Tag Archives: kosher


indexWhen I first heard of Camelina oil, also known as “false flax” because of its visual similarity to regular flax, I was intrigued.  The seed oil of Camelina contains an exceptional amount (up to 45 per cent) of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a unique antioxidant complex making the oil very stable and resistant to heat and rancidity. Unlike flax oil or any other omega-3 oil, Camelina oil can be used not only as a well-balanced omega-3 supplement, but also as a health-promoting everyday cooking oil since heat does not destroy it’s chemical makeup and health benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids, essential to our health, have been almost entirely forced out of the everyday North American diet by the commercialization of our food supply. In recent years, extensive research and numerous clinical studies have confirmed that omega-3 fats are involved in vital physiological processes in our bodies, and that not consuming enough may cause or aggravate many serious medical problems and conditions, including atherosclerosis, hypertension, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, dermatitis, asthma, ADHD, and even cancer. Therefore, adding a good source of omega-3 fatty acids to your diet is believed to be a good way of improving or preventing these conditions. The question of what constitutes the best source of omega-3 supplementation is, however, still being debated.  While I have always recommended fish oil and/or flax oil as dietary supplements for omega-3 fats, some people do not like taking fish oil because of the taste or the concern of the purity of the product; The problems with flax oil are that it cannot be used for cooking, it becomes rancid after a few weeks and it doesn’t taste all that good.

Camelina oil seems to be the answer to all these issues, so why not give it a try and see if you like it?  Some people describe the taste as “nutty” and others as “earthy” but when I opened my first bottle, I have to admit I was disappointed because it just smelled…..strange.  But I figured I’d give it a shot anyway so the first thing I made with it was a chicken and vegetable stir-fry.  I’m so glad I didn’t base my opinion on that first smell, because the stir-fry not only smelled delicious, it tasted great as well.

With further experimentation, I learned that Camelina oil is excellent in any type of vegetable stir fry, grilled veggies, salad, chicken or meat but I would personally avoid it for some fish and any sweet dishes or baked goods.

How does Camelina oil stack up to other oils I recommend for cooking and/or every day use, namely cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil? Camelina oil has the most balanced fatty acid ratio between Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9 and Saturated Fats.  With this favourable balance, the health benefits include lowered cholesterol, lowered blood pressure and anti-inflammatory properties.

The brand I use is by three farmers, a Canadian company based in Saskatchewan.  Their oils are GMO-free, Certified OU Kosher, and available in regular or flavored varieties.  To learn more about three farmers as well as more details about Camelina oil in general,  CLICK HERE.

Would love to hear your comments and feedback if you have tried this versatile oil!


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weight, Rebecca Lazar - THE MANY WONDERS OF DAVID'S TEAI want to talk about my latest passion – tea! Being a coffee lover, I never thought I’d get taken in by this particular obsession, yet here I am at 9 pm, drinking a matcha green tea latte (with organic skim milk, of course). I realize that may or may not sound like gibberish to you, but in any case, trust me it’s gooood.

So let me tell you how my obsession began.  I thought I knew all I ever wanted to know about tea, and having tried many different boxed varieties, I wasn’t a huge fan.  I drank green tea for it’s antioxidant benefits, of course, but I didn’t really care for any of the other teas I tried.  If I needed a medicinal herb, I occasionally drank it in tea form, but that’s about it.

Then one day my husband brought home a cute silver tin with a label that read “Forever Nuts” and handed it to me saying “This tea is awesome.”  I looked at it and replied “Perfect.  You’ve found a tea that embodies who you are!”  rolling on the floor Yeah, I know, I’m a riot.   One eyeroll (his) and a cup of tea (mine) later and I was sold.  I simply had to know where this tin of yummyness (tin of yummyness? who am I?)  came from and how I could get some more.

The first time I walked into David’s Tea at the Promenade mall and saw the rows of giant silver tins with colored labels depicting the tea flavor inside, 2 thoughts popped into my head: (1) I was going to buy a LOT of cute little silver tins of tea and (2)  At some point, the owner of Starbucks is going to get a little bit annoyed with the popularity of this place!

