25+ Foods With More Sugar Than You Think

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Are the negative health effects of sugar starting to freak you out?

Maybe you’ve tossed your candy, cookies, and daily desserts aside in the interest of eating healthier. That’s a great start, but in all likelihood, it’s only making a dent in your overall sugar consumption.

The truth is, most processed foods have far more sugar than you would expect from their taste alone. Sugar is used both as a preservation agent and a flavor mask when companies pull the fat content out of food, meaning that even seemingly savory dishes like tomato soup can be loaded with a full day’s supply.

Today, the average adult consumes almost 32 teaspoons (126 grams) of added sugars a day, much of it in seemingly healthy foods. In contrast, the American Health Organization1)http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.WgH1KWhSxPZ suggests that adults eat no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) a day. This means that most people are eating four or more times the sugar they should—and much of it comes in forms they aren’t even aware of.

Navigating this world of added sugar is anything but easy, as most food manufacturers are keen to keep you in the dark about what their products genuinely contain. Understanding where added sugar lurks in your daily diet is the first step toward cutting it out for good, and this article is designed to show you how.

But first, why is sugar so dangerous in the first place?

Why Is Sugar Bad for You?

It might be hard to think of your daily candy bar as devastating for your body, but health research consistently shows that sugar might be one of the most damaging substances you can consume. Because the human body evolved during a time when sugar was scarce, it’s hardly surprising that our bodies haven’t adjusted to the plentiful portions available today.

This means that the approximately 300 to 500 empty calories from sugar you eat daily may someday lead to a variety of negative symptoms, including type 2 (and 3) diabetes, cancer, cavities, broken bones, general malaise, and more. Sugar has been linked to most chronic diseases, and cutting down your consumption is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health.

Creating Marketing Tactics in the Sugar Industry

It’s wrong to assume that the added sugar in processed food is an innocent mistake; in contrast, it’s part of a concentrated effort by the food industry to get us comfortable consuming more of their products.

In many ways, parallels can be drawn between sugar lobbies and the tobacco industry2)https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-big-tobacco-moment-for-the-sugar-industry, as both invest billions of dollars to circumvent scientific research and find new ways to convince consumers that their products aren’t as dangerous as they seem.

For instance, during World War 1, sugar was advertised as a quick energy builder that could build muscles in minutes, making it a practically patriotic item to ration for America’s soldiers.3)https://food.avclub.com/how-wwi-food-propaganda-forever-changed-the-way-america-1798259481 Later, it was advertised almost exclusively as a “chemically pure food” because of the lack of other ingredients contaminating its chemical structure—that these missing components were essential vitamins and minerals was conveniently left out.4)http://www.businessinsider.com/vintage-sugar-as-diet-aid-ads-2014-10.

Finally, rebranding sugar as a “carbohydrate” moved it from the realm of dessert to the largest food group. Most people know that they are supposed to eat several servings of carbs each day, and putting refined sugar into the same nutritional category as brown rice makes it seem significantly less threatening.5)https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/

Thanks in part to this clever marketing, Americans have moved from consuming 60 pounds of sugar a year in the 1920s to over 130 pounds annually today.6)https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/ And in most cases, this sugar isn’t coming from homemade cookies—it’s found in a pernicious variety of hidden forms on supermarket shelves.

Where Is ‘Hidden’ Sugar Most Common?

It’s usually bad for business if companies let on about how much sugar their products contain, so the food industry has devised clever ways of concealing the sugar content in food. Today, there are almost 40 industrial names for sugar, including brown rice syrup, carob syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, sucrose, and more.7)https://www.rodalewellness.com/food/scary-sugar-statistics A cursory look at a food label often isn’t enough to track all these sugar references, which is what companies rely on to get their product in your shopping cart.

These 25 foods may shock you with their sugar content, and finding ways to quarter your daily consumption might come down to addressing their role in your diet today.

Remember: your daily sugar consumption should be around 30 grams, meaning many of these foods can put you close to the limit with a single serving.

#1. Barbeque Sauce

While this savory seasoning is synonymous with picnics and roasted meats, it packs a punch of sugar that will likely surprise you. Just one tablespoon contains at least 6 grams, and even a modest plate of ribs will quickly pile on 20 grams or more.

#2. Flavored Yogurt

Though touted as a health food, overly flavored yogurt can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Fruit-filled flavors and brands marketed toward children tend to be the sweetest, and beware any advertised as “low fat.” It’s common for companies to make up for lost flavor in low-fat varieties by filling the void with added sugars instead, meaning the “healthier” product often has the same number of calories as the full-fat version. Many yogurts contain between 19 and 33 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving, making your “healthy” snack little better than a scoop of ice cream.

A better option? Buy your yogurt plain and add in your own fruit.

#3. Pasta Sauce

Few people think of spaghetti sauce as a sweet topping, but processed tomato products are notorious for being off the charts with their sugar content. While some of this sugar comes naturally from the tomatoes, it’s also added as a preservative and flavor enhancer. A single half-cup serving can contain 12 grams of sugar or more, and the damage is multiplied when you pair it with a starchy pasta that quickly breaks down into simple sugars in your digestive system.

#4. Soda

You know that soda contains tons of added sugar, but the overall amounts may still be shocking. A single 8-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 29 grams, and a medium-sized fast food drink has 44 grams.

Even worse? Energy drinks.

These caffeinated cans are veritable sugar bombs, and some brands pack in 83 grams of sugar per serving.

#5. Agave

Being found in “healthy” foods doesn’t make this natural sweetener any better for your body than traditional table sugar. In fact, agave is 85 percent fructose, meaning that it strains your body when the liver metabolizes it. Despite convincing marketing by agave suppliers, your body is better equipped to handle sucrose-based cane sugar (though neither form has many redeeming qualities for your health).

#6. Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be an ideal health food, but instant packets are usually stuffed with added sugar—as much as 15 grams per serving. For a healthier option that still has enough sweetness to keep you satisfied, opt for plain oatmeal and add fresh apple slices and cinnamon.

#7. Granola Bars (and Granola in General)

More often than one would prefer, granola bars are merely rebranded candy bars. Their chocolatey coatings can quickly add up to 12 grams or more of added sugar, and even “naked” varieties usually contain concentrated servings of fruit mixed with honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, and other sweeteners.

A bowl of granola can be equally damaging with 10 grams of sugar or more per half cup, and it’s all too easy to eat multiple servings in a single sitting. If you simply need to satisfy your sweet tooth, toss a small handful into your plain yogurt to ensure you maintain a healthy serving size.

#8. Breakfast Cereal

As with granola, almost all cereal brands are bad news for your sugar levels. Even “adult” brands like Raisin Bran contain 18 grams per cup (with about 9 grams of that coming from the raisins)[ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/hemi-weingarten/raisin-bran-deconstructed_b_552981.html], meaning that you can easily get much of your sugar content for the day within an hour of waking up.

#9. Salad Dressing

What’s the easiest way to compromise the nutritional content of your salad? Coat it in sugary dressings. Sweet, fruity vinaigrettes can pass on 5 to 7 grams of sugar in just two tablespoons, turning your healthy salad into an unexpected sugar bomb. To avoid the threat, use a light homemade vinegar dressing and toss in some fresh fruit instead.

#10. Dried Fruit

As healthy as it sounds, dried fruit can quickly cause you to overload on sugar. Most brands list sugar as their second ingredient, and a 1/3 cup serving can quickly top 24 grams. You aren’t much safer if you stick to brands without added sugar, as the drying process concentrates fruit sugars in each piece, meaning that a half cup of dried apples can contain the same amount of sugar as two to three fresh ones, or 40 to 60 grams of sugar.

#11. Coleslaw

It turns out this supposedly healthy side dish is often anything but. A standard serving can contain at least 15 grams of sugar, usually because of the sugary vinaigrette that the cabbage gets drenched in. The good news? Making your own lets you control the sugar content and can let you keep this dish in your food repertoire.

#12. Bottled Tea

Staying away from juice and soda might be second nature for you, but it’s easy to forget that bottled sweet tea can be just as damaging. Many brands contain upwards of 32 grams per bottle, maxing out your sugar quota for the day in a single carton. A better choice is brewing your own and adding lemon juice for flavor instead of sweeteners.

#13. Ketchup

French fries’ favorite companion boasts an impressive sugar content. At 4 grams per tablespoon, it’s best to keep in mind that those squirts add up. For sugar-free flavor, stick to mustard or malt vinegar instead.

#14. Sushi

What could be unhealthy about rice and vegetables? In truth, cheap supermarket sushi contains much more than these wholesome ingredients. Sushi rice usually contains added sugar, and the imitation crab meat, sweet and sour sauces, and rice vinegar all lead to 2 to 4 grams of sugar per piece. If you wish to indulge, stick with high-quality sushi and sashimi instead.

#15. Smoothies

The term “smoothie” can refer to anything from a wheatgrass blend to pureed frozen yogurt, so making comprehensive statements about their sugar content is close to impossible. To keep yourself from sipping on a sugar trap, stick with homemade varieties that rely on plain yogurt and fruits and vegetables for nutrition. Otherwise, you risk having your “health drink” really be a fruity form of ice cream.

#16. Most Bread

It’s no surprise that white bread is filled with sugar, but the amount in most “healthy” breads may astound you. Many wheat breads are only brown because of caramel coloring, and a single sandwich can give you 3 to 5 grams of sugar from the bread alone. Be especially careful with premade sandwiches in the supermarket deli—many contain sugary dressings to remove bitter tastes. Bagels, muffins, and English muffins are even more sugar prone, especially if you top them with jam or peanut butter.

#17. Canned Baked Beans

Most canned foods have the potential to be a disaster for your health, but baked beans are especially notorious for their sugar content, which can top 30 grams per can. The good news is that making your own is easy, and the results are far more tasty and nutritious than their canned counterparts.

#18. Fruity Muffins

Despite its name, an apple-oatmeal muffin is rarely a health food. Many commercial muffins have quadrupled in size in the past decades, and their sugar content has increased to the point that they are basically personal-sized cakes. Treat these muffins like the dessert they really are by eating them in moderation.

#19. Alcohol

Mixed drinks pack a major punch of added sugar into your daily life, and overindulging on Friday nights won’t do your body any favors. One pint of hard cider can contain 20 grams or more of sugar, and sweet white wines can top 6 grams per glass. If you must imbibe, stick to dry red wines, as they tend to have less sugar—or fully fermented white or red wines[http://www.dryfarmwines.com/thegrownetwork], which are statistically sugar free.

#20. Canned Soup

It goes without saying that canned soup is high in sodium, but this classic processed food also contains more than its fair share of sweeteners. Like salt, sugar works as a preservative to extend soup’s shelf life, and a single can often contains 15 grams or more. In fact, canned tomato soup easily tops 25 grams per serving, so you might be better off leaving it on the shelf.

#21. Frozen Dinners

Who knew meat and veggies could be so sweet? It’s shocking how much sugar can be found in these classic convenience foods, but one look at labels reveals that 30 to 40 grams of sugar per serving isn’t uncommon, WITHOUT counting the dessert.

#22. Natural Fruit Juice

It’s clear to most that it’s best to avoid high fructose corn syrup, but even natural sugars can have negative effects on your body. Eating a piece of fresh fruit provides your body with fiber, but just drinking the juice gives your system a rush of sugar that’s hard to process. Just one cup of unsweetened apple juice provides 25 grams of sugar.

