Posts tagged ‘organic’

This is not A-mooooo-sing

mmmmmm, chocolate.

What animal has a diet of gummy bears, chocolate cake, and feathers?


If you guessed cattle raised by our mega-sized slaughterhouses, you’re correct!

Alex, tell them what they’ve won!

Thanks to some great reporting from fellow blogger Andy Bellatti at Small Bites, I have learned of a recent document which has been released that sheds some light on the diet of the cows we are eating.

Did you know that  blood meal, hydrolyzed Feather meal, and candy are part of that diet?

Gives new meaning to the saying, You are what you eat.

Seriously, though….you might want to think twice about eating meat (our poultry) that is not organic and/or grass-fed. Who the heck wants a butterfinger in their meat?

July 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm 1 comment

Review: Park Slope’s new Sun In Bloom

Owner Amy Follette in front of Sun In Bloom in Park Slope

I discovered a fabulous new cafe in Park Slope, and I feel damn proud of myself.

For those of you who live in my hood, you might’ve be familiar with Organic Heights cafe on the awesome Bergen Street.  On Friday afternoon, I decided I wanted a clean, healthy lunch so I walked over to Organic Heights only to discover that it was no longer!

However, much to my luck, a new cafe has taken its place. Sun in Bloom now occupies the casual space with communal tables. A totally chill, relaxed vibe that I enjoyed.  I even struck up a conversation with two very interesting people who educated me on  an enzyme drink they sell. 

The menu is simple but offers a lot of vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, and raw offerings. I sampled the “Inspired Renewal Macrobiotic Bowl” and a cup of miso soup and it was DELISH.  I love how they decribe their food as “Breakfast Inspired All-Day Delights,” which indeed they are…and only $8.50 for a large amount of food.

They also offer a selection of fresh juiced concoctions like the Rejuvenade and Ambrosia Elixir. And of course they have a large selection of sweets, both vegan and some are gluten free. I sampled a cupcake and a chocolate chip cookie (just a timy bite) and they were both super tasty.

Aimee, the owner, is super sweet and graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition with me.  We spoke about her plans for Sun In Bloom (which just opened up in January) and she talked about holding workshops, lectures, and group meetings, making the cafe a place where people can enjoy delicious, healthy food and each other’s company. To read a review from the Brooklyn Paper about Aimee and Sun in Bloon, check it out here.

I will definitely be a regular fixture at Sun in Bloom. See you there!

Sun In Bloom
460 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 622-4303

Everyday 8am-8pm

March 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm 2 comments

Pesticide-Free, Please

Yeah, that can't be good for us.

Yeah, that can't be good for us.

We all know that when we choose to buy organic, we are saying “NO” to pesticides and yucky chemicals that are sprayed on conventional produce. By definition, food that is “certified organic” must be: free from all genetically modified organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers, and derived from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other derived drugs. However, the majority of our population (and even me at times) doesn’t buy organic. This could mean trouble, and here’s why:

According to the European Pesticide Residues Committee (Yes, one exists, in case you were wondering!), apples, peas, and grapes are sometimes covered in pesticides (crop spray) above the maximum levels allowed under EU law. Over 4000 samples of food and drink were tested. Further, levels of pesticides varied, with imported fruit and vegetables having the highest levels. Luckily, all the vegetables and fruits supplied to schools contained pesticides within allowed levels, though all apples and bananas had pesticides on them (and sometimes more than one kind). 

 I think the important thing to remember here about pesticide contamination of your food is that levels deemed “safe” by the government (in the EU or in the US) does NOT mean it’s safe, especially when children are concerned, since they hold on to pesticide residues longer in their body than adults. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about food, food safety, and the food industry, is to NOT trust my government!

 According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 90% of fungicides, 60% herbicides, and 30% of insecticides are known to cause cancer in certain amounts, and it’s very possible that you will be exposed to unsafe levels of pesticides in your food over a lifetime. And by the way, lab studies have shown that pesticides can lead to health issues such as infertility, birth defects, learning disorders, and aggressive behavior.

Factory farmed animals are also FULL of pesticides, and these toxins accumulate in their flesh over the course of their life. So, when you eat factory farmed meat, you’re….you, guessed it….eating those pesticides  (I also think you’re eating meat with very bad energy attached to it, as a factory farmed animal lives a horrific life, and that is reflected throughout their body, which then you consume).

