Tag Archives: labeling

Fact: GMOs are registered as pesticides with the EPA.

Why are so many people confused about GMOs? It is what the chemical companies such as Montsanto and Dow are counting on.   They state that crops have been ‘genetically  modified’ for years and that what they’re doing is not wrong.   They are counting on people to be confused so they can continue their campaign.  Most people such as myself have no problem with these companies creating toxic foods.  Those who want to eat it are most welcome to eat it.  That’s right, Folks!  Eat up!  Enjoy!  Feed it to your children and loved ones!

We, on the other hand, refuse to buy or consume anything unless it’s (1) Certified Organic or (2) at least labeled with the Non-GMO Projects emblem.  Non-GMOProjectThe chemical companies would like you to think that there are a handful of tree-huggers who are trying to destroy them.  It’s far from that.  And ok, sorry for the sarcasm, but their crocodile tears are wasted on intelligent people.  As always, just follow the money.

The truth is simple.  All we ask is to be given the information that we require so we can make our own decisions.  I certainly do not want to be ‘slipped a mickey’ in the form of some skeezy poison-laced GMO foods.   All the reasonable, wellness-minded people in this country are asking is to simply LABEL IT and to make proper labeling the law.   After all, if it is as harmless as the chemical companies want you to believe, then why are they spending millions and millions of dollars on lobbyists  and advertising campaigns to stop any and all attempts to simply require a truthful label, stating that a food is either GMO or it is not.   Why are they quietly paying off scientists to write phony papers about how safe GMO is?

Case in point:  University of Florida agricultural professor of Kevin Folta.  Mr. Folta has now been exposed as being paid by Montsanto to come up with a paper stating that GMOs are safe.  Written proof of Kevin Folta’s receipt of bribe  So, this is just one well-known episode.  As is always the case, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  All of the so-called peer-reviewed papers proclaiming GMOs as safe come from Montsanto’s own people, ex-employees, or so-called agricultural professionals who have taken bribes, such as Kevin Folta.

Now, to the reason for the confusion.  The chemical companies continue to ‘sell’ the idea that our food has been genetically modified for hundreds of years.  They’re counting on the average citizen’s lack of knowledge on the difference between hybridization and genetic modification.  These are two very different things.

This article breaks it down very succinctly:  Hybird vs GMO   Hybridization has occurred when nature naturally does this over time, OR when humans have cultivated new plant varieties through selective breeding. This takes time.  A LOT OF TIME!  They did this by cross-pollinating two different, but related plants over 6 to 10 plant generations, eventually creating a new plant variety.  To quote Jerry Seinfeld:  “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”  BUT often a weaker plant results.

Genetic modification is a far different process.  These seed varieties are created in a lab and are far from the ‘low tech’ process used for hybridization.  GMO seeds are not crossed with similar varieties of plant.  Actually, they are crossing different biological kingdoms such as say, a plant with a bacteria.     ARE YOU AWARE THAT THESE GMO PLANTS ARE REGISTERED AS PESTICIDES WITH THE EPA?   Pay attention now. It isn’t just the one plant variety that is affected.   Montsanto’s btCorn isn’t just a toxic crop. It IS a pesticide. If you feed this actual pesticide to your cattle or your chickens or if you eat it yourself, you’re eating a full dose of pesticide.  EATING IT.  It’s not just a bit of residue from the surface of a plant that was sprayed with pesticide.  It’s IN it.  You cannot wash it off.   This is occurring with all crops now – wheat, soybeans, canola and more (even though we don’t eat any of those anyway.)

This process has begun to poison our entire food chain.  AND it is putting the small, honest farmers out of business.  (That’s a very long story)  I highly recommend seeing the film “Food Inc.”  It is free for Amazon Prime members and is available on DVD.  Another great film?  King Corn .  These are eye-opening and very concerning exposes’ of the manner in which corporate farming and chemical companies are ruining our food supply and destroying small farmers who have farmed their land for generations.

