Primitive Diva

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Three Goats Farm of Montgomery, Texas
Melissa is a former beauty queen, personal trainer and certified holistic health coach. Melissa founded Queen Bee Wellness to specialize her coaching practice towards Women's Wellness and Beauty. She helps women focus on finding their own natural beauty from a integrative approach of balancing Mind, Body and Soul. Melissa believes that what we put in our mind is just as important as the nourishing food we put in our bodies and products on our skin. She strives to coach women to balance a healthier body image, approach to wellness and authentic living. With her passion for a clean lifestyle, Queen Bee Wellness therapeutic skin care products were born- to help women enhance their natural glow, without causing harm to their health from chemical laden toxic products. Melissa's philosophy to real beauty is summarized in "Wellness is Beauty". Melissa resides on a 10 acre farm in Montgomery, Texas with her husband and teen aged children. In her spare time she is chief goat wrangler and milker of her "Queen Bee" herd of dairy goats at Three Goats Farm.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Diva's Primalicious Cookies

Primitive Diva’s Ultimate Primalicious Cookies…..Wildly gluten, sugar and dairy FREE!

4 cups of Almond Meal
2 eggs (farm fresh and pastured-please!)
1 tsp organic Vanilla (alcohol free)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 ½ cups of Date paste ( 1 cup dates/1 cup filtered water blended until creamy)

*optional: 1 tsp of baking soda (aluminum free)

Combine all liquid ingredients together (eggs, date paste and vanilla) then stir into dry mixture (meal and cinnamon).

Stir in varieties;

Raisins, shredded Coconut and Walnuts (my favorite)
Dark Chocolate Chips
Dried Cranberries and Macadamias
Bacon…? Well, maybe (a girl loves her bacon, right?)

spoon onto a coconut oil greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes....yum!

Saturday, January 29, 2011 "Beef-Like" Burrito's

Wanted to share Stephen Colberts take on Taco Bell and the allegations that they use a less than 35% beef filler. you know where your food comes from? I do!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Gordita Supreme Court
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Essential Oils for Essential Health- The Timeless Apothecary!

Hey Diva's! I survived the night with Rock Monkey and his FLU virus "issues". Its a new day and a new dawn (love that song by the way)His fever has subsided and is steady at 99.1. His little body is still fighting the little germies a bit. However,the world has blessed me mentally and physically with a beautiful dry sunny January day in South Texas. I have thrown all the blinds and windows open so a fesh clean breeze is blowing through the house, ahhhhhh!

Now that I have my morning primitive nursing duties out of the way and my patient is resting comfortably. Snuggled up with the assistant care givers(our 3 pooches) and watching a DVD...(NOT the disney channel,I might add- haha!)I am beginning my workout of the day....47 trips up and down the stairs, temp taking, laundry (YUCK), liquid electrolyte provision and DISINFECTING the house. I am sure you are wondering what does a Primitive Diva use in her Primitive Casa, that is natural, effective and beneficial at killing a germ/virus/bacteria invasion? That would be the ancient and naturally derived oils known as "Essential Oils". With so many TOXIC chemicals on the market, strong enough to blast, kaboom and dissolve dirt from our lives. You can only imagine what these do to our health. Studies have already proven that inhaling just one of these dangerous chemical laden products can cause cancer,disrupt our endocrine system (hormones) and cause severe respiratory damage. Ummm...No Thank You,I will just take the Flu virus for a few days!

Essential oils have been carefully derived from nature- they are concentrated essences of various flowers, fruits, herbs and plants that have been used since primitive times. However, in modern times we have forgotten the power of these ancient medicines of the earth, preferring instead to use the products of perfume and chemical companies which imitate the natural fragrances, medicinal and cleansing properties of the oils.Because of the sweet and pleasant smells of the oils, many people wrongly assume that their value is of charm and fragrance only.But, this a mistake. Scientific research has proven the potency of the oils many benefits. These substances are very complex in their molecular structure, and very powerful. The essential oil of Oregano, for example, is twenty six times more powerful than Phenol-which is the active ingredient in most cleansers.

Unlike chemicals, essential oils do not remain in the body. They leave no toxins behind. And essential oils make more practical sense than a commercially manufactured air freshener, as they actually cleanse the air by altering the structure of molecules, rathering than masking the unwanted smells.When we are looking for alternatives to lethal toxic products in our lives, essential oils are a convenient, practical and PRIMITIVE solution!

I keep a small herbal apothecary box in my bathroom. This keeps the oils from being damaged by UV and heat. I love my go to box for many uses...beyond cleaning. I use Tea Tree oil on the occasional blemish, I unwind with an aromatherapy of a Lavendar bath, and I even use Eucalyptus in a steam facial when I feel any sinus pressure coming on.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine said..."the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and massage daily" . As far back as the Fourth century BC- Hippocrates also knew that burning certain aromatic oils offered substances that that protected the body from many contagious diseases. With todays advantage, of basic scientific evidence of the specific antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties of these oils, we can utilize this power as antiseptics and bactericides. Which means that they have the ability to inhibit growth of bacteria and virus(s).

My favorite recipe for a "Primitive Household Bacteria Buster":

In a clean spray bottle combine the follwing,
2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
10 drops of Tea Tree Oil
10 drops of Lavendar oil
10 drops of Clove Oil
10 drops of Lemon Oil
10 drops of Eucalyptus

Once you have the powerful anitbacterial ingredients combined, continually shake as it is being used. I typically spray on carpets, mattress(s), pillows, comforters (no silk) and use a cloth dampened with the spray to wipe down hard surfaces. You will be amazed at the fragrant smell......make sure to store any unused mix in a cool dark area. The fragrance of an oil can last many years but the medicinal strength only has a lifespan of about 2 years. I encourage you to establish a personal Essential Oil apothecary too (like the one I have in my photo). There are many reference books that can teach you the thousands of uses for particular oils. I own several but love Valerie Ann Worwoods book. It has been in my personal library for almost 20 years. I obtain most of my oils and blends from Mountain Rose-they have an extensive collection with even a few that are rare and hard to find. I have linked their site on the right hand of my Blog page. I also have been impressed with the quality of Aura Cacia and they are available in most supermarkets.

