Food

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I’m always looking for practical ways for my family to reduce waste – especially plastic waste. Looking at the big picture and stepping outside what’s convenient is important when trying to reduce our family’s impact on the environment.

The Girls

From Earth911.com:

“Traveling from land to sea in the wind or through waterways, plastic pollution is causing extensive damage to our marine life and giving life to one of the greatest ecological disasters of our times.”

I send my girls to school each day with a homemade lunch. They have reusable lunch bags and reusable containers in multiple sizes. Now, thanks to the amazing folks at StrawSleeves, we have some new additions to the lunchbox.

 StrawSleeves Multi-utensil Pack

This multi-utensil pack is not just handy for tucking in a lunchbox, it can be popped into your purse or tucked in the car for road trips. Bottom line, it’s a convenient way to carry reusable utensils so you don’t have to accept disposable plastic ones.

Lunchbox essentials

StrawSleeves Straw Sleeve

This handy reusable straw holder is made from reclaimed denim. Pictured below with a bamboo and a reed straw from StrawSleeves.

StrawSleeves with lunchbox

From StrawSleeves:

“Bring your own reusable straw in this Cloth Sleeve made to hold and carry almost any design of reusable straws in 8 to 9 inch length. This light denim straw sleeve is made of reclaimed denim in a cotton blend. The design is self lined and triple stitched to ensure durability and stand up to frequent washings. It is machine washable and can also be hand washed. The invisible ‘inner cuff’ holds the straw securely and requires no fasteners. You can easily access and replace your straw in the pocket with each use allowing you to refuse disposable options when offered a single use plastic straw.”

The StrawSleeves site also carries reusable straws, straw cleaning brushes and stainless steel spoon straws. To find out more and purchase your own StrawSleeves products, visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/StrawSleeves/.

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I’ve recently submitted my second article to Earth911 (insert happy dance) which is so exciting for me. You can read the first article I wrote for them at http://earth911.com/living-well-being/recycling-tips-home/. I’m also still writing for Recycle Nation and feel extremely blessed that I’m able to do what I love while helping people and the environment.

The girls at the farm

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know this next article includes a pesto sauce recipe. I’ve had a number of requests for the recipe so here’s my recipe for a pesto sauce you can put on pasta, spread on a sandwich or toss into your salad.

Pesto Sauce Ingredients

 My Green Side’s Pesto for Pasta recipe:

(this recipe makes approximately 2 cups of pesto, enough for at least 1 pound of pasta)

  • 3 tablespoon pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 3 cups of fresh organic basil leaves
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Wash your basil leaves in cold water. Put nuts, salt and ½ cup of olive oil into your blender. Blend and then add your basil leaves, garlic and the rest of your olive oil. Blend. Add your cheese and blend until your mixture is at your desired consistency. Taste and add additional salt and cheese if necessary.

Mix into your favorite prepared pasta for a quick, healthy and yummy meal. Enjoy!

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As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review.Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The January Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected with the theme of getting a fresh start for the New Year. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

ACURE Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes ($6.99 for 50 ct.) ACURE was founded on sustainable principles and reasonable pricing to steer people away from toxic chemicals, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice health for beautiful skin and hair. These cleansing towelettes gently remove makeup, dirt, sweat and environmental toxins. They are easy to throw in a bag when you’re on the go and they really work.

IMG_0191Visit http://www.acureorganics.com/ to find out more about ACURE products and use the promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order and get free shipping on any order of $25 or more.

Rustic MAKA’s Calming Fields Pachy Deodorant (travel size $7.95) This deodorant smells like heaven and really works! I am seriously in love. My plan was to let my tween daughter test this product but I couldn’t stop myself from trying it first because it smelled so amazing. Don’t worry, I will be buying one for her because… it really works! I am even going to pick up one for my husband to try, he is very stubborn about his deodorants so I am continuously trying to find something healthier for him that he’ll actually use.  Each Rustic MAKA’s deodorant is carefully formulated with rich, organic plant-based oils and butters, along with pure powders and plant extracts. They DO NOT contain aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrances or propylene-glycol.

