Summer is well underway, but with the 4th of July past, now is the time we settle in and try to shed some of those pounds gained during the early summer frenzy. As a general rule of thumb, it is always good to eat locally grown foods for a variety of reasons. These include everything from more time on the vine to less environmental impact and lower cost. Many doctors claim that a diet high in plant based foods will keep you healthy and help you maintain the perfect weight. Here is a list of 5 local “must eats” for most of the U.S. this summer. Read more “5 Foods You’ve Gotta Eat This Summer”
Institute for Responsible Technology, May 4, 2010 wrote:
Action Alert – Codex Conference
Please send this URGENT message to US Government leaders to protect your right to know which foods are made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Send an email today to the Secretaries of State (Clinton), Agriculture (Vilsack), and Health and Human Services (Sebelius).
They must stop US negotiators at an international (Codex) conference from May 3-7, from pushing an agenda that could make it difficult for anyone, anywhere in the world to label foods as genetically modified (GM) food—or even make non-GMO claims on their product’s label.
The US is taking the ridiculous and unscientific position that GMOs are not different from conventional foods, claiming labels that say GMO or non-GMO are misleading. If they succeed at the meeting, the US may then file lawsuits through the World Trade Organization against any country that implements mandatory labeling of GMOs, or even allows non-GMO claims on packages.
This is a grave threat to the Non-GMO Tipping Point—We must push back now! Read more “US Government Claims GMOs Are no Different Than non-GMOs”
So I was digging through old magazines that were piling up and came across some great information in a past issue of Vive. It outlines some very practical ways to make your everyday life greener. As all of you know, a healthy earth equals a healthier you. I changed the order of things a little bit, but here we go.
1) Stop Drinking Bottled Water. Bottled water accounts for astronomical amounts of unnecessary waste, especially because it is much more efficient and better for nature (yourself included) to drink filtered tap water. Also, use a stainless steel or glass water bottle to avoid possible leaching of toxic chemicals from plastic bottles.
2) Donate Unwanted Items. The popularity of pre-owned goods is on the rise, keeping ridiculous amounts of perfectly good items out of landfills. A plethora of organizations are designed to make this process easy for those willing to donate. Many Salvation Army locations offer pickup services and items can be dropped off at any number of non-profit businesses. The Salvation Army sells what it can to fund charitable efforts and bundles the rest to be shipped off to third world countries. Finally, websites like www.FreeCycle.org and www.CraigsList.org make it possible to give away, trade or even sell your unwanted items to individuals in your local area.
3) When Possible, Buy Pre-Owned. This follows suit with donating unwanted items. Thrift shops and online communities are filled with quality items priced at a fraction of what their worth. I know most will not feel comfortable buying everything pre-owned, but the next time you go to purchase that wobbly, particle board desk that requires full assembly, think of the beautiful mahogany available for the same price. Read more “16 Everyday Tips for a Greener Life”
People often ask what food additives they should be sure to avoid. Before I answer this question, I would like to explore the purpose of these ingredients. The vast majority of elements we suggest you avoid in food are additives and preservatives with some classified as excitotoxins. These chemicals are used to preserve as well as enhance the color, flavor and appearance of the product.
If you think like we do, then you are also wondering why foods would need these added “services”. All of us usually prefer fresh foods to anything else. When most people are served really fresh foods they appreciate the color, appearance and most of all the great taste.
Why then would foods need to be processed or enhanced? Could it be that they would otherwise not be fit for consumption or maybe in order to extend the shelf life they must be “de-natured”? The truth is simply this: by adding these chemicals to our food supply, manufacturers can mass produce the food in larger quantities and extend the shelf life of their product while “enhancing flavor”. Basically, chemicals are used to increase their profit margins.
Before we continue I understand that you may be thinking, “It’s such a small amount of toxins I don’t see how ingesting them can be so harmful. Surely food companies would not put something so dangerous on the shelves.” You’re right, they are very small amounts of pesticides or additives that are in each piece of food you eat, but ask yourself, can your body truly consume small amounts of poison every day and not be affected? Not likely.
When considering the idea of organic, healthy eating, many people believe it is price prohibitive and unrealistic. People are unfamiliar with the idea that organic, healthy foods, when prepared correctly, will actually taste better than their processed counterparts. And because the body is getting the nutrients it needs, people will tend to eat less. The end result is that it can actually save them money on their grocery bills.
With the right knowledge and recipes, we can enjoy the same meals we currently love, only in a much healthier way. Our overall message is: the simpler the better. Stick to foods with few ingredients and preferably ones that you can pronounce without a dictionary. Start by staying away from things like aspartame, monosodium glutamate, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and hydrogenated oils. Make sure your fish is wild caught and your meats were not given antibiotics or hormones. Finally, if you want to take your health a step further, click here for a printable list of Food Additives to Avoid. Feel free to post this on your refrigerator or take it to the grocery store with you.
