|Raw Foods News Magazine||
Bravo to the above companies for making products from the purest ingredients, products that don't harm us or the environment! For holiday gifting, you could wrap these individually, combine them in a basket, or use them as stocking stuffers. We've pictured them with props, for visual fun. (Click on them for larger images.)
Pictured above, from left to right: Primitive, a brand of cosmetics we love for their high quality lipliner pencils and lipsticks, made of the purest ingredients, in lovely colors to complement all skin tones and highlight the beauty that is you. (I've got a crush on the color called Belize, which suits my olive skin.) Bee Yummy, a delicious moisturizer that we love for its healing powers and because it's made of the purest ingredients. Eclectic Institute Raw Fresh Freeze Dried Organic Beet Juice POWder and Kale POWder. These versatile and pure powders add flavor and nutrients to your smoothies, soups, stews, even desserts. And we're thinking that combining these two powders and mixing them with a small amount of pure water might make a great, non-toxic way to temporarily cover gray hair for someone with brown or dark brown hair! Mineral Fusion eyeliner pencils, which also make great eyebrow pencils, and blush, which we love in the color Flashy.
Many people adore chocolate, and many people love vanilla. And there are those of us who find both flavors dreamy. So here's our idea for an awesome holiday gift basket. We've put together a combination of raw vegan chocolate candies and vanilla and chocolate skin care items.
Our basket contains:
From Sanre Organic Skinfood:
We would be remiss if we left out three other holiday gift ideas, ones we enthusiastically recommend!
The BerryBreeze Activated Oxygen Refrigerator Freshener and Deodorizer
This nifty gadget freshens your refrigerator so that fresh produce lasts two-to-three times longer. It measures 5" by 5" by 2.5", and runs on four "D" batteries (which do not come with it), sanitizing the air in the refrigerator with activated oxygen, thus preventing mold, yeast, and fungus. It preserves the nutritional content of raw fruits and vegetables as it postpones decay and spoilage. You can save hundreds of dollars in spoiled produce annually with this product. The company that makes the BerryBreeze writes: "Help reduce the 33 million tons of food that Americans waste each year that contributes to the largest component of U.S. solid waste and a large portion of methane emissions. *National Resources Defense Council August 2012." We think this makes a very practical and useful gift.
LivPurely Organics makes pure skin care products that are a total delight. We're recommending their well-loved anti-aging cream, "Naturally Hydrating Coconut Cream Moisturizer," pictured above and made with beeswax and coconut oil; and their delectable, Vanilla Coconut Oil Moisturizer, pictured below. The vanilla in it is "ultra-pure and medicinal, from Madagascar and Papua New Guineau, and is certifed organic in the US." Its fragrance is better than an expensive perfume, and free of any chemicals!
When it comes to lipliners and gloss, it's a challenge to find products made from pure ingredients, even in stores where you would hope to find them. That's why we love the cosmetics made by Primitive Makeup. Whether you think of them individually as stocking stuffers or a holiday thank you for someone who has helped you, or whether you buy a whole assortment of colors and products and package them in a pretty basket to give as a gift, these make wonderful holiday treats that any woman who cares about what goes on her skin will appreciate. We love Primitive lip pencils and Primitive's cool, award-winning lip gloss as well, with such dreamy names as Cozumel and Ibiza. The pencils come with a sharpener, which makes for a complete gift!
This year, we're suggesting three themed gift baskets. First, a slide show of some of the items we recommend, and then (below the slide show) a detailed description with links to the items.
This first one is of personal care items made of only the purest ingredients. From Gemstone Organic, we're featuring Ruby Face Cream and Organic Gem Juice in Lavender Hydrosol. The face cream has a lovely fragrance and texture and is safe to use even around your eyes and on your lips, because the ingredients are so pure. Gemstone Organic, a California-based company, offers five different face creams. Their Ruby is especially good for extra dry skin. And it heals conditions like eczema and acne. Gemstone writes that Ruby is known for igniting your root and heart chakras, removing toxins, and increasing life force energy (chi). You'll want to store this face cream in a cool, dry area and use it by its "best by" date. Keeping it in the refrigerator will keep it fresh a bit longer. Gemstone Organic's Organic Gem Juice (in a spray bottle) is a versatile product that you can use to refresh your skin, spray on your pillow, and even use to refresh your yoga mat. We're very happy to have discovered Gemstone Organic products and highly recommend them!