#23. Canned Fruit

Canned fruit companies seemingly never got the memo that fruit is naturally sweet, because most forms are loaded with sugar-filled juices and syrups that act as preservatives. A single cup of canned fruit contains 30 grams or more of sugar, meaning you might as well eat seven Oreos and be done with it.

#24. Instant Gravy

Does your meatloaf really need an injection of extra sugar? Then stay away from instant gravy. In fact, since many types also contain palm oil and artificial colors and preservatives, sugar might be the safest ingredient in this side dish. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to skip out on the 2 grams of sugar per serving it contains.

#25. Peanut Butter

Though peanut butter sandwiches are a staple of childhood, many brands contain over 3 grams of sugar per serving. To avoid any added ingredients, stick to natural brands, and top your sandwich with fresh fruit, not jelly.

Bonus: #26. Infant Formula

Does your newborn baby need sugar? Then why on earth is it an ingredient in many infant formulas? Many U.S. formula brands contain corn syrup and sugar, but these companies often aren’t required to list their nutritional information.8)http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/target-5-sugar-baby-formula-139339308.html However, research shows that many brands include around 3 grams of sugar per serving.

Because sugar addiction starts young and can last for life, it’s important to think twice before feeding sweetened formula to your infant.

Less Sugar = Better Health

Hidden sugar is found in almost every processed food available today, but there’s a lot you can do to keep your levels in check and avoid the chronic disease it causes.

By avoiding these 25 sugar bombs in the grocery store, you can dramatically lower your daily consumption … and enjoy the sugar that you do you consume with more gusto—and better health.Save





























References   [ + ]

1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.WgH1KWhSxPZ
2. https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-big-tobacco-moment-for-the-sugar-industry
3. https://food.avclub.com/how-wwi-food-propaganda-forever-changed-the-way-america-1798259481
4. http://www.businessinsider.com/vintage-sugar-as-diet-aid-ads-2014-10
5, 6. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/
7. https://www.rodalewellness.com/food/scary-sugar-statistics
8. http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/target-5-sugar-baby-formula-139339308.html

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Cancer’s #1 Favorite Food

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There’s a lot of controversy surrounding cancer and what causes it, but everyone seems to agree on at least one thing:

Treating cancer is expensive. Preventing it can be a lot cheaper.

Nearly 1.6 million Americans faced a cancer diagnosis in 2014 (the most recent year for which numbers are available),1)https://nccd.cdc.gov/USCSDataViz/rdPage.aspx with a cost of care that, in some cases, ranged upwards of $115,000.2)https://costprojections.cancer.gov/annual.costs.html

Yet, while study after study has shown that diet plays a major role in whether a person gets cancer, and that people tend to make healthier food choices when they’re eating at home,3)https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2014/01/16/american-adults-are-choosing-healthier-foods-consuming-healthier Americans allocate less money toward food consumed at home than pretty much anyone else in the world. For example, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service,4)https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-expenditures.aspx we spend 6.4 percent of our income on eating at home, while the Finnish spend twice that and the Venezuelans spend triple that percentage.

And it’s not just people in other countries who spend more of their income on food. Our grandparents did, too. Back in 1960, Americans spent about 17.5 percent of their income on all food—including what they ate at home and what they ate out. Now, we spend about 10 percent of our income on eating, regardless of where it takes place.5)http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do

These numbers represent a disturbing shift in our national mindset. We’ve moved from a time when soils were healthier and food was more nutritious and generally less processed—but more expensive—to the present day, when the soils used in commercial agriculture are more depleted, the produce grown in them is less nutritious, and widely available foods are more processed—but also more affordable.

Simply put, Americans are not used to paying what high-quality food costs anymore.

Even people with access to sustainably produced, locally grown food via a farmer’s market, natural grocery store, or CSA often struggle with the cost. These products are more expensive to grow or raise—and therefore more expensive to buy.

But even though processed, packaged foods are sometimes cheaper than their sustainably produced, whole-food alternatives, their true cost can be astronomical.

According to Dr. Raymond Francis, author of Never Fear Cancer Again, disease has only two possible causes: toxicity and malnutrition.

The foods that increase cancer risk often contribute to both.

The bottom line is that we can pay more now for healthier foods and the deeper nutrition and reduced toxicity that come with them—whether we’re paying financially or, if we’re backyard food producers, through an investment of time and energy—or we can pay more later to treat the diseases that can stem from malnutrition and toxicity. As one young TEDx speaker, Birke Baehr, put it back in 2011, “We can either pay the farmer, or we can pay the hospital.”6)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvVZwJbs54c

In the end, one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer is by eating the diet we all know we should—filled with high-quality vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.

If you’re not quite there yet, and you’re interested in reducing your risk of cancer by cleaning up your diet, the following list of carcinogenic (or potentially carcinogenic) foods is a good place to start. You can improve your health even further by replacing them with foods from our list of 30+ Cancer-Fighting Foods.

One final note: As you read this list, remember the old adage that “the dose makes the poison.” Even water, which everyone would agree is absolutely essential for life, can kill you if you drink too much at once.7)https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill While it’s best to avoid these foods on a consistent basis, most of them probably won’t hurt you if they’re consumed every once in a while. After all, what’s a BLT without the bacon?

  • Sugar: Cancer has a favorite food. It’s sugar. Without it, cancer cells can’t grow and spread—in fact, they need almost 50 times more sugar to function than regular cells, according to Dr. Nasha Winters, author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer. In addition, up to 80 percent of cancers are fueled by glucose and insulin, in one way or another.8)http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/recent-observations-indicate-cancer-cells-readily-utilize-fructose-support-proliferation-and It’s easy to see why too much sugar in the diet is a very bad thing. In fact, the less refined sugar, the better!
  • Alcoholic Beverages: Our bodies turn the ethanol in alcoholic drinks into acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen. In addition to damaging the body’s DNA and keeping cells from being able to perform repairs, alcohol also increases estrogen levels in the blood (a contributor to breast cancer), prevents the body from absorbing several nutrients, and may contain carcinogenic contaminants.9)https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet#q3 It should be noted, however, that red wine contains resveratrol, a substance that has been shown to have anticancer properties.10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28123566 While the substance itself has been widely studied, only a few studies have looked at whether drinking red wine reduces a person’s cancer risk.
  • Tobacco: This one’s no surprise. While tobacco is lovely when used for plant gratitude, and Native American cultures believe it offers its own gift of interpretation to help with disputes, it can wreak havoc on a person’s body when it’s smoked or chewed. Smoking tobacco, inhaling secondhand smoke, or using smokeless tobacco—whether chewing tobacco or snuff—all put loads of carcinogenic chemicals into your body.11)https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
  • Processed Meats: Defined as any meat that’s been preserved through curing, being salted or smoked, or by other means, processed meats include bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats including corned beef, salami, pepperoni, capocollo, bologna, mortadella, and ham. They are categorized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “carcinogenic to humans.”12)https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf Scientists suspect that the nitrite preservatives contained in processed meats are what causes the harm. The body can convert these nitrites into N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which damage cells in the bowel lining. To heal the damage, cells replicate more often, which in turn provides more opportunities for DNA replication errors.
  • Red Meat: Beef, lamb, and pork contain heme iron, a naturally occurring red pigment that helps form carcinogenic compounds in the body and has toxic effects on cells and genes.13)http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/4/2/177 It’s important to note that, in their research, scientists are lumping industrially produced red meat together with meat from animals raised on a natural, healthy diet. There’s no discussion in the scientific community on whether meat of healthier animals—such as cows fed and finished on grass—has the same negative effects.
  • Charred Meats: Grilling meat at high temperatures can produce heterocyclic amines and polycyclic amines, both of which can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.14)http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/how-healthy-eating-prevents-cancer
  • Salt-Preserved Foods: In addition to the processed, salt-cured meats mentioned above, this category includes salted fish and some pickled vegetables. The IARC lists Chinese-style salted fish as carcinogenic, but hasn’t yet made a determination on whether other types of salted fish increase the risk of cancer in humans.
  • Coffee: Is it, or isn’t it? Thanks to a recent lawsuit, coffee’s been in the news lately. At issue is the fact that roasting coffee beans causes the formation of acrylamide, a naturally occurring substance that has the potential to interact with DNA.15)http://www.newsweek.com/fear-coffee-causes-cancer-prompts-california-add-warning-labels-672831?yptr=yahoo Coffee isn’t the only culprit, though. Acrylamide develops in many foods when they are cooked at high temperatures for a long time (think baking, frying, and toasting, in addition to roasting). This year, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency launched a “Go for Gold” campaign to encourage people to avoid overcooking foods—thus minimizing the creation of acrylamide—by aiming for a finished color of golden yellow or lighter.16)https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2017/15890/reduce-acrylamide-consumption Despite the fact that coffee contains acrylamides, the popular beverage offers several other health benefits. So many, actually, that the American Institute for Cancer Research includes coffee on its list of Foods That Fight Cancer.
  • Areca nuts: About 10 percent of the world’s population still chews this addictive berry. It’s been shown to have several ill effects on the body, and is linked to numerous cancers.17)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080659
  • Artificial Sweeteners: According to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer is inconclusive—but possible. Since some studies have shown a correlation between the two in lab animals, the current recommendation is to avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharine altogether.18)https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/may-2015/FOH-cancer-love-sugar.html[/note]
  • Toothpaste: Okay, so, technically toothpaste is not a food, but it made this list because it’s ingestible and some formulations may contain disperse blue 1, a dye that’s listed by the IARC as possibly carcinogenic to humans—and that’s also used as a hair and fabric dye.19)https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/disperseblue1.pdf Worth keeping an eye on!
  • Very Hot Beverages: Studies in cultures where people typically drink their tea or mate at about 149°F (70°C) have found a correlation between very hot beverages and the risk of esophageal cancer. But, unless you keep a thermometer handy when you’re drinking your morning Joe, how are you supposed to know how hot is too hot? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you have to sip it to be able to drink it, let it cool a bit first.

What about you? What’s your take on what causes cancer—and what you can do to prevent it? Leave us a comment below!

(This article was originally published on October 2, 2017.)


References   [ + ]

1. https://nccd.cdc.gov/USCSDataViz/rdPage.aspx
2. https://costprojections.cancer.gov/annual.costs.html
3. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2014/01/16/american-adults-are-choosing-healthier-foods-consuming-healthier
4. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-expenditures.aspx
5. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do
6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvVZwJbs54c
7. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill
8. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/recent-observations-indicate-cancer-cells-readily-utilize-fructose-support-proliferation-and
9. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet#q3
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28123566
11. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
12. https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf
13. http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/4/2/177
14. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/how-healthy-eating-prevents-cancer
15. http://www.newsweek.com/fear-coffee-causes-cancer-prompts-california-add-warning-labels-672831?yptr=yahoo
16. https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2017/15890/reduce-acrylamide-consumption
17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080659
18. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/may
19. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/disperseblue1.pdf

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The 6-Step Skin-Care Routine for Those Who Can’t Resist Brownies

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First, I’d like to start with a disclaimer: This is what I have found through trial and error that works for my skin. Everyone’s skin is different, and what may work for me, may not necessarily work for you. I am in no way a trained dermatologist.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while a lot of issues (like acne, for example) can be caused by hormones and general hygiene, I firmly believe that the lead cause is diet. Eating a clean diet and getting plenty of water is—100%—the ultimate skin-care solution. However, I’m not going to be young forever and that brownie isn’t going to eat itself, so I’ll be talking about how to take care of your skin if your diet isn’t perfect.

