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Azure Standard Staples for Home & Groceries

After nearly a decade of ordering household goods and groceries for my home from them, I definitely have a good record of Azure Standard staples that I purchase on a regular basis. Some of the items here are ones I save the most on verses buying from other places like the local grocery store, Thrive Market, and Costco. Some of them are not, but worth every penny. If you’re just learning about Azure Standard, this blog post can give you a good overview!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

Cleaning Staples from Azure Standard

azure standard staple dishwasher detergent

Since discontinuing the sales of Biokleen household products, Azure is offering an entire new line of their own. I have yet to try all that they have created, but what I’ve tried so far I love! After trying loads of other natural (and some not so natural) options for the dishwasher, this one far surpasses them all. It’s also the most affordable I’ve found, starting at only $2.02+/lb.

azure standard staple laundry detergent

Country Save laundry detergent has finally given me a solution to cleaning our laundry well without unnecessary scents or toxins like are found in conventional options. The company has been around since 1977, and I just learned the majority of the ownership of it is made up of retired Veterans of the US Armed Forces and their hope is to hire more veterans as they grow, amazing! This is even cheaper than the dishwasher detergent above, too, starting at $1.36+/lb. There are smaller boxes available if you’d like to give it a try before getting a big bag like this!

azure standard staple oxygen boost

Paired with some vinegar for softening, this Oxygen Powdered Bleach by Country Save is keeps our clothes brighter and cleaner while allowing us to avoid harsh chemicals found in other options. I use this with success on tough stains, too! At only $1.76+/lb, this is another no-brainer Azure Standard staple for our home!

Household Staples from Azure Standard

I get it, beeswax candles are pricier than regular ones. The thing is though, that those cheaper options come at a price we don’t necessarily see, until they start to effect our health. Look into the truth of the risk we take when we light our favorite scented candles, you will learn a lot and hopefully will change some habits as a result. These Bee Healthy Beeswax candles smell great, burn for a long time, and help neutralize undesirable scents in my home when needed! I also love these pillar candle options!

azure standard staples body soap

These soaps by Longview Farms are by far my favorite soaps for our entire family. They aren’t drying, have no artificial scents, or unwanted ingredients. I get this one for my older boys (they use it for their hair and bodies) and this one for our littlest dude since a gentler option is still ideal for his toddler skin. Check out their other flavors for some more adult friendly options, too! We have loved all three: Oats, Honey & Milk, Cucumber Melon, and Peppermint Lavender.

Produce Staples from Azure Standard

All of the produce I regularly purchase from Azure lasts much longer than when I buy locally from the grocery stores here. It’s not necessarily cheaper, but if I’m throwing away less because it lasts longer, it just might be. If I lived closer to where they’re located in Oregon, I’d have a lot more produce on this list. Unfortunately, being in Texas, not everything makes it in time to stay fresh. These items make it just fine and last me at least a month!

Organic Garlic $4.50+/lb

Organic Ginger $4.00+/lb

Organic Valencia Oranges $1.34+/lb
and blood oranges, lemons, etc. when in season, yum!

Organic Parsley $2+/bunch
Organic Cilantro $2+/bunch

Supplement and Wellness Staples

At the top of the list (of course) is Green Pasture’s Cod Liver Oil. This stuff is so beneficial and results in zero fish burps, I swear! All of my kiddos take this from ages 6-ish months old and up, and so do I . Learn more about the benefits of this superfood from this article by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is another staple from Azure Standard I keep in my medicine cabinet. This stuff is really potent, so there is also this option to take it by pill form for those able to swallow them.

If you have yet to add homeopathies to your medicine cabinet, Arnica is a great place to start! It’s great for reducing pain and actually worked way better for me with pain relief postpartum with my youngest.

Manuka Honey is the honey I add to teas (and also just take spoonfuls of) when we are under the weather in our home. Look into it’s many benefits, it’s an incredible resource to rely on!

Bulk Spices from Azure Standard

It would take me all day to show you every single bulk spice I have from Azure Standard. They last a really long time, and are so much more affordable than re-buying smaller amounts over and over again. You’ll save a bunch from going the bulk route, and if you don’t want a large amount to save and refill as needed, then find someone to split a bag with!

