Friday, July 16, 2010

So maybe you aren't ready to cook for yourself yet...

If that's the case, you may be interested to know that I am now officially offering an array of homemade traditional foods, and even a few personal care products. Details are at

Foods include: traditional bone broth, lacto-fermented ginger ale, beet kvass, 24-hour yogurt, nut-flour crackers, chicken liver pâté, kombucha, herb-garlic cream cheese, honey-nut cream cheese, lacto-fermented vegetable medley, mayonnaise, lacto-fermented ketchup, cocoa-nut-honey penguin treats, BBQ sauce, tooth powder, and coconut oil deodorant.

You can order using PayPal on the site, or email me for information at

I love cooking, and I love cooking for appreciative eaters, so why not give it a try? :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wise Ways Cooking School official opening!

Tomorrow we officially launch Wise Ways Cooking School with our first lecture, Foods for Fertility, Pregnancy, and Nursing. The following weekend we will present on Timeless Principles for Infant and Child Nutrition, and Baby's First Foods.

In August we offer a follow-up day of cooking classes at a very nice commercial kitchen space in midtown Manhattan. The topics will be Foods for Fertility and Pregnancy, and Nutrient-Dense Foods for Babies and Toddlers. We also have a few privately-sponsored classes here and there throughout the summer. Please visit our class schedule page for full descriptions and information on locations.

It is worth mentioning that we have lots of special offers for ways to earn discounts -- including FREE admission to our two Saturday lectures for all childbirth/pregnancy practitioners, and pediatricians. The full list of eligible practitioners -- along with all our other great offers! -- is on our special offers page. We are particularly encouraging early registration (3 weeks ahead for our full-day class offerings) so that we can meet our quota for enrollment. The kitchen rental is pricey!! If you're interested and planning to take a class, help us out by registering early so we don't have to cancel and disappoint all those late-registration people.

This is a joint venture with Angela Davis, a food activist and holistic nutrition consultant who has a background weirdly similar to mine. She attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, used to eat vegetarian (much much longer and more seriously than I did), then she discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation and experienced a profound improvement in health after adopting a traditional diet. You can read our full bios by clicking here.

To learn more about Weston A. Price, traditional foods, and our food philosophy, please click here.

We also have a brand-new blog!! Check us out at And yes, we are on Facebook and Twitter.

Can you tell I've been busy?!!?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Coconut oil deodorant

I recently read a line in a book about how cancerous breast tissue often contains large quantities of aluminum. Yikes! After reading that I was extra glad I had switched to this natural deodorant several months ago. Of course, aluminum has been linked not only to cancer, but to Alzheimer's as well, so it's definitely something to avoid. Aside from aluminum, most commercial deodorants also contain parabens (which serve as stabilizers). Parabens mimic estrogen and can negatively affect the body over time.

It's easy to forget that everything we put on our skin ends up being absorbed right into our bodies. In fact, I have heard that topical application is often a better way of absorbing medications and other treatments than by taking them orally! This means you should be extra careful about what you are putting on your skin, especially if you're going to be wearing it a long time (like deodorant, lipstick, and body lotion). I recommend unrefined shea butter for a moisturizer, and since coconut oil is edible this deodorant recipe is very wholesome and fine to put on your underarms, even after shaving.

So how can this be effective? It's all about the magical antibacterial properties of coconut oil -- which after working their magic on Hugo's normal guy smelliness really have me impressed! The downside is that in this summer heat the deodorant melts in the medicine cabinet and requires a little finger-stir before applying. This doesn't bother me -- it still works great and is quickly absorbed by the skin. At our house we were a little skeptical that this would actually work (we've tried EVERYTHING "natural" on the market, to no avail!), but even Hugo is now an enthusiastic convert.

Here is also a little testimonial from my sister:
"By the way, the deoderant is phenomenal! It doesn't hurt at all, and it's extremely effective without having any foreign smell! Thanks!" (I should mention here that I used the semi-refined oil which is odorless; the extra-virgin stuff smells great, though, and is very mild if you want to use that.)

You will need just 3 ingredients:

--6-8 tablespoons coconut oil (semi-refined expeller-pressed which has no smell; or extra-virgin which has a coconut scent/flavor) Order from
--1/4 cup arrowroot powder (or organic talc-free corn starch -- you would NOT want genetically-modified corn starch on your underarms!)
--1/4 cup baking soda

This makes a double batch; to fill my little glass jar (which originally came filled with shea butter) I use half this amount.

The trick in hot weather will be to refrigerate the oil until it is solid, then let it sit at room temperature just until it softens enough to mix with the other ingredients. Mix in a bowl with a spoon, and add more oil or arrowroot as needed to make a good consistency. Do not go overboard on the arrowroot trying to make a really thick paste -- it will end up having a powdery quality that might leave a residue on your armpits.

One last thing: you will still sweat while wearing this deodorant (which is natural and healthy, and important for detoxifying), but it will be reduced. If you plan to be outside doing the proverbial strenuous activity then please apply a few times, and re-apply as needed. For regular activities, working, etc. just one application in the morning is sufficient. Be sure to rub it in!

For storage you can use any small glass containers you may have lying around. Let me know how you like it!

P.S. Almost forgot to thank my friend and Bay Ridge neighbor, Esther, with passing along this recipe. Thank you, Esther!

Kids on statins

Since I am not always good at staying on top of the latest developments, I really appreciate that a member of our Nourishing Our Children-NYC group sent me this. If I were less cynical about pharmaceutical companies - and if the writing style were a bit different - I would think this was straight out of the Onion. But sadly, this development is a perfect indicator of what our world is coming to, in terms of the avarice of drug companies, and the health and future of our children.

