Organic grains are a healthy part of any diet. No matter how you choose to eat, there are organic grains out there that are perfect for you. If you’re concerned about gluten in your diet, you’ll be avoiding organic grains like wheat, spelt, farro and rye, but you can have organic grains like quinoa, rice, amaranth, millet and buckwheat. If you’re eating a raw vegan diet, did you know that quinoa and buckwheat can be eaten raw and sprouted? Even if you’re on a paleo (no grain) diet, quinoa (actually a seed, not a grain) is often considered acceptable.
Let’s take a look at a list of our favorite organic grains:
This South American grain has been cultivated for as long as 5,000 years in the Andes. An ancient food, quinoa is technically not a grain, although we think of it as a grain and cook it in a similar way. This is one of the two organic grains that is a complete protein and is a wonderful substitute for rice or bulgur wheat in pilafs. Quinoa is cooked like rice, with a ratio of 1 cup of quinoa to 1 1/2 cups of water. Try it in tabbouleh or other cold grain and veggie salads. Use it as a side dish in place of rice or potatoes. Quinoa even makes a great breakfast cereal when made with milk or a plant based dairy alternative using a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups of liquid. There are a few different varieties of quinoa, the most common being white quinoa. White quinoa has a light texture and nutty flavor and is best tasting when it is rinsed in water before cooking. Red and black quinoa are two other varieties that are a bit more nutty in flavor and a bit denser in texture. You’ll also find what is called rainbow or tri-color quinoa which is a blend of the white, red and black varieties.
Try this recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 2 scallions, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, chipped
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
In a medium pot, cover quinoa in water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover, and allow to cook about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, garlic, fresh mint and fresh parsley. Once the quinoa is cooked, use a fork to fluff and cool it down a bit. Add cooked quinoa, olive oil,lemon juice and salt to the chopped veggies and toss to combine. Chill for at least one hour before serving, preferably overnight, to allow flavors to meld.
A staple food in many parts of the world, rice comes in many, many varieties. You may be most familiar with long grain white rice and short grain brown rice; these are by far the most commonly used varieties in the U.S. By expanding into more exotic varieties, you’ll experience a great variety of flavor and texture. Try basmati rice or jasmine rice (brown or white) for a fragrant variety that pairs well with Indian and Thai flavors. If you haven’t tried Forbidden rice, it is a black rice that when it cooks turns a very dark purple color. It is chewier in texture than other rices and due to its deep, rich color, contains a high amount of antioxidants.
Try this recipe for Coconut Black Rice Pudding
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup Forbidden black rice
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan, mix water, rice and coconut milk, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, make sure to keep a close eye, adding extra water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the rice gets too dry. While the rice is cooking, toast the coconut. Heat your oven to 350°F. Place the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until golden-brown, stirring once during baking. When the rice is cooked to tender, add the sugar and salt. Simmer for two minutes, or until pudding is desired texture. Add a little more water for a wetter pudding; let cook longer for a drier pudding. Spoon into individual bowls and top with toasted coconut flakes.
Quite possibly the most versatile of the organic grains, wheat was key to enabling civilization to grow into the city-based societies that we now know. Because it was one of the first crops that could be grown on a large scale in a variety of climates and was able to be stored for long periods of time, wheat is often considered at the core of civilization. Wheat is a staple food that can be cooked whole or ground into flour for breads, cakes, noodles, pasta, cakes and more. Its versatility extends to its ability to be fermented to make beer and other alcoholic beverages and even biofuel. Wheat has come under a lot of criticism in recent years with the increase in celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. There are many theories as to why those sensitivities are on the rise, from hybridization to increase the gluten content of wheat, to GMO’s causing digestive disorders that make us more sensitive to gluten, to the simple fact that we as a country eat more wheat than ever in a processed state. Before industrialization made it possible to produce breads at the scale and pace that we do now, bread dough was given the opportunity to rise and ferment for much longer. That fermentation process seems to be key in transforming the gluten in wheat to a more easily digested substance in the bread product. That’s why sourdough breads are often more easily digested. Wheat berries can be used to make pilafs and porridges and can be ground to make homemade breads and pastries.
