The Swamp Monster Breakfast Smoothie (Great Post-Workout Recovery!)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1-2 servings (depending on how much liquid you added) The Swamp Monster Smoothie is a great way to start your day after a hard workout! This recipe is just a template – feel free to add/subtract ingredients to make it even more awesome!

Base ingredients:

  • 1 big leaf kale, thick stem removed (or 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach)
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger root
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 4 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter (I use my homemade almond or cashew butter)
  • 1 Tbsp raisins
  • 4 dates (or another 1 Tbsp raisins –but it might come out too sweet)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • 1 packet of Juice Plus Vanilla Complete 
  • 4-5 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup or more coconut water (or 1 small cucumber)
  • dash of cinnamon

Optional ingredients for an even healthier smoothie:

  • 1/2 tsp light miso paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp wheatgrass
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp spirulina
  • 1-2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • Up to 1/2 cup other kinds of frozen fruit or berries (I like blueberries)

Instructions

  1. Add all of the base ingredients and whatever you’re using from the optional list to a high-powered blender (see note below).
  2. Blend everything together until smooth, 2-3 min depending on your blender, stopping halfway to check on the flavor. At this stage, you can add more of any ingredient to your taste (add more raisins/prunes to make it sweeter). If it’s too thick, add more almond milk/water.
  3. Once it’s smooth, pour into a glass and enjoy!

 Notes

If using a regular blender (other than a high speed blender like Vitamix or Blendtec), stop blending often and scrape down the sides to ensure even blending.

Raw Joy, Jackie

10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meal Ideas in under 20 minutes

Ask just about anyone what keeps them from switching to a plant-based/vegan/healthier diet, and one of the most common answers (besides ‘I love my cheese/bacon too much’) is likely going to be, ‘I just don’t have the time to make those elaborate meals’.

Okay, I understand that making a fresh, wholesome plant-based dinner every night sounds like too much work, especially if your schedule runs crazy, you work long hours, you’ve got kids, etc.

So today I’ve made a list of 10 meal ideas that will show you how to have a quick and healthy homemade meal even when you’re pressed for time. Nothing fancy or complicated, just 10 meals that’ll keep you from making a bad decision even when all else fails.

Staying on track with your plant-based diet has never been easier – after all, where there is a will, there is a way, right?

10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meals to Save the Day

1. Chickpeas + [BBQ sauce/teriyaki/salsa] + rice. A quick and easy meal that’s full of flavor, and provides a complete protein: toss some home-cooked or canned chickpeas with some flavorful vegan sauce (make sure to read the label to avoid junk), and serve it on a bed of rice (use quick-cooking microwaveable rice if pressed for time). Got 30 minutes? Make it a little fancier by baking the chickpeas like I do in my BBQ Chickpeas and Rice recipe.

2. Green salad on a bed of cooked grains. Use any fresh salad veggies you have on hand, and serve them over a cooked grain of choice – barley, rice, quinoa, millet, etc. You can either use the quick-cooking varieties (stock up in advance), or make a large pot of grains once a week and use it as you go. Don’t do grains? Mix in some quick-roasted potatoes, like I do in my Warm Potato Salad recipe.

3. Hummus and veggies in a wrap. This is my go-to combo for lunch and sometimes dinner: spread a tortilla with hummus, throw in any available vegetables (I love kale, red onions, carrots, tomatoes and olives), squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the mix, and wrap up burrito-style. Healthy, tasty, never fails.

4. Quick stir-fry. Microwave a bag of mixed frozen vegetables, toss in teriyaki sauce or a combo of equal parts of soy sauce and brown sugar, and serve over a grain of choice. Want more protein? Add some edamame or other beans to the veggie mix.

5. Loaded baked potato. Rinse a medium-sized potato, microwave it for 3 minutes, cut it open with a fork along the top (be careful not to burn yourself with the escaping steam!). Top with any veggies/beans/sauces that you have on hand – I like the Southwestern combo of black beans, salsa, and some sliced avocado. If you have more time, you can wrap the raw potato in tin foil and bake it in the oven for 45 min to an hour instead of microwaving.

