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Danish Red Cabbage — Rødkål

A Tradition!

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Whenever the Lassen family gets together for a traditional Danish meal, we love to include this taste of Denmark — Rødkål — Red Cabbage. It is delicious hot, warm, or cold, and makes a wonderful side dish. It’s sort of like the cranberry salad next to turkey on a Thanksgiving table, but much better (in my humble opinion!)

It’s easy to make and can be made ahead of time — even 4 or 5 days ahead. Oda, our founder, taught me how to make this easy and yummy Danish dish.  You’ll love it!

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

Danish Red Cabbage 

You’ll need:

  • 1 head red cabbage (about 3 lbs)
  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup butter (you could use coconut oil, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used natural cane sugar, but you could use agave syrup)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup lingonberry preserves

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Instructions:

  • Wash the cabbage head, and then cut into quarters and remove the core
  • Slice thin and then cut the slices into halves or thirds
  • Sprinkle with vinegar, set aside

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the sugar and salt
  • Add the cabbage/vinegar combination and cook 15 minutes, stirring regularly

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danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

 

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

  • Add the lingonberry preserves and mix in well.
  • Turn to lowest heat and gently simmer uncovered for about 90 minutes, stirring occassionally and then more regularly as the moisture evaporates. (This step may take up to two hours, depending on the cabbage moisture content.)

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  • Watch carefully the last half hour to make sure it doesn’t stick.
  • When the moisture is cooked off, remove from the heat and serve or cool until ready to serve.

I love having this on hand for fancy dinners, but it’s delicious as a side with a sandwich as well!

love,

Lassen’s

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what+is+cbd, what+is+cannabidiol, cv+sciences, stuart+tomc, san+diego+companies, cbd+companies

CV Sciences on the Cutting Edge

CBD from CV Sciences

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Image from pluscbdoil site

When I visited CV Sciences in San Diego, it was quickly apparent that there’s a lot I didn’t know about CBD (cannabidiol). I came back determined to learn more, and in a previous blog post I shared some of what I learned. But even though I didn’t know much about CBD when I got there, during my visit I became so impressed with what CV Sciences is doing in the field of CBD research and development.  I want to shine a light on their company.

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I met Stuart from CV Sciences at a seminar at Expo East, and he was very excited when I mentioned that I’d like to come see their operation.  Arrangments were made, and I went to San Diego to meet the CV Sciences team. Stuart met me at the door, and escorted me to the lab.

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The scientists at the lab showed me the strict procedures and testing that they practice as they take the raw CBD materials all the way to the final product ready to be bottled and put on the shelf. 

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CV Sciences complies with pharmaceutical standards, so everything is incredibly clean and controlled. Their scientists test at every step of the process. They test the raw materials coming in to make sure it is not only what is on the label, but that it is of the highest quality with no contaminants. 

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They also keep samples of every batch in case there needs to be further testing.

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It was great meeting Stuart and all the folks at CV Sciences! 

Love,

Lassen’s

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Growing Up to be Strong and Brave

Those Characteristics Appear Early!

As our founder, Oda Lassen, grew up in post-World War I Denmark, she was surrounded by loving family and friends. Her father was a seaman, and her mother was lovingly nurturing her three boys and three girls. Those years between the World Wars were years of growth and happy memories. Oda and her family lived in an apartment building with a courtyard in the back, and she remembered playing hour after hour with her siblings and friends. She told me about calling up to her mother that she was hungry, and her mother would toss down a sandwich wrapped in paper for the children to catch. She told her grandchildren this story as she made them sandwiches just like her mother had made for her.

our+founder, oda+lassen, our+story, strong+and+brave, lassens+story
Oda’s brother Jens, her father Thomas, and Oda

Oda loved school. She learned easily, and particularly enjoyed math. We saw that quickness in her many years later as she could look at sales and quickly analyze the trends.  We also saw that in the fact that if we owed her money, she remembered what we owed to the penny! 

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Denmark is a very flat country, so cycling was — and still is — a very popular means of transportation. There were bicycles everywhere, and that caused Oda a bit of trouble that she had to deal with for the rest of her life. When she was a young elementary school child, she was about to cross a street close to her school when an older child on a bicycle knocked her over, hurting her knees. She had pain, swelling, and later arthritis, in those knees, until finally Oda had double-knee replacement at age 82. Even at her age she tackled the Physical Therapy with determination. Talk about brave!

When Oda finished compulsory school, she entered the workforce at a Textile Factory. She didn’t really talk much about this stage of her life, but she once told me how terrible the men were at the factory. She didn’t mind the work, but the workplace environment was difficult for a young women. I think after that experience she was determined to be respectful of everyone.  

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Oda and her family, along with the rest of Denmark, were able to enjoy this respite for a few more years, but by the time she was in her late teens, the rumblings of war were beginning to be heard once again. It was in this world that Oda really honed her strength and bravery, as a young wife and mother in a country occupied by Germany.

I have loved learning about Oda’s experiences, since they shaped her into who she was as a mother, friend, entrepreneur, and businesswoman. She laid the groundwork for the best of what Lassen’s strives to be each day, and into our future. We are grateful for her!