Try this recipe for Mushroom Wheat Berry Pilaf
- 2 tsps olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 lb sliced mushrooms
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups cooked wheat berries
- 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 1/2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
- 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tsp grated lemon rind
- salt & pepper to taste
One of the most ancient of the organic grains, Farro is also known as Emmer or Einkorn. Grown in Italy, Farro is a wild wheat that can be cooked like barley or ground into flour to make breads and pastas. Farro mwas first domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent and has been found in Egyptian tombs. As an ancient wheat, it has not been hybridized to increase its gluten content and while still off limits for those with Celiac disease, some people affected by gluten intolerance can actually tolerate Farro. Try Farro in soups and stews, as a porridge or risotto type dish.
Try this recipe for Farro Vegetable Soup
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup farro
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 quarts water
- One 15-ounce can pinto or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 large carrots, sliced in half rounds
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan, heat the oil and add the celery and onion. Cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the grains are coated. Add 1 quart of the water and the beans and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the carrots and the remaining 1 quart of water. Cover and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes until the carrots are tender. Add the peas, cover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Another seed that is called a grain, buckwheat is highly nutritious and is the other of the organic grains that is a complete protein. When roasted and cooked, buckwheat is called kasha, a dish that was brought to America by Polish and Russian immigrants. Buckwheat can also be sprouted and eaten raw, as many raw vegans do to use buckwheat in dehydrated crackers and breads. Buckwheat flour is used to make soba noodles and pancakes. This versatile grain is gluten free and despite having the word ‘wheat’ in its name is not a wheat at all.
Try this recipe for Kasha With Bowtie Pasta
- 1 cup kasha buckwheat groats, medium
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup pasta bow ties
Place the kasha in a medium frying pan on medium high heat and toast until you smell the aroma of the kasha. Remove from heat and mix the kasha with the beaten egg. This should be done quickly to ensure the egg doesn’t cook apart from the grain. Be sure all the grains are covered with egg. Place the pan back on the stove and using a wooden spoon, flatten it out a bit, stirring and moving it about the pan until the egg dries and the grains have mostly separated. Set aside. Place a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta bow ties. In a 4-quart heavy stove-top covered casserole, heat the oil and saute the onions until clear. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the salt and pepper and the reserved kasha. Stir and cover. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the kasha is tender, about 10 minutes. In the meantime, boil the bow tie pasta just until tender. Drain well and stir into the kasha. Season to taste and serve.
Yet another of the organic grains that is actually a seed, millet is most known in America as bird seed but it is a highly nutritious food. Traditionally grown in northern Africa, millet is one of the few organic grains that is alkalizing, making it easier than other grains to digest. If you’ve eaten Ethiopian food, you’ll be familiar with Injera, the spongy bread that is used to eat. Injera is made with teff, which is a variety of millet. Less exotic than Injera, you can use millet just like rice or quinoa. It is cooked in a ratio of 1 cup millet to 2 1/2 cups of water, using more water if you’d like a softer consistency for a breakfast porridge.
Try this recipe for Millet Chili
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 (15 oz) can of corn kernels
- 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans
- 1 (32 oz) container of vegetable broth
- 1 cup millet
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in large saucepan. Sauté onions, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper for 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add in corn, beans, broth, spices, and bring to a low boil. Add millet and stir. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste and stir. Adjust seasonings and serve, or simmer longer for even better flavor.
Again, Amaranth is actually a seed and not a grain, but it is used just like a grain. Although it looks a lot like millet, when cooked, amaranth has a mushier consistency so it makes a great breakfast porridge or mashed potato substitute. Amaranth can be popped as a snack – just pour some whole amaranth grain into a hot, dry skillet and shake or stir until the seeds pop. With its thicker consistency, amaranth makes a great addition to soups or stews that you may want to thicken naturally.
Try this recipe for Amaranth Grits With Cinnamon
- 4 ½ cups water
- pinch of sea salt
- ¾ cup amaranth grains
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 small apple, cored and chopped
- sweetener of choice (optional)
- milk or plant based milk alternative (optional)
Bring water and salt to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium-high flame. When the pan is hot, add amaranth. Cover and shake the skillet to keep the amaranth moving, so that it toasts and pops but does not burn. When about half of the seeds have popped, add amaranth and cinnamon to boiling water. Stir well and lower heat to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add apple and cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve plain or with sweetener and milk of choice.
Until relatively recently oats were one of the least desirous organic grains for human consumption. Because oats have a low gluten content and couldn’t easily be made into breads, they were overlooked for the more popular and versatile wheat. In recent years, however, many health conscious individuals have turned to oats instead of wheat specifically because they don’t contain gluten. Oats come in a number of varieties from whole oat groats, steel cut oats, and various sizes of rolled oats as well as oat flour. Mainly used to make oatmeal, oats can also be used in baked goods like oatcakes and oatmeal cookies and even oat bread. It is the main ingredient in muesli as well as granola.
