HOW DO YOU USE THE POWDERS?
In soups and stews; sprinkled on eggs, roasted vegetables, salads, baked potatoes, popcorn; blended in smoothies; folded into rice, pasta, baked goods or casseroles -- really, added to anything you like to eat. They're great for parents of picky vegetable eaters, people who travel or don't have much time to cook, and creative cooks who want to experiment with different flavor profiles. From Dr. Cowan: As an example of how we use the powders, just this morning to make my morning soup with broth, I had only a small bunch of greens and a pepper from the garden. I also didn't feel like cutting up and sautéing a carrot and zucchini, so, instead, I added a teaspoon of Dr. Cowan's Garden Threefold Blend Powder (carrots, beets, kale, Swiss chard, winter squash and zucchini). Voila! A soup with now six vegetables instead of two. Similarly, when I make pancakes, instead of using all flour (spelt or emmer wheat), I replace a quarter of the flour with pumpkin powder. The taste is delicious, and I am diversifying my diet and adding more nutrients and healing phytochemicals to each bite.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT HOW THE VEGETABLE POWDERS ARE PROCESSED AND STORED?
The vegetables are harvested at peak flavor and quality and dehydrated on low heat, around 120 degrees. Low-heat dehydration retains most of the vitamin and mineral content of the vegetables. The greens are steamed before drying to release anti-nutrients, and the beets, pumpkins and winter squash are cooked to maximize flavor and digestibility. Once dried, the vegetables are ground into powders and transferred to Miron violet-glass jars as soon as possible. The unique properties of the Miron jars don't allow any visible light to pass through; only the invisible parts of light -- UV-A and infrared -- are allowed in. This is significant because the sensitive substances within are protected against the aging processes that are released by visible light, thus enhancing both their potency and durability. Stored in Miron jars, the vegetable powders will be nutritionally potent for months.
ARE THE POWDERS AS GOOD AS VEGETABLES YOU PICK AND PREPARE YOURSELF?
A little nutrition is lost, but not much. (Mostly, vitamin C is lost in cooking and dehydration, which can easily be replaced by other foods.) According to the USDA, most of the nutrients (like B vitamins) are at around 90 percent levels in dehydrated vegetables. The only exceptions are vitamin C, which is at 60 percent, folic acid at 65 percent and thiamine at 85 percent. Let the taste and smell of the powders be your guide. These powders are very fresh foods!
WHY NOT JUST TAKE A VITAMIN PILL OR NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT?
From Dr. Cowan: On the first day of medical school, I heard one of my professors make a statement that has informed my approach to medicine ever since: "Always remember, the dumbest kidney is smarter than the smartest nephrologist." In other words, we have a lot to learn about the human body, and its inherent wisdom is the ultimate teacher. I apply that same thinking to food: "The dumbest plant is smarter than the smartest chemist." In other words, the nutrients in, for example, kale, work together in a way too complex for us to isolate and put into a pill. If we want the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals from kale -- and other nutritious vegetables -- we should eat kale that has been grown without chemicals and picked when its color and flavor are at their peak. Some supplement companies do use whole foods in their supplements, and they can be excellent adjuncts when dealing with a health challenge, but even the most conscientious whole-food supplement manufacturers use such additives as maltodextrin, soy flour, calcium stearate and other stabilizers, which many people seek to avoid. I maintain that our bodies want to be nourished by whole foods, not synthetics, and that means a diet of good fats and proteins and a large variety of vegetables. To quote the Radiant Life catalog: "Synthetic or isolated forms of vitamins are poorly assimilated and stress cells, often unbalancing the body's enzyme substrates."
HOW LONG WILL THE POWDERS LAST FOR AN AVERAGE USER?
Each jar contains approximately 50 teaspoons of powder, and one teaspoon is the equivalent of an average portion of freshly cooked vegetables, such as kale or Swiss chard. Because we recommend using several powders at once to add as much vegetable diversity as possible to your meal, you could easily use just a half-teaspoon each of, say, three powders, which would make each jar last a couple of months at least.
ARE THE VEGETABLES ORGANIC?
From Dr. Cowan: Most of the vegetables we use are "beyond" organic: They're biodynamically grown or sourced from other certified organic farms. The Napa garden, where we grow ashitaba, perennial greens and summer savory, is small, and at this point there is no practical way for us to get certified, but the vegetables there are grown in hand-dug and hand-weeded beds. The vegetables are picked at optimal ripeness, usually very early in the morning, when they are most potent. We use non-GMO seeds and, often, heirloom seeds.
ARE THERE ANY ADDITIVES OR PRESERVATIVES IN THE POWDERS?
If the label says "kale powder," only dehydrated (at low heat) kale is inside. There is NOTHING else in the jar but vegetables. The only exception is our salts, in which we grind the vegetable powders with fine Celtic sea salt. Nothing else!!!
ARE THE VEGETABLES RAW BEFORE DEHYDRATION?
Some yes, some no. The principle that guides us is, "how would we most like to eat the vegetable, and when does it look and taste the best?" For example, tomatoes are often eaten raw, so we slice and dehydrate them without any cooking. In contrast, kale has various anti-nutrients that are best "cooked out." In addition, it tastes best lightly cooked, looks the most green then and is probably the most nutritious when briefly cooked, so this is how we prepare kale (and most greens) before dehydrating. Leeks are raw, pumpkins and squash are baked, carrots are blanched, etc. — just as most of you would prepare these vegetables at home.