Whole Foods Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle  

Zucchini Soup . . . Recipe  


Questions & Answers . . . . .    


Q   I know I need to change my family's eating habits and I have really tried but I always seem to feel overwhelmed and revert back to my previous cooking habits which are not good. My husband now has high cholesterol and I don't want him on drugs and he does do his part exercise and so forth I am not taking all the blame but I would like to help him. My 9 year old daughter is overweight as am I and it breaks my heart. I do not want to pass this on to my daughter as it was passed on to me.
    I do have your cookbooks and still seem to just not be able to 'get it together". I would so appreciate any advice you could give me.
Vicki Meyers
Helena, MT

A    Change, especially in cooking patterns and diet, is not easy. My motto is to tackle it "one recipe at a time" and to substitute nutritionally improved recipes for old ones. For example, in place of your fried chicken recipe use the low fat version of the Parmesan Chicken recipe (with the skin off). In place of your boxed pancake/waffle mix use the Blender Batter Waffle/Pancake recipe (try oats--it helps to reduce cholesterol).
    Do you write out a monthly menu plan? If you have no plan, you will automatically revert to the old and familiar. Follow a plan. It leads to change.

For more on this subject

I've been enjoying immensely your Yeast Bread cookbook, and have been making bread for several months now. My family has been enjoying the Whole Wheat bread. I vary it with kamut and spelt.

I've recently become aware of the low glycemic rating of fructose. It's one of the lowest of all the sweeteners. Honey is very high on the glycemic index. As a result, my husband and I would like to switch from recipes might need to be adjusted somewhat to compensate for the difference in moisture content between the fructose and honey. Can you help? Is it possible to simply switch the ingredients without having to adjust anything else? Diana Gebauer, Bellevue WA

A   Yes, you will probably need to add a little more liquid. How much? Now that you are experienced with the "feel" of the dough you should add enough liquid so that it comes out much like the dough that has already proven successful. You can also experiment with reducing the amount of sweetener in the bread. If you'd like to reduce the sweeteners even further try some of the sourdoughs. RG

Q I have some problems with butter
, (it seems to go right thru me) in your cake recipes such as Applesauce Cake or Carrot cake. Do you think olive oil could be substituted? In the Honey Vanilla frosting, do I need to fear Salmonella from the raw egg white?  Grace Regnier, Mesa AZ
A Yes, you can certainly substitute olive oil in the cake.  I use extra virgin in all baking except cookies and do not detect any unpleasant olive oil taste, but you might prefer light or extra light olive oil for a milder flavor.  In cookies I usually prefer canola oil rather than olive as it seems the olive oil flavor does come through in cookies.  As for the egg white, you will have to decide for yourself what risk you want to take. This is something I don't worry about, especially using fertile or eggs from range fed chickens.  I would say the risk is very low as compared to the salmonella risk from other sources such as handling raw chicken carelessly. SG

How do I start a class? I have all of your books and I've been cooking buying whole foods for two and a half years now, but I don't know that I  have teaching skills.  I'm also new to my area and would like to meet people.  HELP!  Thanks. Leo Palomo

One way to start a class is to find one other person with a similar interest. Get together and have an morning or afternoon cookout where you prepare a meal for both of your families. Choose a salad or a soup, a bread, a main dish, a vegetable accompaniment, and a dessert. Multiply the recipes to supply enough for both families. Try at least one recipe which is familiar to one of you but not to the other. Then you'll be teaching and learning!  

 Q Basic CARE received a Vita-Mix brochure today. We were impressed by its capabilities, design quality, and warranty. Several office staff members were familiar with Vita-Mix and were positively impressed with it. We were wondering if you have much experience with Vita-Mix, and if so what you think of it. Specifically:
 1. How does it compare to a Bosch?
 2. How does the quality of wheat grinding compare to dedicated grain mills (e.g., Magic Mill)?
 3. Is it really easy to use as the brochure claims?
 4. Is this an appliance that is worth the investment? (The price we got was $449)
 5. What are the shortcomings of the Vita-mix? What other appliances would be necessary in addition to it?

Any information you could give us would be greatly appreciated, as CARE often receives questions regarding food preparation.
On a personal note, I want to let you know how much I've appreciated your family's work. I went through the MTI Food Preparation Course a couple of years ago (well, at least I watched all the videos) and my mom especially has taken off with your recipes. I very much appreciate the balance and practicality of your books and teaching.