This basket also features two new bar soaps, Oatmeal Lavender, and Shea Butter, from Vermont Soaps, another company we admire for the pure ingredients in their products. (And while we're talking about Vermont Soap, we also recommend their Liquid Sunshine Dish Foam, made with organic oils. We didn't include it in the personal care gift basket, but it's a great way to hand-wash dishes, because it does not contain those awful chemicals that other dish washing liquids contain, even ones sold in health food stores.)
This personal care gift basket also contains four bottles of Suncoat Products Inc. water-based nail polish made from non-toxic ingredients -- how wonderful is that? They make a line for adults (in a wide range of delicious colors) and a line for children, called Suncoat Girl, which is easy to peel off after the girls soak their fingers in warm water for a minute or two. The children's polish is matte and also comes in a glitter variety. The adult polishes are shiny and pretty. They're easy to remove with Suncoat "2 in 1 Remover Gel and Balm," which comes in a nifty orange tube that has a little mirror in its flip-top cap, and a small reservoir of cuticle cream at the top (kind of reminds of of the configuration of cream atop a bottle of milk, when they had such things in the old days). We love that Suncoat's nail products are free from chemicals and from chemical fumes!
Gift Basket Idea two is a food basket. Ours contains two raw items and two non-raw items, which we are making an exception for, because they provide benefits.
From left to right, first is Dr. Fuhrman's Nutritional Yeast. As you may know, nutritional yeast is high in protein and contains a good amount of fiber, while adding a cheesy taste to foods. For example, two tablespoons of this product provides 9 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber. What we especially like about this brand is that it does not contain the synthetic folic acid found in most brands. Synthetic folate (folic acid) can be harmful to our health, as opposed to dietary folate. In fact, there is nothing artificial in Dr. Fuhrman nutritional yeast at all. Dr. Fuhrman is Joel Fuhrman, M.D., a best-selling author who advocates a "nutritarian" diet. You can see our interview with him here.
Next is AztecSeaSalt from Salt Revolution. It's an unrefined, organically processed hand-harvested sea salt from the Cuyutlán Lagoon off the coast of Mexico. It contains trace minerals not found in ordinary table salt. It's naturally moist and evaporated by the sun. The company writes: "It is about 92% sodium chloride and about 7% less sodium chloride than any other salt in the market." It's non-perishable, with no limit to its shelf-life, so is great for gift baskets. AztecSeaSalt is expensive, but the company offers a money-back guarantee.
The tall bottle is Ava Jane's 100% Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Avocado Oil. It comes from Mexican avocados, and increases the absorption of carotenoids, which is a good thing.
Finally, we included SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Extract because stevia is arguably the best sweetener to use, and because this pictured SweetLeaf product (unlike the brand's individually wrapped packets) contains nothing but stevia.
Oh no! STOP THE PRESSES!
We just went to the SweetLeaf website to look for the container that we have here. And we're not finding it. We're finding some "new" version that contains "inulin fibers and silica" in addition to stevia. We're very sorry to report this, and now will have to find another stevia product to recommend.
As with this "new" SweetLeaf stevia product, most brands are adulterated with additives like maltodextrin, additives which are high on the glycemic scale -- a bad thing.
Before seeing their revised product, we had written: "SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Extract, being pure, does not raise the blood sugar. Sweeteners like sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and agave all raise the blood sugar and are not good for our health. Stevia, which comes from the leaves of a plant, is something like 300 times sweeter than sugar, for example, so you only need a tiny bit in recipes, and such things as home-made lemonade. There is another brand of stevia, a compromised brand that we will not mention, that includes a tiny spoon in the container. We keep wishing that SweetLeaf would do the same, as that would make it much easier to use in recipes."
In light of this disappointing news, we're going back to the drawing board to find a really pure stevia. We will let you know once we've found it.
Our third gift basket is for people who like to read and who are interested in, or open to, raw vegan and/or vegan eating.