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Go find out where you can get your hands on this product, visit http://www.rusticmaka.com/ and use promo code “EcoMom15” for a 15% discount. I’ll see you there!

Simply Earth Natural Air and Fabric Freshener ($6 for 2.5 oz.) This product is literally a life saver. Simply Earth gives 13% of the profits to human trafficking victims. The air and fabric freshener uses a natural odor eliminator that actually traps the odors and essential oils to make your home and clothes smell amazing. I put it to the ultimate test. My oldest daughter’s cheer team put on a cheer fun night for the younger kids. The fun included learning a few cheers, a pizza party and so on. My husband and I volunteered to pick up the 32 pizzas needed for the evening. We got the pizzas, dropped them off and quickly discovered that, although the pizzas had left the car, the strong pizza smell was remaining. Thankfully, I had Simply Earth’s Natural Air and Fabric Freshener and I used it to deodorize the car… and it really worked!

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Check out http://simplyearth.com/ to find out more about this amazing company. When you’re there use promo code “EcoMom” for 10% off your purchase.IMG_0194

 

Tangie Stain Remover Bar ($5.00 for 3 oz.) This natural stain remover is made with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, soap nuts liquid, oxalic acid, sea salt, citric acid, lemon essential oil and love. This product is tough on stains but gentle on the environment. My youngest daughter loves to wear ballet pink but loves to play tag, football, basketball, soccer, etc. at recess. This results in stains every day so this product has been vigorously tested and has passed with flying colors.

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Visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/ilovetangie to find out more and check out their other great products. Use “Ecomomships” for free shipping and free Laundry Past (up to 12 loads) with purchase.

Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Tablets ($6.99 for 25 ct.) I already use this product and love it so I gave this sample to a friend for her to try. The whole Ecover product line is amazing and they have fragrance-free products as well. Ecover has been a pioneer in plant-based cleaning products for more than 30 years. 

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To find out more about Ecover and find a store in your area that carries these products, visit http://us.ecover.com/.

ENLIGHTENED Crisps – Roasted Broad Beans ($1.50 for 1 oz.) OH. MY. GOODNESS. These crisps are delicious!! ENLIGHTENED Crisps are lightly roasted in sunflower oil, sprinkled with sea salt and seasoned to perfection. They only have 100 calories per serving, are certified vegan, gluten free, non-GMO Project verified, OU kosher and wheat free. And have I mentioned they are SO yummy?! My eight year old talked me into letting her try some and she loved them too. This would be a perfect snack to have in my bag for all those times when people get a little cranky because they need some protein (7 grams per serving).

IMG_0196If you live in the San Francisco area, you can run out to the store right now and pick up this delicious snack, if not, visit http://www.eatenlightened.com/to purchase the crisps online.

Sweater Stone ($8.99 one stone) I love this product not only because it really does remove the pills from my favorite sweaters but because this product is made utilizing the Seattle areas sheltered workshops. In case you don’t know, sheltered workshops are places that provide opportunities for increased independence and self sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

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Visit http://www.sweaterstone.com/ to find out where you can purchase your own Sweater Stone and make a difference in the life of someone else (along with extending the life of your favorite sweaters). 

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When grilling for your friends and family this summer use these simple tips to reduce waste and keep your grilling a little greener.

