Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Event: Gardening Discussion at MOCA Cleveland

"Bring garden-loving friends to MOCA and find out how cultivating the soil impacts our city socially, culturally, and economically. Brad Masi of leads a dynamic panel discussion on grass-roots efforts, market gardens, complex garden-based projects, and the intersection of urban and rural agriculture.

Panelists include Sandy Kish Jordan (City Fresh), Vel Scott (Vel’s Purple Oasis Gardens), Mary K. Holmes (North Union Farmers Market co-founder), Rich Hoban (Stanard Farm), Jesús Sánchez (Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Green Corps), and a teen member of Green Corps. 

Enjoy local food, nature-inspired art, and a special gift. Plus, throughout the summer, see Masi’s videos highlighting local food efforts."

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
When: July 9, 2011
Time: 3:00 - 5:00pm
Cost: Free & open to the public

Click here for more info

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kitty Grass!

I am the proud parent of two!  Morticia, who is 14 years old and Hawkeye who is 3 years old.  No, they don't get along.

And like any dutiful parent, I buy my kids grass whenever I come across it at the pet store to aid in their digestion.

And like any bad plant owner, I eventually forget to water said grass and more than that, I neglect to offer it to my cats past the initial day of purchase.  Sigh.

So I finally came up with a solution - grow my own indoor grass!

Morticia caught in the act!

I started with a self-watering plant box, packed it with dirt, picked up two wheat grass plants from Petsmart and transplanted them.  I set the box on the floor in front of a window.

Morticia who has a long history with grass, chowed down immediately - a little too much.  We had to have a talk as I explained that this was now her grass and I would not be taking it away, so - SLOW DOWN!

Hawkeye, well he's still learning.  He won't help himself and instead I have to present each blade of grass to him (Oiy!).

To my surprise and delight, the grass has taken off!  So much so that the cats can't keep up and I might have to cut grass inside the house (not annoying at all!).

You may be asking yourself why you would want to offer your cat grass at all.

Well, it is very natural for them to nibble on grass, in fact in the wild, cats help themselves all the time.  For indoor cats, the grass basically helps them deal with the mounds of cat hair they ingest courtesy of self-grooming.  As you know, this hair is not digestible and usually ends up on your floor when you're in a hurry.

Now the bad part, the grass is not digestible either and well it binds to the fur and the cats throws it up (sometimes, now always).  But!  If the cat does not get the fur out one way or another, this could lead to a blockage in the intestines which is painful and traumatic and often requires surgical intervention to remove.

Also, grass is quite palatable to a cat and they enjoy the taste.  Giving your cat access to grass may save your plants lives as well as they turn their attention to what they really want.  Plus, grass has a lot of moisture, some trace minerals and the vitamins A and D. Grass also contains chlorophyll, which before the discovery of antibiotics, was a remedy for many ailments.

So whatever reason your cat craves grass, it's completely natural and should be offered.  While grass from your lawn provides the same benefits, make sure it has not been sprayed with fertilizers or pesticides.  Just like us, cats prefer organic.

If you have cats or they have you, consider planting some grass indoors as this will enable your cats to help themselves - your cats are going to love it!

Happy Bonding!
The Hoff

Friday, June 24, 2011

Doc: Taking Control of Diabetes with Dr. Neal Barnard

This doc offers an alternative to treating diabetes through a vegan diet.

If you have diabetes or know someone with diabetes, it worth the watch.

Barnard can be a little, well, boring - but he's a doctor, not an entertainer.

I especially liked the bonus cooking and grocery shopping segments.

Check out the preview!

While you're at it, check out his 21-Day Kickstart program to becoming Vegan!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Doc: Eating

This is a sleeper doc.  It's not visually pleasing and its rather dry delivery has caused me to fall asleep during more than one viewing.  However, just when you think it's over, it's not!  This doc hits you on all fronts in a non-invasive way - just the facts and the facts are convincing enough.

Eating starts out by covering three doctors, each of which admittedly followed the Standard American Diet (SAD) only to be diagnosed with either heart disease or cancer.  Each rejected prescribed conventional treatment (surgery, drugs, chemo) and adopted a plant-based diet instead.  I won't spoil the outcome for you.

This doc then gets into the politics involved in nutrition, environmental waste caused by SAD, the cost of food, animal abuse and cruelty resulting in the increase in the spread of infectious diseases.