Starting in the center, we have "Juice It!" by Robin Asbell, with lovely photos by Antonis Achilleos. This beautiful, colorful, 132-page book makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves food and good health. As the author writes in her first sentence, "Juicing just might change your life." For the better, that is! Asbell covers everything, from why juicing is good for us, to the types of juicers there are, to what to do with the pulp that results from juicing. However, one thing we don't agree with is this book's suggestion to use an oven to bake anything. Studies have shown that baking (along with roasting, grilling and frying) produces harmful chemicals that cause aging and chronic disease. But the baking section in the book is tiny. And we also don't agree with this book's using dairy products, as we believe they are harmful to health. On the plus side, the many juice recipes cover a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and some have funny names, like Sushi Martini (a name that we hope does not offend vegans reading this) and Melon Collie (which, like the Sushi Martini, is made only of fresh produce).
To the left of "Juice It!" in our third basket is "The Meaty Truth" by Shushana Castle and Amy-Lee Goodman, with a foreword by Dr. Neal Barnard. The subtitle of this book is "Why Our Food is Destroying Our Health and Environment - and Who is Responsible." This topic is very timely, with increased worldwide discussion as we write this of the problems of climate change (which scientists agree is caused by human decisions), and studies showing what many of us knew for a long time, that meat eating is harmful to our health. This is a must-read book for any intelligent person -- and especially for policy-makers, should you be planning on sending any of them a holiday gift.
Also in the basket is our own book, The Little Book of Raw Vegan Holiday Recipes by Judy Pokras. Although this book is especially useful during the holidays, the recipes can be enjoyed all year long. It includes traditional favorites like Cranberry Sauce and Apple Pie a la Mode, and globally inspired treats such as Anisette Cookies, Thai Coconut Soup, and Borscht. It's available in paperback and Kindle editions, and includes suggested menus for holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day Brunch. Best-selling author Harvey Diamond ("Fit for Life") has written about this book:
I hear people say over and over again that raw, vegan recipes just aren't interesting or tasty enough. Well....Judy soundly and tastefully blasts that myth into oblivion once and for all.
In the basket you will also see a packet of greeting cards. They feature original artwork by Judy Pokras of a solar system whose planets are fruits. The inside of each card says "Happy Rawlidays!"
Finally, we've included in our third suggested gift basket a fun vintage book called "Make Beliefs" by Bill Zimmerman, which will provide hours of interactive fun at holiday gatherings. And we're delighted to let you know that author Bill provides a free e-book version!
Dont' miss Part 2 of our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide!
Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season!
RawFoodsNewsMagazine.com is delighted to announce that we're endorsing U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for President. He's running on a progressive platform to become the Democratic nominee, and we love him for his honesty, his passion, his intelligence, his heart, his consistency of message, and his platform. He is committed to raising the minimum wage to $15, making public colleges tuition-free, making health care free for all (as a medicare/single payer plan), and overturning Citizens United, for just a few of his policies. He is against the Trans Pacific Partnership, which would be disastrous for U.S. workers. Moreover, he will not do any negative campaigning, refuses to take donations from corporations, is pro-environment, and -- as the Facebook group Vegans for Bernie Sanders writes -- he cares about how animals are treated: http://feelthebern.org/bernie-sanders-on-animal-welfare/ There is much more to Bernie's policies than this. You can learn more at: http://www.berniesanders.com
From Our Archives (Breaking News in 2009): Drowning death of Madoff associate who funded research validating raw foods diet
The raw foods diet is in the news in a big way with the discovery on Sunday, Oct. 25 of the body of Jeffry Picower at the bottom of his Palm Beach, Florida swimming pool. He was one of the largest investors in Bernard Madoff's 65 billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Picower's foundation, The Picower Institute, funded a study that in 1992 showed that many forms of cooked food cause aging and chronic disease in the people who eat them.
The Picower Study's results were first announced in mainstream media in 1992 on ABC TV's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. The study focused on the effects that eating fried, baked and grilled food have on people with diabetes, in whom the cooked food causes aging and chronic disease through a caramelization-like process. About 10 years later, the Picower Study's validation of the raw foods diet was broadened by a Swedish Institute study that showed that heating food above certain temperatures (via common forms of cooking) produces carcinogenic chemicals called acrylamides in all people who eat those foods, not only diabetics.