  • Use a Better Grill
    • Conventional charcoal burns dirty and produces greenhouse gases. If you have a charcoal grill, look for organic or natural lump brands. Natural gas is the most energy-efficient; however, infrared grills are the greenest as they heat quickly, use the least energy, and use less gas than regular gas grills.
    • Grills made of cast iron or stainless steel are the safest because they remain non-toxic at any temperature. Watch out for models made from chrome-coated aluminum, which can become toxic if the aluminum oxidizes. Stay away from lighter fluids, which release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.
    • Buy a grill that is sized to fit your needs. A larger grill uses more energy because it takes longer to heat.
  • Non-Toxic Cleaning
    • Before you turn on your grill, clean the grate with baking soda instead of store-bought chemicals. Use a wire brush and a paste of equal parts baking soda and water.
    • After your cookout, take a halved onion and rub it over the grate to get rid of excess food. Brush olive oil over the grate afterwards so the food won’t stick the next time you grill.
    • When cleaning up in the kitchen, find products with ingredients you can trust to be better for you and for the environment like Seventh Generation and Earth Friendly Products.
  • Set a Sustainable Table
    • When serving your guests, go with reusable cutlery, glasses and plates. Use cloth napkins instead of paper. If you can’t use reusable dishware, cutlery or napkins, choose biodegradable, recycled or unbleached picnicware.
  • Serve Sustainable Foods
    • Fill your menu with greener options by choosing USDA certified organic or local grass-fed meat. If you’re a The Gabriel at a Prairie Roots Food Co-op picnicvegetarian, try certified organic soy hot dogs and burgers. Instead of using tomatoes and onions sprayed with pesticides, shop at your local farmer’s market to pick up your produce. You’ll also find pesticide-free meat products.
  • Recycle & Compost 
    • Make it easy for guests to recycle by placing recycling bins next to the trashcan. Make sure each can has a label clearly marked: paper, plastic and aluminum. If you have a lot of leftover food scraps, compost the proper foods. Remember to never compost dairy or meat products.
  • Prevent Pests 
    • To keep pests from plaguing your cookout, throw sage and rosemary on the hot grill. Mosquitoes hate these plants and will stay away, and the herbs add a pleasant aroma to your get-together. Another mosquito prevention trick is to set out a cup of sugar water. The mosquitoes will flock to the sugar water and stay away from your guests.
    • For more information on preventing pests, check out Green Tip – Natural Ways to Deter Mosquitoes at http://mygreenside.org/?p=6881.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Amy Thielen at www.amythielen.com/

Along with her Food Network gig, Amy is a regular on The Christopher Gabriel Program when she comes on to talk about Adventures in Eating. Her site isn’t my typical web pick of the week but it is definitely worth a look. Amy talks about recipes, gardening, eating and life in general. Her photos are also gorgeous.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Eat a variety of foods to make sure you are getting the fullest range of nutrients in your diet. A great Eating the rainbowway to do this is by avoiding processed foods and by Eating a Rainbow – choose fresh fruits and vegetables from each color of a rainbow.

To read more about Eating a Rainbow, visit Fruit & Veggies More Matters.

Eating healthy is important for everyone but it’s especially critical for children. Pound for pound, children eat and drink more than adults so healthy eating is essential in order to safely nourish their growing bodies.

Here are some healthy eating tips from our friends at Healthy Child, Healthy World:

  • Choose to eat and prepare organic, whole foods rather than packaged foods whenever possible. The easiest way to eat healthier is to start making your food instead of buying prepared food and warming it.
  • Buy organic varieties of these 10 fruits and vegetables: peaches, apples, nectarines, strawberries, pears, sweet bell peppers, celery, imported grapes, spinach and potatoes. For more information, visit http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
  • Avoid genetically modified organisms (aka GMOs or genetically engineered foods). For more information on GMOs visit www.responsibletechnology.org.
  • Avoid meat and dairy products with added hormones and antibiotics. The best way to ensure your meat is free of drugs, hormones and antibiotic-resistant bacteria is to buy organic meat varieties, which by law cannot come from treated animals. Local farms with pastured animals may also be a safer meat source. Talk to your nearby producers to find out what treatments they administer or feed to animals farmed for meat. Farms that don’t use any tend to be well worth whatever premium they may charge for their products.
  • Choose safer seafood. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website to learn more and print a pocket guide. For more information, visit http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx.
  • Read labels. Look for foods with few and identifiable ingredients. Avoid the top five risky additives: Artificial Colors (anything that begins with FD&C ), Chemical Preservatives (Butylated Hydroxyanisole [BHA], Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Benzoate), Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin), Added Sugar (High Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS], Corn Syrup, Dextrose, etc), Added Salt (Look at the sodium content and choose foods with the lowest amounts.)