To set the stage a little here, it's important to remember that cholesterol serves a healing and protective function in the body. So while abnormally-high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can be an indicator of a state of imbalance or an underlying illness in the body, the solution is not to turn to medications but to address what is causing the problem -- nearly always a dietary issue, like consumption of refined starches and sugars (including chips, soda, white bread, juice, etc.). Clearly there are many children whose health is in a state of crisis because they are very overweight and eating a terrible diet. However, dangerous statins are not the solution! And for the general population, so-called "healthy" levels of cholesterol, as determined by drug companies and the powerful medical establishment, have now been set so low as to make nearly every healthy person a "patient" in need of statins. I believe the current level is 180, which most of the older population is over (and for good reason: blood cholesterol levels increase naturally as people age as a protective factor. In fact, "high" cholesterol is actually associated with longevity. The caveat I would add is that the person must be eating an appropriate diet and taking good care of themselves, and then if their cholesterol is high it will be because their body needs it for some reason only the body knows.).

To read more about the dangers of statins (cholesterol-lowering medications), click here.

The most alarming line in this article is in bold.

Pfizer gets EU approval for kids' cholesterol drug

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The European Union has approved a new chewable form of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor for children 10 and up with high levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of blood fat, Pfizer said Tuesday.

The approval includes children whose high blood fats are due to an inherited disease that causes extremely high cholesterol levels, familial hypercholesterolemia.

New York-based Pfizer Inc. won U.S. approval for Lipitor use in children 10 to 17 with that condition in 2002.

Lipitor is the world's top-selling drug, with 2009 sales of about $13 billion, but its U.S. patent expires at the end of November 2011. Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, will quickly lose most Lipitor revenue once generic competition hits, so the company has been trying to boost sales where possible before then.

Pfizer said last fall that it plans to apply for a six-month extension of its patent in European countries, after doing studies of Lipitor in youngsters.

As in the United States, the European Union allows drug makers to seek an additional six months of patent protection for medications if they test them in children, who generally are excluded from the drug studies performed to win approval for a new medication.

To read the full article, click here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Raw milk yogurt update

Some things have changed since my last - very lengthy - post on making yogurt at home. I now need no equipment at all other than my trusty Mason jars and my incredible tea cozy. Not even a thermometer. And you can forget about all the fancy yogurt makers, or the freeze-dried yogurt culture. Even better, yogurt fermented this way, for a full 24 hours, is actually the most digestible and health-supportive. To the best of my knowledge, NO commercial companies make 24-hour yogurt -- which makes sense because after all why spend 24 hours when you can make a perfectly acceptable yogurt in 12 (or less)? However, by fermenting for 24 hours you ensure the lactose is converted completely to galactose, and the casein is predigested (I am not sure to what extent) as well. While Oliver and I both have reactions to plain fresh raw milk, we are able to enjoy yogurt like this with only happy results.

In the past I wasn't sure about whether I should make the yogurt using actual unheated raw milk, so I used to heat the milk first. However, I have since found that this doesn't result in thicker, more uniform yogurt at all, and wastes time and precious nutrients in the raw milk.

Here's how I do it now:

1) pour fresh raw milk into 2 quart jars (you could use goat's or cow's - but it must not be sour! be sure to shake it up first before pouring)
2) place the jars into a large pot of water and set it over a low flame. Allow the milk to come just to body temperature! This means that when you dip a knuckle into the milk you will feel nothing - it will be exactly at your own body's temperature, right around 100 degrees.
3) take the jars out of the pot, set them on the counter, thoroughly mix in 1/4 cup of pre-made commercial yogurt (see note below) into each jar (I recommend using a wire whisk), and cover with cloths, a blanket, or a large tea cozy. It just has to be something that will keep the milk warm while it is fermenting.

4) Now leave it alone for 24 hours. When you're done, place the lid on the jar and pop it in the fridge. In my opinion, the perfect thing to eat as a yogurt topping is a fresh fruit "butter," made by frying sliced fruit in coconut oil (with cinnamon, optional) and blending to a creamy smoothness.

The great thing about this current heat wave is that it is PERFECT yogurt-making weather. Assuming your kitchen stays around 90-100 degrees, as mine currently does, the yogurt will thicken beautifully and be rich, creamy, and delicious by the same time the next day.

Okay, now for the issue of sourness and flavor. After trying many different "starter" yogurts I have come to the conclusion that the yogurt you make will be slightly more tart than the starter. So this means you must avoid the very tart varieties, like Stonyfield. The yogurt I made using Stonyfield was far too sour, so instead I made it into a creamy herb-garlic spread (recipe coming soon!).

It is of course important to use a high-quality yogurt, preferably organic. It's worth mentioning that I do not recommend using your homemade yogurt as starter as the live cultures will be weakened and it may not culture properly. My favorites, which all make a yogurt that is delicious even eaten plain, are:
Seven Stars Biodynamic Yogurt
Brown Cow (no, not organic, but this makes the BEST yogurt)
Redwood Hill Farm goat's yogurt

You could also experiment with Fage, or other favorites. It must be PLAIN, FULL-FAT, and organic if possible. If I couldn't find my favorite starter yogurts at the store, I would opt for the next best option that does not have a lot of additives (guar gum, etc.). And of course, remember you can make just one quart at a time if you like, or more than 2 quarts.

Try it once and you will be amazed at how easy this is! In my opinion making raw milk yogurt is so simple and rewarding that there is no excuse for anyone to be buying it - except, of course, to use as the starter. :)

See the thick layer of cream at the top? Yum!