Primitive Diva

My photo
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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

September Primitive Diva Challenge

Embracing the 10 foundational Roots of being a Primitive DIVA

Remember- a tree can only be as strong as its roots!

The diet of our primitive ancestors did NOT contain refined sugar,HFCS, processed GMO grains,Canned foods, Pasteurized, Homogenized dairy, heat refined vegetable oils, synthetic vitamins, toxic additives, food coloring….the list is exhaustive with chemical components that make up our SAD (Standard American Diet) diet of FRANKENFOODS! It has created a need for us to get back (WAY back) to basics and begin to Hunt and Gather, just like our ancestors. Only we have to hunt in modern, day big box mega-supermarkets instead of the wild. I don't know about you....but I think its safer in the wild than a dinner hour mad rush at my local market-YIKES! So here are the ROOTS to becoming a Primitive Diva....Please share your questions, and I will answer them over the next few weeks.

Hunting and Gathering ~(at your local farm or farmers market, Divas!) quality sources of pastured, grass fed or wild caught protein (all forms, including organ meats, fowl/poultry, fish and eggs),Raised as nature intended/environment/food-- lots of colorful ORGANIC vegetables, some select fruits (mostly berries),Nuts and seeds(soaked and sprouted) and healthy fats (that come from cold pressed nuts, avocados, olives,coconuts and ANIMAL fats like butter,lard,tallow-).Your body needs these healthy fats for proper metabolism of nutrients and to maintain hormone levels. I also promote the consumption of moderate amounts of raw dairy from cows/goats. This includes milk, cheese, kefir and yogurt—MAKE sure these are sourced from a trusted and respected dairy farmer! 40% of your diet should consist of animal protein/fats and 60% vegetable/plant based with a focus on greens/nuts and seeds and berries- source foods that are RAW, sprouted/cultured/fermented or minimally cooked. This will offer true nourishment that your body needs and craves. Eliminate grains, chemicals, dyes, preservatives, starches/sugars, trans- and hydrogenated fats (processed vegetable fats), fast foods and “Franken-Foods” from your diet. Ask yourself a very simple question before you choose you food—Would my Primitive Diva Sister have recognized this as food some 40,000 years ago? If not, put it down…its NOT food!

"Animal fat and protein was the nutritional mainstay of our ancestors. If they happened upon a thicket of berries, no doubt they partook but the core of their diet was animal flesh and animal fat. "yes, and they didn't carry a bucket or plastic baggies to fill up for later either. they ate what could fit in their hand as they kept moving......Instant portion control!

2) SUN~ Vitamin D - Contrary to the scare tactics of the media and sunscreen manufacturers (who suggest you shun the sun), My well researched, Primitive philosophy suggest that you get some direct sunlight every day. Certainly not so much that you even come close to burning, but definitely enough to prompt your body to make the all-important vitamin D and to support the mood-lifting benefits.*There is a increasing Vitamin D deficiency in this country- with the onslaught of marketed sunscreens and avoidance. –RESPECT the sun 30 minutes a day. Dry skin brushing prior to a sun bath! A slight tan is a good indicator that you have maintained adequate Vitamin D levels. Natural sunlight also has a powerful HAPPINESS effect.

3) PLAY~ Throw off those high heels and go barefoot! Get your Vitamin N…(NATURE.Spend some time outdoors in the fresh air each week involved in active play and truly reconnecting with nature. In addition to efficiently combining your fitness to a real-life situation, nature based play helps dissolve some of the negative effects of the chronic stress hormones you’ve been creating in your ever hectic and crazy, stress filled life. Do some form of intense anaerobic sprint bursts several times a week (playing chase with your kiddo’s or the dog). This could be as simple as a few short sprints up a hill, on the grass, at the beach… or repeated intense sessions on a bicycle (stationary, road or mountain bike). These short bursts also increase HGH release (HGH is actually released in proportion to the intensity (not the duration) of the exercise).

4) SLEEP~ Ahhhhh.....nothing is more important to a girl than ”beauty sleep”! Our lives are so hectic and full of things to do after the sun goes down that it’s often difficult to get enough sleep. Yet sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health, vibrant energy, a strong immune system and balanced hormones. Your body requires 8+ hours of sleep every night. Less than 6 hours, can lead to insulin resistance and hormonal dysregulation as well as increased risk of cancer. Be sure the room you sleep in is as dark as possible (Ladies, think CAVE!) no night lights or wear a soft eye mask. Unplug all electrical appliances (EMF disturbance)—Avoid carbohydrates, including alcohol (drink your red wine early ladies)before bed as these can interfere with deep restorative sleep.

5) WATER~ Pure fresh hydration. Staying hydrated is THE basic principle for all of the bodies metabolic processes. It keeps our energy and metabolism humming, cleanses waste from our cells and keeps our skin plump and wrinkle free!

6) SLOW DOWN~ Take a walk, clear your mind, practice YOGA or Tai Chi, and meditate. Take time daily to quieten your mind and listen to your soul. Meditate don’t Medicate…..Stress can wreak havoc on all of your attempts at living a healthy and primitive life- Let IT Go!

7) Strong BODY ~Build physical strength with functional fitness. Resistance exercises will keep your bones strong and your metabolism fired up. Did our primitive ancestors have gym memberships? They hunted, gathered, foraged, wandered, scouted, migrated, climbed and crawled. The women carried their babies much of the time (hey, no nannies in those days), as well as bundles of firewood, or whatever they had gathered. Remember “Lift like a man BUT look like a GODDESS” So throw off those Nikes, find something heavy to lift, climb a tree, swim in the ocean and Just do it! No gym needed….spend those fees on a massage and a mani-pedi!