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Live Love Fruit

Live Love Fruit was founded by Carly Fraser as a way to help spread the word about the benefits of fruit and vegetables and to promote a high raw, plant-based lifestyle. Using accumulated knowledge over her 10 year journey, and own personal experience, Carly has inspired and motivated thousands of individuals to critically think about what they put in their bodies and to move towards a mind-set that helps them increase their consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Live Love Fruit

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PRESS RELEASE — From September 22 through October 3, 2013,  Prairie Roots Food Co-op will celebrate the launch of their online market Prairie Roots Food Co-op Volunteerswith a Grand Opening by extending access to this online market to the public for two weeks.  Co-op Membership Coordinator Kaye Kirsch says, “This is a great opportunity to try out our online market before you become a co-op member.  It’s an easy way to buy natural, organic and local food from a variety of local farmers from the convenience of your own home.”

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative has opened this online marketplace in concert with their mission to build a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic and locally produced food.  This summer the market had a soft launch for all co-op members.  The market is now open every week and provides a variety of fresh local produce, grains, bread, honey, meat, soap and much more.

Each week local producers list items for sale on their website, www.localfoodsmarketplace.com/prairieroots. Members can log on and shop at their convenience from Sunday through Wednesday and then pick up their natural, organic and local food, produce and other items on Thursday evening from 5-7 PM at Gethsemane Cathedral in south Fargo.

The Honey B Soap CompanyCo-op members are finding Prairie Roots Online a convenient and easy way to access local food.  Co-op member Beth Bradley said “I picked up my first food order from Prairie Roots Food Co-op’s virtual market and everything was delicious!  It’s such a convenient way to buy locally grown organic food from several farmers all from one convenient pick up place.”

They plan to continue to add producers. This is a first step toward opening a full-line retail grocery store in the metro area which will also be open to the public.

Prairie Roots Food Co-op is member owned and is now recruiting new Doubting Thomas Farmsmembers in order to build a broad base of community support prior to store opening.  A lifetime membership is $300 per household with a variety of payment plans starting at $25 every six months.  More information, including an online membership application, is available at their website: www.prairie-roots.coop.

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Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic, and locally produced food.  The future food co-op will be a member-owned natural foods, full-service, retail grocery store in the Fargo-Moorhead area that will be open to both members and the public.  Prairie Roots seeks to provide educational opportunities to members of our community and support producers who utilize sustainable and socially responsible production methods.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE Say NO to GMOsALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Let your voice be heard. Tell the FDA and Congress that we want to have our food properly labeled. We all have a right to know if our food has been genetically altered. Visit JustLabelIt.org to TAKE ACTION.

We’ve talked before at My Green Side about how and why to avoid genetically engineered (GE) food.

Read more about GMOs at http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-basics/the-ge-process.

We talked about how the buildup surrounding GM agriculture was that these new crops would be of increased nutritional value and would increase productivity. They would be able to grow in the desert and feed the worlds hungry. This, however, is not the reality. The only advantage goes to the companies selling the seeds. If you want to read a great article on the topic, visit civileats.com and read the view of author and food advocate Anna Lappe.

According to the Institute of Responsible Technology, “the two main traits that have been added to date are herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These results have no health benefit, only economic benefit.”

Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods and blogger at Huffington Post, writes “Unless we want to wait until more studies are done, risking allergies and immune dysfunction, infertility, infant mortality, or poorer health inherited by the next generation, we will have to opt out of the GM food experiment. Without required labels, it isn’t simple.” And currently the U.S. doesn’t require GM foods to have labeling describing them as being genetically modified.

Children are especially susceptible to the effects of GM foods.No GMOs

Top Ten Genetically Engineered Food Crops from Healthy Child Healthy World

• Corn: Our number-one agricultural commodity. In 2000, 79.5 million acres of harvested cropland in the U.S. were corn, 25% of which was genetically engineered. This includes Bt and Roundup Ready corn varieties.

