Sunday, October 14, 2012

California Prop 37: Whose Side Are YOU On?

Friday, October 12, 2012

California Gets the Carcinogens out of Pepsi and Coca Cola

Carcinogen-laden Coke and Pepsi
Did you know that Coke and Pepsi is in the process of reformulating their products? The report, from consumer watchdog the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), says that both contain unacceptably high levels of 4-methylilidazole (4-MI), a chemical that has been linked to cancer in mice and rats, and some soft drinks contain five times the amount of the chemical deemed safe in California. 

California called on the food and beverage industry to label 'caramel coloring', which was found to be potentially be a cancer-causing carcinogen. Rather than go through the labeling and liability that it may carry, Coke and Pepsi reformulated their products in California, and is doing so across the country.

The alleged carcinogen is formed when ammonia or ammonia and sulphates are used to manufacture the caramel colouring that gives Coke and Pepsi their trademark brown color.

The change has already been made in California, and will be implemented in other states in the near future.

Bottom's all about avoiding liability. It would appear there's a huge lack of integrity at Pepsi and Coca-Cola. It's unfortunate that a consumer group had to blow the whistle on these world-wide giants, or they would have greedily continued, business as usual. 

As a consumer, I don't trust a brand which lacks integrity...on any level. There are just too many choices out there.

Note: This information was prepared for all consumers.  Laguna Natural Health has never suggested or condoned the consumption of soda pop.  

YES on California Prop 37: Why Labeling GMOs is Important

You have a right to know what's in your food.
What is Proposition 37?  Proposition 37 is a common-sense November ballot measure that will help consumers make informed choices about the food they eat. Written with broad input from food groups, industry, science, legal and health experts Prop. 37 (The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act) requires clear labels letting consumers know if foods are genetically modified. 

Example: Genetically Modified corn has been engineered in a laboratory to produce pesticides in its own tissue. GMO corn is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Insecticide, but is sold unlabeled. [EPA Pesticides]. Walmart is now sellingMonsanto's sweet corn that has been genetically engineered to contain an insecticide, but consumers don't know because it's not labeled.

What Are Genetically Engineered Foods (GMOs)?  A genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature and is experimental.   Many of the foods we currently eat and feed our families (including certain baby formulas and a high percentage of corn, soy, cotton and sugar beets commonly used in processed foods sold in the U.S.),  but we don’t know which ones without labeling.
Are Genetically Engineered Foods Safe?  GMOs have not been proven safe, and long-term health studies have not been conducted. A growing body of peer-reviewed studies has linked these foods to allergies, organ toxicity, and other health problems. These studies must be followed up. However, unlike the strict safety evaluations required for the approval of new drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration does not require safety studies for genetically engineered foods. The United Nations/World Health Organization food standards group and the American Medical Association have called for mandatory safety testing of genetically engineered foods -- a standard the U.S. fails to meet. 
GMOs Linked to Environmental Problems:  Various environmental problems associated with genetic engineering have been well documented, including biodiversity loss, an overall increase in pesticide use, the emergence of super weeds that are threatening millions of acres of farmland, and the unintentional contamination of non-GMO and organic crops.
We Have a Right to Know What's in Our Food:  Fifty countries around the world—representing more than 40% of the world’s population---already require GMO labeling, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China. Polls show that more than 90% of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered. We are free to choose what we want to eat and feed our children. The free market is supposed to provide consumers with accurate information about products so we can make informed choices.
Who is in Favor of Proposition 37?  Prop 37 was initiated by a grassroots organizing effort with the help of thousands of volunteers across the state, the Right to Know campaign gathered nearly one million signatures from California voters within a 10 week period.  More than 2,000 organizations – including media outlets, food manufacturers and retailers, leading consumer, environmental, farming, health, faith-based, political and labor groups – have since endorsed Yes on 37:
Who is Opposed to Proposition 37?  Not one human being has made a contribution to the campaign against Prop. 37.  Instead, the campaign is funded entirely by giant pesticide and junk food companies with a track record of making false claims about the safety of their products.  The “No” campaign’s two largest donors-- Monsanto and DuPont—are the same companies that told us Agent Orange and DDT were safe.  Further undermining the "No" campaign’s credibility is the fact that its biggest funder—Monsanto—produced a series of ads supporting labeling of GMOs in Europe in the 1990s. 
A Simple Proposition for California in 2012:  The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would simply require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it is produced through genetic engineering, and would not allow these products to be labeled as “natural.” Prop 37 gives companies 18 months to change their labels, and allows for the GMO disclosure to appear wherever they choose on packaging.
No Cost to Consumers or Food Producers:  Companies change their labeling all the time, and research shows that Prop. 37 will have no cost impact on consumers or food producers.  In a recent study on the economic impact of Proposition 37, Joanna Shepherd Bailey, Ph.D., Professor at Emory University School of Law, concluded that there would be “no increases in prices as a result of the relabeling required.”  In Europe, introduction of GMO labeling produced no increase in food costs. David Byrne, former European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection of the European Parliament, stated that when Europe introduced GMO labeling in 1997, "it did not result in increased costs, despite the horrifying (double-digit) prediction of some interests.”
Prop. 37 Doesn’t Ban the Sale of Any Foods:  Despite opposition claims that Prop 37 would "ban the sale of thousands of groceries," it would not ban any foods at all. It merely requires that GMO-containing foods be labeled with the phrase “partially produced with genetic engineering” anywhere on the front or back of packages.
Greater Legal Certainty For Businesses: According to an independent legal analysis by James Cooper, JD, PhD, of George Mason University School of Law, Proposition 37 has been narrowly crafted in a way that provides “greater legal certainty” for businesses than other California consumer disclosure laws.  It won’t invite frivolous lawsuits.  What it will do is help California consumers make more informed choices about the food they eat.
The passing of Proposition 37 will be a huge step toward the transparency we deserve. This is about our right to know what's in our food and the right to choose for ourselves what we eat and feed our families. These are fundamental American values. Join us in helping us win back our right to know about the genetic engineering of our food system.  Vote Yes on 37 November 6th.  
"Know your food source."  -- OC