8) Strong MIND~ Build mental strength. Keep your mind healthy, strong and sharp. Put your tiara’s away on the shelf and grab some interesting books. Expand your knowledge of anything you can dream. It’s VERY empowering! Instead of the boob tube----read your favorite book. Knowledge is one of the few few precious things that cannot be taken from you.

9) Naked Beauty~ Beauty starts from the inside out with healthy living. However, we must keep the same primitive philosophy that we use on our food choices as on our skin. It is the largest organ of the body! Choose pure, chemical free, natural and indigenous ingredients when it comes to skincare. Read the labels ladies-would you eat it? If not, don’t put it on your skin! I have tons of recipes to share in the book on smoothies for your hair /skin primitive diva tooth polish and body scrub... ALL from the garden and your kitchen! Think outside of the box(the toxic chemical cosmetic box, that is!)

Lastly, remember part of being a Primitive Diva, is to nurture and heal the earth…

10) HEAL The EARTH~ Give back to the earth...Recycle/Reuse/Reduce our use and reliance on plastics (BPA), Compost (FLIRT with the DIRT). Avoid chemicals and fertilizers that can harm our families and pets, destroy our water supply and poison our soil. Remember, if those before us had completely trashed the world-**They tried! we would not be here right now

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~Native American Proverb

Be strong, Be healthy and Be primitive~ MUAH!

Thursday, August 25, 2011 does a body good!

Butter...It’s arguably the most sensual, celebrated natural food, inspiring humans and even ancient architects of Hindu scripture to sing its buttery praises. Butter is subtle and delicious, a supporting actor and a star, a symbol of wholesome, simple comfort and of luxury. Butter is sexy and persuasive! Butter is one of the most wholesome and healthful foods you can eat, provided it is good quality(pastured)butter. Eat butter from grass-fed cows regularly, and you’ll be further along on your way to a healthy life.

What exactly is so great about butter? Aside from the delicious taste, butter – especially butter from certain times of year, known as "Limited Edition" – is actually a concentrated source of some essential fat-soluble vitamins you may be missing in your diet, some of which are surprisingly rare.

In the 1930s and 40s,(over 50 years before Mike Myers put on a big wig and declared everything good to be “like buttah,”) a dentist named Weston A. Price set out to study the diet and health of primitive and traditional cultures around the world, and to determine why so many populations eating traditional diets were healthier than the patients he saw at home who had been raised and sustained on a Western diet of highly refined foods.

Among his discoveries: a mysterious compound he called Activator X that seemed to make the most significant difference between populations in preventing dental cavities and degenerative diseases, and seemed even to enhance the health-supporting effects of cod liver oil. He observed the occurrence of “Activator X” in the fat/butterfat and organ meats of animals eating rapidly-growing spring and autumn grass, and also in fish eggs. He realized that the foods in which it appeared were consistently prized by cultures around the world. This compound was especially pronounced in seasonal, deeply yellow-orange butter, so much so that Price went on to include a concentrated form of this best quality butter in a successful food regimen aimed at rejuvenating the health of children with whom he worked.

Recent research has identified this compound, replacing the superhero-esque name “Activator X” with the more straightforward: Vitamin K2 menaquinone-4 (or MK-4). Haven’t heard of it or spotted it on the vitamin-laden shelves in your local drugstore? It’s not particularly well-known, although it’s essential to our health in ways still being explored. Vitamin K2 seems to interact with and enable actions of other fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin A (both also found in butter) and minerals such as calcium. It is critical for healthy bone development and bone strength, plays an essential role in fetal development, seems to help with decreasing calcification of the arteries, and plays a role in neuronal structure and in preventing the loss of brain cells due to lack of oxygen in particular. It concentrates in cells essential to our physical and neurological development and health. In short: while we’re still learning about it, you don’t want to leave this vitamin out of your diet.

Nature’s cues, and losing our butter knowledge

So, where to find vitamin K2 MK-4? It’s found in some of the most nutritious foods on Earth: liver (especially goose liver), butter, fish eggs, eggs, and, in trace amounts, in cheese and meats. For this form of the vitamin to occur in these animal products, Weston Price’s observations remain true: it is found in the fats of animals consuming a lot of plant matter that’s high in phylloquinone, vitamin K1. For land mammals, that means those raised on pasture, and in particular, those eating the rapidly-growing grasses of spring and fall.

Why this grass? There’s a ~Food is Love~ blog I stumbled upon that shared an interesting story "I found in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a great reference source for word geeks, originally published in 1894 back when butter was more respected. Brewer’s has an entry on the flower buttercups that caught my eye..."


So called because they were once supposed to increase the butter of milk. No doubt those cows give the best milk that pasture in fields where buttercups abound, not because these flowers produce butter, but because they grow only on sound, dry, old pastures, which afford the best food. Miller, in his Gardener's Dictionary, says they were so called “under the notion that the yellow colour of butter is owing to these plants.”

- Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

So much for “I’m called Little Buttercup... though I could never tell why...” Now we know. Buttercups flower most prolifically in springtime, when the butter is best. In the springtime too, when the grass is growing quickly, plants produce significant amounts of vitamin K1, which ruminants conveniently transform into Vitamin K2 for us (thanks, ruminants!) when we consume their delicious fat in the form of butter.

Please note....Butter is supposed to be yellow. Nature sometimes helps us realize a food is good for us by hitting us over the head with visual cues. Nature does that with K2-rich butter: it’s extremely yellow, compared to the slightly-yellow color of grass-fed you’d see other times of year. Virtually no butter we find in the supermarket these days is yellow; it’s white as paper, from cows largely fed grain (or worse, ewwww).

We’ve lost our path when it comes to butter. We eat margarine, eat tasteless butter from cows stuffed with grain, and buy boxes of microwavable “buttered popcorn” (another crime against nature) that has no trace of actual butter in it, but is instead covered in chemicals and oil.

