Category Archives: My Personal Truth

Organic Product Recommendations / Cereal and Bread

As I mentioned in previous posts about my journey with Organic Foods, it’s a whole new world out there.  To me anyway.  :)  I find myself staring at the shelves, wondering what kind of organic mayonnaise to buy, or what kinds of Organic cereal my kids will eat.  It’s a challenging, not to mention expensive, endeavor.  And it’s VERY painful to buy something, only to find out that we don’t like it, and have to throw it away!  ** A side note on trying new products, Whole Foods will take back ANY of their 365 brand products without a receipt.  I took back their organic version of Fruit Loops for a full refund.  :)

I’m going to share some of my discoveries and I’ll keep these posts short and sweet.  I’ve tagged them with “product reviews” in my Categories so you can find them and refer back to them easier.

First up: Cereal and Bread

My kids always liked Kix so this Gorilla Munch cereal from EnviroKidz was a great find.  It’s a bit crunchier than Kix (and stays crunchy in the milk), and it only has 8 grams of sugar per 3/4 cup serving.  Comparatively speaking, Kix only has 2 grams of sugar but it also has Modified Corn Starch and Corn Syrup (both of which are surely made from GMO corn).  Plus, Kix has double the sodium content at 210 mg.  Gorilla Munch is Gluten Free and has exactly three ingredients: Organic Corn Meal, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, and Sea Salt.  They stopped selling it at the Whole Foods in Buckhead for some reason, so I just went ahead and ordered a case directly from Nature’s Path.  It was cheaper that way (only $3.97 per box) plus I got free shipping.

Rudi’s Organic Bakery makes an awesome Honey Sweet Whole Wheat Bread.  Although I have always bought 100% Whole Wheat Bread, now that I’ve been eating this organic bread, it’s hard to go back to the regular stuff.  This bread is more dense, filling, and has such a great taste.  It’s worth the extra “points” — if you know what I mean!   Of course Whole Foods has a store brand of Organic Whole Wheat Bread too.  It’s pretty good, and cheaper, so that’s a good option as well.

 

<< Inquire about your next Portrait Session >>
Share

My Personal Truth / Why Organic?

I read this article by Robyn O’Brien on the Prevention Magazine blog yesterday.  It really spoke to me because at this time last year, the only thing I bought organic on a consistent basis was milk.   And by doing so, I somehow felt like I was protecting my kids from that nasty growth hormone (RBGH) we’ve all heard about.  The problem was, the rest of the food I was buying was riddled with GMO’s, toxic pesticide, petroleum based preservatives, artificial color and sweeteners, and who knows what else.  So, think about cheese for a minute (which my daughter can eat her weight in), it’s made of milk right?  So, if I buy cheese that’s not organic, it most likely came from cows that were given RBGH, and that were treated with antibiotics, and were also fed GMO corn grain, which has been sprayed with pesticide and put through an irradiation process with fillers, etc.  That’s quite a backstory for a piece of cheese.  And that’s just the “natural” cheese.  Once you grab a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, you’ll need to add all kinds of other things to the list.

As Robyn said in her article, “when I first heard the term “organic” several years ago, I dismissed it. It connoted a “status” and conjured up two different images: lifestyles of the rich and famous or perhaps some alternative, hippie thing.”  It made me laugh because that’s exactly how I felt about it.  And when trying to explain all of this stuff to my mother-in-law (she was here when I began this food journey), I felt a little like a “hippie.”  But, what most people don’t realize, is that much of these synthetic ingredients (including GMO’s) were added to our food supply in the last couple decades.  Our parents didn’t have to worry so much about it because it wasn’t so much of a problem.