Your Skin Type

To start, it’s helpful to establish your skin type and what you specifically want to target (acne, wrinkles, dark circles, etc.), so you can find products that can help in those specific areas.

Here are the three basic skin types and a short definition of each one to help you get a sense of what you have:

  • Oily Skin: Shiny skin that usually has enlarged pores and may be prone to blackheads and breakouts due to overproduction of the sebaceous (oil-producing) glands.
  • Dry Skin: Feels tight after cleansing, and usually has smaller pores. Dry skin will also have a tendency toward fine wrinkles, flaking, and red patches.
  • Combination Skin: You may have a slightly oily T-zone with drier cheeks and patches of dry spots. This is the most common skin type, with around 70% of women saying that that they have combination skin.

I personally have combination skin, and I mostly deal with acne.

6 Steps to Beautiful Skin

1. Wash Your Face

When I first started to get acne, I realized that maaaaaaybe I should wash my face. I started to use the random face wash that my dad had in the bathroom every once in a while, but washing my face every night seemed like too much work. Eventually I started to take it seriously, though, and I tried out a few face washes before I found one that really agrees with my skin. Oh boy, are there a lot of face washes and cleansers out there! You can find face washes that hydrate, exfoliate, and who knows what else. The possibilities are endless!

You can use a flannel or one of those fancy spinning brushes, but I’ve found those little silicone things to work wonderfully for only a few dollars apiece.

I’ll probably write this a few times, but finding a natural face wash with good ingredients is very important. Remember that your face is very sensitive, so I wouldn’t recommend using that cheap face wash with harsh ingredients that you found at the dollar store. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you should probably put it back on the shelf and keep looking.

A side note: There is quite the controversy as to whether or not people with acne-prone skin should exfoliate their face or not. Some people say that it helps to unclog your pores, and some people say using abrasive materials on your face could cause more acne. You can decide for yourself whether or not you want to, but I don’t because it’s just another step in a long-enough routine.

2. Toning

Next, I like to use toner. Toning is something that I didn’t really know existed until I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole a few years ago and found a video of one of my favorite makeup artists raving about how important toning is. As soon as possible, I went out to a nearby natural grocery store and found a toner that has witch hazel and cucumber in it.

Now, you’re probably wondering what toner is. Simply put, it’s a cleanser that you wipe on your face to further unclog pores, restore your skin’s natural pH balance, hydrate, and help with excess oil production. Plus, witch hazel has all kinds of other benefits like reducing eye puffiness, fighting acne, and slowing down the look of aging. If you’re going to use toner, however, I would recommend getting an alcohol-free toner, because using alcohol on your face can be very harmful and drying.

3. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Okay, back to 13-year-old Kimber who can barely commit to washing her face. I was starting to notice that my skin felt tight and dry after I washed it, so I turned to the Internet for help and it told me I needed to invest in moisturizer.

At the time, for some reason that I cannot explain, moisturizer was the bane of my existence. I would rather have become a shriveled-up piece of leather than use moisturizer, so I started to try out different oil serums. Unfortunately, I was using the wrong ones and I ended up giving myself more acne than before.

Oh dear… I eventually gave in and started playing around with different brands of moisturizers until I found one that I really like. I’m not sure what changed, but now I absolutely love moisturizer. You could drown me in moisturizer and I’d die happy!

So, after the toner dries, I moisturize.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to moisturizers, but I recommend finding one with vitamin E or vitamin C in it. Along with lots of other benefits, vitamin E can reduce the appearance of acne scars, and vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, which combats wrinkles and fine lines.

Although moisturizers can be quite pricey, it is especially important to find a good, natural one.

Think about it: This product is meant to be absorbed into your skin.

4. Spot Treatments

While washing, toning, and hydrating my face was helping with my acne, I needed more help. Again, I was watching a YouTuber talk about her skin-care routine, and she mentioned an overnight spot treatment. This was perfect, because unlike most spot treatments that I had heard about at the time, this spot treatment was clear and didn’t need to be washed off. All I had to do was pop it on my worst spots and head off to bed without worrying about it. A key ingredient that makes this product so effective is salicylic acid, which will reduce the size and redness of any pimple overnight.

5. Rose Water

When I remember to, I’ll mist my face with some rose water, because it has all sorts of wonderful acne-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.

However, while spot treatments and rose water do work wonders for my acne, I have noticed that when I avoid dairy and eat minimal sugar, my skin is much clearer.

6. One Last Step

Finally, because I’m a blonde, my eyebrows are quite sparse and lightly colored, so for the final step of my routine, I’ll rub some cold-pressed castor oil into my eyebrows. Castor oil contains essential fatty acids, proteins, and vitamin E, and when it’s rubbed onto your brows, it stimulates blood circulation, resulting in thicker, fuller brows. It will take a few months to see results, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

How Can You Skip This Entire Routine and Still Have Beautiful Skin?

Some people may need to put more work into managing their skin, and some people can get away with a lot less. My mom literally never does anything to her face and she has amazing skin, while I’m over here researching skin care and composing complex routines to keep my skin somewhat desirable.

What’s the difference? My mom has a very clean diet (no processed foods, minimal wheat or dairy, and barely any sugar). What about me? Well, I’m not turning down Grammy’s homemade cake!

There are so many factors that decide what your skin type is and what you’re going to struggle with, but at the end of the day, it’s important not to fixate too much on any imperfections and to be happy with the skin you have.


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The Top 10 Foods to NOT Store!

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Based on my own personal experiences and mistakes, I do not recommend storing these foods in large quantities, long-term. Let me know what you think of my list and what other foods you would add. Foods to not store, long-term 1.  Any canned vegetable or fruit that you do not like This may seem obvious, […]

17 things you probably didn’t know about honey, but definitely should!

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One of my favorite uses for honey is as a face cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling baby-soft, and my only complaint is that it almost always gets in my hair, no matter what. We always have at least 1 or 2 large containers of honey in the house, not only for beauty routines, but […]

Are You Prepared for Peak Chicken?

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three-step-chickensWe have all heard about peak oil. But have you heard about “peak chicken?” Or peak almost everything else that composes the modern human diet—dairy, meat, corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, vegetables, and sugar?

According to a study in Ecology and Society,1https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/ we’ve already been there and done that. We peaked on just about every food-related product considered critical to human survival, except farm-raised fish, in or before 2010.

Thank goodness for carp, catfish, and tilapia! If you don’t like those, you might want to start working on some new recipes and get used to them….

Once you get your head around the idea of peak food—meaning that food production is stagnant or declining—then do an Internet search for “world population clock.”

Sit back and watch as the world’s population increases before your eyes.

It is interesting to watch, until you do the math and realize that declining food production + increasing population = a big problem. Suddenly that population calculator looks a lot like a ticking time bomb, and the $60,000,000,000,000 (global public debt)2http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock/ question is: “When does it explode?”

The truth is that we don’t know if, how, or when the bubble will burst.

Reason to Worry

But according to the authors of the Ecology and Society study, we should be worried. Their findings show that 20 of the 27 key resources for human survival peaked within the 50-year period ending in 2010.

The fact that so much of our food supply peaked within the same time frame makes sense at an intuitive level. Growing food with current industrial processes requires adequate water and fertile land suited to maneuvering large equipment. When we run out of fertile land, we develop undesirable land by leveling or clearing the earth, adding synthetic fertilizer, and pumping in water for irrigation. That works until we exhaust our water stores and deplete easily accessible nitrogen sources.

As land, water, and fertilizer become less available, the natural result is that food production declines, prices go up, and distribution gets contentious.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in wealthy countries like the United States have been insulated from most of the deprivations of peak food.

  • But if you live in rural Mexico, you probably already know what a 733% increase in the cost of a staple like tortillas feels like.
  • Or if you’ve lived in parts of Venezuela in the last few years, you know what it’s like to go to the grocery store and find the shelves inexplicably empty.
  • In India, farming-related debt is so high and weather events are destroying crops so frequently that suicide among farmers has reached epidemic levels.

These are just a few examples of peak-food-related issues already occurring around the world.

According to the USDA’s Agricultural Projections through 2022,3https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/USDAAgriculturalProjections2022.pdf “Although agricultural prices decline in the near term, continued growth in global demand for agricultural products holds prices at historically high levels.” This means that for those of us who live in the United States, Japan, or the EU, our days of food cost stability are numbered as developing countries are expected to outpace us on demand, economic growth, and strength of currency in international markets.

Additionally, the USDA’s Food Price Outlook, 2017-20184https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/ for the U.S. indicates that the most notable inflation increases in food have occurred, and will continue to occur, around the perimeter of the grocery store.

The Rise and Fall of Peak Nutrition

Poultry, dairy, eggs, seafood, and fresh fruits—the most nutritious foods available—are becoming less affordable, and this is expected to get much worse.

In response to price increases, such as the market price of beef going up 10 percent in two years in the U.S., consumers have already diverted their budgets from nutrient-dense natural foods to prepackaged, high-calorie foods, which tend to be less nutritious.

Just as it makes intuitive sense that peak food would follow quickly on the heels of peak land, we can also assume that trading fresh, healthy foods for processed foods to make ends meet will lead to peak nutrition—after which our collective public health will begin to accelerate in its decline.

So, is there anything we can do to change our food future?

In light of their disturbing findings regarding synchronous peak production, the authors of the Ecology and Society study suggest that we need a “paradigm shift” in our use of resources if we are going to be able to adapt to our post-peak realities.

That seems like a polite way of saying, “we need to radically alter our methods for growing and distributing food, or we’re in big trouble.”

Finding Answers

The good news is that you, I, and other members of The Grow Network community are already starting to work on this. The peak calculations were based on data from the 2013 FAO Statistical Yearbook5http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm. That report includes figures reported by international governments like Gross Domestic Product, and is dependent on financial information provided in tax returns and financial statements.

All the home-scale food growing taking place around the world is not included in determining these peak food calculations.

The study also does not take into consideration the black markets and barter markets that are already prevalent throughout much of the world, and may be used by two-thirds of the world’s population by 2020.

Unfortunately, for the same reasons that these data are not included in peak calculations, it is impossible to determine how much of an impact home food growers, barter economies, and black markets are making in relation to peak food.

Anecdotally, though, we know that there has been increased interest in home-based food production:

  • Just look at the number of self-sufficiency publications showing up on supermarket and bookstore shelves over the last ten years.
  • The number of farmers’ markets have increased by nearly 500% over the last 23 years, according to the USDA.6https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalCountofFMDirectory17.JPG
  • There’s been an explosion in intensive growing practices—raised beds, vertical gardening, companion planting, permaculture, aquaponics—methods that use significantly less inputs than industrial agriculture while producing a superior product with excellent yields.
  • The Obamas put a garden on the White House lawn, and Oprah started a farm in Maui.

These are all positive signs that a transition to more sustainable food-growing processes is already under way.

A 3-Step Solution

Taking a closer look at the details reveals that our current “peak food” problem is really more of a “peak industrial farming” problem.

