I know that keeping and maintaining a blog is such a presumptive venture: it assumes you both have something to say and someone who might actually find your content interesting enough to follow. I hope on some level, I meet those minimal requirements. Yet, the funny thing about blogging is that you kinda have to walk the fine line of walking the walk and talking the talk. When it comes to whole food preparation/childrearing/holistic living/organic gardening/homeschooling, etc. oftentimes there’s much walk to be walking and not as much time for talking– or at least blogging about it. Read the rest of this entry »
I apologize for the delay in announcing the winner to this contest; I had intended to do so last Wednesday but our modem broke, and we just got it fixed; which left me sans internet for several days. But, without further delay:
Congratulations to Kelly Busby! You are the winner of 3 amazing cultures from Cultures for Health! You will be contacted soon with details on how to obtain your prize!
Thanks to everyone else who participated in the contest!
Last week, as you may know, we were running the Cultures for Health giveaway for 3 starter cultures of your choice! In honor of my giveaway, I wanted to reflect on why investing in a starter culture is an easy, no-fuss way to add more nutrition and less cost to your life!
Matsoni is what I call a “counterculture” because it doesn’t need to be incubated in order to culture, as most traditional yogurts do. Although, to be fair to history and regionality, it seems to me that most of the yogurts that need to be “incubated” to remain at a constant temp of about 90-100 degrees–these yogurts actually hail from the parts of the world that have temperatures that are fairly constantly in that range! All that’s to say that I don’t think Nature intended for much fancy equipment in order to culture milk.
The Matsoni is perfectly happy at around 70 degrees to culture within 12-24 hours. I made my first batch this week and here is what I love about it:
1) No need to incubate (already explained above!) so no expensive equipment or hassle required. Just add the starter, and do nothing until about 12 hours later when it’s ready!
2) You can transform regular pastuerized store-bought milk into an enzyme-rich treat!I actually cultured a quart of half & half and got a really creamy, mild, delicious and thick yogurt! If you strain this just a little bit, you end up with delicious, probiotic-rich cream cheese (raw cheesecake anyone? Or perhaps a smoked salmon-cream cheese roll up?)
3) It saves money! Organic yogurt can cost up to $5.00 per quart. You can buy an entire half-gallon of organic milk for about the much, which means you can make your own for half the price. By adding your culture week after week you can eventually pay for the price of the culture with the savings.
4) Did I mention it was easy? College students could keep this going in their dorm (bootleg a quart or two of whole milk from the cafeteria and culture it in your dorm room!!!), busy moms can quickly and easily make a batch in about 2 minutes and forget about it until the next day. No heating milk, cooling it to just the right temperature, then configuring some way to keep it warm, etc. No adding skim milk powder or gelatin to thicken it, because it thickens right up (especially when you add cream or half & half).
5) The taste and texture are amazing, even my husband liked it! This is reason enough to stick with Matsoni. I’ve tried kefir, fil mjolk, and regular yogurt and the taste is just too “off” for my husband. I recently make the Indian cucumber yogurt dip called raitaand my husband raved about it. My kids love the Matsoni mixed with fruit sauce (just boiled down blueberries or peaches; no sugar added) for a fun and easy “fruit on the bottom” breakfast. The texture (especially when using half and half) is thick and pudding-like and once the culture is set (about 12-18 hours for me) there was absolutely no “runniness” to it.
If you missed my recent contest to win your own yogurt culture, there’s good news. Thursday, September 17th I’ll be announcing the winner for the contest along with a special coupon code for discounts at Cultures for Health. This offer is limited, so check in when I announce the winner so you can get the deal!
This contest is now closed! Thanks for all who participated. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, Sept. 16th!
So, maybe you’re one of those back-to-basics types who has caught the wave of traditional foods and is enticed by the notion of making your own sourdough, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Perhaps you’ve read about the benefits of fermented foods, including their high amounts of vitamin K2, B complex vitamins, and probiotics, which are crucial for gut health and immunity. At any rate, you’ve probably found, like I did early in my journey, that these probiotic foods are generally not for sale in your neighborhood grocery store, and if they are, they are very expensive.
Kombucha, which sells for about $3.00 for 16 oz is a luxury for most of us, yet with a starter it can be made for about $0.50 per quart!!!! Live sauerkraut, pickles, and relishes (nothing like the products sold in the condiment aisle) sell for around $6.00 for 8 oz. at my local health food store. Do you know how many cabbages I could buy for $6.00???!!!
Good quality yogurt and kefir are very expensive as well, and what better way to transform pasteurized milk (for those who have no access to good quality real milk) then to culture it, renewing its enzyme content and breaking down the proteins making it much more digestible?
Perhaps you’ve been trying to lick a soda habit but can’t seem to live without something bubbly to drink. Well, you can culture your own probiotic soda using water kefir grains!
All of these cultures and more are available at Cultures for Health, a fantastic small business by a mom and fellow Portlander who delivers exceptional service and quality. I’ve worked with CFH several times and am always impressed by their amazing customer service! I’ve worked with other mail-order culture companies who have been less than prompt in their shipments, and I am so glad to have found CFH (and for the record, CFH is a paid sponsor of my blog (and I am earning a small amount for running this contest), but I found them long before that time, and would rave about them regardless! You can see all of the other paid sponsors whose products I LOVE on my resources page).
