For The Greater Goods (sm)

non-GMO

Non-GMO shopping is available now! Why wait five years for Whole Foods?

If you keep up with news about the non-GMO battle, you’ve probably heard about the recent announcement by Whole foods that they will be requiring their vendors to provide GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) labeling…

label-gmos-shop-non-gmo

Photo credit: John S. Quarterman

in five years.  Controversy about Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey aside, the company is an industry leader in the natural products realm.  No matter the criticism thrown at them, they have helped organic and natural products move more into the mainstream.  We waited for them to take a stand during the recent Proposition 37 (Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food – 2012) struggle in California and they did nothing.  We may lament that the money they could have donated toward the cause could have put the measure over the top in Yes votes.  We may think that five years is too long to wait and that this pronouncement is meaningless because (we hope) in five years, GMO’s will be mandated to be labeled anyway.  But what they did do is raise the non-GMO conversation and that is a good thing.

We at shopOrganic & shopGMOfree took a stand last year during the Prop37 battle.  We decided to scour our website for products that might contain GMO’s and remove them from our site.  You can now shop for non-GMO products,  food and non-food, in one place without worrying about GMO’s.  We scanned the list of donors that  opposed Prop37 and removed any vendors from our site whose parent companies donated money to defeat it.  If that meant removing some of our better selling products, so be it.  As a company we wanted to take a stand and vote with our dollars to support companies that are already doing the right thing.

Here in the U.S., money talks.  In terms of food issues and access to non-GMO products, consumers have more power at their grocery stores than they do at the ballot box.  When we collectively decide to buy organic and non-GMO food instead of GMO’s, we send a strong message to manufacturers that we don’t want them in our foods.  And when the market shrinks for GMO laden foods, the market will respond by removing them.  It happened with rBST, it can happen with GMO’s.  In the meantime we’ll continue to support the companies we have trust in, we’ll continue to support our local organic farmers, and we’ll continue to spread the message about the dangers of GMO’s.   In five years we hope to look back at the demise of the GMO industry with joy, knowing we made a difference.

 

 

Organic Pumpkin Souffle, Easy To Make, Delicious To Eat

organic pumpkin souffleThis time of year can be tempting with all the delicious food folks cook up and bring to work. This holiday season, I’m trying out new recipes to see if I can put a healthier twist on some of my favorites. This is the first one, though admittedly, it’s not that much healthier than traditional pumpkin pie – but it IS guaranteed to impress for about the same amount of effort as homemade pumpkin pie. Without the crust, it’s certainly fewer calories and next time I make this, I’ll try a vegan version using organic oat milk instead of the luscious half and half.

Here’s how it started – I got a box of Pacific Foods organic pumpkin puree as a trial and thought I’d do something different. With a quiet afternoon (a rare gift in my world) and a recipe in hand, I looked through my pantry to see if I had all the ingredients. Miraculously, I did. Pumpkin souffle ensued.

Tips for making a great soufflé

  1. Ensure your eggs are at room temperature. Take the out at least 20 minutes in advance.
  2. When you separate your egg yolks from egg whites, ensure there is NO yolk in the whites.
  3. Put the whites in a stainless steel bowl that is clean and has no grease or oil at all.
  4. When you fold in the egg whites, be slow and gentle, it’s worth the extra 10 minutes of effort.
  5. When you put the ramekins in the oven, do not open the oven at all. Trust your oven and your timer.

Ingredients

4 organic, free range (local, if available) eggs

1 ½ cups Pacific Foods organic pumpkin puree (1 box).

½ cup organic sugar + ¼ cup sugar for egg whites

½ cup organic half & half

¼ teaspoon each: organic cinnamon, nutmeg, ground clove

½ teaspoon organic vanilla (I use Singing Dog because it has the added bonus of a vanilla bean inside)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

First Things First

Preheat your oven to 375. Make sure one of the racks is in the center of the oven.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Ensure no yolk leaks into the whites. (Hint: I separate the egg, then pour the white into another bowl and repeat. That way, if one egg yolk breaks, you haven’t ruined all the egg whites). Set egg whites  and egg yolks aside.

Make Your Pumpkin Puree Mixture

In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, ½ cup sugar (use ¼ cup here if you like less sweet, more pumpkin flavor), your spices, vanilla and salt. Set aside. If you’re going to use an alternative to organic granulated cane sugar, you might want to experiment with the recipe once or twice. Who needs the stress of wondering if your ‘new’ recipe will turn out properly on a big holiday?

