Food

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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: When grilling during the summer (or any time) 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 an 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.
  • 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 vegetarian, 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.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Grilling Addiction

GrillingAddiction.com is an excellent place to find grilling tips, tricks, techniques and recipes all year round. One of my favorites is Grilled Pizza Margherita and the Cedar Planked Potatoes with Rosemary and the… I could go on and on.

 

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“When the root is strong the fruit is sweet.” ~Bob Marley

Christopher and I became founding members of the Prairie Roots Food Cooperative this evening. After an event of information via emcee Dr. Gretchen Harvey and many other amazing people, entertainment from Sarah Morrau, drinks courtesy of the Fargo Beer Company and appetizers from the Green Market Kitchen, I was hooked. Of course, they had me at hello… when we moved to Fargo almost three years ago I was extremely disappointed that we didn’t have a food co-op in the area. Since that time finding healthy organic food for my family has become like a scavenger hunt. I find a few things here and a few things there. I’m unbelievably excited that a food co-op is so close to becoming a reality.

As local organic farmer, Mark Askegaard, succinctly put it: “Good food is not processed food”, and we need to “bring a sense of social justice back to our food system”.

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic and locally produced food and you can become a member-owner too. For more information, visit http://prairie-roots.coop and join me in making a difference in our community.

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Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel ProgramWealso 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: Avoid genetically engineer food.

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.

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.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

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.

 

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Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living toThe Christopher Gabriel Program.We 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 way to do this is by avoiding processed foods and Eat 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.
  • Avoid genetically modified organisms (aka GMOs or genetically engineered foods). For more information on GMOs visit www.responsibletechnology.org.
  • Choose safer seafood. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website to learn more and print a pocket guide.
  • 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:

Real Moms Love to Eat

Visit www.realmomslovetoeat.com and discover creative recipes for tasty, fresh whole food meals, food facts and lots of healthy inspiration.

Beth Aldrich is the author of the new book, Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight, and Feel Fabulous (Penguin Books, January, 2012). The book, written in a funny, conversational tone, offers easy-to-follow weekly tips to help moms find the best way to love food, lose weight and still look fabulous. We have to eat three or more times a day, so why not love every bite. TO ORDER your copy, visit her page on Amazon, here: http://www.amazon.com/Real-Moms-Love-Eat-Fabulous/dp/0451235584/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

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Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. The goal is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around important issues that impact all of us.

For 2011, Blog Action Day coincides with World Food Day, so the topic of discussion for this year is Food.

I believe we should be eating organic whole foods, nutrient-dense foods without genetically modified ingredients or pesticides. It’s common sense, right? We just want to eat food that’s good for us. Period. 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.
  • Avoid genetically modified organisms (aka GMOs or genetically engineered foods). For more information on GMOs visit www.responsibletechnology.org.
  • Choose safer seafood. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website to learn more and print a pocket guide.
  • Read labels. Look for foods with few and identifiable ingredients. Avoid the top five risky additives: Artifical 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.)

Past Blog Action Day topics:

In 2009, the topic was Climate Change: My Green Side on Blog Action Day 2009

In 2010, the topic was Water: My Green Side on Blog Action Day 2010

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I love chocolate. Period. So you can imagine my reaction when the awesome folks at Equal Exchange wanted me to review their new chocolate bars. They are a wonderful company, with a great mission and delicious products. I was honored.

The Product:

Equal Exchange recently announced the addition of two new chocolate bars: Organic Ecuador Dark Chocolate (65% cacao content) and Organic Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt (55% cacao content). Both bars, like all Equal Exchange chocolates and cocoas, are fairly traded and organic from small-scale farmer co-operatives. Taking great care to select recipes with as few ingredients as possible, these bars are soy- and gluten-free, and the Ecuador bar is vegan.

The Reaction:

Both chocolate bars are savor-0n-the-tongue delicious. I made the mistake of offering my daughters a little taste of the Organic Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt and never saw it again. I will be heading over to shop.equalexchange.coop to order some more.

For more information about Equal Exchange and their products, visit www.equalexchange.coop.

Equal Exchange is also giving My Green Side’s readers a coupon for $5 off a case of Equal Exchange chocolate at their webstore, shop.equalexchange.coop: Coupon code: chocolate5. It expires 2/28/11.

