Archive for October, 2009

What it Really Means to Be Amish

Friday, October 30th, 2009

by: Joy Schrock – President-Berlin Natural Bakery


In a world of technological advances, fast paced hectic lives, economic uncertainty and heated political issues…live a group of people that are not affected and in many cases are not even aware of the chaos that surrounds them.

These people live in a community that puts forth great effort not to “conform to the world”.  Throughout most of our lives, the thought of living this way is inconceivable to us.  However today, many of us find ourselves reevaluating our lives and embracing some of the fundamental values and life styles of the Amish.

The Amish live plain and simple lives.  They do not worry about things like the stock market, nationalized health care, welfare, medicare, social security or retirement.  They basically operate their own government, church and community…and it works, actually it works quite well.  Perhaps there are a few lessons all of us can learn from the Amish.  Let’s take a look at who they are.

What Makes a Person Amish?

Many people view Amish as a religion and as a race…but technically, it is a religion.  A religion filled with so many traditions that it separates them from the rest of society making them appear to be an actual race.

There are different sects of  Amish from Old Order Amish to New Order Amish. The biggest differences in these sects are liberties.

For example: a New Order Amish home may have a refrigerator that runs on a generator or solar power, while an Old Order Amish home may not even have indoor plumbing.

The core of the Amish religion is Christianity.  It is in the interpretation of scriptures or I should say lack of interpretation that separates them.  They view scriptures literally at their word.

For example: the scripture Romans 12:2…”Be not conformed to this world”…to them that means a total separation from government, people of non Amish belief and also means to not be dependent upon things created by the rest of the world for their survival.

This includes electricity, cars, telephones and modern conveniences.

To other Christians, that scripture means not to get caught up in things like money, possessions or basically things that create corruption in people.

Amish Living

How Do The Amish Live?

The Amish believe Jesus is the Son of God and celebrate religious holidays such as Easter, Ascension Day and what they call Olde Christmas in January.

The Amish are primarily of German and Swiss descent.  They speak what is referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch which is the Schwebish dialect of German.

They are a very peaceful people, they do not believe in war, abortion or divorce.  They are “viewed” as living perfect lives without sin.  They are not perfect and would never claim to be perfect.  They struggle with desires and temptations just as we all do. It is the way that those sins are dealt with that makes them different.

When someone goes astray, the entire community grieves and works together to bring about correction.  Unresolved problems or bad behavior will eventually lead to a visit from the Bishop and the Elders of the church.

The Amish do not have health insurance.  Instead each family pays money into the church very similar to tithing.  A portion of this money is set aside for what they refer to as “Amish Aid”.  A fund that is dedicated to health care costs incurred due to an illness of a member of the church.

The Amish believe strongly in alternative treatment and natural remedies.  You would be amazed at how many ailments “vinegar” seems to cure.

What Do The Amish Do For Work?

The Amish are known to be exceptionally hard workers and for their superior woodworking skills.  Their hearts however are still that of “farmers”.

Unfortunately, today many of them are forced to take jobs outside of farming for survival.

If a small farmer struggles to survive today, can you imagine the struggles that the Amish farmer faces?  They are forbidden to use any modern conveniences and this includes the use of tractors.  Today many of them make their living  as craftsmen in the furniture “woodworking” industry.

The Amish live primarily on farms or build houses on the land that has been in their family for generations.  Upon retirement parents move into a smaller house called “the dawdy haus” which translates to grandfather’s house.   This house is located on the same property as the family home.  A family member then takes over possession of the family home, provides care for their parents and takes over the responsibilities of the farm.

There are times that there are 3 or 4 generations of a family living in separate houses on the same property.  The only time that the Amish are placed in a nursing home is when they have an illness that the family is not qualified to care for.

The Amish are diversified farmers and good stewards of their land.  They grow crops and plant gardens.   They have horses,  milk cows, chickens, pigs, goats and beef cattle.  Every member of the family contributes in some way to the daily chores associated with farming.  Today they mostly farm for the needs of their own families.

amish day to day

How Do The Amish Live Day-To-Day?

The Amish are generational thinkers.  When they make decisions, they take future generations into consideration.  They are more than willing to pay the price and make sacrifices today for the benefit of their children and their children’s children.

The Amish are very strongly committed to their families as well as their community.  When a tragedy occurs, such as a death, illness, fire or an act of God, the entire Amish community is there to lend a helping hand to the family in need.  The community will provide meals, round the clock care, help with farming, money and basically anything a family may need in a time of crisis.

