Monday, October 27, 2008

Palm oil controversy

If you received this month's National Geographic, you may have already seen the article titled Borneo's Moment of Truth. It goes into detail how Borneo's rainforests are being destroyed by palm oil plantations.

Of course my first move was to check my Spectrum Organic Palm Oil, and thankfully, it is produced sustainably.

Oils like palm and coconut are not bad for you. In fact, coconut oil is surprisingly good for you. Certainly, fats that are artificially modified to be solid at room temperature are much worse for your body than the naturally occurring kinds. Coconut oil barely qualifies in this regard; it turns to liquid at about 76 degrees. Also, if you regularly consume these fats along with high amounts of sugar, you are going to have a problem. I am of the opinion that eating sugar is far worse for your body than fat is. Our ancestors ate fat for hundreds upon thousands of years. Sugar is too new to be considered food by our bodies.

So! All of that being said, you don't have to feel guilty about using your Spectrum organic palm shortening. It's produced sustainably and that makes us and the planet very happy.

On to my recipe for today. I made a moisturizer for my son and myself. My son has very dry skin, and my legs get itchy sometimes, so after using it on him, I started using it on myself. Now I'm hooked! Plus, it's 100 percent organic.


2 cups Spectrum palm oil shortening
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic orange flavor (ingredients: organic sunflower oil, organic orange oil)
EDIT: 1 tbsp olive oil

Whip it up with beaters until it gets a bit fluffy. Then use a little bit and see if you like the level of smell from the orange flavor. If you want more, add some and whip it up again. If not, you're done.

Of course, you can use any other extracts that don't contain sugar. Extracts without sugar and chemicals should be rule one for anybody following SCD anyway, so go nuts with whatever's in your cabinet at the time. :)

Put it into any container you wish -- I picked a plastic screw top Ziploc round container to cut down on the chance that I'd break something. Let's face it, I'm a klutz.

You can also use a bit as lip balm if you like -- this moisturizer is completely edible!

I wanted to add a quick note about Spectrum oils. I had been using Spectrum coconut oil to treat my son's cradle cap. I just grabbed a different brand while in a hurry, and it is not working as well at all. It was an unrefined brand -- that wasn't the mistake. So, word to the wise. Apparently brands do matter when it comes to coconut oil.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Starbucks decaf coffee is NOT SCD legal

EDIT: Sorry to report that my information on Starbucks coffee was not valid. I have revised this post to say that their coffee is NOT LEGAL. I was told by corporate that they use the direct method, which uses chemicals. I mention other sources of legal water process decaf below. Thanks!

If I were sticking completely to the SCD rules, I would drink weak coffee and tea.

I don't stick to this rule as well as I should, because I do love a nice strong cup of coffee. I had to learn to drink it black after years of being a latte girl.

I did, however, recently switch to decaf. The general consensus on SCD is that if you drink decaf, it should be Swiss water process decaf. That way, there are no chemicals or flavorings or other nasty things that end up in traditionally decaffeinated coffees.

Of course, this type of decaf costs more. And for a coffee lover like myself, drinking decaf was something like death.

However, I do have an autoimmune disease, and I find that I do better with a reduced caffeine intake.

So! I was on the hunt for good decaf.

And I found it, quite by accident.

I have been told that all decaf coffees at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Caribou, and the Coffee Beanery are water process decaffeinated, but I have not verified with the stores yet.

So, it's more common than you think! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Community Supported Agriculture (and other cheap produce options)

I am blessed to live in Southern California.

For the first year that we lived here, I could not understand why produce was still relatively expensive in most regular grocery stores. At times, even the organic whole foods produce was cheaper! This is why I tell people to definitely shop around and compare prices. Even here, the stores will fleece unsuspecting customers.

And then I discovered...the 99 Cent Only chain of stores.

I was tipped off by a Hispanic co-worker. She scoffed at the price I was paying for fruits and vegetables. "Just go to the dollar store."

I had never heard of a dollar store that carried real food. I said, disbelieving, "They have produce?"

She laughed. "They have tons of it!"

So I sojourned out one day.

Oh my.

Here is where I discovered fresh Roma tomatoes. Six to eight of them, for a dollar. Previously, I could only find overripe, mushy Romas for over two dollars per pound.

I was sold.

Here, fresh salad mixes, zucchini, and bananas (3 pound bags) were always in stock. And, as the season allowed, was fresh fruit. Right now, there are 3 pound bags of plums, nectarines, or peaches for a dollar per bag.

Today I saw mini seedless watermelons, and rubber banded bunches of asparagus. The display was bursting with green peppers -- two for a dollar. There were even some red and yellow peppers -- you know how expensive those are. They were three for a dollar. Large heads of cauliflower, celery hearts, and Mexican squash rounded out the rest of the produce section. Occasionally there will be some organic produce as well.

It's a great way to save money. Right after picking up two pounds of asparagus and two pounds of zucchini (total: $4), I stopped at a chain grocery store, where the asparagus was $2.49 per pound.

Another way you may be able to save on fresh produce is to purchase a farm share through Community Supported Agriculture.

I realize the site is a little vague, but most of them give you a (bushel) box of produce, ranging from 20-30 pounds. Some of them will tell you what's in the box, and some won't. Some are more expensive and some are not as expensive. You can choose weekly pickups, or every other week pickups.

Obviously because I am on the SCD diet, there's a lot of food I can't eat, so it's important that I know what is in the box, and it's important that I can eat a majority of it. So I would need to find one that does list the contents of the boxes.

You have to pick up the box yourself, and there are usually multiple drop-off locations. Some of the farms will allow you to mix and match a couple of items -- for me, this would be ideal. But all of the produce is fresh -- generally picked the same day -- and organic.

I am definitely planning on taking advantage of CSA once I have a little more money. Things have been a little tight this week, so I'm happy to share my tips with all of you!

I would be remiss if I did not mention Costco. I can get a five pound bag of organic baby carrots for $5 every time I go. Right now, they also have five pound bags of organic frozen green beans for around $5 as well. I use them for soup and steam them for lunches and snacks. They also have a pretty good price on avocados most of the time.

Another great buy is their canned wild salmon from Alaska. Six cans for $9 is a fantastic price, and wild Alaskan salmon should have very low to no contaminants of any kind. I personally like to eat it with oil and wine vinegar. Chow down!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Traveling on SCD

I figure that once we ever do end up traveling, I am going to have to bring something like this electric skillet in my checked baggage.

Perhaps I'll look for a kind without a glass lid.

At any rate, I think it would be great to have, not only for traveling, but maybe those kids in dorm rooms who can't eat at the cafeteria.

If anybody has experience with electric skillets (and/or traveling and cooking on SCD), please post them! Thanks!

Friday, October 3, 2008


So, I had never eaten sardines until recently, and I was scared because...well, ew.

I have been having major problems with regular old grocery store beef, though, so I had to come up with more meat choices that were...well, less beef-like.

Here are my tips.

1. Buy several different brands and find a (legal) kind you like -- read the labels!

2. Small sardines are MUCH better than large ones. You can't even tell there are bones in the small ones. The big ones are far more likely to have bigger, harder (and more disgusting) bones. How to know? Well, the cheap cans usually have the large sardines. More expensive cans tend to have smaller sardines. This is only my experience, so your mileage may vary.

3. Smoked sardines are very yummy, but make sure they don't have illegal flavorings added to them.

4. Tabasco sauce (the original is legal) is very good for cutting the fishy taste.

5. Salt is also GREAT for making them seem less, well, sardine-y.

6. The kind in oil will be more filling.

So give them a try. They're cheap and easy. And not too bad, really.