"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - La Rochefoucauld

Must Have Grocery List

Raw/Local Honey is a must have in our house.  I make honey and peanut butter sandwiches, use it as a sweeter for oatmeal, green tea, baked goods, or just a good old teaspoon for a nagging cough. Recently, a few of my girlfriends and I visited a cute store in Plymouth called Suburban Harvest (http://www.suburban-harvest.com) and found out that its important to purchase honey that was made within 40 miles of where you live.  Local/raw honey builds up antibodies against pollen thus helping with allergies.  Honey not only helps with allergies, it helps with ulcers, digestive issues, cancer, etc. Read this website below to find out about all of the amazing benefits of eating honey:

Be sure to check out Suburban Harvest! It is the only place I found that sells local honey.  It also carries gluten free baked goods that are sooo yummy!  It is owned by one of my old student's mom.  Shopping there is a win/win...you are supporting a local business and eating healthy.
I have been purchasing my beef, chicken, pork and eggs from Creswick Farms for about two years.  Their animals are grass-fed.  Grass-fed meat is even healthier then the organic grain-fed meat you can purchase at the grocery store.  Their meat is not certified organic. However, the farmer explained to me that it is very expensive to get certified and a lot of local farmers bypass this process so that they don't have to charge their customers more money for their meat.  Even though they are not certified, they still follow the organic guidelines.  I usually order 3-4 times a year and stock up for 3-4 months at a time.  I order 6 dozen eggs each time, as well.  Their eggs are wonderful.  They are only $1.25 a dozen, opposed to the $5.00 organic eggs you buy at the grocery store.   Here is their website and some more information about grass-fed meat.

Information About Health Benefits
"Products from pastured animals have an ideal balance of essential fatty acids or EFAs. There are two families of EFAs-omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to a new French study, when women eat food that is relatively rich in omega-3s and low in omega-6s, they have a 76 percent reduction in their risk of breast cancer. Products from grass fed (also known as grassfed or grass-fed) animals and wild game have this ideal ratio of EFAs."
3. Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is the perfect food! Here is the scoop:
(FROM organicfacts.net)
"The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.
How is Lauric Acid Used by our body?The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, though its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system. The Coconut Research Center has compiled various references on scientific research done on coconut oil."

You are probably wondering how do I cook with coconut oil? Coconut oil is a very stable oil.  You can cook at high temps., when using coconut oil.  A lot of people make stir-fries and saute veggies with coconut oil. I personally like using coconut oil for cooking up pancakes and waffles. I also put a little bit in my kids oatmeal, smoothies and even their baths. Their skin is so nice and smooth after a coconut oil bath. I also used it on Luke's eczema coupled with homeopathy.  When I suspect the kids may be coming down with a cold, I give them a teaspoon of coconut oil, honey and turmeric, all mixed together.  Be careful not to give too much coconut oil at once. I have heard it can cause loose stool if they have too much. We have just a little bit everyday, in one way or another. Enjoy!

4. Celtic Sea Salt:
Celtic Sea Salt is on my “Must Have” grocery list. One of the most interesting things I’ve learned in the last year is about the health benefits of Salt. In October, I went to a presentation by Dr. David Brownstein called “Salt Your Way to Good Health.” The presentation advised people to throw away their table salt, which is just sodium chloride and switch to Unrefined Celtic Sea Salt which is loaded with 180 trace minerals lacking in the American diet.
Government regulations currently advise people to limit salt. Dr. Brownstein totally disagrees. The regulations are advising people to limit refined table salt, which in fact is not healthy. Unrefined Sea Salt is healthy. A book I am currently reading also backs up Dr. Brownstein’s research. The book Real Food: The Fertility Diet by Nina Plank talks about how important it is for everyone to have unrefined sea salt, especially babies. It is so nutritious. Here are some of my notes from the presentation: (By the way, please excuse my typos and grammatical errors. Grammar is NOT one of my strong points.)
There are Two Types of Salt: Unrefined and Refined:
Refined- 2% toxic chemicals, bleaching agents, chlorine, made with high heat, contains aluminum, ammonia, etc. All of these chemicals ensure a long shelf life.
Unrefined- no toxic chemicals, 180 trace minerals.
(NOTE: Sea Salt can be refined. You need to read label. Brand names such as Redmond, Celtic Sea Salt and Himalayan are clean unrefined brands. Morton’s is refined and toxic. Also, kosher salt is refined.)
Your body should have a pH of 7.2. At this level you body is functioning better and is not a breeding ground for disease. Acidity causes your pH to drop. Refined foods (certain salts, breads pasta, cereals) are acidic and lack enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Unrefined foods that are high in minerals such as the good salts are alkalizing agents in the body. A mineral deficiency leads to a pH deficiency. We should ingest ½ tsp. of unrefined salt a day.  

