Sprouting Made Easy – Jar Free

Sprouting at home is an easy and great way to get your greens for just pennies a day.    Sprouting is fairly inexpensive and provides large yields of nutritious food while only using a small footprint to grow them in.   We remember our first little sprout farm made of mason jars and mesh lids.   These worked great as long as we could keep them from going moldy.   Many people still use mason jars for growing sprouts without exploring different options.  Options that can help with mold issues by allowing better airflow.    We have been using Hemp Sprout Bags for years and have had nothing but great results.


Sproutman’s Hemp Sprout Bags are amazing.   You can sprout any seeds that you would typically sprout in a jar but the results are way better with no mold.   Hemp is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal by nature and the material allows air to flow around the seeds to help prevent mold.   Steve Meyerowitz, aka The Sproutman, says “People often assume sprouts are best grown in jars. NOT! After guiding tens of thousands of sprouters over the years and all over the world, I can tell you that jars are the number #1 cause of most people’s sprouting and mold problems. Let’s face it, jars were never intended to be a gardening tool. And although some “green thumb” types can have success, it is limited only to a few basic varieties. You need a garden of greens not a headache. And that’s easy as long as you use the right tools.”  Hence Sproutman’s® Sprout Bag.

So how does it work.   Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Soak your seeds in pure water overnight.
  2. Pour soaked seeds into sterilized bag.
  3. Rinse twice per day by immersing in pure water.

Depending on the seeds you should get a great yield in 2-7 days.  Check out some of the pictures below.

Mung-Bag-Web Sproutbag3



The greatest part is that they are washable, reusable and inexpensive.  We’ve had ours for over 5 years and they still work like new.   They come with instructions inside the bag and they are simple to use.   Grab one from www.upayanaturals.com and let us know what you think.



Recipe Week: Chocolate Mousse à la Raw

Looking for a quick dessert for those after dinner sweet cravings?  Well here’s a recipe that any novice in the kitchen can whip together in minutes with a blender and a few ingredients.   Makes 6-8 servings.

avacodo mouseIngredients:

Pour all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.   Place in bowls and refrigerate until ready to serve.   Garnish with your favourite fruit before serving.


Excalibur Food Dehydrators: Tips On Buying

Excalibur has been manufacturing food dehydrators for over 40 years.   They started off with only a handful of models but have now expanded to over 20 models. Including models with clear front doors, stainless steel models, full commercial models and models with funky colours and designs.   Even after 40 years the internal mechanics and electronics of the machine remain pretty much the same, thus making them a work horse when it comes to dehydrating foods and for reliability.  Their warranties have also increased throughout the years from 1 year to 5 years and now even 10 year warranties.   When it comes to food dehydration Excalibur is the name that everyone looks for and trusts.   That being said, there are now so many choices in sizes, options and colours that it is sometimes very confusing for someone who is not familiar with Excalibur and is looking to make a purchase.  Not to worry though.  We will simplify the process for you.

ED-3900W-1Excalibur has the economy (2000 series) models which start with the digit 2.  For example the 2400, 2500 and 2900.   The economy models come with 5 year manufacturer warranties.   The next model up is the 3000 series which start with the digit 3 (3500, 3900, 3926T) and have a 10 year manufacturer warranty.  The next model up is the 10 tray model and they only have one 10 tray model with a 10 year warranty the EXC10EL.10 tray

The following digit to the right signifies the size of the dehydrator.  For example the 2400 (4 tray), 2500 (5 tray), 3900 (9 tray).   In other words there are 4 sizes available according to the number of dehydrating trays: 4 tray, 5 tray, 9 tray and the new 10 tray model.   The 4 tray model is the smallest and each tray has 11″ x 11″ of drying space.  The 5 tray to 10 tray models have 14″ x 14″ of drying space per tray.

