Tastes Like Lemon: The Time I Ate Ants (& more about eating insects)

Photo of Beondegi by Alpha

This is the most self-deprecating thing I have ever posted online.   But you know what they say: If you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.

My interest in this topic started with one of only a handful of regrets I have obtained through life. I’m just not prone to regrets, apparently, given that this makes that short list.

Continue reading Tastes Like Lemon: The Time I Ate Ants (& more about eating insects)

Walking the Plank of Politics Simply Because I Like Real Food

Walking the plank of politics because I like real food

The people who shop at Pantry Paratus and the people who interact with us through Facebook and email are often very different from one another. There are self-described hippies and conservatives (and even people like me who get accused of both quite often). There are Christians, Atheists, Pagans and other faith representations. We have vegans, traditional foodists (bring on the bone broth!), paleo, and conventional-food lovers who are exploring what it might mean to make a change. There is the pro-wheat crowd and the gluten-free one. There are city-dwellers, homesteaders, farmers, and busy suburban moms just trying to abate food allergies or illness….the differences abound.

Continue reading Walking the Plank of Politics Simply Because I Like Real Food

Chia Seeds: Nutrition & Cooking Tips

Chia Seeds Nutrition

I am a traditionalist in most things, including food; I rarely jump on a bandwagon for the newest healthy thing out there, because most of it is bunk.  But then, in our modern age, many of us are still discovering the traditional foods that other people groups have been eating for centuries.  Such is the case with chia seeds.  This nutty, delicious seed spiked in popularity about a year or so ago and is now falling into the shadows of the latest-coolness; but I do not consider it a “bandwagon” at all—rather, we were all a bit late to the party and shouldn’t make an exit too soon.

Continue reading Chia Seeds: Nutrition & Cooking Tips

Iron Rich Spices

Spices High in Iron

Most people who read the Pantry Paratus blog are learning to cook whole foods in traditional ways, and so it is unlikely that you would have iron deficiencies.   I happen to know that many of you prefer cooking in cast iron skillets, which imparts some iron into your food, and that you tend to be meat eaters (based upon the number of Chop Rite meat grinders and meat preservation tools we sell in the course of the year at Pantry Paratus).  Just the same, babies who had a low birth weight or other complications, children who do not eat varied diets, women with heavy menstrual cycles, or people who have experienced anemia in the past sometimes need to make a conscientious effort to ensure they are getting a healthy dose of dietary iron. Here are some iron rich spices to help you in your effort.

Continue reading Iron Rich Spices

(Yeehaw, it’s a…) Raw Milk Roundup!

WholeNewMom Cowshare

Yeehaw–It’s a…

Raw Milk Roundup!

The Pantry Paratus blog covers homesteading, kitchen “how to,” food science, and even occasional food news.  We try to mix it up, but sometimes we begin researching something and realize that the subject is much bigger and too complex for a single article.   Raw milk is definitely one of those subjects!  In such a case, we like to do multiple part series such as the 3-part series on Cacao, another one on chocolate,  Preserving the Summer’s End, Deer Processing, and even Baking Powder and Sulfur (used as a food preservative) became their own multi-part series!

Risk of Raw Milk

If you missed our other recent blog about The Risk of Raw Milk , I think it would be worth your while to open that in its own tab for a later read.   And if you, like myself, want to do some further research on this complex issue, can I suggest a few places to start? Continue reading (Yeehaw, it’s a…) Raw Milk Roundup!

The Risk of Raw Milk

The Risk of Raw Milk

 What are some of the riskiest things you do? 

Drive on icy roads? 

Tell the wife she looks fat in that sweater?

Eat prepackaged donuts from the gas station checkout line?


Risk of Raw Milk

There is a reason I ask: this was the defining subject of debate during a two-hour hearing in the Montana State Legislature.  Okay, maybe not the part about looking fat, but the part about risk.  You see, it was a two-hour debate about whether people should have the freedom of choice on drinking fresh milk as God intended or if people should be forced to only drink milk that has gone through the Industrial Age de-flavoring, de-nutritionalizing, and deconstructing process currently required by law (aka, pasteurization).

Drinking animal milk is a choice; you do not have to do it and many people do not.  I’m making that point upfront because I’m hoping to stave off the comments below to that effect; if that is your choice and you are healthy, excellent.  But our family found that we have our most excellent health when we have access to high-fat, grass-fed, creamy deliciousness.  One week without it and asthma returns for one child, allergies for another, and colds & sickness for all flare into existence.  So, with the high level of academic research that Wilson & I put into every subject directly affecting our plates (or glasses), we did make a unanimous decision to obtain and drink raw milk when possible. Our choice is a personal one, as is yours.

Raw Milk Boosts Immunity

Photo: Learning & Yearning, “Farm Life Boosts Immunity”

  Risk.  It is almost like the humming refrigerator or ticking clock; risk has its own “white noise effect” in which you no longer see common risk at all.  You walk up and down stairs everyday, perhaps you get into a car.  Well, that one still feels like a risk if my dad is driving, but I think you see my point.  You think “I’m not a risk-taker,” but you did eat that salad with the store-bought spinach.  There is an element of risk involved in nearly every action of your life; so you evaluate which ones are necessary and avoid the rest. 

