Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Easy 'Whey' Out

The title for this post was an easy one for me, yet contrary to the title I did get an easy 'whey' out! So, the song may or may not be obvious to you but it has long been one of my favorites. It is 'No Easy Way Out' and can be found on the soundtrack from Rocky IV.
We were running low on milk, so I made a call to Deerfield Farm yesterday to reserve 3 gallons for today. I was surprised when Melynda answered the phone as I usually get the answering machine. I was further surprised when she told me that she had some whey for me! While I had inquired about having them reserve some whey for me when they made cheese, we hadn't been able to coordinate it up until today. Now I am the proud owner of a half gallon of whey! Well, it is now slightly less than a half gallon as I added some to the smoothie that I had for dinner...
As I haven't made my own yogurt in quite some time, I really haven't has any whey to use for other purposes. Unlike making yogurt and cheese, making kefir doesn't produce whey as a by-product. Now that I have a decent quantity of whey, I plan to make some kvass even though I wasn't terribly impressed by the taste of the kvass that I purchased. I plan to pick up some vegetables on our grocery shopping trip tomorrow so that I can try a couple of different blends in making my own kvass. I don't plan to make too much as I am not sure that I will like my own 'brew' any better than the purchased variety.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A VIDACELL Success Story.

I am taking a departure from the regular format, today.  I won't be linking a song to this post, for one thing.  Also, this post is not my story.  It is, however, a great illustration of why I use VIDACELL and have been since October, 2008.  I know that it has done wonders for me and my father. 
If you have any health concerns - or know anyone that does - I highly recommend taking a closer look at VIDACELL.  I am a distributor primarily to save myself money, but I would be remiss in my 'duty' if I didn't try to spread the word about this amazing product.

English eNews
February 15, 2011

Thank you for helping our Mother!

Mario & His MotherI was first introduced to VIDACELL in November of 2010. When I personally saw the phenomenal benefits of the product, I thought of my mother Concepción Ordoñez Rey. She is 87 years old and her health had really deteriorated over the past few years. Her health problems included mild senile dementia, dizziness, congestive heart failure and COPD. In March, she had a head injury which affected her memory and motor skills to do her daily activities.
At the time, her physician had her taking 12 different prescription medicines and using inhalers. She was very frail and would easily get frustrated because of increased fatigue, an ongoing cough, poor appetite and her failing memory.
The first week of December we initially gave her one pack of VIDACELL per day and increased to two packs after her nurse began to notice some impressive improvements in her health. Each day she continued to improve to the point where she was enjoying life again.
My mother has now been consuming 2 packs of VIDACELL per day for two months. Her physician, after seeing her significant health improvement, took her off of half of the daily prescriptions she had been on for years.
For the family, it has been simply great joy as our mother is now the happy and jovial person that we remember from the past. She sleeps well, eats well and is able to go walking every day with her nurse. It's also encouraging to see her memory return to the point that she now handles her own finances again.
I personally want to encourage anyone who has a family member struggling with their health or simply wishes to maintain their health to try VIDACELL. It's a one-of-a-kind product.
I thank God and VIDACELL for helping our mother! I will continue giving her VIDACELL to keep the joy and vitality in her life - which is the best gift for all of us.
Mario Luis Rangel Ordoñez

Monday, February 14, 2011


I admit it, I was having a really hard time coming up with a suitable song link for this post.  What I really want to talk about today is a trio of probiotic, fermented beverages and I just couldn't find a related song, band, or album to go along with them.  One possible link was The KKK Took My Baby Away by the Ramones, but only because all three of these drinks begin with the letter 'K.'  While I mention that song here, I decided against using it as the reference for this post.  Instead, I decided on Changes by David Bowie.  This is because adding these three drinks to my daily diet definitely (how's that alliteration?) represents a change for me.

So, what are these drinks?

First, I want to talk about kefir.  I am still not quite sure of the proper pronunciation of this word.  I have heard it pronounced as 'key-fur' as well as 'keh-fear.'  Either way, this is great stuff!  Kefir is primarily found as a cultured milk product.  I mentioned my then-new project of making my own kefir in a previous post - Wouldn't It Be Nice - so I won't go into too much detail about that here.  According to, kefir is:
"a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your “inner ecosystem.” More nutritious and therapeutic than yogurt, it supplies complete protein, essential minerals, and valuable B vitamins."
Since I began making my own kefir a couple of months ago, I have been drinking it almost daily - except for the duration of the master cleanse.  At first, I wasn't quite thrilled by the taste but neither did I hate it.  Now, I actually like it.  For that matter, I am also enjoying the taste of plain yogurt now though I really couldn't stand it when I first tried it.  My taste buds have definitely adjusted to a lot of foods that I never used to like.  While I haven't seen any major improvement in my health since I started drinking kefir, I know that I am better off because of it.  As with everything else, healing takes time.  While kefir is available at the grocery stores, I have yet to find any that is made from whole milk and doesn't contain undesirable additives.  Plus, all of the bottled kefir that I have found is pasteurized.