6. Quick pita pizza. Spread marinara sauce/hummus on a pita, top with any vegetables available (onions, peppers, spinach, olives, sundried tomatoes work great), add some tofu/tempeh/seitan/vegan sausage if you have them. Got some vegan cheese? Throw it on too! Bake at 350°F for 5-10 min.

7. Veggie tacos. Warm up a few small tortillas in the microwave between two sheets of moist paper towels. Rinse and drain any canned beans of choice, season with cumin and chili powder. Assemble the tacos by putting some beans onto the tortilla and topping with salsa/sliced avocado/lettuce, etc.

8. No-cheese quesadillas. Spread some mashed sweet potato on a large tortilla (you can microwave the sweet potato for 3 min to cook it quickly), add peppers/onions/any kind of beans, etc. to one half of the tortilla and cover with the other half. Grill on a large dry skillet for 2-3 min per side, cut into wedges, and serve. Alternatively, see my recipe for Veggie-Loaded Quesadillas where I use refried beans and hummus instead of sweet potato.

9. Nut butter and banana/jelly sandwich. I love the classic Elvis (PB&B) sandwich every now and again that I usually make with my homemade nut butter. A cashew or almond butter sandwich with jelly or bananas is always a better choice than greasy fast food.

10. Green smoothie. Ain’t nothing wrong with a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The smoothie doesn’t have to be green in color – ‘green’ stands for ‘made with vegetables and fruits’. Most green veggies work fine in smoothies (except lettuce – some people find it weird-tasting when blended). To make the smoothie more filling, add rolled oats, nut butter, seeds, nuts, etc. – see my Swamp Monster Smoothie recipe for more tips.

I hope that this list will make it easier for you to stay on track with eating healthy! The naysayers now have one less reason to say ‘no’ to going vegan…

By the way, if you have any quick plant-based meal ideas that I didn’t bring up here, please let us all know in the comments!

Raw Joy, Jackie

8 HEALTH BENEFITS OF PLANT-BASED DIETS

The earth is covered in plants that provide living creatures with food to keep us healthy and medicine for when we are sick. It makes sense that plants are an essential part of any healthy way of eating. Even in the harshest conditions, plant life, in some form, has been a part of traditional diets.

By shifting plant foods to the core of your diet, you are making great strides for your health whether or not you choose to go entirely plant-based. Instead of getting caught up in labels, focus on including more plant-based foods in your diet.

 

Here are several great bene ts of a diet relying mostly on plant foods:

1| Body Mass Index (BMI): Individuals following a plant-based diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are more likely to have a healthy BMI and less likely to be overweight.1,2

2| Risk of Chronic Disease: Plant-based diets reduce the risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In fact, those who follow plant-based diets are more likely to have improved insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol levels.2,3

3| Toxic Load: Meat, dairy, and farm-raised sh may contain hormones, steroids, and other toxic residue from their feed and processing. Although a better choice, wild sh can still be contaminated with heavy metals, like mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which may disrupt our hormones. Consuming organic produce and reducing consumption of animal foods can help limit exposure to these toxins.

4| Money: Individuals who follow a plant-based diet may save about $750 per year on grocery costs. Whole grains, beans, and in-season produce are economical and incredibly nourishing.4

5| Animal Welfare: To meet the demand for animal foods, animals are often raised under poor conditions and crowded together in con ned animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Supporting humane farms – or not purchasing meat at all – is a way to place your vote against animal cruelty.

 

6| The Planet: The demand for animal products is a major cause of deforestation as land is cleared to make room for animals. In fact, nearly 30% of the earth’s land area is used to raise livestock.5 Farm animals are also a major contributor of greenhouse gases, which are linked to global warming.

