The popularity of organic produce has increased dramatically over the years and for good reasons.   Organic produce has now been shown by a number of studies to be more nutritious than produce raised with chemicals.  I will share some reasons why I choose to eat organically grown food.

A $25 million, four-year study of organically certified food, funded by the European Union, found that organic fruits and vegetables contain up to 40% more antioxidants.  Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc.  In fact, the milk from organically raised cows contains 60% more antioxidants and essential fatty acids than conventional milk.

A doctoral dissertation by Virginia Worthington at John Hopkins University in 2001, revealed:

  • 27% more vitamin C in organically grown vegetables
  • 21% more iron
  • 29% more magnesium
  • 13% more phosphorous
  • 15% fewer nitrates

There should be no remaining doubt that buying organically grown produce is well worth the effort and additional cost.  If you can’t buy organic, be sure to at least avoid the conventionally grown “Dirty Dozen”.

Below is “The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides” it was developed by the Environmental Working Group (see www.foodnews.org)

Dirty Dozen  Most chemicals used (buy only organic)

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (imported)
  11. Carrots
  12. Pears

Clean 15 (lower in pesticides)

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato

It is good to avoid the health-damaging pesticides and herbicides when at all possible.  The chemicals are especially concentrated in vegetable or fruit juices, in dried fruits or vegetables and in animal products.

How your food is grown or raised can have an impact on your physical, mental and emotional health. Many people who have food allergies or food sensitivities, find when they eat chemical free, preservative free or organically grown,  that their symptoms lesson or go away.

Take a look at the chart below to get a good idea of the health benefits of eating organically:

The benefits of organic food

Organic produce: Conventionally-grown produce:
Grown with natural fertilizers (manure, compost). Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling). Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides.
Pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and naturally-derived pesticides. Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides
Organic meat, dairy, eggs: Conventionally-raised meat, dairy, eggs
Livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed. Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth, as well as non-organic, GMO feed.
Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet. Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
Livestock must have access to the outdoors. Livestock may or may not have accoress to the outdoors.

I personally choose to buy organically grown or chemical free food because I want to get the most nutrition, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the food I eat.  I like feeling good, having plenty of energy in my aging body and being in good health. 


Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!



Talking about chemicals in our food is a very controversial subject!  The farmers often feel they need a certain amount of chemicals in order to protect their crops and have a good harvest.  It’s often the case that farmers feel they are between a rock and hard place growing food without chemicals because they might lose crops to infestations of one kind or another.

The food producers or manufacturers feel some chemicals are necessary for shelf life, taste enhancement or looks.  There is much pressure by their constituents to provide the best looking, best tasting and longest shelf life possible in order to appeal to more customers and make a profit.

We,  at Nature’s Pantry, understand the reasoning behind the chemicals but we have also committed to our customers that we will only sell foods with the least amount of chemicals possible.  Below are chemicals to be avoided:

6 bad food chemicals to avoid:

  • Monosodium Glutamate:  MSG, is a flavor enhancer.  Many people may not realize that, despite our knowledge, it is still present in many foods, such as; boxed prepared foods, cheese spreads, soups, condiments, chips, and more. Incredibly, it can even be found in some baby foods as a flavor enhancer. So what does MSG do to your body? It is an “excitotoxin” that excites your cells to the point of damage. This can even cause brain damage, trigger or exacerbate learning disabilities, cause migraines and some believe it may be linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole:  BHA is another potential cancer-causing preservative, but it has been deemed safe by the FDA. Its job is to help prevent spoilage and food poisoning, but it’s a major endocrine disruptor and can seriously mess with your hormones. BHA is in HUNDREDS of foods. It’s also found in food packaging and cosmetics. BHA has many aliases. You can look them up. Or you can follow my advice and DITCH processed foods altogether.
  •  Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate:  These preservatives are sometimes added to soda to prevent mold from growing, but benzene is a known carcinogen that is also linked with serious thyroid damage. Dangerous levels of benzene can build up when plastic bottles of soda are exposed to heat or when the preservatives are combined with ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Don’t risk it, just say no to it!
  • Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites:   These two different preservatives are found in processed meats like bacon, lunch meat, and hot dogs. They’re some of the worst offenders, and they’re believed to cause colon cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. Protect your health by always choosing fresh, organic meats.
  • Artificial Food Colorings:  The artificial colors blue 1 and 2, green 3, red 3, and yellow 6 have been linked to thyroid, adrenal, bladder, kidney, and brain cancers. Always seek out foods with the fewest food colors or artificial chemicals , especially when shopping for your kids. Look for color-free medications and natural food products that don’t contain artificial colors like these.
  • Glyphosate:   According to the ARC, a France-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization,  glyphosate, is used in more than 750 different herbicide products, including Round Up, and its use has been detected in the air during spraying, in water and in food. Experts say there is evidence in humans that the herbicide can cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma and there is convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause other forms of cancer in rats and mice. ARC’s panel said glyphosate has been found in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, showing the chemical is absorbed by the body.