Try this recipe for a homemade Cinnamon & Nut Granola
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried apples, diced small
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and almonds.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, add the honey, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour over the oat mixture and mix with your hands until the oats are thoroughly coated. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and continue baking until the granola is very light golden brown, another 5 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Add the dried fruit and nuts to the baking sheet and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container and enjoy within 2 weeks.
And there you have it, our 8 favorite organic grains and recipes to use them in. What are your favorite organic grains?
There are lots of reasons to buy bulk foods online, from saving money to preparing for natural disasters. When you’re buying bulk foods online, it’s important to choose wisely.
So which are the best bulk foods online to buy?
The best answer to that is whatever foods you use the most of. To be more specific, here’s a list of some of the most commonly purchased bulk foods online and some tips on choosing which to buy:
When you’re stocking up on foods, rice is a staple that is on everyone’s list. If you’re going to be storing rice for long periods of time, make sure to buy white rice instead of brown rice. Brown rice contains the germ, which is the oil in the rice. The germ can go rancid much more quickly than white rice so you’ll only want to store about three months worth of a brown rice vs. nearly unlimited storage for the white varieties. Try basmati or jasmine rice for extra flavor or try forbidden rice for an exotic change.
With a tremendous variety to choose from beans are a one of the great staples. When stored properly, beans have been known to last for decades, so these are great to stock up on. You’ll probably want to buy the most popular beans: black turtle beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans. Why not try some different beans like cannellini, adzuki, baby lima, great northern, or mung beans. Beans are a great staple food and when you’re buying bulk foods online, those staple foods are a great choice. Use them for soups, stews, dips, taco and burrito filling, eat them on green salads or chopped veggie salads. Bulk organic beans are definitely one of the best foods to stock up on.
One of the best staple foods, oats are available in a number of varieties: whole oat groats, rolled oats, and steel cut oats. Whole oat groats are an unprocessed oat kernel with the hull removed. Whole oat groats can be stored for quite some time; you can use a home grain mill to grind the groats into fresh flour as you need it. Steel cut oats are whole oat groats that have been cut into bits with steel blades. They’re also called pinhead oats and they look like a coarse grain. When making oatmeal from steel cut oats, your cooking time will be longer and your oatmeal will be nuttier and chewier than oatmeal made from rolled or quick oats. Rolled oats are your typical oatmeal variety – they come in various sizes from regular to thick and cooking times vary depending on the thickness. Quick oats have been rolled even flatter to have the shortest cooking time. Oats are not only great for making oatmeal but they’re also good for making cookies and breads.
A versatile grain that is higher in protein than other grains, quinoa is a fantastic choice when you’re buying bulk foods online. Quinoa can be quite expensive so buying in bulk will cut your costs and allow you to enjoy this incredibly healthy food. Quinoa cooks quickly in about 20 minutes and can be used in place of rice in most dishes. It can be eaten hot or cold, even as a breakfast porridge. Quinoa is available in a few different varieties: white, red, black and rainbow (a combination of the three). They all have a nutty flavor and great nutritional profile.
This often overlooked grain is another great pick. Buckwheat contains all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein that is very easy to digest. Although its name contains the word ‘wheat’, buckwheat is not part of the wheat family and contains no gluten. In fact it technically isn’t even a grain, it is a seed. It can be used to make porridge and cereals, and makes a great cooked grain base for a chopped veggie and grain salad. Buckwheat is also very useful in a variety of raw vegan dishes like granola and crackers.
When buying bulk foods online, it is important to only purchase a quantity that you will use before the product goes bad or gets stale. If you consume or use a lot of nuts, buying them in bulk will definitely save money but make sure to store them properly so they don’t go rancid. Because of their high fat content and tendency to go rancid, nuts should be kept refrigerated or even frozen if you’re going to store them for an extended period of time (8 months to a year). Some nuts store better than others so when nuts are on your list to buy bulk foods online, these are some of the better nuts to choose: Almonds, Hazelnuts, and peanuts have a higher fiber to fat ratio so they’ll store longer than nuts like walnuts and macadamia nuts.