7| Resources: Plant-based foods require less energy, space, and water than animal foods and are less taxing on our resources. Producing one kilogram of animal protein uses 100 times more water than the same amount of protein from grains.6

8| Longevity: Plant foods are high in antioxidant compounds like vitamin C, selenium, and vitamin E. These compounds assist in reducing oxidative stress in the body, which decreases disease risk and supports healthful aging.7 Some of the world’s longest-living people live in the Mediterranean and Asia. Both areas have traditional diets focused on plant-based diets.

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Juggling or Balancing

Juggling is a balancing act or wait may be it’s the other way around. Balancing is a Juggling act? Hmmmm. let’s see if I can make this make sense, to me silly, I’m sure you have EVERYTHING TOGETHER PERFECTLY, MWHAHAHAHAHA. And…….we all woke up!!

So, there you have it, we all think the other one has all there sh**t together and they don’t drop the balls or plates they’re spinning or tossing. Yeah, I’d like to toss some balls right about now. Let’s just get some real dose of raw truth mkay………………………………………..

On paper, I look like one of those women who has and does it all. I have a sweet marriage, 5 pretty awesome kids, a Business I love that enables me to work from anywhere (even my pocket), hobbies that interest me, good health, a house that keeps us warm and dry, great friends, and a supportive community. Oh, and we home-school. When I write it all out, I have a fairly impressive-sounding life.

People sometimes ask me how I balance it all, and my response is always the same. First, I try not to spit while I laugh in their face, and then I say, “I don’t.”

That’s not false modesty. I really don’t balance it all — not even close, in fact.

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I’m not sure that the idea of balance has any place in a life with children at all. The notion that  the various parts of my life could ever equally and evenly mesh on any kind of a regular basis is laughable. I mean, there are certainly some things I do (or should do) to keep it all running as smoothly as possible. But as any parent knows, “as smoothly as possible” can still be a very bumpy ride. Let’s throw in some chickens, quail and dogs into the mix while we are talking.

Whether you work or stay home, have kids in school or not, life as a parent is full and busy. But I think in terms of juggling rather than balancing. It’s constant movement, constant bouncing from one thing to another, constant attention shifting while trying to stay focused. Up, down, around and around, the balls are always flying somewhat haphazardly, being caught just in time to for me to let go and look for the next one falling.

Looking at the list I described, I basically have nine main balls in my life: marriage, parenting, home-schooling, work, hobbies, health, the house, friendships, and community involvement. I love every one of those things—they are all important to me in various ways. Even my hobbies, which may seem superfluous, are really about self-care, which is absolutely vital. That ball affects all of the others when it gets dropped.

And it does get dropped. They all get dropped. There are balls dropping everywhere, all the time, it seems. Some of it is my own doing, of course. I mean, I did choose most of these things. But none of those parts of my life is expendable.

If I put down the health ball, that’s going to have a detrimental effect on my ability to juggle the rest. If I quit home-schooling, I’d just pick up a different kids’ school ball, so that wouldn’t help a whole lot. Obviously, my marriage and kids need to be kept aloft; that’s non-negotiable. Work is a necessity as well as personally fulfilling, so that’s also non-negotiable. The house gets dropped a lot, and that’s OK (but also not, because a clean house makes juggling so much easier). The community ball can get dropped — and does sometimes — but I want to keep that one, especially as an example to my kids. My friendship ball gets dropped, too, but I refuse to set it down on purpose. It gives me the energy to keep juggling.

So, nine it is. And one or more hit the ground practically every day. But you know what? That’s OK because I looked up the world record for juggling nine balls. Want to guess what it is?

55 seconds. That’s right. A professional juggler can’t successfully juggle nine balls for even a single minute. Ha!

So if you feel like you are constantly dropping balls in your life, like it’s impossible to keep everything balanced or running smoothly for longer than a minute, don’t fret. That’s the nature of life as a parent. In fact, it’s even more complex than I’ve made it sound. Each child you add to your life changes the weight, size, and shape of the other balls in your life. Each relationship, each work project, each community activity, each school commitment is another ball being thrown in and out of the loop. You constantly have to adjust. That’s just part of what it takes to juggle.