Let’s further this discussion by discussing the risk of milk (raw or otherwise) in systematic terms:

#1:   Risk Belongs to the Risk Taker

Let’s just make the assumption right now that there is risk involved in drinking raw milk.  Who are you to tell me that it is an unnecessary risk for me?  Should I tell you that eating the processed food in your cupboard is an unnecessary risk for you?  Well, I am going to tell you that…but I am not going to make it law.  Nor should someone else make it law that a complete, living, and functional food found in nature (and as old as mammals themselves) is against the law for me.

#2:  All Options Carry Risk in Some Form

Again, let us make the assumption that there is risk involved in drinking raw milk.  Okay, there is.  But are we also making the assumption that there is no risk involved in drinking pasteurized industrial sludge? It does not follow.  It does not follow that because raw milk has a certain element of risk that all other alternatives are somehow safe or healthy.  They must all stand and fall on their own merit—and if you read the literature or follow the FDA’s recall list, you will not come to the conclusion that grocery store food or pasteurized milk is risk-less.   I just pulled up the FDA’s recall list, and a pasteurized cheese appeared on page one for Listeria, with more cheese, ice cream, and other pasteurized dairy products on subsequent pages. But then again, there is also a recall due to Listeria on…apples! In our modern food system, consider everything a risk.

#3: Pasteurization is experimental in the annals of history.

Prior to the last 150 years, there was no term for “raw milk”—people called it milk.   Technology birthed extremely large farms with unprecedented numbers of animals; modern animal sciences devote nearly all research programs to study “alternate feeds” to continuously cut the most costs before making sickly animals. Before there were heavily-funded studies to promote CAFO-style farming, people were doing it anyway, and pasteurization could mean the continuation of poor practice .  Pasteurization came during a time of high infant mortality, unchecked disease, and urban migration.  The squalor of city life in the Industrial Age coupled with the mead mash fed to pent-up cows led to a dire need for something.  Remember, Lister did not make popular the idea of sanitization until the 1870’s.  Filthy conditions and malnourished animals led to many deaths.  Sickly milk from sickly cows that was processed in an unsanitary way was a common carrier for Tuberculosis and Typhoid, although there is historical evidence that the initial reports of these connections were false or based on faulty science.

One could say that pasteurization saved lives.  In actuality, the filthy conditions and malnourished animals took lives and pasteurization only meant that it took less of them.  Did pasteurization fix the problem, or was it as Tylenol for cancer?

I have a treasured friendship with someone who is in complete disagreement with me about many lifestyle choices.  One day, the subject of fresh milk came up and she said, “I could never give my kids milk that wasn’t pasteurized.”  Taken aback I said, “Oh, I thought you said you breastfed.”


For all the nutritional reasons your pregnancy books encouraged you to feed real milk to your infant, a cow’s milk was designed to provide for its offspring.  It’s a misconception that human milk carries no pathogens—it has been proven time and again to carry pathogens.  But with those, it carries enzymes, vitamins, and other immune-system building qualities that protect the child from illness.  Remember, nothing kills bad bacteria as wholly or as naturally as good bacteria, and pasteurization kills it all.

Good Bacteria kills Bad Bacteria

  #4: Pasteurization cannot protect you from post-processing bacteria.

 Pasteurization is a middle step with many bacterial opportunities lurking from post-processing to transportation to packaging to your table.  Here are some of the steps to the process:

1)       The first (and one of the more dangerous) points of bacterial interference takes place at the milking.  What is the cleanliness of the udders?  The condition of the stainless steel pail?  Is it open or closed, allowing airborne particles of straw or manure to enter?  Sure, pasteurization can kill that bacteria, but dairies that depend upon pasteurization to do so may not meet your personal standards.  A homesteader or small farmer creating a fresh product for personal use takes a vested interest, I promise.

     “Pasteurization has had the effect of lowering our standards as to what’s consumable by humans.” – “Pasteurization in School Lunches” by Law for Food

Pasteurization Effect


2)      Raw milk intended for pasteurization now must be transported— mixed with milks from other farms in large tanker trucks that carry between 4,000-8,000 gallons of milk so that all farm traceability is now gone forever.  Perhaps one farm is impeccable; another down the road is not.  Now all milk is compromised en route to the pasteurization process.

3)      Pasteurization Process: If the proper temperatures are achieved and the equipment fully sanitized and functional, this should kill the most dangerous of bacteria.  It is not likely to kill all bacteria, however, and there are certainly instances in which things do not go swimmingly.  There is also something called a plate heat exchanger which uses gaskets to keep the raw milk from re-contaminating the pasteurized milk.  If gaskets are overtightened, were improperly installed, were exposed to too high a heat for long periods of time, or were not properly maintained, the milk is contaminated.

4)      Homogenization and Separation: Milk destined for the grocery store consumer is generally homogenized and then separated into it’s products—1%, 2%, cream, and so on.  More processing.

5)       Packaging—more tubing, more handling, more materials.

6)      Transportation—is the milk consistently held at the proper temperature and out of light through the transportation, delivery, and shelf life at the store?

As you can see, there are as many steps after pasteurization as there were before it.


#5: Legal Inconsistencies

Just as it would be a logical fallacy to assume that pasteurization carries no risk simply because raw milk does, it would also be a logical fallacy for raw milk advocates to insist that raw milk is 100%  safe because twinkies, cigarettes, and other legal substances are anything but safe.  We want to scream about the hypocrisy (and indeed, I have) about the government-business conspiracy of lacing our foods with TBHQ or Azodicarbonamide and about the entire FDA GRAS system even while they outlaw the most natural substance found on Planet Earth.  We should point out these inconsistencies—but understand that it in no way minimizes the risk of fresh milk because twinkies will kill you first.