Like they say at Equal Exchange,

Together, we can learn about our food sources, challenge an unjust food industry and preserve our planet… Who’s in?

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Choose to eat sustainably.

We talked about avoiding genetically modified foods (with a special focus on GE Salmon) last week and the problems with our industrialized and unsustainable food system.

Unsustainable food is dependent on foreign oil, it’s destroying soil, it contaminates water and has caused disease outbreaks; to name just a few of the problems. Choosing not to support the industrial food system is the beginning of sustainable eating.

Growing Concerns:

  • Animal products are increasingly raised purely for profit, without regard to proper stewardship or health.
  • We are monocropping, and the government is subsidizing it.
  • Food is transported and processed using large amounts of non-renewable resources.
  • Food is being genetically modified, cloned, and patented.

Sustainable foods are:

  • real foods that our bodies were designed to eat.
  • healthy for us, the soil, and the animals.
  • do not harm the environment.
  • are humane for both the workers and the animals.
  • provide a fair wage to the farmer without the use of government subsidies.
  • support the local economy instead of large corporations.

Sustainable food is what people ate for thousands of years, up until 20th century.

Here are ten steps to becoming a more mindful eater.

1. Learn to Cook.

Without basic cooking knowledge, none of this is possible. Learning to cook your favorite foods using local ingredients can really make all the difference.

2. Eat Locally.

If you care about delicious food, health eating, proper stewardship of the planet, and supporting your local economy then you must source out local ingredients.

3. Eat Seasonally.

This goes hand-in-hand with eating locally. Eat root vegetables and hearty greens in the fall and winter. Eat salads, fruit, and tomatoes in the summer. Even milk and eggs are more abundant during certain times of the year.

4. Preserve the Harvest.

If you eat locally or seasonally then you’ll have to learn to preserve the harvest. Try canning, dehydrating, freezing, and lacto-fermentation.

5. Grow Something… Anything.

Start with herbs or lettuce. Radishes are really fast and fairly simple. Even if you rent you can create a container garden. Once you catch the gardening bug you will just want to grow more.

6. Give Up Store Bought Convenience Foods and Make Your Own.

You can make your own taco seasoning, yogurt, chicken stock, pesto, granola, tomato sauce… the list goes on and on. If you buy it from the store, do a quick recipe search and try making it at home.

7. Buy Fair-Trade.

When you don’t know your farmer because you’re buying from a foreign country look for the words “Fair-Trade.” TransFair USA ensures that farmers are treated justly and paid fairly for their work.

Eating mindfully may take a bit more effort, but the rewards – for your family and their future – are too big to pass up. Source: Simple Bites

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Simple Bites
Simple Bites is a site dedicated to Real Food for the Family Table. You can find practical cooking tips, nourishing recipes, and an encouraging perspective to help the everyday parent provide great food for the family. They’re a group of writers passionate about food, and they want to help you provide the best for your family.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Avoid ingesting bisphenol A (BPA) – especially pregnant women, infants and children.  ~Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, quoted in an exclusive interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

What is bisphenol A (BPA)?

BPA is a plastics chemical invented nearly 120 years ago and currently used in enormous amounts to manufacture hard plastic water bottles and to make epoxy linings of metal food cans, like those for canned infant formula. Although its long-time use in consumer products has come with assurances of its safety from industry, studies conducted over the past 20 years now show it to be not only a ubiquitous pollutant in the human body – it contaminates nearly 93% of the population – but also a potent developmental toxin at very low doses.

Why avoid BPA?

Health concerns include heart disease, breast and prostate cancer, infertility, diabetes, liver problems and attention deficit disorder.

