These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Silky Araucania Ruca Yarn

/Cue Music   

“Raindrops on windows and whispers from willows

Shepherds of sea life from great whales to minnows

silver white tea leaves sun-kissed into greens

These are a few of my favorite things!”

/Cut Music

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Okay, been a while since my last “Favorite Things” post…ya think? 😕 But here we go…

So, my favorite tea greens are ground up into Matcha, as I’ve mentioned; my favorite being Matcha from Mountain Rose Herbs which consistently offers superior quality for fantastic prices. You’ll not find that quality matcha for less.

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A Touch of Evil 😀 (just a touch 😉 )

Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin Powder, from Natural Zing

Now, I normally do not recommend sweeteners aside from fresh fruits,and, really, it shouldn’t be needed much at all on a  NDE Diet. But, occasionally, when needed, I like to go as natural as is good —  this is my favorite:  One of the ever increasingly popular type of  inulins being used as sweetners; specifically, my favorite is Artichoke Inulin. (The most popular, well-known, and the “original” is chicory inulin*) This is not the  artichoke flower which may come to mind, but a different root veg called Jerusalem Artichoke,  also known as sunchoke. These were a “What Is It?” featured here on BeStrixed.

Artichoke inulin is available from a few sources; I get mine from Natural Zing — another “Favorites” places! Lots of raw-foodie good stuffs 😀

By the way, fresh sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes are great mashed and combined with cauliflower to make faux mashed potatoes! Delicious veggie!

I first tried inulin in chicory form, many years ago before I was an NDE, and, while it didn’t taste bad, it was not sweet enough for me, nor for the recipes I was making at the time. Whew! Glad those hyper-sweet days are long gone! Still it is much better than the alternatives such as Splenda, and saccharins out there, so if the artichoke is not available for you, the chicory may be one to try.

I have always liked stevia (combined with erythritol,which I also recommend – no laxative/gas/bloating effect; and better for some applications); however, Dr. Greger has recommended what is a safe amount of stevia, so bear that in mind (But also, pure unprocessed stevia seems to  have no problems**)One thing to remember, though, is that stevia doesn’t require large amounts anyway. I used to find erythritol in small independent vitamin shops (if lucky) or online in few places; it’s now everywhere. Again, sweeteners should not be used in large amounts in a Nutrient Dense Diet; but, I use it for the occasional beverage, for example, and moreso for guests dishes and desserts.  I’ve used it for Thousand Island dressing as well.

I really don’t like date sugar unless it is for a brown sugar substitute, for which it is perfect( See my No-Grains Granola, and my Essene breads/Manna/Raw/Ezekiel, etc.)Plus, way too much sugar, way too many calories, and…

…very grainy makes it less than ideal: See here what happens when you sift date sugar

Big difference!  Oh, and …

always check the label to see if it’s 100% dates…Yikes!Oat flour! And Wheat!

HOWEVER….

…You know there’s always one ;^)  On the plus side, fresh dates are very nutritious and don’t have to be excommunicated from your Eat To Live relig — uh, I mean, menu! ;^) ) Occasionally, they are fine. See my Butterscotch Pudding” recipe 😉

Luo Han Guo, pure,  is another sort of brown-sugar-ish flavor sweetener with a fruity-ish twist; I don’t like it, really. It’s got its own unique flavor which makes it use very limited. It can be found in combinations (with one of the sugar alcohols, for example),which improves it immensely; some being better than others. Basically fruit and, GRAS, it doesn’t seem to be bad; however, there are always critics.

As an aside, D mannose, commonly used to treat bladder infections, is sometimes found in sweeteners. It is also a “simple sugar molecule.”

Many other sweeteners out there, but I don’t or didn’t intend this to be a review of all faux sweeteners! 🙂

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–> Back to the Artichoke Inulin — 😉

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I’d say, it’s about 70% as sweet as the same amount of sugar; HOWEVER, I must caution that my sweet sense is really heightened compared to the taste buds of someone consuming sugar at a standard rate. I haven’t had sugar in over 8 years; so, it probably would not be a choice of the average American-style-diet consumer. In fact, I know it wouldn’t. A standard diet eater may think this is maybe 40- to 50% as sweet as regular sugar.

