Kosher foods – good quality foods for all of us

Kosher foods mean quality

Yesterday the local radio station phoned me up to ask me what was special and distinctive about Kosher foods, and why so many Jews and non-Jews alike were choosing from the Kosher food range.  We have a really good selection of kosher foods at GoodnessDirect, they are great quality and are suitable for everyone because they are produced to such a high standard and are guaranteed to be dairy free and meat free (unless primarily a kosher meat or dairy product).

Pareve – neutral, dairy free, meat free foods

So here’s the low down: Central to the Kosher diet is the separation of milk from meat. For Jews even separate cutlery would be used.  Food that is neither meat nor dairy is called PAREVE (pronounced Par-a-va) and it is this category of  pareve foods that is popular with a wider audience who want neither meat nor dairy.

If a product meets the strict Kosher standards it is labelled with the Kosher logo and a stamp from the London Beth Din or other local Beth Din.  There are 750 factories which have been approved for Kosher food preparation all of which will carry the Kosher logo and will not mix dairy and meat and so avoid both totally.

Kosher foods also pay particular attention to the cleansing of vegetables and herbs to make sure there is no insect life hiding in the folds and tucks of, in particular, parsley, asparagus, spring greens, broccoli and watercress. All of these vegetables can be difficult to clean, but kosher food producers make absolutely certain there are no lurking creepy crawlies of any kind.

Milk, cheese and margarine

Milk is fine as long as it is kosher milk, from a kosher animal and so all milk production is supervised making kosher certified milk a standard of assurance.

Cheese also must be rabbinically certified to ensure all production is in line with the kosher standards, as here it is of paramount importance that having a dairy product, no meat bi-products at all are used. Even vegetarian cheese is overseen in this way.

Margarines contain fats and emulsifiers and these may be difficult to trace, so all margarines labelled as kosher have been verified that these fats are from kosher compatible sources. Kosher margarines all must be produced under rabbinical supervision.

For a food to fit with the Kashruth (Jewish food law)  pattern the yoghurt must not contain gelatine, the spices must not contain stearic acid salts and the breakfast cereal must not contain glycerine or be baked on a production line that has been used for non-Kosher product.

So now you know, Kosher means quality for all of us.

Zotrim – the herbal diet pill proven to work

I have to confess, I like herbal tablets. When I can’t sleep I use the valerian and hops found in Natrasleep and feel surprisingly refreshed in the morning. When I’m stressed I find St John’s Wort is a great relief – it just seems to put a cap on how stressed I can get.

Admittedly, just because a tablet is herbal does not mean it’s less dangerous – the active ingredients can be very powerful; but many customers like me feel more confident using naturally based remedies – you’re not going against the grain.

So it’s no surprise that Zotrim, a herbal diet pill is receiving rave reviews, not least because it can actually prove what it claims to do.

Zotrim - a diet pill that works?
Zotrim - a diet pill that works?
  • It curbs your appetite
  • And reduces your desire for the sweet stuff

The latest lab research, from the University of Liverpool, says that because Zotrim keeps you fuller for longer you should be able to reduce your calorie in take by 400-500 calories a day. This seems to confirm another study which found that on average women lost 11.5lbs over 6 weeks through using the pill.

Zotrim is a mix of the plant extracts Guarana, Yerba Mate and Damiana. I don’t know of any other product in the UK which combines these herbs, but I can say that this diet pill is cheaper than many other popular diet drugs.

If you know you need to keep hunger at bay and lose fat from your belly then this may well be the way to fool your stomach into thinking it is full.

Cherry Active is a winner

CherryActive Concentrate and capsules are well known for their benefits to sports people for joint mobility and muscle recovery, as well as aiding regular sleep patterns. CherryActive is, in fact a firm favourite and has been a well established nutritional supplement and well acclaimed anti-oxidant for a while.

Tart Cherry Juice

So what is the news?  Cherry Active has recently been voted the best supplement for 2009.  Acclaimed for the things mentioned above, CherryActive is made from the Montmorency Cherry, or Tart Cherry. It is processed using special techniques which optimise their powerful antioxidant properties. These tart cherries are such a rich, natural source of anti-oxidants and flavonoids that just 30ml of Cherry Active has been shown to have the antioxidant capacity of over 20 typical portions of fruit and veg. No wonder it was a winner.

Cherry Active product range is quite varied to suit all needs:

Cherry Active Juice 946ml

Cherry Active Juice concentrate 473 ml

Cherry Active OAD caps 30 c

Cherry Active OAD caps 60 c

Why does raw food make my mouth water so?

The raw food debate continues like a plot with dramatic twists. Is raw food the optimal human diet? Should it be 100% vegan? Can you instantly convert to just eating raw food?

However you only have to visit restaurants like Saf’s, Inspiral Lounge or Vita Organic in London to realise that a raw food diet is far from munching on carrots and it’s not just some whimsical frivolity. The food looks, and tastes, incredible!

Just look at the ingredients in raw foods. They are packed with good, healthy nourishment and nothing else.

The philosophy continues to be that raw food is prepared to to be as nutritious for you as possible.

When you look at Raw Health’s range of tasty snacks, you can see they are entirely organic and full of flavour.

I just sampled their ‘Fruity Coconut Balls’ (when I write sample I mean ‘scoffed the whole pack’). The tastes burst in your mouth, an incredibly enjoyable experience.

So let me list for you some of Raw Health’s range:

Provencale or Italian Crispbreads
Lemon and Ginger or Apple and Cinnamon Rolls
Pitta Bread (with brazil nuts, carrots and caraway seeds)
Flax and Pumpkin, Flax and Tomato or Flax and Herb Crackers
Spicy Coconut Buckwheat Bites
Fruity Coconut Balls
Almond and Apricot Bars
Cherry, Dark, Dark Orange or Hemp Chocolate

Not bad for a wacky food philosophy which prohibits cooking above 42 degrees.

