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Grilled Steak Panini

Try this recipe for another reason to use your grill...as if you needed another reason! Grilling is so fun and easy, and clean up is a breeze. So gather some pals and get ready to sizzle!

Grilled Steak Paninis
Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teres major steak
salt, as desired
1 loaf (1 lb.) focaccia, ciabatta, French or Italian bread, cut horizontally in half
8 slices tomato
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine seasoning ingredients; press evenly onto steak.
2. Place steaks on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill to desired doneness. Carve steak into thin slices. Season with salt, as desired.
3. Spread sauce over bottom half of bread. Top evenly with tomato, steak, and cheese. Close sandwich.
4. Place sandwich on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, until cheese is melted, turning once and pressing down on sandwich with spatula to flatten slightly.
5. Cut sandwich crosswise in half. Cut each half diagonally to make 4 triangles.

-Adapted from The Healthy Beef Cookbook


Your Sports Drink...

by Catherine Ebeling, RN BSN


Athletes everywhere pick up sports drinks to quench their thirst and replenish carbohydrates. Do they really work? Do energy and sports drinks help performance or do they just add empty calories? A recent scientifically formulated new sports drink called "Beyond Hydration" water may actually be the only drink that does. However the leading sports drinks on the market may actually be detrimental to athletic performance.

Expensive and highly visible advertising campaigns, and celebrity athlete spokespersons give many people the impression that these drinks are healthy and essential during or after a workout to replace lost electrolytes, carbohydrates and fluids.

Although simple carbohydrates are helpful for athletes engaging in high-intensity exercise, are sports drinks effective, or even appropriate, for the average gym member or weekend warrior? Studies seem to be split on the matter.

In one study, researchers prepared beverages containing glucose, maltodextrin or neither, so that they tasted identical, and gave them to athletes, who rinsed the drinks around in their mouths before spitting them out during exercise. Despite not reaping the energizing effects of the carbohydrates in the drinks, the rinsing of the simple sugar mixes were shown to "significantly reduce the time to complete the cycle time trial," while the placebo drinks had no such effect. The data was so impressive that the researchers concluded "much of the benefit from carbohydrate in sports drinks is provided by signaling directly from mouth to brain rather than providing energy for the working muscle."

Another study found that citric acid, commonly found in sports drinks, ate away at the enamel coating on teeth. As a result, the drinks could easily leak into the bone-like material underneath, causing a weakening and softening of the tooth that could result in severe tooth damage and even tooth loss if left untreated.

Sports drinks are up to 30 times more erosive to your teeth than water. As this recent study pointed out, brushing your teeth does not help because citric acid in the sports drink will softens tooth enamel so much it could be damaged just by brushing.

These beverages may cause irreversible damage to dental enamel, potentially resulting in severe tooth decay according to a study reported in the January/February issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's clinical, peer-reviewed journal. Dental enamel is the thin, outer layer of hard tissue that helps maintain the tooth structure and shape, while protecting it from decay.

The leading brands of sports drinks on the market typically contain as much as two-thirds the sugar of sodas and more sodium. They also often contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial flavors, and food coloring, none of which belong in your body.

If you are exercising to lose weight and get into shape, you should know that sports drinks and energy drinks will cause weight gain, similar to drinking soda. It is a sad irony that many people work hard and sweat to lose weight, only to gain weight from drinking sports drinks.

And although these drinks are often referred to as "energy" drinks, in the long run the sugar they contain does just the opposite. A quick explosion of energy followed by a plummet in blood, as your pancreas floods the body with insulin to balance out the toxic stimulation to your blood sugar. So the quick energy you may feel from the sugar soon becomes less energy as your blood sugar drops.

"Energy drinks" were popularized in the U.S. with the 1997 introduction of Red Bull, a carbonated beverage from Austria that contains 80 mg of caffeine in every bottle - about the same amount as is found in a cup of coffee. For comparison, classic Coca Cola contains 23 mg caffeine and Mountain Dew contains 37 mg caffeine.