We should not expose ourselves or our families unnecessarily to unsafe, toxic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or artificial food colors in our food!  Especially not “probable human carcinogens”For good health, it is best to eat organically grown foods or foods grown with little or no chemicals.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!



Using less refined sugars can be tough on your sweet tooth! Sugar can be incredibly delicious and extremely harmful. It Is definitely worth your energy or will power to use less. There are many sweeteners found in nature that are actually good for your health. They are lower in calories, low in fructose and taste very sweet without damaging your immune system.

Often when I’m craving something sweet I will eat a piece of fruit or a couple of dates and the feeling that I need a sweet treat disappears. It’s almost impossible to get away from all sugar when our society celebrates every important life event with cake or some other sweet treat!

I prefer using unprocessed, natural sugars in my baking. Sugars that are the least processed are fruit, raw honey, pure maple syrup and coconut sugar. I always recommend using less sugar than the recipe calls for, because most desserts are too sweet for me.

Sweeteners stimulate our appetite, encourage our sweet tooth and pack on the pounds. They place us at risk for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver. Sugar is addictive and the more you eat, the more you want. So cutting down even a little will help your health over your lifetime.

Healthy sugar substitutes are needed. There are people who might absolutely need to avoid all sugars. This would include brittle diabetics, someone who is insulin resistant, a binge eater, food addicts, or people on low carbohydrate or ketogenic diets.

Sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners are a topic that has been controversial for a long time. I believe there are natural plant based sweeteners that can be used by everyone, including diabetics, without negative side affects.

4 GOOD sweeteners or sugar substitutes that are safe:

Stevia (sugar from a leafy plant) It is a natural, zero calorie sweetener that can lower both blood pressure and blood sugar levels. You can get the green leaf powder or the white powder that has the chlorophyll removed.

Erythritol (sugar alcohol from fruit) Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is very sweet but low in calories. Studies show that it is safe to eat, although it can cause digestive distress in high doses.

Xylitol (sugar alcohol from fruit) Xylitol is a very popular sweetener. It is a sugar alcohol with about 2.4 calories per gram. It has some dental benefits, may improve bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis. It can also cause digestive problems in high doses.

Coconut sugar A solid sugar made from the evaporated sap of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has a similar taste to brown sugar and can be substituted 1:1 for granulated or brown sugar in most baking recipes. Because coconut palm trees can produce sap for many years and require fewer resources than sugar cane, it’s a fairly sustainable crop. Look for organic varieties to be sure no pesticides are being used. It’s lower on the glycemic index than most other sugars.

4 BAD sugar substitutes that can cause health issues:

Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue) Studies have shown that Aspartame could cause lymphoma or leukemia when used regularly. It can also be a neurotoxin.

Sucralose (Splenda) Some reports of increased incidence of blood cell         tumors when using high doses of Splenda on a regular basis.

Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe) Some reports of increased risk of human carcinogen if used in high doses.

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin) Studies have shown that Saccarin can cause bladder tumors or cancer if used regularly.

I personally don’t want to regularly eat a chemical sweetener that could cause my body great harm. Having said that, all sweeteners should be eaten in small amounts. I would say in conclusion, as with most foods, choose sweeteners that are the least processed and that are healthiest for your body.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!


We hear so much talk about how bad high fructose corn sweetener (HFCS) is for our bodies and then we find it in so many of the common foods we eat and the drinks we drink.  What’s the big deal anyway?  Let’s take a good look at it and see what we can find from research.