• Soy: The number-two U.S. agricultural commodity. Sixty percent of processed foods contain soy ingredients, and 82% of edible fats and oils consumed in the U.S. are soy-based. In 2000, 54% of the 74.5 million acres of soybeans grown in the U.S. was Roundup Ready soy.

• Potato: Currently, the only GE potato is a Burbank Russet variety, marketed under the name NewLeaf. This Bt-producing plant is lethal to the Colorado potato beetle – and possibly to beneficial insects.

• Tomato: The first GE tomato, the Flavr Savr, was introduced commercially in 1994, but flopped because it proved tasteless. Since then, other varieties, including a cherry tomato, have been genetically engineered to delay ripening and extend shelf life.

• Canola: Of the 15 million acres of canola grown in the U.S. and Canada annually, 35% is GE, mostly for herbicide-resistance.

• Cottonseed Oil: In 2000, 61% of the 15.5 million acres of cotton grown in the U.S. was genetically engineered. Every year, half a million tons of cottonseed oil makes its way into salad dressings, baked goods and snack foods. About 1.4 million tons of cottonseed meal is fed to livestock annually.

• Papaya: More than one third of Hawaiian papayas have been genetically engineered to withstand the papaya ringspot virus. Organic papaya growers in Hawaii worry that the pollen from GE papaya trees will contaminate their crops.

• Radicchio: Currently one variety of radicchio, called Seed Link, has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glufosinate.

• Squash: Several varieties of summer squash have been genetically engineered to resist mosaic viruses. Some scientists are concerned that resistance to the virus may spread to weedy relatives, such as gourds, found in the U.S., creating invasive superweeds.

• Salmon: A company called Aqua Bounty has engineered a salmon with genes from two different fish species so that it grows much more quickly than non-GE salmon. The company now seeks FDA approval to market this fish for human consumption. Escaped into the environment, (which is inevitable on fish farms), the GE fish may be larger and more aggressive, eat more food, and mate more often, though their offspring are less fit to survive in the wild, raising the possibility of wild species extinction. Human health effects are also relatively unknown. Currently, research on transgenic strains of 35 fish species world-wide is underway.

Source: Healthy Child Healthy World

A New Concern – The “Frankenapple”

Organic Consumers Association recently wrote an article to inform the public about a new concern, the “Frankenapple.” “Thanks to the biotech industry’s relentless quest to control our food, McDonald’s, Burger King and even school cafeterias will soon be able to serve up apples that won’t turn brown when they’re sliced or bitten into. A new, almost entirely untested genetic modification technology, called RNA interference, or double strand RNA (dsRNA), is responsible for this new food miracle. Scientists warn that this genetic manipulation poses health risks, as the manipulated RNA gets into our digestive systems and bloodstreams. The biotech industry claims otherwise.

Like any non-organic apple, the new GMO Arctic® Apple will be drenched in toxic pesticide residues, untested by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and likely unlabeled. And of course these shiny new high-tech apples will cost less than a pesticide-free, nutrient-dense, old-fashioned organic apple that turns a little brown after you slice it up.

Unless we stop them, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will approve ‘Frankenapple’ this year.”

Read the complete article at http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_27376.cfm.

Download the Institute for Responsible Technology’s Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make sure you avoid foods made with genetically modified organisms.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:March Against Monsanto

Just Label It . org

The Just Label It campaign was created to advocate for the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. We have a right to know if our food has been genetically engineered. And studies show that more than 90% of Americans support mandatory labeling of GE foods.

There are many reasons why Americans want labeling of genetically engineered foods. For some it is due to health, safety or environmental concerns. For others, it is due to religious considerations. Still others believe that the right to know is a core American value. Whatever the reason, the vast majority of Americans believe that we have the right to know.

The Just Label It site gives you a way to contact the FDA and Congress to let your voice be heard when it comes to GMOs it also has a blog which keeps consumers up to date on the latest GMO news.