Food Additives to Avoid
benzoates in food
butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
brominated vegetable oil (BVO)
calcium disodium EDTA
cysteine or l-cysteine (usually in bread products)
(ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) EDTA
colors FD & C
high fructose corn syrup
disodium inosinate (IMP)
microparticularized (whey protein derived fat substitute)
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
partially hydrogenated oil
solvent extracted oils, as standalone single-ingredient oils (except grapeseed oil).
sulfites (sulfur dioxide)
“Sweet Poison”, by Dr. Janet Starr Hull
“Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills” , by Dr. Russell L. Blaylock
“The Deadly Deception: Story of Aspartame” , by Mary Nash Stoddard
“Slow Poisoning of America”, by John E. Erb and Michelle Erb
“Defense against Alzheimer’s Disease” , by Dr. H.J. Roberts
In a world with ever increasing demand for organic products, it’s no surprise that producers of less than worthy goods would try to take advantage of the trend. As consumers, we are left to fend for ourselves in a sea of consumables with the constant bombardment of “organic” this and “all natural” that. In an attempt to sort this mess out for all of us, I was able to dig up some information that should clear the water. Below are USDA labeling standards for various products.
100% Organic = 100% organic. Its true! Finally a label that tells the whole story.
Organic = At least 95% of contents are organic. Still a safe bet for organic lovers.
Made with organic ingredients = At least 70% of contents are organic. I’m surprised, based on past experiences, 70% seems incredibly high for such a vague label. Now aren’t you happy you read this article?
*USDA ORGANIC seal may not be used on products that are “made with organic ingredients” (70% organic).
Read the complete explanation on USDA standards for Labeling and Marketing here.
“All Natural” Labeling
I know this is an article on organics, but I bet you are also wondering what about the “all natural” claims? In a 2009 interview with foodnavigator-usa.com, an FDA official said “the agency had not put the ‘natural’ issue on its priority list because there is not enough evidence that the current situation means consumers are being misled.” She went on to state that “even if people interpret it in different ways it doesn’t mean there is confusion out there. If there was, then we would definitely raise it as a priority”.
As a result, an “all natural” product label means absolutely nothing! Ever been misled? That’s right, if you are purchasing products based on this claim, now is the time to re-evaluate them. Products labeled “all natural” could actually contain all sorts of additives including MSG, aspartame, artificial colors, preservatives, you name it. They could actually be much worse for you than those not making that claim.
Organic Food Resources
So no help there, but if you need somewhere to turn, check out our article about Food Additives to Avoid . There you will get a grasp on what to look for and avoid in food. We want to help you move beyond the marketing.
You can also visit the Natural Products Association. They are a non profit dedicated to aiding consumers through the certification of truly natural products through established standards and research.
As always, your health is your wealth so be thoughtful, get educated and spend it wisely!
Whether you have been eating organic for years, or are just getting started, we would like to share the basics with you.
As proven through the growth of organic chains and the organic section at your local grocery store, this is not a standard five year health trend. According to the USDA, retail sales of organic food rose from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $21.1 billion in 2008 and we mean it when we say that this is just the beginning. Organic eating has become a lifestyle for millions of people and has accelerated to a point where the entire industry faces supply shortages.
Why are people willing to pay more for organic foods?
So why is the popularity of these foods booming despite higher cost? Organic certification by the USDA requires that farmers follow strict guidelines during every step of agriculture production to reduce pollution as well as improve soil and water quality. That explains the higher cost, but people are not paying organic premiums solely for their benefits to the environment. A great deal of the demand for these products hinges on the fact that organic farming relies “on ecologically based practices such as cultural and biological pest management, exclusion of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones in crop and livestock production.” This means no more chemicals in our food or our environment. It also holds true for foods with multiple inputs. For example a box of organic cereal would have the vast majority or all of its ingredients produced in this way.
Just how dangerous are farming chemicals?
Note the hazmat suit in this video…
That’s right, people are finally demanding foods that lack unpronounceable ingredients and chemicals. The general population is quickly realizing the benefits of foods produced the way nature intended. So whether you want to clean up the environment, eat food that has not been subject to synthetic chemicals or some combination of the two, consider reading deeper into these issues or heck, just try some.
More information pertaining to organic food can be found here:
Organic Labeling and Marketing: Who can I trust?…article
EPA Site for Information on Organic Food…website
Is Organic Food Better for You?…article
Organic vs Natural…article
Food Additives to Avoid…article
Carolyn Dimitri, and Lydia Oberholtzer
Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-58) 33 pp, September 2009
Photo by ciao_yvon