I will be sharing many recipes for both home and beauty in my Primitive Diva book.I know you will have fun learning more about these gifts from nature.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Food Nazi or Nurturing Mother...?

The youngest of my Primitive tribe, also known as Rock Monkey, is home sick today. Sore throat, high fever,nausea,body aches and chills. So, Primitive Diva has temporarily become Primitive Nurse!

Why is it that I found myself lovingly asking my 10 year old Rock Monkey...."Baby, what can I get you that would make you feel better?" Maybe, I was only asking the question out loud, so that I could begin the mental list of what his body needed. My brain dialogue: Lets see....he needs lots of Vitamin C rich foods,Homemade Chicken Broth,A Green Smoothie packed with a banana,spinach,kale and a little dandelion-that would be sooooo soothing on a sore throat- oh and throw in some fresh berries. Finally, Coconut water, yes-its great to replenish fluids. So while this is all running through my mind,he replies (In a sad little squeak of a voice):"I want Ginger Ale, Saltine Crackers and Crayola Popsicles!" He claimed, that its "what they eat on TV when they are sick"- He saw it on Disney Channel. Ummmm okay, let me see about this- I am going to feed my sick immune compromised child several doses of High Fructose Corn Syrup (weakens the immune response by 50%),bleached chemical laden anti-nutrient dense crackers and a side of 5-6 various petroleum based food dyes! Yikes,is NOW the time to be the Food Nazi or the Nuturing Mother?

Obviously, I was not going to argue with my sickly offspring. I just headed off to the supermarket while a war raged between my knowledge/logic and my heart strings. I continued to see the vision of my teary eyed, squeaky, rosey cheeked little man-that I adore- telling me what he REALLY wanted.

So, my hunting and gathering began. As I strolled the cart through the aisles, I thought--what would our primitive ancestors have doen to help their sick children? I am certain that although they lead a far more treacherous existence, they did not have to battle their childrens strong wills because of the media (Disney Channel)promoting Frankenfoods. **Side note: Lets start a REAL FOOD product placement campaign with the creative forces in the media and entertainment world-hmmm? It could work! But,more about that at a later date. Understand, I am not the type of parent who says, "because I said so-thats why!" I encourage, educate and empower them to make good choices. Is there not a pleasant median to follow here when dealing with a sick child who is tugging at your heart?

$94 later (okay, yes- I bought a few extra items, ugh!)I delivered a bed tray with POM juice, Sparkling Mineral Water (for diluting the juice and giving it the soda fizz), Organic Fruit ONLY Sorbet,Ruby Red Lemonade Emergen-C w/Zinc packets (making popsicles with them), Organic Free Range Chicken Broth (primitive cold/flu remedy!) and .....Organic Cheddar Bunnies Crackers for the soup! I know, I am a "Cereal Killer" but I chose my battles well today. I will close my short and personal blog with a reminder. Don't beat yourself up over every little nutrient that goes into your families mouth, okay? Sometimes we HAVE to be the Nurturer, relax the rules a bit--As long as you are not following medical advice from the Disney Channel, haha! Now, off to the kitchen to make some snake leather in the dehydrator (wink! shhhh....its simply the green smoothie I wanted him to have earlier, just poured into the shape of a snake and dried)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Naked Feet......Sole to soil for your soul!

There is something about runners and running that I never quite "got". I had tried numerous times to embrace the sport. I would listen to others and hear their magical stories of the runners high. So, armed with great motivation and a pair of the latest and greatest running shoes, I would set my sights and go....but then it always seemed that I couldn't find a "groove" as I referred to my chronic issue in balancing proper breathing, technique, pace, etc... It seemed very awkward and that frustrated me as I have always had a fairly good combination of grace and athleticism- but for whatever reason- running became my enemy. So, I left it alone for years and took up cycling instead. I simply claimed....I don't "get" it- I guess some of us are runners and others are not. As, the years rolled along I was enjoying cycling, hiking, rollerblading...I would still occasionally daydream about running through the country side- no machine/equipment needed, just feeling the wind through my hair, ahhhh!

Then a few years ago, I saw a man wearing some funny little shoes.....that I now own 2 pair of (VFF's)and thought well those are cool and they look way comfy, but run in them? Of course not! There is NO ARCH SUPPORT. How funny that my own ignorant reluctance to wear them has become humorous to me now. I am given that response by onlookers on a DAILY basis. So with the purchase of my first pair of barefoot/minimalist shoes a couple of years ago, came a chance to hike in them in Colorado.....WOW, I have never looked back! From a Primitive perspective- it does not get much more primal than running through mountains nearly barefoot, from my Diva perspective- your feet don't develop as many callouses and you avoid the painful gravel/rocks!I have now devoured every book I could about the various techniques for the barefoot runner, like Chi and POSE. I also fell in love with the book "Born to Run" about the infamous Taraumara Tribe and the 200+ mile races- wearing only hurache sandals. I have grown to love barefoot running over the past has become my escape. A way to connect my heart and sole to the earth. Because I live in south texas, I can actually run totally NAKED (my feet that is)which is such an adrenaline rush----there is no feeling like it! Feeling the change in various textures of terrain....feeling the mud between your toes after a rain, feeling the dew on the grass in the morning, the warmth of the soil on summer day. It has become more than exercise it has become my therapy. A way I can connect with something that my ancestors had done also....did they run for pleasure? maybe/maybe not. But, I finally "get" it and with every chance I can, try to encourage and coach others on the proper technique for comfort and injury avoidance. I found a little article below on the benefits of Barefoot running so read up open your mind and throw off those shoes and get your sole to soil and your soul will thank you!