Visit http://justlabelit.org/ to find out more.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Eat your fruits and vegetables. Make informed choices to reduce the amount of pesticides you and your family are eating and buy organic produce whenever possible, it’s healthier for you and for the planet.

Let me also say that it’s SO important to eat your fruits and vegetables… organic or not. If organic isn’t an option, pick the fruits and vegetables anyway because it’s better than not eating them at all.

Nutritionists recommend that adults and children consume at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily (CDC 2009). The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that this advice is not being followed – less than a third of adults meet the current guidelines. Even more disturbing, only one in three high school students ate enough fruit, and less than one in five ate the recommended number of vegetables (CDC 2009a).

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables. But with the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide, consumers don’t have to choose between pesticides and healthy diets.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. The Guide is developed based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce. There are two lists. The “Dirty Dozen” lists produce varieties that have most pesticide contamination so you should always buy these organic or avoid them. The other list is the “Clean 15“, the produce the EWG has found to have the least pesticide contamination.

We’ve talked before about avoiding toxic chemicals when you’re Green(ing) Your Lawn. We don’t want pesticides entering our bodies through our skin and we certainly don’t want to injest them. The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. The bottom line is that when it comes to pesticide use, there is more to consider than just the residues that you are ingesting. Although peeled foods such as mangoes, avocados and kiwis may spare the consumer from significant pesticide exposure, it is possible that large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used on the farms from which these originate, contaminating groundwater, promoting erosion and otherwise damaging local ecosystems. To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it’s best to buy organic whenever possible.

DIRTY DOZEN (2012) – Buy These Organic

1
AppleApples
2
CeleryCelery
3
Red PepperSweet bell peppers
4
PeachesPeaches
5
StrawberriesStrawberries
6
NectarinesNectarines – imported
7
GrapesGrapes
8
SpinachSpinach
9
LettuceLettuce
10
CucumberCucumbers
11
BlueberriesBlueberries – domestic
12
PotatoePotatoes
Plus
+
Green BeansGreen beans
+
KaleKale/Greens
+ May contain pesticide residues of special concern

The Dirty Dozen was expanded with a Plus category to highlight two crops — green beans and leafy greens, meaning, kale and collard greens – that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops.

Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds, as is some sweet corn sold for human consumption. Since GMO sweet corn is not labeled as such in US stores, EWG advises those who have concerns about GMOs to buy organic sweet corn.

CLEAN 15 (2012) – Lowest in Pesticides
1
OnionsOnions
2
Sweet CornSweet Corn (but if you are concerned about GMOs buy organic sweet corn)
3
PineapplePineapples
4
AvocadoAvocado
5
CabbageCabbage
6
PeasSweet peas
7
AsparagusAsparagus
8
MangoMangoes
9
EggplantEggplant
10
KiwiKiwi
11
CantelopeCantaloupe – domestic
12
Sweet PotatoesSweet potatoes
13
GrapefruitGrapefruit
14
WatermelonWatermelon
15
MushroomsMushrooms

Source: DrWeil.com and EWG.org

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

EWG’s Food News

You can find a detailed description of the criteria the EWG used to develop their rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at their dedicated website, www.foodnews.org. Read the FAQs for more eye opening information.

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Ellen Kanner is an award-winning food writer and author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner. She is also Huffington Post‘s Meatless Monday blogger and the syndicated columnist Edgy Veggie, is published in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Vegetarian Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray and Culinate as well as in other online and print publications. She’s an ardent advocate sustainable, accessible food, serving on the Miami boards of Slow Food and Common Threads.

When she’s not teaching underserved students to cook and speaking about what we’re hungry for, Ellen takes time to tend her tiny organic vegetable garden, hike in the Everglades, make friends with cows and make dinner with friends. She believes in close community, strong coffee, organic food and red lipstick. A fourth-generation Floridian, she lives la vida vegan in Miami with her husband. Learn more about Ellen at www.ellen-ink.com.