Pantry & Refrigerated Staples

Raw cheese is expensive in most grocery stores as well as from local farmers where I live, if I’m even lucky enough to find it. Purchasing in bulk has been the trick to affording good cheese. As a family of 5 we go through this before it goes moldy, but it’s great to shred and freeze, if needed. I don’t recommend freezing the solid block because it will crumble after defrosting. This option isn’t organic, but it’s usually the best we can do at this stage of life. We eat a lot of cheese. If you prefer organic, this option is also great.

Organic, gluten-free, and very affordable, these oats have been a staple in our home for years now!

Coconut sugar is a great substitute for brown sugar, and pairs super well with maple syrup to sweeten anything from oatmeal to cookies!

Allergen friendly chocolate chips that are delicious are hard to find, and usually a lot more pricey than other conventional options. These chocolate chips are my favorite and I am picky about my chocolate! I use equal parts of these dark chocolate chips plus these mini semi-sweet ones for the best chocolate chip cookies.

We avoid soy in our home, and Coconut Secret coconut aminos replaces it in recipes calling for it flawlessly.

Red Wine Vinegar is another staple I keep in my cabinet ready to be used when I need it!

Red Wine Vinegar is another staple I keep in my cabinet ready to be used when I need it!

Other Azure Standard Staples

Nuts and seeds, baking powder, molasses, vanilla extract, popping corn, bulk cereal, chicken feed…I could clearly go on and on. Your staples might look differently than mine, and that’s okay! I just want to provide an idea of the types of things you could get through Azure Standard if you decide to place a monthly order with them. If you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget, or want to spend less on great options, it’s well worth looking into!

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The Truth About Raw Milk

If you personally know me, you probably know that the dairy we have consumed in our home for the last seven+ years has been primarily: RAW. Our journey of switching to raw milk wasn’t a comfortable one, but it’s one I’m grateful for…here is the truth about raw milk.

My Personal Experience with Raw Milk

Growing up, I was a huge cereal fan (who am I kidding, still am). We always seemed to have whole milk in the fridge, rarely 2%. You know, the one with the red cap? Now I’m wondering if it’s still like that, or if it’s like that everywhere, hmm…

Anyways, when I was 18, I was working at PetSmart in Washington state. In the parking lot of our store, there was a Starbucks that I very much so enjoyed my frequent drive through while ordering the delicious Peppermint White Mocha. It didn’t matter what time of year it was, that drink was my jam. Until it wasn’t…I started noticing an extremely upset stomach when I would show up to work. I wasn’t stressed out or anything, so that wasn’t my problem. Then it clicked: THE WHITE MOCHA. (Insert crying face here, right?) Suddenly, I’m lactose-intolerant…or so I thought.

From there, I started drinking Lactaid milk and taking digestive pills any time I would have dairy. This went on for roughly 1-2 years and I was perfectly fine as long as I took those pills if I consumed dairy. Fast-forward a couple of years, Craig and I get married, and someone comes into our lives that drinks raw dairy. My first reaction? Gross. Why was that my first reaction? I think it’s because as a society we are so conditioned to not question where our food comes from (or how it’s denatured). My new friend insisted I “just try it” and see what happens. So, I did. It tasted perfectly fine, and I had NO TUMMY ISSUES. So much for lactose-intolerance, hmm? What was going on, then?

From then on, I entered into the beginning stages of what I guess you could call “my natural journey.” An entire new world emerged for me, but it wouldn’t be for a couple more years that I would really understand the benefits I was providing myself with by switching to raw milk. Knowing what I know to be true now about the dairy industry as a whole, and the undeniable benefits of the God-given gift of nature’s perfect food, I am beyond grateful that each of my pregnancies were sustained while consuming raw milk and that my children know nothing different. Don’t let me lose you on that note…

If this is your first experience being introduced to the truth about raw milk, please don’t feel judged or too frustrated with the circumstances life has thrown your way. Continue reading and learn about why dropping conventional milk and switching to raw is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself and your family. You can’t do better until you know better.