Next comes kombucha.  Kombucha is a fermented tea drink.  It is essentially made by using a kombucha 'mushroom' or 'mother' to ferment any variety of tea.  Because of the fact that it is made from tea, it can come in many flavors.  I have only been able to find one brand of kombucha locally, though I haven't exhausted all possibilities.  Neither Stop & Shop nor Trader Joe's carry it.  I am told that Whole Foods sells it, but I don't get out there very often.  As of now, the only place I have been able to get it is It's Only Natural so I am limited to what they carry.  Today, I picked up some Botanic No. 9 and Gingerade varieties.  I had previously tried the Multigreen flavor but I am not too thrilled with the taste.  It wasn't bad and I would drink it if the others weren't available, but it wouldn't be my first choice.
I am tempted to try to make my own kombucha.  The start-up cost is a bit higher than it was for kefir, but it seems like the ongoing costs would be less.  Rather than using raw milk that I pay $7.50 per gallon to make kefir, I would be using tea and sugar.  One gallon of sweetened tea costs a lot less than $7.50!  In addition to the mother, I would eventually need to buy some larger jars to make the kombucha in.  I currently use the one quart mason jars for kefir and I could start with them, but given the fact that kombucha takes longer to ferment than kefir, I would want to make larger batches.

Finally, kvass is another beverage that has been around for a long time.  There are a couple of different ways to make kvass.  One uses stale rye bread while another uses beets.  Kvass is really new to me.  I read about it in Nourishing Traditions, but have only recently tried it.  It was sitting in the cooler at It's Only Natural right next to the kombucha with a big sign: "If you like kombucha, you will LOVE KVASS!"  Well, I figured that I would give it a shot...  So much for truth in advertising!  While I do like kombucha, I certainly do not love kvass - at least, not the variety that I tried.  The flavor that I purchased was ginger-carrot kvass.  My guess is that instead of using beets to make the kvass, they used ginger and carrots.  It wasn't great but neither was it horrible.  Today on my trip to I.O.N., I decided to give it another shot.  This time I opted for the beet kvass (as I write this, the kvass is sitting in the fridge while I am drinking Gingerade kombucha).
Kvass seems to be a lot easier to make than kombucha - similar to kefir in complexity and time.  It does, however, require whey as the fermentation agent - at least, for the first batch.  Fortunately, whey is easy to acquire - I can separate some raw milk on my own or get some from Deerfield Farm when they make cheese.  While the jury hasn't reached a verdict on kvass - maybe it is just an acquired taste - I am thinking that the relative ease of making it and the ability to customize the taste by using different vegetables will make kvass a staple for me.  We'll see how that goes, though.

Without actually doing the math, it is obvious that making/brewing my own probiotic drinks is a lot more cost effective than buying them retail.  Of the three, kombucha is the most labor intensive having to first brew the tea, add sugar and the mother, and allow to ferment for 7-10 days.  Kefir simply requires the addition of the grains to fresh milk in a loosely covered jar (I use a coffee filter over the mouth of a mason jar secured with the mason jar ring) with an occasional stir during the 24-48 hours of fermentation.  Kvass seems to merely require cutting the vegetables into cubes, adding them to a jar with whey, sea salt, and water, and allowing the fermentation to occur at room temperature for 48 hours.

It will be interesting to see how it works!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Breakfast in America

It has been a while since I have posted anything, but sometimes life just demands more time.  This year has seen a lot of snow in Connecticut and I have been doing quite a bit of shoveling.  Because Rae is working nights, I try to get the driveway shoveled before she comes home in the morning so that she has a place to park.

One of the things that I have been trying to do for the last couple of months is to get some exercise every morning prior to breakfast.  With my heart-rate monitor, I have been fairly consistent incorporating Dr. Mercola's Peak 8 philosophy at least a couple of times per week.  On the other days, I have simply been utilizing my Wii Fit Plus along with some dumbbells.  On days when I have had to shovel I considered that as my exercise for the day.  Of course, I took a break from exercise in order to let my body recover.  For the last couple of days, though, I have been somewhat out of commission.  I seem to have a pinched nerve in my back - or something similar - that is causing pain every time that I turn my head or lift my left arm.  While it isn't a significant pain, it is enough that I don't want to aggravate it by exercising.  Today, it is feeling much better so I will likely get back into the swing of things tomorrow - just in time for the next predicted snow storm!

Today's post is named for Supertramp's song (and album), Breakfast in America.  I chose this title because I wanted to talk about my new, favorite breakfast!
For quite a while now, I have been reading quite a bit from - a website that focuses on holistic health.  Dr. Mercola and other regular contributors talk about ways to maintain and recover a healthy state through proper nutrition and exercise.  Rather than promoting a carnivorous, omnivorous, or vegetarian diet, Dr. Mercola thinks that each of us will fall in to one of three categories.  We, as individuals, will either be a protein type, carbohydrate type, or a mixed type.  As such, some of us will thrive on an Atkin's-type diet while others will thrive on a primarily vegetarian diet and others will do better on a blended diet.  Essentially, he encourages us to take clues from our bodies to determine what suit us best.  To interpret those clues, he provides a questionnaire.  For more information, visit HERE.  According to my results, I am a Mixed Type - somewhat of a surprise to me.  Given my thorough enjoyment of eating meat and my previous success with following the Atkin's Diet, I fully expected to land in the Protein Type category.  As a Mixed Type, it is recommended to consume proteins along with vegetables and carbohydrates.

Breakfast is definitely one of my favorite meals.  I can eat eggs prepared just about any way and be happy!  About the only thing I am a bit leery of is eating eggs raw.  Unfortunately, the more that things are cooked, the less beneficial they are from a nutrition aspect.  To compromise, I decided to cook my eggs in a way that would allow me to eat them but still be somewhat closer to raw - poached!  As a kid, I always loved poached eggs over toast, so it only made sense for me to revisit this.  As such, my new (or, at least renewed), favorite breakfast is two poached free range eggs on one slice of toasted Ezekiel bread.  While this is not a lot of food, it really does satisfy me and makes a great start to my day.