Other brands of "energy drinks" may contain twice as much or more caffeine as Red Bull, plus other questionable ingredients such as guarana - a South American caffeine-containing herb.

The calories in these drinks do provide some energy, but mostly their content of caffeine and taurine turn up one's feelings of alertness and may produce troublesome side effects such as anxiety, irritability, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping, and indigestion.

These manifestations are more likely to occur with "energy drinks" than with hot coffee, which is usually drunk more slowly than the chilled "energy drinks". "Energy drinks" can also lead to dehydration because caffeine stimulates urination and thus increases water loss. Dehydration during athletic activities not only reduces performance, but also can cause painful muscle cramping.

Because it is metabolized by the liver, the fructose in high fructose corn syrup does not cause the pancreas to release insulin the way it normally does. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar. This is most likely a big reason Americans continue to get fatter. Fructose raises serum triglycerides significantly. For complete internal conversion of fructose into glucose and acetates, it must rob ATP energy stores from the liver. ATP is the fuel, which supplies the energy to muscles, especially while exercising. If you are robbing your muscles' energy stores, then actually the sports drink is decreasing your athletic performance.

And if your sports drink is low calorie and sugar-free, be warned that it likely contains an artificial sweetener, which is even worse for you than high-fructose corn syrup or sugar.

Sports drinks also contain large quantities of salt, which is there to replace electrolytes. However, unless you're sweating profusely and for a prolonged period, that extra salt is simply unnecessary, and possibly harmful.

Also the excess salt will actually make you thirstier and make you want to drink more, while causing you to retain water and feel heavier.
In many ways drinking sports drinks is not a whole lot better than chugging a can of soda after your workout. Less than 1 percent of those who use sports drinks actually benefit from them.

Unless you exercise for more than 30 minutes at a time, sports drinks are unnecessary. It's only when you've been exercising for longer periods, such as 60 minutes or more, or at an extreme intensity, such as on a very hot day or at your full exertion level, that you may need something more than water to replenish your body.

Anything less than 45 minutes will not result in a large enough fluid loss to justify using these high-sodium, high-sugar drinks.

Besides water, the best thing to quench your thirst may be a new product just emerging on the market.

Beyond Hydration Water
is the most hydrating drink on the market. Its 74 electrolytes and 18 amino acids don't just quench your thirst; they hydrate the inner cells all while delivering nutrients such as B3, B5, B6, B12, and removing metabolic waste from the cells.

Beyond Hydration does all of this without adding high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, preservatives, and other junk that slow the body down. It not only rehydrates the body, it aids in muscle recovery, mental clarity and energy.

Formulated by a team of scientists, it actually helps to increase ATP (the body's fuel source for muscles) by 9%! Studies have actually shown Beyond Hydration Water to bring about a noticeable improvement in performance in athlete's strength and endurance, as well as a reduction in muscle soreness.

When you get down to natural nutrition, real hydration and total body performance, Beyond Hydration stands alone. Because unlike its competitors, Beyond Hydration goes beyond hydration (with 74 electrolytes!) to provide your body with the natural minerals it needs for energy, exercise recovery and cellular hydration.

If you really want a drink that is better than water to improve athletic performance and truly hydrate the body, drink Beyond Hydration Water.


Bill Sanda, BS, MBA, "The Double Danger of High Fructose Corn Syrup", Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2003.

Dr. Mercola, "Disgusting Truth About Sports Drinks Revealed", April 23, 2009

Beyond Hydration Water Jan 2009

Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., "The Downsides of Bottled Water and Energy Drinks",
Johns Hopkins University, Sep 13, 2007.


Chicken Cutlets with Sweet Pea Puree & Garlicky Oven-Roasted Potatoes

When Ivy Larson, co-author of the Whole Foods Diet Cookbook: 200 Recipes For Optimal Health, was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of 22, she'd never even heard of "whole foods". After exploring options, and at the suggestion of her neurologist, she and husband, Andrew Larson, M.D., discovered a natural approach to improve her health through lifestyle modification and nutritional therapy.