The Cow (Elephant) in the Room

I see a specific argument rather consistently amongst the inter-webs. It’s the argument that because the dairy industry is so corrupt and absolutely horrific (partial truth) and that because cow’s milk is made for sustaining a growing calf, that it holds no nutritional or moral benefits to our body. I’m going to upset vegans everywhere now…this is an absolutely ridiculous notion. Why? Because conventional dairy is not the only option you have out there. There are small dairy farms that work day in and out to provide sustainable agriculture that actually benefits the environment, their own families, as well as yours and mine. You can find local sources almost anywhere in the United States by visiting RealMilk.com (as long as it’s legal, there are unfortunately still a few states that the sale of raw milk is still illegal to purchase).

The argument that expresses that cow’s milk is made to grow baby calves, and that’s why you “shouldn’t” consume it as a human sadly dismisses not only the incredible amount of benefits that we can obtain from it, but also ignores the biblical fact that God gave us dominion over animals on this planet. Does that mean we should go on and bury our heads in the sand while animals are treated with cruelty and horrific circumstances? Of course not. As a Christian, I hold a conscious obligation here that requires me to think deeper than “my milk comes from the shelf in the grocery store” and actually choose to acknowledge the process of how it arrived there. Which brings me to…

The Truth Behind Conventional Dairy Farms

Have you ever driven through California on I-5 (or many other major freeways that run through the massive state) and noticed the black and white cows that are crammed together on nothing but dirt and shelters? If you’ve never noticed them, you’ve certainly smelled them on a warm day. If you haven’t had the joy of experiencing this lovely reality, allow me to paint the picture for you. You are traveling down the freeway and your air conditioning is running cool and clean. Suddenly this stench whiffs through your air vents and you are practically knocked off your seat. Within minutes you recognize “that smell” as you approach a mass of dark dirt and mud, and cows…hundreds of cows. These cows are always black and white (Holstein is the usual breed) and there are always SO many of them, and absolutely no green grass to graze on or enjoy. As an animal lover, it’s devastating to look upon.

Now, if you think about it, you might start becoming interested in digging a little further. When you start digging, you might learn these cows are treated like milk machines and nothing more, nothing less. They are forced to breed and then their calves are removed from them (also by force) to continue the cycle of producing milk. Infections like mastitis run rampant and therefore antibiotics are widely used (and then yes, ends up in the milk you’re drinking). The only antibiotics that make their way into our bodies are not just from prescriptions.

Nine times out of ten, this is where the milk available on grocery store shelves comes from that you pickup without thinking about week after week, month after month. This is not sustainable for the animals, the environment, the soil, or even your own health. Just a little bit of research outside of this blog post will provide you with the videos and the evidence that backs up what I am sharing with you.

Denaturing a Perfect Food

So these cows are milked, and then what? Milk is bottled up and sent to the store? Nope, sadly there’s a lot more that happens from here (though, thankfully the cows “job” is done at this point). Once the cow is milked, the milk is then sent off to be processed. What do I mean by processed? Well, first it is pasteurized and homogenized. Ever notice those labels on your milk? They’re there, but what do they mean, exactly?

Pasteurization is the process in which raw milk is heated for a period of time to kill “harmful” bacteria. Let’s pause and address the FDA’s concern with raw milk. They claim that “pasteurization kills harmful organisms responsible for such diseases as listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, Q fever, and brucellosis.” They refuse to acknowledge the truth about raw milk. Now consider the thousands of Americans that consume raw dairy on a regular basis for years on end and have never experienced these issues. (As I write this, I’m personally pregnant with our third baby and have been consuming raw milk consistently since before and through each of my pregnancies and have stayed perfectly healthy.) Which poses this question: If there’s nothing unsafe about raw milk, why did pasteurization become the norm? The conditions the cows live in are naturally a huge culprit. Can you imagine the possibilities for disease and sanitation, etc. in the previously mentioned conditions? Is it possible that is the issue, not the raw milk itself? My whole-hearted opinion is yes. This causes me to pause and question the FDA’s intentions as a whole as well as the truth about raw milk.

RealMilk.com defends the safety of raw milk perfectly here:

Real milk that has been produced under sanitary and healthy conditions is a safe and healthy food. It is important that the cows are healthy (tested free of TB and undulant fever) and do not have any infections (such as mastitis). The cows should be eating food appropriate to cows, which is mostly grass, hay or silage, with only a small amount of grain, if any. The milk should be full-fat milk, as many important anti-microbial and health-supporting components are in the fat. The cows should be milked under sanitary conditions and the milk chilled down immediately.