For now, I will use those with the above Non-GMO Project certification, but it is only a second choice for me.  The only guarantee that you have of safe food is to buy certified organic.   Organic Labeling

 

 

It pays to invest in wellness

My husband will turn 65 the end of November, and thus I’ve been forced to look at Medicare in detail.  Let me tell you, it’s ugly!  The many myths I’ve believed have now been shattered.  Medicare is not a panacea.  MedicareAs a matter of fact, my husband’s Medicare will cost us more for basic annual services such as blood work and checkups than our existing ACA coverage does.  (Affordable Care Act)  AND he’ll pay $104 monthly which is higher than current premiums, with far, far higher potential financial exposure than the current coverage offers.

It’s discouraging to think that our government pushes those at age 65 into a program that really isn’t the best thing for anyone.  Luckily for us, we do everything in our power to stay away from the standard Western medical community by remaining well.  Unfortunately accidents do happen and my husband was hospitalized because of an accident in 2010.  He was also hospitalized because he ate some bad stuff in 2012.  In looking at our coverages, it appears that we would pay far, far more using Medicare than we’d have paid with our previous insurances.

So, it’s become increasingly clear that we MUST keep ourselves healthy.  This country is not like France nor is it like Canada, where quality health care is available for all at a minimal cost, if any cost at all.  In the US it’s every man for himself.   Thank goodness for the wellness-minded providers!  At least you are getting quality for what you pay where with the standard medical community, your results are always questionable and quality is long gone.

I invite you all to contribute to a list that we can all share, of health-minded providers, natural healers and alternative healers in the comment section below.  You can include health food stores, wellness providers, integrated medicine providers and any other alternative provider that you deem worthy.

I should also add that the same holds true for our beloved furry and feathered family members.  The same lack of respect towards wellness, the same cut ‘n’ drug thinking applies to veterinarians.

And if you have been reading this blog, you know that I am a strong believer that reading labels, organic eating, healthy choices and meditation will go a long way towards healing.

I’ll start the list here, but urge everyone to please, please add to the list!

Mitzi Schardt, MSN, NP – Fort Myers / Cape Coral, FL

Robert Murdock, NaturalFamilyPhysicians.com / Fort Myers and Cape Coral, FL

Whole Foods nationwide

Natural Pet Care LLC – Metarie, Louisiana  (They do phone consultations)

Another trip to the market and discovering hidden ‘bad stuff’.

It was time for yet another trip to the market. A family’s gotta eat!  Today I’m looking at some pantry items.  These are stand-bys we can keep on hand for quick meals when time becomes an issue.  So, where to start?

Nicoise saladWho doesn’t love a beautiful Nicoise Salad or a spicy black bean salsa?  These are easy dishes made easier using pantry items.

First let’s look at a couple of real disappointments – items that have ingredients that are less than ideal and in one case, BAD.  Just because it says organic, it doesn’t mean that there cannot be problems.  ALWAYS read the labels!

I’ve been a fan of Annie’s brand for years, but lately, I’ve come across some disappointing items.  Last week, it was a so-called ‘healthy’ boxed macaroni and cheese, but to be honest, anything that is boxed can’t be that good.  Annies CaesarToday, in reading the label of Annie’s Organic Caesar dressing, I was disappointed to find that they list a generic ‘expeller pressed vegetable oil’ Canola and/or sunflower).  Canola is generally, BAD.  It is a genetically engineered oil from the rapeseed.   Rather than going into a detail on this, I am referring to a great article from Natural News.  It starts ” Corn oil comes from corn: sunflower oil from sunflowers, sesame oil from sesame seeds, peanut oil from peanuts, olive oil from olives, Canola oil from…Canolas? What is a Canola?”  The uptake?  Canola is bad.  There are many more good oils to choose from.  It is made from a high-heat process using toxic chemicals in the process.  It is touted by the food industry as being healthy, yet many animal studies point to serious and deleterious effects on rats and pigs.  Why take the chance?   I should add that we generally make our own Caesar salad from scratch.  Hmmm…I’ll post that recipe soon.  It’s to die for!