Oh and girls.....with ALL of that money you save on shoes, you can be the ultimate in fashion with these awesome running skirts at Hoping they come up with matching leg warmers or toe socks, woot! I love them....even the animal print!

Barefoot Running Laced With Health Benefits

Running Barefoot Creates Less Collision Force Than Running in Cushioned Shoes, Study Says
By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Louise Chang, MD Jan. 27, 2010 -- Running barefoot causes less collision force to the feet than running in cushioned shoes, a new study says.

Researchers reporting in the Jan. 28 issue of the journal Nature show that runners who run without shoes usually land on the balls of their feet, or sometimes flat-footed, compared to runners in shoes, who tend to land on their heels first.

Cushioned running shoes, which date back only to the 1970s, may seem comfortable but may actually contribute to foot injuries, say Daniel Lieberman, PhD, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University, and colleagues.

The scientists, using motion and force analyses, showed that barefoot runners who strike on the fore-foot (land on the balls of their feet) generate smaller collision forces than shod rear-foot strikers.

The researchers say that although there are anecdotal reports of reduced injuries in barefoot populations, more work is needed to test their view that either barefoot runners or those with minimal footwear (such as sandals or moccasins) have reduced injury rates.

Running Barefoot Can Be Comfortable
By running on the balls of the feet or the middle of the foot, runners avoid more forceful impacts, equivalent to two to three times of body weight, that shod heel-strikers repeatedly experience.

“People who don’t wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike,” Lieberman says in a news release. “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike.

“Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain.”

He says a few calluses can help runners avoid injuries.

Build Up to Barefoot Running
Lieberman and colleagues analyzed the running styles, or gaits, of five groups of people -- U.S. adult athletes who had always worn shoes, Kenyan adult runners who grew up barefoot but now wear cushioned running shoes, U.S. adult runners who grew up wearing shoes but now run barefoot or with minimal footwear, Kenyan adolescents who have never worn shoes, and Kenyan adolescents who have worn shoes for most of their lives.

And they say they found a striking pattern.

Most shod runners, which would encompass 75% or more of Americans, strike their heels when they run, experiencing a large and sudden collision force an average of 960 times for every mile they run, “making runners prone to repetitive stress injuries,” the authors write.

On the other hand, people who run barefoot tend to land with a step toward the middle or front of the foot, causing less impact force to the foot.

Madhusudhan Venkadesan, PhD, a co-author and researcher in applied mathematics and human evolutionary biology at Harvard, says in the news release that heel striking is painful when running barefoot or in minimal shoes “because it causes a large collisional force each time a foot lands on the ground.”

But barefoot runners point their toes more at landing, avoiding the collision effect by decreasing the “effective mass of the foot that comes to a sudden stop when you land, and by having a more compliant, or springy leg.”

Modern people have grown up wearing shoes, so running barefoot is something to be eased into, Lieberman says. Modern running shoes are designed to make heel-striking easy and comfortable. He suggests runners who want to shed their shoes do so slowly, to build strength in the calf and foot muscles.

Chocolate for the Heart and Soul~ Medicinal Cacao!

Had a moment this morning catching up with my favorite chocolate artisans at Sacred Chocolate. I am quite intrigued with a new product.This is truly a Primitive DIVA luxury and, I am off to order some for myself....a little jewel, a little gift to savor! If you are enamored with the description, please visit my link on the right- visit with them and try a few treats for yourself. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you...<3

Amazonian Sacred Heart Chocolate is a cult classic. With approximately 22 powerful Amazonian herbs plus nuts and berries from the heart of the Amazon jungle. Experience a 5 minute flavor expedition through the Amazon! Be sure to take small bites and just let it melt in your mouth! The Amazonian has a 52% Cacao Content. This is a medicinal, therapeutic chocolate with very bitter notes and many fruity and nutty tones as well! The Amazonian includes the whole cacao bean with the skin/husk still attached for superior nutrition.

NEW Sacred Heart -- The "1.44oz Perfect Golden Spiral Heart" shaped chocolate bar is now available after many months of planning. This new chocolate is thinner and snaps easily in your fingers or in your mouth. It is also a smaller bite size price. This new design phases out the 2oz Sacred Heart Amazonian chocolate bar.

Amazonian Sacred Heart chocolate is slowly stone-ground from bean to bar right in our custom chocolate factory in San Rafael, California, which was designed from the ground up to make raw chocolate! Each 1.44oz bar comes in the shape of a perfect golden spiral heart, symbolic of the fact that raw cacao is so good for the heart. This delicious Sacred Heart chocolate bar is hand poured & hand wrapped. All Sacred Chocolate is prayed over by Sacred Steve, the Sacred Chocolate Oompa Loompas and others!


"Cacao Nibs, "Coconut Palm Sugar, *Maple Sugar, "Cacao Butter, *Whole Cacao Beans with SKINS, "Amazonian Jungle Peanuts, "Coconut, "Brazil Nuts, ~Quararibea Funebris, "Incan Berries, *Cashews, "Purple Corn, "Maca, ~Acai, "Lucuma, *Vanilla Bean, *Stevia Leaf, ~Sacha Jergon, "Camu Camu, ~Sacha Inchi Nuts, *Yacon Leaf, ~Clavo Huasca, "Yacon Root, ~Andean Salt, ~Chuchuhuasi, ~Tahuari Golden, ~Canchalagua, ~Iporuro, ~Pasuchaca, ~Hercampuri, ~Pau D'Arco, "Guayusa, ~Chancapiedra, "Yerba Mate, ~Cat's Claw, ~Manayupa.

