Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, and Egg-free.
  • The Story With Gluten

    By Dr. Susan Blum

    Celiac disease is a very specific autoimmune illness that is defined by damage to the villi of the small intestines.  The trigger for this damaging immune reaction is gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, spelt, rye and kamut.  The conventional dogma is that if you don’t have this intestinal damage you don’t have a gluten problem.  Wrong!  It turns out that gluten can trigger other immune reactions and symptoms without any damage to the small intestine, thus you can test negative for celiac, but still be gluten intolerant.  And there is good evidence that gluten is associated with other autoimmune diseases as well, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves disease.

    In the United States, wheat has been genetically modified by our agricultural practices and tends to cause many health problems. Wheat contains a protein called gluten, and these genetic changes have increased the amount of gluten in the wheat we consume. Gluten is very hard for the body to breakdown, and doesn't always get digested completely. When partially digested gluten particles get into our blood stream, they can trigger an immune reaction causing vague symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, inflammation and achiness in muscles and joints. Some people also have obvious gut symptoms like gas and bloating.

    How do gluten particles get into your blood stream? Certain conditions can damage the lining of the intestinal tract. For example, antacids, antibiotics, severe prolonged stress, not enough good bacteria, too much bad bacteria or yeast (a condition called dysbiosis) are all conditions that cause increased permeability of the intestinal lining. The lining becomes "leaky" and the gluten protein sneaks into the body, causing an emergency reaction from the immune system.

    To make matters worse, the gluten protein "looks" like our tissues, so the immune system can get confused, attacking the body and causing an autoimmune disease.

    There are many gluten-free products on the market. Be careful to choose breads and crackers that are made from whole grains and that are rich in fiber like our Pharmer Bread.  Sometimes gluten-free products are made with processed rice flour or potato starch and this makes them high glycemic—increasing your blood sugar in a bad way—so it's best to avoid these.

  • Organic Pharmer is Packing in the Protein

    By Dr. Susan Blum

    Big news! Organic Pharmer is adding a few fish and chicken items to the menu. Although we believe strongly in plant-based diets, some of our customers have asked for dishes that contain more protein.  There are also some that can't tolerate legumes because of digestive issues.

    And your healthy wish is our command so, although we’ve always offered protein in the form legumes, this is an additional source that is actually lower in carbs than ingredients like azuki bean tempeh. These new recipes are also low in sugar and contain healthy fats, like the rest of our menu. Salmon, in particular, is loaded with omega-3 fats which offer an array of benefits including enhancing your heart health and reducing inflammation throughout the body. Most importantly, these fish and chicken dishes are still in line with our functional medicine point of view meaning that they are 100% organic and free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn and egg, foods that tend to trigger sensitivities in most people.

    whitebeandipveg White Bean Dip Snack Pack

    Organic Pharmer started as a vegan grab-and-go eatery partly because we wanted to educate customers about vegetarian protein like beans and how to include them in their diets. We also didn’t have a kitchen to cook chicken and fish, but now our second store in Scarsdale does! Of course, we’ve always been particular about the source of our ingredients, and we’re just as meticulous with these new forms of protein. The chicken comes from Wise, an organic, free range and kosher company. The fish comes from a farm in New Zealand and is of the highest quality in terms of how it was raised and sustainability and attention to the environment and testing shows it’s very low in mercury. Although the salmon isn’t certified organic, everything from New Zealand is technically organic since they aren’t allowed to use pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in their animals.

    bruschetta White Bean Bruschetta with Zucchini Caponata

    The bottom line is that now you have more choices than ever. You can stick with our vegan dishes or mix it up with some fish and chicken. Either way you’re reaping the benefits of functional medicine and a diet that works hard to keep you in great shape, inside and out.

  • Get Healthy Skin from the Inside Out

    By Dr. Susan Blum

    Spring has sprung – almost – so it’s time to peel off the winter layers and give your skin a little TLC. Of course that means using different topical products but it also means treating your skin from the inside, too. At 22-square feet, it’s your largest organ and an active, living part of your body. Because it is constantly exposed to the environment, your skin can get damaged from the sun, pollution, cold and hot temperatures and wind, among other things. To help it recover and stay healthy, you need to eat lots of healthy fats and antioxidants because these nutrients feed your skin cells through the blood stream. Foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil and flaxseed oil can hydrate dry skin while antioxidants protect it from free radical damage and aging.

    Your skin is also very susceptible to inflammation, which can cause acne, redness, blotchiness and premature aging. The number one source of inflammation is your diet. For example, sugar and bad fats like dairy can increase skin’s inflammation while healthy fats like avocados and salmon and fruits and veggies in all colors of the rainbow can reduce it. Another source of inflammation is your gut so it’s important that your digestion is working well and your good bacteria are healthy, too.