How to avoid BPA:

  • Do not do not use plastic containers when reheating or storing leftovers. Use glass or ceramic containers. This is especially important because, according to University of Missouri-Columbia scientist, Frederick Vom Saal, plastics made with BPA break down easily when heated, microwaved, washed with strong detergents or wrapped around acidic foods like tomatoes.
  • Do not used products that are packaged in cans (soups, tomatoes, sodas, vegetables, fruits, meats and so on). BPA is in the resin that lines a lot of canned goods. Use fresh or frozen ingredients over canned whenever possible. Drink tap or filtered water and drinks packaged in glass bottles.
  • Do not use liquid baby formulas.  All U.S. manufacturers use BPA-based lining on the metal portions of the formula containers. Tests of liquid formulas by FDA and EWG show that BPA leaches into the formula from all brands tested. Enfamil formula appears to have the highest concentrations of the 20 tests. EWG is concerned about BPA exposures for babies fed liquid formula. Choose powdered formula which may not have BPA in packaging and which is more diluted with water. If your baby needs liquid formula look for types sold in plastic or glass containers.
  • Do not use #7 plastics, especially for children’s food. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are safer choices and do not contain BPA. Find baby bottles in glass versions, or those made from the safer plastics including polyamine, polypropylene and polyethylene. Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA. Bottles used to pump and store expressed breast milk by the brand Medela are also labeled BPA-free.
  • Do not use metal water bottles that are lined with a plastic coating that contains BPA. Look for stainless steel bottles that do not have a plastic liner.

Source: Environmental Working Group

Food for thought: 

In Canada and throughout Europe, a chemical must be proven safe before it’s allowed to be used in commerce.

In the United States, chemicals are allowed on the market and removed only if they have been found to cause harm.

It seems clearer every day that plastic is bad for our health and bad for our environment. I encourage everyone to educate yourselves on current news regarding plastics and before you buy another plastic item ask yourself if there is a better alternative.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has done a fabulous series on chemicals and their impact on our health:

Chemical Fallout: A Journal Sentinel Watchdog Report

Warning: Chemicals in the packaging, surfaces or contents of many products may cause long-term health effects, including cancers of the breast, brain and testicles; lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other reproductive system defects; diabetes; attention deficit disorder, asthma and autism. A decade ago, the government promised to test these chemicals. It still hasn’t.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Eco Chic Boutique
Eco Chic Boutique is a green boutique for baby, mom and home (and so much more).

They opened their doors in June 2010. They are hosting a Grand Opening celebration August 23rd through August 28th in conjunction with Core Health Chiro & Life Energy Chiropractic. Festivities include games, activities, Penny & Pals, face painting, ice cream, Farmers market stand and more.

Parking Lot Party:Tuesday, August 24th
Games to Go
Penny & Pals Shows at 5 and 6pm
Culver’s Custard Cart
Jimmy Johns
Face Painting
Balloon Animals
Obstacle Course
Sydney’s Market Stand

Location: 4955 17th Ave. S., Suite 106, Fargo

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Opens June 5.

Contact: (701) 356-6600

Online: www.beingecochic.com

For additional information visiting Eco Chic Boutique’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/beingecochic

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a different favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (Central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

Green Tips previously posted on December 16, 2009: Green Tip – Green Cooking (Giveaway)

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by Wendy Gabriel

We were in Wisconsin last weekend for my Nana’s 84th birthday party. The venue was my parent’s organic farm. The decor was blooming fruit trees, adorable baby lambs and acres of glorious dandelions. We woke up to pancakes drizzled with delicious dandelion syrup (made by my sister, Jane). After breakfast all the cousins scattered to the winds to stretch their imaginations and their legs. Cadence (my 3 year old) decided she wanted more dandelion syrup so we grabbed a bucket and headed out to the harvest.

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~A.A. Milne

Our attitude towards plants is a singularly narrow one. If we see any immediate utility in a plant we foster it. If for any reason we find its presence undesirable or merely a matter of indifference, we may condemn it to destruction forthwith.  ~Rachel Carson

Dandelion Syrup

You need to put at least 12 hours aside to let the dandelion tops steep and then need 2 or 3 hours to simmer the syrup. Perfect activity for a chilly and rainy spring day.

Ingredients:

  • 250 (or so) dandelion tops
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 pounds of organic cane sugar

Put the dandelion tops in 4 C filtered water, bring the water to a boil then cover and simmer for an hour. Let cool and place in the refrigerator overnight for the dandelions to continue to steep in the water.

The next day strain the tops from the water. Mix the water with 2 lbs of sugar and the freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon. Simmer for about 2 or 3 hours, until the water evaporates.

After 2 (or 3) hours, a froth should form on the surface of the syrup. Take the syrup off of the heat and let cool. It should thicken as it cools. The finished product is a delicious syrup that has an earthy sweetness.

