Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 Easy Steps To A Healthy Kitchen

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By Jill Holstine

The subject of healthy eating comes up a lot in conversation. It seems everyone wants to eat healthy, but is hesitant to make the change. Here are easy ways to make a healthy kitchen and your family will hardly even notice the change!

1)    Rid your kitchen of MSG – monosodium glutamate a flavor enhancer 
2)    Educate Yourself on GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms in Your Food
3)    Start Replacing Your Pantry Items – 12 Items to get you started!
4)    Join a Co-op or Bulk Food Buying Club
5)    Join a CSA or Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market
Below the 5 Easy Steps To A Healthy Kitchen are detailed. Please comment on how you are incorporating healthy eating into your life!
1)    Rid your kitchen of MSG – monosodium glutamate a flavor enhancer 
MSG is an “excitotoxin.” An excitotoxin is a chemical that causes a brain cell to become overexcited and fire uncontrollably, leading to cell death. MSG (and other excitotoxins like asparatame) has the potential for inflicting permanent damage to the brain and nervous system.
MSG is found in canned soup, packaged spices/dips (taco seasoning recipe below), granola bars, salad dressing, soy sauce, all flavorings, all processed food, and more! As a culture, we are addicted to MSG! The best way avoid MSG is by buying whole foods and preparing them at home. The next best thing is to become an expert at label reader! Know the various disguises under which MSG travels! Here are some of its many disguises (copy this list and hang it on your fridge):
  • Hydrolyzed Yeast Extract
    MSG is hurting our children!
    Hydrolyzed Protein
    Autolyzed Protein and Yeast
    Textured Protein
    Plant Protein Extract
    Sodium Caseinate
    Calcium Caseinate
    Yeast Extract
    Yeast Food
    Yeast Nutrient
    Textured Whey Protein
    Textured Soy Protein
    Glutamic Acid
    Monopotassium Glutamate
    Monosodium Glutamate
How do I possibly get MSG out of my kitchen? My family won’t eat anything then!
As a MSG addict for many years, I can personally say that ridding MSG from the kitchen is not hard, but you have to make small life changes to accomplish this for you and your family. Here is a picture of the day I rid my kitchen of MSG. I threw it all in the garbage. What’s cheaper, a trip to the doctor and a prescription or the cost of this so-called food that makes us sick?
MSG products cleaned from my kitchen!
Today, I make all my own seasonings, broth, breading, salad dressing, and I read labels. Don’t have time? Take the ingredients by a retired family member and ask them to help. My 80 year-old grandmother made my bread crumbs until the day she passed because I too was a busy mom running my kids to practices and going to events. Here are a few recipes to get you started on the path to good health!
Taco Seasoning – Better than the packaged stuff too!Ingredients:
1 TBS Chili Powder
¼ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Onion Powder
¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
¼ tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Paprika
1-1/2 -2 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Sea Salt or RealSalt
1 tsp Black Pepper
Mix together and store in an air tight container. Courtesy of
Italian Seasoned Bread CrumbsIngredients:
3 Cups Bread Crumbs (I use gluten-free panko crumbs or save your dried out bread and make your own crumbs)
2 TBS of Italian Seasoning
Mix together.
French Dressing½ cup organic virgin olive oil or coconut oil
½ cup organic Braggs Apple cider vinegar
½ cup organic tomato paste
2-3 cloves minced organic Garlic
1 tsp celery seed
1/3 cup honey, Agave or rice syrup OR 1 tsp Stevia
Sea salt and pepper to taste!
If you have a recipe or another good idea to rid your kitchen of MSG, please share with us! Read More about MSG
2)    Educate Yourself on GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms in Your FoodGenetic modification is the process of forcing genes from one species into another entirely unrelated species. Unlike cross breeding, which involves two related species and has been done without ill effects for centuries, genetic engineering forcefully breaches the naturally-occurring barriers between species, causing both known and unknown consequences that have never been proven safe for humans or animals.
GMOs cause damage to our digestive system and cause disease
Examples of GMOs include strawberries and tomatoes injected with fish genes to protect the fruit from freezing; goats injected with spider genes to produce milk with proteins stronger than kevlar for use in industrial products; salmon that are genetically engineered with a growth hormone that allow them to keep growing larger; dairy cows injected with the genetically engineered hormone rBGH (also known as rBST) to increase milk production; and rice injected with human genes to produce pharmaceuticals.
GMO plants – Corn (70% of items in grocery store), Soy (no soy is good unless organic), Cotton (oil), Canola, Sugar beets (white sugar)
The bottom line … when you eat a GMO product the body is not able to digest it properly so the proteins leak out of your intestinal tract and go into your blood stream. Your body then treats the proteins like an allergen. In addition, your body cannot kill GMO gene bacteria, which would be the bacteria that is modified to makes a bug’s stomach blow up when it eats the plant and/or fruit. This is very dangerous for children.
