Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Conscious Box!!

We’re very excited to announce that we’ll be featured in next month’s Conscious Box! Conscious
Box is a monthly subscription service that only works with the most ethical, natural, and earth friendly businesses—and they've reached out to us to be a part of it! In the box, we’ll be including our Caveman Rub!!  It is also their one year anniversary and it will be a very special box indeed!

We think this is the perfect chance for you to introduce us to your friends and family. Giving them a Conscious Box helps them support eco-friendly businesses like ours, and it lets them give the Caveman Rub you love a try before they purchase the full size.  We hope you continue to enjoy our products and are just as excited as we are about being featured in Conscious Box!

All our best!!

L'Ecuyer's Gourmet

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Soap Bars!!

They're ready and available to purchase!!  Glycerin Shea Butter Soap Bars  A wonderful moisturizing bar full of natural ingredients to sooth your aching skin!!  Glycerin, shea butter, essential oils and natural florals to envigorate and excite your skin!!  $3.00 per bar!!  Right now we have 2 scents!!  Orange Rosemary and Vanilla Lavender!!  See our Body Care Products page to purchase!!  Don't wait!!  They're being snapped up quickly!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012 Please note!!  If you're allergic to sulfites, please wait to purchase!!  I have just found out that the Melt and Pour Glycerin base contains sulfites!  I am going to be making clear glycerin soap from scratch very soon and will reformulate these bars BUT will sell what I already have!!  So, stay tuned!!  It shouldn't take me long!!  Thanks for understanding!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Now on Twitter!!

Follow us on Twitter!!  Yep!  We made the jump!!  Check us out!!  Twitter

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2 new Blends coming soon!!

This weekend we will have 2 brand new blends debuting!!  I can't wait!!  Love Herbes de Provence?  We are going to have our own version!!  I LOVE cooking with Lavender and it has arrived!!  Yep!  Additionally, I will FINALLY have our Chipotle Spice Blend all ready!!  Our Chipotle Powder is finally here to get that mix together!!  We will be getting these ready on Thursday!!

As soon as we have enough 'orders' together to reach a certain 'level' we will be able to 'purchase' our UPC Codes (takes at least $800)!!  Once we are able to do that, we can get on Amazon Marketplace!!  I have a store front all ready! But, it will take time.  As such, I am setting up a donation button.  Please do NOT feel you have to do this, but we are a very small start up company.  I do not want to go into debt to get this going.  I have absolutely taken NO loans out at all to get this business going!  It is all my own money, my own earnings, and money from anything we have sold products from.  It isn't easy trying to maneuver the bureaucracy of governmental regulations such as the Dept of Agriculture.  Every tiny bit helps.  Thank you to anyone that can help.  Watch for our new blends this weekend!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eat to live, don't live to eat....

The more I talk with patients about eating and 'dieting' the more I am finding that most people are living to eat.  That shouldn't be why we eat.  We should be 'eating to live'.  Food is fuel for our bodies just like gas is fuel for our vehicles.  One thing I always talk about is not skipping breakfast.  Why is that?  Breakfast is two words and when you divide it up it's break -  fast.  You wouldn't drive a car on empty and you shouldn't 'drive' your body on an empty stomach either.  I also go over how to 'divide up' their plates.  So, why is this so important?

While you are sleeping, your body is in a state of 'fasting'.  You need to 'rev' it back up for the day!  Without something in your stomach in the morning, it is still in a state of 'fasting' and until you put something with carbohydrates AND protein in it, it will still be in a fasting mode until you do.  You should eat within one hour of waking up.  If you wait until lunch time, your body continues to fast and it knows it is 'starving' all that time and slows the metabolism down and will 'store' the fuel that it takes in to 'conserve' it's fuel that it takes in.  This actually leads to weight GAIN!!  Have you ever seen really thin people eat?  They eat at least every 3-4 hours!!  They eat small, frequent meals that consist of carbohydrates and proteins but HEALTHY carbohydrates and proteins such as fruits and vegetables with lean meats, cheese, or nuts.