Love,

Lassen’s

our+founder, oda+lassen, our+story, strong+and+brave, lassens+story

 

 

 

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings, cardamom+recipes, cardamom+dumplings, cardamom+spice

Try These Real Danish Dumplings!

These are Definitely Not My Mother’s Danish Dumplings!

My mom knew her way around the kitchen, and was willing to try lots of recipes. And our family loved her delicious soups. Occasionally she would make Danish Dumplings, which I liked, but I preferred noodles.

When I joined the Danish Lassen family, I was introduced to real Danish dumplings! I am sure the recipe my mom used had been Americanized to the point of not having much Danish left in them. This recipe comes straight from the motherland, complete with a dumpling press — a bollesprøjte — to make uniform little dumplings. 

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings
This dumpling (bolle) press belonged to Oda Lassen, our founder. I use it every time I make Danish Dumplings!

Oda’s Danish Dumplings

The Lassen family  makes a delicious soup — they call it Captain’s Soup — every New Year’s Eve. The broth is a two-day process, with bones, vegetables, and seasonings.  Meatballs and dumplings are made separately, and each year various people make different parts of the soup. For the last several years, my job has been the dumplings. I think this year I finally got the process down to a science, and they were the best ever. 

Oda’s recipe calls for cardamom, which is very Scandinavian. You’ll love the distinct taste that cardamom brings to these dumplings! 

This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 TBSP salted butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

To Make the Dumpling Dough:

  • Bring the water and butter to a boil in a saucepan
  • Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, cardamom, sugar, and salt) and set aside
  • Also, crack the eggs into a bowl, and set aside
  • When the water/butter has come to a boil, reduce the heat and add the dry ingredients all at once
  • Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together and is shiny
  • Remove from the heat
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly. The dough will break up when the eggs are added, but just keep stirring with gusto! The dough will be soft, but should hold together.
  • Cool for about an hour

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

To Cook the Dumplings:

The Danish Dumplings of my youth were cooked right in the soup, but that’s not the real Danish way. The Danes cook the dumplings separately in salted water. This prevents the soup from having bits of dumpling broken up in the broth. It just looks so beautiful this way! So follow this procedure. It seems complicated, but the finished dumplings are tender yet hold together — delicious!

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

  • Bring water to a slight boil in a 2-quart pot, add 1/4 tsp salt
  • Put the dough in a Danish dumpling press (it’s like a cookie press), press the dough through the press and use a knife to cut the dough off in 1/2″ dumplings. If you do not have a bollesprøjte, use two spoons and drop teaspoon-sized dumplings into the water. Only put one layer of dumplings into the water at once so they cook uniformly and don’t bump into each other as they cook (I got a little carried away and added too many, as you can see in the photo above.)
  • Here’s the tricky part:
    • Bring the water almost to a boil and then at the point where the water is about to boil add 3-4 ice cubes to cool the water.   You will do this three times.
    • After the third time, use a slotted spoon to gently lift the dumplings out of the water
    • Drop the dumplings in a bowl of ice water to cool quickly. While they are cooling I add the next batch of dumplings to the water
    • Remove the first batch out of the ice water and drain in a colander
    • Cook the rest of the dumplings the same manner
  • You can refrigerate the dumplings until needed, and heat them gently in a warm oven before serving. (I wouldn’t keep them refrigerated longer than a couple of days.)

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

To serve, put the dumplings in a bowl, and then add hot soup.

While the Lassen family traditionally has these dumplings on New Year’s Eve, there’s no reason they can’t be enjoyed any time of the year! Now, if only we’d have some soup weather, I could make them again!

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings, cardamom+recipes, cardamom+dumplings, cardamom+spice

Love,

Lassen’s

 

My+Magic+Mud, Charcoal+Tooth+powder, activated+charcoal, turmeric+and+cacao+tooth+powder

A Black Powder to Whiten Teeth? That’s Some of the Magic in My Magic Mud!

From Mainstream Mom to Entrepreneur

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Tooth Powder(image from mymagicmud.com)

Jessica thought of herself as a “mainstream mom” — just using name and national brand products for her family. But she noticed that many of her friends were into using more thoughtful, natural products.  So when her daughter was dealing with weak and sensitive teeth, Jessica started to think and act differently.  She tried all kinds of toothpaste, but there was nothing on the market that did everything that her daughter needed.

Jessica and her husband Justin grew up in Ventura County (Simi Valley and Ventura) and their families shopped at Lassen’s. So when I called Jessica to learn more about her story, she was pretty excited to connect — and so was I! Because she had some familiarity with natural remedies, when nothing on the market helped her daughter, Jessica started searching for home remedies that might work. Salt, baking soda, calcium bentonite clay — she tried lots of ingredients in her quest to find a solution. She found that calcium bentonite clay was particularly valuable, since it is high in mineral content which strengthens enamel. She came across an article about how the Ancient Egyptians used Activated Charcoal, and was intrigued. She learned about its toxin-fighting properties and was excited to add it to her formula. She uses coconut shell charcoal, which is particularly helpful in removing stains. Organic mint and orange peel extracts are added for their anti-inflammatory and whitening properties. 

This formula turned out to be exactly the mixture that Jessica was seeking. Her daughter’s teeth were stronger and whiter than ever before. She actually posted “before and after” photos on facebook which got a lot of attention. Soon Jessica was inundated with inquiries about her tooth powder. 