Just the same, we must—it’s an absolute must—point out these legal inconsistencies so that we can shed light upon the back room dealings from whence they come.   The inconsistencies matter because Lady Justice is (supposed to be) blind; if one group is permitted exemption or immunity then should not another with equal merit?  When instances of food borne illnesses are more consistently found (in larger numbers and with greater devastation) in fast food restaurants and meat packing plants, why is a local farmer’s produce banned from retail sales? I will leave you with an excellent question from Law for Food in an article entitled “Is There a U.S. Government Bias on Raw Milk:”   “Can the ban on raw milk be justified in public health terms if foods equally or more likely to be vectors for the same illnesses are not banned?”

Just keepin’ it raw.



Nothing in this blog constitutes medical or legal advice.  You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes.  Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.



posted on Monday, February 2, 2015 5:19:15 PM America/Denver

Well said.


posted on Monday, February 2, 2015 10:35:46 PM America/Denver

Sing it, sista!

Christine |Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

posted on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 5:46:21 AM America/Denver

LOVE it! This was well-written, thought provoking, and just plain fun to read! Though I have to admit that the “raw milk debate” is something that really annoys me. I am pretty darn sure that I can decide for myself whether or not to drink raw milk, and whether or not a particular farm or dairy suits my standards. I hate it when the ability to make decisions is taken from me by fear, propaganda, and back room deals!


posted on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 9:31:50 AM America/Denver

I have no problems drinking raw milk that comes from our own cows, but I know farms around us that I would not drink their milk even if it was pasteurized. The bottom line is choice. The government has no right to tell me what I will or will not eat.

The Farmer’s Lamp

posted on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 9:37:44 AM America/Denver

Chaya, You did a thorough, excellent job on this article. We too have the blessing of the many benefits of raw milk consumption. I thank you for sharing this article. I am sharing it on FB, Pinterest Board, and G+

ABL Technology

posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 6:14:28 AM America/Denver

I am impressed with your knowledge and I liked your post. Keep up sharing such nice information with us.


posted on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 7:22:07 AM America/Denver

Nice article! Pasteurization came about for a “safe” way to distribute mass production of milk. But like anything else …it’s an experiment! Years later we see the side effects, etc. just like they say it’s actually better for everyone to drink whole milk. I think it’s unconstitutional to say you cannot drink raw milk.


posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 9:33:23 AM America/Denver

thank you! get the word out! bless you.


posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 12:21:24 PM America/Denver

I loved this article and agree that we should be able to drink raw milk if we want! God does not make mistakes! Humans do!


posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 12:34:30 PM America/Denver

Our five children…now all almost adults..have drunk/were raised on raw milk since early childhood…20years..we use to have shares in a cow!..till that was banned…they all have amazing immune systems, were never ill from raw milk, the milk could last up to 10 days at the coldest back part of the fridge, they are not immunised either, rarely were ever I’ll except for a sniffly cold maybe that I treated with High Vit C and colloidal silver…..once in October we returned from holidays to discover the entire kindy of 60 families had been I’ll from chicken pox for 3 weeks! True and our in immunised family the only ones still healthy!..they were all breast fed till at least 1 yr…raw milk is fantastic


posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 12:38:15 PM America/Denver

Our five children…now all almost adults..have drunk/were raised on raw milk since early childhood…20years..we use to have shares in a cow!..till that was banned…they all have amazing immune systems, were never ill from raw milk, the milk could last up to 10 days at the coldest back part of the fridge, they are not immunised either, rarely were ever I’ll except for a sniffly cold maybe that I treated with High Vit C and colloidal silver…..once in October we returned from holidays to discover the entire kindy of 60 families had been I’ll from chicken pox for 3 weeks! True and our in immunised family the only ones still healthy!..they were all breast fed till at least 1 yr…raw milk is fantastic


posted on Monday, February 9, 2015 3:33:55 PM America/Denver

What convinced me on raw milk was my aunt had a cow and used to have bowls of milk on the kitchen table souring, maybe for curds and whey. We took baths in a galvanized tub in the kitchen. When we moved from California to Texas, I had a tub of beloved Organic Pastures butter in a styrofoam chest with ice, I was negligent about replacing as I was trying to make the trip a vacation as well. Soon the butter had an off smell, yet I couldn’t toss it, maybe because no matter how strong smelling their cheese got, I always ultimately ate and relished them. My niece and I both enjoyed the butter in Texas- it somehow smelled better by then (good bacteria ate bad). Then, after Fukashima, I filled my frig and a few in freezer of raw milk gallons. They tasted so yummy after they turned sour and champagne bubbly, when we got more, we waited till they got that way to drink. The frozen ones just rotted as quick as pasteurized.

judy maharrey

posted on Saturday, February 14, 2015 3:19:31 PM America/Denver

as a child we drank milk straight from the cow. no one was sick. when i started school, we were given pasteurized mik. i got sick, threw up the milk every time i drank it. to this day i am considered lactose intolerant.

Sugar: The Science, The History, & The Love Affair

Sugar: The Science, The History, & The Love Affair

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, I don’t eat sugar” even while pouring honey into their cup of tea?  The word “sugar” has come to mean many things to many people, and some define it very narrowly to mean the white stuff they used to dump into their coffee.