As I’ve mentioned on an earlier post, there is a Dirty Dozen list showing which are the most highly contaminated: Peaches, Cherries, Apples, Kale, Bell Peppers, Celery, Lettuce, Grapes (imported), Nectarine, Carrot, Pear, Strawberries.  The way I shop is that anything I eat in entirety (meaning the skin and the flesh of fruits, vegetables), I buy organic. Produce like avocado, banana, onions, I buy conventional if organic is unavailable, since I’m not consuming the skin.

 This post isn’t to scare you, but for me, it was a reminder to really pay attention to what I’m buying. And listen, eating vegetables is better than eating no vegetables at all, so if you can’t do organic, then by all means buy conventional products.

However, I strongly suggest you buy organic, grass-fed meats (and milk, etc)…to me, that’s one thing that I won’t compromise on.

So, this fall, when you’re buying up all your apples and pears….make sure they’re organic…or even better, from your farmers market. Most small farms don’t spray their crops, so you’ll be getting a double whammy: local AND pesticide free!

October 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

One more to avoid: BPA

Hi everyone! It feels so great to be back and posting again.

As you know, this past weekend I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. At the risk of being long winded, I’ll sum up my trip in three words: Oh. My. God. It was gorgeous, yes, but the “OMG” refers to the fact that I endured three full days of intense mental and physical challenges. It was one of those rare life experiences where you come out the other end (alive!) and are forever changed. I can 1000% say that I have the utmost respect for myself, my perseverance, and for my body which kept chugging along after three 12 hours of intense hiking.

But now I’m back. I’m limping, I have a nasty cut on my leg, a large black and blue mark on my butt that is more black than blue, but needless to say, I’m back. And I couldn’t be happier.

These items most likely contain BPA

These items most likely contain BPA

I checked Facebook when I returned home and saw that a friend had posted an article about how Sigg waterbottles (of which I own many), previous to August 2008, used BPA in their aluminum water bottle lining. Most of us have heard that BPA is a bad for us and a is no-no, and have seen that most plastic companies are touting the fact that they don’t use BPA. But I didn’t exactly know what BPA is and WHY it so bad for you. So I’ve decided to take a closer look.

What exactly is BPA?  It stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical that is found often in #7 plastic water bottles (but not all) and a wide variety of plastic consumer products.  BPA is the main component of polycarbonate, the hard, clear plastic that is used to make products like baby bottles, food storage containers and even contact lenses, among many other products you wouldn’t even think of. It can also found in tin cans.

 In 2005, many studies were published that indicated that BPA was indeed toxic, and that women who had frequent miscarriages had upwards of three times the amount of BPA in their blood levels than did women with healthy pregnancies. BPA has been linked to health problems such as breast cancer, early puberty, hormone trouble, low sperm count, depression, IQ reduction, and as I mentioned, reproductive health problems (even infertility).  Most recently, BPA was found to interfere with chemotherapy treatment of cancer patients.

 Here’s the kicker, though.  The Food and Drug Administration says that BPA is SAFE for you. As many of the studies have been done with rats and not humans, they are not yet claiming that BPA has the same effects on humans.  Quite honestly, I’m not so trustworthy of the FDA, and I’m going to go out on a limb and just say NO to BPA. Even large companies such as Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Playtex, and Nalgene have stopped using plastics with BPA in them.

BPA free So what can YOU do to avoid BPA in your life? Many of these are new to me, too, and I know I’m going to adopt these practices now:

*Look for BPA-free labels on packaging.

*If using baby bottles, use glass bottles or those made of #5 plastic (Remember not to use #7). Examples of safe bottles include those from ThinkBaby, Born Free, and Green to Grow

*Only buy canned foods from companies that use BPA-free cans, such as those from Eden Organic Foods. It’s better to buy food in GLASS jars (think tomato sauce, salsa, etc) instead of cans

*Buy tuna or salmon in pouches, not cans

*Buy frozen fruits or veggies in pouches instead of canned

*Buy soda in plastic or glass bottles, not cans!  However, did you know that the caps on the plastic bottles can contain BPA?  It’s everywhere!

