foodscout blog

At the end of a long winter, Vitamin D is in the spotlight

sunshineVitamin D, not technically a vitamin at all, is created in our bodies when the sun hits our skin. It’s good to see that after a cold grey winter like this one, some attention is being paid to this important nutrient. Here are a couple of interesting articles:

Vitamin D deficiency is why you get flu and other infections

This next article does a thorough job of talking about Vitamin D with regards to how many people are deficient. Unfortunately, the entire article focuses on taking supplements and never once even mentions that you can get lots of free Vitamin D from going out into the sunshine.

Getting your Vitamin D: After harsh Western North Carolina winter, rays of ‘hot’ vitamin D return

Any time that sun is shining and you have some time to spare, roll your sleeves up and soak in some sun. Try to get 10-30 minutes per day without the use of sunblock. If that’s not possible, supplements may be your only option.

Read our full page on Vitamin D.

Local food shopping – trade produce with your neighbors

A new website called Veggie Trader is now available for any zipcode in the U.S., provided all you gardeners sign up and participate. Veggie Trader allows you to barter your back yard garden produce with your neighbors. Wondering what to do with all those tomatoes? Maybe your neighbor wants some. Make a few bucks on the side or trade for some peppers or squash or whatever you are lacking.

Our foodscout garden has provided us with some tasty veggies, but not yet enough to have excess. We’ve signed up our foodscout garden anyway though.

Veggie Trader is just getting started. Help get it going and thousands of others will be sure to join in.

Natural Remedy: Dry Brushing Mosquito Bites

dry brushQuite by accident, we’ve discovered a great natural remedy for the awful itch of mosquito bites. As soon as a bug bite starts to appear and itch, scratch it with a dry brush that you’d use for body exfoliation. The immediate benefit is that it will be the most satisfying itch you ever scratched.

Secondly, you will notice that your bite does not continue to itch. If it does, scratch it with the brush again. At most, I’ve had to do this three times before it stopped itching permanently, but usually once or twice does it.

And finally, unlike scratching your itches the traditional way, the dry brush will not break the skin or leave any redness or scabs whatsoever.

We’ve been getting eaten up by mosquitoes pretty good this summer and the dry brush has worked like a charm for us. It also works great for rashes.

Give it a try and let us know if it works for you too!

The World Is Made of Food

bunny and dandelionsAfter mowing the back yard for the first time in over a year, I discovered a baby bunny. He was cornered by the fence and too terrified to run. I managed to fight off the urge to pick him up and play with him, but I did run inside to grab my camera and get John to come outside and see him.

“Should we feed him?” John asked quite sincerely.

“He’s a bunny. His world is made of food.” John immediately felt silly for asking such a question. As though us humans would do a better job of feeding a bunny than he could do for himself. Humans don’t even know the difference between actual food and the boxes full of chemical-laden junk they sell in grocery stores.

But it got me thinking. The world isn’t only made of bunny food. It’s made of food. For everyone.

dandelion greensIf there was a food shortage for a few months, most of us would starve to death while edible plants were growing all around us. Or worse, we would have already killed them off with weed killer. They now sell dandelion greens in natural food stores. People pay $3 for a bunch, while mowing over the dandelions growing in their own yards.

Don’t have a green thumb for a vegetable garden? You can still include some garden fresh foods in your diet. Find out what grows in your area. Dandelion, lambsquarters, plantain (not the banana), and lots more are probably growing all around your neighborhood right now. Let a portion of your yard grow wild. See what shows up.

There is nothing more nutritious than wild plants. Just make sure you pick them from areas free of car exhaust, pesticides, and passing dogs.

Find a Spring – help build the database

spring waterWhat could be more important to our health than fresh, clean drinking water? Most municipal water is full of chemicals, such as chlorine, fluorine, and who knows what else. More people than ever are turning to expensive home water filtration systems or signing up for water delivery services.

Now, a new website,, is helping people find and share the location of fresh natural spring water, so that health seekers can get clean water straight from nature. They are just getting started, so if you know of a natural spring, submit it to their database.

As they say on their site, you’ll need to independently verify that the water is safe for drinking as findaspring does not test the validate water safety.