"100% Organic, *Organic, ~Wildcrafted

Dairy/Gluten/Soy FREE.
Certified Organic Ingredients by Weight: 96.5%.
Cacao Content: 52%
Produced in a Facility that also Processes Nuts.
Produced below 115 Degrees Fahrenheit.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Primitive DIVA's "Gardenceuticals"

Since the beginning of time our primitive ancestors have turned to nature to provide healing from disease, illness and minor conditions. However with medical advancements and the fact that Big Pharma has got to find a way to benefit monetarily- our society has moved straight to the lab to create such a dizzying offer of toxic chemical cocktails that tout to provide relief from acne to warts. All while delivering almost humorous warnings of the potential side effects...!

Here are THREE of my favorite "Gardenceuticals"....that a Primitive Diva or Dude for that matter, may need on occasion:

1) Helps alleviate Gas, Bloating and other unpleasant digestive woes like nausea/vomiting from air,car and pregnancy related morning sickness. I could write a book on Hyperimesis during the first 16-20 weeks of my pregnancy, (salivating just on the recall and that is the certainly the ROOT of my LOVE for ginger...pun intended)
2)Contains strong anti-inflammatory compounds,called Gingerols. These compounds inhibit the formation of inflammatory cytokines, chemical messengers of the immune system. Ginger is a very succesful therapy for osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A wonderful post workout drink of ginger juice OR tea is my favorite way to enjoy my ginger dosing! Take 3 square inches, juice it and call me in the morning!

1)An anti-oxidant POWERhouse- the chemical derivative that gives Tumeric its brilliant saffron color can protect cells from free radical damage. Especially beneficial to the mucosal linings that have fast cell turn over like the lining of the colon where cellular DNA damage can lead to cancer.A daily dose of Tumeric and its amazing cancer inhibition has been seen highly beneficial for Lung, Breast, skin and Liver cancer.
2) Provides great support to detoxifying the liver.
3) Also provides a similar degree of anti-inflammatory benefit, like ginger!

1)Cinnamon is listed as one of the earliest "known" medicines. Reported uses include; arthritis, asthma, cancer, diarrhea, fever, heart problems, peptic ulcers, psoriasis, blood sugar imbalance and spastic muscles!
2)Some of the scientifically confirmed effects are as a sedative for smooth muscles, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, antibiotic anti-ulcerative.
3)Has been shown to stabilize blood sugar-reducing fasting blood glucose totals from 20+%, reducing Triglycerides by 30% and a reduction of LDL Cholesterol by up to 27%!

So do what I do....make yourself a nice cup of Ginger, Tumeric and Cinnamon Tea daily....curl up and expand your mind with the following book. It will do your body GOOD!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Low fat diet proven dangerous to athletes....

I took a little break from writing to enjoy a cup of tea and my Winter edition of WAPG's Wise Traditons newsletter. I especially wanted to savor an article on yet another dissappointment for USDA sanctioned dieticians and their low fat protocol. With so much research available, along with the obvious failure at our societies attempts to promote a low fat theory for 30+ years, it astounds me that our government(USDA) and Nutrition professionals have not stepped up to embrace the truth....FAT is our FRIEND!

The article headline reads--"Redskins catch on the healthy habits" (Washington Post,September 16, 2010) The article covered Jane Jakubezak, nutritionist for the Washington, DC football team. It profiled how Ms. Jakubezak urged the team, at the beginning of training for 2010, along with veteran running back Clinton Portis to follow a lowfat eating plan. This expert designed program eliminated all butter, cream and fatty foods even shunning Mr. Portis' moms traditional homecooked foods, and instead promoted the intake of lean only cuts of protein, vegetables, low fat /whole grain bread, cereal and egg whites. By Thanksgiving the Redskins had the longest list of injured players in the league. Fourteen in all, including Portis. In contrast, the Philadelphia Eagles, whose trainers recommend a more CAVEMAN (see Primitive, haha) like diet including traditional fermented pickles and juice during practice, have THE lowest injury rate in the league.

So, remember the importance of having adequate healthy animal fats in your diet. For more information on the right and wrong kinds of fats for optimal health, I highly recommend Mary Enig's book....(below) Enjoy getting the skinny on fats!

And of all time favorite short read about the dangers of a low fat diet......

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Advice from a MOOSE!

Working on the book full steam time for a lengthy blog article today BUT just had to take a break stop by for a visit and share some very PRIMAL and WILD wisdom for the day!

I have often been compared to a "momma moose" because of my protective behavior with my kiddo's. I am pretty laid back until I sense danger, haha! My hubby even bought me a sweet silver moose charm in Colorado for my James Avery to remind me of this simple daily advice from author/artist, Ilan Shamir....

~Think BIG....!
~Spend time in the woods
~Eat plenty of GREENS
~Hold your head up high
~Stay on track
~Keep your nose clean
~......its okay to be a little WILD!