It’s actually delicious.

Upsides

Unlike all fake sweeteners, Jerusalem artichoke inulin has some nutritive value. Even the erythritol I mentioned is harmless, but it’s not nutritious — not by a long shot.

Healthful; pre-biotic;  It is white-ish; dissolves well (though best in warm to hot) and clear; has no aftertaste; no strange flavors or bitterness whatsoever; very “clean” taste; measures more like sugar; has an emulsifying ability, adding smoothness/creaminess, slight thickening; NO graininess at all, it’s powdered, but not dusty; goes with well with any type of recipe.

Downside

is the price 😦 . Still, if you are an NDE (Nutrient Dense Eater) who has healed from sugar addiction, then you  won’t need loads of it 😉 It does provide some calories,; though not too many, in my opinion.  Another you may like is Agave Inulin — higher calories; less expensive.

So, Artichoke Inulin —  my favorite, best recommendation for sweetening, when you must!

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/Cue Music

“Plant yarns,  and fabrics, compassionate satins

Pleathers and faux furs, save seals brutal lashes

Bees buzzing by with nectar on their knees…

These are a few of my favorite things!”

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/Cut Music   😉

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Araucania Ruca is a gorgeous drapey yarn made from sugarcane — Yes, THAT sugarcane! It is a perfect substitute for silk and is often mistaken for same. Stunning, silky and soft.

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There are a plethora of plant yarns and fabrics so there is no need to rob animals of their skins and hair (and then eventually kill them, no matter how “humane” you are told they are treated).

Wendy-Peter Pan 4-Ply Fingering Yarn

Really, way too many favorites, but a stand out yarn for socks is Wendy Peter Pan “Happy 4-Ply” Bamboo/Nylon blend. The reason I love-love-love this yarn is because it is a true fingering weight yarn (I can use a quintuple 0 needle  for socks). The color — as with most bamboo — is stunning. It’s machine washable; strong(!); and wears very well. Feels mighty nice, too. No drapey socks, either; the nylon holds them up well.Wish they had solids!

Hemp yarns are great for accessories; here is just one way I’ve put this strong, sturdy yarn to use –a nice pair of working gloves :^)

I love hemp fabric. One would think it’s harsh; it’s not! Try my favorite, Hemp Traders. Lots of variety. Seriously, they’ve got hemp velvet and terry cloth — suede! Love it. All kinds of blends. Great place. Great service. Great products. I’ve bought tons from them.

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Purlple Aronia Berries, powdered

And since I added that link to the agave inulin, a shoutout to Z-Naturals! A definite “Favorite Things” place. The fastest service I’ve ever experienced, good-quality products and  good prices.

I have been using their superfruits in my green smoothies — Purple Aronia berries and Seabuckthorn berries (though only available in powdered form and most products are in bulk.) A few other things I’ve ordered, all fab quality. Good stuff.

But of course You All know how I adore Mountain Rose Herbs. Def at the top of my Faves list! I’ve been shopping there for years and they just get better and better. Here’s a tip, though: If you phone order, make sure to get all you need when you call because, one, they will not allow you to add anything once they put your order through (as in you cannot call back even 1 minute later and add on; nor even right after they input it while you’re ordering!); so write it all down and have ready to order if you call; two, the shipping is expensive!

“Amla”Also known as INDIAN gooseberries

I’ve mentioned lots of stuff I get from MRH, including dried fruit; Iam so glad they offer  whole, dried Amla berries . I also love-LOVE their bilberries — super yummy in my GJGS’s! Elderberries, and, of course Maqui’s are two others I buy regularly. YES, I still use fresh fruit! But why deprive myself of this bounty when it’s available?

