Jem Organic Nut Butter Blog

  • Tahini Recipes

     

    There are so many wonderful foods you can drizzle our tahini flavors over! We recommend rice, gyros, hot soups, veggies, and eggs. 

     

     

    The New Falafel by Caroline Steffens (carolinesteffens.com)


    NOTE: I like to call this “the new falafel” because it is made with fresh ingredients and without a deep-fryer. You can make these falafels paleo by using all cauliflower rice and no chickpeas…just as delicious!

     


     

    Ingredients
     1 bunch swiss chard, chopped and steamed
     1 heaping cup cauliflower rice
     1 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
     1 large handful cilantro, thick stems removed
     1 large handful parsley, thick stems removed
     4 cloves garlic
     2 Tbs Jem Organics cashew masala tahini
     juice of 1 ½ lemons
     1 tsp each, salt & pepper
     1 egg
     3 heaping tsp ground cumin
     ½ tsp turmeric
     ½ tsp chili powder
     avocado oil
     ¼ cup Jem Organics cashew masala tahini
     ¼ cup water
     scant ¼ cup lemon juice
     2 cloves garlic, chopped
     ½ tsp salt

    Method
    1. Combine all ingredients preceding the avocado oil in a food processor and pulse until a grainy mixture has been formed. Do not over blend, however blend enough such that everything is well incorporated.
    2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat 2 tbs of avocado oil on medium heat.
    3. Using a small cookie scoop, form a ball of dough and drop it in the pan. Repeat until the pan is full.
    4. Reduce heat to low and cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil. Cook falafels about 4-6 minutes on each side, flipping gently.
    5. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining dough, re-oiling the pan before each batch.
    6. For the tahini dressing, combine the ¼ cup tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a small food processor and mix on high. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
    7. Serve falafels with a fresh green salad drizzled with tahini dressing, baba ganoush, hummus, and hot sauce.

  • Chocolate Coconut Nut Butter Cups

    Jem Nut Butters and Chocolate are a match made in heaven! Caroline Steffens created a wonderful recipe for nut butter cups. Try it out and let us know what you think!

    Chocolate Coconut Nut Butter Cups

    Ingredients

    • ¼ cup coconut oil
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup Jem nut butter of choice
    • 2 heaping Tbs coconut butter
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • mini candy cups

    Method

    1. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder.
    2. In an additional saucepan, melt the coconut butter and add the vanilla extract.
    3. Line a mini muffin tin with the candy cups.
    4. In each candy cup, pour about a teaspoon of the cocoa mixture and freeze for about 5 minutes until solid.
    5. Then, place a heaping teaspoon of nut butter in each cup and freeze again.
    6. Repeat with melted coconut butter and polish off with the rest of the cocoa.
    7. Freeze until almost solid, then enjoy!

    For more delicious recipes by Caroline, visit carolinesteffens.com

  • Why choose Organic?

    Buying Organic is more important now than ever before!

    What does climate change and leaky gut have to do with buying Organic?


    “ We are at the most critical moment in the history of our species as man-made changes to the climate threaten humanity’s security on Earth” Rodale Institute/Regenerative-organic agriculture. Too much CO2 in our atmosphere is causing a big problem

    Regenerative Organic Farming is a real viable solution.


    There is a direct link between the health of our planet’s soil and the health of our gut/microbiome

    "We depend on a vast army of microbes to stay alive: a microbiome protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins" Oxford Dictionaries

    Industrial and conventional farming kills these microbes and instead adds toxins. This leads to increased CO2 in the atmosphere -Not Cool- and leaky gut which lead to disease - Ugg -


    In a nutshell ( pun intended) here is what is going on:


    1. It all starts with basic photosynthesis;  Photosynthesis relies on plants to pull CO2 from our atmosphere. The plant then depends on the energy from the sun, water and nutrients from the soil to make carbohydrates. The plant then uses these carbs to “barter” with the soil’s microorganisms to get/exchange nutrients that the plant might need. -WOW it never ceases to amaze me. This perfect design.- Of Course us humans would not be alive without the byproduct of this sweet design, ie., oxygen and carbs.
    2. Regenerative Organic Farming is about taking the CO2 from the atmosphere making carbs that feed the soil. So CO2 acts as a tonic for the soil not a toxin.

