s packed with flavour and is rich in probiotic bacteria, beneficial enzymes, and fiber.

Kale, beets and sauerkraut come together to create this Simple Brown Rice and Veggie Bowl. This is a delicious, healthy dinner option.

When shopping for sauerkraut, you may come across different flavours that are a spin off traditional sauerkraut. From red cabbage, to cucumber-dill and apple-fennel, your palate will enjoy the fresh, crunchy texture balanced with a combination of flavours. We are pleased to offer a range of Sauerkraut options at our online store.

Here’s why you should include sauerkraut in your diet:

Reduces breast cancer risk

Here’s some good news for females: Eating three or more serving per week of raw or short cooked cabbage and sauerkraut significantly helps to reduce breast cancer risk. Find more details from US and Polish researchers here. The anti-cancer component in sauerkraut is attributed to the high level of glucosinolates, which limit cell mutation during the initial phase of carcinogenesis.

Promotes digestion

A few teaspoons of cabbage juice or fermented juice from sauerkraut before a meal will assist in digestion by stimulating acid production in the body.

While the priobiotic bacteria helps promote digestion, sauerkraut is also great source of vitamin C and some B vitamins. It can even assist in the prevention of scurvy, a disease that results from a vitamin C deficiency.

Sauerkraut translates to “sour cabbage” in German. Over 2,000 years ago Chinese laborers that constructed the Great Wall of China ate shredded cabbage drizzled with rice wine. It has since evolved into a mixture that contains salt and sometimes spices along with fermented shredded cabbage. The fermentation process increases the vegetable’s bioavailability of nutrients.

Feature image by jules via Flickr

Shilajit Mountain Mineral Resin for Longevity & Stress Reduction

Shilajit, meaning “Rock of life” in Sanskrit, is a dietary supplement derived from ancient, purified organic plant material in the Himalayas. It is known for restoring energetic balance in the body. Medical research indicates Shilajit may positively impact cognitive disorders linked with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is a blackish-brown powder secreted from high mountain rocks when they are warmed by the sun, particularly in the Himalayan mountains between India and Nepal. It has also been found in Russia, Tibet, Afghanistan and in northern Chile. The thick paste is dried and ground into a fine powder. Considered the root of Ayurvedic medicine, Shilajit has been prominent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It has been used as a rejuvenator and antiaging compound.

Shilajit contains up to 85 minerals and trace elements. High in fulvic acid, Shilajit has been found to have health benefits that include prolonging longevity. Traditionally, it has been consumed by Nepali and Northern Indians and children have typically taken it with milk at breakfast. It has been used for centuries to help treat urinary infections, jaundice, digestive disorders, enlarged spleen, epilepsy, nervous disorders, chronic bronchitis, and anemia. It has also been used to treat kidney stones and to reduce anorexia, among other conditions (International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012).

Shilajit is an excellent source of fulvic acids – and is perhaps the most superior natural source of fulvic acids available to us. These minerals help the body transport electrical signals and help to enhance hydration. Fulvic acids also have the ability to neutralise free radicals throughout the body and to detoxify simple toxins (Global Journal for Research Analysis).

Shilajit has received many praises over the years. Some reasons people include it in their diet:

  • Re-mineralize the body
  • Modulate Inflammation
  • Enhance Libido
  • Build Hormones
  • Restore and Repair Aging Cells
  • Oxygenate the blood
  • Scavenge Free Radicals
  • Increase Metabolism and Energy
  • Support the Endocrine System
  • Chelate Toxic Substances
  • Assist the Breakdown/Absorption of Nutrients

Purified, ready-for-use forms of Shilajit exist for human consumption. Dissolve a quarter of a teaspoon of Shilajit powder in hot water, tea, or warm milk. We recommend this dosage once a day. Monitor your energy levels and increase dosage to up to three times per day for greater energy and effect. Shilajit enhances the action of other herbs making it a great addition to super-food smoothies and tonics.

Shilajit is potentially able to prevent several diseases. Further research is required on a biological and clinical level.

Lacking Energy? Try Herbal Tonics

Herbal Tonics are a form of preventative medicine. Tonics are a class of herbs that strengthen the body by supporting its natural defences and promoting stamina. Nourishing and health building, Herbal Tonics build wellness over time and promote your most vibrant state of being.

Based on the idea of building health and not just curing illness and disease, Herbal Tonics support overall well-being and vitality, while encouraging healthy aging. According to Medicinal Herbalists, the bitter taste of Tonics stimulate enzyme production by the liver. Enzymes assist us with absorbing food and offer us more nutrients to help us fight infection.

There are many different types of herbal tonics on the market today. Tonics promoting energy, immunity, and joy are among those you may come across.