It’s been about five years since Jessica settled on her formula. And she’s gone from putting sample jars together for friends to international distribution. That journey went through lots of Farmers’ Markets, and to Justin’s mother (who had a successful career in sales) taking samples to local health food stores. 

+Magic+Mud, Charcoal+Tooth+powder, activated+charcoal, charcoal+toothpaste
Now in toothpaste! (image from mymagicmud.com)

Now based in Texas, My Magic Mud now has not only the original tooth powder, but toothpastes in four flavors (spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen, and cinnamon clove). Jessica did not want to make a toothpaste since she felt that the powder was the best formula possible. But her husband prodded her for two years to figure out a toothpaste formula, knowing that it would be a hit. The proverbial straw that broke that camel’s back was when Jessica’s mom told her that she didn’t like the messiness of the powder. So Jessica started to figure it out. It took her a full year of tinkering to get the right ingredient mix to meet her high standards. She wanted really clean ingredients that kids would like. She didn’t want to just throw something together; she insisted on staying true to her core beliefs and values.

My+Magic+Mud, Charcoal+Tooth+powder, activated+charcoal, turmeric+and+cacao+tooth+powder
Turmeric and Cacoa Tooth Powder (image from mymagicmud.com)

And now Jessica is really excited to introduce her next products — Turmeric and Cacao Tooth Powders! Available in Peppermint, Spearmint, and Cinnamon Clove, these formulas are great for strong teeth and gums.

And coming up soon — a natural, aloe vera-based mouth rinse. It is alcohol- and sting-free, with two flavors, classic mint and cinnamon clove. Watch for it in the next few months! 

Jessica is now in a position to have My Magic Mud tooth powder in clinical trials, which is a great step in the progress of her company. She already knows that there is nothing harmful in her products, and is looking forward to seeing the whitening and strengthening properties validated. Many dentists now recommend My Magic Mud to their patients. Here’s a link to the “Science” section on the My Magic Mud Website. Every ingredient in My Magic Mud is food grade, and can be swallowed. As a matter of fact, Activated Charcoal has been used internally for many years to detoxify and absorb gas (see our blog post on the benefits of using Activated Charcoal here.)

One thing that was so thrilling to me as Jessica and I talked was how enthusiastic and grateful she is about what she has created and accomplished. She said, “I love the drive that started this business.” She has learned just how powerful that drive to find a solution can be. It has been exciting for her to find that her solution could also to help others.  She talks to many women about how they too can make positive changes for their families. 

My+Magic+Mud, Charcoal+Tooth+powder, activated+charcoal, turmeric+and+cacao+tooth+powder
Image from mymagicmud.com

Brushing your teeth with a black powder or paste may take a little leap of faith, but I think you’ll find the results pretty exciting! As always, if you have any questions about our products, please talk with one of our helpful Health and Beauty Aids Team Members. This is a really exciting product line, and if you haven’t taken a look, try some soon!

Thanks, Jessica, for partnering with Lassen’s!

Love,

Lassen’s

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

Made from Food — MegaFood!

Plain and Simple — Supplements Made from Food

When Mega Food started in 1973, they wanted to keep it simple — to “produce superior whole food supplements for those who care about their health and well being” (from the Mega Food website).

They found a wonderful little red house in Derry, New Hampshire, and went to work.  When we visited the Mega Food headquarters with several of our Supplement Managers, they had recently moved from the red house into a new state-of-the art facility with testing labs and impressive procedures.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
Here’s the Lassen’s crew with at the Mega Food plant!

One remarkable characteristic that actually kind of surprised me was their amazing transparency. They call it:  

Mega+Food, Big+T+transparency, whole+food+supplements

And they really mean it. I have toured a lot of facilities, and the vast majority of the time I have to leave my camera in the car. But not with Mega Food. They wanted me to take pictures of all of the processing and testing. 

That’s not all — Anyone can take a look at Mega Food’s facilities as well. Just go onto their website and find the Live Facility Cam (Click here) and you can see what is happening in each step of the production. (Just remember that they are on Eastern Time, so you won’t see much if you log on at 8:00 pm!)

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
He’s showing us the machine that crushes and blends the foods before they are dried.

Mega Food’s focus has always been “Food First,” and so they find the foods that best deliver vitamins and minerals. Mega Food is really proud of their farmers, and they include them on their website. Click here to see their farmers!  Those foods are crushed and pulverized, and tested to make sure they deliver the nutrients promised. Some batches require the addition of some vitamins and minerals to bring them to the label amounts. In an amazing set of machines, the pulp is then cool dried. 

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
It looks a bit like a smoothie!

The pulp looks like a thick smoothie as it is spread onto the dryers. The temperature stays low and air is circulated around the pulp to dry it very thin.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

After it slowly went through the machine, we were able to sample the crispy product!

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

Mega Food values consistency in their products, and they want to make sure every tablet contains what is on the label, so they blend the materials in a beast of a machine called the  Bear Claw. We were lucky to see it at work when we were there!

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
The Bear Claw tipped every which way to blend all of the product!