Well, now you have a chance to win 3 (count them) cultures: 1 water kefir starter, 1 sourdough starter of choice, and 1 yogurt starter of choice!
There are several ways to enter and win, and you can do all of them if you wish!
1) First and foremost, to be eligible, you must sign up for the contest by clicking on the link below:
2) You get an extra chance to win if you become a follower of mine AND Cultures for Health on Twitter. If you are already a follower (thank you!), please Tweet about this contest! Either way, please leave a comment and tell me what you did!
3) One more chance to win if you write a little post about this contest on your blog and send some link love my way. You know, link to this post. Send me the link or leave it in the comments section!
4) Another chance to win if you go to the Cultures for Health website and “window shop”. Tell me what yogurt starter and what sourdough starter you would choose if you were the winner!
5) Another chance to win if you Stumble Upon my post about this giveaway.
6) Be my Friend on Facebook and tell all your Facebook friends about this contest by having your status include a link to this contest! Then comment and tell me about it! And while you’re at it, become a fan of Cultures for Health!
7) E-mail 5 friends who may be interested in this giveaway, sending them the link to this post. Then comment about it.
So there you have 7 chances to win something that will SAVE YOU MONEY for a long time to come!
The contest details will run Friday, September 4 through 12 midnight PST, Thursday, September 10th. The winner will be announced on my blog Wednesday, September 16th!
Sorry, due to the shipping restrictions this contest is limited to US residents only.
If this is confusing, please feel free to leave a comment!
My original inspiration for becoming Organic & Thrifty was and remains my husband (he especially appreciates the thrifty part). The health issues that he encountered about 7 years ago set me on the journey to health and nutrition that led me to where I am today. The past several years he hasn’t always bought in hook, line, and sinker to everything, but I remained steadfast in my convictions and always had a healthy meal for him to eat at home.
I was listening to a caller on Dr. Laura today who was trying to figure out how to get her husband to lose weight. Dr. Laura said in no uncertain terms do not tell him he needs to lose weight. You have all the power. Cook nutritious meals, get the junk out of the house, and make time to allow him to exercise in ways that he wants to that are enjoyable for him.
I thought to myself “Yep. That’s it”. Dr. Laura gave some sort of conventional wisdom advice about lots of veggies and low calories, which isn’t exactly what I believe is most effective, but whatever. The spirit of the advice was right on. It’s a start anyway.
Well, here it is, in my beloved’s own words, an update on how his health and weight loss journey has gone. I wanted to share it with my readers to inspire them that change is possible, and while it may take a lot of time, it can happen with patience and perseverence:
This summer has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that getting back into the Primal Lifestyle was long overdue. Here is my three month progress report, with a few observations at this landmark juncture:
June 1st: 208 lbs
July 1st: 199 lbs
August 1st: 193 lbs
September 1st: 183 lbs
Bottom line: 25 pounds of almost pure BF loss in three months. No radical swings either; just a steady 2lbs/wk transition from glucose to ketones as the body’s primary energy source. I’ve lost about 6 inches off my waist and can wear clothes I haven’t been able to wear for years. (I still have about 10-15 lbs of excess BF to go).
The benefits of eating Real Food are numerous and greatly empowering. For example, it is liberating to reject the stupidity of conventional wisdom and just eat what makes sense. Most of what is peddled about food/nutrition these days is recycled PR from AgriBiz & Big Pharma and just simply not true. In many cases this advice is criminally & intentionally false (e.g. “whole grains & vegetable oils are healthy, saturated fat causes heart disease, you need 10+ servings of carbs per day, etc, etc”). Why do we assume that what Big Business & Big Government say is in our best interest? You wouldn’t get into a space craft designed by chefs and built in a kitchen, so why do you eat food designed by scientists and created in labs?
I only exercise 4 hours per week, total. Goodbye, 2 hour-long jogs on the treadmill. Seriously, if you use your body the way God made it, you don’t need to torture it to get results. My basic routine is 5x45min sessions/wk — HIIT 2-3/wk @ 5-8x of 15-45-sec intervals + power walking and some very minimal light jogging). Oh, and I haven’t even started weight lifting yet which means I haven’t even gotten started in seeing really stunning results. Once I add a primal weight training regiment to the repertoire, I should see further gains in muscle mass & definition, endurance, and further fat loss. And only with 20-30mins per session, max.
I usually only eat 2-3 times per day and am never hungry. Seriously, no cravings. And no calorie counting or deprivation. I eat primal when I’m hungry and move on. If I miss a meal/want to fast, no problem as I have no drop in energy or mental acuity. Ridiculously simple. And it makes total sense from an evolutionary and spiritual perspective.
My energy levels are significantly improved. I can wrestle and run with the kids and not get winded after 5 minutes like I used to earlier this year. I can come home from sprint intervals and still clean up the house. I can stay up late and not be fatigued the next morning. Best of all, I’m coming back from the brink of what was almost a major adrenal collapse.
Some habits die hard: I’m still trying to kick the coffee addiction. Still not sleeping as much or as well as I need to. Lunches are still a little less than ideal at times. I still need to add weight lifting. My flexibility isn’t where I need it to be. All good goals to work on!
Conclusion: I promised myself that, this time around, I wasn’t looking back. So far, so good!