What is the Gluten in Gluten Free?

Over the last few years between the grocery store, restaurants and even beauty products - we’re seeing more and more Gluten Free labels. So although I have a brief understanding of what it means - I thought due to its increased popularity maybe I should break it down by starting with - what is GLUTEN... and what are the benefits of a Gluten Free diet and skin care.

Gluten is the generic name for certain types of proteins contained in common grains. Sounds complicated. So I’ll try to make it easier to understand.

The Big Three grains that contain these proteins are wheat, rye and barley. But contamination and cross cultures can affect oats too. Gluten is what gives grain products such as bread and rolls their shape, strength and texture, it is the elasticity of the dough. It can kinda be thought of as the glue that holds food together. A great example of this can be seen when shaping a pizza crust.

Let’s talk about going Gluten Free because you HAVE to for health reasons or you just WANT to for a diet to shed some pounds.

Some folks have an illness called celiac disease, in fact it’s estimated that one in every hundred people have this disease. It can cause uncomfortable even severe painful effects and digestive problems from eating gluten. So they must avoid gluten in their diets.

Many other folks have found a gluten free diet to be beneficial even if they do not have celiac disease. Results have ranged from weight loss and more energy. My Dad is a perfect example of going Gluten Free for a diet. Over the last year he has lost over 30 pounds and claims he feels more energized. Hey… if it works it works right~!

Now, here’s a curveball… People with NON-celiac WHEAT sensitivity can experience symptoms similar to those of celiac disease, which gets resolved when gluten is removed from their diet. However, they do not test positive for celiac disease. Oh Boy~!

For beauty products such as make-up, lotion and shampoo…  gluten can be found in the ingredients list but they use scientific names so it can be tough to decipher. The good thing about gluten is, the molecule is too large to be absorbed through the skin. BUT issues can arise for people who are ULTRA sensitive to gluten because it can be ingested through foundation, lipstick… basically anything around your eyes and mouth.

For labeling purposes, the FDA has issued a formal definition of gluten free stating that the product can NOT contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten.

Now many foods are naturally gluten free such as fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, dairy, beans, legumes, nuts and even rice and potatoes.  The use of the gluten free label is voluntary, BUT it does help consumers identify foods they may or may not want to buy. This is why you can find Gluten Free labels on things like water because it helps people make quick buying decisions while shopping. Plus it kinda sounds healthier doesn’t it?

If you feel like you may have celiac disease, please consult your doctor. Here's a link to the Celiac Disease Foundation for more detailed information: https://celiac.org

Hopefully you have a better understanding of what the Gluten in Gluten Free is… I know I certainly do.

Until next time, Be organic and be healthy.

What's in Your Pillow?

Pillows are an important part of of our daily sleep patterns. We utilize them for head and neck support but did you know that they actually contribute to our overall health and environment.

Petroleum based polyester or urethane foams can diminish your indoor air quality.  The synthetic filling within these pillows can collect moisture and become a literal breeding ground for dust mites. Manufacturing these pillows also contributes to water and land pollution. Non organic cotton can have the same effect on our environment.

There are plenty of healthier options when it comes to your head rest and… they are easily available to buy. The most common and easy to find…  is feather... or down filled pillows.

Another great alternative for allergy sufferers is Kay-Pock filling, some may call it Java Cotton. Kay-Pock is a super soft silky cotton like fiber sustainably harvested from the rain forest and makes a comfortable natural fill.

Wool is also a great option. Choosing organically grown wool will ensure that there is no insecticide residue, just read the label carefully to make sure it is not treated with moth repellent because that can create a chemical fume that you probably don’t want to breathe in.

Buckwheat is often a doctor recommended pillow due to its body conforming ability and aptitude to resist dust mites, a huge benefit for allergy sufferers. Be sure the manufacturer has cleaned the hulls of the processed grain inside to eliminate lingering dust that can trigger allergies or asthma.

Lastly, there is a natural latex, derived from the rubber tree.  This alternative is firmer and provides more neck support. It also promotes responsible rain forest management as the trees that give us this material are tapped not logged.

