When I first came to the US I was horrified by the food prices. I remember walking into a grocery store and feeling completely overwhelmed. After ten minutes of shopping my brain shut down and I walked out. I gave my grocery list to my host mother and waited in the car. My college years were spent avoiding the supermarket as much as I could. Slowly, I began scouting out boutique grocery stores, farmer's markets, and local butcher shops. I was raised on grass fed meat, raw milk, and fresh produce from our vegetable garden, and and I began to seach for ways to obtain the same kind of nutritious foods I grew up on, but without spending a fortune. It took me a couple of years, but I finally found ways to offer my family nutritious food on a tight budget. Here are ten rules that have helped me: 1. Eat food [...]
I have recently stumbled across The Lexicon of Sustainability while I was reading Food Renegade. In my last post I tried to lay out some alternative options to industrial produce. This is a blog that also describes what those choices are via pictures and videos. It is the story of two photographers who traveled across the country for a couple of years in search of people who abandoned the industrial system of food production and are building a new one! Lexicon of Sustainability: This is the Story of An Egg from lexicon of sustainability on Vimeo.
This is part 2 of Steroids for Dinner. I will be exploring alternatives to eating industrial meat products. However I will first explain a few things about the labels on meat products. They can be both confusing and misleading. What's What 100% Grass-fed It means that the animals were fed a diet of grass and hay which is the natural diet for ruminants.There was no corn or soy in their diets. This is a safe label if you are looking for animals that were not raised on steroids, corn, soy, or other alternative foods. The cattle will be given very little antibiotics if any. Grain-finished Animals were fed grass and then fattened with corn and soy before being slaughtered. This label is confusing because there are no strict rules as to how much corn/soy was used or how early it starts to supplement the animal's diet. I already mentioned this in an earlier [...]
See Part II here. Most of us know by now that while a McDonald's or Wendy's burger tastes delicious, there is something about the quality of the meat (not to mention the other ingredients!) that wreaks havoc on our digestive system. I sort of knew about that aspect for a long time but that didn't stop me from eating at fast-food joints, until I made some very concrete discoveries about the meat I was eating. The whole concept of cattle-raising farms changed in the fifties with the advent of antibiotics, selective breeding, cheap pesticides, and nitrogen fertilizer - remnants from World War II. This was the dawn of a new era for the food industry. Farmers began raising animals fed on cheap genetically modified corn and soy. Meat products became a common staple food in American households. While before the 50's meat was on the tables three or four times a week, [...]
In my two previous posts I tried to elaborate on what makes conventional food dangerous and why organic food is not perfect. My purpose is not to confuse the reader, but simply to offer enough information on both sides so that we can all make informed decisions about the food we choose to purchase. We have established that conventional produce is full of deadly pesticides. Unfortunately we also discovered that organic has it's own set of issues. Most organic companies selling at whole food stores have become too gigantic to still adhere to the same principles established at People's Park in 1969. They are looking for ways to cheat the system and yet maintain the idyllic image of the hippie family farm. Still while organic has become corrupted over the years, the choices it offers are better than conventional. Even if some of the bigger organic companies use some pesticides, [...]
In this post I will explain why choosing to eat "organic" has some great benefits as well as some substantial drawbacks. I will begin by defining the word "organic". This information is mainly focused on plants; dairy and meat products get their own treatment. According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) the term organic is used to describe raw or processed agricultural products and ingredients that have been organically grown and handled in compliance with the standards of April 2001, which have been fully enforced since October 2002. These standards prohibit the use of: Most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides Sewer sludge fertilizers Genetic hormones Ionizing radiation Antibiotics Artificial ingredients There is a lot of confusion about the difference between "organic" and "made with organic ingredients" so here is a clear explanation of those terms: 100% organic - must be made out of 95%-100% certified organic ingredients organic- must have at least 70% certified organic ingredients made with (specified) organic ingredients- organic ingredients will [...]