The Lazy Vegetarian

Hi, I'm Courtney :)

As the web editor here at Swanson Health Products, I'm learning about a lot of products that I never would have known about otherwise, and I'm enjoying seeing the vast array of alternative health and natural beauty items that are out there in the marketplace.

Of particular interest to me are compassionate products: those made completely without animal ingredients or animal testing. I'm also expanding the scope of my vegetarian menu choices: we’ve got a lot of food items that I wasn’t familiar with before. Now I’m learning what their benefits are and what I can make with them … or rather, what I can have someone make for me, since I hate to cook. (I'm getting better about that, though!)

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband (and aforementioned personal chef), gardening, biking, and watching generous amounts of sports.

DIY Dog Treats: Homemade "Natural Greenies" For Fresh Doggy Breath!

Friday, April 19, 2013 by Courtney K

A while back I needed something to do with a ridiculous over-abundance of pumpkin. (We belong to a CSA and went a little overboard at the end-of-season open pick.) One of the uses I found for it was dog treats. My boxer-bully-lab-mutt, Buddy, loved these crunchy treats. He's got some fairly horrendous dog breath, so after the pumpkin biscuit success, I thought I'd try my hand at some breath-freshening natural dog treats. I found the below recipe, which aims to replicate the famous Greenies® brand dental chews with a homemade, natural spin.

diy dog treat recipe


DIY Dog Treats Recipe

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with parchment (I used a baking mat). Combine charcoal with flour and set aside. You'll find brown rice flour in a lot of pet treat and pet food recipes. Many dogs are sensitive to wheat/wheat gluten and brown rice flour is easier for them to digest. Activated charcoal is carbon that has been treated with oxygen and is able to absorb a wide range of impurities. I opened up a dozen or so capsules to get a tablespoon. Fifteen, maybe? I didn't count.

Not gonna lie, this part wasn't fun...

1 Tbsp charcoal


Mint, parsley, chlorophyll, etc



Put parsley, mint, oil and 1/4 cup of broth or water into food processor. My husband really enjoys making his own chicken stock, so that's what I used here. Process until very chopped, like pesto, then add chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps freshen breath both by eliminating odors in the mouth and by promoting a healthy digestive tract—poor digestion being a primary reason for bad breath. The recipe I followed said 3-4 droppers-full, but since my bottle didn't have a dropper, I guessed and used a generous teaspoon. Pulse a few times to mix.







not-so-green biscuit doughAdd this to the flour/charcoal and mix well. Beat egg lightly and mix in. Knead, adding remainder of water or broth until you have a very sticky (yet grainy) dough ball. Dust the work surface with more rice flour—makes your life easier and gives the treats extra crunch. The recipe said to knead dough until an even green color. My dough was decidedly NOT green so I just kneaded until everything seemed evenly combined. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, or whatever thickness you prefer, adding flour as needed. Cut out with your favorite shapes.


Bake for 15-20 minutes. Which is an eternity when you're a dog.

waiting patiently    baked treats

Cool and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Assuming a certain highly-food-motivated dog doesn't eat them all right away. Time will tell if they help his breath or not, but he loves them. Win!

homemade dog treat recipe - greenies


Did You Know Swanson Sells ... Organic Seeds & Organic Fertilizers?

Monday, March 18, 2013 by Courtney K

Growing up in North Dakota, January and February always felt like the worst months of a seemingly interminable winter. That … hasn’t changed, unfortunately. However as an adult and a homeowner, I’m happy to have a hobby that keeps me busy thinking of warmer months: my garden. This year, I can get a whole bunch of the seeds I need right here at work! Did you know Swanson sells organic vegetable seeds?

High Mowing Organic Seeds are cultivated on a network of certified organic seed farms in Vermont, New York, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California run by growers who are committed to producing non-GMO seed.

It's getting to be time to set up the plant light (and cat barricade) for the seeds I can start indoors—yummy options like healthy Red Russian Kale, fragrant Sweet Basil, and juicy Heirloom Brandywine Tomatoes. Swanson has all the garden staples, including direct-sow seeds like snap peas and bush beans. Granted, it's almost three months before I can safely put plants in the ground, but we’re just not going to think about that now, right? No need to get ahead of myself.

The Healthy Home section may be one of the best kept secrets on our website. Check it out, and grab a vegetable brush while you're there!



We just launched a whole new gardening category on our site, as our all-new Organic Fertilizers just arrived! Summer has also arrived... what great timing!

Organic Fertilizer General Purpose Plant Food


And I want to hear about your favorite gardening tips and tricks. What do you like to grow? Are you going to try our organic seeds or our new organic fertilizers?