If you love dandelions as much as I do, here are some awesome sites to check out:

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Join the Cool Foods Campaign and take a bite out of global Little Greek goddesswarming. An added benefit… you’ll be healthier.

The way we eat has a direct impact not only on our health but also on the health of our planet. You are what you eat. And what you eat can either be a natural part of the circle of life or have a negative impact on our planet.

The Cool Foods Campaign – a project of the Center for Food Safety and the CornerStone Campaign – makes the connections between the foods we eat and their contribution to global warming. The Campaign aims to educate the public about the impact of their food choices across the entire food system and empower them with the resources to reduce this impact.

An easy way to tell if your food is “Cool,” or if it has excessively contributed to global warming, is to ask yourself these 5 simple questions before you buy.

(1) Is this food organic?

Organic foods are produced without the use of energy-intensive and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, and they are not genetically engineered or irradiated.

In addition to the emissions from fertilizer production, nitrous oxide, a very potent greenhouse gas, is emitted when these chemicals are applied to farmland. Conventional fertilizers also pollute water sources, which kills fish and plants and emits methane, also a very potent greenhouse gas.

Unlike organic farming, conventional agriculture contributes to erosion by overusing synthetic pesticides. Not only does erosion emit carbon dioxide, but it transports agricultural chemicals to water sources.

To Be Cooler

Buy organic and look for the USDA organic label to ensure that the food you eat is “certified organic.”

(2) Is this product made from a factory farm animal?

Conventional factory farmed meat – eg. beef, poultry, pork, dairy, and farmed seafood – is the #1 cause of global warming in our food system. A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University indicates that almost 60% of greenhouse gas emissions from food are from animal products. Animals in industrial systems are fed foods they cannot biologically process. They are confined to unhealthy and overcrowded cages – conditions that contribute to malnutrition and disease. In an attempt to keep animals healthy they are sprayed with over 2 million pounds of insecticides and their cages are sprayed with over 360,000 pounds of insecticides every year. They also ingest an astounding 84% of all the antimicrobials, including antibiotics, used annually in the United States.

Every year, livestock consume about half of all of the grains and oilseeds that are grown in the U.S., thereby consuming over 14 billion pounds of fertilizers and over 174 million pounds of pesticides. Producing all of these chemicals requires huge amounts of energy and is a major cause of global warming.

To Be Cooler

Limit your consumption of conventional meat, dairy, and farmed seafood. Buy organic, local or grass-fed meat and dairy whenever possible, since these foods are produced without energy-intensive synthetic pesticides and herbicides and may use fewer fossil fuels, and look for wild (not farmed), local seafood.

Another Cool Idea

Join the Meatless Monday movement. Reduce your impact on climate change by going vegetarian once a week. It’s easy!

(3) Has this food been processed?

Compared to whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, processed foods require the use of energy-intensive processes such as freezing, canning, drying, and packaging. Processed foods are usually sold in packages that contain a label listing the ingredients and are located in the center aisles of most grocery stores.

To Be Cooler

Do your best to avoid processed foods all together, but “certified organic” processed foods are a good alternative.

(4) How far did this food travel to reach my plate?

Transporting food throughout the world emits 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas every year. The average conventional food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store.

To Be Cooler

Choose locally produced foods or foods grown as close to your home as possible. Look for country-of-origin labels on whole foods and avoid products from far away.

(5) Is this food excessively packaged?

Packaging materials, like many plastics, are oil-based materials that require energy to be created and are responsible for emitting 24,200 tons of greenhouse gas every year.

To Be Cooler

Buy whole foods. Purchase loose fruits and vegetables (rather than bagged or shrink-wrapped), buy bulk beans, pasta, cereals, seeds, nuts, and grains, and carry your own reusable grocery bags.

Food Choice and Beyond

You can reduce your FoodPrint by making conscious food choices that contribute to the reduction in global warming. Talk with your local store managers and encourage them to stock local and organic foods. (Source: Cool Foods Campaign)

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Meatless Monday
The Meatless Monday website gives additional reasons to avoid factory farm meat and their goal is help reduce meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet. They are a non-profit initiative, in association with Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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