To properly discuss sugar, we’ll start with what it is, where it comes from, the dangers of sugar, & why we love it.

Sugar: The Science, History & Love Affair

What is “sugar”?

In Chemistry-speak, sugar is C 1 2 H 2 2 O 1 1, ; it is a basic chemical compound that is the basis of all carbohydrates (glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrate).   And carbohydrates, produced by plants, are the macronutrients required by all living beings to produce energy.  They are the “hydrates of carbon” (Joachim, p. 98) and no matter what form the carbohydrate takes (sugar, starch, fiber, pectin, etc), all living things eventually break them down into….sugar.   This broken down sugar (glucose) is fuel.  Blood sugar is energy.  Sugar consumption begins immediately upon birth as it is found in a mother’s milk (called lactose); perhaps this connection is what starts the lifelong love affair with the #1 food additive.

Mother feeding child

And so, the person swearing off sugar is really swearing off refined sugar, sugar used as an additive to enhance food flavors.  No one can live a day without sugar in the bloodstream.  Is refined sugar a modern phenomenon?

History of Sugar

We often associate savory spices with the nation of India, but we can also thank them for processed sugar.  Extracting sugarcane juice and then boiling it into syrup began in India earlier than 500 BC.  Refining the sugar further to remove the dark crystals came about 400 years later.  Sugar was used medicinally in India, then in Persia, North Africa, and Spain all before the 7th century.  It didn’t hit Europe until some time after the Crusades and was by then not solely used as a medicine.  By the 1400’s, the candy industry was in full swing.  The British fancied a spot of sugar in the tea—so much so that the average person in England went from consuming 4 lbs of sugar annually to consuming 12 lbs of sugar just within an 80 year span during the 1700’s (Joachim, p. 552).

Cup of Tea

Americans, one could say, are having a similar renaissance now, as we have quadrupled our intake with the modern diet, and then some.   Don’t believe me?  Guyenet, an obesity researcher and neurbiologist determined that if the current trend in America continues, the American diet would be 100% sugar by 2606!

Graph from WholeHealthSource

Graph used courtesy of Stephan Guyenet

Sugar Beets joined in the fun due to the work of a Prussian chemist in the mid 1800’s.  Today, sugar beets account for more than 45% of modern refined sugar.  And that brings us to the next not-so-fun subject…genetically modified foods.  Back in 2009, Monsanto petitioned the FDA to allow the planting of GMO sugar beet seed, but the FDA was forced (by court order) to say “not yet” until it could be tested (you just gotta read this article).  But the FDA never completed the review of Monsanto’s GMO sugar beet seed prior to letting farmers use the seed anyway (so you have a federal agency defying a court order, basically).  Between 2009-2012, the seeds were used without real, legal permission until the review was completed by the agency responsible for all GMOs unleashed upon humanity– Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)—which, by the way, falls under the purview of the USDA.  You can read that official review statement here but I’ll warn you, methinks they protesteth too much with that self-validating last paragraph.  Eyeroll.

The Eeee-vils of Sugar

The subject of sugar’s effects on health overwhelms me: the damage that overindulgence can wreak is overwhelming to every system in your body!   I’ve written about food addiction, and about autoimmune disease and the connection they have to diet.  I suffered horribly until I learned to take baby steps towards changing my diet and regained my own health.   Maybe one day I’ll make that subject– the dangers of sugar– my opus.  But until then read this article by Andrea Fabry (someone whom I deeply respect) when she not only explains sugar but its effect on the liver.   Dr. Rossano links sugar intake with anxiety attacks, among other things.   Sugar feeds mold, and although that’s great when it comes to cheese or alcohol, it can make you very sick—so I also recommend this article by The Holistic Homestead in which Arwen explains the science and gives clear action steps to recovery.   Kelly from SimpleLifeMom talks about her own personal health and she gives irrefutable evidence and facts to back up the fact that too much sugar really has the power to destroy.



Why We Love Sugar

From a purely scientific and historical standpoint, sugar is traditional and simply unavoidable.  Like everything else, the problems begin when it is taken out of context.  It used to be something special and difficult to obtain, and was generally used in its more natural form (like juices).  Now, the processed version is found in virtually everything on the grocery store shelf as either white sugar or worse—corn syrup.  We cannot deny, however, the culinary benefits to sugar and its role in creating fermented foods (like kombucha, for instance).  There really are some benefits to sugar, but that doesn’t mean you have to use the Roundup Ready, bleached stuff, or that you have to drink carbonated corn syrup.  We’ll look at some options, but first let’s admit something on the happy side—there are benefits to sugar!

Benefits of Sugar


You are going to consume some sugar, in some form.  We use honey most often around our homestead (even in our homemade jam), but maple syrup comes in at a close second.  Our dear friend Kathie is an expert on that; she explains how you can make the substitution of maple syrup for white sugar.

{If you’ve ever wondered why anyone would be crazy enough to make their own syrup, click on the picture below!}

Maple Sugaring

Kelly from SimpleLifeMom gives a quick & concise list of some of your options.  Eliminating dependence on white sugar and bringing down the consumption levels to pre-1700s Great Britain would be quite a feat, would it not?  Can you bring your average consumption (assuming you’re an average American, which you are not) from 45 lbs annually down to only 4 lbs a year?