Homogenization is a process that breaks down fat molecules in milk so that the cream doesn’t separate from the milk like it does with raw and non-homeginized dairy.

Organic Consumers puts it perfectly:

The nutritional bottom line is that pasteurization and homogenization destroy nutrients and proteins, make healthy fats rancid, and cause free radicals to form in the body. They denature milk by altering its chemical structure.

Yikes. So, if this process destroys nutrients and proteins in milk…what is there to drink? Ah…that explains the synthetic nutrients being added back into the milk after this process is over. Oye…that doesn’t sound great, either. Does it?

What Makes Raw Milk Better

Typically, when you find a source for raw milk, you’re going to come across a small, local dairy that cares deeply about their products and the way they are treating their animals. These farmers usually hold a high education on what their animals are being fed, how they are bred, what breed they are, and how their carbon footprint effects the earth and our livelihood. Most of these farmers even take a huge dip in income a couple of months throughout the year to give their cows a break from milking, as our producer in Northern California did year after year. This is a bummer for those that consume milk regularly, but the benefits far outweigh the disappointment of missing out for a couple of months. Sounds like a much better situation for both cows and our environment, right?

So, does breed matter? Actually, yes! Holstein cows and Jersey cows are the two I am personally most familiar with when it comes to milk and the differences. When I first started learning about the truth about raw milk, I was consuming milk that came from Holstein cows. I had never had anything different, so it tasted fine to me. Holsteins yield a high production, and is why they are the common choice for dairy farmers. However, learning about Jersey milk…oh this was a game changer. The creaminess and sweetness that a Jersey cow milk produces is enough to make you turn your back on their black and white cousins. After switching to Jersey milk, I can’t look back. It’s THAT good. Digging into the benefits of A2/A2 milk is also worth looking into if you care about the specific breed of cow you’re getting milk from.

Probiotic plug: Raw milk has LOADS of natural, GOOD bacterias that help our bodies thrive. This is 100% lacking in conventional dairy because the good bacteria is killed along with any possible bad ones when pasteurization occurs. You can get a lot more information about the “Magic of Raw Milk” on this article from the Weston A. Price Foundation.

It really is nature’s perfect food…

I almost forgot, raw milk never goes bad, y’all! If you consume store-bought conventional milk past it’s expiration date, it will not only taste terrible, but could make you very, very sick. It becomes completely useless and an absolute waste beyond expiration. Raw milk, however, is much different. It sours, absolutely, but when it sours it isn’t suddenly useless. You can use it in baking and cooking if the taste becomes unsettling, and you can also separate it into whey and curds by leaving it on the counter. What can you do with whey? Ferment just about anything (my personal favorite is homemade mayonnaise)!

How to Source Raw Milk

RealMilk.com is my favorite resource for sourcing raw dairy all over the United States. They have this Real Milk Finder available that allows you to lookup the closest source. In some states, it’s a lot easier to find raw milk because of different laws being passed. In California, you can go to a grocery store like Sprouts or Nugget and find it readily available on the shelf. However, in places like where I am in Texas, it’s only legal to make your purchase directly from the farmer themselves. There are some loopholes in most states. Contact (and get to know) your local farmer to find a source.

If you’re local to me in Houston, Texas area, then there are other awesome resources like Texas Farm to Home that make obtaining raw dairy in our area SUPER easy. We utilize their services regularly, and it’s been so convenient for our family to source not only milk, but also pasture-raised meats as well.

Not Just Milk!

But wait, there’s more! Beloved cheese, oh how I love thee. One of the huge disappointments of “becoming lactose-intolerant” was when I had to struggle with consuming cheese. When we made the switch after learning about the truth about raw milk, it wasn’t long before the switch to primarily raw cheese became imminent and permanent as well. Raw cheese is readily available where I am in grocery stores, but it is so expensive. It was also very expensive in California where we lived as well, so I was very grateful when I discovered that Azure Standard had really great, affordable options in the raw cheese department. (Read more about what Azure Standard is on this blog post where I share a huge order with you and explain more about how it benefits our family monthly.)