Most people don’t think of buying spices in bulk when they are buying bulk foods online, but this is one place where you can really save money in the long run. Pick the spices you use the most for your cooking and baking, things like cinnamon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and other seasoning blends. When you’re buying them in smaller quantities, you’re paying for the jar almost as much as the spice inside. In contrast, if you’re buying bulk foods online, most bulk spices come in 1 pound mylar bags which are lightweight, inexpensive and great for long term food storage. Once you open the bag, you’ll need to transfer the spics to something airtight.
Remember, make sure you have sealable storage containers and that you have a cool, dry place to store your bulk foods. If you don’t think you can use them quickly enough, split them with a friend and you’ll get the benefits of the low cost when buying bulk foods online without having more food than you’ll use.
Love it or loathe it, we all need to grocery shop. Now matter which way you feel about it, doing your organic shopping online is easy and convenient. In fact, convenience is the number one reason people do their organic shopping online. It saves you time and money, and helps the environment by keeping your car off the road. These days, you can buy just about anything online, so why not leave the car in the garage and grab your keyboard instead.
What makes organic shopping online so convenient?
- You get to shop in your jammies! Just think, you don’t even have to get dressed to go grocery shopping. No one will know if you have bed head or stinky morning breath, and if you’ve got insomnia and feel like shopping in the middle of the night, stores are open!
- You do your organic shopping online over the course of a few days whenever you get the time. Most sites will allow you to create saved shopping lists that allow you to add things here and there until you have enough items together to place your order. If you’re busy and don’t have a whole lot of time, or if you tend to think of things you need randomly throughout the day, add them to your list and buy them later.
- Products arrive at your door. Its like getting a present every time your order comes to the door. No hauling bags and bags from the store to the car, then the car into the house; your box arrives at your doorstep without you have to leave the house!
- Save fuel! Since UPS and USPS trucks are already driving through your area delivering to your neighbors, why not have them deliver yours too. This way your groceries are basically carpooling with your neighbors packages.
- Find products that are unusual or hard to find locally. Not every product you want is at your local store, but you can find just about anything you want online. Why trudge from store to store only to find out they don’t have what you need. You can get exactly what you want and need online, any time.
What are your reasons for doing your organic shopping online?
You may be surprised to find out that organic nuts, especially raw tree nuts, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans have been linked to lower cholesterol, improved heart health, reduced risk of cancer and support of a healthy weight.
Many people avoid eating organic nuts because of the fat and calories in them, however a small handful of organic nuts can be a great improvement to your daily diet. High in fiber, protein, unsaturated fats,and vitamins and minerals, organic nuts have been shown to be protective of a variety of diseases.
Top 8 Organic Nuts
Walnuts contain the highest quantity of antioxidants of all organic nuts. Those antioxidants protect the body from the cellular damage that can cause cancer and heart disease. Walnuts also have the highest ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. Approximately 90% of the phenols in walnuts are found in the skin, that waxy, sometimes flaky outermost part of shelled walnuts. There can be slight bitter flavor to this skin so you may be tempted to remove it, but I’d encourage you to get used to the flavor and eat the skins. About 14 walnut halves has 185 calories and 18 grams fat.
With the most fiber of any of the organic nuts, almonds also have the most vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Almonds have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol as well as decrease insulin resistance. Almonds are the only nut and one of the few proteins that are alkaline forming, protecting you from osteoporosis, poor immune function, low energy and gaining weight. About 23 almonds has 170 calories and 15 grams fat
When you’re choosing which organic nuts to snack on, make pecans on the top of your list. Pecans are among the most antioxidant-rich nuts and may help prevent plaque formation in the arteries. Studies have shown that eating pecans can help lower LDL cholesterol as much as 33%. Pecans are also good for brain health; the vitamin E in pecans help delay progression of neurological diseases. About 18 halves has 200 calories and 21 grams fat
This is one of the best organic nuts for getting iron and zinc in your diet. Also a good source of magnesium, 1 ounce of cashews provides nearly 25% of your daily need. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and has been shown to prevent and manage hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. About 18 nuts has 165 calories and 13 grams fat.
These powerful nuts contain a high amount of selenium, a mineral that may help prevent bone, prostate and breast cancers. Brazil nuts are also a very good source of vitamin-E, a powerful antioxidant. Researchers with the The Journal of Clinical Investigation, report that the enzyme most important in keeping the thyroid hormone active contains an amino acid called selenocysteine. This rare amino acid is formed in the body through foods that contain selenium. Since this mineral is mostly found in meats and bread, it is a very important nut for people on a raw food diet. About 5 to 6 nuts has 185 cals and 18 grams fat.