Prepare 8 ramekins on a baking sheet. I usually melt a bit of organic butter (or soften to room temperature) – about a pat of butter size – and grease the inside of the ramekins. Set on the baking dish and set aside.

Preparing Your Egg Whites

Beat your egg whites with the ¼ tsp of cream of tartar. If using an electric mixer (recommended), start off slowly. As the whites firm up, gradually increase speed. When they are still soft but starting to form peaks, slowly (1-2 TBS at a time is slowly) mix in your remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Continue to beat with all the sugar added until the egg whites are shiny and stiff.

Take about ½ of your pumpkin puree out of the bowl (yes, it makes another dirty bowl, but worth it) and set aside. Slowly fold in the egg whites about a ½ cup at a time into ½ the pumpkin mixture. Once you’ve gently folded in about ½ the egg whites, add the remaining pumpkin puree back into the large bowl and continue folding the egg whites in. The more slowly and the more of a folding motion you use, the more air that will remain in the egg whites and the fluffier your soufflé will turn out.

Fill Your Ramekins

Once all folded in, use a ladle to fill your ramekins to just below the rim.

Bake, Don’t Peek

Place in the middle of your oven at 375 for 17 minutes. Do not open the oven, don’t even turn on the light to peek. At 17 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool. As you can see (below), my souffle caved in a bit – I think my oven is just a shade cooler than 375, so next time, I’ll either use an oven thermometer to verify the temperature or leave them in about three minutes longer. Still, I ate one of the smaller ones and it was perfect – so don’t distress if yours cave a bit upon cooling – it happens and it will still taste amazing and even the best will settle a bit.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve immediately – place each ramekin on a small plate, dust with organic powdered sugar (if desired) or an organic cinnamon/organic sugar mix (you can free form this) or organic whipped cream, some mint sprigs for color – your choice! I serve them just as they are and they’re scrumptious!

Happy Thanksgiving  – enjoy these tasty little treats instead of pumpkin pie this holiday season!

Organic pumpkin souffle after cooling (10 minutes)

 

Failure to Yield – The Truth About GMOs

I just finished watching the movie Genetic Roulette online for the third time. Each time I watch it, I notice some new facet about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that I hadn’t noticed as clearly before. This time, it was the stark fact that the chemical companies who promote GMOs have been promising that the use of GMOs would create higher yields of food and therefore feed the world. Read the Union of Concern Scientists’ Failure to Yield report.

The truth is quite different. First, without GMOs, there is plenty of food in the world to feed everyone. The problem is not the production of food, but the distribution of food which is a whole other problem to solve.  So, let’s put that misinformation to rest.

Still, chemical companies would have you believe that we NEED GMOs in order to manage our production so we can all eat more at a lower cost. In most industrialized nations, the problem is not about having enough food and it’s become more a problem of having healthy food.

According to the Union of Concern Scientists, the promises of increased production are false. According to the USC, “Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.”

In fact, many farmers are beginning to see that their yields are lower after buying these GMO seeds and spraying chemical products on those seeds. One cotton farmer interviewed in Genetic Roulette said he began to really question his initial decision to use GMO seed when he began reading the dire health warnings on the seed bag itself. Don’t eat it, don’t touch it, don’t breath it, don’t let it touch your skin….sounds like the warning label on poison, doesn’t it?

The bottom line is this – chemical companies like Monsanto have been promoting the use of chemicals under the promise of higher yields (i.e. more crops for the farmer as lower costs), and that has not been the case. As farmers see their crop yields drop and their animals suffer from eating GMO crops, they’re beginning to understand that their livelihood depends on them NOT using GMOs.

The tide is turning and as the links between GMOs and human health, livestock health, crop yields and agricultural sustainability are known, people will vote with their dollars and avoid GMOs. Our health as a nation, as a world and as a species literally depends on it.

If GMOs Are So Great, Why Not Advertise Them?

This month is the 3rd annual non-GMO month and shopOrganic has relaunched as shopOrganic & shopGMOFree because we believe consumers should have the ability to purchase foods they know is free of GMOs. But, as a consumer, you don’t always know – you can’t see from reading a label what ingredients might be GMOs.

As you’ve no doubt noticed, there’s a lot of buzz around genetically modified organisms (GMO) right now, especially in light of the upcoming California vote on Prop 37, which would require manufacturers to label GMOs in their products.