Next comes tableting, coating (so that the tablets hold together and are protected from moisture and air), bottling, and then shipping.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

We also spent some time with Mega Food scientists/product developers, and were able to taste their upcoming products — Vitamin C Gummies and B-12 Gummies. It was fun to give them our opinions! Watch for these products within the next year.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food, minerals+made+from+food, vitamins+made+from+food
Coming Soon to a Lassen’s near you!

We had a fantastic time with some of our valued team members visiting Mega Food in New Hampshire. Since Lassen’s started in 1971, just two years before they did, we have been partners with this wonderful company almost from the beginning! Their high quality and commitment to integrity and transparency makes them leaders in the industry, and we are proud to carry their amazing products. 

Thanks, Mega Food, for your hospitality!

Love, 

Lassen’s

activated+charcoal, many+uses+for+charcoal, what+good+is+activated+charcoal

The Surprising Versatility of Activated Charcoal

And We’re Not Talking Barbecue!

One of the first times I had heard the term “Activated Charcoal” was when I had little kids and wanted to make sure my first aid kit was complete.  I learned that activated charcoal was an essential treatment for accidental poisoning, which is always a fear with little curious kids! 

But I didn’t really understand much about how it worked. Activated Charcoal has millions of tiny pores that trap chemicals and toxins. The chemicals and toxins bind to the charcoal,  preventing absorption by the body, and then will be flushed out of the body. It is super important to drink lots of water  (12-16 glasses per day!) to assist with this flushing. People who don’t drink this much water can become dehydrated, which is not a good thing either! (Be careful to not use Activated Charcoal with acids, petroleum products, lye, alcohol, or other corrosive products.) Consult the Poison Control Center, or 911 to get the proper dosing when you realize there has been ingestion of toxic substances. And of course get the patient to an Emergency Room. 

activated+charcoal, uses+of+activated+charcoal, remove+toxins+ with+charcoal
Image from Nature’s Way Website

It is logical then, considering that Activated Charcoal traps chemical and toxins, that there is so much more that Activated Charcoal can do! The most obvious one is to mitigate gas and bloating. Lassen’s carries various Charcoal capsules and tablets which are great to have on hand for those occasions when your digestion needs a little help! If you know you are going to be eating a meal that is likely to produce gas and bloating, you can preemptively take some activated charcoal beforehand.  It also can be used if you suspect food poisoning with nausea and diarrhea.

If you’re planning on a Juice Cleanse for the New Year, add some Activated Charcoal to your regime to sweep out those toxins.  And even if you’re not doing a formal juice cleanse, our Deli juices have charcoal add-ons if you want a boost, too!

If you’ve been bitten by mosquitos, spiders, or snakes, or stung by a bee, mix some activated charcoal with a little coconut oil, and then apply a little to the sting area. Apply a bandage, since charcoal can stain! Reapply regularly (up to every 30 minutes) to reduce itching and swelling. 

You can make a skin mask with activated charcoal and Aloe Vera. Apply and let dry, then rinse thoroughly. This helps draw impurities out of the pores and removes dead skin cells. Lassen’s also carries several soaps and masks that contain activated charcoal too.  

activated+charcoal, many+uses+for+charcoal, what+good+is+activated+charcoal
Image from the Organika site organika.com

Many water filters use Activated Charcoal as the main component of the filter, and for good reason! It can remove the chemicals that are in our water, including pesticides, (some) fluoride, industrial waste, and other toxins. If your filter says, “Carbon Filter,” it uses Activated Charcoal.

There are some cautions — don’t take Activated Charcoal without about two hours of taking prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, and again, don’t forget those 12-16 glasses of water.(Consult your doctor for potential adverse drug interactions.) You will also want to avoid taking your supplements within two hours of taking charcoal. 

uses+for+activated+charcoal, activated+charcoal
image from My Magic Mud website mymagicmud.com

One of the biggest uses for Activated Charcoal in the news lately is to whiten teeth. It almost seems crazy that something black can whiten teeth! But it can, and does. It can even remove stains! You can use straight activated charcoal powder — wet your toothbrush and dip it in the powder. Brush normally, and then spit and rinse thoroughly. The powder will stain grout, so be careful to contain the charcoal in your mouth and in the sink. (It can be messy.) There have been some reports that charcoal can stain crowns and veneers, so check with your dentist. There are also some charcoal toothpastes which will be less messy. 

One exciting use for Activated Charcoal is to reduce bad cholesterol. There was an article in the Lancet (in 1986!) that indicated that charcoal helped reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol with negligible side effects. (See this link for more info on dosage and results.)

The more I learn about nature, the more I see how it has provided so many wonderful things to help us get and stay healthy! Activated Charcoal is one of those things that nature has given to us. Lassen’s carries many products that contain Activated Charcoal, and our helpful supplement and cosmetics staff can help you find just the right products for you!

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018!

Love,

Lassen’s

How+we+began, Oda+Lassen, Lassens+Natural+Foods+and+Vitamins+origin+story, Lassens+how+we+began

One Hundred Years Ago…

It was a Different World, for Sure!

Oda+Lassen, Lassens+Natural+Foods+and+Vitamins+origin+story, Lassens+how+we+began
Oda Lassen’s family, about a year before she was born. Around 1917

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the year 1918 began, the Great War — World War I, as it would be later known — was still raging, although it would end before the year did. Russia declared a republic of Soviets. There was a huge, worldwide health crisis — the Great Influenza Pandemic — which would kill between 50 – 100 million people. Europe was in turmoil, and America was too.

