When I started my journey to healthy living back in 2006, I had no idea that healthy living included… well, all parts of “living”. This meant considering what I put on my skin, in my hair, even what I washed my family’s clothes and dishes with. It took me a good 6 years into my healthy living to finally realize that everything we do affects our health, not just what we eat. It’s time to get rid of the Mr. Yuck stickers, to throw out your conventional, chemical ridden cleaning supplies and start green cleaning!
Not only will you get all those chemicals out of your house, but green cleaning also is going to save you money. Gone will be the days where you have to buy a different cleaning product for every room in your house, for every appliance. With organic/green cleaning products you will be able to clean your WHOLE house with just a few different supplies. In this post I will share with you how I got started green cleaning:
1. Green Cleaning Starts with Getting Rid of Other Cleaners
I went through my whole house and took every conventional, chemical, cleaning product I had and put it in a big box (this included my dish soap, glass cleaner, air freshener, hand soap dispensers, sprays, disinfecting wipes, laundry detergent, bathroom, kitchen cleaners, etc.) after I was done, I had a very large box overflowing with chemicals.
2. Getting Rid of Non-Green Cleaning Products
I properly & safely disposed of our household chemical products, meaning I didn’t dump them down the sink , toilet or throw them in our trash (which could lead it back into our environment and lead to further pollution and we don’t want to risk that!). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has excellent tips for how to properly and safely dispose of your household chemical materials.
3. Shopping for Green Cleaning Ingredients
This is the fun part: shopping for your new green cleaning household products! Here is a list of basic green cleaning products that I use for my whole household:
- Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap is one of my favorites and I always keep this in my house. One bottle goes a long way as it’s super concentrated. Dr. Bronner’s is an excellent choice for green cleaning because it is made from organic all natural vegetable and hemp oils and uses no animal fats or synthetic chemicals.
- White Vinegar, is one of the most inexpensive, natural and a very effective cleaning super hero that can stand up to most any commercial product.
- Hydrogen Peroxide, seem weird to you? Most people have it around for cleaning cuts and scrapes… but this little brown bottle does wonders for cleaning the house!
- Baking Soda/Washing Soda - I could honestly write a whole entire blog with the wonderful benefits and uses of baking soda, everyone needs this as a staple in their home.
- Borax is a naturally occurring mineral made up of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water which makes it an excellent choice for green cleaning. You can find this in the laundry section of your local grocery store and one box will last you months. I use this primarily for my laundry soap.
- Spray bottles/Containers now that you have thrown out all your household products you are going to need new containers and bottles to put all your new Green Cleaning concoctions in. This is a very inexpensive start up cost. Any grocery/house ware store sells empty spray bottles for a very affordable price. I also recycle and reuse my gallon vinegar bottles for my homemade Laundry detergent.
These basic green cleaning tips and products should help you get started on your own spring cleaning regimen! Did we miss any favorites? What green cleaning products do you love?
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.
This year for our wedding anniversary my husband built me a raised garden bed so we could start our family’s very first organic garden! And although we are still waiting to plant our first seeds, in honor of Earth Day this week,
I wanted to share a few of the beneficial reasons why my family wanted to start our own organic garden.
The benefits really are limitless, but here are our top 4 reasons why we wanted to start our own organic garden:
1. Healthy, Organic Foods
For starters, keeping my family eating organic foods is one of my top priorities. I strongly believe in eating healthy and getting processed foods out of the pantry and out of my family’s diets. Why? Organically grown food is significantly higher in the essential vitamins and nutrients that your body uses in its defense against many diseases (including: cancer, heart disease, etc.). By eating organic foods we can also greatly reduce the intake of harmful chemicals in our bodies. Here is a chart showing how certain organic foods benefit our bodies and health.
2. Keep the Kids Active by Getting them Involved
My family has been living a healthier lifestyle for some time now, and one of the best parts about this change is that I get to teach my children the importance of eating healthy. The problem is, while they now shout things like, “Hey guys! We have healthy organic snacks and we have them here now!” at family members when they come to visit, I still have trouble motivating them to get outside and get active. The usual response I get is, “but there’s nothing fun to do outside!” I’m sure this is true for many parents these days as sunlight and fresh air now compete with video games and iPods.