There are the typical, familiar faces contributing to this doc: Esselstyn, McDougal and Gerson.

I wouldn't go out of my way to see this, but there's something about it that has me watching it over and over out of fear from missing key information.  If given the opportunity, check it out.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I tend to get a lot of compliments on my nails - from friends, to co-workers, to nail techs.

I always thought it was good genetics, but when I came across an article from, it had me thinking that maybe it's my vegetarian/vegan ways that I have to thank for such fabulnailness.

Check it out!
Food to Make Finger Nails Stronger

The Hoff

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Doc: Fat Head

This is a comedic smack down of “Super Size Me,” by comedian and former health writer Tom Naughton.  Naughton attacks the notion that McDonalds is the reason for the obesity problem in America and challenges our beliefs on “healthy eating”.  He goes on diet of burgers and fries to prove that by eating within reason, one can lose weight. 

This is an ok one to watch, but not a must see by any means.

Check out the trailer and other segments.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Avoiding GMO's

Repost Courtesy of: The FRESH Team

FRESH the movie

Are you eating genetically modified (GM) foods? Chances are, the answer is yes. Even if you shop mostly on the perimeter of the grocery store, most likely your cooking oil has GM corn or canola in it and your sugar came from GM beets. In fact, GM ingredients show up in 75% of processed foods in US groceries, but they’re not labeled, so consumers cannot discern GM products from natural ones.

FRESH is asking the FDA to mandate GM labeling now, but until that happens, here's how you can avoid GM foods in your diet:
  1. Choose organic

    To earn the “certified organic” label, a product cannot contain any GM ingredients, so buying organic foods is the easiest way to ensure your food is GMO-free. This applies even to products labeled “made with organic ingredients,” which must be 100% GMO-free, even if not all their ingredients meet other organic standards.
  2. Look for “non-GMO” labels

    Though you’re unlikely to see a product labeled as containing GM ingredients (at least in the US), many companies want consumers to know that a product is GMO-free. Some limit their claim to only high-risk ingredients, like corn, soy and the others listed below.
  3. Check the PLU code on produce

    In many groceries, fruits and vegetables are marked with a produce look-up (PLU) code. You can identify different types of produce with the following rules:

    • Conventional: Standard four digit PLU numbers (XXXX)
    • Genetically Modified: four digit PLUs prefixed with an 8 (8XXXX)
    • Organic: four digit PLUs prefixed with a 9 (9XXXX)
  4. Steer clear of products containing high-risk ingredients

    If you can’t find an organic or clearly labeled non-GMO alternative, you can protect yourself by simply not buying products that contain ingredients most likely to be genetically modified. These include:

    Corn: corn flour, corn meal, corn starch, corn oil, corn gluten, and corn syrup; sweeteners like fructose, dextrose, and sucrose
    Soy: soy lecithin, soy protein, soy flour, isoflavone; vegetable oil and vegetable protein; tofu, tamari, tempeh, and some alternative meat and dairy products not specifically labeled as free of GM-soy
    Canola: canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil)
    Cotton: cottonseed oil
    Margarine: almost always contains GM oil (either soy, corn, cottonseed, or canola)
    Sugar: GM sugar beets were recently approved for planting. To avoid GM sugar, purchase organic bulk sugar and products sweetened with 100% cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, agave, or organic/non-GMO sugar.
    Artificial Sweeteners: aspartame (NutraSweetTM and EqualTM)
    Meat, eggs, and dairy products: Avoid products from animals who have eaten GM-feed and dairy products containing the GM hormone rBGH/rBST
    Papayas: About half of the Hawaiian papaya crop is now GM.
    Vegetables: A small number of zucchini, sweet corn, and yellow crookneck squash are GM.
  5. Carry a non-GMO shopping guide

    Several handy tools and tip sheets are available to help you make informed choices at the grocery store. Here are a few to choose from:

    • True Food Shoppers’ Guide from the Center for Food Safety, available in print and as a free mobile app for iPhone and Android
    • The Non-GMO Project Online Product Directory, also available as a free app for the iPhone and iPod Touch
    • The Non-GMO Shopping Guide from the Institute for Responsible Technology and the Non-GMO Project, available online, as a PDF download, or in a handy pocket version
For more information on the dangers posed by GMOs and why we can’t continue to ignore these risks, see our blog post What You Don’t Know About GMOs CAN Hurt You.