We’re also taught to believe butter is bad for us, an indulgence, something that will give us a heart attack and make us fat. This simply isn’t true. The fat found in butter does not turn into the fat found on our bodies, and instead is essential for our absorption of nutrients and our neurological health. I’m a voracious butter-eater am considered fit and healthy (did you know that the CLA-Conjugated Linoleic Acid that is naturally occurring in grass fed butter is a leading weight loss supplement in this country...? TRUE!) However, I also encourage you to think of your health in other terms than weight; being a "skinny bitch"( sorry, had to)is not always a sign of health. Beyond the fat-phobia, butter is a great source of vitamin A, which is essential to heart health. Butter isn’t bad for your heart; there is pretty solid evidence about good quality saturated fats not causing cardiovascular disease. (Plus, you might notice that we have a lot more heart disease than we used to, and we eat a lot less butter and a lot more processed food.)

Meanwhile, in addition to the benefits of vitamins A and K2 MK-4, butter is a source of vitamin D, vitamin E, and a protective fatty acid that may help prevent cancer. There are a number of benefits to wholesome, full-fat dairy, as we’ve previously discussed here. And grass-fed butter is specifically correlated with lower rancidity, higher nutrient levels, and improved texture. Are you convinced?

My only caveat before I encourage you to dive head-first into a vat of butter or otherwise indulge in a buttery lifestyle, is to choose your butter carefully. Butter is, unfortunately, a potent source of dioxin, especially non-organic butter from cows fed grain, and butter from certain parts of the world where there are high levels of toxic compounds like mercury and dioxin in the water and soil. In fact, it’s sadly ironic that it was a Dutch proverb that touted the benefits of butter for longevity, considering that butter from the Netherlands now has some of the highest recorded levels of dioxins of any region.

How to get your butter

Now that I’ve talked up grass-fed butter, I’m going to break it to you that it’s not easy to find. Sorry. Most of the butter sold in stores is grain fed. I recommend four ways of getting the benefits of grass-fed butter into your diet:

1.Look for local butter from grass-fed (also called “pastured”) cows directly from farms and creameries in your area, or online. Stock up your freezer with butter in the spring and fall, or whenever the grass is growing rapidly in your region and the butter looks very yellow. Please look to your local chapter of for locating local farms and resources.Also, check out

2.Make your own butter. If you can get your hands on some cream, preferably unpasteurized, from a local dairy where the cows are munching grass, you might want to try making your own butter. It’s easy and fun.

3.Buy it in the store. Organic Valley is starting to sell pasture butter from the spring to fall months (Limited Edition). You can find this in most co-ops or natural-ish food stores. Some of those stores might also sell local grass-fed butter.

4.Butter oil. This is based on what Weston Price fed the children whose health he worked to improve through diet. It’s a concentrated source of K2 menaquinone-4 and tastes amazing. It’s really expensive, but one jar contains many doses and you cannot put a price tag on optimal health or disease recovery, can you?

So, now you have all this good butter... what do you do with it? Here are some ideas:

Ten ways you can eat butter this week!

1. Eat it straight

This is the simplest way to get butter into your body. I eat chunks of butter all the time. Not dabs of butter, not dots of butter, but chunks of butter. Munch on butter while you’re cooking with it anyway. Snack on butter. Feed butter to the people you care about. It tastes good, it’s healthy, and it will make your skin look and feel great.

2. Sauté mushrooms, onions and/or garlic

The day someone first sautéed alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots) or mushrooms in butter was a fine day in the advancement of human life. The creamy earthiness of butter brings out the flavors of alliums and mushrooms like nothing else. One word of caution: you have to be a little careful sautéing with butter, because it has a low smoke point, meaning it can turn brown and start smoking pretty quickly, at which point the fats are breaking down. Keep the heat on medium, and add the onions and/or garlic when the butter is just beyond melting, lightly bubbling, and not yet browning. Cook the onions until they are translucent and slightly golden-brown. Add more butter, a little salt, and the mushrooms. Cook mushrooms until they have released all their juices. You can add in a little more melted butter, cream, white wine, salt, or fresh herbs. White wine and butter go especially well together.

3. Perfect scrambled eggs

Butter is perfect for scrambled eggs, although I love to use coconut oil too. The trick is to keep the heat low. Eat them plain or try something simple. Variation 1: melt some goat cheese over them when you take them out of the pan, and then add freshly-chopped tomatoes, your favorite fresh herb, and black pepper. Variation 2: (above) add chunks of a mild, firm cheese like goat gouda or manchego, some fresh herbs, and black pepper.

4. I’m melting, I’m melting

Where can’t you use melted butter? Dip artichoke leaves into it, pour it over asparagus, pour it on your baked sweet potatoes, use it on fish... you can come up with ideas faster than it takes for butter to melt. I can get my kids to eat about ANYthing if I pour some healthy butter on it!

5. Baking

I’m sorry, but why would you bake with rancid, processed vegetable oil or hideous, poisonous margarine when you could use butter? I personally don't eat a lot of baked goods, but when you do, eat ones made with real ingredients like butter and eggs. Butter gives an unparalleled flavor to baked goods, not to mention a perfect crumb and texture. Butter and vanilla were meant for one another, and butter enhances nuts, fruits, and chocolate in baked goods. Butter makes the perfect crust for pies or quiche, and don’t forget to add chunks of butter to your pie or quiche filling either.

6. Butter with fresh herbs

Do not try this with dried herbs. Mix together butter with fresh, aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil, chives, oregano, or thyme. Use on poultry, beef, bison and fish, eat straight, or eat on fresh sourdough bread.