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The key is to learn to enjoy juggling for the skill and feat that it is. Don’t strive for perfection; even professional jugglers don’t juggle perfectly forever. Do your best to keep all the balls in the air, but know that some will get dropped. Just pick them up, and see if you can go a little longer next time before one falls.

And remember, if you’ve juggled it all for longer than 55 seconds, you’re doing better than the pros. Keep on keepin’ on, Mamas.

Live a Juicy Life, Jackie

Stress + Pressure = Stressure

There are two types of stress: positive and negative.

Stress is a normal reaction to exciting events like falling in love, getting a new job, or buying a home. Stress is also a hardwired survival technique built into your body as a means of protection. When triggers arise, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) signals the “ ght or ight response,” which mobilizes you to take action and avoid danger.

The issue is that your body doesn’t know the difference between a bear chasing you and work-related anxiety.

Your body’s stress response is perfectly healthy when there’s a real emergency (like a bear chase), but if your body is constantly getting stress signals for everyday issues (such as work-related anxiety), you’ll burn out over time.

Read on for the three stages of the stress response.

1. THE ALARM STAGE

When your body goes into panic mode, your SNS is activated to protect you from stress and your brain triggers the adrenal glands to secrete glucocorticoid hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline). The rest of your body is then alerted to these symptoms, equipping you with emergency fuel and energy in reaction to your panic.

As stress levels rise, many physiological changes occur in the body.

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2. THE ADAPTIVE/RESISTANCE STAGE

After the initial stress response, your body attempts to return to homeostasis (its stable state). But when your stress reactions are too strong or triggered too often, your body will remain on high alert. As a result of this constant stress, your body builds up a resistance and tolerance to coexist with continuous stressors. This extended release of stress hormones has adverse effects on your body, lowering your immunity defenses and making you more susceptible to illness.

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3. THE EXHAUSTION STAGE (sounds all too familiar)

When the body continues to function in this wired state (never fully returning to the rest state), your emergency resources are depleted and your body starts to shut down. This nal burnout stage represents your body’s inability to cope with continuously high demands. After all, it’s not natural to constantly feel like you’re being chased by a bear.

Below is an illustration of all three stages.

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BREAKING THE DESTRUCTIVE CYCLE OF STRESS

Just as the sympathetic nervous system turns on the “ ght or ight response,” the parasympathetic nervous system turns it off. The parasympathetic nervous system helps the body conserve energy and rest. The ability to go from “ ght or ight” to “rest and digest” is critical for your well-being.

Unfortunately, a return to relaxation doesn’t occur promptly for most people in today’s fast-paced society. While we’re all running around in panic mode from our everyday worries, chronic stress is disrupting the natural balance required for optimal health, speeding up the aging process, and increasing the body’s susceptibility to illness.2 Finding ways to activate the relaxation response is vital.

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 7.18.51 PM.pngTECHNIQUES TO REDUCE STRESS

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Wow!!!!! That’s a lot of information. If you do nothing just remember this, breathe 7 breaths in, hold for 4 seconds and exhale with force. This alone will minimize the stress responders and alleviate your overall stress feelings thus promoting a more relaxed feeling of calmness.

Live a JUICY Life, Jackie

Happy National Cherry Month!

Cherries are one of my very favorite fruits. In fact, I anxiously await the harvest of the sweet fruits every May. Not only are cherries exceptionally delicious, but both sweet and sour cherries are good for you too.

One cup of fresh, pitted sour cherries provides:

  • 40% of the daily value (DV) for vitamin A (as beta carotene), necessary for healthy vision, immune strength, and the integrity of skin and mucous membranes
  • 26% of the DV for vitamin C
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 77 calories

One cup of fresh, pitted sweet cherries provides:

  • 18% of the DV for vitamin C, which aids immune function and is needed for connective tissue health
  • 10% of the DV for potassium, an electrolyte that maintains fluid balance in cells and is critical to a healthy heart
  • 3 grams of fiber, which is necessary for normal elimination and helps reduce the risk of heart disease
  • 97 calories

Another rarer variety of cherry is the acerola cherry, grown in Texas and Florida. Juice Plus+ uses acerola cherries in Juice Plus+ Orchard Blend because of its phenomenal vitamin C content. A single cherry provides 134% of the DV!