    Organic Pharmer’s beauty cleanse is rich in all the nutrients you need for a gorgeous complexion and healthy skin from head to toe. It contains more antioxidants than any of our cleanses along with healthy fats, a variety of colorful fruits and veggies and protein. The beauty cleanse includes:

    • Alpha Green, which contains kale, romaine, parsley, dandelion, fennel, burdock, celery, cucumber, lemon, mint and nettles infusion.
    • Defense + has blueberry, tart cherry and orange.
    • Immunition contains carrot, tart cherry, blueberry, ginger, cinnamon clove and infusion of elderberry and elderflower.
    • Omega Red has strawberries, red apple, fennel, red beet, pomegranate, flaxseed oil, stevia leaf extract, infusion of aronia berry, rose hips, orange peel and pink peppercorn.
    • Marathon contains almond milk, hemp, kale, avocado, banana, Epic Protein Green Kingdom, green apple, lime, ginger, wildflower honey, infusion of schizandra berry, goji berry, orange and ginger.
    • Almond Chill which contains almond milk, date vanilla bean, Himalayan pink salt, stevia leaf extract, infusion of lavender, lemon balm and chamomile.
    • Immunity shot contains lemon, ginger, raw honey, echinacea extract and infusions of elderberry and elderflower.
    • Energy shot is packed with wild-harvested blue-green algae and cold-pressed red apple juice.
  • And Best Dressed Goes To...

    Last night’s Oscars broadcast may have brought out the best dressed in Hollywood, but when it comes to ‘best dressed” we think our organic house-made salad dressings should have a red carpet of their own.

    WHAT NOT TO WEAR

    Bottled salad dressings are one of the worst offenders when it comes to hidden processed ingredients. They are filled with added sugars, synthetic thickeners and extra saturated fat and calories. Have you ever looked at the back of the label and seen words like titanium dioxide, monosodium glutamate, sodium benzonate, or modified food starch? These are just a few of the chemical offenders that are potentially harmful to your health, and when poured over your favorite salads and vegetables, they can potentially make your once wholesome meal the nutritional equivalent of a burger and fries!

    THE IT LIST

    What makes Organic Pharmer the gold statue of salad dressings?  We are incredibly proud that every element of our dressings - down to the spices - is certified organic.  This ensures that the no pesticides, toxins and other harmful chemicals are coating your crisp, sweet, veggies.

    What makes a healthy and delicious salad dressing?  Chef Lee Gross shares his 4 must-have ingredients:

    organicdressing_applecidervinaigrette Apple Cider Vinaigrette

    Highest quality healthy fats and oils, such as the ones we use in our OP dressings:

    - organic, unrefined, extra-virgin olive oil

    - raw, organic coconut oil

    - organic flaxseed oil

    - organic, expeller-pressed sunflower oil

    - organic toasted sesame oil

    Bright, flavorful vinegars and citrus juices, such as:

    - organic, unrefined brown rice vinegar

    - raw, organic apple cider vinegar

    - organic, kosher wine vinegar

    - organic, cold-pressed lemon and lime juices

    Aromatic herbs and aliums, such as:

    - organic thyme, tarragon, chives, garlic, shallot, ginger, etc.

    Good quality, mineral-rich salts, such as

    -unrefined sea salt, and pink Himalayan salt

     Click here to view our salad dressing selections, available in 8oz bottles with whole ingredients you can read and trust!

  • Go (Omega) Red for Heart Health

    By Susan Blum, MD, MPH

    When it comes to nutrients that are important for heart health, antioxidants top the list.  In general, they provide all your tissues and cells with the ultimate protection from something called free radicals.

    I think of free radicals as sparks that are released inside your body as part of your everyday biochemistry, and antioxidants from food are needed to prevent these sparks from causing damage inside the cells.

    Mitochondria, the little furnace that provides energy inside each cell, is especially sensitive to the free radical damage and heart muscle cells (along with brain cells) have the most mitochondria.  This makes their health especially important for your heart.  Without strong heart muscle action, it can’t work properly to pump blood around your body and up to your brain.

    The best way to get these heart healthy nutrients is by eating a colorful rainbow of fruits and vegetables since each color represents a different type of antioxidant and we need a variety. If you don’t have high cholesterol or any heart issues, you can get your fill of antioxidants from your diet alone.

    However, if you are on a statin or have any heart issues, talk to your doctor about CoQ10 and resveratrol supplements, the most important antioxidant supplements for the heart.

    When it comes to food, it’s best not to look for one particular nutrient, but to eat or drink a wide range of different antioxidants because they complement each other. One powerful way to get antioxidants is by drinking cold pressed juices that concentrate many different phytonutrients into a potent drink.  

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