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*Chicory, by the way, is one of, if not the, original coffee substitute. The roots are roasted and ground. There are many variations of its use for coffee; so if you need one, a blend with chicory and dandelion is one you may want to try.

**That I am aware, pure stevia plant, meaning the green leaves, simply ground or used whole-leaf has no problems associated with it — if anyone knows any different, please leave let me know in the comments! The stevia most used and referred to is the highly processed and isolated white stevia powder.

More “Favorites” to come!

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The Purloining of the Pomegranate…

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Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Purple Pomes.

A Peck of Purple Pomes, Peter Piper Picked.

If Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Purple Pomes,

How’d he Purge the Purple Pulpy Pearls?

Hm. A precarious pickle, indeed.

Well, there is more than one way to dislodge the snug little arils; however, the following is my personal fave I learned from an old Martha Stewart show.

I would have made a video, but my third arm is at the dry cleaners; so pictures will have to do.

Cut through the skin about 1/4 inch to start and rotate the fruit around to slice only through the rind — like scoring. You don’t want to cut through when you cut around, you’ll end up crushing the arils and losing juice  (remember the first cut through to halve cake layers? Like that)

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cut pome by scoring through the peel only, all the way around its center

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When finished cutting all the way around, simply twist the pomegranate gently within your palms and it will halve nicely.

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Twist pome gently for a clean break

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Now, place a deep bowl in your sink and, using the back of a large knife, or, better a large wood spoon or spatula and holding the pome cut side down, give the skin-side some whacks. Here I’m using my silicone spatulas (which I like; they’re heat resistant, too, and come in various sizes).

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over a bowl, tap the pomegranate

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…Tap the sides, and all over with moderate force

And, the arils pop out nicely. You can get some splashing — some times  more than others, but it’s all good in the end! you’ll see.

Tapping it into your hand, yields better results — you’ll get less splashing the surrounding area, too, and the arils fall through your fingers

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Tap the pomegranate into your palm

*By the way, using a deep bowl and placing in the sink like this, I’ve never gotten any pome juice on my clothes or had any splash in my eyes (unlike lemon…why does that always happen?!); however, if you’re wary, wear an apron 🙂

Into the palm, go the pomes, down to the bowl through finger holes

So, hey, check ‘er out:

Nice and cleanly removed arils. Tip: Stud with cloves and hang to dry (or dry in dehydrator)

Even cleaned out, they are stunning! I think I’ll stud some with cloves, and for the holiday 🙂

Here you see you don’t lose a thing using this method.

check out the juice! (This much juice collection is because I did many pomegranates at once)

Voila! A plethora of perfectly pilfered plums! 😀

Well, I’ll be ding donged!

Found the vid; Martha shows how to!



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*She shows it in the first 2 minutes, so you don’t need to watch the whole thing*

That isn’t the show I saw, and I see on this epidode she scores it in quarters — good idea for the bigger globes! Gotta remember that. Here’s another way to remove arils.

Nutrient rich, pomegranates are worthy of your attention! In last month’s Huffington Post, Dr. Fuhrman. found pomegranates worthy of mention, referring to them as one of 5 foods to be, “medicine” Wow! Food = medicine. That’s pretty dang powerful: Read more on just how powerful.

Pomes have lotsa polyphenols (whoa, concords are loaded too!)

Only precaution: while pome juice is worth drinking, one can just as well consume it via the seeds: That age-old question: to eat the seeds or spit?! (did anyone ever chew the shells of sunflower seeds?! Was that a children’s thing or do adults do that? Hee .) I’ve read there is some nutritional benefit of ingesting  the seeds — I don’t know for sure, I imagine so, since pomegranate oil is highly prized –  however, I have no problem consuming them. The oil, beneficial or  not, would be in insignificant amounts anyway. According to the California Pomegranate Council (funny) the seeds are edible, and it’s simply a matter of taste as to whether one should consume them. As well, the pith of some fruits appear to contain benefits from what I’ve read…Personally, I love the pith of some fruits, especially citrus! Most say it’s bitter, but I find it “sweet”; the bitter is usually the pith closest to the skin. the closer to the fruit, the milder. When juiced or blended, it adds creaminess. But, that’s just me

Old pic of pomegranate ice cream .I made… think I used macadamias and cashews, Oy!