Low Salt/Low Sodium is linked to acidity, cardiovascular disease, poor lipid profiles, and vitamin imbalances. In so many words, Dr. Brownstein basically believes the government wants to keep our country sick, causing chronic conditions that need drugs.
Detox Soak: Fill your bath with 1 cup of unrefined salt and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and it will detox your body of metals. Sometimes people see a black ring around their tub afterward.
Salt specifically helps Ménière's disease, leg cramps, asthma (first sign of wheezing…drink a glass of water with ¼ t. added)
Ultimately, the human body was designed to require and utilize unrefined salt. Most studies done on salt, use refined salt.
5. Bionature Organic Olive Oil:
Sheryl from a "Place To Be" advised me to put more thought into buying olive oil. If you buy the right kind and care for it properly, it will add a lot of nutrition to your food. The brand she advised me to get is Bionature Olive Oil. I believe it is $17.00 a bottle.
I know....sooo expensive! Trust me, I have had many of conversations with my husband explaining why I have to spend more and more money on FOOD! In the documentary, Food INC., they explain that a 100 years ago, Americans spent a ton of money on food and very little money on health care. Now, it has fliped...more money on health care and less money on good quality food. Good quality food is typically expensive.
I catch a lot of flack from people about buying organic foods but I let it roll of my back. People can spend their money on expensive clothes, fancy cars, lavish vacations, but then claim organic food is too expensive. I told Kevin I'd rather cut out other things before sacrificing good quality food for our family. He is supportive but from time to time I can sense his frustrations about our grocery bill. However, he is happy that I now spend LESS on meat and eggs by buying local. Anyway, I am getting off my soap box. Here is the scoop on olive oil:
Buying Olive Oil:
It is best to purchase your olive oil in small quantities because olive oil will age and will continue to oxidize. If you make the decision to buy larger quantities then separate the olive oil into smaller containers and keep them tightly sealed.
Be sure to buy cold pressed olive oil that is in a dark bottle. Clear bottles let light in, thus damaging the oil. Damaged oil lacks nutrients.

How to store olive oil:
Never store or buy olive oil in plastic bottles. The oil is very reactive and if in contact with plastic will take on the properties of the plastic container. 
Always keep the container in dark places and in areas that are slightly cooler than room temperature.
6. Butter:
Angelle from Nourish MD told our shopping group that it took her 10 years to get to where she is with her diet. It is not realistic to throw everything away in your pantry and go out and buy new stuff, all at once. I like to do little baby steps and challenge myself every few weeks. I like trying to learn about something new or researching healthier food options/recipes. For example, I used to buy whatever meat was on sale at Kroger, then I opted to buy organic meat and now I buy local grass-fed meat. It was a process and did not happen over night. Another good comparison is milk. I used to buy skim milk, then I bought organic whole milk and now I purchase a organic raw milk from Hicks Dairy Farm that is loaded with probiotics. Again, this was a process and I try to make small changes along the way.

Moving on...One small baby step you could do (if you don't already) is to purchase organic, cultured butter or organic raw butter instead of margarine. Margarine is a fake food that is riddled with chemical additives. Butter is a real food with real health benefits. All of my mentors agree that raw, organic pasture-fed butter would be the healthiest option but if you are not comfortable with that option, the next best option would be cultured, organic pasture-fed butter. Cultured dairy products are easier to digest and contain beneficial bacteria. The experts also agree that Horizon products are not the best. They really like Organic Valley. For a limited time, Organic Valley sells pasture-fed cultured butter.  It is the green box. :)  