What the Ecology and Society study makes absolutely clear is that we cannot feed the world using only industrial farming methods because they depend on resources that have peaked, or will peak, in the near future—such as constant nitrogen inputs, spray irrigation, and mono-cropping on cleared land.

However, we can continue to improve our outlook with regard to peak food by choosing to support a few clear, actionable solutions:

1) Diversifying What We Grow
2) Reintegrating Local Farming Into Our Communities
3) Supporting Community Food Security

Let’s take a closer look at these solutions…

#1. Diversifying What We Grow

sweet-potato-vinesThe fact that our key resources list can be narrowed down to just 27 items that include corn and sugarcane is both an indictment of our modern diet, and a mandate for change.

The Case for Corn

Corn, for example, could be an excellent “calorie crop,” meaning that it has the potential to provide a high calorie-per-acre yield. It has culinary versatility: corn bread, polenta, grits, tortillas, eaten on the cob and off the cob, popcorn, and as a supplemental feed for poultry and pigs.

But less than 1 percent of peak corn grown today actually makes it to your table directly. The rest is inedible for humans as it is grown specifically to go into our cars as ethanol or to be used as feed for livestock like cows, which would never touch it if they tripped over it in the pasture. A good portion of the corn used in our human food supply is corn syrup that is arguably a leading contributor to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Fields of monoculture corn swaying in the wind might even seem pretty—but don’t walk barefoot in those fields because they are loaded with toxic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that require protective gear to apply.

For the home grower, corn can be a fun food to grow as part of a balanced diet, if you have the space. You need to grow enough corn stalks for good cross-pollination or you need to hand-pollinate, and you have to take some extra precautions to prevent contamination from cross-pollination if you want to save your seeds.

But an even better option is to focus on more nutritious foods that don’t make the peak list.

Think about cabbage, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and winter squash. These are also versatile in soups, sauces, and pies, and they can be mashed, added to breads and pasta, roasted, and fried. Pumpkin and squash take space to grow, but there is no reason that they can’t be grown in vertical space. There are compact varieties of sweet potatoes like Bunch Porto Rico that can be grown in containers. These alternative calorie crops also store well without additional processing and they are relatively high in nutritional density, according to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.7https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/95/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods

Mix these alternative calorie crops up with a long list of other highly nutritious foods that you can easily grow at home or pick up at your local farmers market, such as tomatoes, chard, beets, turnips, arugula, watercress, lettuce, and you will be on your way to post-peak food health and happiness.

A Not-So-Sweet Staple

Now for a not-so-sweet subject: sugar. Sugar is a staple of our diets … really?!

Why is something that significantly increases our chances of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease (according to the American Heart Association) a resource considered necessary to our survival? Sure, it’s got calories, but they are non-nutritive.

If you consume your calories as sugar, you must either overconsume other foods to make up the nutritive difference, or run a nutritive deficit. Both roads lead to poor health.

Currently, roughly 898,000 acres of sugarcane and sugar beets are grown commercially in the U.S. alone. That amount of land, replanted using intensive farming methods, could grow enough healthy vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products to feed 400,000 people a healthy, balanced diet.

If you’ve got an incurable sweet tooth, how about satisfying it with a source that takes almost no land to produce, is good for you, and the production of which actually increases crop productivity in the immediate area? This is not some manufactured miracle sweetener that we will later discover causes cancer. It’s the oldest known sweetener on the planet, so revered at one time that the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried with it in their tombs, while indigenous communities risked life and limb to extract it.

Of course, you guessed it: The miracle sugar alternative is raw honey.

Raw honey is loaded with good nutrition. It may also help reduce the intensity of seasonal allergies, which are expected to increase in length and severity as a result of climate change, resulting in greater losses in productivity. Keeping bees near your garden increases pollination rates and raises yields. Since every third bite of food we eat requires insect pollination, and most of this is done by honey bees, adding honey to our key resource list makes much more sense than sugar.

If you want to keep your own bees, try a top-bar hive. You can make it out of scrap materials and it does not require expensive extraction equipment. If you can’t keep bees, buy raw honey from your local beekeepers to encourage more beekeeping activity that benefits our entire food supply.

stevia-growing-in-herb-gardenOr how about growing stevia? Stevia is an acquired taste, but once you adjust your palate, it becomes a viable alternative to sugar in beverages.

The leaves have negligible calories and can be boiled with teas and iced to make a sweet-tasting soda alternative. You can grow stevia from seeds obtained from a reputable supplier or you can grow it from cuttings. The plants do well in containers and can overwinter indoors in zones 7 and below with adequate light. When you harvest leaves by trimming the plants between leaf segments, similarly to how you harvest basil, the plants will become bushier and even more productive.

Corn and sugar are easy targets because there are delicious, available alternatives. But there are endless ways to diversify your diet:

  • Swap rice for bulgur, quinoa, lentils, or split peas.
  • Try goat or duck as a beef substitute.
  • Use buckwheat and amaranth flour instead of wheat.
  • Substitute sunflower seed meat for almonds.

Study your shopping list, identify the things you buy regularly, and then seek substitutes that can be grown in your community. You may be surprised at how much variety is available when you make the effort to look for it.

#2. Reintegrating Local Farming into our Communities

peak-chicken-peak-eggs-fullThe expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has never had more relevance than it does right now.

Checking Into Chicken

Chickens are fairly easy to raise at the home scale and they add fun and beauty to a landscape, so if you are seriously thinking about raising a backyard flock, now might be a good time to start. Make sure you know your LORE (laws, ordinances, rights, and entitlements) before taking the plunge. Also, talk to chicken owners you trust or do research to determine best practices in buying and keeping chickens in your area.

If it’s against the “LORE” for you to keep backyard chickens or you don’t have the space, how about rallying your community to turn underutilized common areas onto vegetable gardens and raise egg chickens or egg ducks there? Not only does this concept make common space meaningful again by doing something productive with it, but it can create opportunities for new farmers to enter the profession, and opportunities for residential “lawnscapers” to become organic “foodscapers.”

baby-ducks-and-chickensLaying Off Lawns

And this leads us to another method for countering peak food—let’s overcome our lawn addiction. North Americans devote 40,000 square miles of prime growing land to lawns.8https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/edible-ground-covers That is more land than we use to grow wheat or corn, it requires half the American residential water supply to grow, and it uses heavy doses of post-peak nitrogen and chemical products that end up soiling our waterways.

In the era of peak food, we really need to kick our lawn habit to the curb.

If you are a DIY type and you already take care of your lawn and landscaping, swap your holly hedge for blueberry bushes, replace flowers with flowering herbs, grow veggies anywhere you currently grow annuals, or build raised beds right over your lawn. Fruit trees like paw paw, jujube, Asian pear, mulberry, and elderberry are less needy than many ornamental trees like dogwood or flowering cherry, so use those as your starting points for planting a “foodscape.”

Surround the trees with a living mulch of Russian comfrey and borage. As the trees grow, prune them for good airflow and a less dense shade profile so you can grow shade-tolerant spinach, lettuce, and peas under the trees. If you have good southern exposure in front of your trees, plant fruit bushes there, plus herbs like chives, lemon balm, and mint to attract beneficial insects. You can also vine grapes up the trunks, making use of that vertical space.

herb-spiral-for-microclimatesIf you are not the DIY type and you spend on lawnscaping, reallocate your budget toward foodscaping to support a new generation of growers.

Many professional farmers and landscapers are excellent machine operators, soil scientists, irrigation experts, and pesticide applicators. But they may not have the expertise to grow a variety of foods without the aid of heavy equipment or purchased fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

To beat peak food and take advantage of prime growing land located within our populated communities, we need more small-scale farmers and growers skilled in controlling pests without chemicals, adding fertility with organic inputs produced onsite, minimizing water usage through smart planting, and applying intensive planting methods to increase food production.

There are plenty of people who want to do this, but we need to create the economic opportunities for them to be able to make a living at it.

To get started, talk to your current landscaper about having them do the work for you. If they don’t have the skills and they aren’t willing to gain them, talk to your local agricultural or gardening extension office, farming schools, vendors at farmers markets, or nearby permaculture schools to find people who are able to help you.

To keep costs low, you can make agreements to let student farmers sell surplus crops and keep the profit in exchange for doing the work. There are also a lot of budding permaculturists who offer their consulting services at discounted rates to develop their resumes and client bases.

Finding ways to grow food in our homes and neighborhoods should be a priority for anyone concerned about peak food.

#3. Supporting Community Food Security

Planting food instead of lawns not only increases food production, but also raises awareness of the importance of doing so. A surprising number of people are not even aware of the issues surrounding peak food. An even more surprising number of people are aware of some of these issues but feel powerless to do anything about them.

By bringing food growing to the forefront of our daily lives, we create opportunities to share our knowledge and help others collaborate with us. Our window of opportunity to beat peak food gets smaller the longer we wait and as weather becomes more erratic and resources less available, so the sooner we spread the news and help others get involved, the more impact we can have.

If you have any doubts about the urgency of building food communities, look to China for guidance. The Chinese government has encouraged its food corporations, through loans and preferential economic policy, to purchase and accumulate companies from around the world that grow and process food products (e.g., Smithfield Foods). This is part of a concerted effort to ensure food security for China’s growing population. And, it might be a wise policy given the reality of peak industrial food.

Yet not all governments are this proactive, and even when food is stockpiled or production is secured, distribution systems may not be fully developed. Also, goods may be distributed with preference for specific populations, like wealthy cities and wealthy citizens.

Realistically, unlike the Chinese government, most of us here don’t have $5 billion to buy up 25% of the pork production in the U.S. “just in case.” But most of us do have some kind of grocery budget and/or a food-growing system in place. Instead of spending our money and resources to support a post-peak industrial food system, we need to redirect our efforts toward local and sustainable food-growing activities.

Home growers can set up food-swapping networks with other growers to exchange products and increase diversity. Non-growers can take their food budgets to the farmers’ market and buy direct from local producers, or pick up weekly baskets from a local CSA. Greater demand for local food means more local growers. More local growers means more food security when declining industrial farms can no longer meet the food needs of a growing population.

We can adapt our eating and growing habits, and make the paradigm shift required to overcome peak food, if we acknowledge the problem and meet the challenges individually, and in our home communities, through thoughtful effort.

We can reach critical mass and cause real change in our society.

But the clock is ticking….



TGN Bi-Weekly Newsletter

(This is an updated version of a post originally published August 14, 2015.)

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/
2. http://www.economist.com/content/global_debt_clock/
3. https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/USDAAgriculturalProjections2022.pdf
4. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings/
5. http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3107e/i3107e00.htm
6. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/NationalCountofFMDirectory17.JPG
7. https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/95/andi-food-scores-rating-the-nutrient-density-of-foods
8. https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/edible-ground-covers

The post Are You Prepared for Peak Chicken? appeared first on The Grow Network.

A Homesteader’s Shocking Lesson About ‘Added Sugar’

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A Homesteader’s Shocking Lesson About ‘Added Sugar’

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While making plans with a farm apprentice regarding her upcoming move to our homestead and discussing room-and-board details, she let me know that she did not eat any foods with added sugar. She wouldn’t mind fixing her own meals separately, she told me, but I assured her it would be no trouble for me to take the whole household off sugar. I thought eliminating sugar was just a matter of cutting out dessert foods, which didn’t seem like a big deal.