ED-2500-1The next 2-3 digits signify whether or not there is a timer in the dehydrator.  For example the 3926T has a 26 hour timer and the 3900 is without the timer.  The 2400 does not have a timer option.   The timers on the 5 – 9 tray models are analog.    Meaning there is a dial you have to turn to set it and once it hits zero the dehydrator turns off.   The 10 tray model has a digital display and the timer can be programmed up to 99 hours.    The same goes with the temperature settings.   The 4 – 9 tray models have a temperature knob which you can set your desired temperature to, while the 10 tray has digital temperature control on the front display.

The next digit on the 2000 and 3000 series indicates the colour of the unit.  For example 3900W indicates it’s white and 3900B indicates it is a black model.   Now here’s where things get a bit confusing.  They also have stainless steel models in the 3000 series however they have changed the names and are calling them the D series.   For example D500 is the stainless steel 5 tray model with 10 year warranty and the D900 is the 9 tray stainless steel model.  Both come standard with timers.   The letters on the end indicate whether they come with clear doors CD, HD for stainless steel trays, S for Stainless steel.  For example the D900CDSHD is the stainless steel 9 tray model with clear door and stainless steel racks.

clear doorNow that you have a bit of info on all these numbers and letters, which one should you buy.   The answer is not that simple.   We always tell our customers to purchase the 9 tray as long as they have the budget and the room.   We make sure they actually take out a measuring tape and measure out the size so that they are not surprised when they receive it.   The reason the 9 tray model is recommended, is that when you are dehydrating most recipes typically are measured out for the 9 tray size.   If you purchase a smaller size, then you will have to cut the recipe in half or split it up into 2 batches.   Another reason for recommending the larger size is that there is a gap that is less than half an inch between the trays which means you may have to remove a tray if you are dehydrating thicker items.   So your 9 tray will turn into a 4 or 5 tray and your 5 tray will be a 3 tray unit when dehydrating thicker items.   Lastly, the dehydrator does draw some electricity so to save on energy costs we recommend filling up the dehydrator and running it full opposed to doing 2 smaller batches in a smaller unit or running it half empty.     We typically recommend the 3000 series with the 10 year warranty since the difference in price is not much compared to the 2000 series.

In regards to the timer models, we don’t find that the timer is necessary.   Food dehydration is a slow process unlike cooking food.   If the food stays in the dehydrator for an extra hour or so it will not burn it.   It may be a bit drier, but the drier the food, the longer it will stay preserved.   We typically tell customers to put the food in and check it every few hours.   If it is not dehydrated enough by the time you leave the house, then simply turn down the temperature all the way until you get back.   This will keep the fan running with minimal hydro draw and your food will still be dehydrating but won’t go bad.   Imagine what could happen if you set your timer and it turns the unit off and you come home and forget that the food was in the dehydrator.   If it is not dry enough and you forget about it for hours, then there may be a chance of mold growing on your food.   So we find it better to keep the unit running rather than setting a timer to turn the unit off.   Plus, you will find that most recipes won’t give you the exact time to keep the food in the dehydrator.   There are many factors that can determine the dehydration time including: how wet your recipe is, how thick your food is on the sheets, the humidity in the air, the temperature setting.   All these factor could mean that you may have to leave the dehydrator running for double the time that is indicated in the recipe.  A timer may be helpful for some people but we do not think it is necessary.  Plus if you ever need a timer you can always purchase a plug-in timer afterwards that is less than the cost of the built-in timer.

Finally there is the question of the non-stick sheets.  There are many models to choose from.  We sell the generic brand, the Genuine Excalibur Brand both made from Teflon.  Then there is the silicon type and the disposable type sheets.   We typically recommend at least a few sheets to start with.   They are great for dehydrating wet items or making fruit roll-ups or for easy clean up   Start the food on the sheet them remove the solid sheets after a couple hours so that there is air flow on both sides of the standard mesh sheets that come withe the units.  We prefer the Teflon coated solid sheets since they are easier to clean.  We have some customers worried about the Teflon coating, but since you are not subjecting them to high heat there is no chance of the Teflon breaking down.   Dehydration is a low temperature process unlike cooking or frying.   We find the silicon sheets are harder to clean and attract dirt and particles easier than the Teflon coated sheets.