Ready to get mixing with cherries? Here’s a tasty smoothie recipe, using frozen cherries and my favorite Vegan Protein shake mix!

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Chocolate-Covered Cherry Smoothie

Creates 1 serving

Ingredients

Instructions

Blend and enjoy!

 

Do you have a favorite cherry shake recipe? Share in the comments below!

Live a Juicy Life, Jackie

Figgin’ Awesome

Eat it NOW!!! Figs, the dried ones are great in winter, by supple fresh fruit’s a luxury from summer to early fall. Just sink your teeth into their velvety skin for the delicate crunch of tiny seeds in sweet, tender flesh. Sure, you can cook figs – but they’re best simply adorned. To celebrate their season here are some tasty bits of benefits and bites.

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And the bites…………..

Raw Fig Newtons

These fig newtons are low in sugar, packed with fiber, and bursting with flavor. It’s snacks like these that remind us that eating a wholesome diet is more than just wonderful tasting food, it’s fun and exciting too!

Ingredients

Dough
  • 2 cups almond meal (if using almond flour, add ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup almond milk, or other nondairy milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Filling
  • 1½ cups dried figs
  • 1½ tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp. alcohol free vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Place the dried figs in very hot water and set aside while you make the dough.
  2. For the dough, place everything in your food processor and mix until everything is combined and a slightly sticky dough forms.
  3. Place ball of dough on a large piece of wax paper. Place a second piece of wax paper on top and, with a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about ⅛-1/4 inch thick.
  4. For the filling, drain the hot water from the figs. Put figs, vanilla extract, and lemon juice in your food processor and mix until mixture resembles a jam and no chunks of fig remain.
  5. Starting from the center line of the dough, spread the filling over one half, leaving a slight border along the edge of the dough.
  6. Using the wax paper, fold the other half of the dough over the filling and press the edges together.
  7. Cut off the extra dough along the edges (this can be a snack for later!), but be careful not to cut too close to the filling.
  8. Place in the fridge for an hour.
  9. Slice into 8 even logs, then slice those in half to create 16 fig newtons. Store in the fridge. Share with friends. Move your body and eat mindfully:)

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Live a Juicy Life, Jackie

Food Labels Claims

Words like free-range, grass-fed, natural, and organic seem to be everywhere these days. You see them in bold font with exclamation points on egg cartons in a grocery store or listed on menus at a restaurant.

Many food labels can be confusing, so knowing what a food claim truly means is a great way to educate yourself about where your food comes from and how it has been produced.

New food label claims appear regularly, so if you come across a new phrase, be sure to do your own research and learn what it really means.

Read on for brief descriptions of some of the most common food claims.

COMMON FOOD LABEL CLAIMS

Antibiotic-free

Antibiotic-free means that an animal was not given antibiotics during its lifetime. Other phrases to indicate the same approach include
“no antibiotics administered” and “raised without antibiotics.”

Cage-free

Cage-free means that the birds are raised without cages. What this doesn’t explain is whether the birds were raised outdoors on pasture or if they were raised indoors in overcrowded conditions. If you are looking to buy eggs, poultry, or meat that was raised outdoors, look for a label that says “pastured” or “pasture-raised.”

Fair trade

A fair trade label means that farmers and workers, often in developing countries, have received a fair wage and worked in acceptable conditions while growing and packaging the product.

Free-range

The use of the terms free-range or free-roaming are only de ned by the USDA for egg and poultry production. The label can be used as long
as the producers allow the birds access to the outdoors so that they
can engage in natural behaviors. It does not necessarily mean that the products are cruelty-free or antibiotic-free or that the animals spent the majority of their time outdoors. Claims are de ned by the USDA but are not veri ed by third-party inspectors.

GMO-free, non-GMO, or no GMOs

Genetically modi ed organisms (GMOs) are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses, or other plants and animals. Products can be labeled GMO-free if they are produced without being genetically engineered through the use of GMOs.