One of the most calorie dense of the organic nuts, macadamia nuts contain the highest amount of monounsaturated fats per serving. This heart-healthy type of fat lowers LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies have found that eating macadamia nuts reduces triglyceride levels, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by nearly 10 percent. Macadamias are also an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. About 10 nuts has 200 calories and 22 grams of fat.
With less than 4 calories per nut, pistachios may be the most dieting-friendly nut. Getting them in the shell makes them extra beneficial because it slows down your pace, making your snack last longer so that you feel full before you’ve eaten too many. Studies have found that eating 2 ounces of pistachios daily may reduce lung cancer risk. Pistachios are a good source of many phyto-nutrients that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity, including carotenes, vitamin E, and polyphenolic antioxidant compounds. Research has shown that these compounds help the human body remove toxic free radicals, protecting the body from diseases, cancers, as well as infections. About 50 nuts has 160 calories and 14 grams of fat.
These organic nuts are rich in Vitamin E which is helpful for preventing cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin E is also great for healthy skin and reducing your risk of dementia. Hazelnuts contain high levels of monounsaturated fats which can improve heart health and help control Type 2 diabetes. They are rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. About 21 nuts has 180 calories and 17 grams of fat.
It’s always best to maintain variety in your diet. A great way to do that is to make your own trail mix that contains each of these organic nuts. Make up a big batch and portion out single serving sizes so you have a healthy and filling snack every day. What are your favorite trail mix recipes? Which types of organic nuts do you prefer?
Today marks shopOrganic’s five year anniversary! In honor of this milestone we’d like to take a look back at the last five years and how they’ve helped shape and restore our core values and beliefs. We started shopOrganic in 2008 with the intention to ‘do well by doing good,’ believing that focusing on providing consumers access to organic and non-GMO products is ultimately more sustainable and better for the planet. Last year we re-launched shopOrganic & shopGMOfree after confirming that all of the products we carry do not contain GMOs. By also removing any brands whose parent companies donate money to anti-GMO labeling causes, we took an important and necessary step to insure that we were only doing business with companies who have similar core values.
One of the most interesting aspects of our business over the last five years is all the different types of customers we have, and how they’ve all come to organic foods and products in different ways. It’s true that recent studies have shown that more than 90% of Americans want to know if there food has GMOs in it. That’s an overwhelming majority of America and an overwhelming majority of Americans do not have easy access to organic food and/or products. Starting shopOrganic, an online organic store, was in part inspired by our desire to help serve people no matter where they live, and no matter how they came to organics. As more and more people are becoming aware of and concerned about the presence of GMO’s and pesticides in their foods, we have simultaneously seen our business grow, which is exciting in itself, but what’s more exciting is the fact that more and more people are choosing organic living and sustainable ways of life that not only benefits them but the rest of us and the world as well.
These past five years haven’t really changed our core values instead they’ve reinforced them and made them even stronger than they were before. The challenges of starting and operating a small business, especially one that started in such a down economy, have been completely outweighed by our great customers. These are just a few of the amazing comments we’ve gotten from our customers:
“I am new to this journey of a natural, pure, sustainable lifestyle for myself and my family; and am inspired by the dedication of your company to making this possible. Thank you for your boldness…”
”Thank you for the GMO step you have taken! I know I appreciate this as well as my family. Please keep up the good work!”
”I really cannot emphasize to you or your supervisor(s) enough what a wonderful surprise it was to receive your thoughtful e-mail. I think I’ve become desensitized and oddly accustomed to the cold way most online vendors do business. This type of exceptional customer service is what should set web stores apart from each other, not simply price.”
”I have commented before giving you guys major kudos for carrying such amazing foods for people who are dairy/calcium intolerant. I just wanted to say thank you, I got my most recent order today and you guys included not 1 but 2 extra treats for me to sample! Thank you so much ”
We want to say thank you to all of our shopOrganic customers, followers, and friends, who’ve made commitments to organic living allowing us to grow, and helping everyone to better take care of the world we share. We wouldn’t be here without you!
Bulk organic foods are a healthy, environmentally friendly and cost-effective option for consumers wanting quality organic foods. With food costs rising, buying bulk organic foods is also a great way to gain some food security in your home. Having stored bulk organic food in your home is a great way to keep you and your family well fed in times of crisis or scarcity. We’re going to look at the reasons to buy bulk organic food as well as some tips to get you started.
Why are bulk organic foods healthy?