 Your Servant in Christ,
 Megan Hough
 Basic CARE

A The Vita-Mix is an impressive machine. We put it in the class of the super blenders. It will do our Blender Batter Waffle/Pancake mix in a fraction the time of ordinary blenders.

While it will chop wheat kernels into fine bits which you can make loaves of bread out of, the results are not nearly as pleasing as the fine flours produced by the Magic Mill or other grain mills.

We believe you can get a lot more for your money in a Bosch or a DLX at about $350. These kitchen machines  have the power to drive a very good blender, but ithey really excel in its kneading capability. RG


Q I am a 36 yr. old homeschooling mother to 4 ages 11,9,7 and 5.  I need to lose 20 lbs. My husband comes home VERY hungry and is usually happy with whatever I put on the table.  He is resistant to whole grains preferring the light, fluffy taste of what I call "dead bread, pasta and rice." I have developed my own whole wheat bread made with freshly milled Golden 86 wheat berries and he has accepted that as a daily part of our diet.

My biggest struggle right now is to reduce the sugar and processed foods from our diet.  I belong to 2 wonderful co-ops.  FORC out of Ohio and Quail Cove out of Machipongo, VA. I have access to wonderful organic and whole unprocessed foods but just don't know how to add them to our diet.

My kids love your blender pancake and waffle recipes and the whole blender concept just intrigues me and excites me to find out more.

Which cook book do you recommend as being the best place to start since I am on a budget?  I want to incorporate as much healthy eating into our diet as possible but cannot afford the whole plan at this time.  Please advise me as to the best and correct order to purchasing your cookbooks one at a time.  I can afford one a month of the $20 cookbooks and 2 or more of the other less expensive ones.

God Bless you and thank you for sharing your gift from God with the rest of us.

Rachelle, Virginia

You are already well on your way to making transitional changes that will benefit your family. The theme I follow is "One recipe at a time." You might try kamut pasta. In the whole grain form it is has appearance and texture  much like the refined pastas.I think we can work something out that will accommodate your budget. For $20 plus $3.20 per month for five months you can receive each of the five deluxe volumes. Your total cost would be less that if you ordered the standard set volume by volume.While you are waiting to complete your set, try the recipes on this website. They will introduce your family to a variety of recipes from each of the books.

Q   I have been looking for a whole wheat crossaint recipe (preferably a bread maker recipe). Do you have one? Amy Johnson 

A  Crossaints? A good friend who had his shipped 100 miles from a special bakery put that challenge to me once before. By the time I got through with the project (and failed), he could have paid me to walk that 100 miles. You've got to be a very dedicated baker to tackle that! Very complicated. Time consuming. And a little whole wheat won't make them that much healthier. If you have the craving, just buy one--once a month.


We received this email and wondered if you think this information is reasonable or alarmist?         
Marilyn Moll, The Urban Homemaker


Published by LynnGroup Int'l
Number 017     February 1998
Beware of Canola Oil
Canola Oil is an Industrial Oil Not Fit For Human Consumption.

It's amazing to me...The more research I do, the more I see a relationship between the food we eat and fatal diseases. Canola oil is no exception. Readers of EOO are familiar with the meat industry practice of feeding rendered meat "by-products" to cattle and poultry (EOO #015), and the suspected relationship of Mad Cow Disease to CJD and Alzheimer's Disease (EOO #016). Now comes information that Canola Oil is the suspected causative agent for Scrapie, a viral disease transmitted to cattle who were fed rendered sheep infected with Scrapie. Both Scrapie and Mad Cow Disease destroy the brain's ability to function. They literally eat the brain away, causing blindness, loss of mind and erratic behavior.

Canola oil's real name is "LEAR" oil (Low Erucic Acid Rape). It is more commonly known as "rape oil," a semi-drying oil that is used as a lubricant, fuel, soap and synthetic rubber base, and as an illuminant to give color pages in magazines their slick look. In short it is an industrial oil that does not belong in the human body. It is typically referred to in light industry as a penetrating oil.

Back in the 1980's, rape oil was widely used in animal feeds in England and throughout Europe. It was banned in 1991. Since then, Scrapie in sheep has totally disappeared. While that's good for Europeans, it is bad for Americans because the problem is now ours. Rape seed oil (Canola oil) is widely used in thousands of processed foods...with the blessings of our own government.