Grain-fed

Animals raised on a grain diet are labeled grain-fed. Check the label for a claim of a “100% vegetarian diet” to ensure that the animals were given feed containing no animal by-products.

Grass-fed

This means the animals were fed grass, their natural diet, rather than grains. In addition to being more humane, grass-fed meat is leaner and lower in fat and calories than grain-fed meat. Grass-fed animals are
not fed grain, animal by-products, synthetic hormones, or antibiotics to promote growth or prevent disease; they may, however, have been given antibiotics to treat disease. A grass-fed label doesn’t mean the animal necessarily ate grass its entire life. Some grass-fed cattle are grain- nished, which means they ate grain from a feedlot prior to slaughter. Look for grass-fed and grass- nished.

Healthy

Foods labeled healthy must be low in saturated fat and contain limited amounts of cholesterol and sodium. Certain foods must also contain at least 10% of the following nutrients: vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, protein, and ber.

Heritage

A heritage label describes a rare and endangered breed of livestock or crops. Heritage breeds are traditional livestock that were raised by farmers in the past, before industrial agriculture drastically reduced breed variety. These animals are prized for their rich taste and usually contain a higher fat content than commercial breeds. Production standards are not required by law, but true heritage farmers use sustainable production methods. This method of production saves animals from extinction and preserves genetic diversity.

Hormone-free

The USDA has prohibited the use of the term hormone-free, but animals raised without added growth hormones can be labeled no hormones administered or no added hormones. By law, hogs and poultry cannot be given any hormones. If the meats you are buying are not clearly labeled, ask your farmer or butcher if they are free from hormones.

Natural

No standards currently exist for this label except when used on meat
and poultry products. USDA guidelines state that meat and poultry products labeled natural can only undergo minimal processing and cannot contain arti cial colors, arti cial avors, preservatives, or other arti cial ingredients. However, natural foods are not necessarily sustainable, organic, humanely raised, or free of hormones and antibiotics.

Nonirradiated

This label means that the food has not been exposed to radiation. Meat and vegetables are sometimes irradiated (exposed to radiation energy) to kill disease-causing bacteria and reduce the incidence of foodborne illness. No thorough testing has been done to know if irradiated food is safe for human consumption.

Pasture-raised

Pasture-raised indicates that the animal was raised on a pasture where
it was able to eat nutritious grasses and other plants rather than being fattened on grain in a feedlot or barn. Pasturing livestock and poultry is a traditional farming technique that allows animals to be raised in a humane manner. Animals can move around freely and carry out their natural behaviors. This term is very similar to grass-fed, but the term pasture-raised more clearly indicates that the animal was raised outdoors on pasture.

rBGH-free or rBST-free

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) are genetically engineered growth hormones injected into dairy cows to arti cially increase their milk production. The hormone has not been properly tested for safety and is not permitted

in the European Union, Canada, and some other countries. Milk labeled rBGH-free is produced by dairy cows that have never received injections of this hormone. Organic milk is rBGH free.

Organic

All organic agricultural farms and products must meet the following guidelines (veri ed by a USDA-approved independent agency):

  • Abstain from the application of prohibited materials (including synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and sewage sludge) for three years prior to certi cation and then continually throughout their organic license.
  • Prohibit the use of GMOs and irradiation.
  • Employ positive soil building, conservation, manure management,and crop rotation practices.
  • Provide outdoor access and pasture for livestock.
  • Refrain from antibiotic and hormone use in animals.
  • Sustain animals on 100% organic feed.
  • Avoid contamination during processing of organic products.
  • Keep records of all operations.If a product contains the USDA organic seal, it means that 95%–100% of its ingredients are organic. Products with 70%–95% organic ingredients can still advertise “organic ingredients” on the front of the package and products with less than 70% organic ingredients can identify them on the side panel. Organic foods prohibit the use of hydrogenation and trans fats.

Live a Juicy “ORGANIC” Life, Jackie