So a little wild and follow these simple ideas. It will get you through anything life throws at you. Have an awesome day ,Diva's!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Ancestral Alchemy of Fermented Foods

Fermentation….? Let’s look back to one of several traditional methods our primitive ancestors would have prepared and preserved the nutrients of the food(s) they had worked so hard to hunt and gather. The ancient greeks understood the chemical changes that were produced in the body with these functional foods...their name for change was "alchemy". Though the term "fermentation" sounds vaguely distasteful, the results of this ancient preparation and preservation technique -- produced through the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins by microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and molds -- are actually delicious. Even more so, they are such a foundation of good health that some of these "functional foods" are now considered to be therapeutic doses of "probiotics," increasing your overall nutrition, promoting the growth of friendly intestinal bacteria, and aiding digestion and supporting immune function, including an increase in B vitamins (even Vitamin B12), omega-3 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, lactase and lactic acid, and other immune chemicals that fight off harmful bacteria and even cancer cells. So how were our primitive ancestors so knowledgeable and educated on these alchemical functional foods. Actually their efforts were born out of necessity and practicality since they could not rely on refrigeration and freezing of their food supply. Lactic acid fermentation proved to be not only an efficient method of preserving food for our ancestors, but also a critical one. Indeed, fermented foods often sustained tribes and villages during harsh winters when fresh food simply wasn’t available let alone plentiful. Mankind has been eating fermented food for millennia, I think it's time we got back to practicing the same healthy ways of preparing our family's foods!

In many societies including our own fermented food has gained a reputation for its beneficial effects on immunity, intestinal health and general well-being. Modern researchers are just beginning to understand what the sages of old were tuned in to: fermented food conveys clear and calculable health benefits to the human diet. Lactic acid fermentation in and of itself enhances the micronutrient profile of several foods.
Scientist and doctors today are bewildered by the magnificent proliferation of new virus(s)—a whole gamut of human viruses that seem to be associated with everything from chronic fatigue to cancer to arthritis. There have also been staggering increases in the incidence of of intestinal parasites and pathogenic yeasts, even among those whose sanitary practices are faultless. Could it be that in abandoning the ancient practice of lacto fermentation and in our diet where manufacturers insist that that everything must be pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisms? If so, the cure for these diseases will not be found in vaccinations, drugs or antibiotics—but in restored intestinal symbiotic bacteria like varieties of Lactobacilli---our microscopic defense army!
Beware the BIG Difference Between Healthy Fermented Foods Versus Commercially Processed
Fermentation is more of an artisanal craft than a science -- so commercial food processors eventually developed techniques to help standardize more consistent yields. Technically, anything that is "brined" in a salt stock is fermented, but that’s where the similarity ends, as each type of fermented food has specific, unique requirements and production methods.

Refrigeration, high-heat pasteurization and vinegar’s acidic pH all slow or halt the fermentation and enzymatic processes. "If you leave a jar of pickles that is still fermenting at room temperature on the kitchen counter, they will continue to ferment and produce CO2, possibly blowing off the lid or exploding the jar," explains Richard Henschel of Pickle Packers International, which is why, of course, all "shelf-stable" pickles are pasteurized.

It’s probably not surprising that our culture has traded many of the benefits of these healthy foods for the convenience of mass-produced pickles and other cultured foods. Some olives, such as most canned California-style black olives, for instance, are not generally fermented, but are simply treated with lye to remove the bitterness, packed in salt and canned. Olive producers can now hold olives in salt-free brines by using an acidic solution of lactic acid, acetic acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, a long way off from the old time natural lactic-acid fermenting method of salt alone.
Some pickles are simply packed in salt, vinegar and pasteurized. Many yogurts are so laden with sugar that they are little more than puddings. Unfortunately, these modern techniques effectively kill off all the lactic acid producing bacteria and short-circuit their important and traditional contribution to intestinal and overall health.
How to Make Sure You are Getting the Incredible Health Benefits of Lacto-Fermented Foods
As fermented foods expert Sally Fallon asks in Nourishing Traditions, with the proliferation of all these new mysterious viruses, intestinal parasites and chronic health problems, despite ubiquitous sanitation, "Could it be that by abandoning the ancient practice of lacto-fermentation, and insisting on a diet in which everything has been pasteurized, we have compromised the health of our intestinal flora and made ourselves vulnerable to legions of pathogenic microorganisims?" Like the $2.97 gallon jars of dill pickles Vlasic sells at a loss at Walmart, are we undermining our health and even economic well-being by our insistence on "more, faster and cheaper?"

You can still find some healthy traditional varieties. The stronger-flavored, traditional Greek olives you are most likely to find on olive bars are not lye-treated and are still alive with active cultures. So are "overnights," the locally-crocked fresh pickling cukes made in local delis every few days, as well as the pickles, sauekraut and other fermented foods you make yourself at home. Generally, the more tangy and stronger the flavor (not counting any added jalapeƱo or other hot pepper flavorings), the more likely that the food will still have active and beneficial lactobacteria.

So how can you be sure if you are getting the benefits of these active, fermentation cultures?

For one thing, you can make your own. Once you have surpassed the hurdle of inexperience. It is actually quite easy.

I wanted to share a simple and basic recipe for Sauerkraut from the upcoming Primitive Diva book. This is the longer fermentation recipe- I will also share one with a Whey starter in the book.
They offer great zesty flavors as a side or salad while strengthening digestion and immune systems, and even proactively helping us fight off and prevent disease.

Primitive Sauerkraut:

1)Remove outer leaves from mature heads of cabbage. Wash and drain. Remove core and shred cabbage with a large knife.
2) Carefully weigh 5 lbs to ensure correct cabbage to salt proportions!
3)Measure 3 tablespoons sea salt/kosher salt and sprinkle over 5 lbs of prepared cabbage. Mix well with spoon or hands. Allow 15 to 20 minutes for cabbage to wilt slightly.
4) Pack cabbage into 1 gallon jar (glass). Press firmly with hands or wooden spoon until juice is drawn out to cover shredded cabbage.
5) Put a heavy plastic bag on cabbage and fill with water until it sits firmly, allowing no air to reach the cabbage.cover jar with cloth secured with string or rubber band to prevent dust, hair, etc… Ferment for five to six weeks. Gas bubbles indicate fermentation is occurring. Temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Farenheit are ideal for fermentation.

