Archives for posts with tag: Food

From junior to senior year of college, I was president of the environmental club, and a majority of the members were attempting to save the animals one plate at a time. It’s amazing how our social circles and projected persona can impact the way we eat.

As omnivores, we have the ability to eat a wide array of foods, and with our ever improving cooking skills and ability to chemically and genetically morph foods, the list of possible meals continues to grow. It’s both a blessing and a curse, causing us to often turn to our knowledge, awareness, and philosophical beliefs, to dictate the “best” diet for humankind. We are but mere mortals, and often these notions are not always congruent with what nature has determined is ultimately best for our bodies.

I grew up eating a pretty normal American diet as a kid of a mom who was on a budget but also a gourmet.  I ate Lucky Charms™ every once in a while. I was “normal”-ish, but it soon changed. I can still remember that turning moment when the media announced that Cheeriosaccidentally sprayed Durisban, (an insecticide banned in 2001 that kills insects by attacking the nervous system and has been linked to neurological effects, developmental disorders, and autoimmune disorders, on some of their grain silos) and their customer service was not nearly efficient enough to satisfy my mother.  I can still see my mother standing in the kitchen next to our rotary phone yelling at the lady when she was unable to tell my mother whether or not the bright, yellow Cheerios ™ box in her hand had been effected by this toxic pesticide. A General Mills™ product has never been knowingly permitted into the house since.

By the time my mission became to save the planet and to do it by fighting factory farming, I had eaten crunchy enough through my teens that vegetarianism seemed like pretty logical progression. I flip-flopped from veg to omnivore to vegan and back again.

Once I had graduated and moved home to my parents, I was vegan and doing my 200 hour Yoga Teacher training. The ethics portion of the yogic philosophy kept me going strong in my veganism as I began to delve into the topic of ahimsa, or non-harming. My flexibility was improving and I was losing weight. It all seemed perfect, until my joins became so sore that I found yoga to begin to become uncomfortable.

Luckily, my mother is a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a group that supports eating a diet based on that of our ancestors, including organ meats, lots of fat, raw dairy, and especially bones broth.  Bone broth was the key to my rehabilitation. My joints ceased to ache; I had more energy, healthier skin, hair, nails, and even teeth.

It was challenging to mentally come back to eating a diet heavier in animal products, but I soon was beginning to understand, that we must first have ahimsa towards ourselves.

Stocks have been found throughout the cultures of the world for as long as humans have been cooking, and they come with a long list of health benefits from improving digestion, joint, and even thyroid health.  When properly prepared, stocks are extremely nutritious containing gelatin, minerals from the bones, marrow, and vitamins from the vegetables in the form of electrolytes, which are absorbed by the body with ease.  Interestingly, Dr. Francis Pottenger, found that stock supplies hydrophilic colloids to the diet, similar to those of raw fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other forms of cooked proteins, which repel liquids making them harder to digest, gelatin in broths actually attracts liquids even after it has been heated (Nourishing Traditions, Fallon 116).

Living in a society where people so often are seeking youthful skin, healthy joints, and cures to other ailments, stock is a great place to start. What better than cartilage, skin, and bones to support our own? That is exactly what stock does.

Our ancestors’ innate knowledge of healthy cooking is an invaluable resource, and I have yet to hear of any ancestors being vegan.

Now, about 3 years after the flip flopping (minus one last try at ovo-(raw)lacto vegetarianism), I most recently have begun to explore the world of the Paleo Diet, taking on the Whole30 challenge of eating no legumes, sugar or sugar supplements, grains, dairy or alcohol.

While the plan is a short term Paleo extreme as a means of resetting the body and not necessarily a sustainable, long-term diet, it really taught me even more about my body, especially the benefits of taking soy and sugar out of my diet completely.

As a vegan, I found myself avoiding soy, but it was impossible to avoid it when going out. If I went to Starbucks and wanted a latte, it had to be soy, eating the vegetarian options at restaurants, especially Asian, generally all had soy. And yes, I could have drank my coffee black, and I could have ordered my dishes sans soy, but when you are already having to say no to so many other things on the menu, sometimes you just want to be able to order a dish without special instructions.