Typically, bulk organic foods like rice, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains are about as unprocessed as you can get if you’re not growing your own. We’ve all heard that a whole food diet is optimal for our health and by avoiding packaged products, we’re avoiding processed foods. Buying bulk organic foods is a great way to make sure you’re consuming whole foods.
Why are bulk organic foods environmentally friendly?
Think about the packaging costs associated with buying a consumer sized bag of rice. From the labor involved in the manufacturing process to the plastic bags used for every 1 or 2 pound bag, it really adds up when you think about how much of that one item you might consume in 6 months or a year. Studies have shown that when comparing bulk foods over pre-packaged foods, buying in bulk saves an average of 54 percent on delivery costs and packing material. Those savingsare passed on to the environment, which sees a reduction in cardboard, plastic and other packaging waste. Bulk organic foods often come in 25 or 50 pound paper sacks and are meant to be stored in sealable, reusable containers. You may need to make a small investment in food storage buckets with lids, but you can use them over and over again.
Why are bulk organic foods cost-effective?
Buying bulk organic foods can save you a lot of money in the long run. The initial investment may seem like a lot but when you crunch the numbers, you’ll see that it’s well worth it. Packaged foods cost more money for a number of reasons. First, there’s the actual packaging cost involved in individually packaging small amounts. Then there’s the cost associated with the branding of that item. The costs involved in packaging, the brand name, advertising, pr, shipping & handling and more are all passed on to you as the consumer. The reason bulk organic foods are so inexpensive is that there’s no marketing cost involved, and minimal packaging, and because, like the Costco model, it’s cheaper to buy a greater quantity, no matter what.
There are certain items that I always buy in bulk because I know I’ll go through them and it’s just easier to know that I always have it on hand. Organic popcorn is a great example. In my family, we love our movie night tradition and we’ve got to have our popcorn. So I buy my organic popcorn in bulk not only because it saves money, but because I don’t run out of it as often as if I was buying smaller sizes and that makes for a happier family.
Tips for buying bulk organic foods:
1) Share with a friend or neighbor. If you don’t think you’d go through a 25 pound bag of beans by yourself, split it with someone else and you’ll both get the benefits.
2) Make sure to store them properly, typically in a cool, dry place.
3) Stock up on good quality plastic or glass containers to store your bulk organic foods in order to keep them free from critters, moisture and light.
4) If you have a vacuum sealer, use it on your bulk organic foods to extend their shelf life.
5) Plan to use your bulk organic foods within about 6 months to a year of purchasing them. While beans and some grains will last much, much longer than that, you’ll avoid wasting food by planning for 6 months to a year at a time.
6) Check with local restaurants to see if they have any reusable food storage buckets. A local chain here in Tucson sells their used pickle buckets which are great for storing bulk organic foods. Your local restaurants would probably do the same.
What types of bulk organic foods can you find?
You’d be surprised how many bulk organic foods are available. From beans and legumes to rice, flour and grains, sweeteners, baking ingredients, nuts and seeds, cereal and granola, dried fruit, spices and herbs, even pasta and soaps. Don’t be intimidated by the volume of food. In this cost-conscious, health-conscious, and environmentally-conscious world, buying bulk organic foods is worth a try.
Gluten intolerance is on the rise in America. It seems like everywhere you turn there’s another article about gluten sensitivities. Estimates have shown that 40 percent of the population in the U.S. now suffers from gluten intolerance. Celiac disease affects 1 in every 133 Americans, but gluten intolerance that hasn’t been diagnosed as Celiac has risen dramatically over the last 20 years.
Gluten Intolerance and GMOs
Is it a coincidence that the increase began just when GMO’s came into the marketplace? In researching the correlation between the gluten intolerance and the rise of GMO’s I found quite a bit of evidence that pointed toward a connection. Researchers and food safety advocates are starting to take a closer look at the role that GMO’s play in this dramatic increase.
When a person has gluten intolerance and ingests gluten, the body treats that gluten as an invader and attacks it. During this process the microvilli in the small intestine are damaged leaky gut syndrome can develop. The gut wall becomes permeable and microscopic particles of food ‘leak’ into the body. Those particles end up in the bloodstream and the body responds to them with inflammation. This process can set the stage for a whole host of diseases from autism to irritable bowel syndrome and even cancer.
Jeffrey Smith’s documentary Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives shows clearly how genetically modified crops are damaging the digestive tracts of animals. Because the Bt toxin in genetically modified corn kills insects by exploding their stomachs, Smith believes when mammals ingest that food, it creates holes in the gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome. This is one explanation for gluten intolerance increasing so dramatically since GMOs were introduced into the marketplace.