After adopting their new diet together, both Andrew and Ivy saw a quick and dramatic improvement in their body fat percentages, blood pressure and energy levels. The couple has shared their healthy living program through their previous books, workshops and "Lifestyle Makeover Programs" to help improve the lives of tens of thousands of people across the country.

The cookbook offers a lifelong, nutritionally sound strategy and sustainable way of eating that is entirely compatible with busy modern lifestyles, yet still address the dual need to be nourished and to enjoy delicious foods. It provides medically sound and up-to-date dietary advice with a collection of healthy, tasty and easy to prepare all-natural "whole foods" recipes.

Enjoy these recipes from Ivy and Andrew's new book.

Chicken Cutlets with Sweet Pea Puree & Garlicky Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Chicken Cutlets with Sweet Pea Puree
1 (9 oz) package frozen petite peas
1/4 cup whipped organic cream cheese
2 tablespoons raw honey
Juice from 1/2 lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons Chardonnay
Unrefined sea salt, to taste
1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced, boneless, skinless, free-range chicken breasts (also called cutlets)
White pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

Place the frozen peas in a microwave-safe dish and heat for three minutes, or until thawed and barely warm. (or use your preferred method to thaw and warm)

In a food processor or blender, add the peas, cream cheese, honey, lemon juice, garlic, mint, Chardonnay, and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Set puree aside.

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Hear 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high hear until hot but not smoking. Saute the chicken in 2 or 3 batches, turning once until golden and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per batch. Add remaining oil when necessary to keep chicken grom sticking or burning.

Transfer chicken to serving plates and drizzle with Sweet Pea Puree. Serve puree on the side in a gravy boat.

Garlicky Oven-Roasted Vegetables and Potatoes
6 medium red-skinned potatoes, quartered
Unrefined sea salt, to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 red bell peppers, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 zucchini, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
1 red onion, cut into bite-size pieces
1 head of garlic, each clove peeled and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potatoes on a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Season the potatoes with salt, pepper, and paprika, and toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil. Toast the potatoes for 20 minutes, tossing once.

Place the bell peppers, zucchini, red onion, and garlic on a second roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Toss the vegetables with the remaining 2 or 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt. Place the vegetables in the oven next to the pan with the potatoes, and roast the vegetables and the potatoes for 40 minutes.

Remove the potatoes and vegetables from the oven and allow to cool several minutes. Toss the potatoes and vegetables together lightly, season with a bit more salt and serve at once.

For more information on Ivy and Andrew Larson, check out their website. Their book is available for pre-order now, reserve your copy today!



We have the perfect new addition to our products...charcoal. And not just any charcoal, Kiawe Ono Charcoal!


A Quick History of Charcoal
Kiawe Charcoal is the original charcoal dating way back before the days of the BBQ, before there were any manufacturing plants or additives to make products for us. It was as natural as it gets. Taking wood, usually limbs, branches, etc. and heating this wood in a closed area in the absence of oxygen is how you make lump charcoal. Specifically what is produced is carbonized wood … Lump Charcoal! And then came along big business and a chance to mass-produce a product for “us”.

As early as 1912, Henry Ford was coveting timber reserves in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for automobile manufacturing. Ford’s sawmill was used to build wooden auto parts.

In 1924, a chemical plant was built to convert the tons of waste wood generated by the Ford sawmill into charcoal briquettes. For many years, Ford Charcoal Briquettes could be purchased only at Ford automobile showrooms around the country.

And of course, briquettes are still made today using wood char (heat source), mineral char (heat source), mineral carbon (heat source), limestone (uniform visual ashing), starch (binder), borax (press release), sodium nitrate (ignition aid) and sawdust (ignition aid).