Grains were another challenge. I’ve been mostly gluten-free for the past 3 years, but it’s not because I have Celiac, it’s because I just feel better, and the way that we process our wheat at this point on the food processing timeline, it just doesn’t leave nearly enough nutrition in it to make it worth the effort of chewing. Being able to eat meat makes eating gluten-free 90% easier than being a vegetarian. Restaurants and cookbooks are constantly padding their vegetarian dishes with noodles, rice, and bread. Going 100% grain-free for 30 days would have been impossible without meat, unless I had been eating mostly salads, and that’s just boring.

The biggest challenge of them all, was giving up sugar, and not just sugar, all sweeteners: stevia, maple syrup, honey, cane sugar, agave, all of it. It wasn’t the biggest challenge because I missed my chocolate (technically I was allowed to have 100% cacao), but because sugar is in absolutely everything!! Seriously, go out and try to find a sweetner-free package of bacon. Go on. Try. I’ll give you $50 if you can and don’t have to order it online. Sugar is in everything, and it makes complete sense. We are programmed to crave sugar, salt, and fat for survival, but now that we can get all the food we need from the farmer’s market, grocery store, or restaurant, we have to use our willpower (don’t you wish you could pick up some extra willpower at the market?) to say no to all of those sweet, salty, and fat filled foods. Unfortunately, giving up all forms of sugar (minus naturally occurring fructose in fruits) I also had to give up dairy to avoid lactose. God, I missed butter.

Along with the soy, grains, and sugars, there were also no additives or preservatives allowed. This meant cooking most of my meals myself. I was definitely very conscious and actively planning my meals, a skill I believe many of my fellow 20-somethings lack. It was a wonderful learning experience in cultivating self-discipline.

While there has been some divide between Paleo and Weston Price, I must say that I learned some invaluable things about my body from this Whole30 dietary reset. I lost about 10 lbs. eating this way (I was not significantly over-weight when I started the program), my skin looked great, I had less body odor, I had no menstrual cramps and my period duration was about 3 days shorter than usual, and I slept great. That being said of the amazing results, it took a lot of painstaking withdrawal to get there—a true testament to the addictive qualities of processed, sugar-laden foods.

Whether you choose to follow a Weston A. Price diet, Paleo diet, vegetarian, or even vegan, listen to your body. Don’t let the ego and dogma come between you and your health. Many of us have forgotten to really listen to our bodies. What does joint pain mean? What does a cramp mean? Are you really hungry or is it just dehydration? What does your poop say? Sometimes these questions make us uncomfortable, or we forget to ask them because ignorance is bliss. Everyone’s body is different and needs different things, but eating an organic, whole food based plan is the bottom line. Whether your food is Vegan or Paleo, if it’s processed, it’s still processed.

 

I am definitely beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s slightly terrifying and also exciting.

Out of the five of us who started this Whole30 challenge only 3 of us are really still in the same game, and 3 out of 3 we are deciding to keep sticking with this plan. Maybe not so strictly worrying about every single ingredient in there so that eating out can actually happen without anxiety, but I think my grocery list will most likely reflect this grain-free, sugar-free, soy-free diet. That’s not to say that gluten-free oatmeal or quinoa for breakfast won’t happen in the colder months, or a bar of 70% dark chocolate (without soy lichen) may not make it into my shopping cart on occasion, and raw dairy will hopefully be coming back (assuming it still agrees with me), but I am definitely going to be a much more conscious and aware shopper and eater.

I’m getting a head of myself here… I just can’t stop thinking about how life may or may not change after the next 4 days…

Over the last 5 days, however, there has been a bunch of snacking, some pretty basic yet delicious meals, and some great hanging out with the people I love.

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Ayrshire Bratwurst with fried eggs, greens, and grainy mustard. (If you also didn’t notice, I’m ready “Organic Manifesto” for work right now and it is AMAZING!!! I will definitely be blogging about that soon!)