I saw hope though, when we told the kids we were going to start our own organic garden out back, they actually got excited! They asked right away if they could help, and right away I put them to work. They helped my husband fill the garden bed with soil and we let them help us pick out the organic seeds. Something I’ve realized is that kids don’t often get to feel like they are a part of building something real and lasting, and if they do, they don’t often get to make any big decisions. Starting an organic garden is a great project for your kids to feel helpful as well as important. My kids can’t wait to start planting now! I know this is going to be such a wonderful opportunity to not only spend time with them, but to teach them about the importance of growing organic food and sustainable, responsible living.
3. An Organic Garden Saves Money
We all know produce at the grocery store can be costly, and it really adds up. So, why not grow your own vegetables and fruits at home in your own organic garden? When you start to consider the costs beyond the grocery store: hospital bills and prescriptions add up even faster, you’ll see that the healthier we eat the less diet-related medical bills we will likely have. One of my favorite quotes by Hippocrates says, “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”! What we eat really does impact our health, and our health has the biggest impact on all other aspects of our lives.
4. Get Exercise
I cannot think of a better excuse to get outside and get moving than starting an organic garden. Unlike the gym where you can choose to skip a day or decide not to go, your garden needs tending too, if you don’t tend to your garden, it will not produce any harvest. Oh and here is an interesting tidbit on gardening: by working in your own garden you can burn an average of 350 calories per hour, which is totally an added incentive for me!
There are many more reasons I wanted to start an organic garden with my family, but I hope my top reasons are enough of a push to give you the motivation and inspiration to want to start one with your family. Happy Gardening!
This week, I want to highlight our top ten organic brands. This is not a sales-related ranking (though these organic brands all sell well), but more a ranking based on the company’s quality, commitment to organic production and organic ingredients, and alignment with our company values: helping to create a healthier planet through a commitment to sustainable practices.
Our top ten organic brands appear in alphabetical order because they’re all #1 on our list.
These companies embrace organic farming methods through using certified organic, sustainable and fair trade ingredients in their products; they support preventing the spread of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and support labeling GMOs; and, they value their relationships with their customers, their employees, their communities and their own families. We think these traits make a “top organic brand” and we think you’ll agree.
1. Alter Eco
First in our top ten organic brands is Alter Eco. Alter Eco promotes a form of global commerce where priority is given to working with marginalized farmers to build trade relations based on solidarity and sustainability. This approach ensures them fair remuneration that covers the full cost of production, promoting the respect of persons and of their environment. Alter Eco embraces Fair Trade values and aspires to connect consumers and producers. Among our core values are transparency, solidarity, fairness, and dedication to quality. Visit shopOrganic & shopGMOfree for Alter Eco Fair Trade products. From fair trade chocolate to several varieties of quinoa to jasmine rice and more, Alter Eco at shopOrganic.com brings you the best in fair trade products.
Next on our top ten organic brands list is Bionaturae. If you’re a pasta connoisseur, you must try Bionaturae organic pasta. It’s the next best thing to making it yourself (and if you’ve ever tried to make pasta, you know it’s an art form. Imported from Tuscany, Italy, bionaturæ® organic semolina pastas are redefining the pasta category in the United States and intend to bring pasta back to its more flavorful and authentic Old World traditions.
Organic durum wheat is grown in Italy on small family-owned farms that have been using traditional agricultural methods for centuries. All ingredients are certified organic and are grown and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Bionaturae makes traditional organic pasta (and gluten free varieties as well) like rigatoni, penne and spaghetti (among many others) as well as organic nectars (peach, pear, bilberry, apricot) as well as tomato products (paste, sauce, etc.) and more. Browse Bionaturae products at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree today.
3. Edward & Sons
Also on our top ten organic brands is Edward & Sons. What we love about Edward & Sons is they look for little gaps in the organic market and they fill them with unique, delicious and high quality products. They’ve been in business since 1978 and they’re still around because of their unique and diverse product offerings. Edward & Sons makes delicious organic brown rice snaps and organic panko breadcrumbs perfect for all your breading needs.
Native Forest offers organic hearts of palm, a completely renewable resource that actually nurtures the rainforest. How great is that? Native Forest also offers unique products you won’t find anywhere else. Browse Native Forest products like organic mangosteen or organic rambutan as well as more familiar products like organic pineapple, organic mango and organic papaya at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree today.
The last of the Edward’s & Sons brands is Let’s Do . . . Organic, a line of certified organic confections and fun snacks. Once again, Edward’s & Sons has found another niche market that was underserved (non-existent!) in the organic space and their line of organic confections is a great addition. Browse Let’s Do…Organic products at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree from carnival sprinkles to sugar cones and more.