Read the about the health benefits of butter below:
  1. Butter is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.
  2. Contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida.
  3. Contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.
  4. Contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.
  5. Has anti-oxidants that protect against weakening arteries.
  6. Is a great source of Vitamins E and K.
  7. Is a very rich source of the vital mineral selenium.
  8. Saturated fats in butter have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
  9. Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
  10. Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.
  11. Protects against tooth decay.
  12. Is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.
  13. Anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
  14. Is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals.
  15. Is a source of iodine in highly absorbable form.
  16. May promote fertility in women.
  17. Is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue.
  18. Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children's brain and nervous system development.
  19. Contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
  20. Protects against gastrointestinal infections in the very young or the elderly.
Here is the butter I like:
"Our cultured butter achieves a rich butter taste through introducing a live culture and slowly ripening the cream. You'll think you've never really tasted butter before!"
Cultured Unsalted Butter, 1 lb, 4 quarters

7. Unbleached Parchment Paper:

Unbleached parchment paper is a cleaner, greener substitute for aluminum foil. I read that cooking acidic foods, like tomato based products, on aluminum foil/cooking equipment doubles the aluminum content in your food. Pretty gross!
8. Natural Sweeteners:

When I went on my shopping tours with my nutrition experts, they both recommended three natural sweeteners.

Raw/Local/Organic Honey- Honey is good for your immune system, your digestive system, allergies, asthma, etc. (Read more about Honey at the beginning of the page.)

Pure Organic Maple Syrup- Maple Syrup contains manganese and zinc. It is good for your immune system, your heart, and the male reproductive system.

Stevia or Stevia Extract- "Stevia leaf is an all natural sweetener. It comes from a shrub which grows naturally in Brazil and Paraguay. While people in South America have been using it to sweeten their foods and beverages for hundreds of years, it has been used widely in other countries over the past few decades. In 2008, stevia sweetener became approved in the USA as a food additive and is rapidly growing in popularity due to its many benefits. 
Stevia helps reduce food and other cravings
One of the main reasons stevia is so popular is that it can help people in losing weight. By sweetening foods and beverages with stevia, people who need to reduce calories in order to lose weight can do so safely without sacrificing the sweet foods they love. It can also benefit weight loss by working as an appetite suppressant. This works when a few drops of concentrated stevia leaf is swallowed about 20 minutes before eating. Since stevia sweetleaf is all natural and has no known side affects, it is certainly far safer than taking dangerous diet pills!

Not only does this amazing substance suppress food cravings, it has also been shown to reduce the desire for tobacco and alcohol."

Stevia also helps regulates blood sugar, prevents cavities and has health-promoting antioxidants.
All three can be used for cooking and/or baking. Try to substitute these items for artificial sweeteners and sugar. 
9. Chia Seeds:
After hearing Chia seeds mentioned over and over again, along with other super foods, I decided to investigate this micro-mini seed. I have to say, this particular seed is extremely easy to add to food. The kids won't even notice! :)

Here is some information and a recipe I made tonight that included Chia seeds:
"Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.
Chia has a nutlike flavor. You can mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as "chia fresca." As with ground flax seeds, you can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods. I find them tasty and an interesting addition to my diet.
Chia is undergoing something of a renaissance after centuries of neglect. It was a major crop in central Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. and was still cultivated well into the 16th century, AD, but after the Spanish conquest, authorities banned it because of its close association with Aztec religion (Indians used the seeds as offerings in rituals). Until recently, chia was produced by only a few small growers, but commercial production has resumed in Latin America, and you can now buy the seeds online and in health food stores.
Because of its nutritional value and stability, chia is already being added to a range of foods. Research has shown that adding it to chicken feed makes for eggs rich in omega-3s. Feeding chia to chickens enriches their meat with omega-3s; fed to cattle chia enriches milk with omega-3s. Chia can also be added to commercially prepared infant formulas, baby foods, baked goods, nutrition bars, yogurt, and other foods. Another bonus: insects don't like the chia plant so it is easier to find organically grown varieties. I expect we'll soon be hearing much more about chia and its health benefits."
Andrew Weil, M.D.

Banana Bon Bons from Nourish MD

2 cups of peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter
2 brown bananas, mashed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 T. Chia seeds

Optional add-ins: unsweetened coconut, dark chocolate chips, chopped up raisins

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Roll into balls and lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for a minimum of two hours. Keep in the freezer in a air tight container and save for a snack or dessert.