Posts Tagged With: Organic

Detox Diets and Monsanto; Why You Should Think for Yourself

I’m pretty big into helping people make choices by giving them correct information.  I spend a lot of time researching topics for people who just want to know their food is healthy and safe.  I’ve invested a lot of personal energy in debunking myths and misconceptions.  Even with all that, sometimes I fall for it too.

Detox Diets and Monsanto: Why We Should Think for Ourselves  {}

This is my juicer, bought for more money than I’d like to admit.  Another thing that’s a little hard to admit?  I purchased it as part of a fad-diet detox plan.  An unscientific, un-researched, unproven detox plan.

Because I’ve done it too.  I wanted something to be true.  I was counting on the idea that eating a special diet of veggies and whole grains could clear my body of all the pizza and pop and mini Twix bars.  I was a tired new mom and I needed this to work.

I bought the book of some guy; not a professor or scientist or nutritionist but the maker of a health food product he wanted you to buy.  I ate tofu, for which my only excuse is that it is made of soybeans.  I spent SO much money on vegetables that I ground up into juice and drank by the gallon.

Then I sugar-crashed.

And the diet I needed didn’t work.

Because I didn’t do the research.

I’m not going to present the research here because this blog isn’t about detox diets, but if you want to know, Fitness Reloaded does a great job laying out the facts.

The point I’m trying to make is that we have all believed the hype–listened to the thousands of voices selling something.  We have all forgotten to think for ourselves.

Yesterday I was on a Facebook thread with a person who stated “Monsanto is evil no matter what you think about GMOs.”  I responded with one word.


She didn’t know.  She had heard a lot of hype, so there must be something.  She just didn’t know what it was.

If you believe organic must be better for you because it just must, well, I get that.  If you want non-GMOs because “genetically modified” is scary, well, I can see that too.  But don’t let it get in the way of thinking for yourself, of finding out the facts, of knowing what you believe and why.  (But for the love of all that is good and decent, check your sources!)

And if you should still decide you want organic, hormone-free, paleo food, then go for it.

I have a juicer I can sell you.

Categories: Food, Science | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

What You Don’t Know About Farmers

If a picture is worth a thousand words then the message a film can convey is simply amazing.  Which is why you need to see this movie.  You might be amazed what you don’t know about farmers.


FARMLAND Teaser Trailer 2014 from Farmland on Vimeo.

It’s available for purchase at Wal-Mart tomorrow, March 3, 2015.  You can also get it from Netflix on DVD (not streaming) or upload from iTunes, youTube, Amazon, and several other stores.

This is how food is grown in America.  FARMLAND documentary

I highly recommend it.

The documentary follows the stories of six young farmers and ranchers of all shapes and sizes.  There’s the “One Woman Farmer” growing produce in the northeast, an organic farmer handling everything from seeds to bar codes in the southwest, a poultry producer, a cattle rancher, hog farmer, and a row crop guy.  And their stories are real.

Really, really, real.

These are the problems we face.  These are the decisions we make.  This is what our life looks like.

This is how food is grown in America.

That’s not something you don’t want to know about.

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Resolve to Learn about Organics

Organics. What are they and are really healthier?

First, organic is a term that can mean anything living or made of carbon compounds. It can refer to how something is organized, as in “growing a business organically.” But you’ll hear it most as the production of food without laboratory-made fertilizers, growth substances, antibiotics, or pesticides.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

Here’s a piece of information you need to know, however. The USDA, (United States Department of Agriculture) is in charge of the term “organic” as it is labeled on food, just like “low in sugar” or “high in fiber.” On their website they outline what is required to be “organic.”

This document lists the fertilizers, substances, and pesticides allowed for growing organic food.

So while Webster might disagree, organic foods are grown with chemicals. I find this surprises a lot of people.

Fact two of What You Really Need to Know. Studies show that organic buyers are not healthier than non-organic buyers. Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medicine, and the University of Arizona all state that there is no scientific evidence showing organic food is more nutritious or that the difference in the level of chemicals is safer.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

It won’t take more than a quick Google search to “disprove” these studies with a thousand articles showing organic food is safer, healthier, and will save the planet. It’s important to know all sides of an argument, so by all means, read these articles. Then check the source. I quickly found a post by Eating Well magazine, which sounds trustworthy. But the study proving organics are better was done by the Organic Center. It would be hard for them not to be biased!

The third major reason people choose organics is that they feel the practices used by organic farmers are better for the environment. While lumping a large group of people into one category is never a good idea, I’d guess many organic farmers really do care about the land, water, and air around them.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

But that leads me to fact three. Non-organic farmers care about the land too. Okay, so that is also a stereotype, but farmers own the land. Who would benefit more from taking care of the soil than they do? And consider this. Some chemicals allowed in organic farming are not as effective as conventional ones, which means a farmer needs more of it. Every time a tractor or sprayer goes over the plants it compacts the soil, uses diesel fuel, and costs the farmer money. So sometimes conventional farming is better for the environment.

Obviously what you put in your shopping cart is your decision. If you choose organics, fine. I’m not going to stop my kids from playing with your kids. But if the price of organics deter you, or you’d prefer to spend your energy getting your kids to eat a banana rather than stressing over which bananas to buy, then put some of that mommy guilt away.

These are just the facts.