Naturally, you will want to decide which material is best for YOU…  based on your sensitivity or allergies to any of the fillers... as well as take into consideration the various levels of support each one offers. Who would think pillows could get so personal?

Any of these five options will give you a healthier sleeping domain and are great choices for promoting a cleaner, safer planet.

I Want USDA Certified Organic Seafood... So How Can I Get It?

In today’s blog we are going to find out why it’s so hard to find organic seafood. I love Seafood  Why is there no USDA certified organic seafood? And how can a salmon with a “regular” organic label be two to four times the price of it’s farm raised pal laying beside it. You can Watch the Video Here:  https://youtu.be/TdtiQQfRV_0

Organic Roost

Here’s the scoop… Seafood is yet to carry a USDA Certified Organic label, but the good news is, that it’s on the horizon.

Going to the market for organic fish, will likely leave you disappointed. Either you realize it is non-existent or the limited selection is priced like it’s gold-plated. That’s because the only seafood with an organic label comes from Norway and other faraway European countries at this time… unless you’re watching this in Norway than it’s not so far.

The United States sees that the Organic demand is more than just a brief trend and have heard the cries to begin certifying seafood. And they are working on it. Really... they are!

Proposing standards for farm raised organic seafood is on the Department of Agriculture's agenda this year in 2015. They have begun reviewing the recommendations from the past ten years and are beginning to outline the certification requirements for seafood. Then it will be a matter of time before the practices of the fish farms are revised to meet the new USDA standards for Certified Organic labeling.  Among the U.S. seafood that could be covered are salmon, tilapia, catfish, shrimp, mussels, oysters and clams.

Some opinions of the farm raised seafood industry, or who I’ll call fish farmers, are that the cost of the feed alone will be so expensive that the market will not bare the price tag of organic seafood. Well, that will be for you, me and  the rest of the organic shoppers to decide though.

For now, when I want to enjoy some tasty seafood selections, I personally buy something that is Wild Caught.  Hey wait, you might ask, why isn’t Wild Caught seafood organic from the start? That’s a Great question. Unfortunately, there is just no way to monitor if that fish has eaten a 100% organic diet, therefore making it impossible to give wild caught seafood the official USDA Certified Organic Label.

Until then… Be Organic and Be Healthy


Wash Those Nasty Chemicals Off Your Produce With These Easy Tips

Today we are going give you three of the best ways to clean and remove the chemicals from your fruit and vegetables. Giving you a healthier, tastier experience.

Organic Roost

Have you noticed that an ordinary conventionally grown apple has a layer of wax on it that can be thicker than the actual skin? Well, the waxy part is very noticeable, but did you know that there are all kinds of invisible chemicals on the outside too? Most all conventionally grown food from apples to zucchini have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides throughout its growing process. Then they’re dipped and sprayed again after they are harvested to prepare them for travel to your grocery store. Don’t misunderstand me here, Organic food can also have natural pesticides on them, and when removed, can make them taste much better too.

Cutting the skin off would work but in a lot of fruits and vegetables, that is where most of the vitamins and minerals are… what a dilemma. So if you want healthier, cleaner, better tasting fruits and vegetables try these options.

Option One - The Water and Vinegar Wash. this is economical and it proves your grandmother was right. Vinegar is a great natural cleaner for so many things, including your chemical coated produce. With a four to one ratio of water to vinegar, let your fruit soak from 20 minutes to one hour. Then rinse thoroughly with water. There is no vinegar taste left behind and you will be amazed - and a little grossed out from the dirty brown liquid that is left in the bowl.

Option Two - Homemade Lemon Spray. This is another do-it-yourself, natural method, using items you probably already have in your kitchen. You mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water in a clean spray bottle. Spray the fruit and produce generously, let stand for about 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. It’s that easy.

Option Three -A  Commercial Wash. These can be found on the shelf at your grocery store. On average, these washes cost about 5 to 7 dollars a bottle. You will need to follow the directions based on the brand you choose. Just be careful and read the ingredient list prior to purchase, make sure that the ingredients are natural. If harsh chemicals are in the wash itself, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Personally, I find the vinegar and water to be the easiest and cheapest solution.