Canola oil was first developed in Canada. It's proponents claim that due to genetic engineering and irradiation, it is no longer rape oil, but "canola" (Canadian oil). They also claim it is completely safe, pointing to it's unsaturated structure and digestibility. Although, I could not verify it, it is claimed the Canadian government paid the FDA the sum of $50 million dollars to have canola oil placed on the GRAS list (Generally Recognized As Safe). However it was done, a new industry was created.

The truth is however, that rape is the most toxic of all food oil plants. Not even insects will eat it. No wonder farmers like growing it. It turns out that rape is a member of the mustard family of plants, and is the source for the chemical-agent, mustard gas, which causes blistering on skin and lungs when inhaled. Mustard Gas was banned after WWI for this very reason.

Studies of canola oil done on rats indicate many problems. Rats developed fatty degeneration of heart, kidney, adrenals andthyroid gland. When the canola oil was withdrawn from their diet, the deposits dissolved, but scar tissue remained on the organs. Why were no studies done on humans before the FDA placed it on the GRAS list?

Consumed in food, Canola oil depresses the immune system, causing it to "go to sleep." Canola oil is high in glycosides which cause health problems by blocking (inhibiting) enzyme function. it's effects are accumulative, taking years to show up. One possible effect of long term use is the destruction of the protective coating surrounding nerves called the mylin sheath. When this protective sheath is gone, our nerves short-circuit causing erratic, uncontrollable movements.

To test the industrial penetrating strength of canola oil, soak a towel in both canola oil and regular vegetable oil. Pre-treat and wash the towel in your clothes washer and compare the area the two oils will notice an oil stain remains on the area soaked in canola oil. It is so durable, it could take several washings to completely remove. Now if this is how canola oil penetrates the fabric of a towel, what damage can it do in our body?

Because canola oil is so cheap, it is now widely used in the food industry. If you are curious, just read a few food labels the next time you are in the grocery store. A good example can be found with commercially prepared peanut butter. In order to give peanut butter it's spreadability, Jiffy, Peter Pan and Skippy brands remove ALL of the natural peanut oil and replace it with canola oil. Natural peanut butter should only have peanuts and salt listed in the ingredients.

If you want to use natural peanut butter, it's available in most stores next to the canola peanut butter. Stir the contents to mix the oil and peanuts together then store in the refrigerator. The cold temperature will prevent the peanut oil from separating. Best of all, you will have eliminated at least one source of a potential food hazard.

Food consumers have headaches enough, without worrying about a toxic plant oil being added to their food. The problem is you will find canola oil in bread, margarines, and all manner of processed foods. But the consumer is king. Be informed and make it a practice to read what goes into your food. Avoid using canola as a cooking oil and salad oil. It is not a healthy oil.

Perceptions, Aug/Sep 96 issue, The Great Canola Debate
Perceptions, Nov/Dec 95 issue, The Devil's Bargain
Book, Fats That Heal and Fats That Kill, by Udo Erasmus

A  Finally, someone has sent me some information about canola oil "danger." I have had a few people tell me they "heard" it was dangerous and "what about it?" I said, "Send me where you got the information because I haven't seen any yet."  So thanks for the email.

    At present I would say this information favors the "alarmist" approach. I won't address every argument in it, but highlight a couple of things. First of all, one of the resources listed at the end of the email is Udo Erasmus' book, Fats That Heal and Fats That Kill.  This is a second edition (published in 1993) of Erasmus' first book, Fats and Oils, published in 1986.  I have both books.  In Fats and Oils, Erasmus criticized canola oil for its 5% eurcic acid content as still harmful to the human heart and organs (even though canola oil is reduced from original rape seed oil's 40% eurcic acid).  At the time, I did not favor his criticism of eurcic acid in this amount as I had read somewhere else that this low amount was not of great concern.  I like the balance of monounsaturated fatty acid content of canola oil with its good amounts of both the EFA's, linolenic and linoleic acids plus its milder flavor than olive oil for such things as butter spread and cookie recipes.  Thus, I was very interested when I purchased Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill to see if Erasmus had changed his tune on canola oil.