Remember things like moderation, ethical harvesting practices, and the purity of the product—those things matter.  Not all countries that produce sugar cane have American employment ethics.  Nearly half the sugar you buy in the store is from genetically modified plants and has been treated with copious amounts of Roundup (note: the actual genetic modification made to the sugar beet was in regards to its tolerance to Roundup, since a real sugar beet dies when exposed to it).  Most of what you see in the store has also been so overprocessed, there are zero minerals left.

I suggest finding white sugar alternatives where appropriate.  I think that the this article explains those alternatives extremely well (and check out the flow chart, it brought a chuckle).   You might be surprised how simple it is to make substitutions in recipes calling for white sugar.  In fact, we only eat homemade jam at our house and not a jar of it has white sugar in it, because by using Pomona’s Universal Pectin I can substitute other more natural sweeteners and with only a fraction of the quantity white-sugar-recipes require.

Blackberry Jam

Ethical, Organic, Non-GMO Options:

Sucanat is actually a trademarked brand name (held by Ragus Holdings, Inc), did you know that?  I knew that it’s often used as an alternative to brown sugar (that’s how I use it anyway).  It’s an acronym: “Sucre de canne naturel”—natural cane sugar.  According to the sugar industry, it’s somewhere between refined sugar and real, raw sugar; it’s the middle ground.  It’s not terribly different than any other organic cane sugar except that it does retain some of its molasses content, meaning it does have some residual minerals that over-processed cane sugar does not have anymore.  Rapadura is virtually the same thing.  It’s like Kleenex vs. tissues, Xerox vs. photocopy,  Pantry Paratus vs. “kitchen self sufficiency” (wink).   The benefit to buying the brand name from Pantry Paratus—is that you are getting organic, fair trade certified product, so you know it’s ethical.  Plus, you’re buying in bulk which eliminates excess packaging waste and saves some cash.

Organic, Fair Trade

If you are looking for cane sugar without the molasses content, you are getting a lesser product nutritionally.  Then again, who eats sugar for nutritional purposes?   You can at least ensure that the sugar you buy is cane (not beet), organic, non-GMO, and fair trade.  Pantry Paratus knows that this imported product is costly (while the over-processed, chemical laden junk is only pennies on the dollar at your grocery store)…so we sell it in 5 lb bulk bags.  Sugar doesn’t spoil; if you keep it dry by storing it properly, you will save real cash with the bulk purchase, while living out your convictions with your purchasing power.


What you need to know:

*Sugar byproducts are alcohol, citric acid, nutritional yeast & molasses.  They can come from beets or from cane, so be sure that you only buy organic (or at least nonGMO) products.  You can get non-GMO citric acid & nutritional yeast at Pantry Paratus.

*There is no law requiring food manufacturers to reveal the source of sugar as either beet or cane because both are chemically identical.  Corn is another matter.

*You can make substitutions in recipes between 1 cup white sugar & 1 cup packed brown sugar (but there might be a slight impact on flavor).

*You can substitute up to 1 cup honey for 1 cup sugar; a recipe calling for more sugar will not be a 1:1 ratio with honey, however.

*Powdered sugar nearly always contains cornstarch: make your own at home but pulsing regular white cane sugar in a coffee grinder.


Want to learn about sugar alternatives?

What sweeteners are doing to you
Read the article I wrote for Real Food Outlaws here.


Many resources that you would also enjoy are hyperlinked in the article.  The educational resources not hyperlinked and that were used to inform this article are as follows:

Ettlinger, S. (2007). Twinkie, deconstructed: My journey to discover how the ingredients found in processed foods are grown, mined (yes, mined), and manipulated into what America eats. New York, NY: Hudson Street Press.

Guyenet, S. (2012, February 18). Whole Health Source: By 2606, the US Diet will be 100 Percent Sugar. Retrieved January 4, 2015, from http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2012/02/by-2606-us-diet-will-be-100-percent.html

Joachim, D., & Schloss, A. (2008). The science of good food: The ultimate reference on how cooking works. Toronto: R. Rose.

Wolke, R., & Parrish, M. (2002). What Einstein told his cook: Kitchen science explained. New York: W.W. Norton

Wolke, R., & Parrish, M. (2005). What Einstein told his cook 2: The sequel : Further adventures in kitchen science. New York: W. W. Norton.


Andrea @LittleBigHarvest

posted on Monday, January 5, 2015 8:28:48 AM America/Denver

What a great article. I am so glad you mentioned homemade jams. While I love using homegrown and foraged fruits to make jam, I have always disliked using so much white sugar. I’ve been trying to cut refined white sugar out of my life as much as possible, and this article is a big help, filled with information. Thanks!

Andrea Fabry

posted on Saturday, January 10, 2015 9:16:14 AM America/Denver

What a fantastic article! Can you imagine a diet that’s 100% sugar? Wow.

Sarah Sheean

posted on Monday, January 12, 2015 8:19:20 PM America/Denver

Thank you so much for this much needed info! We here in the US are just beginning to learn about all these overwhelming details about what lurks in our food. I for one am totally overwhelmed with all the information and how to find whole foods for my family. Again, thanks.

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance Definitions & the Practical Realities

food allergy or food intolerance

 I felt the need for legitimacy.  The doctor said not to bother.

“I don’t know if it is an allergy or sensitivity,” I said.

“Does it matter?” he asked.

“Yes, well…maybe.”

