A little confused right now? Yeah, it is crazy but true. Yesterday my husband was reading the news and found an article about a spill of thousands of Skittles. The spilled Skittles were from a truck load of Skittles destined for a cattle farm. Now if that sounds absurd listen to this; they say it is completely healthy for the cows. So you see, it is not healthy for us to eat loads of candy and sweets but cows, cows are a different story. Although they were created to eat grasses, they are perfectly healthy when fed truck loads of Skittles and other candies. Hmmm.
Apparently they have been feeding candy, yes, all different kinds of candy, to cows for decades. They tout that it is a good source of carbs. Are you kidding me? I assure you, I'm not making this up. Can you imagine them saying the same thing about humans eating candy like that.?
Candy that does not meet the quality check, the Skittles were missing the "S", are sold to cattle farmers. The cattle farmers use them as a cheap supplement to their feeding program. The practice has become more common in the last 4 years with the rise of corn prices but has been going on for decades!
We have all heard the phrase "you are what you eat." We know this to be true. A constant consumption of junk food makes for unhealthy human beings . Sugar (about 99% of the ingredients of Skittle are some form of sugar) in particular is linked to just about every major health problem and specifically cardiovascular disease as demonstrated in a 2014 study.
"According to the study published in JAMA: Internal Medicine, those who got 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar." http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars-Add-to-Your-Risk-of-Dying-from-Heart-Disease_UCM_460319_Article.jsp#.WIbLNVxFuxA
I haven't eaten Skittles in over ten years but I just did a quick google and checked out the nutritional information and ingredient list of Skittles. 42 grams of sugar in 1 serving! 230 calories! That is over two times the recommended daily amount of 6 tsp or 100 calories from sugar that the American Heart Association recommends for women. They are not talking about the natural occurring sugars found in a banana or and apple, but sugar that is added to things like soft drinks, processed foods, and baked goods.
"According to the study, most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day." http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars-Add-to-Your-Risk-of-Dying-from-Heart-Disease_UCM_460319_Article.jsp#.WIbLNVxFuxA
America eats far to much sugar as it is. We do not need to feed sugar to our livestock. If it is bad for us then it is bad for them too. We need to be cutting sugar drastically back in our diets. Not finding tricky ways to add it in. Yea, yea, the cow probably turns the sugar to fat but you know what I mean. That can't be healthy for the cows. If the cow is unhealthy how healthy is the meat for us?
Corn (think corn syrup, the 2nd ingredient in Skittles) and sugar beets (sugar, is of course the first ingredient) are two of the most commonly grown genetically modified crops. 88% of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified and 95% of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. That means that Skittles are just a brightly colored, sweet smelling pebble of genetically modified, cancer causing, cardiovascular disease inducing goodness. Oh, I almost forgot diabetes, cancer, and obesity too. Do you really want to taste that rainbow? I know I don't. Not my kids or my cows, goats, sheep or poultry!
Where do you get your beef? Is it grain finished? Skittle finished? Or grass finished?
In case you don't believe all this cow eating candy non-sense here is a link to the article my husband read and one I found on CNN.
In the near future I will be doing a post on sugar alternatives. Learn how we have virtually eliminated all refined sugar from our diet and the alternatives that we use.
Happy, healthy living,
Could that be? Perfect pizza without sauce and gluten free? YES! Take a look.
Like most everyone else, we love pizza. For a long time, after we went gluten free, it just wasn't the same. My kids would ask for pizza and I didn't want to make it because all the gluten free recipes just weren't that good. When we did have gluten, our favorite was to make our pizza on top off homemade focaccia bread. Oh it was sooooo good! That is the perfect gluten pizza. This is slightly similar to focaccia bread if you use a sour dough starter like I did and make a thicker crust. I've finally came up with a recipe that we like the taste of and I feel good about the ingredients. No extra sugars and starches and gums. Just real food that doesn't require a factory.
If you want to use a sour dough starter instead of yeast (I highly recommend), then you'll need to make your starter ahead of time. All you need to do is mix 1 cup of gluten free flour, or 1/2 cup oat flour and 1/2 with about 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2tsp of sugar (sucanat or honey works great). I mix mine right in a quart jar. It should be runnier than batter but thicker than syrup. I don't measure mine anymore. I just put some flour in then add some water and about 1/2tsp of sugar. Your not going to mess it up. It won't hurt it if it is slightly wetter just make sure it isn't dough-like. Now just cover it with cheese cloth or a cloth napkin and let it sit on your counter. There is yeast in the air. What you are doing is giving it an environment to grow in and something to eat. The yeast will be happy to come and eat the banquet you have prepared for them and ferment away. I usually leave mine out from about 4 days to a week. Then I put it in the fridge until I'm ready to use it. I probably make at least three times this much at once so that I can have it when ever I want it. I don't use store bought yeast so I like having this on hand. It keeps in the fridge for a long time. I've never had it go bad. This could be an entire post on itself. I could go into feeding it and aerating it.... But you can still make a yummy pizza dough with the simple sour dough starter that I stated above. I do recommend that you don't use all your starter in your recipe. You have to save some for your next batch of starter. all you need is a couple of table spoons. simply added in the mix when you make you next batch. This sour dough starter doesn't get as bubbly as starters with yeast added to them but it still adds great flavor.