Visit and “Reclaim Your Water”

Flat Stomach Secrets

Every health and diet magazine these days is talking about flat stomach secrets. We’ve had some recent insights into this topic so we figured we’d join in the discussion. If you are close to your intended weight but you can’t quite figure out how to get rid of that little poochie belly, this article is for you.

As a healthy 33-year-old female and a healthy, let’s just say, “over 40″ male, we struggled for years with the question of how to get rid of that little gut. We were already eating a healthy diet – no sugar, very little processed foods, lots of fresh produce. We work at our computers all day so we don’t get a lot of exercise and probably won’t change those habits any time soon.

A combination of a couple of new lifestyle changes seems to have done the trick for both of us and the first one doesn’t cost a dime. The second is admittedly a little pricey.

  1. Quantum EatingDon’t eat past 6pm: You’ve heard this before, but now really do it. If you don’t get home from work until 6, make dinner right away and shoot for 7pm. We learned this trick from the book, Quantum Eating, by Tanya Zavasta. She actually suggests not eating past 2pm, but we aren’t ready for that. We started with a 7pm “curfew” and then moved it to 6pm after a few weeks. According to Zavasta, your body benefits from this nightly 14+ hour fast in numerous ways, not least of which is it gives your body a chance to finish digesting and move on to the important task of cleansing and detoxing. When you eat late at night, your body can’t burn all those calories and instead stores them as fat. Related to this change in eating habits, we eat our biggest meals for breakfast and lunch and have only a large green smoothie for dinner, making digestion in the evening even easier on our bodies.
  2. Cellercise!: The Cellerciser is a small trampoline, sometimes called a “rebounder”. According to their website, exercising on the Cellerciser “applies weight and movement to every cell causing the entire body, it’s parts and functions to become stronger, more flexible and healthier.” It sounds a little cheesy, but it made enough sense that we decided to give it a try. We use it every morning for 12 minutes. It’s a fun way to wake up in the morning (much healthier than a cup of coffee) and it feels like a good workout when we’re done. After using the Cellerciser for a couple of weeks, we noticed more definition in our muscles. After a few more weeks, it translated into flat stomachs for both of us. The more we use it, the better our stomachs look, both in terms of flatness and muscle definition.

We are always changing aspects of our diet and habits to achieve better health and there may be other factors that have helped in our quest for a flat stomach. We mention these two specifically because we have directly observed that if we cheat on either one, there are clear consequences that show on our bellies. Once we get back to our good habits, that pooch melts away within a day or two.

These obviously aren’t scientific studies, but they work well for two of us. Give it a try and see if it works for you too!

We have no affiliation with the Cellerciser company and make absolutely no money from them. We just really like it!

A Powerful Argument for Natural Whole Foods

This recent article on offers a highly compelling argument for eating natural whole foods and eliminating processed and genetically-modified foods from our diets.

The article, entitled Why Schools Should Remove Gene-Altered Foods from Their Cafeterias focuses on kids in school. But thousands of individuals have reported their own experiences of giving up processed foods and no longer needing medications for chronic illnesses or mood disorders. On foodscout, we have pages specifically about Mood and Learning and the foods and nutrients in natural foods that are beneficial for each.

At foodscout, we don’t just believe that food is a factor in our health and happiness. We believe it is the central factor. You are what you eat.

Effective shower filters for removing chlorine

vitashowerDrinking filtered or bottled water is commonplace these days. Few health-conscious people will drink water straight from the tap if they don’t have to. But even if you avoid contaminated drinking water you could still be tremendously exposed to chlorine and chloramine in the shower. This exposure can be drying and irritating to eyes, skin, and hair. Chlorine also becomes airborne in a shower and is absorbed through the lungs and skin. Long, hot showers lead to the highest amount of exposure and absorption.

Many companies are now selling shower filters primarily aimed at removing chlorine and chloramine from your shower water. They vary greatly in price and all make impressive claims about their effectiveness. Unfortunately, shower filters do not have to follow the same government standards that drinking water filters require.

While there is a lot of great information online, it is difficult to find an answer to the simple question, “Which shower filter is the most effective at removing chlorine?” but if you dig around enough, you can find enough independent studies and user reviews to piece together a decent view of the pros and cons of each filter.