Your book’s title, Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner, is quite a mouthful (pun intended). What is it about?

It’s about great food – but it’s also about all the things we’re hungry for, including meaning, healing, connection and unconditional love.

To discuss food without discussing our relationship to it – how it’s grown, our ties to a recipe, the culture or time it comes from, or even the pleasure of food itself – is to miss the bigger picture. Saffron, tarragon, cardamom and cumin make food taste better. Culture, connection and faith do the same thing for our lives. They make it delicious. They feed us.

What did you grow up eating? Why did you give up meat?

I grew up eating a lot of processed and fast food. There wasn’t a lot of fresh produce at home. My father never cared for vegetables, still doesn’t. He eats them grudgingly.

I gave up meat at 13 because I love cows and I wanted to piss of my parents. That was my long-range goal. I didn’t swear I’d stick by it forever, I wanted to try to go meatless for 2 weeks to see how I felt. Two weeks seemed reasonable, it had a limit in sight. Within a day or two, I immediately felt better, more energetic, more focused. At the end of two weeks, I didn’t miss meat. At all. I didn’t see a reason to go back. I never have. My love affair with fresh produce has lasted decades and it’s still a thrill. Even after all this time, I’m still discovering new and different things to love about it.

How did you get interested in cooking?

I was a bookish little kid who read everything. Books, but also street signs, cereal boxes and ultimately my mother’s cookbooks. I read them like storybooks. The ingredients were the characters, and the preparation was the plot. It was a total, page-turning thrill. I got so involved in the reading, I had to see for myself, how could this work? I took to the kitchen to find out.

What would you say to people who say they don’t have the time to cook?

You don’t have to do it all in your own lonely kitchen. I encourage people to eat together, cook together. Get your whole family in the kitchen, fathers, kids, we all can take a greater part in our food choices. Have a weekly potluck with your friends. A homecooked meal doesn’t need to be a 9-course Food Network banquet. Have everyone bring one dish. Divide and conquer. It makes cooking and eating a pleasure and preparing our own food puts us in charge.

 

Ellen’s new book, Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner, is filled with amazing recipes. Here is one of them:

Pink Grapefruit and Fennel Salad

Serves 4 to 6.

1 pink grapefruit
1 fennel bulb
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 cups arugula
Freshly ground pepper

Peel the grapefruit and cut the sections into bite-size pieces. Remove and discard the seeds and trim away bitter membranes and pith. Place the grapefruit pieces in a large bowl.

Halve the fennel bulb and slice it very thinly. Add it to the grape-fruit.

Preheat the oven to 350. Coarsely chop the walnuts and pour into a shallow baking pan. Bake until they’re golden brown and have a wonderful buttery smell, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, mustard, mirin, agave nectar and fennel seeds. Pour the mixture over the grapefruit and fennel, toss gently and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.

Gently toss the arugula with the grapefruit and fennel. Top with the chopped walnuts and a grind or two of pepper.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: We have a right to know what is in our food. Demand mandatory labeling of GE foods. Visit JustLabelIt.org to take action.

Some GE Stats:

  • The U.S. Government approved GE crops nearly 20 years ago. Today GE soy and corn make up more than 90% of the acreas planted.
  • Only 5 countries grow 90% of the world’s GE crops. They are the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina and India.
  • More than 40 nations require that genetically modified ingredients are listed on product labels, the U.S. is one of the few that does not require labeling. Visit JustLabelIt.org for more information about labeling GMOs.
  • 92% of Americans want labeling on GE foods.
SOURCE: USDA’S NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE, USDA’S ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.

This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same. Read more about GMOs at http://www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-basics/the-ge-process.

The buildup surrounding GM agriculture was that these new crops would be of increased nutritional value and would increase productivity. They would be able to grow in the desert and feed the worlds hungry. This, however, is not the reality. The only advantage goes to the companies selling the seeds. If you want to read a great article on the topic, visit civileats.com and read the view of author and food advocate Anna Lappe.