And Raw Health aren’t the only ones to be creating new foods – there are loads of them. Nakd are a Welsh company (yay!) who specialise in the rawist of snack foods. They’ve recently brought out fruit and nut bars called Cocoa Orange, Pecan Pie, Cashew Cookie and Ginger Bread.

I’m sure you’ll be keen to sample these (in a similar way to me…)

Protect your teeth and you protect your baby

Did you know that if you are pregnant and have gum disease you are three times more likely to give birth prematurely?

Hormonal changes can mean your gums are more susceptible to disease at this time, so if you notice that your gums are bleeding it’s important to get them checked out.

The issue is that oral bacteria can easily get into the bloodstream through untreated gum disease – and almost everyone has a little gum disease at some point in their lives. But once the bacteria is in the bloodstream it can reach the baby. It can even result in a stillbirth.

If you think about just how much we have to brush our teeth to prevent all that bacterial build up (which causes infection and damages our teeth) and remember how a woman’s immune system is slightly more vulnerable during pregnancy, it’s not surprising that oral health is a vitally important issue for expectant mothers.

But it can be difficult to get right. Some mums-to-be find that brushing their teeth makes them feel sick – as if the daily morning sickness wasn’t enough!

Nonetheless, the main advice is still to brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes, try to cut down on sugary foods and drinks and visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend. Remember, dental treatment on the NHS is free to pregnant women and for up to one year after the birth.

And there are organic, nature-based and vegan oral brands out there.

Looking after your teeth is good for your baby
Looking after your teeth is good for your baby

One oral health support that’s becoming popular is Peri-Gum mouthwash. It is based on seven herbs and essential oils known to improve your gums and has been clinically proven to be effective in reducing gum disease. At just a few drops per gargle this is a powerful herbal solution.

Also, Eco-Dent offer a full range of natural oral care products. But, if you are pregnant, you need to be careful of the extra vitamin A found in their Dental Gum and also in other products like Dentaplex (a nutrient supplement for oral health). These are very good at naturally boosting oral care but should not be used during pregnancy without medical advice.

Surprisingly Cranberry juice has also been found to protect your teeth. It gives your teeth a teflon like shield against bacteria.

As long as it is unsweetened, Cranberry drink brands like Biona and Rabenhorst can be enjoyed at mealtimes. But here there is caution again, dentists advise that only drinking cranberry juice at mealtimes is best because cranberries are acidic too and overdoing it would effect your teeth’s enamel.

Booja-Booja Easter Eggs – How would you eat yours? – Competition

What’s the biggest sin when eating an easter egg?

Not sharing? Not finishing your hoard of chocolate until October? Scoffing it all in a great marathon event which ends with you on the couch vowing you’ll never eat chocolate again?

Whatever you end up doing (hopefully something more virtuous than the above), please don’t do it with the Booja-Booja Luxury Champagne Truffle Egg, it’s far too good to waste on novice chocolate eaters.

Win a beautiful Booja-Booja Easter Egg
Win a beautiful Booja-Booja Easter Egg

We’re talking about wonderously dark chocolate, velvet lined, hiding a trove of champagne truffles within, handcrafted and encased in a hand painted oval box. And because it’s Booja-Booja it’s a practically a blessing for you if you’re vegan or can’t eat gluten or dairy. A wonder to behold!

But here’s surely the greatest transgression of all – we are giving them away!

Booja-Booja luxurious Easter Eggs also come with Hazlenut Crunch, Midnight Expresso and Ginger Wine Truffles but, before I tell you how to win the Champagne Truffle Egg, let me also mention a few other conscientious chocolate eggs which deserve your attention too.

EqualExchange have their own Divine Delights for your exultation; fairtrade naturally, so you know there’s some good in what you’re doing as you munch through all the ruinous chocolate.

Organic oeuvres of fascination are available courtesy of the Chocolate Alchemist – imagine dark Belgian chocolate studded with jewels of crystallised ginger! They also make plates of dark and milk chocolate engraved with creamy motifs.

Or you can try Green & Blacks who are are offering butterscotch eggs of crunchy toffee, thicker chocolate shells, and a host of mini eggs, all organic and fairtrade (of course).

Finally, I’d like to mention Siesta D&D who are specialists in dairy and gluten free chocolates. They have designed lovely boxes of 20 eggs and bunny chocolates for your children to love.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the Booja-Booja Luxury Champagne Truffle Egg, you can enter the Booja-Booja competition with a simple email to me and I’ll put your name in the draw for one of five prize eggs (competition ends Friday 26 March 2010).

Trust me, win one of these and you’ll be in seventh heaven for days (and hopefully not hours).

Homeopathy – do you need it?

Homeopathy, some people swear by it, some swear whenever they hear the word.

The issue is so controversial that it has been investigated by Members of Parliament. On the one hand are medical experts who say that any result is purely a placebo effect, on the other are positive testimonies from people who’ve found help only through this form of medicine backed up by the doctors who’ve treated them.

Where does that leave you as a customer? No one wants to spend money on something which does not work, however people should be free to try any medicine providing it is not dangerous, especially if nothing else has provided a cure.

Homeopathic medicine sounds as if it works in a similar way to vaccination, giving the body a trace element of the problem in order to cure itself. But many professional bodies argue that the trace element is so small there is nothing in the medicine at all. But is the allegorical evidence really all just down to a placebo effect, and don’t all medicine’s have a placebo effect?

At GoodnessDirect we stock a number of homeopathic medicines from Weleda, New Era and Nelsons. If you have experience of success or failure with any homeopathic medicine, particularly these, we’d love for you to leave your comments below.