California is the 8th largest economy in the world (yes, you read that right), so if manufacturers are required to label GMOs in California, all products they sell (likely) will be labeled since it’s not cost-effective to have packaging for California and packaging for the rest of the country.

I can’t speak to the text of California’s Prop 37 – I’m not a voter there and haven’t read the bill in its entirety. However, I can speak to wanting to know what’s in the food I’m eating. That’s pretty fundamental. And, to repurpose one of the common arguments FOR Prop 37, if GMOs are not harmful or better yet, if they’re so great, why the refusal to label them as such?

When foods are packed with Omega 3’s, manufacturers splash that all over the packaging. The big thing right now seems to be “made with 33g whole grain”, which I honestly don’t know exactly why that matters since that product has 1g fiber per serving….but I digress. The point is when there’s a health benefit – real or perceived – manufacturers are quick to pounce on it and announce it all over their packaging, even when it’s just “window dressing”. So why don’t we see big splashy packaging announcing “packed with GMOs!” or “made with the latest GMOs, try it today and taste the difference!” ?

Manufacturers don’t advertise it because there is no consumer benefit to GMOs in foods (lots of downside, but that’s for another post). The benefit is to large growers and manufacturers and, as most major issues in life, it comes down to money. Maybe it’s about control as well, but ultimately, I think it’s just about the money.

So, here’s my suggestion  – since this is the 3rd annual non-GMO month, check out the movie Genetic Roulette (www.geneticroulette.com) or visit the folks at Responsible Technology (www.responsibletechnology.org) to learn more. It’s a fascinating topic and when you have a wide range of really smart people from many different social and scientific disciplines opposing GMOs, it’s worth paying attention to. Learn more, become informed, form your own opinion.

In the meantime, shopOrganic just relaunched as <a href=”http://www.shoporganic.com” target=”blank”>shopOrganic & shopGMOFree</a> to let our customers know that every product we carry is <b>free of GMOs.</b> We’ve dropped entire product lines because the manufacturer indicated their products all contain some GMOs (that was a real jaw-dropper). We’ve added new products (often from smaller producers) to offer products that we know are organic & GMO-free. Visit today and shop safe.

shopOrganic online organic retailer relaunches shopOrganic & shopGMOFree

So, I’ve let this blog get a bit stale, we’ve been busy running our growing company, but I’m happy to announce we’re re-booting our blog and revamping our website this month in honor of the 3rd annual non-GMO month.

shopOrganic, the premier online retailer of organic foods and eco-friendly products, has just re-launched as shopOrganic & shopGMOfree.

shopGMOFree

Without mandatory labeling, it’s difficult for consumers to determine whether their favorite products are produced using GMO’s. As U.S. consumer concern over GMO’s reaches critical mass, interest in non-GMO shopping options is on the rise and shopOrganic & shopGMOFree have responded by offering the widest range of organic and non-GMO products available online today.

shopOrganic has responded to this need by ensuring that the thousands of organic foods and eco-friendly products offered on their site are GMO free. The newly redesigned site focuses on consumers searching for non-GMO foods and provides reassurance about the nature of the products they purchase. The timing of the re-launch coincides with both the celebration of the 3rd annual Non-GMO month and the upcoming California vote on the labeling of GMO products.

I was amazed to learn that recent studies show that over 90% of all Americans want to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). I knew there was serious interest in this topic, but I didn’t realize so many Americans shared this concern about GMOs. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant or animal whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. And though the data is not definitive on the safety of consuming foods with GMOs, it seems reasonable to WANT know whether or not the food you’re eating contains GMOs. In the U.S. there are currently no restrictions on GMO’s, but in many other countries around the world, GMOs are banned. These countries include the entire European Union as well as China and Russia. Curious why the U.S. is so far behind this curve….

shopOrganic & shopGMOfree believes that everyone has a right to safe and healthy food and they make it easy for concerned consumers to shop without the worry that they’ll be feeding themselves and their families GMO foods.

October marks the 3rd annual Non-GMO Month. Started in order to raise awareness of GMO’s this month-long educational opportunity broadens the knowledge to a wider and wider population each year.  The issue has created a groundswell of concern in California, where their population will soon vote on Proposition 37, a GMO labeling initiative. Whether or not that proposition passes, shopOrganic & shopGMOfree remains a trusted non-GMO shopping source.

shopOrganic.com was founded in 2008 to provide consumers with access to organic, non-GMO and eco-friendly products.  The company is located in Tucson, Arizona and is privately held.

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