According to the Institute of Responsible Technology, “the two main traits that have been added to date are herbicide tolerance and the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide. These results have no health benefit, only economic benefit.”

Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods and blogger at Huffington Post, writes “Unless we want to wait until more studies are done, risking allergies and immune dysfunction, infertility, infant mortality, or poorer health inherited by the next generation, we will have to opt out of the GM food experiment. Without required labels, it isn’t simple.” And currently the U.S. doesn’t require GM foods to have labeling describing them as being genetically modified.

The Star Tribune recently recently ran a piece entitled, “Those Bugs Are Going To Outsmart Us,” which shows some of the struggles of farmers due to the pitfalls of GMO crops. And a simple solution, according to the farmer profiled, “rotate, rotate, rotate”. Instead of planting the same soil depleting crop in the same field year after year which encourages “superweeds” and bugs, a crop rotation will help keep the soil healthier which makes the plants healthier.

Children are especially susceptible to the effects of GM foods.

Top Ten Genetically Engineered Food Crops from Healthy Child Healthy World

• Corn: Our number-one agricultural commodity. In 2000, 79.5 million acres of harvested cropland in the U.S. were corn, 25% of which was genetically engineered. This includes Bt and Roundup Ready corn varieties.

• Soy: The number-two U.S. agricultural commodity. Sixty percent of processed foods contain soy ingredients, and 82% of edible fats and oils consumed in the U.S. are soy-based. In 2000, 54% of the 74.5 million acres of soybeans grown in the U.S. was Roundup Ready soy.

• Potato: Currently, the only GE potato is a Burbank Russet variety, marketed under the name NewLeaf. This Bt-producing plant is lethal to the Colorado potato beetle – and possibly to beneficial insects.

• Tomato: The first GE tomato, the Flavr Savr, was introduced commercially in 1994, but flopped because it proved tasteless. Since then, other varieties, including a cherry tomato, have been genetically engineered to delay ripening and extend shelf life.

• Canola: Of the 15 million acres of canola grown in the U.S. and Canada annually, 35% is GE, mostly for herbicide-resistance.

• Cottonseed Oil: In 2000, 61% of the 15.5 million acres of cotton grown in the U.S. was genetically engineered. Every year, half a million tons of cottonseed oil makes its way into salad dressings, baked goods and snack foods. About 1.4 million tons of cottonseed meal is fed to livestock annually.

• Papaya: More than one third of Hawaiian papayas have been genetically engineered to withstand the papaya ringspot virus. Organic papaya growers in Hawaii worry that the pollen from GE papaya trees will contaminate their crops.

• Radicchio: Currently one variety of radicchio, called Seed Link, has been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glufosinate.

• Squash: Several varieties of summer squash have been genetically engineered to resist mosaic viruses. Some scientists are concerned that resistance to the virus may spread to weedy relatives, such as gourds, found in the U.S., creating invasive superweeds.

• Salmon: A company called Aqua Bounty has engineered a salmon with genes from two different fish species so that it grows much more quickly than non-GE salmon. The company now seeks FDA approval to market this fish for human consumption. Escaped into the environment, (which is inevitable on fish farms), the GE fish may be larger and more aggressive, eat more food, and mate more often, though their offspring are less fit to survive in the wild, raising the possibility of wild species extinction. Human health effects are also relatively unknown. Currently, research on transgenic strains of 35 fish species world-wide is underway.

Source: Healthy Child Healthy World

Download the Institute for Responsible Technology’s Non-GMO Shopping Guide to make sure you avoid foods made with genetically modified organisms.

For more information, visit the Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, offers North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products. They are committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Just Label It

We have the right to know if our food has been genetically engineered.

Studies show that more than 90% of Americans support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Yet for twenty years we have been denied that right. While our reasons for wanting to know what’s in our food may vary, what unifies us is the belief that it’s our right to know. Without labeling of GE foods, we cannot make informed choices about our food. The Just Label It campaign was created to advocate for the labeling of GE foods.

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