Another disappointing item?  Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups.  Justins Peanut Butter CupsThese are a real taste sensation.  You’ll never want the standard old junk-food peanut butter cups again.  BUT there’s one nasty item on the ingredient list:  SOY.  Even if it’s organic, it’s still soy and soy is a hormone disruptor.  I can’t understand why companies that appear to be health-oriented continue to use soy lecithin when there’s a far healthier choice out there in the form of non-GMO sunflower lecithin.  As much as I like this item, I’ve stopped eating it now because of the soy.  Hormone disruption is the basis of many health problems.  Weight issues are the first that come to mind, but anything to do with your body’s endocrine system can be disrupted with soy.  The World Health Organization reports problems from hormone disruption including non-descended testes in young males, breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, developmental effects on the nervous system, attention deficit /hyperactivity in children and thyroid cancer.  Come on, Justins!  Get with the program and stop using that stuff!

Now for the good things.  While I always encourage using fresh and healthy items, there are times that you just need a bit of help in the kitchen.  That’s when we go to the pantry for our jarred or canned items.    The packaging is important.  If possible, buy these items in jars where you will have little or no BPA exposure.  If in cans, be sure they’re marked as BPA-free.

Who wants to make sauerkraut from scratch?  Not me! I occasionally find some organic Sauerkrautchicken sausages for a quick dinner, brown them and cook with sauerkraut.  I’ve been really happy with the Eden Organic product.  The ingredients?  Organic cabbage, water and sea salt.  That’s all you need!  This is a good pantry item to have on hand.

If you don’t have nut allergies, a great snack always includes peanut butter.  It’s high in energy, protein and fiber.  And the best peanut butter contains absolutely NOTHING but organic peanuts.   You can spread on apple wedges for a quick snack or on organic bread (ours is gluten free) with sliced bananas PeanutButterfor an old fashioned peanut butter and banana sandwich.  Oh, my Mama loved those!

Kalamata Olives are a great addition to salads and for appetizers. Divinia Organic Olives These organic olives are particularly good and I use them in a Nicoise salad (as shown above) and for any Greek style dish.  What’s in them?  Organic Kalamata olives, water, organic red wine vinegar and sea salt.  You can make a divine main-dish salad from leftovers such as chilled green beans, hard boiled eggs, sliced seared fresh tuna, fresh herbs and olives with a light mustard-based dressing. Add Feta cheese for a Greek accent or some hard Italian or French cheese shreds for a more northern Mediterranean accent.

Living in South Florida, one comes to rely on black beans in many dishes.  Black bean chili is a healthy one-dish meal.  Black beans are wonderful in salads, salsa and of course, over rice.  Black Bean salsaThe ideal manner of preparing is using dried black beans that have been soaked overnight and slow-cooked.  However, since there isn’t always time for that, canned black beans are a great pantry item to add protein, fiber, vitamins and iron to your diet.  (Note:  If using corn in your black bean salsa as shown to the right, be sure you have organic, non-GMO corn!)

At the risk of being downright boring, I can’t remind you enough:  READ THE LABELS!

BlackBeans

Cheese, glorious cheese!

I generally do not eat dairy.  Think about it.  Humans are the only species that drinks the milk of other species.  And humans are the only species that drinks that milk of other species, after weaning.  Our systems aren’t made to process it well.  Those of us who have fine-tuned our diet have an even greater problem with dairy.  I don’t crave it and don’t want it – except for CHEESE!!!!

CHEESEActually, cheese has some excellent nutritional benefits, as long as you don’t overdo it and overload on the fat content.  And, cheese doesn’t give me a problem!  While I don’t think we’re technically ‘lactose intolerant’, those who are lactose intolerant have no problem with cheese.  Why?  When milk turns to cheese, it goes through a process called acidification, which is a souring process.  The lactose in the milk converts to lactic acid.  It becomes a different entity altogether.   By the time a cheese is aged, most if not all of the lactose is gone.  The more aged or the firmer the cheese, the safer it is to eat if you’re lactose intolerant.

WHEW!  I’m really glad to know all of that.   Both Mark and I are cheese lovers, but we do limit ourselves, AND as always, I read every label when buying cheese.

There are organic cheeses that are really good and easily available in the States. Organic Cheese Horizon and Organic Valley make some good basic  cheeses and they’re reasonably priced.  But if you want something really special, you should be looking at cheeses that are not made in the US.   Knowing the contamination factor of GMO’s in this country, as always, you should go organic.