Not Just Gluten Intolerance
It’s not just gluten intolerance that has been on the increase but a whole host of digestive disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, chronic constipation, gastrointestinal infections, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut syndrome and acid reflux have all increased in the last two decades since the introduction of GMO’s
An unfortunate aside to this is that most gluten free packaged products are made with genetically modified ingredients. Unless you’re buying organic gluten free products, they will often contain corn, soy or canola that are genetically modified.
In the film, Smith speaks with health care practitioners who have had great success with their patients with gluten intolerance simply by removing GMO’s from their diets. It can take a while for the gut to heal, depending on the individual, but by eliminating any genetically modified foods from the diet, symptoms will reverse themselves.
If you suffer from gluten intolerance, make sure you’re looking for organic gluten free products. If a product doesn’t specify that it is organic and it contains corn, soy, or canola, chances are very high that there are GMO’s in the product. Look for the USDA Organic logo and read your labels carefully.
With flowers and trees coming into bloom and spring fruits and veggies starting to appear at markets, it’s time to share some great organic food recipes for those springtime foods. My personal three favorite springtime foods are asparagus, strawberries, and avocado.
Here are some delicious organic food recipes for each:
One of my favorite springtime foods is asparagus – if you love it as much as I do, you’ll appreciate its simplicity, tenderness, and versatility. Asparagus is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and ranks among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize free radicals. This organic food recipe for asparagus comes courtesy of our dear friend Jennifer Una of Passion Palate. It is simple yet delicious:
Tender Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Dip
Trim the ends of the asparagus and place in a shallow pan with water to cover it. Bring to a boil. Let boil for about 5 minutes. While the asparagus is cooking, blend the mustard and mayonnaise into a creamy sauce. When the asparagus is bright green and tender, it is done. Bring the pan to your sink and run cold water over the asparagus for a minute or two so that it stops cooking.
Serve with sauce, a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Strawberries are one of those dirty dozen foods that you really want to make sure you’re buying organic. Strawberries are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are very high in Vitamin C and are a great anti-inflammatory food. This organic food recipe for salad dressing is great for use on all of the beautiful spring greens that are available this year.
Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Enjoy over a fresh organic spring green salad.
Although they seem to be available all year round, California avocados are considered a spring fruit. High in good fats as well as folate and carotenoids, these little gems are a treasure of nutrition. They pair beautifully with greens, where the fat in the avocado will help you absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in your greens. Here is one of my absolute favorite organic food recipes for two of my favorite organic foods, kale and avocado:
Avocado & Kale Salad
Slice the lacinato kale into very thin ribbons and place in a bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and use your hands to massage the kale until it is wilted. Don’t be afraid to really get your hands in there and get dirty. When you massage the kale, you’ll start breaking down its tough fibers, leaving you with a tender green salad.
Mash the avocado then add it to the wilted kale. Stir to combine or continue to use your hands to make sure its blended well. Optionally, you can add in some hemp seeds, diced tomatoes or diced red peppers.
Enjoy these organic food recipes all throughout spring when they are at their peak! What are your favorite springtime organic food recipes?
Earth Day is just a week away – how will you be honoring the Earth? On Earth Day, there are so many environmental issues to think about. We’ve decided to focus on one that we can make an impact on in our very own kitchens.
We’ve all been there before. A big party or a holiday gathering ends, and then we must come to grips with excessive calories, trying to give away the extra food, and gathering up piles of plastic plates and cups. We may have had a great time feasting with our families and friends, but was all that excess really necessary?
Earth Day is a great time to start thinking about where it is you’re wasteful about food.
Not just on Earth Day but on every day
Begin to pay attention to how you might be overbuying food. Do buy more produce than you can use before it goes bad? Do you tend to have tons of leftovers after meals that then sit in the refrigerator and spoil?
All through the year, massive amounts of food are discarded in landfills in the United States. Not just from homes, but from grocery stores and restaurants as well. Much of this “waste” is still perfectly edible and, as the documentary Dive shows, still packaged. Why do we as individuals and a nation discard so much food? Is it just an automatic response? Are we too busy to find a happy home for the leftovers? Maybe many people do not think of food waste as a problem, because they assume it will biodegrade in the landfill (it won’t).