Indeed, in 2007, research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine also found that the harmful effects of cooked foods extend to all people, not only diabetics. The study showed that certain cooking methods produce a class of toxins, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are absorbed into the body through the consumption of grilled, fried, or broiled animal products, such as meats and cheeses. AGEs, which are also produced when food products are sterilized and pasteurized, have been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Helen Vlassara, M.D., who was part of the Mount Sinai study and the original Picower Study, said the 2007 study revealed that AGE levels are elevated in the blood of healthy people, and even more so in older individuals than in younger people. Of particular interest was the finding that a major determinant of the blood levels of AGEs is the amount of AGEs in the diet, not dietary calories, sugar, or fat. The study, which was done in collaboration with, and supported by, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), was published in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
"AGEs are quite deceptive, since they also give our food desirable tastes and smells," said Vlassara, senior study author, Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, and Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "So, consuming high amounts of grilled, broiled, or fried food means consuming significant amounts of AGEs, and AGEs in excess are toxic. People should be given information about their AGE intake and be advised to consider their intake in the same way they would think about their trans fats and salt intake. They should be warned about their AGE levels the way they are about their cholesterol levels or cigarette smoking."
Because of these ground-breaking studies (of which the Picower Institute's was the first), many people have switched to a raw foods diet, a way of eating that keeps growing in popularity, with many restaurants and prepared food businesses opening across the US and the world. The raw food lifestyle revolves around a very creative cuisine that can replicate most people's favorite cooked recipes--including such foods as cookies, breads, ice creams and pasta--all made from combinations of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs that are never heated over 117 degrees Fahrenheit.
Following is a quote from Wikipedia about Jeffry Picower and his foundation, and his connection to Bernard Madoff:
The Jeffry M. and Barbara Picower Foundation was created in 1989 by Picower and his wife Barbara. Barbara Picower was listed as Executive Director and trustee, with both Picowers being members of the board of directors. Longtime friend Bernard Madoff managed foundation assets listed at over $1 billion. It distributed over $268 million in grants to various American organizations, including Human Rights First and the New York Public Library. In 2002, it granted $50 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscience research center, which was subsequently renamed the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. However, the Picower Foundation was forced to close in 2009 due to losses arising from the uncovering of Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
In June 2009, Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Madoff's assets, filed a lawsuit against Picower in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), seeking the return of $5.1 billion in profits, alleging that Picower and his wife knew or should have known that their rates of return were "implausibly high", with some accounts showing annual returns ranging from 120% to more than 550% between 1996 and 1999, and 950% in 1999. According to a June 28, 2009 MSNBC article, that would make the Picowers the biggest beneficiaries of Madoff's scam, exceeding even Madoff himself. The Pickowers' lawyer, William D. Zabel of Schulte Roth & Zabel, responded that, "They were totally shocked by his fraud and were in no way complicit in it."
On October 1, 2009, an additional court filing from the Madoff trustee documented an apparently fraudulent gain benefiting Picower. "According to the new filing, Mr. Picower opened an account with Mr. Madoff on April 18, 2006, by wiring a check for $125 million, more than a quarter of the entire sum he invested with Mr. Madoff over time. Within two weeks, the $125 million deposit had purportedly grown to $164 million because of a dramatic ‘gain’ on the securities held in the account — all of which supposedly had been purchased three months earlier... Five months later, Mr. Picower withdrew his original $125 million, leaving $81 million in the account. There is no legitimate explanation for these events nor any possibility that they escaped Picower’s notice."
Jeffry Picower was 67 years old.
Nutiva is voluntarily recalling three of the products in its O'Coconuts line for possible salmonella contamination. Those products are O'Coconut Classic (in two different package sizes), and O'Coconut Hemp & Chia, according to a Nutiva press release. The items could have been purchased between Feb 15 and March 19, 2015, the press release says. The affected products include:
We have been informed that a lot of organic desiccated coconut used in these items tested positive for salmonella. While the three O’Coconut items being recalled have not tested positive for salmonella, as a precautionary measure we are voluntarily recalling all products that contain the raw material from the lot that tested positive.