And knowing that Europe is very anti-GMO gives me a better feeling about their cheeses.  There are some excellent Canadian cheeses as well. I could spend hours in the cheese section of Whole Foods or any other store that has an excellent cheese section. Trader Joes?  Just read the labels.  Trader Joe’s has inexpensive food, but it’s often NOT organic and NOT non-GMO.

When it comes to labeling, like anything imported into the US, the country of origin should be displayed on the product.  In my case, I’m not looking to eliminate the product from viable choices.  I’m looking for something that is a better choice than most cheeses in the US.

Until fairly recently, you could count on the type and name of a cheese to know where it was produced based on the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) , PGI (Protected Geographical Indication and TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed).  The European Union protects the name of regional foods and it is enforced within the EU and internationally via bilateral agreements with non-EU countries.  This protects the reputation of regional foods and insures a consistent quality for those items.  Wines, cheeses, hams, sausage, olives and beer are governed by this.  Some examples of cheeses that fall into this category are Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago and Roquefort. But cheesemakers nationwide have begun to infringe on these protections. If you ask me, it makes them look really bad.   Yes, they make some tasty (and some organic) cheese in Wisconsin but can’t they create their own styles? Why do they feel they have the right to take something that is not theirs?

The US hasn’t been particularly helpful in this legal process, protecting these lovely foods, and thus, you see more and more US-made ‘imitations’ of European cheeses.  Without the particulars of the location that they are traditionally made in, you aren’t getting anything remotely close to the original.  For example, to be named Roquefort,  Cheese.Wikia.com says, ”  cheese must be made from the milk of a certain breed of sheep, and matured in the natural caves near the town of Roquefort in the Aveyron region of France, where it is infected with the spores of a particular fungus (Penicillium roqueforti) that grows in these caves. “

Interestingly enough, what’s good for the goose doesn’t seem to be good for the gander.  Cheese producers in Wisconsin infringe on EU PDO products constantly.  You really have to read the labels to know what you’re getting, because the people in Wisconsin have adopted Italian, Dutch and French names for their companies.  Here is a prime example and if you ask me, it should be illegal. Those who know no better could be easily duped into buying a product that is in fact NOT Gorgonzola and NOT Italian.  WisconsinItalianCheeseNOYET, many regions in the US feel they deserve the protections that the US denies European producers.  Some examples:  Georgia feels that to be labeled a Vidalia Onion, it must be produced in the area of Vidalia, Georgia.   Idaho feels the same way about their potatoes and Florida is very protective of their Florida Orange Juice moniker.

So again, we’re back to reading labels.  On my trip to the market yesterday, I took some pictures of cheese labels to illustrate what we’re talking about.

Note how BelGioioso uses an Italian Name, claims to be an Italian Blue Cheese, yet it’s made in Wisconsin.

 

Also, this Feta, WisconsinGreekCheeseNOwhich is traditionally a Greek cheese, uses a more Mediterranean company name and yet it is made in the US.

And finally, I found this interesting little gem (Castello) in the cheese section at the local supermarket.  I’ve turned it inside out and found no country of origin.  So I bought it, since I love this type of cheese, thinking perhaps that once it was opened, the magical country of origin would be revealed.  Nope!

Now, I suspected it was from Denmark since I saw a small stamp on it that said DK.  But again, it didn’t meet the requirements for labeling in the US.

 

As it happens this is a delicious cheese and I’m sure it’s from Denmark, CheeseNotProperlyLabeledbut still, this proves that you must read every label, every day to know what you’re putting in your body.

And shame on Publix for not adhering to the law that requires that anything they sell is properly labeled as to country of origin.   I might have passed this by, assuming it was another deception by a Wisconsin cheesemaker, if I’d not seen the DK in the small circle on the back.  And most Americans don’t know the symbols for European countries.

Finally, the entire time I’ve been writing this, a commercial jingle from the 80’s kept rolling around in my head so I am including it below.  Now it will probably embed itself in YOUR head for the rest of the day.  Enjoy!

(Edit:  Now after posting, I realized that this ad was for the American Dairy Council and our dairy products in 1987 were already soaked in pesticides.  Oh well.  All we can do is demand better for ourselves and our family. )