    Here are some of the big problems:

    1. Industrial conventional practices; Tile and Kill. When we do this to our soil we do this to our own gut. We are that connected.
    2. Industrial conventional farming practices not only hurt our soil and the food that grown in it it has also created a thing called the suicide belt.As explained in Shiva’s The Violence of the Green Revolution, technologies of modern agriculture, such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and mechanized tillage, have destroyed the biodiverse ecosystems that, in the past, guaranteed the security of a farmer’s livelihood.” The USA is now seeing these suicide.
    3. These industrial farming practices are also responsible for increased CO2 in our atmosphere.
    4. Deforestation: This takes away any ability for the soil to sequester the CO2 from our atmosphere. I will not even go into the orangutan habitat. I will save that for my Blog on Palm Oil:)
    5. Leaky Gut: As a nutritionist I agree with Dr. Ax and other practitioners who have stated for years that the health of your gut is directly linked to your overall health and wellbeing.  We know now without a doubt that “industrial” food that is full of chemicals, GMO’s, hormones and antibiotics is directly linked to leaky gut and that leaky gut is directly linked to all kinds of health issues like autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation.
    6. Brain Health; according to Dr.Perlmutter a neurologist and author of Grain Brain,From my perspective as a neurologist I want to consider all possibilities when it comes to factors that may increase a person’s risk for such maladies as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. New research clearly links pesticides and other toxic exposures to increasing risk for these conditions.”

    Solution:

    1. Buy Organic Foods whenever you can.
    2. Shop at farmers markets and support your local farms. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture.) Don’t miss out on the chance to get your daily dose of SBO’s (soil based organisms by NOT scrubbing off all that healthy dirt. SOB help in healing leaky gut. -Imagine that-.
    3. Take the Jem Challenge. Challenge yourself, no matter where you live, to grow 25% of what is on your plate. More on this later ;)
    4. Support a group that is working on solutions. I like The Carbon Underground; helping climate change from the ground up
    5. Stay informed. We no longer have the privilege to be in the dark. Check out the other links I have given below.

    Other reasons why to buy Organic besides CO2 sequestering:


    1. More nutrients in the food you eat. Here is a great article published by my friend Max Golberg showing one of many examples of nutrient density from organically grown foods
    2. Healthier farmers : There are approximately 500M small farms 2-2.5B farmers 70% of the food in the world are still produced by small farms. Lets support these farmers and tell them we want organic food.
    3. Healthier planet: goes without saying
    4. Profit: More sustainable lifestyle for farmers and we all can spend less on healthcare bills.
    5. Purpose: When you support organic practices you support a larger life purpose. I embrace the value; do no intentional harm; and leave the world a better place for at least 7 generation to come. This is my life purpose and the guiding principles that inform the choices I make every day. What is your guiding purpose?

    We vote with our wallet. Every choice we make matters.

    Thanks for choosing Jem and choosing Organic!!

    Here are some great resources to connect to:


    1.Max Golberg’s Livingmaxwell. Max will keep you updated on all the latest and greatest when it comes to organic foods and the organic industry.

    1. Rodale Institute whose mission is Through organic leadership we improve the health and well-being of people and the planet.”
    2. The Carbon Underground The Carbon Underground connects the worlds of academia, business, financial markets, government and the general public to avert catastrophic climate change.
  • The Sugar Paradox

    Sugar is the talk of the town right now and getting a lot of bad press. Like all superstars there is always more to what meets the eye, or mouth in this case.

    As a Nutritionist and Exercise Physiologist for the past 30+ years, I have seen many foods get their time in the spotlight. It seems like yesterday when fats were the bad boy and before that it was protein. Because of my love for food, nutrition, and health, I find myself acting as an advocate for macro and micro nutrients. So many times I have seen the “baby getting thrown out with the bath water”.

     

    Let’s start with the first big question I get all the time: Is sugar ever good for you?

    The fact is, that you wouldn't be able to survive without sugar. Your body relies on small amounts of sugar to function properly. Now don’t go crazy and fill up on sugary foods, but there is a place for small amounts of the right kinds of sugar in your healthy eating plan.

    Sugar provides energy to your muscles and acts as a source of energy for your brain and nervous system. You also need sugar because it helps metabolize fats and prevents your body from using protein as energy. Whether you are an athlete or not every human needs glucose.

     

    A quick recap on sugar: let’s get on the same page

    All sugars breakdown in the body to glucose which is essential for life.

    Is it true that sugar is sugar is sugar?