To educate yourself further on GMO and to find out how you can help stop our families from eating it – Click Here! To get the Non-GMO shopping guide app – Click Here!
3) Start Replacing Your Pantry Items
Replacing your kitchens pantry items does not have to be expensive. Do it one product at a time to make it cost effective and efficient! The replacement products below will not change the way your food tastes that anyone will notice. By replacing items with MSG-free, Aspartame-free, organic, GMO (genetically modified organism)-free food you are creating a healthy eating environment for you and your family.
Note: All the items below are available through Rubicon River Farm’s Organic Bulk Food Buying Club! Sign Up starts in March 2013! Click Here for more info!
Bleached All-Purpose Flour – Switch to: Organic Unbleached Flour. Tastes better, no chemicals, non-GMO.
White Table Salt – Switch to: Sea Salt or RealSalt (Natural Salt from the EARTH!).Chemically-cleansed sodium chloride (table salt) upsets your fluid balance and constantly overburdens your elimination systems, which can impair your health. Natural salt is a prime condiment that stimulates salivation and helps to balance and replenish all of the body’s electrolytes. In addition, natural salt supplies all 92 vital trace minerals, thereby promoting optimum biological function and cellular maintenance!
White Refined Sugar – Switch to: Cane Sugar or Organic Cane Sugar. Any package of sugar or sweets that does not say CANE or organic on it is GMO sugar beets.
Canola Oil – Switch to: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tea Seed Oil, or Coconut Oil. Canola Oil is a GMO product.
White Pasta – Switch to: Whole Wheat, Quinoa, Brown Rice pasta. My family went cold turkey on the pasta. They only knew that the whole wheat was different from the white pasta so they eat quinoa and brown rice past now.
Syrup – Switch to: Pure Maple Syrup. Take a ride out to the country and buy pure syrup during the spring. It’s cheaper than the store and you can see where your food is actually coming from! Mrs. Butterworth’s is full of high fructose corn syrup (GMO), colorings, MSG, salt and other stuff you don’t want your family to eat!
Honey – Switch to: Pure Honey or Raw Honey. Honey is about replacing as much refined sugar as possible in your diet as well as high fructose corn syrup and aspartame. Honey has great health benefits too. Here is the quick low-down on honey:
  • Read the Label
  • Raw Honey is unprocessed, unheated and has all its live, nutritious enzymes preserved.
  • Natural or Fancy honey is pasteurized (dead) or treated with heat to slow down the process of crystallization so that they remain smooth and presentable on the shelves.
  • Adulterated Honey – The “Pure” honey label doesn’t guarantee at all that it is not diluted with water and further sweetened with corn syrup; it just promises that there is real pure honey inside, with no suggestion of its amount. The law does not require a label to say how much pure honey is in the bottle.
White Rice – Switch to: Organic Brown and White Basmati Rice. What is the difference? White rice is a piece of brown rice with the bran and germ milled off (where fat-soluble vitamins are stored) and then polished to look nice for longer shelf life. The most nutritious rice is always whole grain, minimally milled, and unpolished (brown rice). White basmati rice has great flavor and isn’t mushy and pasty like white rice.
Corn Starch – Switch to: Arrowroot Powder. Arrowroot powder is almost exactly the same as corn starch but it is not GMO.
Coco Powder – Switch to: Cacao Powder (superfood). Cocoa and Cacao are close enough in flavor not to make any difference. However, cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. Cacao is also the highest whole food source of magnesium, which is the most deficient mineral in the diet today. The main differences being that cacao powder specifically refers to raw, unsweetened powder. Cocoa powder on the other hand, contains fats that are present to enhance the flavor and doesn’t contain the same nutritional properties.
Nuts & Seeds– Switch to: Raw Nuts and Seeds. Raw nuts and seeds are loaded with Omega-3 oils, protein, and fiber. To get even more benefit out of raw nuts and seeds, soak them and then dehydrate at 108 degrees. Soaking helps the body to digest the nuts and seeds and starts the sprouting process where the seeds and nuts become 100-300% more nutritious! See our sprouting chart
Popcorn – Switch to: Organic Popcorn. Non-GMO, organic
Tortilla Chips – Switch to: Blue Corn Chips. Non-GMO, organic
4)    Join a Co-op or Bulk Food Buying Club. Co-ops and bulk food buying clubs have a lot to offer:
  • Save money on healthy foods by purchasing with others.
  • Learn about the benefits of healthy eating and low cost cooking.
  • Develop important health and food safety skills.
  • Learn how to read food labels.
  • Build organizational, budgeting, and shopping skills.
  • Get to know other families and learn about new foods, recipes, and cultures.
  • Get more with their food dollar by purchasing large quantities.
  • Try new foods and learn about new recipes.
  • Work in a social atmosphere and meet new friends!
  • Rubicon River Farm now offers organic bulk food with your CSA! Click Here
5)    Join a CSA or Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market
  • Support your areas local farmers.
  • Eat sustainably.
  • Know where your food comes from.
  • Learn how to cook using local veggies and fruit.
  • Try new veggies and fruit.
  • Volunteer on the farm.
  • Improve your health.
  • Meet new people.
  • Join Rubicon River Farm’s CSA! Click Here