Did you find this useful? Have better suggestions on how to identify GM foods? Share your ideas and leave a comment on our blog!


Ana & Crystal
The FRESH Team

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Unique Farmer's Market: Blue Pike Farm Market

Repost Courtesy of: Blue Pike Farm Market

"It's the opening of the Blue Pike Farm Market this week. The market opens from 4 - 7 P.M. every Thursday until the end of October.

Joining us again this summer is Kevin Kelly of Kevin's Creative Cuisine with his selection of specialty baked goods and weekly cooking demonstrations (5-6 P.M). He'll be cooking up samples of the week's freshest seasonal veggies and offering his culinary tips and insights into cooking seasonally. This week he'll be cooking with garlic scapes. Haven't used scapes before in your kitchen? It's a 2 week season for these hard to find specialty items. We'll have them for you this week.

Judi Strauss, who writes a food blog at will be offering great information and specialty items each week. She teaches cooking classes and works as a teacher/caterer. She offers a series of workshops teaching about edible wild plants.

Veronica Walton and her husband Michael from NEO Restoration Alliance's League Park Market Garden will be offering their take on urban farm vegetables this summer. Look for great selections each week from their market gardens.

And every week look for Seasonal fruit from Woolf Family Farms, honey and honey comb from e.pluribus Apiary here at Blue Pike Farm and more.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention our newest producers, the flock of hens that have taken up residence here at BPF and gift us with fresh, NO GMO feed, free range eggs."

Where: 900 E. 72nd St, Cleveland, OH 44103 (1/2 mile South of I-90 (East Shoreway) at the E. 72nd exit)
When: Thursdays 4-7 P.M. Now through October

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Watermelon Pops!

Getting ready to stock the freezer with popsicles for the kids this summer?


You can make your own popsicles for a fraction of the cost and without the added sugar, artificial colors and other chemicals you can't pronounce.

If you have a blender, all you need is fruit and a popsicle mold.

Watermelon Pops:
Yields: 4

2 cups cubed Watermelon (seedless)
Splash of vanilla

  1. Blend watermelon & vanilla for a few seconds until a liquid consistency
  2. Pour into molds
  3. Place in freezer to set
  4. Eat & Enjoy
Experiment with various fruits throughout the summer; try mixing oranges with kiwi or cantaloupe with blueberries.

Keep driving ice cream man!
The Hoff

Monday, June 13, 2011

Event: Let's Move It Mondays! at Progressive Field

The Cleveland Clinic has teamed up with Progressive Field to offer a unique experience aimed to get you moving for better health!

Let's Move It Mondays!

When: (Select Mondays) 6/27, 7/11, 7/18, 8/1, 8/8, & 8/15
Where: Progressive Field (Enter at Gate A): 2401 Ontario Street Cleveland, OH 44115
Time: 11:30am - 1:00pm
Cost: Free (open to the public)

Don't forget to download your free mobile pedometer App for Droid & iPhone before you go!

If you're a baseball fan, this could be a really cool experience to get to walk around Cleveland Indian's Field!

Batter Up!
The Hoff

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Adventures in My First CSA: Week 2

Just as I suspected, my bounty increased this week.  I didn't think it would happen so soon, but there was a definite increase in the amount and variety of food.

So here's what I got this week:
  • One dozen eggs
  • One quart of strawberries
  • One quart of snap peas
  • One bushel of spinach
  • One small head of romaine
  • Two bunches of shallots
  • 7 baby red potatoes
  • A handful of garlic scapes
  • A baggy of dried HOT peppers (whoa mamma!)
  • And a large stalk of some leafy green thing

No great plans for my haul yet.  I plan to wing it this week.

Chuck, that's my farmer - remembered me from last week and that gave me a down homey feeling in my tummy.

I thought Chuck said that he would send out an email update every week to tell us what we would be getting.  So far no update, hence me not knowing what one of my items is.  This hasn't been a problem so far as I am not relying on my CSA for all my produce needs.  However, I hope he starts doing so soon, so I can plan my regular grocery shopping around my weekly CSA stash.

If anyone can tell me what that thing on the left side of the picture is, I would greatly appreciate it.  There was some sand residue and it's appearance is like large green, elephant-like floppy ears with large white stalks.

CSA Out!
The Hoff

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Doc: Food Matters

This doc started my obsession with food and health focused documentaries. 