7. Ghee

Ghee, or clarified butter, is traditional in Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It’s a concentrated form of butter fat, and has a much higher smoke point than butter. Cook traditional South Asian dishes in ghee, although ghee is not just for Indian food, and is also great for scrambling eggs or sautéing anything. A tip: fry whole spices such as cumin seed or fenugreek in ghee as the first step of preparing a strongly-spiced dish, or to add into yogurt and cucumber to make raita.

8. Simple sauce of shallots, butter and wine

This simple sauce is great over fish, vegetables, chicken, or most savory foods. Heat a little butter in a pan. Add chopped shallots and cook over medium heat until the shallots are translucent. Pour in a little less than a cup of white wine, add a dash of salt, and turn the flame to medium-low. Let it cook a minute or two. Add some large pieces of butter. Turn off the heat and let the butter melt. Stir. Taste, adjust flavors, and serve when it tastes right to you.

9. Lemon butter

My families favorite is a lemon butter garlic sauce. Lemon butter is simple and delicious. The ingredients are (get those pens ready): lemon and butter. Melt butter. Add lemon juice. You’re done. You can vary it up for sure: add some lemon zest or fresh herbs or sautéed garlic. Lemon butter is great on any meats and/or vegetables.

10. Finishing touch

Butter makes a perfect finishing touch to virtually any thick, liquidy or creamy meal. Making a curry, a soup, a stew, or a sauce? Stir in some butter at the very end and let it melt. Your body and your mouth will thank you!

Fore more information from my heroes at Weston A. Price Foundation (Sally Fallon and Mary Enig) Visit this Butter is Better article at

What are your favorite uses for butter? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Never let them see you sweat...."

Obviously, I am chemical free advocate when it comes to my food and ANYthing that I put on my skin. I am also a girl who enjoys being outside,climbing trees,running barefoot and playing in the dirt, right? Well, that can make a girl smell not so diva-like. So, I began a quest to find a PRIMITIVE deodorant and with this being one of THE hottest and driest summers on record in my hometown of Houston, Texas—I really put them to the test.
The contenders were Tea Tree Oil with Witch Hazel, Tom’s (aluminum free)Calendula, Origins Organics Spray with White Willow Bark, Lavender and Lemon Peel and lastly, Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone (Mineral Salts).

#4- Last place: Origins, I actually carried this in my purse to reapply while out, I really wanted this one to succeed because, I loved the spray ability. But, it was a fail across the board. It smells good for about 5 minutes, the minute you heat up-it becomes very “unpleasant” and lemony sweet smell #FAIL

#3- Toms: Works fairly well for a couple of hours and then just seems to disappear #FAIL

#2 Tea Tree Oil: This works very well IF you like the smell of Tea Tree Oil—I don’t! I did not smell like a primitive being but I certainly did not smell pleasant, ha ha! So- it DOES work ladies, see how you like the TTO fragrance.

#1 Thai Mineral Stone: By far, hands down is THE most effective at staying DIVA fresh while being busy and on the go.

Remember, you need to sweat and perspire out enviromental and systemic toxins everyday. So, with a natural underarm bacteria fighter (deodorant), staying well hydrated and keep your body alkaline (Eat those GREENS!) you smell DIVAlicious at all times!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A simple morning ritual that offers wonderful health benefits...

I was researching some information to provide in the book about my Sunrise Elixir recipe that I suggest each consist of warm water, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, tumeric and lemon/lime juice. I have added raw honey and apple cider vinegar before for additional therapeutic benefits. The premise is founded on these amazing herbs and spices and what they offer in the promotion of great health. I suggest starting out for the first week or so with just drinking a cup of warm lemon water. I have provided a copy of a fabulous article from Natural News that gives some great information on just the basic elixir. I will share more details on the additional benefits of the herbs and spices later this week. So enjoy a cuppa this simple healthy elixir and read on!

(NaturalNews) A glass of warm lemon or lime water first thing in the morning is surprisingly helpful in several ways. This Yogic or Ayurvedic ritual was primarily for stimulating digestion and eliminating ama, the Ayurvedic term for toxic slime that builds up in the gastro-intestinal or GI tract. This ritual has even more health benefits.

The Ten Reasons Why

1) The warm lemon water helps purify and stimulate the liver. Lemon/lime water liquefies bile while inhibiting excess bile flow.

2) Warm lemon/lime water aids digestion. It's atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices.

3) The liver produces more enzymes from lemon/lime water than any other food, according to A.F. Beddoe, author of Biological Ionization as Applied to Human Nutrition.

4) The lemon/lime water helps bowels eliminate naturally and easily.

5) Lemons and limes are high in potassium. Potassium is an important mineral that works with sodium for smooth electrical transmission in the brain and nervous system. Depression, anxiety, fogginess, and forgetfulness can often be traced to low potassium blood levels. That same nervous system needs potassium to assure steady signals to the heart. So your heart health is improved from the lemon water's potassium.

6) Calcium and magnesium are plentiful in good ratio to each other in lemon/lime water. Magnesium is important for heart health and calcium prevents rickets.

7) Lemon/lime water can help lower blood pressure.

8) Lemon/lime water has an alkalizing effect in the body as it is buffered. Even if you drink it just before any meal, it will help your body maintain a higher pH than if you didn't drink it. The higher or more alkaline your pH, the more your inner terrain is resistant to minor and major disease.

9) Helps dilute uric acid, which if it accumulates it creates arthritic pain or gout.

10) Helps reduce phlegm in the body.

How and When

Warm purified fluoride free water or spring water should be used. At least a half of a lemon or lime should be thoroughly squeezed into a half glass of the warm water without any sweetener. It's better to use a lemon/lime squeezer to get maximum juice with minimum seeds and effort. This should be done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and don't start eating breakfast right away. Some recommend an hour before eating for maximum results.