4. Frontier Natural Products Co-op
No top ten organic brands list is complete without Frontier Co-Op. They began with two people operating out of a cabin along the Cedar River in Iowa back in 1976. Since that time, the company has expanded to offer a top-notch line of organic herbs, spices, seasonings, flavorings and aromatherapy products. They have continued to expand and were at the forefront of organic certification before the USDA National Organic Program was instituted. From single organic spices to organic blends and seasonings, Frontier products are trusted and certified organic. From tried and true ( organic sea salt, minced onion, organic dried cilantro, parsley, dill, herbs, teas and more ) to more exotic blends (organic harissa, balti curry, Ras El Hanout, Tagine, Vindaloo and more), you can confidently spice up your life with organic Frontier products at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree today.
Our top ten organic brands list’s first organic cleaning products company – You eat organic food, you use organic body care products, but what about cleaning and greening your household? A welcome entrant to the household cleaning products category is GreenShield. Organic products for every aspect of household cleaning, these products are safe, effective and organic. How great is that? While you may not enjoy cleaning your house, these products will at least give you the satisfaction that you’re keeping your living space free from harmful chemicals. Browse GreenShield Organic products including organic auto dishwasher detergent, organic bathroom spray cleaner, organic window cleaner, organic laundry detergent and more at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree today.
Jovial is another organic brand on our top ten organic brands list, like Bionaturae, also from the hills of Tuscany, Italy. Their products are made from organic einkorn, an ancient grain (a wheat variety said to be tolerated by some with gluten sensitivities) and other grains. Their artisanal products and superb craftsmanship means each product is developed with care and manufactured in small batches to deliver high quality organic products. Choose Jovial einkorn or gluten free cookies – no too sweet, perfect for everyday munching – and einkorn or brown rice (gluten free) pastas.
7. Nature’s Path
No top ten organics product list would be complete without Nature’s Path. A lot of natural and organic brands from the 1970’s and 1980’s, out of sheer economic necessity, ended up being sold to large, multinational conglomerates with questionable commitment to organics. Nature’s Path has not only held their own in this market but has thrived and, to this day, remains privately held. Their entire product line is certified organic and their commitment to the organic industry and sustainability could not be more evident. We love Nature’s Path products and want to make sure you know about this ‘quiet giant’. From organic breakfast cereals to granolas, organic toaster pastries to organic superfood cereals to organic granola bars and more, these convenient, organic products are made by a company with a long-standing commitment to organics. Give Nature’s Path a try today at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree .
8. Newman’s Own Organics
Also making our top ten organic brands list – Newman’s Own. Paul Newman forged new ground in many ways during his acting career. With his daughter, Nel, he founded Newman’s Own Organics, yet another ground breaking achievement. This company not only provides a wide range of highly popular products from cookies to popcorn and pretzels to pet food and more, but they donate profits to charity. Doing well by doing good, now that’s what we’re talking about. Newman’s Own has this to say – “Great tasting food that happens to be organic.’ (That’s what we kept in mind when we created our products.) We focus on the kinds of products we loved as kids, but take them one step further by using the highest quality of available organic ingredients.” We couldn’t agree more!
Browse our selection of Newman’s Own Organics products at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree today.
Our top ten organic brands list’s organic body care company – Nourish. It’s not often you can find an organic body care line that’s committed to sustainability, but that’s what Nourish is all about. Founded over a decade ago, before organic body care products were even on the radar, the folks at Nourish were concerned by the hazardous chemicals used in existing beauty products and the lack of regulations in the personal care industry.
Nourish was the first beauty products company to ever work with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a collection of products so pure they could be certified organic under the same strict standards the government uses to certify food. In 2003, they launched Nourish, the world’s first USDA-certified organic skincare collection. In 2012, they re-introduced the Nourish brand with an even more exciting line up of fabulous USDA certified organic products.
If you’re looking for high quality, affordable organic body care products, visit shopOrganic & shopGMOfree for these outstanding Nourish products. From organic fig hand wash to organic wild berries body lotion to organic unscented body butter and more, Nourish products are sure to please.
10. Rainbow Light
Last but not least on our top ten organic brands list – Rainbow Light. Their mission is to make a difference in the health of people, pets and planet. For nearly 30 years, they have delivered measurable, sustainable health benefits that create a difference you can feel by adhering to key principles of business including creating bio-balanced products, participating in global aid programs and employing sustainable business practices to promote planetary wellness. Rainbow Light’s products are made of the highest quality ingredients and they have been a pioneer in using organic ingredients in their health & wellness products. For high quality bio-balanced vitamins & supplements, visit shopOrganic & shopGMOfree to browse and buy Rainbow Light products.
