06/7/16

The One Question You Should Be Asking at the Farmer’s Market

Farmers Market Stand3What questions do you ask the farmers at the farmer’s market? Here’s how mine used to go:

  • Me: Are your vegetables organic?
  • Farmer: No, sorry.
  • Me: That’s too bad.
  • Farmer: It’s really expensive to get certified, you know.
  • Me: Ok, well what pesticides do you use, exactly?

The conversation quickly goes over my head. By now I’m also getting dirty looks for holding up the line. Sheesh, all I wanted to know is if these sweet potatoes are worth the slightly higher price compared to those at the neighboring stand. Isn’t there an easier way to differentiate the quality of the products at the different stands? Why yes, there is a better question. And one whose answer you can judge in 5 seconds or less. Continue reading

08/24/15

Lessons Learned from the Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil Scandal

fclo-300x300The news spread like wildfire over the weekend. Dr. Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation published a scathing report about one of the natural food world’s most beloved products: Fermented Cod Liver Oil from Green Pasture. Continue reading

09/20/13

Paranoid About Poop? The Truth About Fecal Contamination & A Better Way to Reduce Your Risk of Illness

Milk shouldn’t be drunk raw because, well, look at where the cow’s udder is located – at the same end of the cow as her…<gulp>…”you know what!”

This is the message I heard a government official deliver in response to a presentation advocating raw milk by Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation. That official was Heidi Kassenborg, director of the Dairy & Food Inspection Division of Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

The venue was an open debate, put on by Harvard University’s Food Law Society. It’s been a year and a half since the debate, but I still can’t get out of my head  the cartoon image of the cow that  Kassenborg displayed so prominently in her presentation.  The implication was that it should be obvious to anyone, even a child, why milk shouldn’t be drunk raw.

This got me thinking more and more about poop/feces/manure/bodily waste or whatever you want to call it and whether it’s necessarily as dangerous and sickening as it’s made out to be. Not that I *want* to be consuming it, but how diligent must I be about ensuring that I or my child never come in contact with it? Is this even realistic? And is that a valid reason to think twice about drinking raw milk? Continue reading

09/8/13

The Problem With Our Food System: According to Wendell Berry

I could hardly contain my excitement when I came upon this powerful, astute and somehow poetic portrayal of the problems with our food system – a topic I love to write and debate about, although never so eloquently or succinctly. Therefore, I want to share with you this short excerpt from the book Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. It is a series of essays written by the award-winning author and agricultural activist Wendell Berry. Continue reading

07/10/13

Ditch the Whey Protein Powder – Try Turkish Ayran Instead

IMG_8488 croppedHere’s a drink that’s much tastier and more nutritious than whey protein powder shakes. It’s a drink that my 16-month-old and I both became addicted to while in Istanbul last week. It also turns out to be quite easy to make at home. It’s the traditional Turkish drink called Ayran (pronounced “EYE-ron”). Continue reading

05/30/13

Uh-oh! Is our Wheat Supply Contaminated with Unapproved GMOs?

stockvault-wheat-field131117This morning NPR reported that a farmer in Oregon found some Roundup-resistant wheat growing on his land. He sent it to a lab for testing. That lab, and then subsequently the USDA, both confirmed that the plants were genetically modified.  About a decade ago, Monsanto did create Roundup-resistent varieties of wheat, which they tested in wheat fields in 16 different states, but those field trials ended in 2005 since the wheat industry didn’t want it. It has never been approved by the U.S. government for commercial use.

Continue reading

05/13/13

Why Europe Cares More About GMO’s Than The U.S.

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food.”   These include infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods. But how can people avoid GM foods when they are not labeled as such?

The United States has tried numerous times to pass GM labeling legislation, with the most prominent recent example being proposition 37 in California, which failed just like all prior attempts. Contrast this with the European Union, which passed GM labeling laws back in 1997 when the first Genetically Engineered (GE) corn (maize) crops were being planted.  Far fewer safety studies had been done back then, but the Europeans had strong feelings on the topic nonetheless.

Why do the U.S. and Europe have such diverging attitudes on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)? Here’s my list of the top 7 reasons followed by what those of us who want labeling legislation in America can do about it:

Continue reading

03/29/13

Better Than Canned Coconut Milk

IMG_8003Coconut has long been a staple food in tropical regions around the world and has grown in popularity in America. This is thanks in part to Americans’ growing interest in the exotic flavors from countries like Thailand, India and Brazil. But it is also thanks to the growing body of research on coconuts’ nutritional benefits (a good resource is the Coconut Research Center).  Luckily it’s pretty easy these days to find good quality whole coconuts, shredded dried coconut meat and coconut oil. Unfortunately coconut milk is another story.

Do you buy canned or boxed coconut milk or eat at restaurants that cook with these products? Ever wonder what all those extra ingredients in the can are? Do you want to know where to find pure, fresh-tasting and additive-free coconut milk without having to make it yourself? Continue reading

03/1/13

Two Weeks Without Wheat: Why and How I Did It – Plus Recipes

I’ve been wondering why wheat is getting such a bad rap lately.  We’ve known for some time that refined flour contributes to metabolic problems, like cavities, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  What’s new is the growing number of people having severe and immediate reactions to wheat or the gluten in the wheat. Celiac disease is on the rise, but many other people have digestive, autoimmune or neurological issues, such as IBS, Hashimotos, depression, autism and ADHD, the symptoms of which appear to be vastly diminished when wheat/gluten is eliminated from the diet. But how could wheat really be the culprit, since it is a traditional food that’s been consumed by humans for thousands of years? Continue reading

11/28/12

Shame on you, Dr. Oz! Here’s how to *really* eat healthy on a budget.

I occasionally buy fresh spinach at the farmer’s market. And fresh carrots. And pasture-raised meats. Apparently that makes me a food snob who’s wasting money without actually getting any meaningful nutritional benefits from these food choices. At least that’s my takeaway from this month’s Time Magazine cover story, authored by the surgeon turned TV personality known as “Dr. Oz.”  In the article, Dr. Oz tells readers “What to eat now” based on his “Anti-food-snob diet.” Continue reading