What never occurred to me was that sugar, in one form or another, is added to a great many common foods. While it is no surprise to find sugar in soda pop, candy, pastries, ice cream and other so-called junk food, it came as a bit of a shock to learn how many other prepared foods contain it. Even more so was the shock of learning how much I—as one who considers my cooking style to be mostly from whole foods—use it in meal preparation, as well.

Cutting sugar completely from our diet was far more difficult than I had imagined it would be. Like many Americans, I was so accustomed to using sugar in my everyday cooking that I didn’t even always notice how often I use it. After the apprentice’s arrival, I was amazed to realize how many of the recipes I’ve used for years contain sugar. Just a few tablespoons here or a teaspoon there had never seemed significant, but I began to become aware of how much it really was.

Even foods as basic as breads suddenly presented problems. I make a great homemade corn bread, for example—northern style, with yellow cornmeal and sugar. Most yeast breads contain sugar, too, along with many of even the healthiest muffins.

Homemade soups and sauces usually call for a little sugar, adding just the right touch or bringing out the flavor of everything from pumpkin soup to spaghetti sauce. And while I don’t put sugar in my beef or chevon stews, I do add a little browning sauce that includes—you guessed it—sugar.

One day when I was collecting ingredients in the pantry for a casserole that included store-bought cream-style corn, the apprentice reached for the can and read the label.

‘What?! No Way’

“It has sugar in it,” she told me.

“What?!” I was astonished. “No way.” I checked the label and saw she was right.

Once I started looking for it, I found sugar lurking everywhere. The round buttery crackers I usually crumbled on top of my macaroni-and-cheese are sugar-sweetened. So are canned soups. And all kinds of sauces—from barbecue, which you might suspect, to Worcestershire, which you probably wouldn’t. Ketchup too, along with pickles and relishes and other condiments. Even breakfast cereals billed as “regular” and “plain,” often contain added sugar.

Even simple sandwiches posed challenges. Regular peanut butter is sweetened, as of course are jams and jellies. Mayonnaise and most brown mustards contain sugar, as do some luncheon meats. Perhaps a salad instead—but wait, store-bought salad dressings and croutons are loaded with sugar!

A Homesteader’s Shocking Lesson About ‘Added Sugar’

Image source: Pixabay.com

Even foods we often think of as healthy alternatives sometimes contain sugar. Items like granola, nutrition bars, fruit-based drinks, fruit rollups, and other foods marketed to children can be sugar-laden.

The Many Names of Sugar

One of the reasons many people use more sugar than they realize is that sugar disguises itself under many other names. Careful label-readers often don’t find “sugar” listed, but will instead see ingredients such as dextrose, maltose, cane juice or solids, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, and dozens of other words that all mean the same thing: added sugar.

By some accounts there are 40, 50 or even more different terms for added sugar. It can be derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, corn, coconut and other plants, and processed in a wide variety of ways into many forms. Often a packaged food label will list several sugar variations, the combination of which can result in an astounding total volume of sugar per serving.

Avoiding sugar can be tricky. It helps to become familiar with all the names it goes by in order to be able to pick it out of an ingredients list. Poring over labels can be tedious, but it gets easier with practice. The more important it is to avoid sugar—that is, the more serious the health consequences of eating it—the more crucial it is to read ingredients lists and know how to recognize sugar in all its various forms. The keys are diligence and determination.

Most people alive today grew up on a fairly steady diet of sugar. Even those of us who are health-conscious may well consume more sugar than we are aware of. To some of us, we are so used to everything from breads to canned fruits to breakfast staples being so chock full of sugar that these foods taste a little foreign to us without it.

Lessons Learned

My homestead underwent a radical change in eating habits when we began learning to accommodate a completely sugar-free person into our menu planning. Some of it was easy. We substituted natural sweeteners such as local honey and our own maple syrup into foods with a great deal of success. With other items, we tried simply omitting sweeteners altogether and learned to like them that way.

Although many people use popular sugar substitutes with satisfaction, we steered clear of them because none of us cared for the taste or didn’t want to add more processed ingredients to our diets. Using artificial sweeteners is a personal choice, but it is worth remembering that some fake sugars pose health threats of their own.

The apprentice was able to eat homemade breads with little or no negative reaction, probably because the sugar used in the dough was processed and transformed by the yeast organisms prior to baking. However, some bread recipes use more sugar than others, and I learned to tailor my bread-making by using less sugar, substituting natural sweeteners when practical, and using more whole grains to offset the sweetness.

After the apprentice moved on, we were glad to return to using sugar in some foods but found that we were perfectly content without it in others. But we now have a better understanding of the widespread pervasiveness of sugar in foods, both prepackaged and homemade, and this new awareness better equips us to make conscious choices to consume it or not.

Do you have advice for avoiding sugar? Share your advice in the section below:

Sugar-Storing Tricks: The Right Way To Stockpile It For Years And Years

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Sugar-Storing Tricks: The Right Way To Stockpile It For Years And Years

Whether you are purchasing it for long-term emergency storage or just for your kitchen pantry, you may wonder how long sugar will last.

Well, the answer can be “indefinitely” if sugar is stored correctly. The package of sugar you buy at the store may include a “best before” date. According to the U.S. Sugar Co., headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., you may safely use sugar long after that date.

However, the quality of sugar depends on how it is stored. Sugar is highly absorbent, so you must keep it away from any kind of moisture. Even sugar that is exposed to humid air may begin to harden and clump.

Brown sugar is especially susceptible to hardening. Hardened sugar is safe to consume, but it is more difficult — and unsightly — to use. To prevent clumping, store sugar in its original package or, if opened, in an airtight container placed in a dry environment.

Just 30 Grams Of This Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

Also, keep sugar away from any heat sources such as stoves or ovens. Heat causes condensation, which eventually turns into water droplets that sugar can absorb. When sugar absorbs moisture, it clumps.

Hardened Sugars

You can soften hardened white sugar simply by breaking the clumps with a fork or the back of a spoon. To soften brown sugar, you can place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a lid. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Check to see if the sugar has softened, and if not, try another 30-second interval. Repeat if necessary.

Although white sugar lasts longer when stored in a dry environment, brown sugar can be placed in an airtight container in the freezer for long-term storage.

If you are dealing with more than a few lumps, here are some more detailed instructions for restoring hardened sugar to its granular form.

White sugar — White sugar hardens when it absorbs moisture. To soften it, place it on a cookie sheet in a preheated 150-degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes. Then break up the clumps with a spoon. Next, turn off the oven, leaving the softening sugar in the oven for about another hour.

Sugar-Storing Tricks: The Right Way To Stockpile It For Years And YearsBrown sugar — Have you ever been ready to make cookies or a cake only to be confronted with hard brown sugar? Here are a few time-honored ways to soften brown sugar:

  • Add a slice of fresh bread to the bag of brown sugar for a day or two.
  • Place a damp paper towel next to the brown sugar package and enclose both in another plastic bag for a day or two.
  • Place a washed and dried orange peel next to the brown sugar container so that the natural oils from the orange can soften the sugar. This process will take a few hours.

If you are in a hurry, place the brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave for about 20 seconds, but don’t go much longer or the sugar may turn into a gooey, unusable substance.

Powdered sugar — The cornstarch contained in powdered sugar will cause it to form lumps over time, and there is little you can do to prevent it. Use a fork or a spoon to break up the lumps.

Raw sugar — As with white sugar, place hardened raw sugar on a tray in a 150-degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 30 minutes, then break up the clumps with a spoon. Be careful not to overheat raw sugar, as it may burn.

Bug Problem

Insects like sugar for the same reason we do — it is sweet. Unfortunately, a bug infestation can cause your sugar to become unusable.

If you find bugs or signs of bugs in your sugar, throw it away and start over with a new supply that you store in an airtight container. Here are some natural ways to keep ants and other insects out of your pantry:

  • Determine where the bugs enter your home and wipe away their trail with warm soapy water.
  • Place coffee grounds near the bug entrance points.
  • Wash down pantry or cabinet shelves with white vinegar.
  • Grow mint plants around the perimeter of your home to discourage ant colonies.
  • Place cinnamon sticks in and around your windowsills and doorways as a deterrent.
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper around cracks and crevices where you have seen ant activity.
  • Hang or place dried bay leaves in cabinets where sugar and other sweet treats are stored to keep bugs at “bay.”

In conclusion, sugar will last indefinitely when stored in proper containers in cool, dark, dry areas that are free of bugs. Sugar can get hard or clumpy, but it remains safe to eat. You can purchase sugar in large quantities and store in a food grade bucket until needed.

One word of caution: Do not store oxygen absorbers with sugar. Oxygen absorbers will cause the sugar to harden into a brick and to have an unpleasant, chemical taste.

Do you have any sugar-storing tricks? Share your thoughts in the section below:

How To Cut Sugar Out of Your Life

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How To Cut Sugar Out of Your Life We are all aware of the issues that come from eating too much processes sugar. Whether you want to believe that your health and fitness are important to your preparedness or not is irrelevant. The truth of the matter is both health and fitness will come to …

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The post How To Cut Sugar Out of Your Life appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

The Real Reason Why Diet Sodas Increase Your Risk of Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Stroke

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The Gaurdian dropped a bombshell of a health report on Thursday. Researchers working on the Farmingham heart study, which has tracked the health of thousands of residents from Farmingham Massachusetts since 1948, discovered a correlation between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and several serious health conditions. Apparently, drinking a diet soda every day may triple your risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.

“After adjustments for age, sex, education (for analysis of dementia), calorific intake, diet quality, physical activity and smoking, higher recent and higher cumulative intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks were associated with an increased risk of ischaemic stroke, all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease dementia,” the co-authors write.

Those consuming at least a can of so-called diet drinks every day were 2.96 times more likely to suffer an ischaemic stroke and 2.89 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank them less than once a week, they found.

Ischaemic strokes occur when blood cannot get to the brain because of a blockage, often one caused by a blood clot forming in either an artery leading to the brain or inside a vein in the brain itself. They comprise the large majority of the 152,0000 strokes a year which occur.

So far the researchers haven’t found a clear causation, meaning that there could be other reasons why people who drink so much diet soda are afflicted with these conditions. Though the study didn’t find a link between consuming regular sugar laden sodas with stroke, Alzheimer’s, or dementia, there’s a good chance that real sugar is the problem here.

What most people don’t realize is that consuming artificial sweeteners can lead to more sugar consumption. It makes you crave sugar. The leading theory on why this happens, has to do with how your body responds to sweet foods. When you eat something that’s sweet, regardless of whether or not that sweetness comes from real sugar, your body produces insulin to process it. But if you don’t have any significant levels of sugar in your bloodstream, there’s nothing to balance out the insulin, so you crave sugar even more.

So it wouldn’t be far-fetched if sugar is still the real culprit here. That’s because previous studies have also shown correlations between sugar consumption and heightened risks of dementia and strokes. So instead of diet sodas by themselves, the real problem may be that people are consuming artificial sweeteners, and then pigging out on large quantities of sugar.

To give you an idea how horrible real sugar is for your health, one study found that people who drink one or more sugar sweetened sodas a day had a 16% higher chance of having a stroke. That may not sound like a lot, but that 16% emerged after watching subjects over the course of 20 and 30 day periods. Compare that to the Farmingham study and artificial sweeteners, which found that your risk of having a stroke nearly tripled. However, that was based on ten years of data. Clearly, sugar consumption shows a stronger relationship to strokes than artificial sweeteners.

