As I sit here on my balcony after finishing an amazing and healthy dinner I realized it was time to share.

I realized it was time to share beyond just my facebook and instagram accounts. Not that I don't normally share, but I have had a hard time motivating myself to share my thoughts during this tough time in our history, via my avenue of writing on my website. Today, I realized how much I enjoy writing and needed to share my thoughts, especially through my website.

If you like many don't follow me on my social media accounts, then here is the key that will open pandoras box. The key to clean meat and farm friendly farmers,and sustainable practicing while supporting their families and yours.

What many don't realize is how expensive and hard farming operations are. Nobody really appreciates farmers and farming until now. Farmers are working harder than they ever have to provide for themselves and those around us. I am so happy to see that so many people are finally seeing the light and supporting local farmers. It truly takes a village to run a farm. 

I had the good fortune to grow up in a small town in Connecticut and after college relocated to a state (California) that is full of farmers markets which are full of an abundance of local produce from local farmers.  The farmers markets include hard working workers, or farmers themselves who drive 50-500 miles to provide for those of us who want the fresh goods. Less middle men, typically means less expensive than most grocery stores, especially if the item is not in season, which of course it is best to buy produce that is in season. Why you ask? Better for the body and digestion when you are eating produce that is seasonal, and this is exactly why Restaurant menus mostly serve what is in season, which also contributes to their food costs.

I started going to the farmers market in California many years ago. As the years have gone by, more and more vendors pop up and one that I discovered has become an all time staple in my home and diet. The main farmers that I buy meat from are Buy Ranch Direct  (Buyranchdirect.com.). They are a local Southern California family residing in Huntington Beach and their farm is 500 miles outside of Los Angeles. Charles and his wife Cindy and their children run the day to day operations. They are very passionate and truly do a great job at providing our communities and states with fresh grass fed and finished meat products.

 I know no one specific diet is a one size fits all, but what I do know is over the years, what I have learned is the nutrients you get from clean, grass-fed meat are paramount to any soaked vegetables or grains.

However, for someone to get clean meat hasn't always been easy, especially in many main stream grocery stores.  You may not really know what you are buying regardless of what is printed on the packaging. Factory farms are very common and just because meat says organic doesn't mean it was processed humanely. It is important to know what to look for when it comes to buying meat. Many brands ensure they have the humane certifications on their packaging.  Hopefully  one day farctory farming will become a thing of the past, but until then I am here to educate you on farmers who do it right.

I put this list together (which will be updated as I am referred more farmers) to share with you many local farmers around the USA.

I am confident these farming communities would be happy to serve you and your family with clean meat products.  I am not at all associated or affiliated with any of these brands, but of course would love to work directly with them if the opportunity presents itself. 

Please know that I only have purchased from a few of these farms for my personal meat consumption, to include Buyranchdirect.com and Primal Pastures. Both companies are smaller businesses located in southern California.  Buy Ranch Direct is owned by Charles and Cindy along with their children who help run the business. They ship directly overnight (more than ever from the pandemic) and also do pre-orders to be picked up at local farmers markets in California. You can buy some loose items at the market, for whatever items they have on hand.

Primal Pastures story directly from their website started as a small project to raise chickens for eggs and has since turned into a full fledged operation.  

"Primal Pastures is the outgrowth of:

1. A belief that we are experiencing a major food crisis
2. A sound idea of how to fix it

3. A vision of raising the best meat in the world produced in Southern California (Murrieta,CA, miles from Temecula)

In 2012, Primal Pastures launched a humble little ranch operation in Temecula, California. They did this with a dream of producing premium grade, healthy and happy poultry, beef, lamb, pork, and turkey raised locally, sustainably, and responsibly by healthy farmers for healthy families. Starting on one acre of pastureland, the team began to raise 54 free-range, pasture pure, primal chickens and accrued a waitlist of more than 100 families before the first batch of birds was even ready."

Although the farm has grown since then I was able to take a tour of with other Nutritional Therapists, on their private farm tour in 2018, which included (as arranged by another FNTP) a free whole frozen chicken to take home. That chicken was truly one of the best I have ever had.

Double O Farms, is a sweet and hard working multi-generation family residing and ranching in Nebraska. They have been in the farming business since 1885 as you will read on their website. I have personally chatted on Instagram (where you can follow along too) with wife Jena, from Double O Farms and she is super sweet.  I asked Jena of Double O Farms some basic questions to which she ensured me that "the animals are all treated humanely." Per our conversation, she mentioned to me that "the meat is not treated with any hormones or antibiotics of any kind.  The steers are fattened up naturally. If there is an animal that isn't healthy, they remove it from their finishing program (feeding program), which is so great to know. I really wanted to highlight their business as they show how hard working farmers work and they don't receive enough accolades for all they do. So, check out Double O Farms in Nebraska or on their Instagram to get a peek into their fun farming operation. 