In that upheaval, the little country of Denmark, situated just north of Germany, tried to remain neutral. Family life continued, and on August 21, 1918, a baby girl was born to Larsine and Thomas Nielsen.  They named her Oda Helene.  Her father was at sea — a common career for numerous Danes — and didn’t see her until she was 8 months old. Larsine had a photograph taken of herself and two-month-old baby Oda so she could send it to Thomas.

Oda+Lassen, Lassens+Natural+Foods+and+Vitamins+origin+story, Lassens+how+we+began
Oda Helene Nielsen, later Lassen, about two months old with her mother Larsine Nielsen

Although born into this worldwide upheaval, once World War 1 ended, Oda grew up in a Denmark which began to thrive once again.  Oda loved being with her two sisters and three brothers, excelled in school, had many friends, and enjoyed her life in Aalborg. She developed a love of nutritious and delicious food. She particularly enjoyed visiting her neighbors who might sell some of the produce from their gardens. Every spring, even many decades later, she was on the lookout for young English peas which reminded her of those sweet childhood days. 

How+we+began, Oda+Lassen, Lassens+Natural+Foods+and+Vitamins+origin+story, Lassens+how+we+began
One of my favorite photos of Oda. She’s wearing an outfit that a doting auntie (Tante, in Danish) made for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oda developed and displayed many of her strongest qualities at an early age — strength, determination, and bravery. She was smart and capable. She was happy and energetic.

These characteristics served her well during the challenges that she would have to face during her lifetime.  

Now it is 2018, and in the coming months watch this space for monthly updates on the life of our founder, Oda Lassen. On January 8, we remember and mourn once again her loss five years ago in 2013 at the age of 94 1/2. But we honor her and everything that she dreamed for our family and our business. 

So Oda, we are thinking of you in 2018 — one hundred years since the year of your birth!

Love,

Lassen’s

 

 

 

 

Bulletproof Collagen+Powder, Collagen+supplement, what+is+collagen

Collagen — Good for Every Body

Want Strong and Healthy Joints, Bones, Skin, Tendons, and More?

collagen+strength, strong+bones+and+joints, first+marathon, Diestel+meats
One of the Lassens about to run his first marathon!

Collagen may be just what you’re looking for.  It is one of the building blocks of our physical bodies — a structural protein that is found in those joints, bones, skin, and tendons, as well as many other places in the body. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Connective tissue is built mainly from collagen. It is a fibrous protein, with its molecules packed together to form long fibers.  These fibers give skin elasticity and are incredibly strong — I read in a couple of places that, gram for gram, they are stronger than steel!  There are more than a dozen kinds of collagen, which have different kinds of structures and functions in the body. There are 19 different amino acids in collagen, which makes it a complete protein.

At this point in my research, the chemistry got a little dense for me, but let’s just say that in any case, collagen is a vital part of a strong and healthy body. 

What Does Collagen Do in the Body?

Let’s just start with the skin. In the middle layer of the skin (the dermis), collagen helps form a foundation for the growth of new cells, as well as restoring and replacing dead skin cells. Any wounds we have are assisted in their healing by collagen. It plays a role in healthy digestion by keeping the protective lining of the digestive tract strong. Our bones, joints, cartilage, tendons, all rely on collagen for elasticity and strength, as well as for smooth and pain-free gliding and motion. Our organs need collagen, as it helps make up a protective coating around many of them — including tissues in the heart and blood vessels. Collagen is an essential element in a placenta, helping to provide nutrients and oxygen to a growing baby.  

healthy+pregnancy, healthy+placenta
One of my darling grandchildren when she was just a week old. Love!

Our bodies make collagen, and we can increase the amount of collagen our bodies produce by eating a healthy diet, including protein — cheese, eggs whites, soy, and beef, chicken, and fish (including bone broth). Foods rich in vitamin C help our bodies produce collagen (citrus, broccoli, peppers, strawberries). Berries, such as raspberries, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries are a healthy addition to a collagen-producing diet, as are shellfish and nuts. Of course, collagen supplementation (through bone broth, collagen powders, products with added collagen, and other collagen supplements) is a way to make sure you are getting enough collagen in your diet.

Bulletproof Collagen+Powder, Collagen+supplement, what+is+collagen

As we age, we don’t make as much collagen, and a decreased amount of collagen is to blame for wrinkles. This decrease in collagen also explains the decline of the structural integrity of bones, joints, cartilage, and tendons. Ummm, hello, joint pain and osteoporosis. This loss of collagen can be accelerated by poor diet, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, and excessive sun exposure.  This is why those with poor diets, long-term smokers, drinkers, and those who work and play in the sun often have more wrinkled skin than they otherwise would.

Increasing Collagen Can Help in These Ways

You probably can figure these out, but increasing collagen can help keep skin and hair healthy. Collagen has long been used to strengthen nails, hair, and teeth.  You can fight the effects of aging bones, joints, cartilage, and other connective tissues and maintain strength and flexibility. Studies going back over 30 years have linked collagen supplementation to a substantial pain decrease in osteoarthritis suffers.