Energy Tonics often consist of a blend of the most commonly used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the draining effects of stress. Benefits include:

  • Boost energy
  • Support athletic performance
  • Push back fatigue
  • Promotes mental alertness
  • Help maintain emotional balance while under stress

Immunity Tonics are a blend of immune-toning herbs and medicinal mushrooms.  They help to restore your immune system to a healthy, balanced state. Daily use will help build and maintain radiant health. Benefits include:

  • Promote overall wellness
  • Prime immune function
  • Support a healthy, balanced allergic response
  • Tone & build Chi
  • Support body’s natural defences
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Source:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Joy Tonics are a combination of aromatic herbs and flowers that help you through life with fluency and ease. Joy Tonics minimise tension in our nervous system, internal organs, and blood vessels. Benefits include:

  • Promote joyful spirit
  • Enliven the heart
  • Lessen occasional sleeplessness
  • Relieve occasional stress
  • Ease tension in the body
  • Calm during times of grief, transition, loss

Adding a drop of Joy Tonic into sparkling water will help to volatilize the aromatics in the blend, and dilute the taste of the alcohol.

Visit our store to view our range of Certified Organic Herbal Tonics by Urban Moonshine. Zebra Organics supports Urban Moonshine’s mission to reignite interest in and restore the use of Herbal Tonics in modern times. Take Herbal Tonics daily on a regular basis for best results. We encourage you to embrace tonics as a part of a regular regime to build radiant health. To learn more about the Energy Tonics, watch this video by Urban Moonshine:

Bone Broth Recipe (with Vegetarian Broth Option)

Bone broth is not only a popular base for soups and stews, but also reductions, sauces and braising meats and vegetables. It is primarily made from bones and connective tissue of fish or animals. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll discover its versatility – you can use it in any dish that calls for almost any vegetable or meat to be cooked in liquid. It’s flavourful and you can even drink it straight.

Bone broths are simple to prepare at home and are inexpensive (the cost of bones is usually under $2/lb).

Broth has always been considered a healing food, especially if you consider the tradition of eating chicken soup when you’re sick with a cold – Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen

Popular Stock Method of Cooking Broth

Bone broth needs to be slow cooked to allow for the release of nutrients from the bones. If you don’t have a slow cooker or pressure cooker,  you can make bone broth the way your grandmother or great grandmother would have done it: in a regular stainless steel stock pot. Use the largest pot on hand to make a big batch and freeze for later.

Depending on which bones you choose, you’ll have to simmer for different lengths of time:

Beef, pork or lamb: 48 hours

Chicken or Turkey: 24 hours

Fish: 8 hours

Ingredients

  • Grass fed, quality bones: as little or as many as you wish—2 lbs is a good starting point, either frozen or thawed
  • Filtered water
  • 1–2 tbsp Organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Stainless steel stock pot

Directions

1. Place your bones (at least 2 lbs) in the stock pot with 1–2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2. Cover with filtered water leaving an inch of room at the top
3. Place the pot on high heat until boiling
4. Upon boiling, switch to low heat and simmer for the recommended time depending on type of bones as mentioned above. You can skim the foam/ impurities at the top as it’s simmering
5. Allow it to cool and store. When it cools you may notice a layer of fat at the top, which you can choose to remove and discard
6. Enjoy, use it in a recipe, or store for later

Tips:

  • Seasoning can be done towards the end of cook time. Fresh herbs, spices and onions can be added in the last 10 minutes.
  • Do not add any salt to the broth itself. If you’re planning to reduce the broth to make soups or sauces, you may end up with a high salt content. Salt should only be added to the finished product, not the broth.
  • Once your broth is cooked, place the pot into a sink of cold water to allow it to cool quickly, to reduce bacterial growth. You can keep broth in the fridge for one week. Be sure to note its smell – it will need re-boiling if it smells off.

Vegetarian option

Vegetable peels will be the base of your soup instead of animal bones if you’re vegetarian. Collect all organic vegetable peels and freeze them. To learn how to make a hearty vegetable soup with vegetable broth, see Dylan Stein Acupuncture’s post “A vegetarian version of bone broth“.

The popularity of bone broth has spiked in the past few years. There is an abundance of media coverage filled with its purported health benefits. The truth is there’s little evidence to support those claims. Researchers from Harvard Medical School have addressed some of these claims. See “What’s the scoop on bone soup?” for further details.

Is Your Body too Acidic?

With the huge amount of acid-producing foods that we consume coupled with the acid-forming tasks that the body naturally carries out, it has become increasingly challenging to maintain a slightly alkaline state. The key to preventing disease is maintaining a slightly alkaline pH.