These methods do take a little time, but like anything new, once you make it a routine and clean all your produce at the same time, it will become more efficient and much healthier than trying to scrub those chemicals off with a paper towel or brush in vain.

Don’t take the out of sight, out of mind approach to nasty chemicals on your food. Clean them, enjoy them and feel good about what you are doing for your body.


Be Organic and Be Healthy.

GMO’s & GE’s - Is There a Difference?

As we educate ourselves, we find there are a wide variety of terms to describe organic and conventional food. In this Blog we are going to delve into the difference between a GMO and a GE, no not the electric company... Genetic Engineering.

Since the 1990’s it has become very common for our food to be genetically engineered or GE for short. The FDA defines genetic engineering as “the name for certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism.” An example of this would be herbicide resistant corn or milk from cows injected with milk production boosting hormones. Not to be confused with a GMO, which stands for genetically modified organism. GMO’s have been around since the dawn of time.

Hold the phone how can that be true - I just started hearing about GMO’s in the last few years. Well the term GMO is quite broad. You see if two plants in nature exchange pollen via a bumble bee, the wind or a hummingbird, that is technically modifying an organism. Of course where the mass production of food is concerned, there is a very specific definition for a GMO, as we have come to know.

A GMO is the result of a laboratory process with test tubes, incubators, syringes and lots of trial and error along the way.

It’s kind of like asking you and your grand-mom to define a tablet, one will say a stack of bonded paper the other will say a thin touch screen computer. Both are right, but today, and for our purposes, when we say GMO, we mean the test tube version.

So there are differences in GE’s and GMO’s - they are subtle differences, but differences nonetheless. And these will come into play as they pass more labeling measures in upcoming years.

That is where NON-GMO’s come in. The Non-GMO Project has done a great job of promoting and labeling verified Non-GMO products. They are the official and only trusted label at this point that certifies NON GMO. But beware - there are also products that simply include Non-GMO, or “Natural” on their label and this is not regulated by anyone, essentially allowing any product to promote itself and appear healthier than it really is.

This is the Official Non - GMO Label

Let’s take a minute here to define why Non-GMO’s are not considered organic. It is because although not engineered or modified in a lab, Non-GMO’s  can be farmed with the use of synthetic pesticides, weed killers, growth promoting hormones, other drug and chemical residues and even human sludge, that’s right the stuff you flush can be taken from a waste water management plant and used as fertilizer.


Many want us to believe that they can’t possibly feed the population without GE’s and GMO’s, that is simply untrue in my opinion. The decision seems to be more about labor-less food and profit. Mass produced, insect resistant, growth promoting, chemical driven seeds and animal hormones brings the cost of our food down. But as more research is done about the ill effects of GE’s and GMO’s on our bodies and our long term health costs, along with the toll it takes on our environment, more countries across the globe are restricting or outright banning their use. To me, that speaks volumes.

Until next time, Be Organic and Be Healthy~!

What Does Organic Really Mean?

When you decide to live a healthier, greener lifestyle the first thing you will typically change is the food you eat. Going from either processed to natural foods or in most cases from conventionally grown to organic produce and meat. What does organic really mean though?  In the United States the Department of Agriculture created the National Organic Program.

This program defines that food which is grown or raised without any synthetic substances can be certified organic. In other words… less potentially harmful Chemicals, from seed to harvest. 

The specifics include restricting genetic engineering, GMO’s or ionized radiation processes in any stage of the growth or process of the food, that animals are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, and crops are grown without the use of most chemically based pesticides, petroleum or sewage based fertilizers. 

What is a GMO you ask? Well, a GMO or (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Sounds bad for you from the start. 

Neither the National Organic Program or the United States government will state if organic food is in any way more nutritious or safer than conventionally grown or raised food, but there are plenty of scientists that will shout it from the rooftops. YES, organic food can provide more vitamins and minerals to better fuel your body and will prove, the absence of the pesticides, growth hormones and the like will keep harmful chemicals from taking a toll on your energy levels and your overall health. 

Until next time...Be Organic and Be Healthy~!