So anyway, fruit juice should be limited. Juice — too much of it — can be like a sugar bomb; plus, one can miss out on a LOT of the valuable nutrients left behind, while tossing the fiber. Now, if you want to waste money, get extra calories with minimal satiety, AND minimal benefits, have at it. BUT, pomegranate juice can be an exception —  with guidelines! Because of its value it can — and for some, should — be  a regular part of the diet; but one doesn’t need a ton of it a day — I recall reading a recommendation for a quarter cup per day being enough. Good thing ’cause it ain’t cheap, no matter how you get it. 🙂

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If you don’t want/cant get juice regulary, then get some through LDL Protect, a formulation anyone can take who wants the benefits of plant sterols and phytochemicals. Read about powerful plant sterols, pomegrantes, and LDL Protect, HERE.

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Pomegranate Snowcone!

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It can be incorporated into recipes, as well, but stay away from processed stuff;  use it fresh! A couple examples: Ice cream. Imagine fresh out-of-season pome sorbet during summer! Pop some cubes into lemonade or limeade…mmmm. How about a slushy or popsicle? Add the arils to grains, salads and morning cereals. Fruit leathers; pomegranate milk; yummy dressings…it’s endless, really. Oh, I make a mean ETL sangria

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Now, how to punctiliously pick that peck of  persnickety pears without peril:

Hm.. Let us proceed  prudently..

Heavy! That’s a general rule: the heavier, the juicier. No bruises; firm; tight skin; early and mid-winter are best of the season. Skin color not as important, but I do like to get the deepest red if all other requirements for freshness are met. No soft spots, or cracks; wrinkling is not a good sign.

There are varieties of pomegranates,  here is a “white pomegranate” I was lucky to find.

The site says the white are sweeter! I don’t recall, actually, any difference. Hmph. The Japanese one at the bottom of the page looks interesting. It says it’s sort of tart. Maybe that’s the one I tried…though, again, I don’t recall it being “tart” either.  I wonder if it has less phytos than the dark? If so, perhaps it contains something else as its advantage?

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Thawed pomegranate: Squeeze for juice

How to juice?

(The skin should not be juiced) Well, again, there are a few ways — I discovered that freezing whole or halved pomegranates, like I do with ginger, for example, is surprisingly efficient at juicing. On those rushed days, I’ve  thrown them into the freezer 🙂  As in the photo above, simply thaw and squeeze a half. Lots of pressing over a strainer will render more; Twist and squeeze through a cloth or crush with a potato masher if you don’t want to squeeze it with your bare hands.

You can pulse in a blender or a food processor, then strain; grind it through a food mill; squeeze the arils, a halve, or quarter through ahand-held citrus juicer (not my choice — messy!); use a reamer (I LOVE those vintage reamers!); or  run the the arils through your juicer.

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Generally,

…”One medium pomegranate weighs about 9 ounces and yields about 5 ounces of fruit (3/4 cup) and 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of juice.”

*TipS: Frozen arils are great through the juicer. As well, the arils, frozen or fresh, help clean out the screen of the hard-to-remove pulp that’s often left behind when juicing leafy greens for you to scrub off (this is especially true with the single auger style juicers.)

Run them through last or almost last.

*Tip* (A bottle brush , if it doesn’t come with your juicer is worth buying for cleaning your juicer parts – found at hardware stores)

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Storage:

Whole pomegranates store for months under fridger,(and can sit out up to a couple of weeks, depending on how fresh they were when purchased/picked), but best to eat soon. Freezing is a great alternative.

I like storing food in wax bags before placing into any plastic. These Natural Value brand wax bags are a must in my kitchen — one for the “Favorite Things” list 🙂  (I get them at the market). Parchment, is another, and I use it for this purpose too.