Salmonella is a type of food poisoning that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, Nutiva writes. Healthy people infected with salmonella frequently have fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, Nutiva writes.
Nutiva urges you to dispose of any O’Coconut product with the affected expiration dates that you purchased between Feb 15 and March 19. The company says you should not eat them even if you already have and feel ok.
The store where you bought the product will give you a refund if you return the package to the store, and if you ordered it via Nutiva's website, they will issue you a gift certificate to Nutiva.com, the press release says.
Bravo to Rodale Organic Farm and St. Luke's Hospital in Pennsylvania, for becoming partners to bring fresh, locally grown organic produce to hospital patients and to the hospital cafeterias. The produce is being distributed to all of St. Lukes' six hospitals to be used in meals prepared by Sodexo Inc. for patients, and to be served in the cafeterias to staff and visitors. Here's hoping this story has legs and will inspire hospitals throughout the world to heal people with vegetables and not harm them with pharmaceuticals.
In its first year, which began in 2014, Rodale Organic Farm expected to produce 44,000 pounds of produce on five acres, including: lettuce, salad greens, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, swiss chard, kale, garlic, cabbage, beets, potatoes, and a wide variety of herbs. Its plans are to double the size of its growing area to produce close to 100,000 pounds of produce, according to "Coach" Mark Smallwood, Rodale Institute's Executive Director.
The farm, which is on St. Luke's campus, will help to raise community awareness about the benefits of healthful food and how our food choices impact out overall health and well-being, the article says. Rodale has provided St. Lukes with organic farmer Lynn Trizna to oversee the on-site farm and to ensure the quality of the produce grown there.
“The farm will act as an evolving model for institutions across the country as well as for farmers who have the knowledge but lack the resources to start their own farm," Trizna said.
Have you made your New Years resolutions yet? Here are our RawSolutions:
Raw Foods News Magazine resolves the following for 2015:
It's especially ironic and disturbing when products such as foods, ingredients, and exercise equipment that are marketed as promoting health, turn out to be the opposite, made of ingredients and materials that cause illness. What a betrayal.
* E-mail from Natalia Hunter, quality assurance manager for Freeland Foods, makers of the GoRaw line:
I would like to let you know a little bit more regarding our quality and production processes and procedures.
1. We have a HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) in place.
2. Our personnel is trained on GMP’s (Good Manufacturing Practices)
3. All our suppliers are carefully selected after they have met all the requirements on our
Supplier’s Approval Program and provided all the appropriate documentation regarding legal and food safety requirements. Regarding our cacao vendor specifically, they do heavy metal testing for cadmium and other heavy metals of concern under California Proposition 65 and provide documentation to show compliance with this proposition guidance and Safe Harbor Levels.
4. All our seeds are optically sorted.
5. All our ingredients come with COA (Certificate of analysis).
6. Sanitation and cleaning procedures are followed according to sanitation standard operational procedures.
7. We have a group of people test tasting random samples of every product that we make.
8. As a final step in the packaging process, all the products go through an X-Ray Machine.
** Joanne Tobacman, M.D. writes us in an e-mail:
When we tested Irish moss in the laboratory, we found that Interleukin-8
secreted by human colonic epithelial cells in culture increased, although
not as much as when exposed to carrageenan. So, yes, I think that it is
good that you did not consume the Irish moss, since the harmful effects of
carrageenan are directly related to its molecular structure.
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This site's editor and founder, Judy Pokras, has written for many publications, including The New York Times. She's the author of The Little e-Book of Raw Vegan Holiday Recipes (for the Kindle), The Little Book of Raw Vegan Holiday Recipes (a paperback), and the experimental novel, Artist Girl's Cambridge Daze. Judy is also the editor and publisher of Thanksgiving Recipes by Great American Raw Chefs. and writer, producer, and director of the comedy video Anomalies. When she's not working online, Judy loves to dance to disco, decorate in mid-Century modern, and make her amazing raw vegan chocolate ice cream for family and friends.