The Difference Between “All Natural” and All Natural

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Recently, you may have noticed a slew of brands slapping the words “all natural” onto their labels. Before I go any further, let me clarify what “all natural” really means. All natural means “made/grown in nature”. Why am I going over something most of us already know?

Because “all natural” labels can be really misleading. Sadly, most Americans don’t know that they are being mislead. It all comes down to this simple fact: most leading brands that slap “all natural” onto their labels actually contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). You may have seen me use this term before. Let’s just call GMOs he “ultimate crap”. What exactly are GMOs? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally”. 

So let’s get this straight. Companies, such as Hunts, are claiming that their tomato products are all natural because they have no preservatives, yet they contain genetically modified tomatoes. If I’m reading this right, Hunts is lying. Big time. As are many other companies.

Let me clarify something else here. Why are GMOs so dangerous, you ask? Well according to the WHO, “The initial objective for developing plants based on GM organisms was to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.” That last sentence basically means they can put even more pesticides and herbicides, aka more poison, onto your food. Not only that, but crop protection? Farmers are being sued because GM seeds are being blown into their fields, and not only is there nothing they can do about it, but laws are being put in place that are allowing this to occur. Worst of all? These seeds aren’t even approved for mass production! 

So, WHO, are GM foods safe? “Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.”

So basically, they don’t know. >.<. For all they know, GM foods are poisoning us all.

Why aren’t they labeled? Because the big companies who produce these foods have people all the way up the “food” chain (pardon the pun) paid off to block all bills to label them (including our dear President, who promised to do so back when he was first elected!). 

What’s more, the 40 nations that do label GMOs – including all of Europe – are not only well informed, but the companies that do use GMOs here, do not put GMOs in the food that is imported to those countries! Shocking, I know. But here, in the good old U.S., it’s all about money. If money can block GMO labeling and keep most Americans from being as well informed as the Europeans are, then imagine what else that money is going toward. Did you know that they now want to put pig genes in oranges? While I like bacon, I don’t want it mixed in my orange juice.

So which GM foods are the most common? Here is a short list:

  1. Corn
  2. Rice
  3. Tomatoes (some, most common is beefsteak)
  4. Soy
  5. White potatoes
  6. Cottonseed Oil
  7. Peas
  8. Canola OIl
  9. Wheat
  10. Zucchini
  11. Crook neck squash
  12. Alfalfa for feed
  13. Papaya
  14. Salmon

Bet you didn’t know you were eating a bunch of the ultimate crap, right?

It’s simple folks. While an organic diet can be expensive, if you avoid the list above and shop at your local farmers market, it can be pretty easy to live GMO-free. Of course, it is essential to avoid most processed foods, especially those manufactured by major brands such as Hunts, Craft, Nestle, Hersheys, Frito/Lay, etc. Remember: just because it says it’s all natural, doesn’t mean it is! Make sure you do your research before purchasing a product. Learn to read your labels as well! Here is what you need to know when purchasing produce:

  1. If the five-digit number on the label starts with “9”, the produce is organic.
  2. If the five-digit number on the label starts with “4”, the produce was conventionally grown with pesticides.
  3. If the five-digit number on the label begins with a “3” or an “8”, it’s a GMO. 

For more information on GMOs (these were my sources as well, please visit these sites):

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/edison-de-mello-md-phd/gmos_b_3854198.html

 

Kale & The Culinary Black Thumb

I was perusing the produce section of my local Trader Joe’s one sunny Sunday afternoon, when I stumbled upon a bag of Trader Joe’s brand organic kale. I had seen it used in recipes on Food Network, another of my “vices”, so I thought, why not? I had never had it before, and I knew it was considered a “superfood”, so I grabbed a bag, put it in my cart, and went on shopping.

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A few days later, I wanted to make stir-fry for dinner, but had had a very long day with my daughter and was REALLY tired. My wonderful husband volunteered to make it – under my supervision, of course. You see, Brad calls himself a “culinary black thumb” – last night he managed to completely murder a three step Alfredo sauce to which he was given full instructions on how to do. I typed them out in full detail in a text message to which he responded “ok”. Cause of death? An inability to stir, or read. The food coroner can’t quite determine, but the sauce looked like someone threw up their liver.

Anyway, back to my story. I didn’t want to use the conventional stir-fry veggies you find in a bag in the frozen section of most grocery stores, you know, being filled with GMOs and salt, 5+so I decided to use the veggies we already had in our fridge and freezer (mostly organic frozen and a couple fresh). I looked in my fridge in the veggie drawer and I saw the kale, thought, “why not? It probably tastes close to bok choy” and told my hubby to throw in about 1/4 the bag, like all of the other veggies. We ended up using five veggies – peas, baby carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, and kale – all organic. He cooked the veggies in olive oil on medium low heat for a while, say about 20 minutes, successfully sweating them out, which releases TONS of flavor (this also makes the veggies really soft, which we like). After the veggies were cooked, he placed them in a large bowl and added some more olive oil to the frying pan. He then added the cubed chicken to the pan along with some salt, pepper, and onion powder (our son HATES onions, but doesn’t have a problem with the flavor). Brad turned the heat up and let the chicken pieces sear to a golden brown. Once the chicken was cooked, he then removed it to the same bowl the cooked veggies were in. While he was doing all of this, I was whisking together 3/4 cup of Trader Joe’s soy sauce and 3/4 cup raw blue agave nectar with 1 tbs garlic powder in a small bowl. Then I poured the mixture into the hot frying pan and used a plastic serving spoon to scrape up the bottom of the pan to incorporate some of those flavors into the sauce. Once the sauce simmered for a few minutes, I poured the sauce onto the veggies and chicken.

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After microwaving a bag of organic jasmine rice (brown is pictured as that is all I have to use as an example), Brad served the four of us the stir fry over the rice. Let me just say, this is some of the most DELICIOUS food I have ever tasted – all completely clean. I would rather eat this than any take-out.

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I just want to point out that even the “worst” of cooks can make good, clean food using the most basic of elements. My husband is a self-proclaimed “culinary black thumb”, but he makes a delicious stir-fry. Chicken and vegetables go a long way and can be made into a variety of dishes with a few minor tweaks in ingredients. This knowledge creates a different kind of satisfaction in how we eat, and makes me miss all the “crap” much, much less.

Keep on cookin’, even if you think you suck at it, you will soon find your niche 😉

Until next time,

Jill

March On Monsanto – Make A Difference!

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As most of you are aware, I blog about my family’s adventure in the world of clean living. I am a huge supporter of a healthy, environmentally conscious lifestyle.  

I am also an activist. Though I am forced to miss out on in person events such as this due to family obligations, I do what I can from home and online. I believe in the March Against Monsanto. This company is wholly evil, and is not only poisoning us with their genetically modified food, but they are bleeding farmers dry as well as killing off our bee population. Countries such as Russia, Germany, and Greece have all banned Monsanto’s food from being sold. You can view a complete list of countries who have banned Monsanto’s food from being sold at: http://politicalvelcraft.org/2013/03/23/monsanto-has-been-removed-and-banned-by-austria-bulgaria-germany-greece-hungary-ireland-japan-luxembourg-madeira-new-zealand-peru-south-australia-russia-france-and-switzerland/

I encourage you all, my readers, to protest this awful company by avoiding GMO foods. A list of companies who use Monsanto’s horrible GMOs are in the picture below. Let us fight for change by boycotting these companies to tell them that we will not be poisoned any longer! As Martin Luther King, Jr, once said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

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