“Look, it poisons your son.  It is a severe reaction no matter what you choose to call it.  False positive rates are high, and learning that it is or isn’t an allergy doesn’t minimize his physical reaction or your need to avoid it….does it?”  The doctor took a visible pause and continued, “If it were me, I’d skip the allergy test on him.  You would have to poison him with the corn to determine that corn is a poison…to learn what you already know.” Continue reading Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance Definitions & the Practical Realities

Home Grocery Delivery: The Future (& History) of Grocery Shopping

The Future (and History) of Grocery Shopping

By Naomi Shaw, guest contributor

For some, the idea of grocery delivery seems either too “modern” or excessive. They argue that the supermarket is just down the road. Why bother with delivery? Well…

 Once upon a time, families depended on food deliveries everyday. Milkmen delivered glass bottles of fresh milk and eggs, and it was essential that families keep food fresh via to-your-door ice services. So the concept of food delivery isn’t new; perhaps society is returning to a personalized relationship with produce.

 When the Game Changed

 The refrigerator revolutionized the way average Americans stored and consumed groceries. Until the middle of the century, refrigerators were relatively small and mostly preserved the necessities. However, as technology progressed and an increasing number of Americans gained disposable income, the average fridge size more than doubled, growing from 9 cubic ft. to 22 cubic feet! Suddenly, perishable items weren’t so perishable!

The Move to Megastores

 With the prevalence of big refrigerators and the move to multiple-vehicle-owning families, giant grocery stores became the norm. In 2013, the United States grocery market brought in $850 billion. However, the online grocery industry represented a mere 1% of that figure. So why is it a good idea to buy your groceries online instead?

  • You’re less likely to impulsive buy unnecessary or unhealthy items. A recent study estimates that shoppers spend an roughly 20% of their grocery bill on 60% of grocery store runs. Shopping for food online means you’re more meticulous and likely to stock up on staples you really need.
  •  It’s convenient. Time is money. There’s no doubt that online grocery shopping ensures you’ll save trips to the supermarket. This way, you’ll have more time to cook, read, and do the things that make you happy.
  •  You’ll also save cash on transportation. Use less gas and save milage on your car.
  •  It’s more sustainable! You might be surprised to find that shopping for food online helps to save the environment. A single delivery truck making multiple stops burns less gas than lots of individual car trips. Plus, most delivery services use paper, not plastic, so you’ll keep non-biodegradable products out of oceans and landfills.

Some Tips for Online Grocery Shopping

  •  Research where companies get their produce. Inquire about GMO fruits and vegetables versus organic. Find out which areas your delivery service sources it’s products from. This is a great way to determine sustainability.
  •   Determine the turn-around time between order and delivery.
  •  Inquire about the company’s ethical policies. For instance, Pantry Paratus only sells Frontier bulk spices and baking ingredients because they are healthy, economical, and ethically harvested.
  •  Compare prices with competitors to get the best deal. Save money and time!
  •  Investigate to determine whether or not you can place a recurring, monthly order. This way you can be sure you’ll get the essentials each time without having to reformulate a list with each purchase.

 So there you have it… a brief overview of grocery delivery and tips for making the switch! Now that you’ve gotten some food for thought (sorry not sorry), would you give up in-store shopping for online delivery? Leave your comments below!

Home Delivery Infograph

1 Comment

Amber, Head Pixie

posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 12:32:45 PM America/Denver

Nice post! My CSA is a weekly delivery service, and you can add on local meats, eggs, milk, and more. It’s only in the Asheville/Greenville-Spartanburg area now, but I hope to see more like it popping up everywhere!

The Reluctant Naturalist: No more sugar? REALLY??

The Reluctant Naturalist: No More Sugar? Really?

No more sugar? Really?!?

No more sugar

 Did you catch the 1st installment of Erin’s journey?  Click here to read about her difficult food allergy and the start of her recovery, and you will also get the recipe for her first allergen-free meal.

 It has been eleven days since I started on this crazy journey, and yesterday I about lost my mind.

 I gave up sugar… ALL sugar.

 Not just the icky unnatural kind, but honey and agave and coconut sugar. No home-dehydrated fruit leathers – heck, no fruit in general.

 I may go crazy. I think I am already there now.


Last night I scared my husband. I was on sugar let down. Sure, I stopped the obvious sugars 10 days ago (a feat in itself) but today was different. Today was coffee free (I do frou-frou drinks normally). Today was filled with veggies! Today I was jittery and talked too fast about nonsensical things.

 Who wants a carrot for dessert? Me please!!!


 I thought I had hit the ‘I’ll do anything to get rid of my evil yeast,” button in my life already, but apparently the moment was now. The sugar free gauntlet was thrown.



This isn’t even a doctor’s recommendation (A clue that I have reached clear desperation).


I am now following any and all advice available in my natural remedies encyclopedia book, random people found at the fair grounds and my lifelong friends’ ideas that worked for them (but are weird).


So, yeast feeds on yeast (duh) and uses it to grow more yeast (eww). It also grows like an evil gross wildfire when able to eat sugar. Yesterday was the day that I refused to give in to its fertility frenzy. And I nearly lost my mind.

Today, I woke up and one of my yeast issues was gone! It had been slowly getting better, but was wiped away by its lack of food source! So today I went sugar free again. This time I tried to drink my espresso shots with just milk (gag, gag, yuck) and by the time I drank most of it, the gross-o-meter in my mind was only at a seven out of ten (ten being an all time horrific taste). Of course, the first sip of the concoction registered at a 13 so I really don’t know what to think of it yet.