Friday, December 7, 2012


Interested in finding out about Community Supported Agriculture - CSA in Wisconsin? There are a lot of CSA farms in Wisconsin, the question is ... which one is right for your family? What should you ask the farmer? What size share should you get? Do you have to work on the farm? These are all great questions, I'll answer these and more to help you eat local!

I'm available day or night to come to your work, community event/group meeting or home to talk about Community Supported Agriculture and its impact on a community. I put together a short presentation called "Community Supported Agriculture: Transforming Communities." This is not a marketing presentation. The presentation is a fun way to explore your options and learn about Community Supported Agriculture - CSA! We can even talk about gardening tips and how to grow your own garden!
Cost: FREE
Contact Jill Holstine at to set up an appiontment!
View Jill's Profile on LinkedIN

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Midwestern Community Supported Agriculture Gears Up for 2012 Season

The temperature may not emulate a traditional Wisconsin winter, but the date lets you know that southeastern Wisconsin Community Supported Agriculture—CSA farmers are gearing up for the 2012 season. If there is one thing everyone agrees on, eating local is good. We know it is good for the state’s economy; more importantly, it closes the gap between rural food production and urban food consumption to create sustainable, healthy communities.

Top 5 Reasons to Eat Locally Through a CSA:

  1. Helps Support Family Farms – Keeps food dollars in the community and state.
  2. Freshness and Quality – Unique varieties of seasonal produce picked at their peak.
  3. Land Stewardship – Protects our community’s water and environment.
  4. Nutritious - Your food travels 50 miles or less from farm to table.
  5. Affordable – Direct marketing = no middleman costs

The CSA farmer markets directly to the consumer. Every CSA operates a little different, but the concept is simple. The consumer, described as a shareholder or member, purchases a share prior to the growing season. This provides the farmer with capital and guarantees a market for their product. Members can then rely on fresh, local produce throughout the typical 20-week season. Beverly Hines, an engineer in Oconomowoc, emphasizes, “My food is grown five miles from where I live and arrives freshly picked, therefore at its peak nutritious state. I know who is growing my food, and it is not being covered with toxins. That is important to me.”

Members of the farm share in the risks and bounty of the garden. The idea of shared risk is part of what creates a sense of community among members, and between members and the farmer. If a hail storm ruins the corn, everyone is disappointed together; similarly, a bountiful harvest of tomatoes brings “Tomato Fest” instead of “Corn Fest” in July.

Another goal of a CSA is to get members involved in the production of their food. Some farmers may work out agreements with members to reduce the cost of a share in exchange for labor, while some CSAs require voluntary labor. Hines states, “I like the fact that I can work on the farm at times that fit around my own work schedule. I write my name on the farm’s work schedule calendar and there is no worry about not being able to fulfill my obligation.” Additionally, the goal is to provide members with the “farm experience.” Farmers should encourage members to visit the farm to see how their food is grown and to learn how the farm operates, which helps members to connect with their food.

Eating local and knowing where your food comes from should be a priority. There are resources on the Internet to locate local food sources. One of the more popular sites is, which showcases CSA farms throughout Wisconsin and the U.S. In addition, communities invite local CSAs to “Meet Your Farmer” type events so families can learn about a CSA and which CSA is right for them. Jamie Ferschinger, Branch Manager at the Urban Ecology Center - Riverside Park, holds an annual CSA event in spring, “In ten years the event has grown from five farmers and 20 people to 30 farmers and over 1000 people who come to the Center to meet the farmers, learn about buying food locally, and supporting their community.” She refers to it as her favorite event of the year!