What are your favorite organic brands and why? Tell us in the comments; we’d love to know!
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?
Now that my daughter is Gluten intolerant our whole family is adapting. This discovery actually turned out to be the perfect opportunity for us to make a change I’ve wanted us to make for years! As I see it, if one of us is Gluten free we all are! The problem is my kids love snacks… they especially love snacks with Gluten in them (pretzels, pastries, tortillas – oh you should’ve seen the waterworks). Snacks are huge in any house with growing kids and I was becoming concerned my daughter would fall to pieces if I kept telling her about the snacks she couldn’t have. After rummaging through my pantry and refrigerator the other afternoon I realized that this was actually going to be a lot easier than I’d feared. There are plenty of Gluten free snacks for kids today, and it just so happened that some of my kids’ favorite snacks were already Gluten free.
In this blog post I’ve listed eighteen Gluten free snacks for kids – and the rest of us too!
Healthy Gluten Free Snacks:
- Organic apple slices dipped in Almond Butter
- Fruit skewers (strawberries, grapes, blueberries, pineapple, melon balls, etc)
- Organic celery topped Peanut Butter(or Hazelnut, Sunflower, Cashew Butter, etc.) and raisins aka “Ant’s on a Log”
- Rice cakes with variety of toppings, my children’s favorite is the Chocolate Hazelnut Spread topped with sliced bananas
- Sliced vegetables (like carrots, celery and bell peppers) with salsa
- Dried fruits
- Organic Popcorn, some consider it junk food, but in moderation it’s not that bad! Sprinkle it with some nutritional yeast for some added vitamin B.
- Applesauce with cinnamon
- Plain Greek Yogurt with a couple drops of Dark Chocolate Stevia and Raspberries.
- Organic Corn Chips dipped in guacamole
- Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Walnuts, Hazelnuts
Gluten Free Snacks for a Sweet Tooth:
- Annie’s Gluten Free Chocolate Vanilla Bunny Cookies perfect for the kids.
- Fruit and Greek Yogurt “Sundae’s” top with Hemp Seeds and raw honey.
- Sliced Organic Granny Smith apples dipped in caramel sauce.
- Strawberries dipped in melted dark chocolate
- Pear and Greek Yogurt Tartine -Toast a piece of gluten-free bread. Dividing evenly, top with 2 Tbsp. apple butter, ½ thinly sliced pear and 2Tbsp Greek yogurt
- Chocolate bars – there is a variety of yummy, Gluten free options.
- If you love almonds then you must try these delicious treats by Laughing Giraffe they are Organic Raw Vanilla Almond Snackaroons and they will definitely curb that sweet tooth.
I hope these quick & easy Gluten free snacks help to get you started. Remember there are numerous options out there, so feel free to use your imagination in the kitchen and be adventurous!
Have you ever wondered what the various organic labels mean or if they mean anything at all? Today we’ll take a quick look at organic food labeling and give you just the facts.
USDA Organic Certification Requirements
The United States Department of Agriculture has set certain standards for organic food labeling. Organic products have strict production and labeling requirements. They are specifically excluded from having genetically modified organisms (GMOs), ionizing radiation or sewage sludge. That also is a frightening thought – non-organic foods can contain ionizing radiation or sewage sludge apparently. Yuk.
In addition, organic foods cannot have prohibited substances, there’s a national list of those items. You can find it via the link at the bottom of this article. It’s a pretty dull list but interesting nonetheless.
Finally, in order to be certified organic, the product must be certified either by the USDA or by an approved certifying organization such as Oregon Tilth, QAI, CCOF and others.
If a product contains organic ingredients but is not certified, it cannot be labeled as organic on the front panel nor can it display a certified organic seal. It can list certified organic ingredients in the ingredient list. If it goes through the certification process, it can use the word “organic” on the label and display the certifying agency’s seal.
Let’s take a look at organic food labeling –
In order for a product to be labeled 100% organic all ingredients must be certified organic, any processing aids used must also be organic, and the certifying agency’s name must be on the information panel. These products will also often have the USDA Organic Seal on them.
Labeling Organic Products
A product that is labeled as organic must use certified organic products to make up at least 95% of the ingredients. Non-organic products may be used up to 5% of the product, as long as the non-organic ingredients are not in the prohibited list. The 5% excludes ingredients that can’t be organic, like water and salt. The certifying agency’s name must be on the information panel. These products will often have the USDA Organic Seal on them.