Is this how life is? When forced to try new things you start to tolerate them out of desperation and then start to like them over time because you don’t know any better? I am not sure if this concept inspires me or depresses me.  Me, who has NEVER tried ketchup on my French fries – not ever (of course, the french fry ketchup thing isn’t relevant anymore – darn tater).

But still, I refuse to give up all sugar permanently. I need sweet sometimes!

Even so, this infection will DIE come hell or high water!

Or maybe it isn’t the lack of sugar that is causing this vent, but the 2 1/2 hour prep for natural – can free – spaghetti sauce (Peeling 5 lbs. of roma tomatoes is no laughing matter).

Make soup from tomato peels Read: Don’t Throw Those Away:Delicious Tomato Soup from Peels

The funny thing is that the website I got the recipe from says they are here to help me “provide nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle for (my) family and (I) can do it without any more time or stress.” Clearly she has never timed herself opening a jar of Ragu and dumping it into a pot.

 This is just too much information for one sugar deprived momma!

 I suppose I should take this one-day at a time. But, who wants to go that slow?

 At least I know that there is someone that is dealing with a little bit of crazy just like me and I can whine about my lack of yummy chocolate and hear the inspired words, “Been there; it’s awful. But, it’s totally worth it.”



The Reluctant Naturalist

Chaya and ErinErin met Chaya and Wilson over ten years ago when Chaya won tickets to the Passion of the Christ and invited Erin and her husband. This was not the best ‘couple’s date night movie,’ and everyone opted out of ice cream to go home and be depressed instead.  However they’ve been friends ever since. She is secretly trying to devise a love potion so that at least one of her children will marry a kiddo of Chaya’s. They say friends are the family one chooses for themselves, but Erin would feel better if there was a way to mix in a few grandchildren somewhere down the line – just in case.

(Picture: Chaya & Erin, very large and very hungry)


Nothing in this blog constitutes medical or legal advice.  You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes.  Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.


Amber, Head Pixie

posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 7:13:30 AM America/Denver

Addiction is terrible, isn’t it? The craving for that sugar is fierce, and just as bad as when I quit cigarettes, even worse. After not liking the taste of anything for a while on a sugar fast it changes into having a more sophisticated palate, in my experience!

Heidi @ PintSizeFarm

posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 1:09:09 PM America/Denver

Oh my goodness! I don’t think I could. I love fruit, and honey, and even the “evil” sugar! Hubby doesn’t eat the white stuff 4 days a week – but allows for it the other three.


posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 11:13:46 PM America/Denver

Oh, Amber – I really hope it results in a more sophisticated palate. I don’t think I can survive this thing long term without my taste buds catching up!


posted on Thursday, October 23, 2014 6:35:45 AM America/Denver

I used to roll my eyes at hubby’s addictions…until I tried to quit sugar and coffee. It’s been years and no luck, though, I definitely consume less of each. One of my preteen daughters is on the no yeast diet after being terribly sick for about a year. Addiction isn’t funny. My heart goes out to people I see buying sodas and energy drinks. They don’t know the devil they’re letting in.

GiGi Eats Celebrities

posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 9:04:53 PM America/Denver

If you ever need advice/help – I am here, I have been 100% sugar free for 12 years and this even includes CARROTS!! ha!

Erin – Reluctant Naturalist

posted on Friday, October 24, 2014 9:56:06 PM America/Denver

It is hard to stop sugar. I have already failed at it. I guess the trick is to get up and keep on not eating it. This is not easy when you are making cute little cupcakes that look like owl faces for the church potluck. I really am disliking this candy month at the moment! When did Halloween become Harvest Festival(s) that are spread out for several weeks? And Gigi – CARROTS! What? This I must look into. Thanks!


posted on Sunday, November 16, 2014 7:32:23 PM America/Denver

I can sympathize entirely, being a Dove Dark Chocolate devotee myself. I have found Maria Emmerich’s blog (http://mariamindbodyhealth.com/) to be a great help. She has a great recipe for something called a Fat Bomb. No sugar, but some really great chocolate tasting treat involving cocoa butter. I just make the ‘white chocolate’ part and I add in some coconut oil and vanilla. Tastes chocolatey enough to get me through another day. Now if she could only develop a sugar-free, natural, copy-cat recipe for Mountain Dew or Fresca …

Solarbag: Pure Water Anywhere

SolarBag at Pantry Paratus


Pure Water Anywhere

SolarBag at Pantry Paratus
SolarBag at Pantry Paratus

I have read through many pages of technical detail.  I have read through documentation provided by African countries that have tested the SolarBag and found it to be a viable solution to their water crisis.  In 2012, the Embassy of Camaroon wrote a nice letter to the makers of SolarBag after extensive testing, and the two worked together to curb a Cholera outbreak in the Northern part of the country.  

Is the SolarBag just yet one more water purfication system out there?  We will explain the differences, which include technology, viability, portability, and pricing.  Then we are giving you a chance to try one for yourself–for free.  

SolarBag Technology


The official EPA testing was completed through the University of Arizona, and it exceeded all requirements to be labeled a “purification system” (which is of the highest order and not to be confused with “filtration system”).  You might be familiar with the Berkey family of products, which also fall into this same “purification system” certification.  What you might not know is that the technology used to create the SolarBag is unprecedented and not found in any other water purification system out there.