Digestive function can be improved by making sure you are getting enough collagen. I found the information on collagen use in patients with IBS, Crone’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and Leaky Gut particularly interesting. Studies have found that those who suffer with these conditions have a decreased amount of collagen, so supplementation can help heal and strengthen the tissue that lines the colon and gastrointestinal tract. With all of the information coming out about how important a strong gut is to our overall health and well-being, this is something that gets my attention!

Collagen may help us maintain muscle mass, which is critical as we age, and that muscle mass may help boost metabolism. We all need that energy boost to get through the day; am I right?

There’s More to Collagen than a Capsule

Luckily, there are all kinds of ways to boost collagen consumption. Lassen’s carries many products, from capsules to powders, from protein bars to bone broth, from candy to coffee. You will be able to find the ones that are just right for you. Our helpful staff can steer you in the right direction!

Bulletproof Collagen+Bars, Collagen+bars, what+is+collagen

I think all of us are trying to give our bodies all of the care that we can. As we are about to start a new year, let’s all care about our health just a little more.

Love,

Lassen’s

If you want to learn more,  this comprehensive article from Dr. Axe, What is Collagen, is very helpful.  

 

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Not Just Smart Chicken — Smarter Chicken!

A Model We Can Believe in

When we flew to Nebraska to visit the Smart Chicken Farms and Plants, we were in for an education! With all that I had heard about meat processing, I prepared myself to see things up close and personal, and I did. But I also learned how thoughtful and careful it could  be.

Back in the day — in the late 1990s — the founder of Smart Chicken went to Europe and tasted chicken that was more delicious that what he had tasted in the USA. So he toured facilities and learned that the European model’s key production difference was that their birds were air cooled. So he came back to Nebraska, determined to bring this model to America.

Air cooled? What does that mean?

Well, it means that the birds are air cooled.

OK, Captain Obvious.

But let’s go back a few steps to get some background and context. 

Step 1: The Farm

We started by suiting up and visiting the Tecumseh Organic Farm, where the chickens are raised. Smart Chicken is extremely careful about protecting their birds from any biohazards, so we were just able to peek at the chickens through a window. The day was on the chilly side, and the birds were not interested in leaving their warm shelter to roam outside so we had to be content with at peek.

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

The chickens are fed a combination of corn, soy, essential oils, vitamins and minerals. Their Nutritionist explained to us how each of the ingredients in the feed is designed to make sure the birds are healthy and grow at a natural pace. There are never any antibiotics, growth stimulants, animal by-products, or arsenic — yeah, arsenic is common in chicken feed! — in their diets. I asked about the arsenic — it is added to the feed at other operations to keep the gullet “clean,” which means that the chickens digest and gain weight faster, but unnaturally so. It has also been shown that traces of arsenic show up in the final chicken products. So Smart Chicken has no arsenic — yay! (I had no idea that would have to be a thing!)

Of course the Organic Chicken is fed only Certified Organic feed; Remember that organic is always non-GMO. And the Smart Chicken folks are proud that they are located in the heart of the Midwest, where there is the largest natural underwater aquifer in the world. The grain in their feed is grown nearby, and they don’t bring grain in from across the country or from overseas, reducing their environmental footprint.

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS_Chicken

The chickens are in houses where they are allowed to roam, have access to resting areas as well as the outdoors, and where they have sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors. In other words, they are not in individual cages as in factory farms. These standards are part of the Humane Certification that Smart Chicken has earned through the Humane Farm Animal Care Program.

When the birds are 54 days old they are ready for processing. This is considerably longer (by about 9 days) than most commercial operations, who rely on antibiotics and growth stimulants (and that arsenic) to speed up the growth rate of their birds. 

Time for Step 2: Harvesting

Yeah, it’s time. Smart Chicken was the first chicken producer in the United States to use Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) to ensure humane harvesting of all Smart Chickens. This method — also brought from Europe — uses CO2 to put the chickens to sleep prior to harvest. They use a blue light to calm the birds, then the CO2 induces sleep. 

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

And here’s the education: Most operations don’t do this. Their birds are hung upside down, fighting and fearful, and then stunned by an electric shock gun before harvesting. All the lactic acid and adrenaline coursing through the muscles makes for tougher, and often bruised meat. And it’s horrifying. I’m glad I didn’t have to see that. 

Twenty-eight minutes after the birds come in the processing plant, they have been harvested and cleaned and are ready for chilling.

Step 3: Air Chilling

Yes, now all of your questions will be answered. And of course I need to contrast Smart Chicken’s model with what everyone else does. Smart Chicken is the only chicken company that is USDA Process Verified as Pure Air-Chilled, No Added Water.

This is a question that I’ve had for a long time. Why do most chicken packages have something like “Ten Percent Added Water” on their labels? How do you add water to chicken? And why are there several ounces of water inside most packages of chicken, sometimes soaked up by packaging or hidden by colored wrapping?

Well, here it is. Other chicken processors put the chicken in a cold water bath to cool the chicken. In the hour or so it takes to cool the chicken, that water is absorbed into the meat — up to 15%. Yes, fifteen percent (and you’re paying for it.) During that time, the composition of the meat is challenged which reduces the tenderness of the meat. The flavors are also compromised. And it’s a communal water bath, with added bleach to kill bacteria. 

