Sunday, May 30, 2010


Tonight, I'm outside in the dark, on the computer, watching my kids chase lightening bugs, while I'm savoring a few dark chocolate squares and almonds. Steve is pointing out the big dipper to the kids. Lucas is yelling, "I see it Dad! I see it!" And now he's telling the kids about how sailors used to navigate using the North Star. They see that too! What a beautiful night. Wow.

Back to chocolate... As I'm tasting smooth 70% chocolate squares, I'm remembering my latest visit to Cafe' Chocolate in Lititz, PA. Whenever I go there, it's always a good experience. A couple weeks ago, the owner, Selena, so graciously educated me on the specific health benefits of high quality dark chocolate. Listening to her talk is delightful because she truly enjoys what she does. She said that you can find good quality organic chocolate by reading the ingredients. If the first ingredient is either chocolate liquor or cocoa mass, and there are no artificial ingredients or preservatives or oils (other than pure cocoa butter), then there's a good chance that it's a very high quality chocolate. This is harder to find than I thought. Most grocery store chocolate has as it's first ingredient: sugar or high fructose corn syrup... along with a list of partially hydrogenated oils and artificial vanillin flavor, etc. But I did find some good stuff at Rhubarb's (on Rt. 501) and of course at Cafe' Chocolate.... where they also sell sugar-free chocolate truffles. Here is a portion of an article on her website:

"Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, potassium, copper and calcium. Even better, it contains healthy amounts of flavonoids, so-called phytochemicals that scientists believe may protect against heart disease and other illnesses, says the paper published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. "

Café Chocolate of Lititz

Hours: 11am - 5pm Sunday to Thursday
9am - 9pm Friday & Saturday

Phone: 717.626.0123
Location: 40 E. Main Street | Lititz, PA | 17543
All major credit cards accepted

Always something here to delight you – Chocolate Sweets & savories from around the world

If you're wondering about the percentages of cocoa or chocolate listed on the label, here's a good explanation from
"Chocolate percentage" is an imposing phrase thrown around loosely among chocolate connoisseurs. It refers to the percentage of cocoa mass (aka chocolate liquor), the essence of chocolate, in the chocolate bar itself. More cocoa mass means a higher percentage, darker color, and a more intense chocolate taste. Unsweetened or bitter chocolate contains nearly 100 percent cocoa mass. Semisweet and bittersweet chocolates have added sugar, so their cocoa percentages are a little lower - good quality dark chocolateusually contains a minimum of 50 percent cocoa mass, but can go as high as 85 percent.

The percentage also gives us some idea about the chocolate's sweetness. If a dark chocolate contains 70 percent cocoa mass, it must contain about 30 percent sugar. The chocolate will have an intense chocolate flavor, with just enough sugar to make it palatable. The lower the chocolate's percentage, the higher the percentage of sugar and the sweeter the chocolate will be.

To avoid paying top dollar for a bar of chocolate that could pass as a bar of soap, purchase a reputable brand. Better quality chocolate bars have fewer ingredients, usually only five or six, and use real vanilla (not vanillin or other artificial flavorings).

Monday, May 24, 2010


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Lancaster county has a wealth of fresh fruits and vegetables growing already. As I walked up to a roadside stand this morning, I saw what I was looking for... boxes of perfectly ripe red berries, and I couldn't help but exclaim out loud, "Oh the glory of strawberries!" The two women standing there just chimed in and agreed.

Psalm 92:4 "Adonai, what you do makes me happy! I take joy in what your hands have made."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sesame Crackers

Hi friends! I just bought the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam and I highly recommend it. Her website also has many recipes on it including this one. Eat these hearty crackers with guacamole or hummus, cream cheese and salsa, etc. The nutrition of almond flour (made entirely of ground almonds) is superior to wheat and rice flours in potassium, magnesium, niacin, alpha-tocopherol, calcium, and iron. It also has twice as much protein and a glycemic index of less than 1 (as compared to the glycemic index of white wheat flour being 71 and rice flour being 98). In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with whole wheat flour and rice flour as long as we're getting a good balance of healthy protein and fat along with it. The problem is that the standard American diet (SAD) is heavily weighted on the side of grains and other carbs... and not enough healthy proteins and fats which sometimes creates a heavy strain on the body to regulate blood glucose. Enjoy this simple recipe. It's fun to make!

