Super Search

Submitted questions will be posted with my response by the following Tuesday or before.
Submitted comments will be moderated and approved within 24 hours.

Economical Source of Date Sugar in Bulk

Question from wt


I’ve been cooking with date sugar of late, and love it. however, it is very expensive, and difficult to find. does anyone have a good source for date sugar online? i’m currently paying about $9 per pound at whole foods.

Thank you.

Debra’s Answer

Best price I could find is $3.60 lb when you buy 25 lb (organic) at

If you want to buy it by the pound, it’s $4.49 lb for 1 lb at Adirondack Nutrition.

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Wood Wick Candles

Question from bev Rockey

I received one for Christmas. I was told they are made of Soy and Pariffin and the wick is organic wood. Are the safe ?

Debra’s Answer

I hadn’t heard of this product before, so I looked it up. It was easy to find by typing “wood wick candle” into a search engine.

The idea behind this candle is that it has a thin piece of wood for the wick instead of fiber, so it makes a crackling sound like a burning fire in a fireplace.

But the candles themselves are still paraffin with artificial fragrance. And from what I can tell from the ads, they look to be highly scented.

I’d stick with the natural candles I’ve listed at Debra’s List: Interior Decorating: Candles.

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Winter Break

I’m taking a break to spend time with friends and family. Will be back at work on January 2.

You are welcome to submit comments and questions and I will review and post them when I return.

Have a wonderful holiday!

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Need Advice on Latex Beds

Question from Cathi

I was wondering if you could perhaps point me in the right direction. I have been looking into buying a tempurpedic bed, but would rather buy a natural bed along those same lines. From what I can tell, the Talalay latex bed might be the best bet.

When I have been to Tempurpedic stores, I have been told that their mattresses hold the heat from your body. I would rather not have that. Do you know if latex beds are similar to that?

I know that you air out your mattresses, and have to watch that they do not get moist. Are the latex beds like that?

Also, did you used to live in Clearwater, Florida? I don’t know what a latex bed feels like. Do you know of any stores that have them in this area, where I can test one out?

Lastly, I know that you love your bed, but if you could choose any latex bed with any wool additions and sheets, could you relay that to me?

As I said, I am trying to sift through all the beds, and your expertise is invaluable to me.

Debra’s Answer

These are all good questions, and I am going to ask my readers to respond, because I don’t have a latex bed.

I do live in Clearwater, Florida, and I don’t know of a store here that sells latex mattresses.

I don’t have a latex bed personally because I find that there is an odor that is not agreeable to my body. I do have latex strips on my wood slats, and I had to air these out for about six weeks before I could bring them in my bedroom. It’s just the natural smell of the latex itself.

I have laid on several different latex mattresses and they are very soft and luxurious.

So, readers, please post your comments on how you like your latex beds, what they feel like, do they hold heat, do you have to watch for moisture, and any other advice you can give Cathi about choosing a latex bed.

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Teflon on George Forman Grills?

Question from bev Rockey

I am really trying to do away with all my Teflon coated cooking pans. How harmful is the George Foreman Grill? I love mine.

Debra’s Answer

Personally, I don’t use any pot, pan, or appliance with a Teflon or other no-stick finish. There are different grades of Teflon, but it’s all still Teflon.

We all have to make decisions about what we are willing to use and what we aren’t willing to use. It’s a personal decision, based on health, budget, and various personal factors.

It took me a long time to give up my favorite shade of red lipstick. But ultimately, I’m happy I did.

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Fiberglass Insulation Problem

Question from CynthiaK


We are thinking of buying a 1920 house that has fiberglass insulation haphazardly placed throughout the attic. My husband wants to have the the new air conditioning ducts installed there. I am afraid that the workers will track it through the house or worse yet, get it into the air ducts while assembling it.

Should I be concerned that the house and the air ducks could become contaminated and how high is the probability that it would get contaminated? Should we consider removing all the old insulation before installing the duct system? I can’t imagine that they would get it all out or possibly disperse more of the fibers in the living space while doing it.

I suggested to my husband that maybe we should just get a ductless system for upstairs and install the duck work in the basement for the first floor. The only problem with this is that it maybe cost prohibited and I won’t be able to have the air filtration system going through there either.

The attic door (walk in) is located in the second floor guest bedroom. The first floor will be our primary living and sleeping area.

I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and it is imperative that I have a healthy environment. Can you offer us some suggestions?

Debra’s Answer

I’m going to ask some experts to comment on this. Meanwhile, readers, what is your experience?

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Looking for Vitamin D3

Question from HAH


Searching for a Natural Vitamin D3 (Cholcaliferol),encapsulated in Veggie Capsules or in Bovine Gelatin Capsules or if possible in Tablet form.

Not the synthetic version (Ergocalciferol)!

Really need your help!



Debra’s Answer

Readers? Anyone know where to get this?

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glass food processor

Question from stacy

I always worry that the polycarbonate plastic is leaching into the hot food that I put into the food processor. Does anybody know if there are any food processors made of glass?



Debra’s Answer

I don’t know of one. Readers?

I’d recommend using a high-speed blender to puree hot foods rather than a food processor. I’ve heard that chefs actually prefer a blender for puree. Or get an “immersion blender” that you can use right in the pot.

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toxic windows

Question from baf

We are having a difficult time finding safe windows for our house. We put new windows in my sons bedroom and we are no longer able to go near that room. I called Jeldwin and asked for the material saftey sheet and sure enough they were vaccum sealed to the core with insecticide fungicide and 4 proprietary solvents.Our temporary Solution is sealing the window with aluminum foil.This leaves the room very dark and still with aslight odor although with an air filter the room it is habitable for short periods of time. We need to find windows that do not contain chemicals or materials that outgas and make us sick.

Debra’s Answer

I dont’ know of any windows that don’t have toxic chemicals in the finish.

Readers, please let us know about windows you have used sucessfully. I personally haven’t purchased new windows–I always buy salvage windows.

And let this be a reminder to ask for and read the MSDS before you buy.

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