Don’t miss Resolve to Learn About Your Food in the New Year

Resolve to Learn about Antibiotics

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Resolve to Learn about Your Food in the New Year

The New Year is a great time to set goals for yourself and if being healthier isn’t something you need to work on, well, that would make you pretty awesome.  For the rest of us, and yeah, that’s me and my family, learning about your food can seem like an overwhelming task.  So I’ll be taking the month of January to break down some of the major concerns about the food you eat.  No diet plan, no supplements to buy, just straight-forward knowledge.

I’m ready to go with posts about:

Before we jump off the deep end, lets stick our toes in with a few facts.

I write about me, my farm, my family.  Every farmer has his own story.

Regardless of how different they may be, 97% of of the farms in the US are owned by families.  Corporations own just 3%.  We are men, women, American Indian, Hispanic, Latino, African American, big, small, organic, conventional, livestock, crop, first generation, fifth generation, moms, dads, children, and grandchildren.

Nothing I could ever write would encompass us all.  What works on my farm won’t help my neighbor.  What is true for my family isn’t the same for a potato grower in Idaho.  And for all the thousands of farmers holding to good old American values there are those who don’t.  But that’s not farmers, that’s people.

In fact I can only think of two things we have in common.  The first is that there are just over 3 million of us in the US.  That’s 2% of the population.  We are a minority.

The second is that we eat.  We eat the food we grow.  We feed it to our children.  The choices we make on our farms are important to us, just like they are to you.

Because there aren’t many of us you might not know a farmer.  Maybe you haven’t been on a farm since you were a kid, or maybe never at all.  There is a 98% chance your family doesn’t grow the food we eat.

My goal is to share what we do and to help you make choices about the food you buy.  I want to show you the decisions we make and why we make them.  And no more than I can tell my neighbor what is best for his farm, I’m not here to tell you what is best for your family.

But knowledge is power.  So resolve to learn about your food in the new year.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Organic vs GMOs- What Are They?

Have you ever entered the conversation a little late and had to bluff your way through a discussion like you knew what was going on?  Maybe you’ve heard the talk surrounding a news story but never learned the bases for it all.  And then sometimes you’re the person talking in acronyms and using insider phrases while others nod their heads.

I’d guess we all do some of both.

A few weeks ago I posted about Cheerios and their switch to becoming GMO-free.  To write this post I did some research on the General Mills website and read the comments of many people on both sides of the issue.  I also read some comments by people who didn’t seem to have a side in the issue because they really didn’t understand the issue at all.  That got me wondering. How many people are bluffing their way through this conversation? So if you missed the original news story, I’ll try to break it down for you.

GMOs vs Organics- What Are They? GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms, which means their DNA, their genetic code, has been selected on purpose.  Many argue that farmers have been modifying plants since nomads stopped following animals herds and stayed in one place long enough to grow a crop.  Farmers could look for the best plants, plants that had characteristics they wanted in their crops, and choose that plant to gather seeds for the next season.  Interestingly enough, it wasn’t always just plants that grew the most food (although yeah, that one is popular!) but crops with strong stems or the ones that did best in the climate.  Back when crops were gathered by hand it was even a good thing if the grain fell easily from the stem– something we try to prevent today!  Its not a great leap to suggest that none of the seeds we have today have the DNA they had 7,000, or even 150 years ago.

Obviously, that’s not what all the GMO fuss is about.  Today scientists have the ability to map the genetic code of organisms from potatoes to people.  Using all kinds of technology– as well as vocabulary, that is way beyond my educational training (although I did try to explain it in this post) it is now possible to choose the bits of code you want and put it into a seed on purpose.  That is what a GMO is.

. GMOs vs Organics- What Are They?

Interestingly enough, being organic has almost nothing to do with being a GMO and here’s why.  Creating GMOs is a massive undertaking.  We’re talking time, money, facilities, brain power.  For that reason and many others there are only eight GMO products you can buy today– corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beet, canola, alfalfa, and papaya, with rice right around the corner. (If you’ve overheard some of the GMO debate you might have heard that China has banned GMOs, but they actually have GMO sweet peppers and tomatoes there.)  Meaning everything else is organic?

Well, no. Organic isn’t related to the DNA of the seed, but rather the way the seed is cared for as it grows into a mature plant.  Modern farming practices involve protecting plants from insects and weeds with products that are sprayed or applied to fields and crops.  Organic refers to the types of products used.  A common misconception about organic foods is that they are grown with no products at all, but unless you either grew it yourself or talked in detail with the farmer who did, this is probably a false assumption.

GMOs vs Organics- What Are They?

If you farm for a living you’re going to need a product to sell.  And no one wants to buy apples with worms, no matter how organic they are. The USDA (that’s United States Department of Agriculture) certifies food as organic.  You can go to their website to see the list of approved products organic farmers can use.  Some products are the same as non-organic farming, but require the farmer to receive training about how to apply the products.  It can also take several years to qualify as organic, since products used on the soil in previous years can count against the organic certification.

So generally speaking, pretty much any plant can be grown “organically,” while only a few plants are GMOs.

GMOs vs Organics- What Are They?

We grow GMO, non-organic beans on our farm, but we use farming practices like growing rye grass as a cover crop to enhance the soil and prevent weeds.

Since this is my blog and I get to write about what’s interesting to me, I’ll add that one goal of GMOs is to create plants that don’t need to be protected from insects because they have their own resistance in their genetic code.  Just an interesting side note! Well, there you have it– the highlights of GMOs and organic foods.  The food debate might well be one of the most important we have in this century.  And now you come to the table informed. 🙂

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