I credit David’s Tea with not only giving me a great education on all the different varieties and health benefits of tea out there with their awesome, informative brochure and website but also for introducing me to flavors that rival the best desserts (who needs the extra calories?)  Rich and satisfying, there’s a calorie-free, chemical-free flavor to suit your every mood and many don’t even need sweeteners. And fyi, they don’t use sulphites in their drying process which makes a Nutritionist very happy.

So what’s the downside? Well, for me, since I am a kosher-certified-food-and-drink-only gal, I’m saddened to report that not all the teas are kosher certified, but there is a pretty good number of them that are and I am told that more will be in the coming months…..also, a couple of the teas have colored candy bits in them, what’s up with that? thumbs down  But overall, a small amount of negativity in what is otherwise my new favorite place to visit.

For those who want to know, these are my current favorites (in no particular order):

  • Secret weapon, an immune-boosting white tea with an almond flavor
  • Creme brulee, a roobios (S. African decaf tea) whose name says it all
  • Spicy chocolate, another roobios tea that has little bits of dark chocolate in it
  • Exotica, an amazing pineapple/coconut herbal tea that is unbeleivable with manuka honey,
  • Organic detox, an herbal detoxifiying tea
  • …..and the aforementioned Matcha tea, which is pure green tea in a powdered form.

If you haven’t tried David’s Tea yet, you simply have to! And if you have, which ones are your favorites?

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If you aren’t Jewish, you don’t have to bother reading this. In this topic of kosher supplements, consider yourself lucky that you can consume whatever you want. Cow adrenal glands? Sure, why not. Shark cartilage? Excellent. Basically you can move on the next (or previous) post. wave

If you are an orthodox Jew like I am, however, the source of the supplements you take is one of the most questioned and mis-understood topic that I deal with. This topic is especially important in cities such as here in Toronto, where it is difficult to find a large variety of quality kosher-certified supplements. Hopefully, this will address some of those issues and help you understand a bit better. Let me start off by saying, I’m not a Rabbi (obviously), so I do not have the authority to make decisions on whether or not the supplement you are taking is “ok”. That being said, when I first started in the field of Holistic Nutrition, I spoke with a very nice, patient and prominent Rabbi and posek in NYC, Rabbi Leibel Katz, who took the time to explain to me the following guidelines.

(1) The weight, Rebecca Lazar - ORTHODOX JUDIASM & KOSHER-CERTIFIED SUPPLEMENTSmajority of supplements are considered medicine (even vitamins, minerals and the like) and are therefore treated as such with regards to kosher laws. Therefore, any supplement in capsule, caplet or liquid form that is labelled as 100% vegetarian or vegan (such as the product shown left) is fine for anyone to take and it does not need a hechsher. A supplement that contains Vitamin D3, however, cannot be labelled as vegetarian since it is made from sheeps wool, however, it is fine to take.

(2) A supplement that is vegetarian but encapsulated in a non-kosher capsule (usually gelatin) may or may not be a problem. Most poskim agree that a hard gelatin capsule is not a problem, but a softgel cap can be a problem. This is due to the way it is processed.

(3) Fish oil sourced from kosher fish (such as sardines, salmon, etc.) is usually not a problem, but care must be taken to ensure that all the ingredients are not from traif sources. This can sometimes be difficult so unless you know a particular company’s ingredients and practices, it is best to consult a rabbi.

(4) A supplement that is completely non-kosher and has traif ingredients should not be taken in liquid, chewable or caplet form, but MAY be allowed in capsule form if (a) there’s no vegetarian or kosher equivalent and (b) the person is ill and requires the supplement to feel better. (In some cases it can be taken to prevent illness as well if this is determined to be necessary by a health care practitioner). In all these instances, a Rabbi must be consulted.

(5) If the purpose of the supplement you are taking is to get stronger or enhance sports performance (ie. creatine, whey protein) then it is NOT considered medicine and must be kosher-certified.

Obviously, if you can get kosher certified supplements that’s the best way to go. But remember, not all supplements are created equal…..the kosher brand I would recommend? Definitely Maxi Health or NutriSupreme above the other products out there. Of course, whatever supplement(s) you take, may it lead you to the best of health!

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