But Smart Chicken uses that USDA Verified Air-Cooling Process. The birds are on a conveyor belt which travels through a chilling room until they reach the desired temperature. Yes, it takes longer, but the flavor is retained and not diluted — an end result of which Smart Chicken is extremely proud.  And the taste difference is obvious. 

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Step 4: Cutting and Packaging

The birds are then taken to the Processing and Packaging facility, which is the only chicken producer in the United State with a Safe Quality Food level 3 Certification, which is the highest safety quality standard in the industry.

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

That Certification is reflected in what we saw at the plant — a model of efficiency, safety, and quality.  One thing that impressed me is that Smart Chicken processes to their orders so that the chicken is as fresh as possible. They don’t have extra product that is stored until an order comes in. 

Enjoying the Midwest!

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

We were treated to a college football game on the last night — We saw the Cornhuskers in action! They take their college football seriously in Nebraska! (Just don’t ask about the score!) But I love me some Marching Band Half-time show. 

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Thanks, Smart Chicken — it was quite an education!

Smart+Chicken, Air+chilled+chicken, no+water+added+chicken, organic+chicken, humane+chicken, CAS+Chicken

Pick up some Organic Smart Chicken at Lassen’s — you will taste the difference!

Love, Lassen’s

gift+ideas, eco+friendly+gifts, natural+jewelry, natural+gifts, salt+lamps, stocking+stuffers

Holiday Shortcuts at Lassen’s!

Gift Ideas at Lassen’s? Of course!

You know the feeling — you have just a few more things on your gift list for the Holidays, and you need to get some groceries. You can take care of both errands at Lassen’s! You know we have great Always 100% Organic produce and the highest quality supplements and groceries (as well as our Delicious Deli food!) but did you know that our buyers are also always on the lookout for terrific gift items as well? Here are just a few of the hundreds of items you can find at your local Lassen’s! (Remember that selection will vary by location.)

Gift+ideas, stocking+stuffers, eco+friendly+gifts

Here are several ideas from our Health and Beauty Aids Department. Essential Oils are always a great idea. Lavender for relaxation, Rose Geranium for calm, Lemongrass for a boost — we even have lots of blends ready to go! I really love the burning sage, sweetgrass, and assorted burning herbs. Incense and Incense holders are terrific gifts, and this year we also have Palo Santo sticks to add a fragrant scent to your holiday home! You can also pick up some great batik and printed tapestry table coverings or bedspreads at several of our locations.  

For the Men — and others! — in your Life

Gifts+for+men, Gift+ideas, stocking+stuffers, eco+friendly+gifts

Bogue Soap Company has a terrific Shaving kit with a cup with shaving soap and brush. Adam and his mom Susan have a really interesting story, which you can read here.  Their company is one of our wonderful local producers! Badger Shave Soaps, Beard Oil and Beard Balm would be perfect stocking stuffers for your bearded men! 

Lassen’s also carries a large selection of water bottles. Hydro Flask is one of the best companies — they will keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for a shockingly long time. I had a HydroFlask with ice water stay cold (with solid ice) for two days in Las Vegas! The Nava bottle has a built in filter, and Kid Kanteen comes with a choice of pop-top or sippy lids — great for the little ones!

We have several varieties of Oil Diffusers — these from Zum come in various scents and are ready to gift! And I always love to have a little smooth message stone — these are metal — in my pocket or purse to help me meditate.  Little worries seem easier to handle with something smooth to rub.

Don’t forget your Doggie Friends! (or the Kitchen!)

gift+ideas, eco+friendly+gifts, natural+gifts, stocking+stuffers, pet+gifts, doggie+gifts

These West Paw chew toys are great for the doggies in your life. The “S” shaped one is great for playing fetch, and your dog won’t chew anything off of this bone! 

I also love the crocheted coasters, and the penguin and bear scrubbie pads for the kitchen. This bamboo child’s utensil kit is great to carry with you to prevent wasting so many plastic utensils.

But Wait! There’s More!

gift+ideas, eco+friendly+gifts, natural+jewelry, natural+gifts, salt+lamps, stocking+stuffers

Earring, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, perfumes, lotions, yummy creams, headbands, rose water, beanies — take a few minutes to browse the fun treasures that our buyers have found! A Salt Lamp is a wonderful gift — the mild light adds a soothing glow to any room.  I love the colors of this headband — don’t be surprised if you see me wearing one like this soon!

gift+ideas, eco+friendly+gifts, natural+gifts, stocking+stuffers, hand+made+gifts
Takes me back to the flower-power of the early Seventies! Now, where did I put my bell-bottoms?

Can you say, the Cutest “Up-Cycle” Ever?

Years ago I posted how to up-cycle old jeans into beach blankets, but this gift takes that idea one step further. Look at this adorable bag made from the leather tags from those jeans! This creative idea makes me feel bad I just threw away those tags. The back is blue jean fabric to complete the up-cycle look!

Lassens+Natural+Foods+Market, Lassen's+Health+Food+Store, gift+ideas, eco+friendly+gifts, natural+gifts, stocking+stuffers, up+cycle+bags, up+cycle, re+use

So next time you’re in Lassen’s, take a few extra minutes to browse our Gift selection. I think you’ll be able to find just the right thing for the people on your list! 