How do you divide up your plate though?  The above photo I am always demonstrating to patients in my office.  I think I do this at least 10 times a day!  One half of your plate should be healthy vegetables.  The other half should be divided in half again.  Those two halves should be your carbohydrate serving and your protein serving for that meal (not your snacks).  A simple vegetable portion is typically one cup.  A protein serving is 3 ounces or about the size of a deck of cards unless it is a fish filet like a whiting filet or similar (salmon is like steak - deck of cards) then it is the size of a checkbook).  A carbohydrate serving is the size of a baseball, cut in half.  A fat is about the size of your the end of your thumb (1 tbsp).  BUT, what your put on your plate is just as important as your serving sizes.

So, how do I eat?  Do I practice what I preach?  Yes, most definitely!!  I have given up most all processed foods several years ago.  I'm allergic to most of what is in them.  Breakfast for me is often grits with cheese or a scrambled egg with vegetables, or even a one minute flax seed/almond flour 'biscuit' with a scrambled egg and maybe a piece of fruit.  I often have a snack that is usually a piece of cheese or a handful of nuts with some fruit or a container of Greek Yogurt (usually Chobani or Oiko's).  Lunch is either leftovers from dinner the night before or a roast beef salad that I get special made from Subway and I use my own dressing.  I usually have another snack in the afternoon of either a handful of Glutino's pretzels (gluten and rice free!) and some cheese.  Beverages of the day is either water, Propel water, Crystal Lite Pure (no artificial coloring or flavorings!), or Sobe Life Water or Coconut Water (only if it has Stevia sweetener).  I drink at least 40 ounces of water daily.  I RARELY eat fried foods at all and if I do, it's done at home usually with grapeseed oil or flax seed oil (I'm allergic to olives).  My one vice continues to be coffee.  I'm working on giving that up!!

Dinner is most often cooked at home.  It often gets a bit 'unusual' with us at home due to my allergies.  Many of my friends refuse to eat with us anymore as they often are 'afraid' to try 'new' things (though I wouldn't do that to them!).  We do try new and interesting things all the time but often eat vegetarian dishes!  We do use goat, alligator, frog legs, shark, swordfish, and more.  When you are allergic to the 'typical' dishes like chicken, turkey, and pork, you have to find different things to try.  Goat is a delicacy in Eastern countries, Gator is eaten consistently in Florida as well as Frog legs and the shark and swordfish is served world wide.  I grew up with a father who hunted and fished and was exposed to trying new things all the time.  My eldest daughter makes the best gator bites around!!  You wound never even know it was gator!!  We always have a wonderful 'green' of some type and we often serve 'Sunchokes' for our 'starch' (which isn't a starch at all!).  Our pasta is actually gluten and rice free and we use quinoa in place of rice.  My eldest daughter came up with a version of 'dirty rice' but with quinoa that is absolutely wonderful (and we often leave out any meat all all)!!  I'm still trying to get her to write it down for me so I can post it!!  It's quite healthy with very little 'starch' in it compared to rice and has protein in it!!  Yum!!  If we eat out, it is only at very specific restaurants that I 'know' will 'work' with me on ensuring that my meal is free of any allergens that will make me ill.  That is really tough if we travel.