Obviously, we’re still talking about studies that have found a correlation, not definitive proof. Regardless, the results of these studies are both alarming and compelling. It would be wise to stay away from both added sugars, and artificial sweeteners.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Sugar and Soured Health

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Sugar and Soured Health Bob Hawkins “The APN Report“ Audio in player below! The last APN Report was all about lowering the amount of salt in a diet as a good way to lose weight. Not so much of a diet but more of a lifestyle choice & awareness of what is in the foods we … Continue reading Sugar and Soured Health

The post Sugar and Soured Health appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

How To Make Your Own Sugar From Beets

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How To Make Your Own Sugar From Beets With this homesteading project you will learn how to make your own sugar. This project is really easy to do and could save you money on your groceries throughout the year. Sugar would be a great bartering item to have stored too. YES! Make your own sugar! …

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The post How To Make Your Own Sugar From Beets appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

How To Grow And Make Your Own Sugar – In Any Climate

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How To Grow And Make Your Own Sugar – No Matter Your Climate

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How many times have you run out of sugar in the middle of baking something? Now, what if I told you that you could make and process your own sugar, right at home?

Let’s examine two ways you can make your own sugar – with sugar cane or with sugar beets. (If you live in a non-tropical climate, then skip down to sugar beets.)

Sugar Cane

This bamboo-like plant thrives in warm, almost tropical environments and can grow to 12-feet tall given the right circumstances. It takes up to eight months to mature to the point where you can extract sugar juice, unless you happen to live in a tropical or sub-tropical region or reside in southern Louisiana, Florida or Hawaii. The growth of sugar cane in those regions is year-round due to the constant warmth and humidity.

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Sugar cane is grown by separating sections of the bamboo-like stem, cutting between the joints. The easiest way to sprout your sugarcane is by simply taking your cut stem section and wrapping it in either newspaper or even magazine pages (preferably low-gloss paper, as the chemicals can affect your growth), soaking the wrap in warm water, and putting the bundle into a plastic bag. Then, let it sit in a corner of your home for a month until it begins to sprout. Once it’s sprouted, plant in compost-rich soil at the beginning of your local growth season and wait for the harvest. At maturity, cut the cane above the base joint and crush the cane thoroughly to extract as much of the juice from it as possible, using, for example, a heavy duty rolling pin.

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This is where the real work begins, because now you have to process and strain the juices. Take a large saucepan and carefully strain the juices through a cheesecloth or cloth with similar characteristics. Set your stove to medium-high and adjust as needed to keep a low boil. Stir the mixture every four minutes until it reaches the consistency of syrup. Make sure not to cook for too long, as the mixture will turn dark brown. (This would leave you with nothing but molasses.) Take a palm’s worth of sugar and toss it into the mixture, stirring it in gently. Once you’ve folded the syrupy mixture over it a few times and are positive there isn’t any floating on the top, then the fun part starts. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with the process of making rock candy, pay attention.)

Take a long wooden spoon or even a stick, as long as it reaches from one side of the pot to the other without risk of it slipping in. Next, take a good thick thread or string and tie it in the middle of your spoon or stick. Use a small spoon to push the end of the string into the mixture if needed. Come back in a few hours after it is cooled, and crystals will have begun to form on your string. If you see crystals, then simply leave the string to gather until the next morning. What you will be left with is a pot full of molasses and a large sugar crystal matrix attached to your string. After washing your sugar crystal off with cold water, simply allow it to dry in the sun where the bugs can’t get to it and then very gently crush the crystal down  to the consistency of sugar.

Sugar Beets

For those of you who don’t live in a tropical climate and simply want an easy way to make your own sweetener, then you’re in for a surprise. Let me introduce you to the sugar beet, which can be grown in colder climates. Now, you may be thinking of those tart red slices that your parents wanted you to eat at Thanksgiving when you were younger; don’t worry, because these are simply close relatives to the beets that you know. Sugar beets can be grown in a variety of different regions. Originating from Europe, this tasty beet was not mass produced for sugar until 1801 and didn’t reach popularity in America until 1836.

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The sugar produced from beets has more of a rose color to it. The sugar beet takes about 80 days to grow to maturity before it is ready to process. After cleaning your beets thoroughly and cutting off the greens from the top, you need only to grind the beets down to julienne size to allow as much surface area as possible. Place your beets in a large pot of boiling water and boil until the beets have become mushy — but not too long as it will be harder to strain if you allow it to soften too much. Drain the sugar water from your beets using a colander; the sugar water will need further boiling until it reaches a syrupy texture. Set this on a countertop to dry and harden. Use a scraper to remove the dried sugar beet crystals, and grind down with a spoon or blender until it’s to the consistency that you need.

Congratulations! You are one step closer to being fully self-sufficient. Now, let’s make some sweet tea, shall we?

Have you ever made your own sugar? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

Use Dry Pack Canning Methods to Preserve Food

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5 Ways to store food using dry pack canning techniques | PreparednessMama

5 Ways to Store Food Long-Term Dry Pack Canning is the process used to  store foods that have less than 10% moisture and are low in oil content. When properly done, these items will last a long time, maybe even 30 years under certain conditions. We’ve talked in the past about the reasons to have extra […]

The post Use Dry Pack Canning Methods to Preserve Food appeared first on PreparednessMama.

The Survivalist’s Simple Guide To Making Rubbing Alcohol, From Scratch

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The Survivalist’s Simple Guide To Making Rubbing Alcohol, From Scratch

Making rubbing alcohol sounds like something you’d need a table full of beakers and glass tubes for, doesn’t it? Fortunately, it’s far easier than most think. Good thing, too!

After all, one of the worst things that can happen to a homesteader or survivalist is having few medical supplies. But if you love being prepared, then you’re going to love this easy recipe to product your own disinfectant. Let’s get to work making some rubbing alcohol.

Rubbing alcohol is a relatively cheap commodity and can be made relatively easily in a modern lab. However, making store quality disinfectant is a dangerous and EXPLOSIVE endeavor. Let’s take the road that leads to far less pain, shall we?

In this recipe, we will be making ethanol rubbing alcohol? Please realize that while this will create the same kind of alcohol found in beer, I implore you not to make the mistake so many blind moonshiners made! This is not for drinking.

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Making ethanol has a variety of uses, outside of just medical. Ethanol can be further refined to make a cheap renewable energy source. This fuel can power some generators (with a little tweaking) and even be refined as a replacement for diesel. How cool is that?! Of course, that would require you to make large quantities of it, thus depleting your sugar supply rather quickly.

Alternatively, you could get your own sugar cane and harvest your own small crop. This would simply mean picking up a stalk of sugar cane from your local farmer supply (or online). You will be ready to harvest in about 7-8 months, depending on where you live, of course.

Getting Started

You will need the following:

  1. Roughly 2 pounds of white sugar (preferably not bleached).
  2. 1 gallon of water, purified if possible.
  3. 2 empty water jugs made of HDPE plastic (simply look at the mark on the bottom of the jug), or a glass drinking jug.
  4. 1 jar of simple baker’s yeast.
  5. About 2 ½ feet of coiled copper tubing (not as expensive as you might think).
  6. A bowl of cold water or ice big enough to hold your container (this is not a necessary step but it helps speed up the process).
  7. 1 thermometer.
  8. 1 funnel.
  9. Duct tape.

As with any process like this, make sure all of your items are sterilized and cleaned. Boiling water works just fine.

To get started, add 3 teaspoons of yeast into the first jug and simply pour in your 2 pounds of sugar. (Be sure to use your funnel.) There is no need to get messy. Now, take your thermometer and hold it under your running hot water from your tap. Simply adjust the knobs until your water reaches 115 degrees, and fill the jug to about 3 inches from the top. This gives the yeast a wider surface area to work with, as well as helps break down the sugars faster. Shake or stir well to ensure that all of the yeast is broken up into the solution.

The Fermentation Process

The Survivalist’s Simple Guide To Making Rubbing Alcohol, From Scratch

Image source: YouTube screen capture

Now, put on the lid, making sure not to screw it on enough for an air seal to form, but enough to let the Co2 being created inside the container to escape. Set it in a warm dark place, preferably on the top shelf of a cupboard that isn’t used often. Allow it to ferment for at least 2 weeks. Although you may not enjoy the idea, you will have to give it the ol’ sniff test to judge for yourself if it is fermented enough. The longer you ferment the mixture the stronger your ethanol will be.

Let’s Make Some Ethanol

At the end of the 2-week period, simply remove the solution and pour it into the second container. Prepare a pot big enough to hold your gallon jug, with some room left over. Now, fill the pot with water to the point where it won’t boil over.

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Take your jug lid and cut a precise and even hole in the middle, big enough for your tubing. Insert one end of the tubing into the lid and screw it on. From here, you duct tape it down snuggly so there is no chance of the vapors escaping your container.

Turn on your stove to a high point in order to bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn it down to maintain a low bubble so your water doesn’t evaporate around the jug too quickly. It is best to keep a watchful eye on the water and refill as necessary.

Remember to do the same for the other end of the tubing when attaching it to your other container. Set your other container in your bowl of either very cold water or preferably ice. Adjust how it sits until you are comfortable it won’t fall over. Continue boiling until all of your sugar solution has evaporated and condensed into your second container. This will possibly take a day or so!

If you smell any vapors during this process, then simply add more tape until you are positive there is an airtight seal on both ends. The result should yield a clear liquid that burns blue and clear when lit. Congratulations: You’ve created your first batch of ethanol.

Seal it in an air-tight container, and then shelve for later use as your disinfectant.

I hope this tidbit of self-reliance has bolstered your confidence.

Have you ever made rubbing alcohol from scratch? Share your tips in the section below:

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Five Inflammatory Foods That You Should Eat in Moderation

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donutsThese days, most people associate the word ‘inflammation’ with ‘unhealthy.’ Truth be told though, inflammation can be a very good thing. It’s your body’s way of healing. When you’re sick or injured, your body flushes the effected area with blood, immune cells, and nutrients, in an effort to combat pathogens and heal what is damaged. Obviously, this results in pain and discomfort, but in the big scheme of things it is exactly what you need to survive and live a healthy life.

When someone says that inflammation is bad, what they’re really talking about is chronic inflammation, which is a bit more insidious. It doesn’t always make you feel like you’re sick or in pain, but it is highly damaging to your body. Chronic inflammation has been associated with heart disease, diabetes, depression, and even cancer. It can be caused by a lack of sleep, stress, pollution, certain allergies, or a poor diet; and it can add more damage on top of whatever is causing the inflammation.

However, diet is often associated with inflammation more than any other cause. Certain foods and can do a number on your body, and if you’re eating them every day, you may be on the path to an early grave. Foods that you should either eliminate from your diet or consume in moderation include:

White Bread

You’ll find that most foods that are “refined” typically have a higher glycemic index, which causes inflammation. White bread is one of the worst examples. It causes your insulin levels to spike, creating the perfect environment for inflammation to run rampant. Whole grain foods however, can reduce inflammation.