The current media debate about the benefits (or lack of harm) of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our diet misses the obvious. The average American increased their consumption of HFCS (mostly from sugar sweetened drinks and processed food) from zero to over 60 pounds per person per year.  During that time period, obesity rates have more than tripled and diabetes incidence has increased more than seven fold. Not perhaps the only cause, but a fact that cannot be ignored.”  Mark Hyman, M.D.

People, throughout the world are drinking soft drinks loaded with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which increases a person’s triglyceride levels and their LDL (bad) cholesterol. Sugar from corn is a food that people get a lot of their calories from,  primarily in the form of soft drinks. One of the reasons that  HFCS is such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body more rapidly than other sugars, and, because a lot of fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are greatly magnified.

According to Dr. Mercola,  if people stopped consuming HFCS the health improvement would be FAR more profound than if everyone stopped smoking, because elevated insulin levels are the foundation of nearly every chronic disease known to man including cancer, heart disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, aging, arthritis, osteoporosis, you name it, and you will find elevated insulin levels as a primary factor.

Years ago, in my nutrition studies, we were taught that fructose was a good  form of sugar and it was more readily available for energy than other sugars. We used it in our recipes and taught others to use it.  It’s use and promotion was quite prevalent in many nutritional circles.  We believed it was better for you than sucrose.  We discovered through many studies and research, that it definitely was a food that should be avoided, especially the HFCS form.

According to Dr. Mercola, “eating small amounts of whole fruit will not provide tremendous amounts of fructose and should not be a problem for most people, unless diabetes or obesity is an issue but fruit juices, sodas and other beverages sweetened with fructose should be avoided.To add insult to injury, the corn that the high fructose corn syrup is metabolized from nearly all comes from genetically modified corn which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns.High fructose corn syrup is is not something that should be in your diet at all. But HFCS is the primary caloric sweetener in U.S. soft drinks. Researchers estimate that most Americans eat 132 calories of HFCS per day, while the top 20 percent of sweetener consumers eat over 300. And some, they say, eat as much as 700 calories per day of HFCS.

Sodas, of course, are not the only source of HFCS (though they represent one of the main ones). This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods, including some whole grain breads and fruit juices, so to avoid it you need to focus your diet on whole foods, and, if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader.

Much of the above information I gleaned from Dr. Joseph Mercola, a world-renowned physician and multiple New York Times bestselling author. He established his website, Mercola.com, in 1997 and today, it is the #1 Natural Health Website in the world.  Visit his website to learn more about HFCS.
 Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!






In our last blog post in November I listed the 12 food additives to avoid and now I will begin to define and explain why some food additives should be avoided.

I will begin with Trans Fats.   An unhealthy substance, also known as trans fatty acid, made through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils. Hydrogenation solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and foods that contain them. Trans fat is found in vegetable shortenings and in some margarines.  Here’s some information about trans fat and how to avoid it.

The manufactured form of trans fat, known as partially hydrogenated oil, is found in a variety of food products.  Look for “0 g trans fat” on the Nutrition Facts label and no hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list. Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods found in the grocery stores that usually contain trans fat. 

Some meat and dairy products contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat. But most trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature. This partially hydrogenated oil is less likely to spoil, so foods made with it have a longer shelf life. Some restaurants use partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in their deep fryers, because it doesn’t have to be changed as often as do other oils.

“Trans fat is considered by many doctors to be the worst type of fat you can eat. Unlike other dietary fats, trans fat — also called trans-fatty acids — both raises your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.  A diet laden with trans fat increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women.”   Staff at Mayo Clinic

It’s very important to read your labels when purchasing foods that contain fats and make sure there are no trans fats in the products you are buying.  Especially staying clear of deep fried foods  because they are generally high in trans fatty acids.  Be particular in choosing your food when eating out.  All deep fat fried foods contain trans fats and many other fried or processed foods that contain shortening or margarine in the ingredients will have trans fats.