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Then seal them in larger plastic bags for longer storage:

You can store the juice in the fridge — I’d not for more than a couple days; or freeze, well sealed for enjoyment during the off season — mm, that is fabulous, by the way. I purchase pomes throughout  the height of the season, but also the end of season, juice the whole lot of them, freeze them and never have to pay for the very expensive, heated and processed, and preserved, who-knows-how-old bottled pomegranate juice. If mine is a few months old, but fresh-frozen,  I’m better with that :D.

Ice trays are a fabulous way

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Here you see the difference when manually juicing the arils — the dark — and running the arils through a juicer:

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*No biggie: the juicing of the seeds is just fine. I ran it by Dr. Fuhrman to be sure, and he said it’s all good 🙂

*Conveniently portioned, it’s nice to just reach in the freezer for some of the magic 😉

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Enjoy pomegranates however you like them; they’ll be gone from markets much too soon!

Strix

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A Favorite Things Extra – October

Ah, a few of my favorite things – the best October brings:

Favorite Squash: Kabocha! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm…

Japanese Pumpkin “Kabocha”

Pomegranates — does anything compare?

Pomegranate Arils

I’m a believer that it must have been the “forbidden fruit”! 😀

Ah, the beginning of scarf weather…

Traveling Vines Scarf

I made this pattern into a scarf.

Scarves are so fun and easy breezy to create too, and something nice to do on stormy nights 🙂

This picture shows the unfinished scarf. It is a really nice pattern available for free at the same site An incredibly generous woman, with the most gorgeous scarf patterns for free…I’m intent on working through them!

The Asherton Scarf, it’s reversible too!

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Yay 😀 Don’t front — you know you look forward to it, too 😛 My favorite Autumn tv special 😀

As an aside, watching something like this, which brings back good memories and feelings and emotions…this is an exaple of something to do that is “comforting”; we should do similar things rather than reaching for food — good or bad foods — and there are SO many other ways to soothe ourselves or so-called, “treat” ourselves..UGH… I’ll stop there as I feel a preachin’ comin’ on 😉

Wow, too much fab produce to remember!

O, lordy…speaking of compare, does anything  to…

Persimmons

Persimmons? Nothing like them, right?

Nice Autumnal combo:

Raw Pearsimmon Pie

A fresh, seasonal pie, made easy in small portions using the small pie plates. Pears + persimmons…Yum

so much to do with these babies — leathers; pies; puddings; cultured veggies! Everything! Of course, smoothies.. And straight? Oh, yeaaaaaaaah!

There are 2 types  most often found in stores —  Hachiya and Fuyu — however, one may be lucky to find other types at farmers markets– both are outrageously yummy. I’d love to try a chocolate persimmon! :O Purported to be sweeter with chocolate notes (I’ve read they taste like chocolate mousse)  without that bit of astringency in some persimmons —  more like the fuyus.

Raw persimmon pie — can’t remember if this was a persimmon-pumpkin combo…Old pic!

If you love persimmons, by the way, try some Hoshigaki Persimmons.Even though you may not be able to have the pleasure of Hoshigakis  😉 , you can dehydrate your own, too–

Dried Persimmon

— okay, sorry, this wasn’t supposed to turn into persimmon entry. Hm, but good idea for a future post!

Favorite Fall cup 😀

Don’t you have favorite utencils, or am I the only weird one?! I have favorite bowls, cups…forks! Hee hee.

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The cold, sunny, weather here in SoCal

The trees! Oh, such beautiful leaves, even though we don’t get the variety of colors like other states, we’ve got our own kinda gorgeous 🙂

Pears!

Apples galore…

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Halloweenie Stuff

Jacks! Using a fresh, ornamental pumpkin, I enjoy carving!

Favorite safer way to light my pumpkins…

Lights instead of candles. This is a large one, and can be used for lighting other decorations

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These are great, especially, if you find using the traditional candles a bit dangerous in a particular situation or place you may be putting your pumpkins.