One technique to assure proper timing would be to heat up water and put it into a thermos before going to bed. Then mix that hot water with room temperature purified lemon or lime water upon arising. Drink it down quickly, then go about your other morning routines before eating breakfast.

The warm lemon/lime water daily habit is as cheap and easy as it gets to help you improve and maintain your health. Bottoms up!

Sources for this article include:

About the author
Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at

Learn more:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Primitive Cast Iron Outshines the Fancy Pans

Love my quiet Sunday mornings with family....slept in late after enjoying an amazing night (Dinner and a Movie (FRESH) at Yonder Way farm in Brenham, Texas. So,even though we were not home until after midnight,It was sooooo worth the late night! We brought home lots of goodies- and this mornings breakfast is absolutely decadent. Fresh pastured eggs and some uncured natural pastured bacon cooked up in my antique cast iron skillet. Have you given any thought to how your choice in cookware can affect your health?

It seems every few years, there is a new and improved technology with cookware surfaces. With this techno-cookware comes a larger price tag. I guess we have to pay more for the health risk? it's increasingly clear to me that most "new" pots and pans are about marketing and trying to make us feel inadequate in the kitchen with our "old" pans. I mean thats how our consumerism is formed,right?. For most tasks, primitive cookware is best. So these days when I'm asked for a recommendation, I reply with an old-fashioned answer: cast iron. I mean if it was good enough for my great and great-great (and beyond) grandparents- then its perfect to prepare nourishing meals for me and my family.

My personal return to cast iron began several years ago when I began to heed the warnings against preheating chemically treated pans and putting them in hot ovens, which could create potentially harmful fumes. Along with a chemical release into my foods at high heat~ Ummm, no thank you!There is also evidence that a small amount of beneficial iron is released into the food- I would much prefer THAT small (health) gift with purchase over the lab created chemical application of my high end Calphalon. Which by the way, are gathering dust hanging on my pot rack.

As most experienced cooks know, you can't brown food unless you preheat your skillet, and I frequently transfer food from stove top to oven.So cast iron is a logical choice, especially in skillets, unless you require gorgeous stainless to make a style point or you can afford copper - which is ideal for sautéing because its heat distribution is incomparable - and the time to care for it. The only disadvantages are that cast iron is heavy (look for skillets with handles on both sides) and it requires a bit of care to keep it seasoned and looking nice.But look at the positive...your getting a workout as well!

But cast iron has so many benefits. Well seasoned, it is nearly as nonstick as any manufactured nonstick surface and far more so than stainless, aluminum or even copper pans.

Furthermore, it is an even distributor of heat, which you will instantly appreciate if switching from stainless steel or aluminum. And you can move it from stove top to oven without a thought.

Cast-iron pans are created by pouring molten iron into sand molds. After the metal solidifies, the sand crust is blasted off, and any rough edges are removed. This is pretty much the way cast iron has been made for centuries.

A couple of variables might influence your buying decision: the purity of the cast iron and the issue of seasoning it.

Lodge, the only domestic maker of cast-iron cookware, uses only "pig-iron ingot and scrap steel converted back into iron" to make its cookware, according to the company's chief executive, Bob Kellermann. Anonymously made imported cast-iron cookware, though often less expensive, offers no such guarantees. In my experience the cheapest cast-iron pans have far more "hot spots."

But the biggest fear most people have about cast iron is the seasoning process. The metal is porous and rough, and until it gains a patina from use it is the opposite of nonstick. Lodge, in an attempt to make this a non-issue, has introduced a line of preseasoned cookware, which now makes up something like 80 percent of its sales.

But I'd rather control the process: seasoning is simple, and maintaining it is even simpler. To season a new pan wash it well and dry it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you warm the pan gently over low heat on top of the stove. Using a brush or a paper towel, spread a tablespoon or so of a fresh neutral oil like corn or grape seed in the pan; the surface should be evenly covered, with no excess. Put the pan in the oven, bake it for about an hour and let it cool in the oven.

That's it.

It's helpful if the first few uses of the pan involve oil, like sautéeing or deep-frying. If you care for the pan properly, it will darken with use and become increasingly smooth, beautiful and easy to cook in.

Once the pan is seasoned, routine washing can almost always be done with a scouring pad, not steel wool or anything else that will damage the seasoning (although the worst that can happen is that the pan will have to be reseasoned).

Despite many recommendations to the contrary, a little mild soap won't tear off the seasoning.

Cast iron can rust of course, but never if you dry it after washing and keep it out of rain and floods. If rust does appear, scour it off with steel wool or sandpaper, and reseason.

Cast iron really struts its stuff when you want to get a pan good and hot and keep it that way. For "grilling" a steak indoors, it can't be beat. Ridged cast-iron "grill pans" are good for two reasons: They raise the meat slightly above the surface, which promotes browning by preventing escaping liquids from contacting the meat, and they leave grill marks, which are attractive if nothing else.

Cast iron is as good at browning as any other cookware, and its mass lets it hold a steady temperature so well that it is perfect for deep- or shallow-frying.

But braising in cast iron, especially with acidic ingredients like tomato or wine, may degrade the seasoning slightly. In extreme cases, you may have to reseason the pan; more likely, you'll just have to treat it to a light coating of oil and a few minutes of warming.

In any case, this isn't a bad routine. Every so often I wash my cast-iron skillet and put it over low heat. When the water begins to evaporate I wipe it dry and spread a little oil over its surface with a paper towel. I leave the skillet over the heat a few more minutes and wipe it out again.

Yes, this is maintenance, and most cookware is maintenance-free. But it seems a small price to pay for inexpensive, high-performing, safe, nonstick pans. When it comes to cookware, new is not necessarily better.

Want your BEST skin ever...?