Here is a list of the top 10 foods containing trans fats:

  1. Shortening or Margerine
  2. Packaged Mixes such as pancake mix, cake mix, icing mixes, etc..
  3. Coffee Creamers
  4. Instant Ramen Noodles
  5. Baked Goods such as cookies, crackers, donuts, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, etc.
  6. Breakfast Sausages
  7. Breakfast Sandwiches
  8. Frozen Pizza
  9. Microwave Popcorn
  10. Fried Fast Foods such as French fries and fried chicken

The American Heart Association recommends that adults who would benefit from lowering LDL cholesterol reduce their intake of trans fat and limit their consumption of saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6% of total calories

Eating a diet containing 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day as recommended by the American Dietetics Association will help our bodies be satisfied with less trans fats .  Our dietary goal should be to eat a balanced diet containing very few trans fatty acids.  It’s best to choose food as grown rather than highly processed food.   Choose  most of your food as fresh food; such as vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fresh caught fish or grass fed, free range animal products in order to avoid trans fatty acids.  This is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy and happy!

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!




As many of you know Nature’s Pantry is on a mission to help our customers find and maintain vibrant health!  One of the ways we do that is by not selling foods containing harmful additives, dyes, or chemicals and not marketing products from farms that have been abusive to animals. We believe produce should be farmed without chemicals and synthetic additives; that animals should be raised humanely without extreme antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones and be pastured, grass fed and not caged in cramped spaces.

We strive to carry only top products that meet high standards and nourish us without putting harmful ingredients into our systems or the environment.  We want to sell the very best and be good stewards of whatever is entrusted to us.

With that in mind, we have adopted a list of additives that we try very hard to keep out of the products that we sell in our store:

  • Hydrogenated or Trans Fats
  • Cottonseed oil
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • GMO Beet sugars
  • Artificial Sweeteners, including aspartame
  • Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate
  • All Chemical Preservatives such as Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Sodium Nitrates and Sodium Nitrites
  • Additives: synthetic food dyes, preservatives and artificial flavorings
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Bleached or bromated flours
  • Added Growth Hormones or antibiotics in animal products

We promote whole foods as grown in nature, free from chemicals and as unprocessed as possible. We give special attention and strive to sell certified organic, non GMO, fair trade and locally grown foods because they support our mission the best.

This is just the beginning in helping you to make wise food choices and avoid unnecessary chemicals in the foods you consume. I’m sure we will be adding to this list as time goes on with all the industrial farming and chemicals being added to our crops and food products.

Please read your labels and be aware of what you are purchasing, consuming and feeding your families.  We are there to assist you and help you find the best foods possible to meet your nutrition needs.  We will define and discuss the above 12 harmful ingredients in greater detail in future blogs.

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!



We live in a fast paced society where many kids have grown up eating at fast food establishments.  It’s convenient and easily becomes a habit for many families.  We get so busy we don’t have time to cook.  There are many consequences with this lifestyle for us and for our children.

If we want our bodies to be healthy, we have to put nutritious food into them.  One old saying is; “garbage in, garbage out“.  Some of the garbage out might be: lack of energy, joint aches, brain fog, poor grades, mood swings or illness.

With health care unaffordable for many of us, we need to be proactive with our food choices in order to keep ourselves and our children healthy.  We need to create our own fast food at home. 

I personally choose one day, usually Sunday afternoon, to do some cooking ahead for the week.  By preparing a few foods in advance, it makes it quick and easy to prepare a meal at the end of a busy or stressful work day.

This past weekend I cooked a pot of quinoa and a pot of black beans. We had them with a salad for dinner.  I put the rest in the refrigerator and froze some.   They can be used as a complete protein at a meal or they can be used as a side dish with meat, fish or different vegetables.

This week I have used the quinoa in several different salads, in wraps and with stir fry.  The black beans were used in soup, mashed for refried beans in enchiladas, used in a Mexicali bowl with the quinoa and they all had different spices, seasonings, condiments, tastes and flavors.  Delicious!

Each time I used one of the fast foods I had pre-cooked, I used different vegetables and proteins with them so that it seemed new and exciting and not like left overs.  Tuesday night we made tacos with corn tortillas, the black beans,   lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and salsa.  They were quick to make and so yummy!

I’m not saying we eat those same foods every day, I just have them on hand for quick meals when needed.  It does take a little pre planning but it is so worth an hour or two of your time to plan a few days of good food that will help save time and prevent eating at fast food places during the week.

There are so many different combinations you can prepare ahead and have ready for a quick “fast food” meal. If you need suggestions just contact us,  we have lots of ideas for you.  This week I think I’ll cook brown rice and lentils to use in my fast foods.  Cook ahead to prevent cooking when you are stressed!

Above all things I wish that you would prosper and be in good health!