“The SOLARBAG® is the only water purifier that’s proven it can remove virtually every lethal toxin found in contaminated water, including gasoline, diesel fuel, pesticides, herbicides, toxic heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, and pharmaceuticals like artificial hormones and animal antibiotics.”

World Water Magazine


The nanotechnology in the SolarBag does not trap contaminants like all of the filter-style purification units on the market.  It destroys them.  Do you realize what this could mean for the world’s water supply if we could put this technology in the hands of its people? This is a game-changer, and the maker of the SolarBag has been recognized for this through a myriad of awards given for this innovation.


SolarBag Technology


The SolarBag is made in America.  In fact, there is a small piece of the device that is made by individuals with disabilities (I have a soft spot for that). 


It is non-chemical and non-powered.  Just like we love the gravity-fed nature of the Berkey because it requires no electricity, we love the solar-powered nature of the SolarBag–4 hours outside on a cloudy day is all that is necessary to exceed the World Health Organization and the EPA’s water purification standards.


How It Works: The SolarBag is a transparent 3 L bag that encloses a nanotechnology coated mesh insert. When the SolarBag is placed in sunlight, five photochemical processes are activated which destroy a wide range of contaminants; including pathogens, heavy metals, and chemical toxins.


How the SolarBag Works


SolarBag Viability


500 Uses Per Bag.  At Least.  Multiple uses per day.  You can produce 3 liters of pure water at a time by leaving the filled bag in sunlight for 2-3 hours of direct sunlight (or 4-6 hours on a cloudy day).  You will know the water is pure when the drop of food coloring has disappeared (because it was cleansed completely out of the water). The number “500” was based on an area with extremely high heavy metal content.  My contact at Puralytics told me: “In Malawi the bags have been used 3 times per day for over a year now, or well over 1,000 uses and are still going strong.”  So there you have it.  The math below is based on 500 uses, but you can double the output most likely.

One bag = 1,500 liters of water

That’s over 396 gallons of clean drinking water.

Cost per liter: roughly $.05

(even cheaper this week.  Spoiler: we have a special price for 1 week only)


Endless Applications: hiking, camping, overseas travel, emergency aid, a spare one in each vehicle, bug-out bags (preparedness packs). 


7 Year Shelf life At least. This means that an emergency SolarBag tucked away in a bag will still be useful when you need it most.   The makers of the BPA-FREE plastic actually said that they should have a shelf life of –exact wording–“hundreds of years” but they’re only guaranteeing seven.  It is not so easy to guarantee something “for hundreds of years” since you don’t really have a way to test that.


Self-Sustaining Water Purification System: no chemicals, no electricity, not even a bright-shining sunny day is required.  Nothing to add, replace, or fix. 


Made from recycled materials and sand, and then you can recycle it again.   The SolarBag is made from recyclable plastics.  The insert is made from environmentally stable materials derived from sand.  After 500 uses, you would dispose of the insert but put the bag back into your recycling bin!


Bulk Purchasing: Because of the natural humanitarian applications for the SolarBag and because of the commitment by both Pantry Paratus and Puralytics to help assist in that effort, bulk pricing is available! See the end of this post for pricing on 6 or more units.    Please email customer (at) pantryparatus.com if you are looking for numbers closer to the 50-100 range.


SolarBag in Uganda

 SolarBags being used in Uganda


SolarBag Portability

I suppose you can even put portability under the “viability” section, because it’s one-dimensional, lightweight design gives this far greater reach to the furthest corners of the world than anything else.  You could mail one with first-class postage (without the box), it is so lightweight! You could tuck it into the thinnest zipper-pouch on a backpack or suitcase, and you could send boxes of them as humanitarian aid for a fraction of the cost heavier (and bulkier) systems require.

Total Weight: 4 ounces


SolarBag is thin and lightweight


SolarBag Pricing

We mentioned earlier that the average cost of 1 liter of clean drinking water by using the SolarBag is only $.05.  That is based on average pricing. 


Pantry Paratus, as an authorized dealer, generally sells the SolarBag for $77.99.


It is difficult to put a price on self-sufficiency, safety, and security.  But if a person wanted to put a price on clean water anywhere at any time–Pantry Paratus can help.


There was a giveaway, but it’s over now!  Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to hear of other offers like this one.


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6 Ways to Read–or not Read–a Blog

You read about that once, now what?

6 Ways to Read—or NOT to Read—a Blog


6 ways to read or not to read a blog



Two different friends, two pots of tea.  One dear friend (unwittingly) helped me conclude something that has pestered me for quite some time about how we process new information.  The other helped me put words to some things that are right.  Both conversations had something to do with information we had extracted from blogs.

  Continue reading 6 Ways to Read–or not Read–a Blog

GRAS: How the FDA Approves Food Additives Without a Formal Process

GRAS: Generally Recognized As Safe

How the FDA Approves Food Additives without a Formal Process


Hula Hoop



The year was 1958.

 Sputnik 1 & Sputnik II crash and burn.

 The hula hoop was invented.

 Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship.

 Elvis Presley joined the Army.

 Pizza Hut was founded.

 Instant noodles hit the market for the first time.

And this is the magic year the FDA picked to declare all food commonly served to be “generally recognized as safe” unless tested and proven to be otherwise.

If people were eating it in 1958 and are still eating it now, well…there you go.   Of course, they did not wear seatbelts, thought cigarettes were the coolest ever, and going out with wet hair could cause a cold.

Continue reading GRAS: How the FDA Approves Food Additives Without a Formal Process