        I discovered that Erasmus considerably changed his approach to canola oil.  Although he doesn't list it among his choices of best, good or mediocre oils (probably because the unrefined form which is the best is too strong in flavor for most people so they probably wouldn't use it). Summarizing from pp. 116-117, he explains that tests done on rats with rape seed oil with 40% eurcic acid content showed "fatty degeneration of heart, kidney, adrenals and thyroid," (this is quoted in the email as support against canola oil).  However, researchers found the same problems testing rats with sunflower oil (containing no eurcic acid).  The conclusion is that rat fat metabolism is not the same as human fat metabolism.  He goes on to explain that if human studies had been done before the Canadian government went to all the trouble and expense and to pay the FDA $50 million to get canola oil listed on the GRAS list, they might have saved a lot of money.  Erasmus then goes on to explain the following:  "Eurcic acid has been partially vindicated.  It does not cause the same problems in the hearts of humans as it does in rat hearts, and is relatively harmless.  In China and India, millions use high eurcic acid mustard and rape seed oils (up to 40% or more eurcic acid) as a staple, apparently without developing the problems that rats and governments have with these oils.  They have used this oil traditionally for several thousand years now, without noting detrimental effects.  Chinese and Indians used high erucic acid oils in unrefined form.  This may be an important consideration." (p. 117).  He then goes on to explain how eurcic acid is the substance in Lorenzo's Oil (of movie fame), developed to address the degenerative condition ALD.

     Interestingly, he says, that the FDA makes it difficult for parents to get this oil in the USA because of its high erucic acid content.  They have to get it from Europe. Later on p. 237 on a chart of the fat composition of all the oils, he includes a column on "Possible problems."  He does not list any for canola oil although a footnote that it contains up to 5% eurcic acid.

    The email makes reference to Scrapie disease in sheep--that when rape oil was banned from animal feeds in 1991, scrapie disappeared totally in sheep.  Interestingly, this was a European problem (in England) where rape seed oil is commonly 40% eurcic acid, not 5%).

    Also mentioned is that canola oil is high in glycocides which cause health problems....  Erasmus says that rape and mustard seed oils taste spicy due to the glycosinolates that make it "bearable to unpleasant.."  (p.240).  Thus, it can be concluded that the canola oil most people would use (which is very mild in flavor) does not have the high content of glycocides. As Erasmus says, the refinement of canola oil may be a bigger problem than the oil itself.  I think this is why he does not list it with his "best, good, mediocre" oils, although he does not really make any definitive negative statements about canola oil.

     Of no use at all as far as I am concerned is the argument that canola oil is an "industrial oil" and therefore unsuitable for human consumption--along with some of its industrial uses.  By that argument, we might as well ban flax seed since the flax plant is the basis of linseed oil used in paint thinner and oil paints, as well as used to make linen and very strong rope.  The beauty of some created things (by God) is that they often have multiple uses and applications (like vitamins and minerals do a multiple of different things in the human body).

     I certainly wouldn't want to be dogmatic that canola oil is "A-okay."  But I think Jim Lynn of Essential Oils Online could have done better if he had researched more carefully what  Udo Erasmus said about canola oil  in Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill..

     People have asked me about canola oil since we feature it prominently in our cookbooks.  I will probably add that canola oil is not essential to any of our recipes if one would rather not use it.  Even Butter Spread can be prepared with a different oil, such as safflower or olive oil (probably light olive oil for flavor).  My own preference is olive oil in everything except cookies.  Even though recipes give canola oil as an option, I prefer butter.  In fact, I hardly ever make Butter Spread (which is my concession to people who think margarine "must" be better than butter).  We use butter.  If I use a quart of canola oil in a year, I'm doing "good."

    If you come across any other source about canola oil's "detriments" pass it on.  I am surprised that Lynn did not even mention erucic acid in his article.  Except for the mention of glycosides, he says nothing about what might be in canola oil to cause health problems--except that "since" it is for industrial use, it is "not" for human consumption.

     For more on the subject see,2283,1417,00.html

    For further research see   The Weston-Price Foundation has done some very reputable work.  Also see
Sue Gregg, 2003

For a more up-to-date response from Sue Gregg see:

Ingredient & Recipe Updates keep you alerted to changes in recipes ingredients as a result of ongoing research and recipe experimentation. 

Coconut Oil Benefits  An oil that competes with olive oil for superior quality. 