Dr. David Williams, a medical researcher, biochemist and chiropractor, who also has a reputation as one of the world’s leading authorities on natural healing, vouches for this.

Signs that your body’s pH is hovering in the extreme acidic end are:

  1. Chest pain
  2. Indigestion
  3. Nausea
  4. Feelings of hunger

How to make your body more alkaline:

– Eat alkaline foods: You can find a list of alkalizing foods –here

– Avoid acidic foods: deep fried foods, processed foods, meat, dairy products, eggs, fish and refined sugars. Beverages high in sugar are acidic, including pop, energy drinks, sweetened teas and fruit juice.

– Reduce stress in you life: Research conducted around the world has demonstrated that there is a correlation between daily stress in your life and the body’s acidity. Stress is often linked to anxiety: Read our blog post 9 Natural Remedies for Anxiety to learn how to reduce stress.

– Consume fresh vegetable juices daily. If you don’t own a juicer, consider investing in a Vitamix. Try our Healing Raw Green Soup recipe that’s loaded with veggies.

healthy-juice-orange-alkaline

The idea that food influences the pH of the body dates back to the early 1900’s. Upon testing different foods, researchers discovered the majority of foods were either alkaline-producing or acid-producing. A link was made between patients that brought their pH back to a normal range and their reduced health complaints.

pH levels are determined by measuring the balance of acidity and alkalinity present in your body. The scale below reflects the difference between the two; values below 7 are acidic and above 7 are alkaline. Our body’s optimal pH level of the blood is 7.4. It is crucial that we seek to maintain a level as close as possible to this to ensure the enzymes in our body function optimally.

Ph-Scale

To achieve optimal pH, many experts recommend a ratio of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods.

The American physician M.D., Dr. Gabriel Cousens states in his book Conscious Eating,

“It is not the food which determines if it makes us acid or alkaline. It is how the body responds to the food. It may be possible some people have a constitutional tendency to be either acid or alkaline in their metabolism regardless of their diet.”

Decoding egg carton labels

Shopping for eggs can be confusing when cartons are plastered with marketing jargon. Cage-free? Organic? Brown or white? We have decoded egg carton labels for you and have compiled some tips on what really matters and what doesn’t, when it comes to buying eggs.

The label: Conventional eggs (Grade AA, A, B)

What it means: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a rating system for eggs that is based on quality factors including freshness, defects and shell attributes. Eggs are given grades:

  • Grade AA have thick, firm whites and are best for frying
  • Grade A are similar to AA eggs, except the whites are slightly less firm
  • Grade B usually have thinner whites and are ideal for omelettes and cake mixes

These are eggs originate from “commercially farmed” chickens that are typically housed in dark, enclosed spaces with no access to the outdoors.

The label: Cage-free

What it means: Cage-free eggs are laid by hens that are free to roam in an open space. This term is deceiving because they are not completely free-roaming hens – the “open space” is typically inside a barn or poultry house without access to the outdoors. Organic and regular hens can be cage-free.

The label: Free-Range

What it means: Free-range eggs are one step up from cage-free eggs. The hens have access to the outdoors, though the duration or quality of time spent outdoors is unclear. These are better than regular eggs because of the superior treatment of the animal.

The label: Certified organic

What it means: USDA organic certified eggs means the hens receive organic feed that does not contain toxic pesticides or herbicides. These hens are never caged and must have access to the outdoors (free-range).

The label: Omega-3 enriched

What it means: Omega-3 enriched eggs come from hens whose feed is enriched with healthy fatty acids, typically in the form of flaxseed. If your diet contains oily fish (such as salmon, trout and sardines) or you take fish-oil supplements, consuming Omega-3 enriched eggs may not have a huge impact on your diet.

The label: Pasture-raised 

What it means: Pasture-raised eggs are laid by hens that are free to roam on fresh pasture. Their diet is organic. The colour of the egg yolk will be bright orange, in comparison to egg yolks from caged hens that tend to be dull and pale yellow. You can find these at a Farmer’s market or your local farmer.

Source: Jules
Source: Jules

Tips:

  •  Terms such as “Natural” or “hormone-free” shouldn’t be a determining factor in your decision making. According to the USDA, these term mean that nothing was added to the egg. All eggs satisfy this criteria
  • Colour: Eggs typically come in brown or white. The difference in colour is due to the breed of the chicken. A brown egg is no healthier than a white egg – there is no difference in nutritional benefits
  • General rule of thumb: the more expensive the egg, the better quality it is
  • Choose organic eggs if you eat eggs regularly
  • When it comes to size, Extra Large, Large and Medium are commonly found in stores. Larger sized eggs will contain more protein
  • For further reading, see the University of Berkeley’s Supermarket Buying Guide on eggs