Here is another VERY interesting article on the benefits of just Sauerkraut- so get that cabbage bubbling guys, ENJOY!

In Health~ Melissa

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While many people think sauerkraut is something you out on a hotdog, for the past couple of years scientists have been letting people know that this food which is made out of fermented cabbage is actually a superfood capable of boosting your immune system, aiding the digestive process and even fighting cancer. Let us look at a few of the benefits of Sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut and the immune system

It is no secret that sauerkraut has a beneficial effect on the immune system. Not only is it packed with vitamins and minerals that are also found in raw cabbage, sauerkraut also happen to contain beneficial phytochemicals which are created by the fermentation process. Eating sauerkraut on a regular basis can help fight off things like the common cold as well as help us deal with issues such as bad skin, weight gain and toxic blood which are all side effects of an unhealthy immune system.

Cancer Fighter

Recent studies have shown that eating this fermented crucifer may actually help prevent cancer growth, especially in the breast, colon, lung and liver. It a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, it was found that the process of cabbage fermentation broke down the compound glocusinolate found in the plant into cancer fighting isothiocyanates. Another Study from the University of New Mexico found that fermented cabbage is actually better at fighting cancer than if it is raw or cooked. In yet another study, researchers found that Polish American women had much higher breast cancer rates than Polish Women. When they try to determine why, they found it was because Polish American women were eating much less of the cancer fighting super food than they were in the motherland.


Like yogurt, Sauerkraut is laden with beneficial bacteria that can help maintain balance within the gastrointestinal tract. Fermented cabbage contains the bacterium: Lactobacilli plantarum which can help boost your immune system by increasing the amount of antibodies that can help fight off E-coli, salmonella, and candida. L.planatarum also contains the antioxidants glutathione and superoxide dismustase which can help fight off free radicals. These beneficial bacterium also helps turn hard to digest lactose into easily to digest lactic acid. It also neutralizes phytic acid found in grains and trypsin-inhibitors found in soy. It also helps generate omega-3 fatty acid and GTF chromium a trace mineral that help with digestion. Suffice it to say, that sauerkraut has been used for hundreds of years to help cure upset stomachs by increasing healthy flora in the intestinal tract.

Flu fighter

With the Avian Flu and the Swine flu causing worldwide panic, it is more important than ever to take preventative steps to help keep our immune system in tip top shape. Thankfully we have sauerkraut on our side. During the latest Avian Flu outbreak, a scientist from Seoul reportedly fed Kim Chi extract (a form of fermented cabbage) to 13 chickens that were infected with the deadly disease. 11 of the 13 made a full recovery. Scientists believe that it is because the fermentation process actually added nutrient value to the food. Fermented cabbage has shown to have more vitamin C and the ability to facilitate the breakdown and assimilation of proteins.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Greens from the SEA......?

We had a wonderful time on our recent hiking trip through the Ozark mountains of Northwest Arkansas (My birthplace by the way. And yes, the Primitive DIVA is a mountain HILLbilly at heart, which explains wanting to go barefoot all the time) Anyway, we visited ONE of my favorite stores, The Ozark Natural Foods Coop, for some yummy and healthy snacks! If you find yourself in the beautiful college town of Fayetteville- you have to visit ( While there I was very intrigued with a new snack item on the shelf..... Annie Chuns Seaweed (Wasabi flavored)snacks -Spicy and Yum! What a great way to get a healthy boost of minerals and thyroid nourishment with the loads of natural iodine. I have to be honest though,I was not a fan of ALL the ingredients- BUT they were a healthy "convenient" food for a girl to travel with. So that in mind made me decide to share some information on the many benefits of using various SEAWEEDs in your your favorite recipes. So whats the hype and what do you do with these strange greens from the sea....?

Seaweed is one of the greatest health secrets of our time - a true "super food".

This may seem surprising - that such a humble and common class of plants could offer us very much in terms of health. But seaweed health benefits have been known for a long time - and modern science is revealing more and more about this super-food.

The fact is seaweed is packed full of much-needed vitamins and minerals, including some relatively rare trace elements.

Seaweed benefits - a bit of pre-history!
Humans have been eating seaweed for millennia. Many early communities lived close to the shore because the seas offered a constant and dependable food source. Neolithic communities in Britain for example clustered around coastal lands where rich and diverse foodstuffs were readily available. The west coast of Scotland is peppered with brochs and burial chambers from Neolithic times and earlier. The farmers of those times would certainly have supplemented their shellfish and seafood diets with some of the local seaweeds.

Some of these traditions are far from extinct. In Wales lava bread is well known and still eaten today. Ireland, too has a rich tradition of seaweed harvesting and use which is now finding new and wider markets. Japan and China are famed for their seafoods and some sought-after gourmet seaweeds come from there.

Seaweed health benefits and seaweed eating have been mainly explored by island and coastal peoples. Japanese culture has developed seaweed cuisine to a notable level. The flavors and textures add a subtle and exotic element to Japanese food which has made it increasingly popular in the west. They have perhaps exploited seaweed's culinary possibilities more than any other nation. Where most nations manage one or two seaweed types at most, the Japanese have five common types in regular use. In Japan people take seaweed eating seriously; as much as 4 kilograms is eaten per person per year!

Here are a few facts about seaweed benefits for our health.

So what's the deal? Why is seaweed such a wonder food? And is it worth incorporating it into our daily lives? What can it add to a green lifestyle?
Seaweeds are algae and they have unique health and nutritional properties. Algae use sunlight to photosynthesise food for themselves but they are far simpler in structure than most land plants.

Here are some of the main types of seaweed available in the west. The main health benefits are described with each type.

You don't have to trek down to the sea; most of them should be available in a health food outlet somewhere in your neighborhood. Failing that, you can buy some of them mail order.