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  Robyn O’Brien used that quote in her book The Unhealthy Truth so many times.  It’s hard at first.  I was literally in the grocery store with tears in my eyes as I realized that almost everything that I was eating and feeding my family was “tainted.”   And so began my journey to eating cleaner, healthier food.  That’s what I’m hoping to share with these posts.  The story behind HOW I did it, WHAT I buy (yes, I still buy cookies and soda), and WHERE I get information, etc.  If I can help someone out there with getting started, then I’m a happy camper!  :)

So start small if you can.  Use this list from EWG with the Dirty Dozen (dirtiest produce) and the Clean 15 (the cleanest produce) and buy organic when you can.   I recently read an article that said Strawberries are sprayed with more than 200 pounds of pesticide per acre in California.  The next highest is carrots, around 80 pounds per acre, just to give you a reference.   I know that many grocery stores don’t have a great selection of organic produce, but it’s getting better.  And, the more you buy, request, or demand it, the more they will provide.  I buy all of my produce at Whole Foods, simply because the selection for organic is fantastic, and the prices are actually cheaper for organic produce there (vs Publix).

Happy eating!  ;)

<< Inquire about your next Portrait Session >>
Share

My Personal Truth / Toxic Corn

Thank you so very much to everyone that commented on my last post about natural vs. organic.  It makes me happy to know that there are so many people interested in this topic, as overwhelming as it is.

I was just reading this article from the Center for Food Safety about how the FDA is about to decide on whether or not to allow another type of pesticide-resistant corn to be produced and grown in the US.  This time by Dow Chemical (rather than Monsanto).  This corn would be genetically engineered to withstand applications of the toxic herbicide 2,4-D (also known as one of the ingredients in Agent Orange).  Gross!

Without getting too deep into the research on all of this, let me break it down as to why this makes me so mad.

* Chemical giant Monsanto (creator of Round-up) decides to make genetically modified corn that can withstand repeated applications of toxic pesticide (Round-Up).  So, now Monsanto owns the patent to the food AND they sell the pesticide to spray on the food.  Hmmmmm.

* The weeds (now called superweeds) have become resistant to all of the pesticide (Round-Up) that is being repeatedly sprayed on them.  So, now Dow Chemical has created a genetically modified corn that can withstand repeated applications of toxic pesticide 2,4-D.  That means Dow Chemical will then own the patent to the food and the chemical that will be sprayed on them.  Conflict of interest???

* Before these genetically modified crops, pesticides were used to spray the soil BEFORE the plants (corn, soybeans, etc) grew or only on the weeds directly.  Round Up could not be sprayed directly on the plants, or they would die.  Now that we have genetically modified plants, the pesticide can be sprayed (many times) on the entire plant, usually via cropdusting planes.

* Bottom line: We are eating A LOT of corporate-owned genetically modified food that is laden with multiple coats of toxic pesticide.  Especially when you consider how many things can be made from corn.  Just to name a few: Acsorbic Acid, Crystalline Fructose, Dextrose, Lactic Acid, Glucose, Hydrolized Vegetable Protein, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, and the list goes on.  If you grab just about any processed food from the supermarket shelf, you will find MANY of these ingredients on the label.

For more information about GMO’s, I have found this website to be helpful.  saynotogmos.com

And this short book (available on iTunes for $2.99) was a great read to sum up what is happening in the food industry right now. Label It Now  And, if this information gets you motivated, hop on over HERE and sign the petition to the FDA to let them know that you want to know what is in your food.

Did you know that nearly 50 countries, including the European Union, South Korea, Brazil, and China require labeling of Genetically Modified Food, or have banned it entirely?  Hmmmmmm.

Just one more reason I choose organic whenever possible.  :)  My kids deserve better.

<< Inquire about your next Portrait Session >>
Share

by Crystal

show hide 1 comment

My Personal Truth

Today is the day.  I don’t know why, but it is.  Wednesday, February 15th will be the first day that I share with “the world” my journey towards My Personal Truth.  Sounds deep right?  I suppose it is kind of deep, since it encompasses so many things.  The truth about things I’ve learned.  The truth about food.  The truth about the world we live in.  The truth about myself and the little girl that lives inside of me.   It has been a struggle for me because I have wanted to “journal” many things, but wasn’t sure if I should do it in such a public way.  Fear.  Fear of being judged, fear of people thinking I’m crazy, fear that my friends won’t like me anymore.   I read a quote by Dr. Seuss (of all people), “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.”   I have so many amazing people in my life, so logic tells me that my fear is unfounded.  But, then again, fear is one of the biggest barriers to anything in life (and it usually is unfounded right?).   So I am going to share the things that I’ve learned about the world, and food, and myself.  And, I’m going to share it right here on my blog because I have always wanted my clients and my friends to know who I am, and hopefully they will love me for it.  With some more inspiration from Dr. Seuss….. here goes…..