Battery operated, these can illuminate your gourd in various colors, and there is even a multi-colored option which switches colors with a speed variable too! Disco Jack 😉

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I also like these little candle ones; some flicker and look more like you’ve got a candle goin’…

Best for small items or as an alternative to or where you’d use tealights. Very Cute! Inexpensive, and since you don’t use them for too long, they can be used for all the forthcoming holidays. I’ve had mine a few years.

Favorite sweet to give out on the frightful night –Trader Joe’s fruit leather…

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List of ingredients:

Tj’s fruit leather label ingredients. Not too-too bad

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Probably not the fave of trick-or-treaters, but, better than nothin’. Plus, I’m NOT giving out junk!

So much more but that’s all I can do at the moment!

Happy Halloween, and DO take advantage of the gifts this planet offers this glorious season!

Poxacuatl

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Whether the dog bites, or the bee stings, or not feeling sa-a-ad! :^)

Not really a products review, but, you know how you just randomly remember things you like, but forget about it a minute later? Well, these are the things I like that I recall here-and-there.

Okay, so, as I remember them, I’ll just post random stuff I like, no rhyme or reason, can be anything at all that I happen to recall at the time.

This begins a new category of “Favorite Things”…

Here are a few…

Fave Probiotic – Tonix -Love this stuff. Sadly, only we  locals are so lucky.

Can’t-do-without fave Running socks (see their  ex-celerator socks – would be great for diabetics too!)

VOSS Water – Best ever, hands down

My review of the AquaSana water still stands. And, if pressed, I’ll still buy the Smart Water before any other of the plastic-bottled waters, as I mention in that post. Considering the outrageous price of buying water — (isn’t it pathetic…BUYING water?! How absurd that clean water is not a given. Ugh X2) — and the glass costing more to boot, it’s just another reason to be happy to be an ETLer, since we don’t need to drink a well a day, getting most of what we need through eating the most nutritious foods available, with all their natural “juice” (water) intact. So I (we) don’t need to buy water much, if at all.

I’ve saved a lot of money, let me tell you: I used to buy ridiculous amounts because I bought into the conventional advice of drinking loads constantly, throughout the day. Did I  mention what a relief not to be running to the lavatory every 20 minutes? Or having to lay out plans according to where all the restrooms will be??! Just another area, eating properly changes and frees your mindset; (and can ultimately be a less expensive way of life).

But, VOSS is my first choice, and definitely the top of the line in my book.

Blue Light Special! The lights have various uses; and some important benefits. Great product!…and conveniently, small, lightweight. Great for taking with, or keeping, fairly inconspicuous on one’s desk. If you have an issue with the blue light, or prefer the traditional white light, it is available as well.

Featured Product and  little sprouting fave …

Well, it’s a tough call, naming my absolute favorite nut, but, I think pistachios edge out pecans by a nostril ;’)

An outstanding nutritional profile, one cannot overlook the powerhouse that is the pistachio! And, to top it all, it’s GReeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeN!

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Aside from crackin’ my own and sprouting, my favorite packaged nuts and seeds source would have to be these de*licious pre-sprouted nuts and seeds!

Some folks who cannot tolerate/digest well nuts and seeds find they can if sprouted (same with beans, by the way — sprout before cooking). If too fussy for you, then pre-sprouted is the way to go.

Blue Mountain Organic’s, “Better Than Roasted, Totally RAW Nuts,” offers sprouted nuts and seeds of the usual suspects, and some not so usual……

Raw, sprouted Pine Nuts…


Pinons are great! And how often do you find them sprouted?!!

Totally Nuts even has pecans, which is a real find

I notice the increased flavor that sprouting offers with these bigtime, especially the sunflower seed-pumpkin mix — Wow, big flavor.

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Covenient and delish.

Listen here about nutritional excellence (and how important fat is — that is, nutritious, essential fats — to our diet) and why it’s different from what you *think* you know.

Until next time…

Strix ;^)

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