So, what about dessert?  Do we eat dessert?  Absolutely!  But, I can't eat just anything!  No, that would just make me sick.  We often do fruit salads or we make something that is gluten free from scratch.  My youngest daughter has found a FANTASTIC gluten free chocolate souffle' that is absolutely DIVINE!!  And, it's overall pretty healthy and has NO FLOUR!  I will have to post that when she makes it again!!  She made it for me the first time on mother's day.  I was in heaven!  We do make 'cake' but it is made from gluten free flours that include 'bean' flours!!  These flours are full of protein!  You really can't even eat much as it fills you up!  We often 'fill' these cakes with my homemade jams!  So good!  The other thing is that we have 'converted' many recipes to gluten and rice free.  Over this holiday season, I will begin posting some of them.  One of my favorites is my sweet potato pie ramekins!!  They are absolutely fabulous!!  You would never even know they are gluten free!!  Another is my chocolate raspberry cheesecake!!  Just heavenly!!  Now that I have your mouth watering, you can see that eating healthy doesn't have to be boring!  We eat quite flavorful dishes full of fresh ingredients and a great variety of interesting things.  We eat well, we eat healthy and I'm still mistaken for my age!!  I love it!  So, my point in this post?  You CAN eat healthy, live happy, and be have flavorful foods despite allergies!!  I have some of the worst allergies around and we eat quite well!!  Again, 'Eat to live, don't live to eat'.....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Certified SC!!

We are now officially recognized as 'Certified SC'!!!  Awesome!  What that means is that we are recognized by the SC Department of Agriculture as a product manufactured solely in SC!!  Hooray!!  This is great news for us indeed!!  So, our packaging will now have the official logo listed on it as well!  We are made in the USA!!  Hopefully as things improve we can expand production as well!!  I'm so very proud of this designation!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

What is a soursop?

I have seen several posts about soursops lately and wanted to share this.  Big 'Pharma' hates the fruit and for good reason.  Many years ago they heard about it and the wonderful healing powers of the fruit but were unable to 'replicate' the healing properties of the fruit 'chemically' so they gave up the millions of dollars they put into research and said it was 'worthless' to pursue using it as a healing plant!!  So, just what is a soursop?

The definition from Wikipedia as well as other sources, is "Soursop is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree native to Mexico, Cuba, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America: Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Venezuela. Soursop is also produced in sub-Saharan African countries that lie within the tropics. Today, it is also grown in some areas of Southeast Asia as well as in some Pacific islands. It was most likely brought from Mexico to the Philippines by way of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade. It is in the same genus as the chirimoya and the same family as the pawpaw."

The flavor is a combination of pineapple, strawberry but also somewhat citrusy with undertones of coconut and banana.  The flesh of the fruit is an edible pulp but you don't want to eat the seeds.  It is used in desserts, beverages, as well as jams, jellies, ice creams, and smoothies.  It is known by many names in other countries.

Nutritionally, it is high in carbohydrates (fructose) but has many good qualities to it.  It contains Vitamins B1, B2, and C.  It has been shown to inhibit breast cancer by inhibiting the regulation of epidermal growth factor regulation.  This was being studied but they cancelled the studies as they were unable to replicate the properties of the plant in-vitro in the lab according to some articles that I read.  As such, Big Pharma cancelled all research into studying this research.  You simply can't mimick mother nature sometimes!!  As such, some articles will state that it hasn't been studied 'in humans'.

Additionally, it is said to be a diuretic, aid in digestion, help with a hangover, relieve liver ailments as well as gallbladder problems and more.  This fruit has been extensively tested by Purdue University, however it is stated again that no 'human studies' were done.  I'm not really understanding why when they purport that it is 100 times stronger than any known Pharma chemotherapy!

So, if it's so great, there has to be a downside to it all right?  Actually, there is.  It is known that ingesting the fruit in very large amounts can lead to Parkinson's disease and fatigue.  So, eat it in moderation.  The fatigue was only found to arise from the leaves and this is known from those herbalists that use it as a sedative.  So, use only the edible inside of the fruit and in moderation and you shouldn't have a problem.  Again, this comes straight from studies at Purdue University!!  You can find information from two sites about it soursop or Purdue University.

Here is a Soursop Jam!!  I haven't had the opportunity to make it myself but I've tried it!!  It is amazing!!  I also don't have a photo - yet!!  I will post a photo as soon as I am able to!!