3 New Vegan Protein Powder Smoothie Recipes!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 by Courtney K

I know Valentine’s Day is coming up, but don’t anybody get me chocolates. I do not have a sweet tooth. Lemons, on the other hand, I can’t get enough of. I should really divide all the recipes on my Pinterest boards into “Lemon” and “Everything Else.” So when we got a new protein powder in I found a lemon-centered recipe and whipped up some smoothies. Swanson Vegan Protein Powder

This vanilla-flavored Vegan Protein with Probiotics is new to the virtual shelves at Swanson. Part of the Swanson GreenFoods Formulas line of products, it mixes easily with water, juice or your preference of milk. I used coconut milk, but almond milk, hemp milk or any other would work just as well, as long as it’s unsweetened. Swanson Vegan Protein Powder is sufficiently sweetened with natural stevia. Our Vegan Protein Powder delivers 18 grams of plant-based protein per serving. There is some rice protein and some hemp protein, but the primary source here is pea protein. Pea protein is an amazing plant-based source of lysine, arginine, and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), all important for energy and lean muscles. It's a great option for people with dietary sensitivities to soy, whey or dairy. The inclusion of rice protein also boosts the amino acid profile.

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Protein Smoothie

meyer lemon protein smoothie

I’m using Meyer lemons here. If you’ve never had one, you’re missing out on a beautiful little yellow delicacy. It’s lemon, but not the face-scrunchingly tart flavor of a regular lemon.

Zest one lemon. Slice off the rind of both—you do not have to be diligent about this. Actually you could leave it on and it wouldn’t hurt anything. Quarter the lemons and remove the seeds. Throw the lemon, banana, milk, protein powder, coconut oil (optional, but adds smoothness and a boost of energy-enhancing medium-chain triglycerides) and the ice cubes in the blender and process until smooth. I added xanthan gum to thicken it up, but that’s completely optional (I just happened to have some on hand from some awesome gluten-free cookies I made for the holidays). If you choose to add this, do so at the end—just give it one or two more pulses to combine. This made about 16 ounces.



After that, I tried a Key Lime version and a Peanut Butter Banana version (wherein I learned my husband hates bananas. Who knew?). These—and really, any other combination you can think of—are just variations on a theme, subbing out one feature flavor for another.

The Key Lime Smoothie used 2 tablespoons of Key Lime juice instead of the 2 lemons. I cheated and used pre-bought juice. Frankly, I was just too lazy to juice a dozen of those itty-bitty Key Limes. Of course, this means I missed out on a pretty garnish and some DIY cachet.

vegan protein smoothieThe Peanut Butter Banana version used two tablespoons of peanut butter instead of the lemon and I added a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, a quarter teaspoon of salt and garnished with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Skip the xanthan gum on this one.

Other feature-flavor combos to try: orange, mango, Swanson Organic Pomegranate Juice, Tart Cherry Juice, Beet Juice maybe with some spinach if I want to go the vegetable route…or pick a few items from our top 15 smoothie ingredients post. Other suggestions? Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?



Nutrition Facts for one 4 oz serving (Lemon): 248 calories, 18.5g fat (0 trans fat), 16g carbs (4.4g fiber), 9g protein.

Non-GMO Organic Hemp Seeds PLUS Easy Hemp Protein Bar Recipe (NEW PRODUCTS REVIEW)

Monday, January 14, 2013 by Courtney K

Have you been to our New Products page recently? We've got all kinds of new items to start your 2013 off right—supplements for weight management and seasonal immunity, and some exciting additions to our Organic Foods line: Shelled Hemp Seed and Hemp Protein Powder.

I had a chance to sample the hemp seeds and they are tasty! Nutty and slightly sweet, like pine nuts or a mellow cashew. Hemp is a natural vegetarian source of complete protein (including all essential amino acids), fiber and essential fatty acids. Particularly noteworthy are its levels of linoleic acid (omega-6) and linolenic acid (omega-3).

Swanson used to carry a hemp seed bar from Nutiva that I really liked, but they've unfortunately been discontinued. When we got these hemp seeds in, the first use I thought of was to try to replicate those bars. I used the same ingredients as the original bar, but as long as you keep the proportions approximately the same, you can swap out just about any nuts, seeds, or sweeteners, add some dried fruit... It's a pretty forgiving recipe.


Homemade Hemp Seed Bars

1/4 cup Raw Shelled Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 cup Whole Flax Seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Shelled Hemp Seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Raw Hulled Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Organic Honey
1 teaspoon Himalayan Crystal Salt
2 teaspoons Milled Flaxseed (as a binder)

Combine all the ingredients and spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking pan or cookie sheet. Cut into 18 bars then bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. 

homemade hempseed bars

I also tried a version with dried cranberries (that was just okay), one with Agave Nectar instead of honey, and one with homemade pumpkin butter in place of the honey. The honey version came out much harder and drier than the others. The agave version is pretty good, too, but I don't have much of a sweet tooth so my favorite was the pumpkin butter version—much less sweet than either the honey or the agave.

All of the ingredients are available from—even the parchment paper!—and nearly all are found in the super affordable Swanson Organic line. There are lots of ways to enjoy our Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds—in a smoothie, perhaps? What's your favorite?

What other foods and ingredients would you like to see us use in our healthy recipes?