Hopefully, we helped clarify some of your questions about the various models available and helped you narrow down your choices.  If you have any questions, please feel free to post them below, email us at support@upayanaturals.com or give us a call toll free 1-855-729-8341.

Product Spotlight: Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Many of you have probably not heard of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) or know what it actually is.   DE is made of diatoms (single celled plants that collect minerals from the water and form a shell around themselves as they fossilize).   Upaya Naturals only carries Fossil Shell Flour that is Pure Freshwater Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth. It is of the highest quality available, being greater than 99.5% amorphous silica and less than 1/2% crystalline silica. Fossil Shell Flour Diatomaceous Earth is used for internal and external use. The popularity of Diatomaceous Earth is the result of word-of-mouth testimonials from consumers who are very enthusiastic about the results they have experienced.


According to the manufacturer, “Food Grade Fossil Shell Flour diatomaceous earth has been reported in scientific literature to absorb methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses (including poliovirus), organophosphate pesticide residues, drug residues, and protein, perhaps even the proteinaceous toxins produced by some intestinal infections. Pyrethroid insecticide residues probably also bind to diatomaceous earth, since pyrethrins from Chrysanthemum flowers bind to and are stabilized by this material.” The only brand of pure DE currently recommended is from Perma Guard (sold at Upaya Naturals). Perma Guard’s Fossil Shell Flour has been approved by the FDA (as a 2% by dry weight food additive, as an anti-caking agent, or as a grain storage additive).



Perma Guard™ Fossil Shell Flour is amorphous (non-crystalline) and is Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS), but as an extra safety precaution avoid inhaling it –  it should be taken orally instead.

There are many uses for Diatomaceous Earth and we personally use it for insect control in our outdoor and indoor gardens and we use it internally for getting rid of parasites and toxins.   We also have customers that use it for their dogs and horses to help get rid of fleas and parasites.


For insect control we simply sprinkle some on top of the soil beds.   Insects typically avoid it and never come back.   We find that if if you have an ant problem just sprinkle some where the ants are coming from or form a line with the DE and the ants won’t cross it.  After a few hours the ants will have retreated and gone elsewhere.  You can also use it for dust mites by sprinkling it (works better with a fine powder mister) over carpets, couches, beds etc.   Leave on for as long as possible then vacuum.  The same applies for getting rid of bed bugs and fleas.  We have had customers sprinkle DE on their pet’s fur (make sure not to get it in their eyes) to help get rid of fleas.

Taken internally (make sure it is food grade) it helps with getting rid of parasites, toxins and cleanses the gut.  Since DE is made of silica and other minerals such as calcium it may also mineralize the body.   This is great for animals since it allows them to cleanse internally while helping with parasites and providing minerals at the same time.      It is common to find DE being used in animal feed to keep animals from getting E. Coli and other bacterial infections.

The best part of DE is that it is not a chemical and it is fairly inexpensive so you can experiment with it and see what other uses it may have without being afraid of contamination of your garden veggies, house or furry friends.

We would like to hear from you.  Please let us know how you use this wonderful product.


Customer Review: Anonymous Person from Orillia, ON Canada  –  My dog had fleas and someone recommended that I try this on her to get rid of them. I did it and it was so easy! You just sprinkle a thin layer of food grade diatomaceous earth throughout the fur. Dust the powder in to their coat and on to their skin underneath. As well, sprinkle the diatomaceous earth along their backbone and work the powder in with your fingers. It isn’t effective when its wet but you can apply it wet and leave it to dry. When it drys it returns to its original form and will then be effective. Make sure to keep out of your pets eyes just like you would with kids and shampoo.