The cheese I purchase most often from Azure comes in many size options, of which I always go with the 5lb blocks that come in a two-pack. I usually split this with a local friend (they take one block, I take the other) and I’ve been doing this for years and years now. Sometimes one 5lb block lasts us through one month, other times up to two. It depends on how much our family consumes in any given 1-2 month periods. Yes, it lasts this long and if we had to stretch it out for some reason, it shreds beautifully in a food processor and freezes and thaws like new! I do NOT recommend freezing as a whole block. It becomes very crumbly to slice or attempt to grate after it freezes.

The other flavors we have loved over the years from Sierra Nevada:
Medium Cheddar
Monterey Jack
Jalepeno Jack

If you prefer organic, Sierra Nevada also offers that as well for a bit more cost:Traditional White Cheddar

The Bottom Line

The truth about raw milk is that it’s not something to consider as “gross”, or fear. Knowing your farmer is of upmost importance not just with dairy, but also with meats and more. Raw milk can improve you and your family’s health, while conventional options are doing nothing to benefit your well-being. It’s not “just for feeding baby cows.”

Change can be hard, but sometimes it’s well worth it. Will raw milk be your gateway into natural living like it was mine? I would love to hear about your journey, and answer any further questions this blog post may have provoked. I am all ears!

If you’re just beginning to learn about the truth about raw milk, what questions do you have? Drop them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer your questions!

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Azure Standard Overview

After many wonderful years of placing orders with Azure Standard and providing my family with really great options at affordable prices, I am thrilled to share them with you! If you value healthy living, non-GMO and organic practices surrounding food and products, and recognize the value in both saving money and voting with your dollars, then this Azure Standard overview is for you.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning when you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I receive a commission which supports my efforts to share with you in this space the products and resources I used and love most.

Here, we understand that naturally grown foods are instrumental in producing a long and satisfying life. We’d like to see more farmers and home gardeners turn to natural organic growing practices, so we do what we can to not only support the organic farmer, but also provide as many organic products as possible.

We chose to call our business Azure Standard, to signify by the name what we are attempting to do. Azure is a shade of blue which has been associated with law, justice, and honesty. In raising an azure standard, we want to place an honest standard in the marketing of food. We feel that the correct way to effect a positive change is not to attack the way it is being done, but to begin to do it right.

We are dedicated to the ‘organic principle’ of cooperating with nature and we pray others will join us so that we may once again see prosperity in our land.

-David Stelzer | Azure Founder and CEO

How Does It Work?

You have two options when shopping with Azure. You can place an order anytime to ship directly to your home. Alternatively, and to save the most, you can join a local drop site. Drop sites are where you will meet a truck monthly to pickup your order. I have met some really incredible people at our Azure drops over the years. I have always gone with the drop site option. I get to enjoy the benefit of a big bulk order of fantastic items without paying a fortune in shipping. Everything comes from Oregon first, and is then delivered all over the US.

Azure reduces waste and saves you money by connecting directly with the independent growers and food producers, shortening the cycle and handling of your food. You have access to organic farm-fresh veggies and dry bulk foods, grass-fed dairy and frozen meats, raw honey and non-GMO oils, packaged foods, nutritional supplements and beauty products. After you place the items in your website cart, our warehouse team in Moro, Oregon pulls them off the shelf like your own personal shopper. Your items are then packed in recycled boxes under your name, and your order is put on a truck that delivers straight to you. You’re a part of the Azure community in your own neighborhood, meeting a fully stocked natural grocery on wheels – coming directly to you.

-Azure Website

What Kind of Things Can I Buy?

Azure offers everything from food, health and beauty, household and family, nutritional supplements, and even outdoor and garden items. Over the years I have purchased a variety of items from Azure. From bulk flour to dairy products, growing seeds to bulk produce, our holiday turkeys, non-toxic cleaning supplies, vitamins/supplements, and much more!

I placed a really huge order this month, a great example of what you can get for your family. This order was a little over $500. The only thing not pictured above was my Mary’s Free-Range Turkey. I placed it directly into our deep freezer when we got home. Here’s a list of what we got, in order from left to right:

Ready To Save and Enjoy?

Head to Azure Standard’s website and scroll to the bottom to “Find A Drop” to connect with a local drop. Or, simply place an order to ship directly to you if you prefer! Azure Standard has certainly blessed my family, and I can’t wait to hear how it blesses yours as well!

Feel free to post any questions you might have in the comments below. I’ll be sure to help you and your family begin saving money and still enjoying wonderful options!