*Choose BPA-free reusable water bottle, such as Nalgene, Camelbak or the new Siggs (with a whitish lining)

August 26, 2009 at 1:50 pm 1 comment

Friday’s Nibbles

A UK study was published this week saying that organic produce is no more nutritious than conventional produce.  OK, but what about pesticides? The impact on the environment? Supporting small farms? ‘

Marion Nestle’s wise words in response to the above study.

Oprah’s got issues. Do you? The lowdown on the thyroid.

Abuse? Neglect? I think it’s just plain ol’ sad.

In honor of my latest studies in microbiology, here’s an issue that affects us all.

Chilean salmon may sound fancy on a menu, but you may want to know what you’re actually eating before you order it.

Chlorine is for the pool, NOT for your carrots

If this gets you to eat less artificially colored food, then good.

The honeymoon is over…break out the fat pants!

July 31, 2009 at 1:44 pm 2 comments

Getting dirrrrrty

I’m back after a few days hiatus, where I spent the past few nights jamming to Phish with my crew. That either makes me sound really hardcore or like a total loser, depending on your musical tastes.  But whatever, it was totally fun. I also had IIN this weekend where we deepened our knowledge on sustainable, organic, and local food, in addition to watching videos on factory farming.  It’s not for the faint of heart I tell you, but it really, I mean, REALLY, makes you think twice before eating meat.  I love how someone said that you “vote 3 times a day with your fork,” and so I am making a conscious choice to ONLY eat grass fed meats. That means that I’ll be vegetarian most of the time, since it’s difficult to find grass-fed meat,  but I feel strongly now that my body does not need to eat an animal that was raised and killed in such a horrific manner. You are what you eat, afterall.  For a little insight, and I promise, a little easier on the stomach, check out  The Meatrix, which explains factory farming with a cute cartoon and a Matrix twist!

I supported local farms by going to my farmers market this afternoon and whipping up a delicious meal made from (mostly) local produce. I even saw a sign to join a new CSA which I’ll be taking part in for the next 22 weeks. Awesome!  Eating local, fresh food makes me feel SO much better. Try it, and see the difference!

I know there is a lot of talk about organic foods in the media (I recently saw a package of organic jellybeans…what the heck is THAT?), and the question of whether you should or shouldn’t buy organic produce.  My answer is yes, but not necessarily all the time. Organic produce means it was grown without the use pesticides or chemicals. Yeah, you definitely do not want that nastiness in your body. However, much of the organic produce we see in the supermarket was flown in from across the state: apples from Washington, carrots and spinach from California. In these cases, even though you’re paying to get organic, it comes at the cost of creating ridiculous amounts of carbon emissions from travel.   A better solution is to buy food that’s in season locally (or within a 100 mile radius). Don’t know what’s in season? Be a dork like my husband and download the iPhone app called Locavore. It’ll help you find all the foods in season based on your geographical area.

Getting back to organic, what I do want to tell you is that there is a dirty dozen list of foods that should ABSOLUTELY bought ORGANIC. These are primarily foods where the skin is consumed. Eat the skin, eat the pesticides. Get it? So, without further ado, here is DIRTY DOZEN list of most contaminated foods:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

So friends, buy these organic whenever you can. It’s worth the extra money.

Now, there are certain foods that it is not totally necessary to buy organic. These are foods in which the peel is discarded, or very little pesticides are used, so you won’t be eating the chemicals on the surface. Here is your CLEAN DOZEN list of LEAST contaminated foods:images

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

So, go ahead and eat those and don’t feel guilty if you don’t buy them organic. Actually, you should never feel guilty about anything involving food…just be educated and make the best decision for you, your body, and the planet.  The bottom line, whether organic or not, is to make fruits and veggies the basis of your diet. Make sure to get your 5-9 servings each day!

PS. I learned something pretty shocking about tomatoes.  Think of those big red (conventional) tomatoes in your supermarket.  Did you know that they are picked UNRIPE from the vine, still green, so they don’t spoil on their long journey to the grocery store (they’re usually from California, Florida, or Mexico).  Before distribution, they are gassed with ethelyne to speed up the ripening process and turn them red.  Gross.  That’s why they always taste so crappy. Get local ones, please.

June 8, 2009 at 2:51 am 3 comments

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