There are three types of filtration used in shower filters – activated carbon, KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) media, and vitamin C.

  • Activated carbon filters, which are used in Brita and Pur pitcher filters, work well but only in cold water. They also tend to clog easily especially in more contaminated water.
  • KDF media filters remove chlorine but not chloramine. However, these filters also do not function well at lower water pressures and quickly becomes ineffective in very contaminated water.
  • Vitamin C filters remove all chlorine and chloramine. Vitamin C filters last a long time and are inexpensive and organic. However, they only remove chlorine and chloramines – nothing else. These filters last around 6 months, which is much longer than other filters.

For our household, getting rid of the chlorine and chloramine was a top priority so we decided on the Vitamin C shower filter. There are two vendors for these types of filters – VitaShower and Sonaki. VitaShower vitamin C filters list for around $40. The Sonaki is a showerhead unit that is available with different types of heads and takes a replaceable vitamin C cartridge. $99 will buy the initial setup and each additional cartridge is around $40.00.

We have been using the VitaShower filter for 3 months now and the difference in our hair and skin are noticeable. It immediately removed the overpowering chlorine smell, which has not returned.

Healthy snacks may not be so healthy

healthy junk reported on an important Canadian study, which looked into hundreds of products marketed to children, many of which make nutritional claims on the packaging.

Most parents already know that sugary sodas and greasy potato chips are not the healthiest food choices for children. But what about the hundreds of other widely available and kid-friendly packaged foods — pastas, frozen dinners, granola bars — that at least appear to be more wholesome?

“A new Canadian study suggests that even these foods — most of which make nutritional claims on the packaging — aren’t all they profess to be.”

Read the full story on here

At foodscout, we believe the only real health food is the food that nature provides. Very few people can eat a perfect diet all of the time and it isn’t necessary to do so. But when you buy processed and packaged foods, do so consciously. Acknowledge that it isn’t the ideal choice. This awareness will encourage you to buy healthier foods going forward.

We like to follow what we light-heartedly call the “foodscout diet” – eating the foods that we list on our site. But we also sometimes like to give into our cravings and have a little treat. At this point, even our binges are relatively healthy, so this might take the form of BBQ tofu, Greens+ Chocolate Bars, or a vegan gluten-free pizza. For us, this is a deviation from what we know we should be eating, so we acknowledge that fact and enjoy these treats with this awareness. Over time, we have decreased the frequency of such deviations.

Don’t blindly assume that something is healthy just because the package says it is. Marketing companies know that health is a big seller and they have no problem labeling high fat, high salt, nutritionally deficient foods as “health food.” Decide for yourself what your diet standards are and stick with them.

Dark Field Microscopy – A quick, effective, and interesting health check

Dark Field Microscopy - www.serafin.chFor those of us who are doing our best to improve our health, it’s difficult to know how healthy we really are. There are hundreds of tests to check for disease when you are showing symptoms, but not much guidance for relatively healthy people.

Dark field microscopy is a technology that allows you to look directly at your living blood through a microscope that is hooked up to a TV monitor. As a patient, you view your blood while the doctor explains to you what you are seeing. Yeast, toxins, and undigested food are detectable on the monitor. Protein, iron, or B-12 deficiencies cause the blood cells to take on a distinctive look. You can see just how closely your blood resembles the healthy ideal and what health issues need to be addressed.

My blood cells were teardrop shaped, indicating a protein deficiency. I also had undigested food, due to “leaky gut syndrome.” My girlfriend was able to see that she had yeast in her blood, no doubt because of her sweet tooth. Cells with the wrong color in the center indicated that she also needed more iron. Only a few weeks earlier, traditional medical doctors had concluded that she was in perfect health. We both showed quite a bit of toxins in our system.

The doctor recommended a variety of supplements (that his clinic sells) to fix our health issues. We opted to do our own research and address them on our own, through dietary changes. When we returned for another test 8 months later, most of our issues had disappeared or improved considerably.

According to the doctor, virtually everyone has toxins or deficiencies that are viewable in their blood – even infants. Whether you are struggling with serious health issues or well on your way to optimal health, dark field microscopy is a useful indicator for your current state of heath. Check with alternative health professionals in your area.

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