The spring event will be held at the Urban Ecology Center – Riverside in Milwaukee on March 17 from 11am – 4pm. In addition, Lake Country Green Fair, at Unitarian Universalist Church in Hartland, will be on April 21 from 10am -3pm.

5 Questions to ask your Farmer at an Event:

  1. Who grows the fruits and vegetables, and where is the farm located?
  2. Does the farmer use chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers on the crops?
  3. Is the farm a diversified operation, with many varieties of vegetables and fruits?
  4. Does the farm grow any heirloom varieties of fruits or vegetables?
  5. Are any of the fruits or vegetables genetically engineered varieties?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Try It, You'll Like It: Eating In-Season Midwestern Style

Have you bought strawberries at the store lately - YUCK! Living in the Midwest and buying strawberries is a waste of money, energy, and time. I understand we all want that fresh strawberry to clean and eat like candy in the winter months; however, a good alternative that I have found is picking the berries at the peak of ripeness in June and then freezing them on a cookie sheet so they don't stick together when you put them in a ziploc bag for winter. Yes, that firm texture is gone, but the flavor isn't! This is the modern method of "getting ready for winter."
With an increase in the urban population, "getting ready for winter" and eating in-season isn't even a thought by most people. Imported food from around the world ensures that our grocery store shelves look the same every week.
As a society, we need to consider the environmental impact of our food choices - the distance your food travels from farm to table. I'm not saying stop eating pineapple and bananas. Those countries rely on the U.S. for their livelihood. I am saying buying asparagus from South America in the February isn't the best choice when in May and June the Midwest will have asparagus coming out of our ears! When one vegetable or fruit goes out-of-season, another one comes available to fill the need."
What is in-season in the Midwest in March? Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Winter Squash - Butternut, Acorn, Celery Root, Fennel, Kale, Leeks, Mache (type of green for salad), Potatoes, Rutabaga, Salsify, Sunchoke, Carrots, Cabbage, Spinach, Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, and Turnips.
5 Reasons to Eat In-Season And Like It
1) Reduces the energy needed to grow and transport the food.
2) Avoid paying a premium for food that is traveled a long distance.
3) Supports the local economy.
4) Reconnect with the natural way of Midwestern food.
5) Taste - seasonal food is fresher, tastes better, and is more nutritious.
Lastly, an easy way to eat seasonal is to join a Community Supported Agriculture - CSA farm. Try it, You'll Like It!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


We took a photo of the garden to show how we are expanding. The field is sheltered from other fields that may have GMO crops. The dirt area (foreground) will be planted with rye (green manure) to provide the soil with nutrients and to give the soil a rest for 2 years. The brown area and about 50 feet in toward the dirt will be all garden. The total garden is approximately 3.5 acres and can feed 100 families!

We are excited about the expansion and have a lot of volunteer help to ensure our success this CSA season! Join Us, it will be one of the best things you ever did for yourself and family! EAT FRESH. EAT LOCAL. EXPERIENCE RUBICON RIVER FARM CSA!

CSA Sign up still available! Contact for more info!


The Rubicon River Farm Winter Share would be delivered a week before Thanksgiving. The share would contain items like potatoes, onions, winter squash, kale, spinach, salad greens, carrots, herbs, swiss chard, apples, beets, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, parsnips, garlic and anything else Mother Nature will let us grow! Interested in something like this? Contact us at to be put on the email reminder list. Payment due in July.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2012 CSA Season Sign-Up is Available!

Rubicon River Farm's 2012 CSA season membership and work share sign up is now available!

We still offer the most organically grown veggies and fruit for the best price! I have added new items this year such as spring broccoli, tastes like asparagus and broccoli together; purple and pink potatoes, dazzle your dishes with the latest veggie trends! Don't forget about the Free Baby/Toddler Share (see membership form for details)! Moms and Grandmas will share their Baby/Toddler eating local tips on the web site. Do babies eat kale - yes they do! Do two-year-olds eat brussel sprouts - yes they do! Join the conversation to find out how!

Be a part of the Experience! Follow us on Facebook and watch how we start getting the garden ready in February for planting in April!

Email Rubicon River Farm for a Membership Form!