Little side note-store bought yeast can be grown on gmo crops. I have talked to Red Star brand and they said they did not use gmo crops (like sugar beets for example) to grow their yeast on. That was a few years a go so you might want to double check that nothing has changed. I did recently find some organic yeast. It worked well. It did seem to have a stronger smell but it didn't make a big difference once it was cooked. I would use 1 packet for this recipe (I left a link below with the spices). The addition of yeast does aid the souring process. We like sour dough so we decided that that is what we are going to use.
I hope that all that sour dough starter didn't detour you. It really is easy and very worth it. And now that you have your starter everything else is really simple.
Gluten Free Pizza Crust
This is a big recipe. It will make about 3 10in pizzas and 3 12in pizzas. I thought about splitting it in half for you but the pizza makes such good leftovers for lunch. Or try freezing it. You can even just par bake the crust then cool it and put it in a zip-lock bag and freeze it that way. You will have a head start the next time you want pizza. Best of all you won't be eating that store bought stuff that has all kind of unhealthy fillers and unless it is organic, there is about a 99.6% chance it has GMOs in it. You will feel so good pulling those pizza crusts out of the freezer.
To tell you the truth, I double this recipe. Yep! Last time it made 5 12in pizzas, 3 10in pizzas, and 3 8in pizzas. It just depends on how thick you want the crust. For these pizzas I made a thinner crust on most of them and then a thicker, focaccia like crust on the rest. No, we did not eat all the pizza in one night. We are a big family but not that big. We just had plenty of leftovers for everyone to have a nice lunch.
Back to the recipe.
Now oil your pan and spoon some batter on. Then simply spread it across the pan using a rubber spatula or the back of your spoon. If you want focaccia like crust then I would make it about 1/2 in thick. Or you can go deep dish. Is that what they call it? I don't know. Lately we have been cooking our pizza in cast iron skillets. If you want to try this than warm your oven to 450 degrees F. and put you pans in the oven so they warm up at the same time. You want the cast iron to be nice and hot when you put the batter in.
Once I've spread the batter around I like to sprinkle it with salt, garlic and basil. Oh so tasty!
Put the crust in the oven and bake for 15- 20 minutes. If you like it to have a nice crust on the bottom then I suggest cooking them in the cast iron. For a more traditional pizza use a regular pizza pan or a cookie sheet. I use them all.
You can make fantastic pizza without any sauce. It is so easy and my favorite way when we have fresh tomatoes in the summer and fall. Slice your tomatoes about 1/8-1/4 in thick and spread them over your pizza. Next sprinkle them with basil, thyme, oregano, salt, garlic and pepper. Now add your desired toppings and cheese and back to the oven it goes. Cook for another 15-20 minutes or if you can't wait turn your oven to broil and watch closely. Pull out your pizza once your cheese is melted to your hearts desire. The crust is done and so you just need to melt the cheese and heat up your toppings.
In the summer our favorite toppings are sliced zucchini and fresh basil. In the winter it is all about mushrooms and homemade Italian sausage.
This is a super easy and quick way to make sausage. There is no curing involved so don't fret. This is waaaay healthier for you than any sausage that you can buy in the store.
Here goes: Italian Sausage
For every pound of meat (beef), mix in these spices and herbs.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp paprika
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
I like to start with this amount then once it cooks, add if needed. We butcher our own meat (not what we sell) and do not weigh out any package so they vary slightly in size. I usually add more but everyone is different.
My favorite place to get seasonings is Spicely Organics. They are Organic, Gluten free, Non-GMO and Kosher! The spices have such a robust and fresh flavor. I usually buy them buy the pound and save a lot of money. We go through a lot of spice and it is just easier to get in bulk when it isn't available anywhere around here.
You can mix all the seasoning in before you cook it or you can save that mess and do it right in the pan like me. Splash some olive oil in the pan, add the meat, add all the seasonings, then cut it in with a spatula. Just keep mixing as it cooks.
Now here is the key to making it so flavorful. You have to brown the meat. Once the meat is cooked add some more oil and keep cooking it. Stir it occasionally but not constantly or it will take forever to brown and you will get bored. Maybe that only happens to me. Now add some more oil and let it brown some more. Add oil as needed. Don't feel bad about adding the oil. You used lean meat right? And olive oil is good fat. Especially if you are using first pressed, extra virgin oil. Your body needs good fats. Just skip the hydrogenated fats found in processed food. One more reason to smile when you are pulling out those extra, homemade pizza crusts from the freezer.
