Check this out! Joy Moore is an elementary school teacher who incorporates nutrition and label reading into her math lessons. I love it, especially the part where she makes them all fresh smoothies as a reward for a job well done! Seriously, smoothies are pretty motivating 🙂
A friend sent me this article today and I thought readers might be interested. Just another reason to avoid McDonalds. Think about it…food is supposed to rot and break down. If it doesn’t, is it really food? The article notes that the hamburger feels like plastic and seems completely preserved. Imagine what your body must go through in order to breakdown and digest something like that. If the energy it takes to digest the food is more than the energy you get from the nutrients in the food, it is worth it? This is the reason we feel sluggish and tired after eating food with little nutritional value. It is a simple efficiency equation!
I’ll go back to the food is fuel discussion. If the true purpose of eating a meal is to fuel your body so that you have energy to do all of the things you want to do with your day, why eat something that is going to be counterproductive and put you in a food coma? Many people will argue that it is because it tastes good, and I challenge that argument. It doesn’t really taste good, it’s just that all of the salt and preservatives fool you into thinking that it does. Once people learn how to cook for themselves and/or know where to buy good nutritious food on the go, they tend to find that the food tastes better and their bodies feel better too.
Today was a special day for a lot of different reasons. First there was the 10/10/10 Global Work Party organized by 350.org where people at 7,347 different events in 188 countries got to work on climate change. Then there was The Portland Marathon where so many of my friends ran in the cold and the rain (I’m so proud of you all!!!). And lastly, but more appropriate for this blog, today was the first ever official Non-GMO Day, and we already have things to celebrate!
The United States Court of Appeals upheld our (specifically OH citizens) right to know when there are GMO’s in our milk! For years now, conventional dairy farmers have increased yield in their dairy cattle through the use of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), also known as recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST). These growth hormones are similar to steroids and result in an average increased yield of 10-15%, but up to 40% in some cows. Hey, more production is always better, right? Wrong! These hormones have been proven to negatively impact the health of cows including bacterial infections (which mean more puss and antibiotics in your milk), hoof diseases, internal bleeding, and even deformed calves. They also increase the levels of Insulin Growth Factor-1 in the milk, which can lead to colon, prostate and breast cancer in humans. Can you believe that the FDA actually allows this stuff on the market?!?!
For all of these reasons, it is so important that consumers have the right to choose. Do you want to buy milk from sick cows? Well apparently the US Appeals Court didn’t either, because even though tons of the lobbyists were fighting against labeling your milk for rBGH & rBST, they didn’t win, and that’s a huge win for us!!!
There has been a lot of focus recently on genetically modified salmon as the FDA is just days away from approving the first GM animal for our consumption. These salmon would grow about twice as fast as regular salmon, making them much more profitable to farm and would provide more for the market at a time when we are seeing wild salmon shortages. GMOs could some day provide a safe and viable food source, but for now I am opposed to any GMO until the FDA develops a testing process for each new product set to go out to market. At the moment, they are rushing the approval of the GM salmon and classifying it in the same way as they do veterinary drugs. We will not know whether these products are truly safe until they have been rigorously tested in double-blind studies which are available to the public and the privacy is taken out of our food. We just don’t know enough to know if it is safe. For now if you would like to make sure you aren’t eating any GMOs, Certified Organic is your best bet next to knowing your farmer or growing your own.
If you would like to read more, here are a few articles I found to be helpful in understanding the issues:
Organic Consumers Association
Sorting Out the Myth And Reality Of Transgenic Fish
Are Genetically Engineered Foods (Including Salmon) More Allergenic?
The Slow Food Organization has it right. Check out their new PSA above and sign the petition if you care about your food safety. Then vote with your dollars at your farmers market.
Photo Courtesy of Brie Hilliard
We have all heard about the recent recall of over half a billion eggs due to salmonella, and if you have seen any of the documentaries such as Food Inc., you know all about the factory farming conditions which contribute to outbreaks such as this. This mainstream media attention has brought a new spotlight on the problem and I think that it will go a long way in helping people make the right choices in their purchasing decisions in the future, but I feel that it is important to note the vast differences that farming conditions have on the quality of the eggs beyond food safety issues.
The picture shown above is one that I took while making dinner one night. I had just been to the farmers market and bought a dozen eggs from my local farmer, market buddy, and “eggman”, Wes of Wag Organic Eggs. I still had one of the “cage free, vegi-fed” eggs in my fridge from my previous trip to the grocery store and so I cracked that one first. Then cracked in one of Wag Organic Eggs’ pasture raised and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic eggs. Can you guess which is which? The egg with the dark orange healthy yolk comes from a free range chicken that has been raised out at pasture and along with being fed an organic chicken feed, goes about its daily life eating all the things that are natural to a chicken’s diet, such as grass, grubs, and bugs, while the egg with the yellow yolk came from a chicken that was fed an all vegetarian diet, most likely indoors and without access to pasture.
Not only do the pasture raised farm fresh eggs taste better (which I can personally attest to), but they are also much higher in vitamin D because the chickens are raised outdoors…and that is a vitamin that Oregonians such as me tend to be seriously lacking due to our long 9 month rainy season!
Pasture raised is better for the land as well, not contributing to factory farm run-off pollution issues and instead fertilizing the soil and providing a healthier environment for the chickens. Next time you need eggs, consider buying them direct from a local farm that pasture raises their chickens. They may cost an extra buck or two, but isn’t it worth it to know that you are bringing home the healthiest possible products?
Eat Wild – Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products
There are only a few days of kindergarten that I remember now as an adult, but one of them was when we tapped our maple tree out in the school yard, and another was when we made our classroom into a sugar shack for the day, boiled down the sap into maple syrup and had an amazing pancake breakfast.
Lately, there has been quite a ruckus in the maple syrup community of Vermont due to syrup producers labeling their products as “All Natural”. This marketing ploy leads us to believe that we are buying a pure product, when in fact we are not. The syrup producers who are using now very little if any maple in their syrups are able to price them significantly lower than if it were pure maple syrup. Farmers just can’t compete, especially when it takes 10 gallons of sap to make one quart of pure syrup.
Labeling is a big problem in the food industry. Wording such as “All Natural” and “Made With Real Fruit” are allowed on packaging even if the product is chock full of additives and preservatives because the FDA has not strictly defined these terms. We as consumers are being bamboozled and farmers are struggling to stay in business as the industry becomes more corrupt in their competition.
Next time you are shopping, try to ignore the claims on the front of the package and check out the list of ingredients on the back. If there are a bunch of words that you can barely pronounce and it looks more like a chemistry experiment, maybe it’s not really food. Oh, and if you’ve never had real maple syrup, treat yourself…it is soooo good!
Vt: Log Cabin All Natural Syrup not the real deal
How to make maple syrup