So What Does it Really Mean to be Amish?

Well, it appears that it means living a life of service to your family, your farm, your community and to your church.  In return for this life of service you are rewarded peace of mind throughout your life.

That is definitely something we all could use a bit more of these days.

10 Amazingly Powerful Natural Home Remedies

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Home Remedies

You learn a lot of things growing up in Amish country.  One of the things that I value the most is the use of natural and home remedies.  We didn’t just run to the doctor’s office when we were sick.  Normally, there was a home remedy for just about anything that ailed you.  More than likely this is due to the fact that the Amish have no electricity, cars or telephones.

They had to learn how to treat various illnesses based upon what was readily available to them.  Even today, when we are sick, our local health food store is normally our first stop.   We had home remedies for nearly everything.  Stains on clothes, how to get your hair to shine, rings on wood tables, you name it, we had a solution.  Some were better than others.  Here are a few to get started.  I will be adding more posts like this this on a weekly basis.

1)  Plugged Sinks:

Pour in one cup or more of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda, then add hot water out of the tap at full force.  When bubbling stops drain should be clear.

2)  Getting Shiny Hair:

After shampooing, pour vinegar over hair, let saturate for a minute or two and rinse thoroughly with very cool water.

3)  Preventing Steam Build up in Bath:

Fill tub approximately 1 inch with cold water prior to adding hot water.

4)  Oder Eliminator For Burnt Food:

Take a small sauce pan, fill several inches with cold water and add 1-2 Tablespoons of vanilla and simmer slowly.

5)  To Freshen the Smell of Towels:

Add 1/2 cup vinegar and 3 Tablespoons of baking soda to your regular laundry detergent.   This is used by a local B&B…they are amazed at the results.

6) Earaches:

Warm “Sweet Oil” and pour directly into the ear.  Provides instant relief from the pain.  Excellent remedy for pain at 2am in the morning.  Allows you to sleep till you can get to the doctor in the morning.  Sweet Oil “Olive Oil N.F.” can be purchased at most drug stores and health food stores.

7)  Sore/Scratchy Throat:

Use approx. 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, add a shake of cayenne pepper and drink.  Another commonly used remedy is Slippery Elm Herbal Tea.

8)  Slugs in Flowers and Plants:

Purchase any beer, the less expensive the better since slugs are not fussy about their beer.  Pour beer in several saucers around plants and flowers.  The slugs are attracted to the beer, crawl into the saucer and drink the beer.  Apparently they die a happy death.

9)   Grime and Grease on Glass:

Use a damp cloth and baking soda and rub over glass.  Repeat as necessary until clean.

10)  Water Ring Removal:

Use a damp cloth add a dab of toothpaste (not gel…use paste only) gentle rub on the ring.  For even more power add baking soda to it and rub into the ring.  We used this on our wood tables at our restaurant and it worked great.

Delicious Spelt Pancake Recipe

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

By: Cindy, General Manager of Berlin Natural Bakery

Spelt Pancakes

I love to bake.  It almost seems like it was inevitable.  Both of my grandmother’s were excellent bakers. My mom even has many blue ribbons from our local county fair that she won for her tasty baked goods.  Everything they baked was made from scratch, using sweet creamery butter, farm fresh eggs and ingredients that often came from their own farms or gardens.

I can still smell the wonderful aroma of apple dumplings or cinnamon rolls or chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven when I would burst through the door after coming home from school.  It’s a wonder I didn’t weigh 500 pounds.  As children…we spent our days outdoors, exploring the woods, playing with the neighborhood kids, always on the go and just having a grand time.

Though we didn’t need to be concerned about watching our weight in those days I can no longer just stuff as many cookies or homemade donuts (yummy), or mouth watering pie in my mouth as I once could when I was young (and I wish I still could).

My name is Cindy and for 17 years now I have worked for Berlin Natural Bakery.  Berlin Natural Bakery is the largest all spelt bakery in the United States.  Everything we bake is made using pure spelt flour (no regular wheat will be found in our bakery) and we use only the highest quality, all natural ingredients.

The recipes you find here will be based on using spelt flour or products from Berlin Natural Bakery.  Our desire is to help all who have contacted us with questions about baking with spelt.

If you don’t currently have spelt flour, don’t despair…these recipes are easily adaptable.  For those of you unfamiliar with Berlin Natural Bakery or spelt flour, check out the website

It is my hope that this blog, and many more to be published, will convey to you that baking does not need to be difficult (even when using spelt flour) and that it can bring a whole lot of pleasure…both in the baking itself and in the joy of eating and sharing what you’ve created!