Soursop Jam

4 cups of pulp
2 cups of raw sugar
3/4 cup of water
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp vanilla extract (GF)
1 pkg low sugar Sure Jel

Mix pulp, raw sugar, water and lime juice together until a boil, simmer on medium 20 minutes. Add vanilla and stir well. Add low-sugar sure jell and bring back to a boil for one minute. Skim off foam and ladle into prepare jars. Water bath for 15 minutes. Makes approx 8 half pints.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

It has taken me many weeks/months to put this post together.  I have been 'discussing' with a friend about one of these sweeteners for some time about the dangers so I thought I would put them all out there with the actual research into them.  You know who you are!!  I care about people - everyone, and want to see people happy and healthy!!  Not 'pickled' from the inside out because of what we eat or drink!!  We don't need to be 'preserved' from our food based on the chemicals they contain!!  I think this information may surprise many, some it may not!!

Artificial Sweeteners and the Inherent Dangers

Since the advent of processed foods, the overall weight of the Average American has increased by an average of 25 pounds in the last 25 years.  As such, the food industry has looked for ways for consumers to 'cut the sugar' from their diet.  However, in doing so they have contributed to an even growing problem - an increased intake of processed sugars, artificial sugars, and a growing addiction to chemically laden foods.

Some people are naturally prone to being more likely to become addicted to carbohydrates, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and in general foods.  However, it is possible to get off those foods!  I know, I have done it though it wasn't easy!  Many of the chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners that are put into our foods today can actually lead to increase risks of many cancers, diseases, allergies, difficulties in mood disorders, and more.  Again, I have been there and have been recovering from the 'dependency' on those substances as I get myself and my family off of those substances.  It took quite some time to completely change our diet but it has been so worth it!!

So, what causes these problems with artificial sweeteners?  First, lets take a look at what they are.  All 'sweeteners' can be classified two ways - nutritive and non-nutritive.  A 'nutritive' substance is one that adds nutrition to any food substance.  That is, it provides calories, vitamins, or minerals when you ingest it (eat it).  A 'non-nutritive sweetener is one that doesn't add any nutrition to any food substance at all.  An example of a 'nutritive sweetener' would be honey, or even maple syrup but also 'sugar alcohols'.  Some of these sweeteners not only add calories but also vitamins and minerals to your diet.  Some are all natural and are minimally processed to be used.  However, some are highly processed such as sugar alcohols which include xylitol.  Products containing xylitol now must carry a warning about the risk of diarrhea if over-consuming it as it has a laxative effect.  An example of a 'non-nutritive' sweetener would be Splenda®, Equal®, or Sweet-n-Low®.  They don't add any calories, vitamins, or minerals at all to your diet.  So, what's so bad about them if they are free of all of those things?

In order for a food 'substance' to be approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA), it has to meet certain requirements.  There is a great amount of testing that is done to determine if a food 'substance' is 'safe', 'unsafe', or considered 'GRAS' or 'generally recognized as safe'.  'In the United States, artificial sweeteners fall under the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list or as food additives under the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. According to the FDA, "Regardless of whether the use of a substance is a food additive use or is GRAS, there must be evidence that the substance is safe under the conditions of its intended use. FDA has defined "safe" as a reasonable certainty in the minds of competent scientists that the substance is not harmful under its intended conditions of use. The specific data and information that demonstrate safety depend on the characteristics of the substance, the estimated dietary intake, and the population that will consume the substance."'  This is the amount that the person should consume daily over their lifetime without ill effects at the time of the evaluation.  One thing that was not taken into consideration?  That it would become so addictive that people would consume far MORE than was expected!!

There are several 'non-nutritive, artificial sweeteners' on the market today and include sucralose, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium. They are often combined with other substances to make them more palatable and easy to digest as well as cut down on bitterness.  Each substance also has a 'acceptable daily intake' amount (ADI).  Again, when these substances were approved people were NOT expected to be consuming the amounts they actually are.  When was the last time you saw a commercial for equal or splenda?  I haven't seen one in quite a while and there is a reason for it!