Q There is a product called Sugar Cane Crystals that is available for $0.89/lb.  Is that the same as Sucanat?  I didn't know if Sucanat was just the brand name. Would this serve the same purpose?  Please give me your advice on this product.
Denise Cassano

A Prepare yourself for exasperation. Here's the deal. At the beginning when Sucanat first entered the market, it was obviously the WHOLE sugar cane including all the nutritious ingredients of the molasses that are naturally occurring in whole sugar cane. It came out before the new law was passed standardizing the Nutrition Label on all products. Since the label for nutritional content was not established yet, I was able to copy of the wonderful nutrient label of Sucanat and put it in a chart in Desserts, p. 26.  Now that the new standardized label is required, this comprehensive nutrient chart on Sucanat has been removed and replaced with the standardized label--which does not provide enough nutritional information to distinguish it from other products or from "itself" which is even more problematic.

    Let me explain. Over a year ago a customer called and asked me if I had heard of Florida Crystals and if it was the same as or as nutritious as Sucanat. I hadn't seen it, so she sent me her Florida Crystals bag to read the information on it.  In the meantime I found this new product in our own health food store and bought my own bag of it. I couldn't tell by the bag alone if it was the same quality as Sucanat.  The package label read, "Natural Milled Cane Sugar...Sugar in its Natural State" (implying that it was the same). Yet, when I compared the color and flavor of Florida Crystals with the Sucanat in my cupboard, it was lighter and less flavorful. My observation of the senses was that Florida Crystals was not "quite as whole" as Sucanat.

    Unfortunately, this was not the end of the story. One day I was in Trader Joe's (my favorite economy "health food store") and was overjoyed to find Sucanat on the shelf!  It was also in a new package. But when I got home with it I discovered that it was also lighter in color and not as strong in flavor as what I had already on my shelf. "What's this?" I thought.  Now what!  Has Sucanat been reprocessed to make it more acceptable to the market? Or are there now "two qualities" of Sucanat? In the meantime, I began telling inquirers about Sucanat, that I didn't think the Sucanat at T.J's was the same as I was referring to in our cookbooks.

    Finally, I discovered both "qualities" of Sucanat in the new packaging (identical) side by side at the health food store.  Ok, I said to myself, let's see how these labels distinguish between these two. I knew they were different because the new package has a window in it so you can see the sugar. They distinctly look different. At first, I could tell no difference in the labeling--until I read the ingredients content. The label of the lighter sugar "Organic Sugar." The darker Sucanat (like I had originally in my cupboard and describe in Desserts) listed "Organic Sugar and Molasses." I couldn't believe what I read and showed it to the health food store manager (a good friend) who also couldn't believe it.  We had a good incredulous "laugh" together. What a way to exonerate the Sucanat WITHOUT the molasses.  The impression is that the lighter Sucanat is whole sugar cane and the darker is whole sugar cane with molasses added.  Rather, the Sucanat "with the molasses" is the whole sugar cane and the Sucanat without the molasses had the molasses removed from it taking its wonderful nutrients with it. But you would never be able to figure this out by the nutrition labels. Only the senses "have the answer"--sort of.

    The application? Find out if what you are ordering is "Organic Sugar and Molasses" and called Sucanat. As far as I know, this is the only sugarcane product with the "whole thing."  Of course, for me, it means when the Dessert book undergoes a revision, I have to explain this difference to my readers and wonder when that explanation, too, may need a revision. In the meantime, your question prompts an explanation for our website to inform others of the same thing.



Q It seems that the more I read about nutrition the more confusing it becomes. One author says one thing and another says almost the opposite. What's up?

A.  Long ago we realized that nutrition is an inexact science applied to an art. (Making what is beneficial for your appeal to you). How then should we respond to the latest raging controversy or diet craze?

Here are some guidelines: 

1) Distinguish between the accepted core and the controversial peripherals. Just because a diet may have therapeutic benefits for some, does not mean that it will benefit everyone. 

Example: No one argues that refined foods are more nutritious than whole foods. 

2) Check Biblical Principles. Compare with what the 2000-3000 year old Biblical texts written over a span of more than 1000 years by numerous writers living under diverse political systems and cultures (with all kinds of food) say about eating well.  Be wary of programs that blatantly or arrogantly violate Biblical patterns for human well-being.

"They [hypocritical liars] forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer."
              I Timothy 4:3-5

3) Check out historical eating patterns. Generations have thrived on  grain based diets in widely diverse places. For example, oats in Scotland, rye and buckwheat in Russia, rice in the Orient, corn in the Americas, wheat in the Middle East.

4) Evaluate current research studies. The latest headline may be contradicted by tomorrow's news. 

Rich & Sue Gregg

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