Or, if you’re  like me and already love to bake, I hope to share some new and tasty recipes you’ll enjoy baking.  As I share my love of baking with you, I hope you will share your life with me as well.  You may come as a stranger, but I want you to leave as a friend.  Feel free to ask any questions, or share your suggestions and recipes.  It is a real privilege to get to know you.

Now then…it’s time to get started.  It seems only appropriate since this is my first blog that for our first recipe, we start with the first meal of the day as well…breakfast.  I’m one of those people who love breakfast.  This recipe comes from a friend, Christy from Zoar, Ohio which she developed using spelt flour, freshly stone ground at Berlin Natural Bakery.  For the best pancakes or waffles, this recipe is hard to beat.



2 cups whole spelt flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 cup milk (substitute whole milk with rice milk or soy milk)

1 tablespoon vanilla


*In a medium size mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon.  In smaller bowl, beat eggs, add oil, milk and vanilla.  Add contents of smaller bowl into dry ingredients.  Stir gently till ingredients are blended together.  Do not use mixer and do not over mix.

*Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top of pancakes.  Cook until the second side is golden brown or according to your personal preference.  Serve with butter and real maple syrup.

(For Waffles: Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown).

Well friends, that’s it for this time.  The next time we gather together, I am going to share another great breakfast recipe…French Toast.  You may be thinking, “that doesn’t sound very exciting”, but this is not just any French toast.

My daughter Alison made this scrumptious French toast for my husband and me early one morning before she had to take us to the airport.  It was oh so good and made the start of our day all that much better.  Since I hate finding a great recipe, only to have to make a trip to the store for ingredients before I can actually make it, I thought I would share the ingredients you’ll need now so you’ll be ready to go when I post the next blog.

Most of the recipes are things you probably have in your kitchen already (vanilla, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt), but two of the ingredients you may not have.  My daughter used a loaf of French bread that she sliced into thick pieces, but when I made it, I used White Spelt Burger Buns from Berlin Natural Bakery.

May sound crazy, but they worked perfectly.  The Berlin Natural Bakery Raisin Spelt Bread would work equally well for this recipe.  You will also need a can of sweetened condensed milk.  This gives a caramelized outer covering that is…well; I’ll just say this…you’re going to love it!

Until next time…Happy Baking!

You can find premier spelt products made from 100% genuine german spelt in our online store by clicking the icon below!

11 Healthy Snacks For Parents And Kids On The Run

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

by:  Kathleen Finn

Summer Snacks

High energy eats for kids on the run.  Great snacks to keep on hand to satisfy ravenous appetites and picky palates.

Dip and Sip

Chilled dips and blended drinks are a pleasing change of pace from the lunchbox doldrums.

*Pineapple-Yogurt dip:  Mix together 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice concentrate, 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple.  Serve with sliced fruits or berries.

*Peanut butter – orange dip:  Mix 1/2 cup peanut butter with 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/3 cup orange juice.  Run through food processor and accompany with crackers or sliced fruit.

*Smoothies:  Combine 1 cup of apple or orange juice with blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, add ice, a touch of yogurt or silken tofu and blend.  For a creamier drink, replace juice with milk – regular, soy or rice.

Stay Cool

Entice kids to help you assemble these chilly treats.

*Popsicles:  Blend ice cream or frozen yogurt with milk, soy milk or rice milk and pour into popsicle molds.  Use molds to make fresh fruit juice popsicles as well.

*Fresh Fruit Salad:  Cut up apples, pineapple, bananas, oranges and berries.  Throw in dried cranberries or raisins, add sunflower seeds or silvered almonds.  Top with a dollop of yogurt.

*Berry Parfaits:  Loyer fresh raspberries, cherries, or blueberries with granola and yogurt or freshly whipped cream.

On the Run

Traveling near or far by car, bike, train or plane?  Keep small hands busy with a selection of sturdy snacks.

*Make your own snack mix with a combination of nuts, dried fruit, carob or chocolate chips and cereal pieces.  Try a savory selection of several cereals, pretzels, nuts and rice crackers.

*Dried Fruit – banana chips, mango and apple, papaya, pear or peach slices

*Plain popcorn sprinkled with brewer’s yeast or parmesan cheese.

*Baked pita or bagel chips.

*Bake your own potato, beet or sweet potato chips.  Slice vegetables thinly, drizzle with olive oil, spinkle with salt and pepper and bake in oven at 350 degreese until crispy.