With the help of nutritionists, naturopaths, scientists, doctors and medical journalists, you will seriously start rethinking how the food you eat is affecting your health and your life.

 I actually apologized to dinner guests for the processed dinner I had the audacity to serve them after I watched this doc.  I was literally ashamed of myself and have made a conscious effort to serve all dinner guests healthy, nutritious, whole, "mostly" plant based foods ever since.

Food Matters is extremely well done and is simply a must see!

"You are what you eat, food does matter!"

"It's a choice, you don't have to be sick."

Check out the trailer!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Best Self/Sunless Tanner

I have to clear the air and my good name.  I have started to get attacked by loyal, well-meaning Healthy Hoff followers, who are in shock that  I, The Healthy Hoff would lay in the sun to get a tan.

I'm here today to say, that I do not advocate, nor am I laying in the sun, cooking my skin away for that coveted glow.

I do however advocate 15 minutes of unfiltered sun exposure to ensure adequate Vitamin D levels.

But I will confess that my tan is in fact, fake.

And, I'm not ashamed of that.  I'm German - we don't tan, we burn.  And I don't want to age beyond my years.  And I don't want skin cancer.  But, I also don't want to look like Casper, while everyone else is golden brown.

I have tried a lot of self-tanners in my time, some organic/natural, most not and I'm here to tell you that the search is over!  I have found the best...
I give you: ST. TROPEZ!

Ok, it's not natural or organic (a girl can't have everything).  It does contain aloe vera as a conditioning element (that's a little something).

This self-tanner comes in a variety of options, but I prefer the Bronzing Mousse with mitten applicator.

I slather it on right after a shower, it dries in 60 seconds, and you get color instantly.

Like other self-tanners, you have to remain sweat and water-free for at least 4 hours to give the color a chance to set.

It does have a faint odor, but believe me I have experienced worse.  And the smell is gone after you shower.  It is recommended that you apply before bed, then shower in the morning. 

You can expect your natural, golden glow to begin to fade within a few days, so reapplication a few times a week is required.

The best price I have found this brand is on QVC.  But it's also available at Sephora.  Sephora also sells a replacement mitt (online only).  My advice is to always buy the mousse/mitt combo pack as your mitt isn't likely to survive past one bottle of use.  You do need to rinse the mitt and allow to air dry after each use (this takes a toll on the foam applicator).

Check out the handy dandy application videos for helpful tips!

Get your glow on!
The Hoff

Thursday, June 9, 2011

*Are You Getting Your D's?

Vitamin D that is.

For those of us living far from the equator (ahem, that's you Ohio folks), you are most likely are Vitamin D deficient.  Don't panic, this can be easily corrected.

There are two ways go about this: the ideal way and the second best way.

Ideal Way
During Spring and Summer you want to get 10-15 minutes of unfiltered sun exposure 3 - 4 times per week.  That means no sunscreen and you want as much as your skin exposed as possible (keep it clean, you have neighbors).

There are a lot of variables of course: skin color, time of day, time of year, clouds, pollution...but the bottom line is this amount of time should provide you roughly 10,000 IU of Vitamin D, which is just right.

The sun is your friend despite what has been drilled into our heads since birth about cancer, wrinkles and age spots.  That being said, once you get your 15 minutes, lather up with sunscreen (too much of a good thing, can turn bad)!

Second Best
When the sun disappears, deficiency can occur.  Switch to a vegan sourced, Vitamin D3 supplement in the Fall and Winter months and opt for 4,000 - 10,000 IU per day depending on your personal needs.

I know this is much higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 600 IU per day, which was recently increased from 400 IU that was established in the 1920's, but this amount is still inadequate.

Why am I harping about Vitamin D?  Because it's very, very important!

The Benefits
  • Regulates insulin activity and balances blood sugar levels
  • Regulates the immune system
  • Strong bones & muscle
  • Decreased depression
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory agent
  • Aids in absorption of calcium and phosphorus
  • Reduces frequency and severity of asthma
  • May protects body from low level radiation
  • May aid in healthy weight maintenance

Disease Prevention
Getting adequate doses of Vitamin D can help prevent the following:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Crohn's disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer (bladder, breast, prostate, colon, rectal, and ovarian cancer)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lupus
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rickets (the 400 IU RDA was based on this disease back in the 1920's!)