Seaweed Health Benefits:

Nori or Laver or lava (Porphyra umilicali) is the word for a type of kelp much used by the Irish and the Welsh. In Wales it is still made into flat cakes called lava bread. Japanese Nori is a similar plant; there are several good variants available. The Welsh still eat their lava bread with cockles and sometimes with bacon. It is now mainly harvested in Scotland.

Nori is rich in iodine and iron and quite high in protein. It is also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, magnesiumand riboflavin(B2). Not only does it have all these nutritional riches, it is also a low-fat food!

Nori is a type of laver sold in the west. It's an important part of Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisines and is now a multi-million dollar industry. Nori tends to be sold as flat sheets or flakes. It is also often toasted. If you have eaten sushi, chances are that you have eaten nori; it is often used for wrapping rolled pieces of sushi.

The Japanese and Chinese industries are still quite labour-intensive. Ways to modernize seaweed production have been sought but so far no really intensive system has been developed. The seaweed grows on racks or ropes over 45 days. However, the harvesting is increasingly mechanised and the finished nori is produced and packed in modern factories.

Japanese nori is grown in the Ise Bay region - a mountainous and well-forested coastal area where the sea waters are still relatively pure. Development is restricted in order to protect the seaweed quality and purity, (though there is an international airport and some built-up areas.)

DULSEPalmaria palmata, or dulse is reddish brown and is accounted a delicacy by many. It has doubtless been harvested for many, many a century but the earliest recording of it is 1400 years ago; St Columba and the monks of Iona ate it. Icelandic peoples also used it from early times. Now it is being cultivated and sold as a gourmet food. In Nova Scotia it is called Sea Parsley and is sold fresh. The Irish call it "dilisk"or "dillisk"and you can buy it as a snack food in some pubs.

You can just harvest it yourself from rocks where it has dried in the sun. It grows in the inter-tidal regions, so it is relatively easy to access. If you are concerned about salt levels (sodium) you can soak it overnight in a mixture of milk and water.

You should always make sure that you harvest from uncontaminated areas of shoreline. Take advice from your local authorities and environmental experts if in any doubt. Unfortunately, many coastal areas are far from clean because many pollutants from petrochemicals to human waste.

Dulse is exceptionally nutritious, containing around 10 - 20% proteinand a whole slew of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron and beta carotene(which the body uses to manufacture vitamin A.) It is now being farmed in Ireland and elsewhere for its health benefits and for making skin care and cosmetic products.

Carrageen, or Irish moss, (Chondrus crispus) is widely used in all sorts of food products because it has emulsifying and gelling properties. It is used to thicken foods and produces a colorless jelly-like consistency, so it is used in lots of commercial desserts. It's also the vegetarian answer to gelatine.

It has lots of nutritional and health benefits, too. In Ireland it was traditionally rated as a cold and cough remedy. It is rich in retinol and minerals.

KELP or KOMBUKelp (Laminaria digitata)is found in many areas of the world. It is a brown seaweed with literally thousands of varieties. It is found in all sorts of commercial products, from toothpaste to fertilizer. As it is exceptionally rich in iodine, it used to be the main source for preventing goiter and treating thyroid conditions. It is still highly rated by naturopaths and nutritional therapists for that use.

Kelp use has a long history. It was known in China by the eighth century and has long been a popular snack food and culinary ingredient in Japan. During the Highland Clearances in Scotland it was one of the industries which crofters turned to when they were evicted from their lands. Kelp was burnt to produce soda ash. (The later economic failure of the kelp industry was responsible for many families coming to seek a new life in North America.)

As it also has binding and stabilising properties kelp is used in many commercial applications. However, it's a really great natural health food. It is sold in health food shops very often as Kombu (the Japanese name). The Chinese make a traditional soup stock called "dashi"from it.

Japanese kombu is usually Laminaria japonica.It is now extensively farmed around Hokkaido and in China in the Yellow Sea area. Arame, another Japanese seaweed is also a type of kelp.

Kelp or Kombu is a great source of iron, magnesiumand folate(vitamin B9).

Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is a type of kelp. It's a tasty and valuable seaweed which can be added into soups and stews. Wakame is mainly produced in Japan and the far east though there are now wakame producers in France (Brittany). It is regarded as a serious pest in New Zealand because it is invading coastal waters.

Recent research shows it to have anti-obesityproperties and to be very high in EPA, an essential fatty acid. You can buy a formula to help with slimming at Amazon, based on Wakame.

Wakame is a green seaweed with a slippery consistency and an almost sweet taste. It has a thick band of fibre in the centre which can be easily cut out to give a more palatable effect.

If you make soup with it you could be forgiven for thinking you were eating fish soup. It can easily be added in small amounts to lots of cooked dishes such as stir-fries and stews. It's also delicious as a side dish. The Japanese use it as part of miso soup.

Alaria esculentais a type of kelp common in Britain which can also be eaten. The popular name is "winged kelp". It's also found in many other northern maritime countries such as Iceland and Norway.

Other seaweeds which are perhaps less commonly found in the shops include "sea lettuce"and "sea spaghetti". Sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) looks a little like land lettuce and can be added to salads.

Sea spaghetti(Himanthalia elongata) can be cooked just like pasta spaghetti and used in the same way.

Sweet kelp(Laminaria saccharina) is a sweeter version of kelp. Crofters in Scotland used to feed sweet kelp to their sheep as it produced a sweeter mutton. Now it is being promoted as a health food with endocrine system benefits that may help prevent breast cancers. It can also be found as an ingredient is some sushi restaurants' offerings

If you buy your local (or near-local) seaweed you are helping sustain local industries and keeping the carbon footprint of your seaweed-eating within reasonable limits. Packed, dried seaweed is quite lightweight. Nevertheless, it is an enormous export industry in the far east particularly. If you live in the west, it would make sense to eat your local seaweeds in the main in order to help reduce the environmental costs of shipping.