I have fallen in love with this skincare line from Living Libations. Enjoy watching this video from LL's founder the beautiful Nadine.

Living Libations (no border)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Go WILD with your fish!

So, Wild or Farmed you ask...I mean whats all the hype?

I've shared the importance of ensuring that your fish is WILD (low mercury and wild caught), but lets look at why.

Farmed vs. Wild Salmon

There is somewhat of a controversy about eating wild vs. farmed salmon. The issues fall into three main categories:

Contamination: Most of the salmon available for human consumption today is farmed, but several independent studies have found concentrations of PCBs and other contaminants at levels of up to 10 times higher in farmed salmon. In Europe, there have even been situations where farmed fished tested at high levels of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. These contaminants seem to be getting to the fish through the feed, which become concentrated in the oil of the salmon.

Farmed salmon in the U.S. are regulated through the USDA and FDA, which allows much higher levels of these contaminants than are allowed than with wild salmon, which is regulated by the EPA. A common argument about this is that the EPA has reviewed the scientific literature and made new recommendations much more recently than the FDA. FDA regulations have not been updated since 1984, when people in the U.S. were eating much less salmon and other fish. More information about contaminants in farmed salmon.

Omega-3’s: Farmed fish is fattier -- much as farm animals are “fattened up," the same is true of salmon. This means that there are higher levels of omega-3 fats. But there are caveats regarding this:
1.Because of the contaminants, it is often recommended that farmed salmon be cooked in ways that reduce the fat content.
2.New feeds are being developed with less fish meal in them and more plant foods. In general, the more plant-based ingredients, the lower the level of omega-3 fats in the salmon. (Note that in the ocean, salmon are carnivores: they eat no plants at all.)
3.Even today, the percentage of omega-3 fats is lower in farmed salmon, apparently because of the soybean, wheat, etc., in the meal fed to them.
Environmental Issues: Farmed fish produce a bunch of environmental problems. Read about them at the Seafood Watch site. But there’s good news: Both wild and farmed salmon have low levels of mercury. Also, salmon is not being over-fished – especially salmon from Alaska is in good shape. More about this from Seafood Watch. Additional Note: Most canned salmon is wild.

Here is a wildly delicious recipe that I found on wellsphere. It is simple and perfect for summer dining

4 fillets fresh or frozen (defrosted) wild caught Alaskan salmon with skin
lemon juice
squeeze lime juice
sea salt and pepper
4 T. organic virgin coconut oil (or olive oil) for frying

Fresh dill and lemon

Coconut Lime Sauce:
1 can organic coconut milk
1/3 c. lime juice
peel of fresh lime, grated for zest
handful organic no-sulfur shredded coconut (extra for garnish)
slices of fresh lime, garnish

Prepare your coconut sauce by combining and stirring all the lime sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Once mixed, poor roughly two-thirds of the glaze and salmon in a leak proof bag or a glass container (if you avoid plastics, like I do)and let marinate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.

Coat your grill with olive oil (spray or otherwise). Grill the salmon for 2-3 minutes per side - we like our salmon rare-medium, depending on freshness. Once the salmon is done to your liking, remove it from the grill and drizzle over the remaining coconut lime sauce. Sprinkle the coconut flakes on top and serve hot with a wedge of fresh lime.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sun Drying for Healthy Foods

One of my most favorite healthy, convenient and incredibly delicious foods,that I have always enjoyed, is jerky. Although, over the past 10+ the years I stayed very clear from the toxic versions that are pre-packaged in the store.I mean, Ewwwww....its the cheapest cuts and source of chemical, hormone and anti-biotic contaminated and CAFO raised meats, that have been dipped in more lethal chemicals (nitates/colors/flavorings) and enhanced by "FrankenFoodScience" magic, right? Its really crazy to imagine since food preservation by drying is the oldest (see primitive) method of preserving food. Through out history, the sun, the wind, and a smokey fire were used to remove water from fruits, meats, grains, and herbs.

By definition, food dehydration is the process of removing water from food by circulating hot air through it, which prohibits the growth of enzymes and bacteria.When I think about the definition of a Primitive Diva, this kind of conjours up that image of taking a VERY primitive method of preparing our food- BUT having very diva-like patience when it comes to waiting on nature and the elements to do their job. Thats where a dehydrator comes in. It keeps the nutrients of our food alive and vital. Yet makes them safe to store and carry along without refrigeration--this is THE very method our hunter gatherer sisters would have used for preserving meats,vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries. So, as I busily prepare nut and flax crackers, beef jerky(grass fed, of course) and fruit rolls for my families snacking this week. I wanted to share a few "hows and whys" of dried foods!

Benefits of Dried Food
Dried foods are tasty, nutritious, lightweight, easy-to-prepare, and easy-to-store and use. The energy input is less than what is needed to freeze or can, and the storage space is minimal compared with that needed for canning jars and freezer containers.

The nutritional value of food is only minimally affected by drying. Vitamin A is retained during drying; however, because vitamin A is light sensitive, food containing it should be stored in dark places. Yellow and dark green vegetables, such as peppers, carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes, have high vitamin A content. Vitamin C is destroyed by exposure to heat, although pretreating foods with lemon, orange, or pineapple juice increases vitamin C content.

Dried foods are high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat, making them healthy food choices. Dried foods that are not completely dried are susceptible to mold. Microorganisms are effectively killed when the internal temperature of food reaches 145 degrees Farenheit (F).

Equipment Needed for Drying
To be certain of the final quality and consistent drying of foods, a dehydrator is recommended,
especially if you live in an area with unpredictable weather or humidity (like I do in Houston ,Texas). Sharp knives and a food processor or blender will
also make certain recipes and the drying task easier.