If you already suffer from one or more of these, ask your doctor to help you restore your vitamin D to an optimum level, you should see an improvement in symptoms.

Photo Courtesy:
It's wouldn't be a bad idea to get your Vitamin D level checked once a year to make sure you are on track.  This requires a blood test (sorry).  Ask for the 25(OH)D blood test, you don't want the 1,25(OH)2D test, so be specific and insistent (some doctors don't know the difference).

Medical News Today
The Savvy Vegetarian
Vitamin D3 - Cholecalciferol

Catch those rays!
The Hoff

*Keep in mind that I am not a doctor, scientist or professional researcher (I do have amateur status) and by no means should you take what I say as gospel, let alone as medical advice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Fooducate Android App (Beta)

Fooducate, who brought you the iPhone app, that enables you to scan the UPC code of a food item and get a nutrition summary of that product and potential alternatives; has just released the same app for the Android platform.

I wish I could use it, but my two year old Android is outdated and won't work with this app.

The Hoff

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Event: Miss Julies's Lunch at West Shore

"Interested in eating a plant based diet but don't know what to cook?

Join the West Shore Vegetarian Group for "Lunch with Miss Julie". 

Julie Costell of Miss Julie's Kitchen and winner of the Akron Vegan Iron Chef competition comes to West Shore Church for a cooking demonstration. She will demonstrate how to make delicious vegan meals and then the food she prepares will be available for all to try.

Miss Julie promises no one will leave hungry!"

When: Sunday, June 26, 2011
Where: West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church: 20401 Hilliard Blvd. Rocky River, Ohio 44116
Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Cost: $25 for members of the West Shore Vegetarian Group and $30 for non-members
Deadline to Register: Sunday, June 19, 2011 (Space is limited to 50 people.)

Contact Gloria at for ticket purchase.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Don't Cry For Me Argentina...

Ok, Argentina has nothing to do with this post, but the crying part does.

I LOVE onions!  Is it because of this, "love" that I suffer through the cutting of said onions on a weekly basis.

And I really suffer.  It starts with the burning eyes, moves into tears, then puffy, swolleness and when I'm having a really bad day - waves of acute nausea.  I cannot cut an entire onion without taking 2-3 breaks - each time washing my hands and face and sitting in a different room for at least five minutes.  And I cut all my onions with the window wide open, wind blowing in my face!  This is a real treat in the winter...

I've started to wonder if I am allergic to onions due to the severity of symptoms, but I really don't care because - I LOVE onions!

Then a funny thing happened two weeks ago.

I was dutifully cutting my onion and no reaction...  This slightly phased me, but I went on with my day.  Perhaps the onion just wasn't as potent.  Then today, as I was cutting two GIANT red onions, I suddenly realized that I was doing so with no reaction whatsoever!  Not even the slightest tear.

So what changed?

I had not put the onions away after the weekly grocery trip for the past two weeks - total fluke.  I always leave my onions on the counter, because that's where I found them in the store - at room temperature.  This is how I gauge produce storage (real scientific).  I really need to consult the Produce Storage Guide.

Instead, the onions were placed in the refrigerator, which just happens to slightly freeze certain items such as water dense produce, which onions happen to be.  It was this simple act that has saved me!

I had once heard that freezing an onion would eliminate the tears, but I thought it was an old wives tale.  Well, sometimes that ole' wife knows what she's talking about...

No More Tears!
The Hoff

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ohio Seasonal Produce Chart

Tip: Click on the produce in fuchsia for Nutrition, Selection, Storage & Preparation tips!

Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov


Beans (Hort.)


Beans (Lima)


Beans (Pole)


Beans (Snap)















Corn (Sweet)





Dill (Dry)

Dill (Seed)




Endive and Escarole



Grapes (Table)


Leafy Lettuce

Mustard Greens


Onions (Dry)

Onions (Green)

Parsley (Herbs)




Peas (Green)


Peppers (Bell)

Peppers (Hot)

Peppers (Sweet)



Raspberries (Black)


Raspberries (Purple)


Raspberries (Red)


Raspberries (Fall)


Rhubarb 4/23-7/1

5/15-7/15 8/15-10/22
Squash (Summer/Zucchini)


Squash (Winter)


Strawberries (Everbearing)
5/21-7/16 8/15-10/8
Sweet Corn


Turnip Greens