Why bother with seaweed?The taste is fantastic and it adds another dimension to your cuisine. Seaweeds are full of valuable nutrients. (I know I felt almost immediately a lot healthier once I started eating them!)

Many seaweed harvesting companies use traditional methods. They also need pristine seas in order that their products are not contaminated by pollutants. Supporting these industries therefore, helps indirectly in the quest for a cleaner, less polluted planet.

There's no doubt that the many seaweed health benefits make it an excellent item to include in your diet - and it may well be a green thing to do, too. This is a cheap and natural health food which is available to almost everyone. It's certainly worth getting some seaweed health benefits into your life! Buy your seaweed from reputable sources, where possible and help sustain good environmental practices.

If you are interested in more information, here is a GREAT book!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dangerous Grains......!

Most of you know that I promote the avoidance of ALL processed grains for optimal health. My philosophy stems from a very primitive belief that modern disease and illness is partly associated with the modern agricultural trend. A movement that has steered us away from healthy meats,fats and produce towards a cheap, easily grown modified filler....ceral grains! I recently stumbled upon a great book during my own writing research and I wanted to share a review with you. Dangerous Grains is about the numerous health hazards of gluten grains. It's co-written by James Braly, an M.D. who specializes in food allergies, and Ron Hoggan, a celiac sufferer who has researched and written widely on the subject.

Celiac disease is a degeneration of the intestinal lining caused by exposure to gluten. Gluten sensitivity is a broader term that encompasses any of the numerous symptoms that can occur throughout the body when susceptible people eat gluten. The term gluten sensitivity includes celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, its close relatives (kamut, spelt, triticale), barley and rye. Wheat is the most concentrated source.

Dangerous Grains is a good overview of the mountain of data on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity that few people outside the field are familiar with. For example, did you know:
An estimated one percent of the U.S. population suffers from celiac disease.
Approximately 12 percent of the US population suffers from gluten sensitivity.
Gluten can damage nearly any part of the body, including the brain, the digestive tract, the skin and the pancreas. Sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms are absent.

Both celiac and other forms of gluten sensitivity increase the risk of a large number of diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and cancer, often dramatically.
The majority of people with gluten sensitivity are not diagnosed.
Most doctors don't realize how common gluten sensitivity is, so they rarely test for it.

Celiac disease and other symptoms of gluten sensitivity are easily reversed by avoiding gluten.
Twelve percent of Americans have gluten sensitivity! That's an enormous disease burden coming from a single type of food. I suspect the true incidence may actually be higher. There are preliminary data suggesting that most people may mount an immune response to gluten that does not require antibodies (through the innate immune system). This type of gluten sensitivity would be overlooked by the typical antibody tests, but could still result in damage.

Dangerous Grains also discusses the opioid-like peptides released from gluten during digestion. Opioids are powerful drugs, such as heroin and morphine, that were originally derived from the poppy seed pod. They are strong suppressors of the immune system and quite addictive. There are no data that conclusively prove the opioid-like peptides in gluten cause immune suppression or addiction to wheat, but there are some interesting coincidences and anecdotes. Celiac patients are at an increased risk of cancer, particularly digestive tract cancer, which suggests that the immune system is compromised. Heroin addicts are also at increased risk of cancer. Furthermore, celiac patients often suffer from abnormal food cravings. From my reading, I believe that wheat causes excessive eating, perhaps through a drug-like mechanism, and many people report withdrawal-like symptoms and cravings after eliminating wheat.

I have many clients who have benefited greatly from removing gluten (if not all grains) from their diets. ANYONE who has digestive problems, from gas to acid reflux, or any other mysterious health problem,such as joint pain, arthritis, brain fog and generalized fatigue, owes it to themselves to try a gluten-free diet for a month. Gluten consumption has increased quite a bit in the U.S. in the last 30 years, mostly due to an increase in the consumption of processed wheat snacks. I believe it's partly to blame for our declining health. Wheat has more gluten than any other grain. Avoiding wheat and all other processed grains is the foundation of my health philosophy.

Another notable change that Sally Fallon (Weston Price Foundation and Author, Nourishing Traditions)and others have pointed out is that today's bread isn't made the same way our grandparents made it. Quick-rise yeast allows bread to be fermented for as little as 3 hours, whereas it was formerly fermented for 8 hours or more. This allowed the gluten to be partially broken down by the microorganisms in the dough. Some gluten-sensitive people report that they can eat well-fermented sourdough wheat bread without symptoms. I think these ideas are plausible, but they remain suspect to me at this point. Until research shows that gluten-sensitive people can do well eating sourdough wheat bread in the long term, I'll be avoiding it along with EVERY other processed grain.

I'm not aware of any truly healthy traditional culture that eats wheat as a staple. As a matter of fact, white wheat flour has left a trail of destruction around the globe wherever it has gone. Hundreds, if not thousands of cultures throughout the world have lost their robust good health upon abandoning their traditional and primitive foods in favor of white flour and sugar. The medical and anthropological literature are heavily weighted with these statistics.

So, I suggest that you add this your library of well written books....but save a space on your shelf for Primitive Diva.....coming Spring/summer 2011!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy NEW Year.....!

So happy to be back at my desk to start a wonderful year full of exciting opportunities. I am officially an unemployed author....and so very eager and motivated to finish my book during this sabatical. I will be working on squaring away some projects this week to let that Primitive energy flow. I can't wait to share with you some of the upcoming workshops, videos and programs associated with Primitive DIVA.....Stay tuned!

Much love and many blessings for an EPIC 2011 of health,happiness and prosperity!