Some recipes call for blanching, steaming, or pretreating foods. Equipment for these processes include a deep kettle with a lid and a wire basket, a colander, or an open mesh cloth bag to hold produce. A non-metal bowl is best for pretreating fruits and vegetables to prevent discoloring.

I will be sharing several Jerky recipes in the book but here is a general recipe to follow when making a delicious fruit leather.

Preparing Food for Drying
Select ripe fruit for drying. Bruised fruit can be used if you trim away any bruised spots. Do not use molding or OVER ripe food for drying.

Slicing foods allows the dry air to circulate and dry the surface area of the food first. Cut foods into 1/8-inch to 1/2-inch slices. The higher the water content, the larger you should make the slice size. Small slices of high-moisture foods, such as watermelon, would disappear when all the moisture has evaporated.

Peel fruits and vegetables, including bananas, melons, winter squash, and other foods.

Pretreatments are techniques used to make quality products. Pretreatments include dipping, blanching, cooking, or candying.

Dipping prevents oxidation or color changes in fruits and vegetables. Dip fruits in pineapple or orange juice. Dip vegetables in diluted bottled lemon juice (dilute 1/4 cup of lemon juice in 2 cups water, then dip vegetables and some fruits for 2 to 3 minutes).

You may want to avoid commercial stabilizers and simply make a homemade stabilizer, mix 1 Tablespoon of salt or vinegar with 8 cups of water or dissolve one 500 mg tablet of vitamin C per 1 cup of water.

Blanching is recommended for asparagus, green beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and peas. Blanch for a very short period to cause checking of skins.

Making Fruit Leathers
Leathers from Fresh Fruit

Select very ripe fruit. Wash fresh fruit or berries in cool water. Remove peel, seeds, and stem. Cut fruit into chunks. Use 2 cups of fruit for each 13-inch by 15-inch fruit leather. Purse fruit until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid (375 mg.) for each 2 cups of light-colored fruit to prevent darkening.

If you choose to sweeten the leather, just add honey,or ripe banana's and even date paste. Honey is best for longer storage because it does not crystallize. You may even use stevia if desired. But remember as fruit dehydrates its natural sugars become condensed and much sweeter!

Leathers from Canned or Frozen Fruit

Home-preserved or store-bought canned or frozen fruit may also be used to make leathers. Drain fruit and save liquid. Use 1 pint of fruit for each 13-inch by 15-inch leather. Purse fruit until smooth–if too thick, add liquid.

Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid (375 mg.) for each 2 cups of light-colored fruit to prevent darkening. Applesauce can be dried alone or added to any fresh fruit purse as an extender. It decreases tartness and makes the leather smoother and more pliable.

Pouring the Leather

Fruit leathers can be poured into a single large sheet (13-inch by 15-inch) or into several smaller sizes pieces.Make sure you use an approved teflex sheet (designed to be in the dehydrator and prevents sticking) Spread puree evenly, about 1/8-inch thick, onto drying tray. Avoid pouring puree too close to the edge of the tray. The larger fruit leathers take longer to dry.I use my left over green smoothies and make leather out of them....its so delicious and great for travelling without my blender!

Approximate drying times are 6 to 8 hours in a dehydrator, up to 18 hours in an oven, and 1 to 2 days in the sun.

Drying the Leather

Dry fruit leathers at l05-115 degrees F. Leather dries from the outside edge toward the center. Test for dryness by touching center of leather; no indention should be evident. While warm, peel leather from plastic and roll. Then, allow the leather to cool and rewrap the roll in plastic.

Chances are the fruit leather won’t last long enough for storage. If it does, it will keep up to 1
month at room temperature. For storage up to 1 year, place tightly wrapped rolls in the freezer.

I hope you enjoy all of the dehydrator recipes that I will have in my upcoming crust, jerkies, desserts, crackers, chips and more!

Here is my dehydrator....I did a year of research before making my decision! It is the best due to a controllable temperature setting, 9 trays, and a timer- so, I can go about my life without having to check on it continually. Love it!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sunshine in a glass....!

Juicing fruits, greens and vegetables is a great way to consume a large amounts of nourishing nutrients.Need a little boost on getting a radiant summer glow? Instead of reaching for a synthetic supplement- grab your juicer!

So why fresh juice?

Fresh fruit and vegetables provide the proteins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and live enzymes needed to take care of our organs, tissues and our immune system - all vital to our health. Juicing specifically provides all the nutritional advantages of these foods in an easily absorbed, concentrated form.

There are all sorts of health claims attributed to eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, but it’s often difficult to incorporate the ‘proper’ amount into our everyday diet. Incorporating juicing into our daily routine means we’re benefiting without too much effort. I for one,thats the DIVA side, am all for making it easy on myself!

* Personally, I love my Omega Juicer! It is a powerhouse and offers so many more functions than just juicing. My peach sorbet with my Fredericksburg peaches is only possible with my much loved Omega.

Sunshine Juice:

Carrots are one of the highest sources of vitamin A carotenes and unlike vitamin A, beta-carotene does not cause toxicity. There have been many health benefits claimed about beta-carotenes, but probably the most accepted and least controversial are that they

Protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals
Enhance the functioning of your immune system
Help your reproductive system function properly

Oranges – not only vitamin C **
Oranges are best known as a source of vitamin C, but they are also an important supply of flavonoids – making a valuable combination of anti-oxidants and strengthening the immune system.

Ginger benefits abound **
Ginger is widely used as an anti nausea remedy, and is effective in relieving all symptoms of gastrointestinal disturbances. There is also growing evidence of its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Carrot and Orange and Ginger Juice recipe:

Depends on the size of your produce, but you will generally be looking at 2 large oranges to 7 carrots and an inch of peeled ginger to produce a nice big glass of this amazing glass of sunshine. I wash the carrots and top and tail them, but don’t bother peeling. I peel the oranges but leave the white pith on them, and peel the ginger and whizz it all together in the Super Juicer. To serve immediately.