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Equinox: Finding Balance

Autumn in Central Park
"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn is a mosaic of them all." 
 - Stanley Horowitz

Happy Fall 2012!  From New York to Boston to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, fall is my favorite season. There is always a sense of excitement and change in the air.  I love California's warm, sunny days and cool nights - perfect "sleeping weather", and the Northeast's spectacular Indian Summers.  Break out the cashmere and boots!  

And, there are the "back-to's" -- back to school, back to work, back to routine, and back to shopping for a collection of new "stuff" -- a full compliment of school supplies, backpacks, clothing, shoes and bags. Busy-busy, more-more-more.

We've become a society immersed in creating something new in our lives at a time when nature is winding down. 

No matter where you live in North America, you'll notice lots of changes outdoors.  It's harvest time.  Leaves turn a variety of vivid colors and fall to the ground in the east and midwest.  Southern California braces for the hot, dry winds of the Santa Ana's. The Pacific Northwest gears up for rainy season.  There's generally less humidity in the air and the temperatures cool, as Mother Nature winds down and finds her balance....again.  

Finding balance is essential to a happy and vibrantly healthy life.  Emotional, mental and physical balance are all connected, and are the cornerstone of balanced living.  Not only is good health essential to happiness and well-being, it's also a boost to productivity and success.  A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in meaningful ways.

So, what does "balance" mean?  And how can we achieve it?

There are steps you can take to make changes in your day-to-day schedule to regain control and balance in life.  It's best to make adjustments over time to see what works best.  Once you start, you'll be better able to sort it out and maintain life balance.

You can -
Be honest with yourself about your current health -- We usually don't do much about our health until we're faced with a health crisis.  Good or bad, our  health affects the quality of our work and play.  Take steps to make necessary improvements.  Those in general good health, but know there's room for development, may want to see a nutritionist to create a plan to refine food choices, and/or enlist a trainer to get on track in the gym.  Those with more pressing health issues should consult with a physician regarding blood work and a physical. We're happier when we've had solid sleep, a great workout and healthful nourishment. Be sure to drink plenty of pure water.

Give your brain a rest  --  Make a date with yourself to disconnect from the work world.  This will vary given the level of your responsibilities, but try it for at least a few hours each night.  Turn off the phone, the computer, the TV -- everything that is a distraction.  Spend this time alone to pray or meditate, or to reconnect with family and friends.  Both quiet and laughter are great medicines. 

Just say "NO!" -- Let's face it, we are all over-scheduled. It's almost impossible to manage the demands we've set for ourselves to meet.  Something's gotta give, and it can't be your sanity.  So, take a look at your day-to-day, make a list of essentials and drop everything that saps your energy or doesn't add value to your life.

Let go of energy vampires -- Minimize your exposure to time wasters, chronic complainers and Debbie Downers.  Instead, surround yourself with positive, supportive people.  We become the five people we hang out with the most.