Of all the inflammatory foods that you eat, sweeteners are the most notorious. The human body simply did not evolve to process straight sugar. Rather, our digestive systems were made to take sugar in small amounts, preferably bound in whole foods like fruit, which take much longer to digest. The consumption of white sugar gives your body a massive spike in blood sugar, which is highly damaging and inflammatory. Not only that, but refined sugar leads to weight gain, which is also inflammatory. Artificial sugars can also create an immune response, since your body does not recognize them.

Fried Foods

Foods like french fries, potato chips, and donuts are cooked at a high temperature, which creates advanced glycation end products, or AGES. Your body doesn’t recognize these compounds, so they are treated to an immune response upon ingestion. Not only that, but fried foods are also often cooked in vegetable oils, which typically contain very high levels of omega-6 fats. Normally these fats are good for you, but if they’re not balanced with omega-3 fats they are inflammatory.


Not only does alcohol often contain inflammatory gluten and sugar, but by itself it can initiate your body’s immune system. The way your liver breaks down alcohol produces toxins, and alcohol can make your intestines more porous, which allows bacteria to spread throughout the body. On top of that, alcohol can have a devastating effect on the good bacteria in your digestive tract, which plays a significant role in your immune system. Overall, alcohol is pretty hard on your immune system. It weakens your immune response while simultaneously giving your immune system more to fight, both of which can be inflammatory.

Meat and Dairy

While meat and dairy products provide an excellent source of nutrition, they should be consumed in reasonable portions. They both contain saturated fats, which while essential to a healthy diet, are also inflammatory. They contain arachidonic acid, which your body produces naturally when it needs to create inflammation. Meat is especially inflammatory, since like fried foods, it is often cooked at a high temperature which produces AGES. Again, these foods can be quite good for you, and their pros typically outweigh the cons, but only when you don’t go overboard on them.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Building a Home Gym Episode 99

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Building A Home Gym

Building A Home Gym




Building a Home Gym

This week Mike and I talk about the building of out out doors home gym. The episode mostly revolves around fitness and nutrition. We talk about pricing options and places to find used equipment. We also talk about some DIY options. Like filling 5 gallon buckets with concrete.

I talk about how I bought my Olympic Bar off Ebay for a decent price. Later I found Play it again sports had an Olympic Bar and 300#s of weight for $157. I would have prefered to get that.

Craigslist is another great resource. I’ve been watching craigslist for a few weeks and see several great deals pop up. You have to have the cash and act pretty fast though. The good deals don’t last long.

I think we mention me going to a scrap yard. Weights are sold for scrap metal sometimes so you can find them for really cheap. The only ones I found recently were 1 inch standard weights of all low weights. Checking regularly might get you some decent weights.


With episode 100 coming up get your voice mails in to me soon. If you want to be heard on the show call (615) 657-9104 and tell me what you’ve been doing with Survival, prepping and fitness. All calls will get on the show. Don’t put off we only have a few more weeks. Thanks for all the support and sticking with us through the first 100 episodes.



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Sugar, foods, and health in prepping!

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Sugar, foods, and health in prepping! James Walton “I Am Liberty” I was sitting in the sauna today after a grueling workout it came to me. I was dripping sweat and staring the scorching ground of the sauna thinking about how hard it had been to avoid sugar for the 3 weeks I have been … Continue reading Sugar, foods, and health in prepping!

The post Sugar, foods, and health in prepping! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Kitchen DIY: Substituting Honey for Sugar

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If you want to eat healthier, or use honey that you have produced yourself, the first thing you need to know is that the rules for sugar substitutions are more like guidelines. In general, substituting honey for sugar is a matter of preference. Some use it cup for cup, others prefer 1/2 cup – 2/3 cup of honey per cup of white sugar. However, because of the water content, reduce the amount of other liquids by 1/4 cup for every cup of honey used. Honey also causes foods to brown much easier, so lower the oven temp about 25 degrees

The post Kitchen DIY: Substituting Honey for Sugar appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation

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See larger image Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern “kitchen gardeners” will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back to the future—celebrating […]

The post Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation appeared first on Shepherd School – Home for DIY Prepper Projects.

Scientists Discover New Link Between Sugar And Cancer

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sugar cubes wikimediaIt’s no secret that sugar is incredibly bad for you. The typical American diet, which probably has more added sugar than any national diet in the world, is known to cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, tooth decay, nutrient deficiencies, and of course, cancer (and that’s just the short list). Cancer in particular, has been connected to sugar consumption for some time now, by both mainstream and alternative medicine. Plenty of theories have been posited to explain the precise mechanism for how sugar fuels cancer growth, and it seems that modern science has just discovered another compelling link.

A study conducted by Lorenzo Cohen at the University of Texas was recently published in the Cancer Research journal. It found that sugar influences a metabolic pathway called LOX-12, which affects how cancer spreads in the body. This is big news, because as Cohen noted in an interview with NBC, “The majority of cancer patients don’t die of their primary tumor. They die of metastatic disease.” They discovered this link after feeding mice copious amounts of sugar.

Cohen’s team used mice for their study but say they took many steps to make sure the process was as close as possible to what happens in people. They fed sugar to the mice in doses very similar to what Americans eat every day, and they used mice that are genetically predisposed to breast cancer in much the same way that many people are.

They fed mice four different diets that were either heavy in starch or heavy in different types of sugar.

“A human study reported that dietary sucrose/fructose/glucose but not starch is associated with increased risk of breast cancer,” they wrote in their report.

When the mice were six months old, 30 percent of those fed a starch-dominant diet had breast cancer. But half the mice that had been fed extra sucrose had breast tumors. And the more sugar they were fed, the bigger the tumors grew.

While all forms of sugar contributed tumor growth, it was fructose that had the biggest effect. Mice that were fed the most fructose had stronger LOX-12 pathways, and as a result, grew the largest tumors. Considering that there is significantly more high fructose corn syrup (which is 55% fructose) in the American diet today than there was a few decades ago, this may explain why the United States has one of the highest cancer rates in the world.

What the study didn’t address however, is the relationship between naturally occurring sugars and cancer, or if there’s any link there at all. Fructose is of course, commonly found in fruit, and in smaller amounts, certain vegetables. That’s one of the reasons why representatives for the food industry claim that their sugary drinks and candies are relatively safe for human consumption.

Lorenzo Cohen stated that it’s simply a matter of quantity, since our bodies only need sugar in small amounts. “We need glucose. We need sugar. It is an energy source and we need it to live. We refine sugar that’s extracted from its source and consumed in extremely high quantities.”

On the other hand, the way these sugars are delivered to our bodies may be just as important as their quantity. While it’s true that the sugar in a candy bar is made of the same glucose and fructose as the sugar in fruit, it’s also wrapped up in fiber and other nutrients when found naturally in food. This serves to significantly slow down the absorption of sugar in our digestive tract.

So if you only ate sugar from natural sources, not only would you be eating less sugar since those foods usually don’t contain nearly the same amount found in processed foods, but that small dose of sugar would also be delivered to your body at a much slower rate. There’s a good chance that this LOX-12 pathway would be exposed to a negligible amount of sugar, if we stuck to a strictly natural diet.

Though the study doesn’t address the difference between natural and added sugar, it does sound like added sugar is the real culprit here. The recommended amount of added sugar for any diet, is no more 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. Even when Cohen fed the mice an equivalent to those small amounts, it still contributed to tumor growth.

So it’s very possible that no amount of refined sugar is safe. The human body is simply not built to digest it in a healthy manner, and cutting it out of your diet should be your highest priority if you want to reduce your cancer risk.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Stockpiling 101: Which Foods REALLY Have The Longest Shelf Life?

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How Long Will Your Food Stockpile REALLY Last?

Image source: Pixabay.com

Any thoughts about stockpiling foods in the event of a catastrophic emergency are dominated by two simple words: Shelf life. Some foods lose their nutritional value over time; others can become rancid or even dangerous if microbial or fungal growth invades the food. Curiously, there also are foods that have a shelf life measured in decades, if not centuries

We’re going to explore three general categories of foods that can be stored for various periods of time:

  1. Foods with an extremely long shelf life, even up to centuries.
  2. Foods with a very long shelf life (decades) due to their processing and packaging.
  3. Grocery store foods with a fairly long shelf life, six months to a year, or longer.

Foods With an Extremely Long Shelf Life

Some foods by their nature have surprisingly long shelf life if packaged and stored properly. Many are available at your local grocery store for a relatively low cost but you may want to consider repackaging or further sealing them if you plan to store them for any significant length of time. Here’s the top 10 long-term food storage champs:

1. Honey

A story about honey that’s often touted was the discovery by archaeologists of honey jars in an ancient Egyptian tomb.  The honey was carbon dated as 3,000 years old and was still food-safe and tasted just like honey.

2. Salt

If you can keep the moisture out of stored salt it will last indefinitely. Salt is a standard staple in any long-term food storage plan and is used in food preservation methods such as curing and pickling.

3. Sugar

Sugar possesses many of the characteristics of salt but here again, moisture is the enemy. If you can keep it hermetically sealed and perhaps add a moisture absorber, sugar also can keep indefinitely.

4. White rice

Stockpiling 101: Which Foods REALLY Have The Longest Shelf Life?

Image source: Pixabay.com

White rice can last up to 20 years if properly stored. As a staple of most diets around the world, it’s a must in any long-term storage plan. Just don’t assume you can buy a large bag at the grocery store keep it in the pantry. It needs to be carefully sealed and stored.

5. Whole wheat grains

Whole wheat grains are usually purchased through a supplier that specializes in long-term food storage. They are often sealed in large, foil packages and sometimes repackaged inside large plastic buckets.

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The foil package is hermetically sealed to remove oxygen and prevent the permeation of moisture. If processed, packaged and stored properly it can last for decades. Remember that you’ll need a flour mill to further process any stored whole wheat grains.

6. Dried corn

Corn when properly dried and protected from moisture will last for decades. It’s another staple that provides significant nutritional value.

7. Baking soda

While it’s not a food source, its uses from baking to cleaning are many and varied. If kept dry it also will last indefinitely.

8. Instant coffee, cocoa powders and tea

If you succeed in keeping these ingredients dry they will survive for decades without losing potency or flavor.

9. Powdered milk

This staple will survive for up to 20 years. Moisture absorber packets are highly recommended when storing powdered milk for the long-term although some packaging solutions – such as in #10 cans – might not require them.

10. Bouillon products

This may seem a bit redundant with salt, but bouillon products have the added value of flavor. Most are chicken or beef flavored and the granular type tends to store better that bouillon cubes in the long run. With proper processing, packaging and storage they can last for decades as well.

Foods With a Very Long Shelf Life

Some companies today are in the business of specifically selecting, processing and packaging foods that will typically have a stable shelf life of 20 to 30 years if stored properly.

These are the some of the common foods packaged to have a very long shelf life:

  • Dried beans, 30 years
  • Rolled oats, 30 years
  • Pasta products, 30 years
  • Potato flakes, 30 years
  • Dehydrated fruit slices, 30 years
  • Dehydrated carrots, 20 years

These are great items to stockpile because you can be reasonably assured they will retain their integrity and nutritional value for years to come.

Foods With a Fairly Long Shelf Life

Some foods can last a relatively long time but it’s measured in months or a couple of years as opposed to decades. As a general rule, you should pay attention to the expiration dates on bottles, cans and boxes purchased at a grocery store. You can still eat the food after the expiration date, but there may be a loss of nutritional value. Also packages – such as boxes or bags – are more likely to allow compromise due to moisture or rodent invasion.