** health claims and benefits sourced from : The Complete Book of Juicing and WHFoods

Thursday, August 4, 2011

REAL Food Wars......!

In the beginning of my upcoming book, I ask...."Where did we go wrong" with our modern day food and lifestyle choices? Several weeks ago, a lady was jailed for growing vegetables in her front yard! Apparently the landscape choices did not meet the definition of "suitable planting" that was allowed by her local city government. Now this week, it becomes an even more imperative question after a SWAT style raid on RAWESOME (Real Food Buying Club/COOP)in Los Angeles. Our governments actions are becoming absurd and sickening to me. People- we have troops dying every day to protect our freedom(s) and our rights, to not suffer under government dictatorship.The charge...well-it must be farmageddon as it appears to be the sale of raw unpasteurized milk!!! (the same milk that anyone alive 50 years ago would have been raised on) There was no illness outbreak and its not illegal in the state of California. The directors and farmers of this coop are behind bars with excessive bail amounts. All the while, a corporation like Cargill makes dozens of people sick for months with bad ground turkey, and goes its merry way without even a recall. Really? To quote the title of Joel Salatins' new book- "Folks, this ain't normal"!

I am sharing several videos that I found very informative and also very disturbing. As an advocate of REAL food and ongoing challenge of others to "know where their food comes from", I have become an illegal gang leader of sorts. Have you seen a local struggle in your own community when it comes to obtaining REAL food? If so, please share by leaving your comments below!

Interview:Mike Adams (part 1 of 2)

Interview: Mike Adams (part 2 of 2)

Cartoon sourced from

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Foraging for WILD edibles.....? Go for the PURSELANE!

This one of my FAVORITE wild greens that I have actually cultivated from wild pickings and placed into several pots. It is an amazing nutritional powerhouse. By cultivating it not only keeps it handy and available when I want to use it but this also helps me keep it organic and free of run off from lawn chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and fungacides.

Soft, succulent Purslane or "Pusley" has more omega-3 fatty acids than some of fish oils. Go for this healthy dark green leafy vegetable and boost your brain power!

Botanically, this herbaceous leafy vegetable belongs to the family of Portulacaceae and scientifically known as Portulaca oleracea. Other common names for this green vegetable are pusley, pigweed or verdolaga.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) Common purslane:

Purslane is native to Indian sub-continent and now widely distributed across the world especially as a wild weed. There exist different varieties of pusley with variatio in leaf size, thickness and leaf arrangement and pigments distribution. It is actually hard herb plant requires comparatively less water and soil nutrients and grow well in sunny conditions. The plantreaches about 12-15 cm in height.

Pusley is widely grown in many Asian and European regions as staple leafy vegetable. Its leaves appear thick, contain mucilaginous substance and have a slightly sour and salty taste. Leaves and tender stems have slightly sour and salty taste. Its stems, leaves and flower buds are also edible.

Purslane seeds, appear like black tea powder, and often used to make some herbal drinks.

Health benefits of Purslane

■This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats; but is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

■Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more Omega-3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provides about 350 mg of α-linolenic acid. Research studies shows that consumption of foods rich in ω-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and also help prevent development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.

■It is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and is essential for vision. This vitamin is also required to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

■Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese.

■Also present in purslane are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish beta-cyanins and the yellow beta-xanthins. Both of these pigment types are potent anti-oxidants and have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties in laboratory studies. [Proc. West. Pharmacol. Soc. 45: 101-103 (2002)]

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), raw, fresh,

Nutritive value per 100 g.

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base) Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA

Energy 16 Kcal 1.5%

Carbohydrates 3.4 g 3%

Protein 1.30 g 2%

Total Fat 0.1 g 0.5%

Cholesterol 0 mg 0%


Folates 12 mcg 3%

Niacin 0.480 mg 3%

Pantothenic acid 0.036 mg 1%

Pyridoxine 0.073 mg 5.5%

Riboflavin 0.112 mg 8.5%

Thiamin 0.047 mg 4%

Vitamin A 1320 IU 44%

Vitamin C 21 mg 35%


Sodium 45 mg 3%

Potassium 494 mg 10.5%


Calcium 65 mg 6.5%

Copper 0.113 mg 12.5%

Iron 1.99 mg 25%

Magnesium 68 mg 17%

Manganese 0.303 mg 13%

Phosphorus 44 mg 6%

Selenium 0.9 mcg 2%

Zinc 0.17 mg 1.5%

Selection and storage

In the store, buy fresh and healthy looking purslane; look carefully for mold, yellow or dark spots as they indicate inferior quality. Go for organic product whenever feasible.

Wash fresh leaves and stem in clean cold running water in order to remove any soil and insecticid/fungicide residues. After removing from water, mop it with soft cloth to remove any moisture in them before storing in the refrigerator.

pusley can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days but should be eaten while the leaves are fresh and not wilted.

Preparation and serving methods

The stems and flower buds are also edible. Trim the tough stems near roots using sharp knife. Cook under low temperature for shorter period in order to preserve majority of nutrients. Although antioxidant properties are significantly decreased on frying and boiling; minerals, carotenes and flavonoids may remain intact with steam cooking.

Here are some serving tips:

■Fresh, raw leaves can be used as salad and as vegetable juice or in a green smoothie- add a cup or two of the purslane with a frozen banana, blend and enjoy!

■It has also being used in soup and curry preparations in many mouth watering purslane recipes in South Indian states.

■Stew fried and mixed with other greens such as spinach and vegetables are favorite dishes among Asians.

Go WILD with this green....your body and health will thank you!