Jena the wife, Levi her husband their sweet boy Stetson are very involved in all aspects of the farming processes. Jena manages the family Instagram and I found them by way of the Five Marys founder and have enjoyed following along the last few months, on their farming journey. Their sweet farmer Stetson, (all about 5 or 6 years old) is such a huge farm helper helping his mom and dad on the farm.

Five Marys is another farming family that I stand behind. Again I have yet to try their meat products, simply because I shop local and avoid paying shipping charges if I don't have to, what I would coin Economics 101. I may have not made it to their farm yet, but you and your family can follow along on Instagram and their website to see how they raise and treat their animals day in and day out, and it truly is like watching a documentary.

In regard to Five Marys they are the most beautiful, quirky, fun and sweet family (as their Instagram truly show), who also left the busy city life outside San Francisco, to move to the country and move to a farm, where they now produce animals and various livestock of all kind. The business gets their name from the Five Marys to include the wife and four Mary's the children, whom all have nicknames, and are truly a hoot to follow along with.

When someone asks if their meat is organic, direct from their website; they leave you with honest feedback.

"We are not ‘certified’ organic, but we practice all-natural practices in everything we do. We believe when our customers can have full transparency in our operation, can know and trust us as their source for high-quality, all-natural meats - that means more than a certification sticker on a package and avoids the red tape and extra cost to the consumer associated with certification." Another great question, is what does organically minded mean? Their website continues to explain,   "When you are not certified organic, legally you can not use the word organic.  We are 100% mindful to practice and produce all-natural products. We raise what we believe is the best product to feed our own children and share it with our customers."

Many of the companies I have included in this article are shared with other accolades from others in their home states or through my personal interaction with the owners themselves on social media. I am also throwing in a bonus for an organic and raw cheese and dairy farmer located in California which I have fallen in love with since re-introducing their raw dairy back into my diet.

I 100% understand not everyone can tolerate dairy, myself included, but through my personal healing journey and my certification in nutritional therapy my nutritional therapist and friend introduced me to this amazing family at Organic Pastures.  I was able to add raw cheese back into my diet, yes cheese, but am not a big fan of cow dairy beyond that, at this point.

I have personally chatted online via Instagram with Hilary the daughter of the farming family at Organic Pastures who is involved in the day to day business operations. If you can personally tolerate cow's milk, I say go for it, sadly many cannot tolerate the protein that is in milk, making them lactose or casein intolerate. Organic Pastures is now available in HEB super markets in Texas as well as California and they ship via UPS. You just need to contact them directly Monday to Friday (PST timezone) at their corporate offices to find out what shipping is for your state.

Colorado has a great option as recommended to me by my Nutritional Therapy folks, known as Corner Post Meats. Their website is awesome and they look like they have a full range of products and offerings. As well as Corner Post Meats, Cook's Venture is another one. The same founders of the Blue Apron website, this is a regenerative and safe farming practice located in the San Francisco area of California and available for you to explore their website.

New York state has Cairncrest Farms which is also another family farm that produces and farms grass fed and finished beef. Feel free to reach out to them as well as they ship to all the New England states minus the state of Maine along with parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington D.C. Check their site for more information on where they ship to and what products they offer. Shipping is as follows which is pulled directly from their website.

  •  $85 minimum (plus $15 shipping)
  •  Shipped via UPS or FedEx
  •  Free shipping over $200
  •  Tuesday or Thursday delivery each weekScreen Shot 2020 05 14 at 5.21.19 PMPhoto credit: Buy Ranch Direct Chicken from their Website

What I can say is that the American meat and animal system needs a heck of a lot of work and it is now unfolding with the 'shortages' popping up in the current pandemic in local grocery stores. I even skimmed an article today that said that the government is going to now be calling on local farmers to help with the nations meat supply. Now, instead of using poor factory farming meat plants, why didn't they think to fix the supply chain years ago? So, why not just fix it ourselves and choose where we buy our meat. 

If you or someone close to you buys meat from a clean ranch and farming family anywhere within the USA and want to give them a shout out, please send me a message on my site to share their information with me and the reasons as to why you love buying from them. The more farmers we can support the more the merrier in these crazy times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you gone to the grocery store lately and been shocked to see empty shelves and empty dreams these last few weeks?

Well, I am right there with you.

 My California dreams and travel birthday celebrations will commence and life can resume back to normal, whatever that word, 'normal,' really means, we shall find out.

Imagine having your '40th' milestone birthday in the midst of an epidemic turned pandemic. A trip to Nashville with your close friends, CANCELLED, your future trip to Tahiti on hold. 

On my way home a week or so ago I stopped at the store to pick up my  favorite dairy free chocolate, Hu gems, yet those were sold out. That is when I decided and thought, what local brand can I support that I had not tried yet? In that moment is when I saw what I was going to buy to complete my pandemic birthday hunt.  Dreampops made it home to my freezer and I was now a happy birthday girl, granted as happy as a birthday celebration can be during a pandemic.

