The Time to Go Organic is Now…

Recent news regarding an increase in the allowable pesticide levels used on conventional produce is disturbing, to say the least. In case you haven’t heard, the EPA has increased the allowable amount of Glyphosate on food crops from 200 ppm to 6000 ppm. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, neurological disorders, DNA damage, and birth defects,  not to mention the damage it is doing to the environment. What this means for us is that we will be eating food more laden with chemicals. This is due to the fact that most of the conventional, processed foods that we eat contain corn, soy, sugar, and canola, which are some of the most common GM crops. GM crops are able to withstand high levels of Glyphosate because that’s what they were created to do. Farmers need crops to survive a dousing of chemicals designed to kill the superweeds that “infest” the fields.

So, unfortunately, most of the foods that we are eating will be doused with chemicals. What’s the solution? Our family has decided to deal with this in three ways:

  1. Give up most processed foods, unless they are certified organic and certified GMO-free
  2. Buy only organic produce
  3. Grow our own food – I found a company that sells only GMO-free seeds called SeedsNow.com and so far, I am really happy with them. This way, we can guarantee that the produce we grow is organic and safe.

Doing these things not only ensures that what we are feeding our family is safe and nutritious, but it also keeps our money from funding Monsanto and big agriculture!

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Help End the Food Monopoly!

Last spring when we started our vegetable garden, we thought we were doing something really great.  We were going to grow our own food, organically.  We weren’t going to use any pesticides and the soil mix that my husband painstakingly hand mixed was made up of all-natural things. We were so excited!  I bought plants from our local nurseries and organic seeds from the store.  I planted kale, onions, carrots, rainbow chard, collards, mustard, leeks, spinach, and lettuce with excitement, love, and high expectations.

At the same time, my interest in GMOs and Monsanto was budding. As a matter of fact, this was one of the main reasons that we decided to start growing our own food.  We wanted to protect the health of our children and avoid supporting this company at all costs. You can imagine the heartbreak and anger I felt when I discovered that many, if not all, of the plants I had growing more than likely came from Monsanto’s seeds. This is because Monsanto has a nice monopoly going. Here is one article, but feel free to Google it yourself. They apparently own 90% of the seed market in the U.S. (see this list of seed companies owned by Monsanto). So in trying to make what we thought was a healthy choice for our family, we were supporting the very company we were trying to avoid.

Fortunately, I was able to find certified organic non-GMO seeds and am now phasing out all of the other plants and herbs in my garden. So far, I am happy with these seeds (from SeedsNow.com) and will post more photos when everything is up and growing 🙂 !

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Money Over Health, Part 2

OK, so I am going to step up onto the soapbox now and rant about diets. I’ve been on just about every one of them. I’ve read just about every fad book. You’d think I would be an expert by now!  Well, I am an expert of sorts, I suppose. I know a lot about diets and I know what to eat with what, how much to eat, when to eat. I know about the macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) and how to combine them. I know it ALL. Or, at least I thought I did. And I know I am not alone. The CDC estimates that over 35% of Americans are obese. That is alarming! More alarming are the statistics about children and adolescents. “Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago.

Being overweight or obese may not seem like a huge problem in and of itself, but major health problems seem to accompany the condition – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, need I go on?  When Americans spend billions of dollars treating diseases each year but disease rates and spending are on the rise, something is drastically wrong here! I don’t think I am a paranoid person, but it seems like someone wants us to be sick. “Healthcare” is, after all, a business. Plus, I learned that the “trusted” FDA gets its food recommendations from the very industries that profit from it – the meat and dairy industries. (Please see The China Study for an eye-opening look into the food industry. Also, check out my links page for more recommendations for great reading and helpful sites)

So, here’s an idea: prevent disease instead of treating it once it’s happened. As Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) so astutely said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A good way to start is this:

Eat Less C.R.A.P. :

  • Carbonated Sodas
  • Refined Sugars
  • Artificial Sweetenrs
  • Processed Foods

Eat More F.O.O.D. :

  • Fresh, Organic Fruits and Vegetables
  • Organic, Plant-Based Protein
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Drink Water

I am in the process of building up my recipe page, but in the mean time, check out my links page for cookbooks that have inspired me.

 

 

Put your money where your mouth is

For those of you who are aware of and avoiding GMOs or have any other causes that you care about, there is a smartphone app called Buycott that you can take with you to the store. On the site, you can select causes to join and anytime you scan a product in the store that is affiliated with or attached to a cause that you join, it will alert you. My daughter and I LOVE taking this shopping with us. Anytime we get an alert, my daughter says, “GMO! Put it back!” A word of caution, though – just because a product does not get a red alert on Buycott does not mean that it is free of GMOs. Most often, only products that are owned by or affiliated with the corporation Monsanto will show up.  Here is a list of companies that make products that are certified GMO free by the Non GMO Project.

One of the hardest things to shop for if you’re trying to go GMO free is breakfast cereal. Buying organic almost certainly guarantees that the product is GMO free.  My kids are taste-testing a variety of cereals right now in an attempt to break an addiction to Honey Nut Cheerios. Read the Cornucopia Cereal Report to see how your favorites rate.

Grow Your Own!

The next thing we did was start our own vegetable garden. I had never before experienced the joy and pride in cultivating a garden! Although my local grocery store has a beautiful selection of organic fruits and vegetables and my town has a fantastic weekly farmer’s market, we wanted to try our hands at growing our own. I also wanted to show the kids how rewarding it is to pluck dinner from our own back yard!

I am very fortunate to have a neighbor and friend who is much more skilled and seasoned in the art of gardening. She shared this book with me. I do not have a green thumb, so any help is greatly appreciated!  Square Foot Gardening taught us how to provide the right mix of soil to grow a really nice garden.  I used organic, non-gmo seeds and currently have a variety of lettuces, kale, rainbow chard, carrots, celery, tomatoes, red and purple peppers, collards, lemon cucumbers, and eggplants. I also have an extensive herb garden on my deck which includes basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, mint, cilantro, cumin, thyme, dill, parsley, and wheat grass.

It is so much fun to cook when you can just walk outside and help yourself to natures bounty!

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