Apple Cider Vinegar: An Ancient Health Tonic

These days, it’s hard to find completely raw and unpasteurized foods outside of a home kitchen. Even many of the raw vegetables that are sold at supermarkets have been treated by ionizing radiation, also known as cold pasteurization. While pasteurization is used to kill potentially harmful bacteria, the process simultaneously kills much of the nutritional value from the good bacteria in the foods.

The raw apple cider vinegar that we use in Chicaoji contains so much good, healthy bacteria that pasteurizing it would be like taking a paint roller to the Sistine Chapel. Keeping our sauce raw and unpasteurized allows our customers to enjoy the “Mother of Vinegar” from Spectrum Organics with every flavorful bite. Though the process of staying raw requires expensive and tedious USDA and WSDA approval, enhancing the flavor and health of our sauce with raw apple cider vinegar is well worth the effort.

Vinegar is an ancient health tonic and cooking ingredient that cultures around the world have incorporated into their diets for thousands of years. All vinegars have been used for their flavor and energizing properties, but apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used specifically as a medicine. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates was known to prescribe apple cider vinegar to treat various infections, and soldiers in the American Civil War used apple cider vinegar to facilitate faster wound healing.

While apple cider vinegar is a popular folk remedy, many of its well-known health benefits have been confirmed by scientific research. In numerous studies, apple cider vinegar has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels, kill harmful bacteria and reduce blood pressure. Apple cider vinegar is also known to reduce fatigue and provide a healthy energy boost, thanks to its potassium, enzymes and amino acids.

The natural fermentation process that is harnessed to create apple cider vinegar is a fascinating miracle of nature. When raw apple juice meets a complex of yeast and bacteria known as the “Mother of Vinegar,” the sugars are transformed into alcohol. With exposure to oxygen, the hard cider is further transformed into acetic acid, or the main ingredient in vinegar. By allowing this natural process to take place in a controlled environment, the result is a delicious, tart-tasting vinegar with numerous bioactive components.

Many people take raw apple cider vinegar with water as part of their daily health routine. Others get more creative with the tonic by adding it to salad dressings, marinades, soups and smoothies. You can incorporate raw apple cider vinegar into your diet quickly and easily by topping your meals with a little Chicaoji.

Place your order for Chicaoji HERE.

Find raw apple cider vinegar from Spectrum Organics HERE.

Author: Alia O’Connell
I want to thank Alia for composing this blog article. I very much enjoy her style of writing. She does a great job of ordering my jumbled thoughts and ideas.

Alia can help with your need for well-composed English for your blog, website content or term paper.
Contact Alia O’Connell at <>

Thank you for reading the Chicaoji blog!

Celtic Sea Salt® : A True Salt of the Earth…. and Chicaoji

Like the ocean water that composes most of our blue planet, cooking with salt is a fundamental part of life on Earth. Collected from the Earth’s oceans and ancient sea beds, salt is an abundant gift that can be used to elevate the taste of other foods and supplement our bodies with an array of essential nutrients.

The cultivation and harvest of Celtic Sea Salt©.
The cultivation and harvest of Celtic Sea Salt®

Because salt is such a key cooking ingredient, many people overlook its potential health benefits and take the natural stuff for granted. Seeing salt only as a flavor enhancer, the uninformed chef may choose a highly processed table salt to cheer on the real stars in their recipe. Table salt, which is a combination of pure sodium chloride and anti-caking agents, pails in comparison to the subtle Earthly flavor and rich mineral composition of a real sea salt.

The powerful ingredients in Chicaoji would accept no less than a true “salt of the Earth” to share a bottle with. That’s why we use light grey Celtic Sea Salt® by Selina Naturally to intensify the flavors of the raw goji berries, cacao and chipotle chile peppers in Chicaoji. While Celtic Sea Salt® aids the other ingredients in reaching their full flavor potential, the dissolved grains also impart their own subtle taste sensation into each bottle.

Celtic Sea Salt® is a completely unrefined grey salt that is collected by hand and then dried with sunshine and wind. The natural collection process allows the salt to retain moisture from the seawater and a light grey hue from the clay-lined salt beds where it is found. Moist and grey, Celtic Sea Salt®’s unique appearance are evidence of the fact that it has not been bleached and diluted by additives and has thus retained its rich mineral composition.

Healthy food is preventative medicine, and countless health care professionals have recommended the use of Celtic Sea Salt® in a balanced diet. Not only is Celtic Sea Salt® a great source of sodium and magnesium, it contains dozens of trace minerals that can be difficult to find in other foods. As our bodies are mostly composed of salt water, Celtic Sea Salt® helps feed our internal ocean waters the nutrients that they need to produce electrolytes and maintain proper functioning.

Flavoring your meals with Chicaoji is an easy and delicious way to obtain your daily dose of Celtic Sea Salt®. Order Chicaoji today to enjoy the benefits of adding a real sea salt to your diet.

Use discount code “salt” for 10% off your purchase at .

You can also stock your kitchen cabinets with Celtic Sea Salt® by ordering from our supplier at

The cultivation and harvest of Celtic Sea Salt©
The cultivation and harvest of Celtic Sea Salt©

Author: Alia O’Connell
I want to thank Alia for composing this blog article. I very much enjoy her style of writing. She does a great job of ordering my jumbled thoughts and ideas. I made only a couple of edits for emphasis.
Thank you for reading the Chicaoji blog! Randall

Alia can help with your need for well-composed English.
Contact Alia O’Connell at <>

Goji Berries of Ningxia, Home of Chicaoji’s essential ingredient

Fresh Goji berries on the vine.
Fresh Goji berries on the vine.

Mother Nature’s perfect recipe for growing goji berries is notoriously difficult and we get our goji berries from her top shelf. With an extremely dry climate that fluctuates in daily temperature by as much as 57˚ F/14˚C, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China has an environment that has been made for cultivating premium goji berries. Scorching hot summers, bitter cold winters and an almost complete absence of rainfall all add to the pressure that is required for producing the famed “red diamond.”

For more than 600 years, the people of Ningxia have cultivated goji berry plants in their region’s deep windblown loess soil. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine who wanted to use all parts of the plant fed a growing demand for this nutrient-dense “superfood.” Today, the plant’s berries as well as its flower, stem, root and leaf are still used to treat a variety of ailments. Despite goji berry cultivation springing up in other parts of the country, Ningxia remains China’s important source for therapeutic-grade goji berries that can be used in medicine.

Goji berries drying near the fields of goji in Ningxia.
Goji berries drying near the fields of goji in Ningxia.

Although the harsh, arid climate of Ningxia is essentially a desert, the Yellow River (Huang He) provides goji berry plants with essential moisture. Throughout hundreds of years of cultivation, a complex system of irrigation canals has also been developed to nourish the region’s most renowned export. With added water, the 300-foot deep loess of the Ningxia Plain becomes fertile enough to produce some of the highest quality goji berries in the world.

Historically, Ningxia was home to some of Imperial China’s first agricultural outposts. Over the centuries, farmers settled in the region and the Silk Road that passed through brought a profusion of commercial and cultural exchanges. Primarily populated by Han Chinese, Ningxia also has a large community of Chinese speaking Muslims called the Hui. For centuries, the Ningxia region was protected from invaders by a section of the Great Wall of China.


Hui woman harvests goji berries in Ningxia, Tian He/Sina blog
Hui woman harvests goji berries in Ningxia, Tian He/Sina blog

The Ningxia goji berries that we use to produce Chicaoji are raw and organic. Although we love to add the sweet, tart flavor of goji berries to our chipotle sauce, these healing fruits can also be eaten by themselves, added to a delicious trail mix or blended into health tonics. Take a look at our Goji Berry page to learn more about this amazing superfood.

Obtain Goji berries from our most excellent supplier: Live

I hope you’ve found something interesting and useful in this post.
Thanks! Randall

Food is medicine. Therefore, I live.

I believe food is medicine. Let me tell you one reason why I believe.

My liver failed in 2010. The doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham, WA used some pretty fancy drugs to forestall my immediate death. After a few days they sent me home, signed up for Hospice Care (meaning less than 6 months to live), with a 30% chance of living more than a month. They offered palliative (pain relief/end of life) care.

Now it is 2014. My liver function has returned to normal (according to allopathic doctors) and I’m well enough to keep the business part of Chicaoji going with a lot of help.

I want to share my path in broad terms to let you know that effective alternatives exist to Western “allopathic” medicine. Eastern medicine takes an entirely different approach to healing. Many factors guide the Eastern healing Path including things Western medicine doesn’t consider relevant. My path may not be your path but I offer this glimpse hoping you or someone you know may benefit.

I want to share with you how it is I ain’t dead yet from liver disease: Food is Medicine.

St Joseph’s allopathic doctors accomplished an amazing technological feat by pulling me through the first critical days of liver failure. Without their help I’d be dust in the wind.

My wife, Annie, was not satisfied with their terminal prognosis. We had just gotten married after being friends for 25 years. She looked around for another option here on Lopez Island because I wasn’t well enough to travel. Gratefully, she found Helen Sanders, a practitioner of Eastern medicine, a player of the Scottish Bagpipes and a martial arts enthusiast.

Helen came to our home when I was too ill to travel, even here on little Lopez Island. She looked me over and said right away that she wasn’t sure she could help….but she would try. Our first hint of her profound integrity.

The first thing Helen did was take my “pulses”, look at my tongue, inquire as to the qualitative details of my defecations and ask other unusual (for me) questions. Then she put me on a diet of Congee and “green drink”. Congee, for me, was a mixture of certain kinds of brown and white rice and sea weeds.

Green drink is a juice made with mostly green vegetables. In my case, it was kale, lettuce, cucumber, parsley (lots of parsley) and a few other green vegetables.

The congee is made by soaking the rice for 24 hours and then cooking on low heat for many hours with LOTS of water. She provided a specific list of seaweeds to use which changed over time.

I ate this rather plain congee and green drink for many weeks. At the time it seemed like a great many weeks. As time passed, we slowly began to add things like ½ teaspoon of molasses, a banana and then an egg!! I can tell you that ½ teaspoon of molasses adds a LOT to a bowl of congee.

We eventually added more foods guided by the idea that food is medicine. Steamed or pan roasted root vegetables and salads came along all in good time. After months passed, Helen offered certain specific herbal concoctions and acupuncture treatments for my condition as it continued to evolve.

Annie took meticulous care of me and worked closely with Helen to help me heal.

Now I eat a wide variety of foods. Congee remains a regular part of my diet. I’ve learned to avoid foods that have undesirable consequences for me. This way of looking at food as medicine differs from how we usually think of “eating foods that are good for us”. Specific foods are prescribed to treat conditions.

Long story short: With Annie’s help and Helen Sanders’ guidance, I did not die as expected.

You may know someone who has liver disease with a terminal prognosis (or not). First ask them if they want to live. If they say yes, then find yourselves a practitioner of Eastern medicine. They’ll need help if they are as sick as I was.

There’s more to the story. Let me know you are interested and I’ll tell more.
Congee might sound boring to you but to me it is the taste of life.


For more about Helen Sanders at Laughing Tiger Acupuncture website:

Chicaoji Dip

  • 1 cup – Cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Chicaoji -(probably more but start with 2 Tbs)

Blend together. Eat with bread, chips, crackers, vegetables, meat, or pretty much anything..

Save the glass from the Solid Waste Transfer Station

Save the glass we dump every week for future generations.

Pure silica is a treasure. Creating pure glass requires a lot of energy. Glass is so cheap now because energy is cheap. The day will come when manufacturing glass costs too much. We dump many tons of glass bottles every week into recycling bins and it all just goes away…..somewhere. Once silica sand is purified into glass it becomes much easier to use for creating useful items.

We have an opportunity to do a little provisioning for the future generations. Let us sort this glass by color, crush it, and stockpile it somewhere, anywhere. We can fill up low places, back fill old quarries or gravel pits, even create land forms. An example of  a proactive use: create terraces on sloping ground to create more useful places for growing food, building homes, or roads.

It’s just silica….pure sand…. one of the more common elements. Life will grow over the top of it. And in some some distant day one of our descendants might just discover a mother lode of pure silica and go into the glass blowing business. OK. Sorting by color does add some complexity and expense up front (for this generation) but imagine what a treasure a mine of pure clear glass could be in 300 years.

Smoked Salmon spread

  • Smoked Salmon
  • Vortex Cream cheese/feta spread
  • Chicaoji

Mix together to taste. Eat with bread, chips, crackers, vegetables, eggs or a spoon!