Healthy Snack Tips provided by Nature’s Food Market, Berlin, Ohio.

The Non GMO Project

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

By: Joy Schrock, President of Berlin Natural Bakery

Non GMO Project

GMO’s (or “genetically modified organisms”) are organisms that have been created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE).

This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

Are GMOs safe?

In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan and all the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs because they are not considered proven safe.

In the U.S. on the other hand, the FDA approved commercial production of GMOs based on studies conducted by the companies who created them and profit from their sale.  Many health-conscious shoppers find the lack of rigorous, independent, scientific examination on the impact of consuming GM foods to be a cause for concern.

Do Americans Desire Non-GMO Foods?

Polls consistently show that a significant majority of North Americans would like to be able to tell if the food they are purchasing contains GMOs (a 2008 CBS News Poll found that 87% of consumers wanted GMOs labeled).

According to a recent CBS/New York Times pool, 53% of consumers said they would not buy food that has been genetically modified.  The Non-GMO Project’s seal for verified products will, for the first time, give the public an opportunity to make an informed choice when it comes to GMOs.

How common are GMOs?

According to the USDA, in 2007, 91% of soy, 87% of cotton, and 73% of corn grown in the U.S. were GMO.  Starting in 2008, virtually all of the U.S. sugar beet crop is GMO, and it is estimated that over 75% of canola grown is GMO.

There are also commercially produced GM varieties of squash and Hawaiian Papaya.  As a result it is estimated that GMOs are now present in more than 80% of packaged products in the average U.S. or Canadian grocery store.

GMO Foods

Where does the Non-GMO Project come in?

The Non-GMO Project is an initiative of the North American organic and natural product industry to create a standardized definition of the non GMO and a 3rd party verification program to assess product compliance with this Standard.

The Project’s Product Verification program is entirely voluntary, and participants are companies who see the value of offering their customers a verified non-GMO choice.  Many of the individuals and businesses leading the way with the Project are the same ones responsible for creating the original organic standards.

Understanding the Non-GMO Project Seal

The retailers who started the Non-GMO Project were motivated by a simple idea.  They believed that consumers in N. America should have access to clearly labeled non GMO food and products, now and in the future.  The conviction continues to be the guiding mission of the Non GMO Project, but it’s a lot easier said than done!

A huge part of the challenge is that by the time the Project was created, GMOs had already been in production across the U.S. and Canada for close to 10 years.  Contamination risks to seeds, crops, ingredients and products had been steadily increasing without any standardized set of best practices in use to identify and stop contamination.  But whereas this difficult reality had previously paralyzed all efforts to address the problem, the Non-GMO Project took a different approach.

We decided that the lack of a perfect solution was no excuse not to try, and we blieved that with enough hard work and collaborative spirit we could improve the situation, rather than allowing it to worsen.  Our efforts are paying off, and while our work on the Project’s consensus-based Standard and independent Product Verification Program continues to be incredibly complex, we have succeeded in establishing an industry-wide system for addressing contamination and a “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal will start appearing on products in stores this fall.

So what does “Non-GMO Project Verified” mean?

First of all, we want you to understand what it doesn’t mean.  It is not a guarantee that the product is 100% GMO free.  The reason for this is that our program is process-based, using a set of best practices to avoid contamination.  We do require testing of all ingredients (everything being grown in GMO form in N. America), but we don’t require testing of every single finished product.

Instead, testing can be done at any one of a number of places in the production chain, for example right after harvest.  Following the test, which must indicate that the ingredient is below 0.9% GMO (in alignment with laws in the European Union), we require rigorous traceability and segregation practices to be followed in order to ensure that the tested ingredients are what get used in the product.

So in short, what our seal means is that a product has been produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance, including testing of risk ingredients.

Companies enrolled in the Non-GMO Project are serious about keeping GMO’s out, and work hard to do so.  While you might see other claims regarding GMO status (e.g. “GMO free”) these are really not legally or scientifically defensible, and they are not verified by a third party.  The Non-GMO Project is the only organization offering independent verification of testing and GMO controls for products in the U.S. and Canada.

Buying products that are enrolled and verified in our program is the best way to support the sustained availability of non-GMO choices in North America.  As a non-profit organization, we are committed not only to verifying and labeling products, but also to supporting and coordinating efforts between seed breeders, farmers, processors and manufacturers.  With time, these efforts will allow us to protect and even expand the availability of non-GMO seeds, ingredients and products.

Sign the Non-GMO Project Pledge…show your support.