Here is what the sausage should look like. OK, sorry, you can't see it very well in the picture but there should some pieces that are darker. You can kind of see it in the top of the spoon.
Sprinkle over your pizza and enjoy! It is also great in spaghetti.
What are you going to try? Cast iron skillet? Focaccia style? Sauce free? Homemade sausage? So many options I left you with. Here are a few more picture to help you make all those decisions.
Happy, healthy eating!
P.S. I think spelled focaccia differently every single time I typed it. The computer doesn't know how to spell it either. But I can now say that it is spelled focaccia. And that's from memory! This no good speller is learning!
So you have been doing the non-Gmo thing for awhile now. You did the research and have found that the health, environmental, and moral risks are just to high. You're learning to read the labels and you are feeling pretty good about how far you have come. That's great! What a long way you have come. Now it is time to step it up a notch.
GMOs are hiding in a multitude of products. The more products they get them into the more money they make right? That means we have to be on our toes and mindful of what we eat and even what we put on our bodies. Anything that touches our skin is going to be absorbed into our body to some extent. Our skin is the largest organ. It absorbs over 60% of contaminates!
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage. Other studies found the face to be several times more permeable than broad body surfaces and an absorption rate of 100% for underarms and genitalia. And another peer-reviewed study showed 100% absorption for fragrance ingredients. https://www.downtoearth.org/health/general-health/your-skin-it-absorbs
I recently read an article about a study on chemicals in cosmetics. It found that women absorb and average of 4lbs. 6oz of chemicals a year from cosmetics! Yuck, yuck and beyond yuck! One more reason to be glad I don't wear makeup! Here is the article if you want to check it out.
Absorbing the chemical can be worse than ingesting them. Whatever is absorbed through your skin goes straight to your bloodstream. There are no filters or anything to break the substance down.
GMOs aren't chemicals, although they have been found to cause numerous other health problems, but it is clear that they will be absorbed with everything else you are putting on your skin. The good news is that the products with out GMOs are usually the same products without all those nasty chemicals.
The top culprits include ingredients made or derived form soy, corn, canola and papaya.
When you are reading the label look for these ingredients:
I can just imagine what is running through your head right now- How am I going to remember all these ingredients to watch for? What if I miss something? What if the ingredients aren't listed?................... Don't worry! It really doesn't have to be that hard!
Instead of trying to remember all these ingredients there are several things you can do.
Click on any of the pictures or the buttons below each company feature for direct links to all the products. And just so you know, I am NOT receiving any benefits from any of these companies for doing this. I just love the brands and care about healthy options for us
The Sheridan Soap Company
They just launched their online store and are offering 20% off purchases of $20 or more. So it is a great time to try out all their wonderful products.
Natures Paradise Organics
Natures Paradise Organics uses all natural, raw, food grade, ingredients and they are gluten free, a necessity in this house. The Baby Organic Coconut Conditioning body wash has only 5 ingredients and you could eat them all except for the coconut oil soap. Well, I guess you could eat that too but you might get a belly ache but not cancer! The baby line is good for everyone, not just babies. I love the Baby Organics coconut lotion. It isn't to heavy to put on my face. They have a cute little bundle of their entire baby line that makes a great gift for new mothers.
IF you don't need baby product, or even if you do, you should also be sure to check out the rest of their body care line. All with simple ingredients. No they aren't certified organic or non-gmo project verified but their ingredient list is so simple, organic (even if they aren't certified organic, which is very expensive), and they do not contain any ingredients that are from GMO crops. I have to mention that they also have an all-purpose cleaner. I haven't tried this yet but I'm truly impressed with the ingredient list.
Ahhhh. The first natural shampoo that left my hair shiny clean from the very first use. I went through a lot of brands trying to find shampoo and conditioner that worked for more than 6 hours. Everything I tried seemed like my hair felt dirty even after cleaning it or shortly there after. No good. Then I found Andalou. Andalou Naturals is wonderful!
We use the Argan and Sweet Orange shampoo and conditioner. It smells soooo good and truly leaves your hair shiny and smooth. We have also tried the Sunflower Citrus which worked equally as well. They too have an entire line of body care products. There ingredient list is a bit longer but they do have a special page on their website that lists all their ingredients, what they are derived from, and why they are used. Andalou Naturals was the first and I believe they are still the only, body care brand that is non-gmo project verified.
Now that isn't hard is it? Three wonderful companies, all with amazing products that are non-GMO. You will not be missing your regular products.
Happy, healthy washing!
Hello, I'm Jaci. I love gardening and being outside in God's amazing creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals!