FAQ: Dr. Cowan

Are There Any Additives Or Preservatives In Your Products?

If the label says "kale powder," only dehydrated (air dried at low heat) kale is inside. There is NOTHING else in the jar but vegetables. The only exception is our Pepper Salt, for which we grind the vegetable powders with fine Celtic sea salt. Nothing else!!! The same is true of our pantry products, which are so fresh, we recommend storing them under refrigeration to maintain peak quality.

Are all Dr. Cowan's Garden Products Organic?

Yes. In fact, they are “Beyond Organic”, Grown Domestically By Small Family Farms or Sustainably Foraged. Our vegetables, grains and legumes are domestically grown in the U.S. by small family farmers who are, at a minimum, growing organically. Most are either Demeter-certified, working toward certification, or utilize most of the biodynamic farming principles (sometimes referred to as “regenerative farming”) that nurture the health of the soil to produce superior, nutrient-dense vegetables. Some products, such as Chaga Nuggets and Wild Ramps, are wild foraged using sustainable harvesting practices. Our vegetables are picked and processed at the peak of freshness throughout the growing season, when their Brix levels are the highest. Through our low-temperature dehydration process, we are able to preserve about 90% or more of the plant’s nutrients, with the exception of vitamin C, which is readily available in various fresh citrus fruits/juices, peppers, berries, broccoli and other sources.

Our grains and legumes are ancient heirloom varieties that offer vastly superior taste and texture to “modern” varieties. They are carefully grown using organic and biodynamic practices to enhance the nutrient-density and provide an unparalleled level of quality to your family’s dining experience.

How Do You Use Dr. Cowan's Garden Vegetable Powders?

Think of the powders like you would a spice or a seasoning. You can add them to soups and stews; sprinkle on eggs, roasted vegetables, salads, baked potatoes, popcorn; blend in smoothies; fold into rice, pasta, baked goods or casseroles, or add to anything you like to eat. You may add them during the cooking process, or sprinkled on at the end; whatever works best for your recipe.

They're great for parents of picky vegetable eaters, people who travel or don't have much time to cook, and creative cooks who want to experiment with different flavor profiles. Use them to make your dishes more flavorful, or to “sneak” more vegetables into your family’s favorite meals. 

The idea is to eat the foods you and your family enjoy, and to use Dr. Cowan’s Garden vegetable powders to increase your vegetable diversity for optimal health. If you have access to and enjoy fresh organic or biodynamic vegetables, please continue to eat them, while incorporating the powders to achieve the goal of eating smaller amounts of 10-15 vegetable varieties per day. This is the way our healthiest ancestors ate for many generations before commercialized products infiltrated our “modern” diets.

What's A Normal Serving Size And How Many Servings Should I Have Per Day?

One teaspoon of vegetable powder is equivalent to an average serving (1/2 cup freshly cooked vegetables or 1 cup raw leafy greens). Depending on your dietary needs, the “average” person should consume 4-5 vegetable servings per day, spread over two to three meals per day, with 4-5 different vegetables per meal.

Since the goal for optimum health is to diversify your vegetable intake (striving for smaller quantities of 12-15 different vegetables daily), you may choose to consume smaller amounts (1/4 to 1/2 tsp each) of multiple vegetable powders, combined with seasonally available fresh vegetables grown in your garden or sourced from your local farmers market or grocer.

Our larger jars (250ml) contain 50 average servings per container! (or more, if you use smaller amounts of multiple powders) Smaller jars (100ml) contain 20 tsp.

Why Do You Blanch Certain Vegetables Before Drying? Aren't Raw Vegetables Best?

The principle that guides us is, "How would we most like to eat the vegetable, and when does it look and taste the best and is the most nutritious?" For example, tomatoes are often eaten raw, so we slice and dehydrate them without any cooking. In contrast, kale has various anti-nutrients (such as oxalates) that are best "cooked out." In addition, kale tastes best lightly cooked, looks the most vibrant and is the most nutritious when briefly cooked, so this is how we prepare it (and most greens) before dehydrating. Pumpkins and squash are baked, carrots are blanched, etc. — just as most people would prepare these vegetables at home. 

Dr. Cowan’s Garden is the only company that uses a proprietary blanching method to ensure our customers can enjoy the maximum health benefits of vegetables in their most bioavailable state.

Are The Powders As Good As Vegetables You Pick And Prepare Yourself?

Very little nutrition is lost in our proprietary blanching and dehydration process (mostly vitamin C) and, depending on where you source your vegetables, our powders may even be more nutrient dense. 

A little nutrition is lost in preparing our vegetable powders, but not much; mostly vitamin C is lost in cooking and dehydration, which can easily be replaced by other foods. According to the USDA, most of the nutrients (like B vitamins) are at around 90-95 percent levels in dehydrated vegetables. The only exceptions are vitamin C, which is maintained at around 60 percent, folic acid at 65 percent, and thiamine at 85 percent. 

Locally grown, organic and biodynamic produce is always best, but if fresh vegetables are out of season, limited in variety, grown in soil contaminated with glyphosates or other toxins, or shipped across long distances, they may not be as nutrient rich, or worse, may contain harmful toxins.

We source our vegetables from small family farmers using organic and regenerative farming methods to safely grow the finest, most nutritious vegetables. Let the taste and smell of the powders be your guide. These powders are very fresh foods!

Why Not Just Take A Vitamin Pill Or Nutritional Supplement?

From Dr. Cowan: “On the first day of medical school, I heard one of my professors make a statement that has informed my approach to medicine ever since: ‘Always remember, the dumbest kidney is smarter than the smartest nephrologist.’ In other words, we have a lot to learn about the human body, and its inherent wisdom is the ultimate teacher.

I apply that same thinking to food: ‘The dumbest plant is smarter than the smartest chemist.’ In other words, the nutrients in, for example, kale, work together in a way too complex for us to isolate and put into a pill. If we want the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals from kale -- and other nutritious vegetables -- we should eat kale that has been grown without chemicals, and picked when its color and flavor are at their peak.

Some supplement companies do use whole foods in their supplements, and they can be excellent adjuncts when dealing with a health challenge, but even the most conscientious whole-food supplement manufacturers use additives such as maltodextrin, soy flour, calcium stearate and other stabilizers, which many people seek to avoid. I maintain that our bodies want to be nourished by whole foods, not synthetics, and that means a diet of good fats and proteins, and a large variety of vegetables.”

To quote the Radiant Life catalog: ‘Synthetic or isolated forms of vitamins are poorly assimilated and stress cells, often unbalancing the body's enzyme substrates.’”

Why Use Miron Violet Glass Jars? Aren't There Cheaper Alternatives?

Yes, there are less expensive alternatives, but we’ve found that miron violet glass works like a natural filter that blocks the aging wavelengths of light and lets in only the wavelengths that enhance potency (UV-A, far-infrared and visible-violet). You can wash and reuse your jars again and again! Our refill pouches have the perfect amount of powder to refill your jars!

We became convinced of the effectiveness of miron violet glass jars when we did our own test with freshly picked cherry tomatoes, one placed in a miron jar and one in clear glass. After 3.5 months, the miron jar tomato still looked freshly picked, and the one in clear glass was rotten (see photo to right). It took 5 months for the miron jar tomato to begin showing signs of aging. Based on this test, we recommend using your powders within three to five months for maximum nutrition benefits, though they remain shelf stable for 2 to 3 years or more.

From Dr. Cowan: “I heard about Miron (or purple jars) years ago but never tried them, mostly because they are very expensive. More recently, I revisited the issue as a way to properly store many of the common foods I use (oils, water, crispy nuts) and found that there are some interesting things about these jars. Normal sunlight consists of three "types" of light, which scientists call UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-B and UV-C stimulate plants to grow, but they also cause decomposition of the plants after they die. UV-A does not provoke the same decomposition, or, at least, it affects decomposition to a much lesser extent. Early research also suggests that UV-A and far-infrared wavelengths have an energizing or preservative effect on whatever they encounter, although this is a very complicated subject. The color and thickness of the Miron jars are intended to screen out as much of the UV-B and UV-C wavelengths as possible, while admitting as much of the UV-A and far-infrared wavelengths as possible. These properties allow for prolonged storage and, possibly even an "energetic" enhancement of the contents of the jar.”

How Long Will The Powders Last In Miron Jars?

We expect the powders to be fresh for three years or more when stored in the Miron jars (away from direct heat and light), but we encourage you to use them within three to five months to consume them at their utmost vitality. We recommend that you check your powders from time to time, and perhaps even give them a stir with a clean knife to keep them from settling. But we stand behind our powders, so if any powder goes bad in less than three months from when you purchased it, we will send you a new powder of your choice (same size) at no charge.

What's The Best Way To Store The Powders At Home? Should They Be Refrigerated?

Keep your Miron jars of Dr. Cowan’s Powders on your kitchen counter or in a cupboard. The vegetable powders should not be refrigerated, as that could draw moisture to them. Also, keep them away from direct heat or strong sunlight, such as a stove burner or windowsill.

How Long Will The Powders Last For An Average User?

Each large jar (250ml) contains approximately 50 teaspoons of powder (100ml jars contain approx. 20 tsp), and one teaspoon is the equivalent of an average portion of freshly cooked vegetables, such as kale or Swiss chard. Because we recommend using several powders at once to add as much vegetable diversity as possible to your meal, you could easily use just a half-teaspoon each of, say, three powders, which would make each jar last a couple of months at least. 

Use them in combination with fresh local vegetables, in small amounts (1/4 to 1/s tsp or more of each), to arrive at the recommended daily goal of 12-15 different vegetables per day (4-5 servings – 1/2 cup cooked, 1 cup raw or 1 tsp total of powders) spread over two or three meals per day, with 4-5 different vegetables per meal.

Can You Refill Your Jars, Or Do You Have To Order The Powders In The Jars Each Time?

We offer refill pouches for almost all of our powders, providing a cost-saving convenience for our customers and enabling reuse of our precious miron jars. We encourage you to immediately transfer your powders to your empty Miron jars to prolong the powders’ longevity and vitality.

My Powder Looks Lighter/Darker Than Last Time. Is It Still Fresh?

Yes, as a natural product, color variations from batch to batch are perfectly normal and, because we harvest in small batches, we have constant product turnover for maximum freshness. For example, our Three Beet Powder may have more or less yellow beets, making the powder darker or lighter in color, and our Ashitaba Powder may have a slightly more yellow or green color, depending on the time of year it’s harvested. In fact, with Ashitaba powder, the yellow hue indicates that more chalcones are in the product, which are currently being studied for their potential anticancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

My Powder Is Clumpy. Does This Mean It's Not Fresh?

Nope. Actually, clumpy powders are a badge of honor for Dr. Cowan’s Garden, because it means that you are getting the freshest, most pure product! We recommend that you gently stir your vegetable powders with a spoon or butter knife periodically, right in the jar, to break up any clumps and keep the product from settling.

No Additives – Just Vegetables – Our vegetable powders contain nothing but the highest quality vegetables available. We don’t add preservatives or desiccants. We simply process our vegetables by drying them out and grinding them into powders at their peak of freshness (when the Brix content is the highest) and in their optimal state for maximizing bioavailable nutrients, which for most of our vegetables, requires blanching to release nutrients and break down natural toxins. 

Are The Jars Supposed To Be Filled To The Top? My Jar Doesn't Look Full.

When dehydrating vegetables, our goal is to achieve an 8% moisture content or less, at which point we fill our jars by volume, right to the top. However, there will always be some settling in the jar that occurs during storage, handling and shipping and, depending on any slight variations in moisture content, will result in more or less settling of product from jar to jar. This is a normal occurrence, because we are dealing with natural products that vary as growing conditions change between each harvest. Please be assured that we fill every jar to capacity each time. For pouch refills, we take the average weight by jar volume for each product batch and use that measurement to determine the refill quantity.

Will The Powders Dissolve In Liquid?

No, our powders are not “water soluble,” because we use the whole vegetable, including the fiber, and not just powdered vegetable juice. You are receiving the full nutrient density of the vegetable in every jar or pouch. However, our powders do work well suspended in thicker liquids, such as smoothies, and can also be steeped in hot water to make a tea by placing inside a stainless tea ball, muslin pouch or unbleached paper tea bag.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.