I’ll bring you more ideas next time!

Happy Holidays from Lassen’s!

CBD+Oil, Hemp+Oil, Wha+ is+CBD+Oil, Uses+of+CBD+Oil,

CBD Made Simpler

You’ve probably heard something about CBD oil — are you confused? 

confused+about+CBD, CBD+Oil, CBD+uses

Let’s get started. What is CBD?

CBD is short for Cannabidiol.  That’s a compound that is found abundantly in hemp.Other plants, such as broccoli, echinacea,  and kale, also contain cannabidiol,  but the highest amounts are found in the hemp plant. CBD has been called a superfood! 

Over the last thirty years, researchers have found that the human body has a very important system called the Endocannabinoid System, which helps regulate and balance our health. CBD has a role to play in strengthening this vital system.

cbd+oil, project+cbd, What+is+cbd,
Photo by Project CBD

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

They come from the same plant family — the same species, Cannabis Satavia L. If you could zoom back nearly 10,000 years ago to Taiwan, you would see hemp cultivated for its many useful characteristics. Varieties were cultivated to encourage those different properties. Some varieties were cultivated to grow tall and fibrous, which is useful for rope, fuel, building materials, as well as many other uses, including seeds. These varieties make up what has been developed into the hemp plant of today.

Cultivators discovered that the flower buds of other varieties had psychoactive effects, and so they cultivated those types to increase those effects.  The goal was to isolate the medicinal properties of the plant. This has been cultivated to be the marijuana plant that we know today. 

In modern times, the two plants are very different. Before 1970, there was some commercial cultivation of hemp for several uses — textiles, food, paper, furniture, auto parts, soap, etc. But once the Controlled Substance Act passed in 1970, which classified marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, there was no legal distinction made between hemp plants and marijuana plants, although they are very different. The 2014 Farm Bill opened the door to commercial cultivation of hemp.

What+is+CBD+Oil, CBD+Oil, CBD+Superfood

OK, we’ve got the botany. But let’s get down to chemistry. Is there a chemical difference between hemp and maijuana?

Yes, a big one. And it goes back to cannabidiol (CBD), and another property in the family, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC.) THC is the chemical compound in cannabis that gives the euphoric high. Hemp has just a trace of THC (less than 0.3% dry weight) while is has a much higher amount of CBD. Marijuana has very little CBD, and much more THC.

In other words, you won’t get high from CBD. 

Sagely+Naturals+CBD, What+is+CBD, CBD+Oil

I have objections to using drugs; is using CBD taking me down that road?

No. There is nothing psychoactive about CBD. It is a superfood, not a drug. One concern that people have is that they don’t want to fail a drug test. There is little chance that using CBD products could cause a problem with a blood test. This is from the US Drug Test Centers Website:

“According to Quest Diagnostics Director of Science and Technology, Barry Sample, CBD likely won’t show up on a drug test: ‘If the product contains only CBD and has had the THC removed, then an individual being tested would not be expected to test positive for marijuana or marijuana metabolite.’

“According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the recommended cutoff level of THC is 50 ng/mL to pass a drug test. Most employers and legal services prefer to use SAMHSA certified labs as the standard, since it’s more likely to hold up in court. Most hemp oil or CBD products are usually sold with much lower levels of THC (compared to marijuana), so most CBD consumers won’t have trouble passing a drug test. For those using extremely high levels of CBD or hemp oil (over 2,000 mg per day) it’s possible, though unlikely, that this could produce a ‘false positive’ result on a drug test.”

Charlottes+Web+CBD+Oil, What+is+CBD+Oil

So why would I want to use CBD products?

CBD oil is showing great promise in several areas of health and wellness.  Cannabidiol has been used for centuries for many ailments.  The most commonly mentioned uses right now (and the ones that have been studied the most so far) are for epilepsy (seizure disorders), arthritis, and chronic pain. One company, Charlotte’s Web , has been built on the story of a little girl who suffered from a serious seizure disorder. Another company, Sagely Naturals, has several informative videos on their site, and emphasize how CBD can help with pain and inflammation.  CBD is also mentioned as promising treatment for inflammation and anxiety. This YouTube Video, a feature on a San Diego News channel (Made in San Diego) about CV Sciences includes a physician who uses CBD oil in her practice.  An article from Project CBD, mentions several other conditions such as diabetes, PTSD, and more.  You can also search CBD on pubmed.gov for articles on interesting CBD research. (As of yet, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, prevent, cure, or treat diseases.)

CBD+Oil, Hemp+Oil, Wha+ is+CBD+Oil, Uses+of+CBD+Oil,

 

What does Lassen’s have to offer in the way of CBD?

Lassen’s has carried CBD oils for quite some time. We carry all of the above mentioned brands, along with several others, including Jambo Superfoods, Ojai Energetics, CBD Mendo, and Jeff’s Best Hemp. We also carry CBD teas from One Love Tea and the CBD chocolates from Medicinal Foods. Our knowledgable Supplement Staff can help you find the products that are just right for you, so stop by and we can answer your questions!

There is much still to be learned about CBD, and Lassen’s will be here to help!

Love,

Lassen’s