    Not all sugars are created equal and how your body metabolizes sugars in fruits and vegetables and milk is different than how your body metabolizes refined sugar added to over processed foods with no fiber, fat or protein. It’s all about the speed in which your body breaks down the sugars - no matter whether these sugars are from sucrose, fructose (fruits) or lactose (milk). This speed determines how quick your insulin and blood sugar rises. This is where the word glycemic index or glycemic load come in. The higher the index or load the more sugar in your blood stream. But remember, once the sugar passes through the stomach and reaches the small intestine, it doesn’t matter if it came from an apple or a soft drink. It is also important to note that how much sugar is in your blood will determine how the body uses sugar. I will give you an example:

    At dinner you had white refined pasta and bread with no salad (fiber) or meat (protein). The amount of sugar in your blood would be high from the starch (starch is how grains and vegetables store glucose from photosynthesis.) Add a couple scoops of ice cream for dessert, chances are your blood sugar is too high and that extra sugar will get stored as either fat or glycogen. These are both storage forms of glucose that are used when quick energy is needed *(not a totally bad thing, just when it is in excess over time). Now let’s say you had your high starchy dinner and your blood sugar is high and you eat an apple for dessert. Because you are overloaded from your dinner the sugar in the fruit would still get stored because you have enough in your body/blood from your dinner. You will feel tired, sluggish and maybe irritated. Because this is what is feels like to be on a blood sugar high and low. Sugar blues. It’s a real thing.

    Now let's look at a better scenario: Your dinner consists of steamed vegetables (fiber), a salad (fiber), salmon (healthy fat and protein), very low amount of sugar/glucose (glycemic load) in you blood. Now you have a cup of ice cream or some fruit drizzled with Jem. Your blood sugar still may spike but the extra sugar will be able to be used as energy instead of being stored. To make this even better I would recommend that you take a nice after dinner/dessert walk. Now all that sugar can get used right up by exercising.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not a fan of all sugars. In fact there are some sweeteners that I down-right wish did not exist. Below is a quick look at sugars/sweeteners that I avoid altogether and some that I like in moderation. It comes down to what will spike blood sugar and which ones will not. This is due to their lower glycemic index and or their nutritional value.

    Avoid: High fructose corn syrup which includes Agave nectar. White processed sugar from sugar beet or cane. Avoid any artificial sweeteners like Aspartame and Sucralose.

    In moderation: honey, coconut palm sugar, pure maple syrup, molasses and dates. (yes I do include dates as a sweetener and not a fruit)

    Health Benefits stated by Big Tree Farms (where we at Jem Organics source our coconut palm sugar from): “Our coconut sugar is low glycemic verified, which means we conduct regular human clinical trials to ensure our product is what we say it is. Our test results continually show a Glycemic Index of under 40 for both our granulated coconut sugar and our liquid coconut nectar. This means that it is pure and not mixed with cane sugar. Our coconut sugar absorbs slowly into the bloodstream, providing sustained energy, not the sugar high and crash like cane sugar. Other coconut sugars simply cannot provide this assurance.

    Coconut sugar has one of the highest nutrient contents of any sweetener. We are not saying that coconut sugar should replace your daily dose of vegetables. What we are saying is, better to use a sweetener that has nutrients than not.

    Coconut sugar is considered one of the, if not the most, sustainable sweeteners in the world. This means it’s healthy for the environment, which ultimately means health for other plants, animals and people like us. Holistic health is our mission. Healthy biomes mean healthy lives.” http://bigtreefarms.com/pages/product

     

    There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to sugar.

    It all starts with understanding glycemic index and load. Below is a great little education on what glycemic load and index mean:

    According to OSU Linus Pauling Institute » Micronutrient Information Center: Glycemic load is a ranking system for carbohydrate-rich food that measures the amount of carbohydrates in a serving of food.

    Foods with a glycemic load (GL) under 10 are considered low-GL foods and have little impact on your blood sugar; between 10 and 20 moderate-GL foods with moderate impact on blood sugar, and above 20 high-GL foods that tend to cause blood sugar spikes.

    Fun fact: Jem nut butters have a glycemic load of our sweet flavors is an average of about 4.8 :)

     

    To Keep it simple: What I always recommend to clients or friends, is to eat whole foods with a low glycemic load (like Jem!), Don’t skip meals, exercise at least 30 min a day, don’t eat sugary foods on an empty stomach or late at night, don’t eat anything 2 hours before you go to bed, and don’t eat sugary foods when stressed.

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