Sesame Crackers (from the The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook)

3 c. blanched almond flour

1.5 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt

1 c. sesame seeds

2 TBSP. grapeseed oil (or other oil)

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Cut 3 pieces of parchment paper to fit a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and sesame seeds. In another bowl, whisk together grapeseed oil and eggs. Combine. Refrigerate overnight for nutritional “soaking” benefits which neutralizes phytic acid. If you don’t have time to soak it, it will still taste great with out overnight refrigeration. Divide room temperature dough into 2 pieces. Place 1 piece of dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll to 1/16 inch thickness. Remove the top piece of parchment and transfer the bottom piece of parchment with the rolled-out dough into a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares with a pizza cutter. Bake for 12 – 15 min., until lightly golden. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheets for 30 min., then serve.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Here's what I'm into lately:
1. Organic grape tomatos. Wash 'em and leave on counter for easy access. Pop!
2. Fresh dark green salads w/ grape tomatos, cucumbers, and garlic hummus on top. Extra virgin olive oil and Bragg's Apple Cider vinegar for dressing.
3. Hard-boiled egg with Himalayan Crystal Salt... this high mineral salt rocks!
4. Grapefruit (sectioned) with Himalayan Crystal Salt. The salt cuts the tart and enhances the sweetness of the grapefruit.
5. Granny Smith apple cut-up and sprinkled with cinnamon. Eat with walnuts.
6. A bowl of whole yogurt (raw) with 5 drops chocolate stevia, thawed blueberries, and walnuts. Add any nuts and seeds for hearty texture and flavor. Amazing food.
7. Fresh-picked strawberries!!!! For dessert, serve with little chunks of dark chocolate.
8. Smoothies... berries and almond butter or dark greens.
9. Raw carrots every day! When in a hurry going out the door, throw carrots in a little paper lunch sack with a carrot peeler to peel fresh and pass out to the kids in between stops. Goes great with the whole hard-boiled eggs and salt... keep paper bag for egg shells and carrot peelings. Rinse both with a little splash of your drinking water (holding it out the car window for rinsing... while stopped). Hee, hee!
10. Pure water, water, water. Get a stainless steel thermos and keep filling it up!

Enjoy clean foods straight from the Creator Himself. Thanks for the snacks God!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Healthy Toe Nails

Hey, I have some personal good news to share! I didn't expect good results this fast, but my formerly ailing big toenails, which were literally decaying over the last 4 years from a persistent fungus, are now clearly healthy and about 75% grown-out. I am extremely excited about this progress. I wasn't so sure it would happen, and I certainly didn't expect it to happen this fast. I really didn't want to take the disgusting "before pictures" of my toe nails a couple months ago, but I felt like I should do it just in case I'd actually have an "after picture" to compare it to... and I do! Wow. Now, we'll see if it lasts. That's what I'm really interested in. Long-term health.

If anyone wants to hear about my total regiment with nail care and eating, I'd be happy to share it. It involves purchasing a couple little tools for scraping and exposing the infected nail bed in order to treat it with "Living Clay" each night. I also used peroxide for keeping the nail beds clean after scrapings about every 3 days. While wet from peroxide, I always went barefoot until the nail beds were dry. And I tried to "starve the fungus" by the anti-fungal diet suggested at By the way, this diet is also good for many many other health problems having to do with digestive issues, skin problems, mental health, yeast infections, etc... I think everyone loses weight on this diet, so just be aware of that. It's normal to lose weight when you eliminate starches and sugars.