Be the Magellan of your world -- Discovery and travel are beautiful things.  If travel isn't possible right now, live in a state of "discovery" by looking at your world through fresh eyes.  Take a new route to work. Be a tourist in your own city. Even when you think you know your city, there's always some place new to explore. Or visit a nearby city and enjoy new activities. Road trip!

Become aware --  Activities abound!  We are only limited by our own imaginations.  Take a class, learn a new language, dance, take photos in the park, listen to new music, read a book, go to a concert, and/or catch that film you've been wanting to see.  Do what makes you feel light and makes your heart sing.

Be good to yourself --  Who doesn't like a day of beauty?  Facial, mani-pedi, massage...and there's no need to leave the house.  Arrange some flowers, pour a glass of wine, play some music, light some candles and fill the tub with salts and your favorite essential oils.  Mmmmmm....

Get close -- Relationships are essential to happy living. Turn off the TV.  Invite a friend over for a favorite meal and some overdue face time. Play a game with the kids. Really connect with those around you. Get to know them, and let them know you.

Laugh! -- Use your sense of humor to play, joke and laugh. Have fun!

Wheel of Life Balance

Start slowly.  Make one change at a time. Adjust your schedule to accommodate you and your priorities.  Slow down.  Breathe!  A little relaxation goes a long way.

My change?  I spend time in the hammock.  During the day.  In the sun. 

A votre sante!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Make Stored Tomatoes in Olive Oil and Fresh Basil

Stored Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil and Basil
Dehydrated tomatoes have a rich bold flavor that when combined with olive oil and basil seems positively decadent.  The tomatoes and basil infuse the olive oil which is lovely on salads, for dipping bread or drizzled over grilled peppers and eggplant.  

There is some concern when using oil to store vegetables. It is recommended that all tomato in oil and herb in oil products be stored at refrigerator temperatures.

Store Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil with Basil
4 cups dried tomatoes (from about 12-16 cups fresh tomatoes)
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil 
1 pint canning jar with air tight lid
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

• Sterilize a pint jar by washing with soapy water and then pouring boiling water over the inside and outside of the jar.  Boil the screw band and lid in hot water.  

• Once the jar is dry begin placing the dried tomatoes into the bottom.  Use a clean skewer or spoon to pack the tomatoes together.  Then add a couple sprigs of basil.  Continue layering tomatoes and basil until the jar is full.  Then pour olive oil slowly over the top.

• Insert the skewer or the handle of the spoon down along the sides of the jar five to six times to force any air pockets out.  Make sure the oil completely cover the tomatoes.  Seal with the sterilized lid and band and refrigerate up to one month.

The bonus with packing in olive oil is you get both tomatoes and olive oil flavored with the dried tomatoes. The oil is great for salad dressing, dipping bread or making pasta.

How to Dry Tomatoes

Organic Tomatoes
If you have limited space, without air conditioning, and you want still want to put up food, consider dehydrating.  Tomatoes are plentiful right now, espeically in the Midwest so take advantage of the wealth.  Eight cups of fresh tomatoes are equal to two cups of dehydrated tomatoes.  

Now you can accomplish the drying one of two ways. 
Dehydrate your tomatoes in the oven or in a food dehydrator.  The oven is faster, but will heat up your house. It probably isn't worth the cost of a new dehydrator if you are only drying tomatoes. However, if you are dehydrating cherries, herbs, or other garden goodies it may be worth your while because it takes twice the time of an oven, but your house stays cool.  

Drying Tomatoes

The first step is the same for both the oven and the dehydrator. 

Prepare the tomatoes  
The limiting factor is how many tomato halves fit on your cookie sheets or dehydrator rack. Start by washing the tomatoes and removing any stems. Then cut them in half.  

Oven Dry Tomatoes

Place the Tomato Halves on a Cookie Sheet
Toss the tomatoes with a teaspoon of olive oil so they don't stick to the pan. Then arrange them with the cut side up on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. It doesn't matter if the sheet has sides or not. The tomatoes can touch. They will shrink as they dehydrate.

Dehydrate the Tomatoes in the Oven
Put the rack in the middle of the oven to allow for circulation.  Place the tomatoes in the oven on low heat, between 200 - 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on how big and juicy your tomatoes are and how dry you want them, it will take 2-4 hours.

Dehydrate Tomatoes

Place the Tomato Halves on the Dehydrator Tray 
Arrange the tomatoes with the cut side up on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. Make sure there is plenty of room between the tomatoes so the air can circulate.  