Sucralose (Splenda®) is made by substituting 3 molecules of sugar with chlorine molecules!  Yes, I didn't write that incorrectly!  And, yes - your FDA in the US approved knowing the pre-approval research showed possible toxicity issues with it!!  Chlorine is a known carcinogen!!  So, my question is why on earth was this approved and why is there no warning on it like Sweet-n-low®?  You can make your own judgments there, I'm just giving you the information.

Aspartame (Equal® or Nutra-Sweet®) is in thousands of everyday products and was the second artificial sweetener on the market. It came out many years after Saccharine (Sweet-n-Low®) was found to cause cancer in rats but was delisted in 1980 as it couldn't be found to cause it in HUMANS!  However, the damage to their reputation was already done.  Saccharine can be safely used but isn't widely used due to the reputation it already had.  Aspartame however is another story.  It has a very, very complex process that starts with making amino acids in bacteria!  You can read all about the process here on enotes.  It just explains the process of how it came about, the discovery and how it is made.  From the research I've read, much of the research that shows the dangers were hidden or falsified by the company that developed it and weren't brought forth to the FDA.  When it came up for review again the second time more of this came about but because some of the purported research was 'missing' they had a hard time determining if it was GRAS or not so the FDA continued to allow it to be sold.  Unfortnately, since that time more and more has been discovered and now less and less of it is being used and more and more are switching to other forms of sweeteners.  Even military pilots are warned not to use it!!  It has been linked to numerous neurological problems including chronic headaches, brain tumors, birth defects, mental retardation, diabetes, fibromyalgia, parkinson's disease, and more.  Again, I'm just giving you the information.

So, how do you get artificial sweeteners out of your diet?  For starters, read your labels.  Don't buy anything that contains aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium k, saccharin, splenda, equal, or nutra-sweet.  Drink water (not tap water!!)   If all you have is tap water, get a pitcher filter or other filter to do your filtration.  They put chemicals in our city water to kill bacteria but you don't need those chemicals in your body (fluoride, bleach, etc.).  Take probiotics regularly to balance your intestinal tract.  Avoid processed foods altogether if at all possible but especially those labeled low calorie, sugar free, no sugar added, or diet.  Those items likely have artificial sweeteners in them.  Look for products that have xylitol or stevia/truvia in it instead.  Many flavored waters now contain these in them.  Crystal Lite Pure and Vitamin Water Zero now contain Stevia Sweetener.  At home, use Raw Agave Nectar (not just Agave Nectar) or honey as well as Stevia or Truvia.  I'm personally allergic to honey so I only use Raw Agave Nectar or Stevia/Truvia or Raw Sugar when I need it.  I try to avoid refined white sugar.

So, there is all the information.  What you do with it is up to you.  It has taken me years of education and research to fully understand why it's important to avoid these things.  Much of the research about these sweeteners were 'hidden' from the medical community and the public for years.  But, it is now widely available to anyone that looks for it.  It really makes me sad that many providers still recommend some of these products when it has clearly been shown to cause continual problems and the rise in cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is ever pressing.  I do know one thing, since I've been 'off' most chemicals, processed foods, etc. I certainly feel and look better!!  Let's get back to basics and just good clean eating and living!!

Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your treating doctor. L'Ecuyer's Gourmet does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness.  The views and nutritional advice expressed by L'Ecuyer's Gourmet are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition, see your physician of choice. This Web site contains links to Web sites operated by other parties. Such links are provided for your convenience and reference only. We are not responsible for the content or products of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Non-GMO Month!!

October is Non-GMO Month!  I found this on another link and thought I would share!  I use Chebe Breads and saw this on their site and wanted to share this!!  Check out this great page!!  The Non-GMO Project is sponsoring it and wants everyone to know about it!!  This page will help you find and learn more about what a GMO is, how to find non-gmo foods near you and more about what is in your foods!!  Have a great night!