You probably know what Borax is but what is mineral char? Well it’s a soft, brownish-black coal also called brown coal. This produces that empyreumatic smell. What is an empyreumatic smell? It’s the peculiar smell and taste arising from products of decomposition of animal or vegetable substances.

Kiawe (Pronounced: KEE-AY-VAY) … the Ono (Good) stuff.
Kiawe is actually a transplant, it arose from a seed brought from the king's garden in Paris (where it also happened to be a transplant from the Sonora Desert) and planted at a church in Honolulu in 1828. It became a great tree shading Our Lady of Peace Cathedral between Bishop Street and what is now Fort Street Mall.

Father Alexis Bachelot, first Catholic missionary to Hawaii, brought the seed from the king’s garden in Paris. The entire plain of Honolulu, once bare, became covered with Kiawe trees. Tree cover resulted as the hardy Sonora Desert species spread.

The Hawaiian people quickly realized that Kiawe was also the source the greatest cooking fuel ever, Kiawe Charcoal. Today, Kiawe and Ono Charcoal are the traditional Hawaiian Luau charcoal used at backyard BBQ’s as well as by gourmet chefs around the world.

The Green Advantage
• ALL NATURAL, 100 % hardwood charcoal with no chemical additives
• LIGHT WITH OR WITHOUT lighter fluid
• BURNS HOTTER than briquettes. 1 lb. of Ono Charcoal produces the equivalent heat of 2 lbs. of briquettes
• LOW ASH increases food quality and reduces environmental pollution

We are currently the only online location to buy Kiawe Ono Charcoal. Try some today with a great grass fed steak or free range chicken! Enhance your grilling experience with a 15 lb bag or a 20 lb bag. You're sure to love the results!


Tenderloin Steaks with Blue Cheese Sauce

May is National Beef Month! Let's celebrate with a great beef recipe!

Blue Cheese Sauce
2 Tbs. cream cheese
4 tsp. crumbled blue cheese
4 tsp. plain yogurt
2 tsp. minced onion
Dash ground white pepper

4 beef tenderloin steaks (6 oz each)
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chopped chopped fresh parsley

Combine Blue Cheese Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Rub steaks with garlic. Season steaks with salt and grill to desired doneness. Let steaks rest. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

So easy and so delicious!

-Adapted from The Healthy Beef Cookbook


Garden Ready

Spring is my favorite time of year. I'm ready to get out of the house, the lawn is desperate for attention and the garden is calling my name. Here, in the Midwest, it's been a wet spring so far and few people have their gardens in. I'm one of the many that's been waiting for the sun to shine to get to work. I was excited to start my heirloom tomato seeds indoors a few months ago, however, my excitement was halted by the sight of my puny, spindly plants. I sadly accepted that I was destined to grow the "improved" gmo versions instead. But no! I got a call on Saturday from McKenzie (who used to work here) and she had found a greenhouse with heirloom tomato plants. My garden growing season just got a little brighter. To appreciate my excitement you have to realize where we are. Our office is in a town of 126 people...needless to say, we're in a very rural area and it can be difficult to find "specialty" items. So I made the hour-long drive to a Mennonite greenhouse called Hillcrest Farms and couldn't be any happier with my purchase. I spoke to the owner, Robert, for a while about their heirloom plants. I was actually shocked at what he had to say. They have a difficult time selling heirloom plants, he said that people just don't want them. They had oak leaf lettuce for sale which is an heirloom plant from the 1800's and produces ALL summer, even through the heat. He displayed it with the other lettuce varieties and ended up giving it away for free because nobody would buy it. Heirloom plants are not hybrids, they are the same plants that our ancestors grew. When you consume produce from heirloom plants, you're essentially eating a slice of history. So, when you head to the nursery or greenhouse to buy your plants just remember: heirloom = awesome! If you have a green thumb there are several online stores that sell heirloom seeds. Since my green thumb has apparently wilted, I'll stick with the plants that are ready to be put into the ground. Here's to wishing all the gardeners an abundant year! Good luck and good health!