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Rawsome Creations Newsletter Library:

May 2011 Newsletter

This month, I've been working hard on an article entitled Label Reading 101 -- it's much too long and chunky for the newsletter, but it's posted on my website, and if the following paragraphs intrigue you, I invite you to read the whole article.

One of the most obvious things about shopping in the megamart is how advertising pollutes the process of choosing healthy food. Deceptive labeling of foods is big business. Hungry conglomerates are ready to spend big dollars -- we all know this -- to make their big scores, and they have no shame when it comes to victimizing people for profit. Like the bright colors and engaging animals they use to trick children to beg for trashy products, these pirates use likely but misleading terms to slip past our common sense and get us to put their package into our shopping basket and taking it home to poison our families.

As you loyal readers know, I have been taking a nutrition course through Cornell, and there encountered Jeff Novick, a nutritional biologist, chef, and teacher. He offers a simple set of rules to help us wade through the dishonesty and bring home the real edibles. Here they are in a nutshell:

Rule # 1 -- Never, ever believe anything on the front of any product. . . ever.
Rule # 2 -- Always read the Nutrition Facts and scan the ingredient list.
  • Fat content should be no more than 20% of the total calorie content.
  • Sodium content should never be more than the calories; look for a 1:1 ratio.
  • Three things to check for in the list of ingredients:
  1. Whole grains
  2. No bad fats
  3. Limited added sugars

We talked about sugars and low-hanging fruit in the March newsletter, and the discussion about fats is similar: lots of confusing names and ways to slip these cheap ingredients into our foods. Salt is a little more complex, and at the same time simpler, because the labeling laws require it to be declared.

Jeff's Rules, once understood, make it possible for me to evaluate a package in about ten seconds . . . and it's made me a much better informed shopper! Please read my entire article here.

Brenda after Donnas Run half marathon in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, February 2011
Brenda's Bio

I never thought I needed to have a biography, but I have received so many questions, along the lines of "Brenda, how did you get HERE?" that I asked my friend Michael to help me make some sense of my very varied life. If you're curious about how that little girl tour guide at the Dey Mansion in New Jersey ended up teaching about Raw Foods, I invite you to read my long-form biography (the Donald insisted I reveal it) here or the Reader's Digest Condensed version here.

Saturday May 21st is the 3rd annual Freestone Fermentation Festival celebrating all things fermented!

This year's expanded schedule features music, tastings, speakers, exhibits and demonstrations throughout downtown Freestone in western Sonoma County. Join the fun and find out all you ever wanted to know about fermentation.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Howard Station Cafe, Occidental

Out for a Sunday drive recently Mike and I headed to the west county part of Sonoma and the bucolic village of Occidental. It's a beautiful time of year here in Northern California and we thought the drive to enjoy the country roads and wildflowers would be a highlight. We'd heard about Howard Station Cafe, but had no idea what a treat was in store. The menu is superb and you'll find choices to fit any choicetarian palate.

The helpful staff guides you through their lengthy menu; everything's there, from the standard meat lovers breakfasts along side tofu scramble, sauteed greens over grains, and gluten free waffles. The separate drink menu lists a wealth of fresh juices, wheat grass shots, and smoothies. The place is a Mecca for breakfast foodies -- we enjoyed ourselves so thoroughly, we returned to try something new.


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I reviewed this in the January Rawsome Newsletter and it's scheduled to open in 19 cities across the nation in early May. Beginning May 13th it opens at several screenings in San Francisco followed by an opening in Santa Rosa May 27th. For show times, consult the movie's website. Here's a short list of bay area screens where the movie will be shown starting on the date in parentheses.

Bridge (Landmark), 3010 Geary at Blake, San Francisco (May 13)
Shattuck Cinemas (Landmark), 2230 Shattuck, Berkeley (May 13)
Regency 6 (Cinemark), 280 Smith Ranch Rd, San Rafael (May 20)
Cinearts @ Pleasant Hill (Cinemark), 2314 Monument, Pleasant Hill (May 20)
Summerfield Cinemas, 551 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa (May 27)


Gotta love the TED videos -- every now and again there's a food related one I feel compelled to share.

This young man is articulate, passionate and the next generation of organic advocates. The URL for his website is too long for this newsletter, so let me introduce you to a new feature on my website: the Online Resources. If you want to see a really convincing reason for going organic, look for the link to Birke Baehr, an 11-year-old organic food activist.


I'm lovin' these warmer days and find it much more fun to start each morning with a Green Smoothie or green juice. Here's my smoothie ingredients list from this morning. Remember, don't make it rocket science -- take what fruits and greens you have, some water (good old H2O or coconut water) and blend. It truly is that easy! If you've not tried green smoothies yet, or are a little rusty from laying off over the winter here's some new inspiration for you.

Mango Madness

1 cup water
1 ripe very sweet juicy mango -- YUM!
1 ripe banana (optional)
a handful of blueberries (optional)
a few green leaves (chard, kale, spinach, romaine, dandelion, beet greens -- you get the picture)

Blend, pour in a tall glass and Enjoy !!

I'm often asked how often I use my dehydrator (mine is Excalibur) and I give the same answer every time -- as I've progressed in my healthy whole food adventure I've found I use it less and less. I'm doing more and more fresh fruits and vegetables as natural as they can be. However, there are times once or twice a month when I may make a batch of Kale Chips veggie crackers, pizza crusts, tortillas, cookies, biscotti or these wonderful seasoned seeds -- all recipes that I'll be sharing in the next months.

There are some things that are just 'must haves' at my house and these Seasoned Seeds are one. My husband loves 'em and I add them to my 'travel gear' when going on one of my overnighters away from home. They are wonderful for snaking or to add to salads for that extra crunch and a bit of protein. This is one of my favorite simple Living Light recipes and I'd like to thank Cheri Soria and the crew at Living Light Culinary Institute for sharing them with me.

Thank you for reading. Happy Mothers Day Mom! And like you always told me, Eat your Veggies !!

For my immediate friends in the populated cities, life goes on......

I have an exciting story to tell, and a new hero to introduce....

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updated 17 December 2020