For those of you who are familiar with the anti-fungal diet, I'm now on "Phase 2" which welcomes the addition of foods like beans and brown rice... yeah! I was really craving those wonderful foods. Still, no sugar, no milk, no mushrooms, no yeast, and no wheat, no corn, etc... No problem. I feel good. Whenever I go "off" phase 2 (maybe in a month) I will probably still eat sort-of like phase 2 because I just feel good on it... especially my stomach and digestion.

Yeah! Thank you God for healthy toe nails!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why hard-boiled eggs don't peel

I buy eggs from two different farms in Lancaster. Both farm's eggs are layed by free-range, pasture-fed chickens. Both have deep golden-orange yolks. Both are delicious, very fresh, brown eggs... but they are totally different in their peel-ability after hard boiling them. One is smooth and easy to peel. The other is impossible to peel and every tiny piece of shell wants to stick to the egg forever and ever. Feel the frustration. And so I say "Hmmm..." That's when I realize one difference... one farmer washes his eggs; the other farmer does not. My curiosity starts flying around the internet studying food science and the anatomy of an egg. Aha! I just read that "the outer eggshell is made almost entirely of calcium carbonate and is covered with as many as 17,000 tiny pores. It is a semipermeable membrane which allows air and moisture to pass through. The shell also has a thin outermost coating called the bloom or cuticle that keeps bacteria out. Once the egg is washed, the bloom has been removed. Once the bloom is removed, the egg is susceptible to air transference and this will speed up the aging process. It is this aging process that actually helps the egg to separate from the shell due to a change in the pH as well as transference of air into the egg shell. The conclusion: the unwashed eggs will last longer but the washed eggs are the only way to go for hard-boiling. Here's where I buy my washed eggs:

Leola: Meadowview Dairy Store, 172 S. Farmersville Rd., Leola, PA 17540. (717) 656-2261 or (717) 821-6748. Fresh raw milk for $3 a gallon from a small herd of Jersey cows. Variety of aged raw milk cheese available, retail and wholesale. They also have brown eggs from pastured hens, yogurt, raw honey and, and more. Stop by the farm.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Anti-oxidant Spices

Hi friends. I gotta say that I'm loving this unseasonably warm weather in PA. Love it! We enjoyed some cinnamon apple walnut pie outside tonight while sitting in lawn chairs watching the clouds go by. Very simple unsweetened recipe below. The aromatic spices bring out the natural sweetness and curb the tartness of the green apples. Really flavorful!

Besides being flavorful, I sometimes forget that there are potent antioxidant benefits in these spices. I just use them because they taste so good. The website I linked to (click on the title of this post) gives you a big list and description of highly beneficial spices like cloves, cinnamon, oregano, tumeric, etc... Have fun with them!

Unsweetened Apple Pie Filling
5 thinly slices granny smith apples (your choice: peeled or unpeeled)
1/2 c. walnuts
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Toss them all together. Set aside. Press half of the pie crust dough into pie pan to make the bottom. Pour filling into crust. Shape the other half of the dough over the top of the filling in thin pieces or strips (any random shapes are fine as long as the thickness of the pieces are even). Place foil over edges, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 min. Remove foil and bake another 20-25 min. 'til top is golden.

Pie Crust
2 c. flour (use fresh whole grain flour or buckwheat flour)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2/3 c. lard
4-5 TBSP. cold water (just enough to get a workable ball of dough that's not sticky)

Combine flour and salt. Add lard and work it into the flour and salt by hand until it's all combined and crumby. Then add just enough cold water to get a firm non-sticky dough. Work it in by hand pushing and kneading until well combined. I like to let my dough ball sit in the frig. overnight for maximum nutrient benefit so that it "soaks" and neutralizes the phytic acid of the whole grains. You can try a rolling pin to flatten, but I found that just pushing it into the pan and shaping it by hand worked best for me. Follow directions above to bake.

Further notes on antioxidants:
( Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. Indeed, a recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.