How my decision came about was I had seen a post by the founder's CEO weeks back when we found out our largest natural foods trade show was cancelled due to everything going on.

So, all I thought was now is the time more than ever to support local businesses trying to get their launch into the world of consumer packaged goods.

Forget the chocolate gems and move over dairy free fans as I certainly scored big when I decided to give these dream pops a chance. The flavor I chose was ceremonial matcha green tea, vanilla.

I grabbed a bag to ensure I liked them and immediately opened them up when I arrived home. I was hooked and am now a huge fan, of not only the brand, but the product.  

I went back to Wholefoods the following week when panic was setting in and was shocked to see all the matcha flavor was sold out.

Imagine your birthday plans crushed and now your hopes of grabbing a bag of dream pops to celebrate your birthday?  Then you think, what next?

Apocalypse for chocolate, fine wine and all things icecream were just the beginning of this pandemic. So to no avail I would not have a refill on my new favorite pops. I guess this is where it would leave me California dreaming until the next dream pop trip. The positive side to some of this pandemic is people need to eat and I get that.

So, I am so glad they have discovered my California dream pops too. 

 

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The amazing things about this is that consumer packaged goods brands (CPG) companies are seeing spikes in sales they have never before seen.  Desperate times call for desperate dream pop measures. This California dream that came to a quick halt, just got reignited when I exchanged a few instagram messages with the company's CEO to see that they believe in their consumers as well as anyone who is supporting their brand now and in the future. Stay tuned, as I will have some dream pops coming soon.

If you like me want to try this great brand, definitely look for them in your nearby grocer, or drop a letter off and request they carry them in your local store. 

Try ordering them online or at a local retailer near you. 

Calling all snack lovers who love to indulge but not indulge too much. I have discovered a new snack, with low fat, low protein and just the right amount of carbohydrates, unless you eat the entire bag.  This is where my problem lies. I have always been into finding healthier snacks, especially for my travels or on the go. I like to even have emergency snacks in my car, as you just never know when your day will be thrown for a tail spin and vere off course. Grabbing a bag of lily pops, won't leave you starving, and may just get you through to your next meeting, or safely help you arrive at your next destination, especially in L.A. traffic.

As a nutritional therapist I know the importance of nourisng your body daily, but also am not blind to the fact we all have desires and wants and cravings. I know myself I have been battling some gut health issues for over a year now and there are times when I just want a crunchy snack.  It has proven very difficult to find snacks, that don't have a bunch of added junk and ingredients, as well as nasty and unhealthy, fats and oils.  Here I finally found a snack without all the bad junk.  Here, I introduce my new favorite snack and obsession, Taali lily pops.

I personally am not supposed to be having any foods high in sugar, carbohydrates and I have a very limited food list of foods that are high in histamines and ingredients I cannot be eating.

So, if you are like me, then you will be thrilled to know Taali lily pops are a new snack on the market, that does not contain, gluten, dairy of nuts and to top it off, it is grain free. Not to mention all this, but they are algo non-gmo verified and certified, no artificial flavors, don't have any maltodextrin (usually from gmo corn), free of corn, vegan, roasted not fried and even include a bit of protein (6 grams per bag). Again with all this, be very careful as it is so easy to devour the entire bag in one sitting, they are THAT good!

This particular snack is newer to the snack space as I have only actually seen two companies who are sourcing and producing lily seeds.  Lily seeds are native to india (as of publishing date of this article September 2019).  Working in the nutrition space full time I get to see and have an introduction to many of the snacks and foods that come onto the food scene. These snacking seeds were in stores, but oddly I never noticed them or bought them until a friend of mine mentioned she got some at a food event.

I happened to come across the pink salt flavor in one of the retailers I frequent and grabbed a bag. I was instantly hooked. Taali pops were showcased at Expo West in 2018, but I failed to see them at the expo.

Taali pops recently had another debut at Natural products expo East 2019 and the founder mentioned they will be re-releasing two of the current flavors, tikka masala and the turmeric flavor which will both be vegan. They currently have whey in the recipe, so for those like me who cannot have dairy, this is exciting news. 

Taali pops are sourced in India from water lily seeds.  According to the Taali website, they describe their product, "Water lily pops are made from seeds of an aquatic crop, known as Euryale Ferox (part of the water lily family).  This plant is found largely in Northern India and is an extremely important crop for the farmers of that region. Lily seedshave been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for many centuries and also find an important place in the practice of Ayurveda."  They go on to explain how the seeds are sourced and maintained. 

"The seeds from the Water Lily Plant are harvested, graded, dried and then popped to get this all natural plant based snack" The company, "carefully slow roasts the popped seeds," which gives the seeds their crunchy and tasty texture.  So, if you haven't gotten your hands on a bag of lily pops, make sure to head on over to their site to grab a bag, or maybe follow my lead and grab six, as you will never want to run out, they are THAT delicious. 

A great place to grab some packs of Lily pops is thrive market online. To save 25% click here and you can order as many bags as you would like.

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