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Stockpiling 101: Which Foods REALLY Have The Longest Shelf Life?

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If you are thinking about storing any oils for the long-term, regular olive oil is a hero with a shelf life of two years. Canned goods range from one to two years, and for some foods like tomatoes that are highly acidic, glass jars are the ideal package given the tendency of acidic tomatoes to compromise both metal and plastic packaging over a period of time.

If you want to adapt grocery store foods for long-term food storage you should seriously consider some packaging solutions that can allow you to protect and preserve these items. This includes using sealed cans, and both oxygen and moisture absorbers. Keep in mind you also can order from a reliable purveyor of long-term foods and buy in bulk.

An important consideration for the shelf life of any food is how it is processed, packaged, stored and rotated.


The way that any food is processed has a lot to do with shelf life. Typical processing approaches include dehydrating, freeze-drying, pasteurization, heat processing, curing and pickling. While all of these processes extend the shelf life of many foods, the nature of the food itself determines how long it will remain edible.


The integrity of packaging is as important as the processing. Typical long-term food storage strategies involve packaging dried or dehydrated foods in metal, #10 cans that are hermetically sealed and often have oxygen and moisture absorbers enclosed.

Another long-term packaging solution involves the use of large, 5-gallon plastic buckets. This is usually used for bulk items such as white rice, flour, sugar, salt and other staples that someone wants to store in a large quantity. Make sure you inquire about the integrity of the seal on the lid. I had five gallons of sugar in storage for five years and when I open the lid, mildew had permeated the bucket. Not a single teaspoon was edible.


Storage has a direct effect on the duration of shelf life. The cooler the temperatures the longer the shelf life, but be careful to avoid freezing temperatures.

A dry environment is also important. Mildew can permeate the seal on some food containers, moisture can cause oxidation of metallic cans, and certain foods like grains can actually sprout if exposed to moisture over a period of time.

Darkness is important for any foods stored in glass jars, and in general advised because direct sunlight will raise temperatures.


As I’ve noted, some foods have a shelf life measured in months. That really doesn’t qualify as long-term in the classical sense so you should practice “Eat what you store, store what you eat.” This means you should eat from your food stash and keep it organized so that you are always using the food that has been in storage the longest, first.

The Bottom Line

Do your homework. Long-term food storage requires a plan that not only assesses the foods you should store, but the number of people you plan to feed and for how long. It’s the duration that makes shelf life such a critical consideration.  As much as possible, rotate your stock of foods by eating what you store. If you simply want to store food and forget about it unless it’s needed in an emergency, make sure it’s packaged and stored properly and that you know its expiration date.

From your experience, which foods last the longest? Share your tips in the section below: 

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Shrubs: The Easy, Long-Forgotten Health Drink American Colonists Loved

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Shrubs: The Easy, Long-Forgotten Health Drink American Colonists Loved

Certain food trends bring you back to the phrase, “Everything old is new again.” Bee keeping, backyard chickens, whole foods and local foods have become downright trendy.

Of course, those who are homesteaders and “do-it-yourselfers” know that many of the old ways are the best ways.

Shrubs or vinegar-based fruit juices are no exception. While today they pepper gourmet magazines and food websites, they were alluded to in the Bible, have roots in many places across the world, and were commonly found in American homes during the colonial times. They were also a common method of preserving foods prior to refrigeration, making them a common and popular choice of drink in early America.

Shrubs or switchels, as they are also called, are vinegar-based fruit juices. Very simply, they are a mixture of fruit, vinegar and sugar that is consumed both plain, and sometimes used as a base for a cocktail. From China to England, they have a history in many cultures spanning the globe.

They truly came into their own in America with the early colonists. There are some very interesting places in history where shrubs show up in American history. A recipe for shrubs is chronicled in Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin’s papers, according to the American Philosophical Society. During the War of 1812, Captain James Dacres, an English Naval captain, battled the American ship USS Constitution. Historians discovered that as the battle raged on, he fantasized about serving Americans this drink when they surrendered. Like Coca-Cola today, shrubs were seen as the epitome of American drinks.  He apparently dreamed about rubbing the Americans’ noses in their favorite drink, as they lost the battle to Britain. However, as history played out, Americans sank his ship.

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Shrubs also played a role in the American temperance movement, as they were lauded (at least the non-alcoholic version) as a refreshing alternative to an alcoholic drink.

During this time period, it was also seen as somewhat of a preventative medicinal concoction.  Today, we again recognize the benefits of vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, for a variety of ailments. Historically, sailors used it to prevent sickness at sea.

Of course, they would not have been consumed had Americans and folks around the world not preserved fruit this way as a means of storage. This was also a primary function of making shrubs prior to refrigeration. The “Canning Across America” website offers a great recipe for canning strawberry shrubs:

Spiced Pickled Strawberries

Image source: kansascity.com

Image source: kansascity.com

Adapted from The Complete Book of Pickling, by Jennifer MacKenzie


  • 6 pints strawberries, hulled (preferably on the smaller side and just a touch under-ripe)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups cider vinegar

Puncture strawberries with fork tines and cut any large ones in half.

Combine remaining ingredients together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour over prepared berries.

Cover the berries and let stand at a cool room temperature for at least six hours or overnight.
Prepare water bath canner, jars and lids.

Re-heat berries, gently stirring occasionally until strawberries are heated through but still hold their shape.

Gently spoon strawberries and hot pickling liquid into hot jars, leaving ½ inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head space as necessary. Wipe rim and place hot lid on jar, screwing band down until fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner and return to a boil. Process for 10 minutes.

Turn off heat, remove canner lid and let jars stand in hot water for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface or a cooling rack and let stand undisturbed until completely cool, about 24 hours. Check lids and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.

Makes approximately 6 pints.

Use Up What You Put Up: Strawberry Shrub

  • 2-3 tablespoons pickled strawberry syrup (and whole fruit if you like)
  • 12 ounces sparkling water or club soda

Stir together in a tall glass, with or without ice, and enjoy. Add more syrup to taste.

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You do not have to can shrubs. You can make them for immediate consumption and refrigerate them. The Ultimate History Project website offers a great recipe for non-canned shrubs.

Recipe for Pomegranate Shrub

3-4 large pomegranates
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1 cup cider vinegar

Image source: chowhound.com

Image source: chowhound.com


1.  Line a colander with cheesecloth and place it over a clean glass (or other non-reactive) bowl. Roll the pomegranates on the counter to loosen the seeds, then cut them into quarters. Invert the quarter and pop the seeds out into the colander.

2. Pick out any of the white pith that fell into the seeds, as it will lend a bitter note to the finished product if you don’t. Pull the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze the pomegranate seeds as hard as you can. Keep squeezing and twisting until you have only the inner kernels left in the cloth.  Throw that away. You should have about two cups of liquid.

3. Mix the liquid with the sugar (use more if you like it sweeter). Stir to try to dissolve as much of the sugar as possible.

4. Add the vinegar to the mixture, pour the whole into a clean bottle, cap it securely and shake it.  Place it in the refrigerator and let it sit for 2 weeks. Shake it whenever you think of it.

5. Finally, uncork it and give it a sniff. It will smell very vinegary. Mix a small amount with seltzer water and taste it.  It will seem extremely sour to the modern palate but mixed with seltzer or vodka in the right proportions, it is indeed, very refreshing. If you find it too sour, simply add more sugar and let it sit for another day.

Note: To make this recipe with any other fruit, just chop up the fruit very coarsely, mix it with the sugar and let the mixture sit on the counter or in the fridge for several hours until the juice oozes out of the fruit. (Blemished fruit is great for this!). Then, strain the fruit through a sieve and mix the resulting sugary juice with the vinegar. Some people cook the fruit for a time with the sugar to produce the syrup. Both methods work perfectly well.

Like other canned and preserved foods, there is a deeper appreciation mid-February for food that was preserved by one’s own hands. How delicious and refreshing a berry-flavored preserved drink is, watching the snow fly! Whether consumed as fruit drink or a base for cocktail, it is a nice glass of history and summer to imbibe, when the only signs of spring are a silly groundhog.

Have you ever made shrubs? What tips would you suggest? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Works Cited

“Cooling Off With Switchels and Shrubs. “The Ultimate History Project.” UHP, nd. Web. 4, Nov.2015

Cotner, Meg  “How To Make A Shrub Syrup.” “Harmonious Belly.” Self published 19, July, 2012.Web. 4, Nov.2015.

“Difford’s Guide For Discerning Drinkers.” “Class Magazine.” “Odd Firm of Sin Ltd.” 9, Aug.2011.Web. 4, Nov.2015.

Jung, Alyssa (Adapted). “Thirteen Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.” Reader’s Digest.”Life Rich Publishing.N.D. Web.4, Nov.2015.

Kim. “Strawberries +Vinegar=Shrub, A Beverage Revelation.” Canning Across America.”  N.P.16, July, 2012. Web. 4, Nov.2015.

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Delia’s Chocolate Syrup Recipe

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Another great one by Chaya Foedus:

 A Personal Family Favorite & An Alternative to High Fructose Corn Syrup     Those of you who follow this blog know that we do not do High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Or any corn syrup, or corn starch or food starch or-or-or-or…. I took great pride for years that I make “everything from scratch” but…

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Why Honey is the PERFECT Survival Food

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Honey is a miraculous super food. Books have been written on the benefits.

Did you know that Honey, if stored properly, can literally last a lifetime or longer. There have even been accounts of 2000+ year old honey found in tombs that is still edible. That is why Honey is the perfect survival food and an excellent item to keep stocked in your pantry.

The Bible has 60 different verses on honey alone. If the Bible boasts of its benefits, we might want to listen up!

Most of us love it because it tastes incredible. It’s great to bake with and full of flavor. There is something about honey that makes you feel like you are doing something good for your body.

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Some compare it to sugar but the benefits of honey can’t be outmatched. There is simply no comparison.

Did you know:

  • Honey is much more healthy and nutritious than cane or beet sugar.
  • Honey has 15 nutrients whereas refined sugar has essentially none, other than “empty carbohydrates.”
  • Honey contains healthful enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • The minerals in honey include zinc and selenium, which could play a role in preventing the spread of viral infection.
  •  The enzymes in honey help predigest our foods, lessen the work of digestive organs and relieve the stress on the digestive glands.
  • Honey is an aid to digestion when taken in the raw state because of its enzyme content while sugar interferes with digestion. 
  • Honey enters the bloodstream slowly, at about 2 calories per minute. In contrast, sugar enters quickly at 10 calories per minute, causing blood sugars to fluctuate rapidly and wildly. 
  • Sugar causes calcium leakage from bones, contributing to osteoporosis while honey does not.

Where to Find the Best Honey?

  • Local farm honey is excellent. Farmer’s markets and local stands will typically carry all kinds. Local honey can also help build immunity to certain allergens. Spring will be here soon so it’s a good time to get your body prepared if you suffer with seasonal allergies.
  • Whole food and health stores typically carry a great selection but can be expensive.
    • Consider trying The Ready Store brand. They are selling today a 5 lb. bucket for 20% off along with other items. This is a creamy version and will store well. You get a lot for your money in a 5 lb. bucket.

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