If you sometimes find yourself throwing food away, whether it’s from your fridge or at a buffet, you can take the first step by being aware of it. What usually goes to waste? When do you forget to eat food before it spoils? Does it help to put a date on your leftovers? Try to avoid buying too much at the grocery store. Defy the assumption that heaps of food is what makes a party, and ditch the throw-away party supplies while you’re at it, or at least use biodegradable cutlery.
Many supermarkets have a means of contributing to local shelters and food banks. Sierra Club Green Home recommends setting aside the excess food you would have bought, and donating it to these charities. You’ll create less waste, and someone who needs more food will get a bigger serving.
shopOrganic regularly donates to our local food bank. We often receive products from our suppliers that are slightly damaged or broken open. Instead of throwing them out, we tape them up and give them to the food bank. Knowing that so much food going to food banks is junk food, it makes us feel good to donate healthier foods.
So how are you celebrating Earth Day; will you consider how much food your family wastes and take steps to reduce it? From cooking in smaller portions (or freezing your leftovers), to making sure you’re only buying enough produce to use within a few days, you can make this Earth Day the first day you start to reduce waste.
Original blog post by Mike Brandolino on Sierra Club Green Home: Food Waste: We Leave Tons to Rot
© 2012 SCGH, LLC.
When you’re trying to do your organic food shopping on a budget, it can be a challenge. We’ve got some great tips and tricks to make it easier on you:
1 -Buy Organic Foods in bulk
One of the best ways to make it easier to do your organic food shopping on a budget is to start buying bulk items. Instead of a brand name rice in a consumer-friendly size, buy larger bulk sizes. If you regularly use beans, grains, nuts, seeds, or dried fruits, get the largest size you can. Sometimes you can even get 25 and 50 pound bags and they’ll be significantly cheaper per pound than buying one or two pounds at a time.
2 – Shop and stock up when items are on sale
When you’re organic food shopping on a budget, it helps to be flexible about the foods you purchase and only by ‘treat’ items when they’re on sale. Also, if you use certain items regularly and they go on sale, buy enough to last you a few months or longer. It may cost more in the short term to stock up, but in the long run you’ll really be saving money.
3 – Choose produce wisely
There are some fruits and veggies that you’ll really want to make sure are organic, and some that aren’t as important to buy organic. When you’re organic food shopping on a budget, you’ll want to focus your organic purchases on the Dirty Dozen: Apples, Celery, Strawberries, Peaches, Spinach, Nectarines (imported), Grapes (imported), Sweet Bell Peppers, Potatoes, Blueberries, Lettuce, Kale/Collards. The Clean 15 is a list of produce that aren’t highly sprayed so you don’t need to buy those organic: Onions, Avocados, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Mango, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Cabbage, Kiwi, Eggplant, Papaya, Watermelon, Broccoli, Tomatoes and Sweet Potatoes.
4 – Buy produce in season
Organic or not, all produce is cheaper when its in season. If you’re look for apples in the middle of summer, not only will they be two or three times the price as they’d be in the fall, they also won’t taste very good after being stored for months. Learn when different fruits and veggies are in season and use that as a guide to when the best time to buy will be. Your local produce departments will often put on sale the items that are in season but not always, so keep an eye out. Make use of your freezer or learn how to can, jar, or ferment your foods. This way you can buy organic produce when they’re in season and on sale and use it all year long. There’s a very short window when my local grocery store has organic strawberries for 99 cents a pint. I love strawberries and I won’t buy them if they aren’t organic, so when I see that sale, I really stock up and freeze them.
When you are organic food shopping on a budget, you’ll know that some items are quite expensive at the store. Greens, which are so important to buy organic, can really get pricey. Thankfully, its really easy to grow your own. Choose some organic seeds that work well with your climate (I like ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’ because it is heat and cold tolerant) and start planting. With many varieties of greens, you can pick leaves off for your salads and the plant continues to produce more throughout the season. It is a great cost-effective way to get organic greens very inexpensively.
6 – Look for store brands
Another great tip for organic food shopping on a budget is look for the store brands, wherever you are. Typically these are much less expensive because those brands don’t have the marketing budget that the larger brands do. The products are often the exact same as what you’d get buying a brand name so don’t be afraid of trying the least expensive organic brand. Larger stores like Whole Foods (365 Brand), Safeway (O Brand) and Kroger (Simple Truth) have their own store brands. Even in some smaller health food stores have an organic private label brand called Cadia that is just as good as the big brands.
As you can see there are many ways to make organic food shopping on a budget easier. If you have other tips and tricks that you use, please share them in the comments below.