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  Dr. Seuss

Back in July of last year, I read a book called “The Unhealthy Truth” by Robyn O’brien.  It changed me.  At first I wondered it if was a phase I was going through, and maybe I would forget all that I had discovered.  But now I know that it was only the beginning of a journey for me.  Since then I have continued to research, read, watch documentaries, and become an advocate for change.  Our food system needs to change.  I believe that.  I want to scream it from the mountaintops. But, back in July I was so completely overwhelmed by the information, and paralyzed with fear about all that I had learned.   It’s still scary and depressing, but I have the power to make better choices for myself and my family.   And now I make those choices every single day.  It feels good.  I have the power to change something, I’m just not sure exactly where it will lead me.

Bottom line, our food is contaminated with GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) along with multiple pesticides and toxic chemicals.  This is not my opinion, this is a fact.  It’s not the same food that our parents fed to us, because GMO’s were introduced into our food supply in the mid 1990′s without a public announcement, or a requirement to label them so people could make an educated choice about consuming them.

So the topic of my first “My Personal Truth” post is the difference between Natural and Organic.  The term “natural” is unregulated and it can mean whatever a company decides.  The term “organic” means:  Foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.  AND, the term Organic is REGULATED by the government with strict standards.  The funny thing is, back in old days, that’s how all food was produced, so it didn’t need to be called Organic.  A funny story….  I was pouring some milk for my kids and someone (they will remain nameless) commented “I don’t drink that organic stuff, who knows what’s in there.”  I had to laugh!  It’s really about what’s NOT in there!

Consumers are confused about “natural” verses “organic,” and rightly so.  The words are used interchangeably on many products.  Plus, many companies that started out producing Organic products are switching (due to cost, regulations, profits, etc) and now they are making “natural” products – at a PREMIUM price.  They have already built consumer trust in their products, and many people do not know or understand the difference.

Example in point:

Do you see anything confusing about these two boxes of Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese?  Isn’t it a little strange that the “Totally Natural” version lists “No artificial anything” at the top of the list, but they don’t include the “No Pesticides or Hormones” as listed on the Organic box?  A great explanation from the Cornucopia Report:

“Natural” generally is thought to mean “no artiicial
ingredients,” including preservatives, but the farms and
processing plants that produce ingredients for “natural”
foods are not prohibited by law from using dangerous
pesticides, genetically engineered crops, fumigants,
solvents and toxic processing aids. These agricultural
and manufacturing inputs are not required by law to be
listed on ingredient labels.

 

From the same report, some interesting information about companies that started out organic, but are switching to “natural.”

Percentage organic or “made organic” cereal/granola in 2007 VS 2011

                                                    2007              2011

Annie’s Homegrown®        100%              20%
Barbara’s Bakery®                 60%               20%
Peace Cereal®                        100%               0%

*Based on products offered wholesale from the UNFI catalog, 2007 and 2011

And guess what!  Even though these companies are no longer producing the Organic foods they started out with, they are charging a premium for so-called natural foods, that really are not natural at all (if you follow the food chain).  And consumers are paying that premium because they think they are buying something “more healthy” for themselves or their family.  In fact, several market research studies have shown that the majority of Americans believe that “natural” means the absence of Pesticides, Herbicides and GMO’s.  AND, more people value the “all natural” label over the “organic” label.  You can see the independent studies here on Page 10.

My message – don’t be fooled by claims of “all natural” and DON’T PAY EXTRA FOR IT!  I choose USDA Organic foods anytime I have a choice.  That means I’m sending a message with my money that I want REAL food, and I’m willing to pay extra to NOT have GMO’s, pesticides, toxic chemicals, and other un-natural stuff in my food.

Whew!!!  It felt good to write all of that down!  Am I still scared people will think I’m crazy?  Maybe, just a little, or a lot.  But, that’s okay.  We all have a few crazy friends right?

<< Inquire about your next Portrait Session >>
Share

by Crystal

show hide 7 comments