Made With Organic Ingredients
A product may be labeled as “Made with Organic Ingredients” as long as at least 70% of the product is made with organic ingredients (excluding salt and water). Any remaining agricultural products used in the product need not be organic. However, they cannot be made with excluded methods (that’s GMOs, the ionizing radiation and sewage sludge). Other non-organic non-agricultural ingredients cannot be on the Prohibited List. The certifying agency’s name must be on the information panel. These products will not have the USDA Organic Seal.
A product that has less than 70% organic ingredients can still list certified organic ingredients in their information panel. These products cannot claim their product as organic.
Organic food labeling doesn’t have to be confusing. Unlike claims like ‘natural’, ‘sustainable’, or ‘eco-friendly’, organic food labeling has a strict set of standards that you can trust.
Organic Food Labeling Resources
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.
One of the hardest parts of switching to a gluten free diet is that you start to feel like you’re missing out on all the treats, all the “fun” food. The truth is, just because you are gluten intolerant or sensitive, doesn’t mean there aren’t gluten free recipes out there you’ll love. My kids love cookies, and since we’ve all recently started a gluten free diet I thought I’d share with you one of their favorite recipes for gluten free cookies: Almond Joy Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
- 3 cups Almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sweetener (organic cane sugar, maple syrup, sucanat,)
- 2 whole eggs, organic free range is best
- 1/2 -1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or we like to use 1 dark chocolate bar shopped up into chunks.
Preheat oven to 350F. In medium bowl, combine the first 3 ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl combine the oil, vanilla, sweetener of choice and eggs and mix well. Add the wet to the dry and mix until they’re well combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form dough into tablespoon size balls and bake for 10 minutes or until tops are starting to get golden brown. The centers might be somewhat soft, but they will continue to firm up once removed. Let cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Substitutions:
I have successfully used Stevia with this recipe. To do so I cut the sweetener back to 1/4 cup and use 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of Stevia depending how sweet you like it. If you don’t have the sweeteners above you can also try honey or molasses, I haven’t tried those myself yet so bake at your own risk. If you don’t like the coconut taste then substitute the coconut oil with butter.
Tip: Make a double batch and freeze for later.
Labeling GMOs shouldn’t be as big as deal as it is turning out to be, should it? I mean, labeling GMOs should be like labeling anything else – we label grams of fat and fiber, sodium content and sugar. So why are manufacturers so reluctant to label GMOs?
I’ve given it a lot of thought. I understand the business model for conventional food is to use inexpensive ingredients and sell massive quantities. I get it. So, if you’re using GMO products because they’re less expensive, why not label GMOs?
Did you know that 61 countries, including China already label GMOs? If they are so great, why not advertise them? Maybe its because Monsanto knows that by manufacturers refusing to label GMOs, they will be able to continue to make huge profits off of this untested technology.
The FDA takes a position on GMOs that they are unaware of any risks with GMOs and that they are “substantially equivalent” to their non-GMO counterparts. Many scientists have differed with this position including the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. We certainly differ with that position. Monsanto has been able to patent their seed and by nature a patent indicates that something is unique about the item. To say that a non-GMO seed is “substantially equivalent” to a GMO seed and still allow that GMO seed to be patented makes no sense.
At shopOrganic.com, we took a hard look at all of our products. Of course, organic products by definition are non-GMO. But for some of our non-food products that have natural ingredients, we looked at whether or not they were likely to be GMO. From there, we removed all products that had ingredients likely to be GMO – mostly ingredients derived from corn and soy. Finally, we contacted manufacturers – yup, we contacted every manufacturer of a product that had ingredients we could not verify one way or the other through labeling and we asked them. If they could verify their products were non-GMO, we kept them. If they could not, we removed them from our inventory. Many of these companies are good companies with great products, but we believe that each company needs to take full responsibility for the source and quality of their ingredients.
We believe that to label GMOs would be the beginning of the end of them and we wholeheartedly support their labeling. To honor that commitment, we also removed any brand from our product selection whose parent company donated money to defeat Prop 37 (the GMO labeling initiative in California).
So, at the end of the day, we do not sell products with GMOs. Period. We believe that’s the right thing to do, especially given increasing evidence regarding the health risks of GMOs. We don’t think GMO products are fit for human or animal consumption. So, at minimum, manufacturers should be willing to label GMOs used in their products. We believe in supporting companies that are doing the right thing, companies whose values align with our own.
What do you think?