Dehydrate the Tomatoes in the Dehydrator
Put the tomatoes on the dehydrator.  Use the vegetable setting, (130-142 degrees F). Make sure to follow the directions that came with your dehydrator.  Depending on how big and juicy your tomatoes are and how dry you want them, it will take 6-10 hours.

Dehydrator Tomatoes

Store Dried Tomatoes
Once the tomatoes are dried you can store them in a Tupperware in the refrigerator. They will keep this way for a month. You can also freeze them for up to a year. My favorite is to pack them in olive oil in glass.   

Look for recipes in an upcoming blog.

Brussels Sprouts - Brain Food and More!

Brussels Spouts

Looking for a fall and winter super-vegetable? 

Brussels sprouts are an incredibly nutritious vegetable that offers protection from vitamin A deficiency, bone loss, iron deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and, colon and prostate cancers.  

Brussels sprouts are small leafy green buds resembling miniature cabbages in appearance. The buds are exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which work wonders promote vibrant health. 

Like to shed some pounds?  Brussels Sprouts are low in calories and high in protein and fiber -- and have ZERO cholesterol!  They contain flavonoid anti-oxidants like thiocyanates, indoles, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates which protect from colon and reproductive cancers. They contain high levels of anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E, and contain other anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties to boost the immune system.  

Brussels spouts contain Zeaxanthin, which provides anti-oxidant and light-filtering protection from UV rays, preventing retinal damage and age-related macular degeneration disease in the elderly. They're high in vitamin A to promote healthy mucous membranes and is essential for acuity of vision. Vitamin A also offers protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.  

High in vitamin K, brussels spouts are an excellent dietary choice to promote bone strengthening, and helps limit neuronal damage in the brain, preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease.  

Brussels spouts are high in many B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, pantothenic acid, etc., that are essential for substrate metabolism in the body.

They are also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme.


LNH always suggests consuming organic produce. That said, Brussels spouts are NOT one of the top 5 most pesticide-laden vegetables. So if organics are not an option where you are, this is a safer choice.  When shopping, choose small to medium-sized, firm, tight/compact spouts. Uniform size makes for uniform cooking.  Look for a bright green color and heavier weight.  Avoid heads that are yellowed, have open leaves or dark spots.

Fill a bowl with clean, filtered water and add 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Cut the tail to the base of the sprout, then cut in half (very small spouts do not need to be cut).  If you'd like to leave the sprout whole, cut a small "X" in the base for more even cooking. Remove dirty outer leaves and discard. Soak in water for 10+ minutes. Rinse.

Create your own recipes with your favorite ingredients from this list which go well with Brussels spouts:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bread Crumbs (homemade from spouted or grain-free bread)

Cream, raw
Green Onions
Maple Syrup
Pepper, Black
Peppers, Sweet
Pine Nuts

Rice (not if on paleo diet)


They are delicious steamed, baked or grilled.  If boiling, avoid "the smell" by wrapping a piece of bread in cheesecloth and add to your pot.
Easy Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
A quick and easy side dish recipe for brussels sprouts roasted with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This easy brussels sprouts recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
If you'd like add apples to the recipe


  • 2- 3 cups brussels sprouts, sliced in half
  • dash salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly incorporate the olive oil until a dressing is formed.
Place the brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the sprouts and gently toss to coat.
Bake for 25 minutes, turning once. Sprouts are done when they are lightly browned.
Plate, garnish and serve.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Almond Flour Pancakes

Almond Meal/Flour is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and is a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium.

We think these low-carb pancakes taste better than the old white flour kind, and almond meal is more nutritious.

Note:  Almond meal differs a bit from one batch to the other, so you may have to adjust the amount of liquid to get the thickness you want.

           1 cup organic almond flour
           2 organic eggs
           1/4 cup water (for puffier pancakes, you can use sparkling water)
           2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
           1/4 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
           1 Tbsp raw, organic honey for sweetener

If you'd like, gently add organic blueberries, raspberries, bananas or your 
favorite fruit to the mix.

Mix ingredients together, adding fresh fruit last, and cook as you would other pancakes. Coat the frying pan with grapeseed oil and cook over medium+ heat. The only real difference is that they won't "bubble" on top the same way as regular pancakes. Flip them when the underside is brown.

Serve with organic maple syrup, fresh organic fruit and chopped almonds.
Yield:  Six 4" pancakes

Nutritional Information: 
Each pancake has 1 gram effective carbohydrate, plus 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 155 calories.