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Ayrshire bratwirst, kimchi, scrambled eggs with beet greens, and grainy mustard.

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Tuna steak medallion marinated in s&p, ginger, garlic, toasted sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, coconut aminos, and rice vinegar cooked in coconut oil accompanied by shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy cooked with s&p, garlic, and ginger in coconut oil with a big serving of kimchi.

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Halibut cooked in s&p and coconut oil with a squirt of lemon, kimchi, and the previous night’s baby bok choy and shiitake mushrooms transformed into soup with homemade beef stock.

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Coming back to my Weston Price breakfast roots with 3 fried eggs and a big mug of beef stock. 🙂

It’s so hard to believe a week has gone by! I feel like I’ve been doing this forever, and that’s a good thing! I’ve been super busy and house sitting, so here are the past 4 days wrapped up together:

Eating this way is truly starting to become so second nature. Sure there are still moments when I drool over the delicious smelling bread and pastries from Spring Mill Bread Co. that I get to slice and wrap all day at work, but I am feeling great, sleeping through the night, and loving all of the cooking and eating I’ve been doing.

All Day 8 I was taking a CPR/First Aid/AED certification class. We were stuck in this class room with no windows, and they were constantly turning down the lights so we could see the cheesy informational movies. Since I know I would be there for 8 hours, I brought lunch and lots of high protein snacks (no fruit since I know I have been out fruiting myself!).

The thing I was most amazed by was how much energy I had. Everyone there was going out to the vending machine during the breaks for their diet sodas and granola bars (isn’t it cute how so many people think that’s healthy?) and they all fell asleep! At some point during the class everyone fell asleep except for me! I was wired! I definitely contribute that to my high protein low carb/sugar intake. Stellar.

After the class I went to have dinner with my two best friends. They knew I was doing Whole30 so we planned to cook dinner. I snagged a bunch of produce from the “free to staff” (a.k.a. not pretty enough for people to purchase) bin and we wound up with a stir fry of onion, yellow peppers, zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, and chicken all sautéed in coconut oil and lime juice. Delish!

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Cooking with the girls!

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Onion, yellow pepper, zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, and chicken sautéed in coconut oil and lime juice.

Day 9 was a Friday and it’s always my busiest day at that! I taught yoga in the morning after drinking coffee with coconut milk and oil for “breakfast” (not a very good one, I know).

Then, I headed to work where I was really bad and had bananas with cashew, almond, and coconut butter along with some more coffee. Oh, and an organic coconut water!

Once I stopped back at the apartment, though, I made myself some proper food with scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes in coconut oil and a perfectly ripe avocado on top.

After teaching, I headed back to the house I was house sitting at and made myself an even more proper dinner and cooked fish for my very first time! It turned out beautifully. I seared a tuna filet medallion (as it appeared on the package) in coconut oil with salt and pepper, accompanied by green beans I blanched and then sautéed in coconut oil and a sun dried tomato paste. Once it was plated, I squeezed a fresh lemon over the whole thing. Yum!

Seared wild caught tuna with green beans in a sun dried tomato paste paste with lemon.

Seared wild caught tuna with green beans in a sun dried tomato paste paste with lemon.

Day 10 was Saturday and I woke up nice and early to go for a hike with my dear friend, Chloe. Before the hike I ate a Fields of Athenry sausage, coffee with coconut milk, and some fresh papaya with lime. I had plenty of energy for the hike, but I did feel slightly dehydrated so I snagged a smart water for some extra electrolytes.

Soon I was back at work and ate a bunch of nut butter again (I’m going to turn into a nut butter!) and some organic coconut water.

After work I headed back to the house and made myself some scrambled eggs in coconut oil with kimchi for some probiotics. It was delightfully light and filling all at the same time.

Day 11 I taught yoga in the morning, but ran out of time to have anything other than coffee with coconut milk and oil in it (I am starting to love this drink more than my usual coffee with whole milk!).

After yoga I headed back to my parents’ farm and was ravenous! I ate scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes and a little bit of spinach.

Our sheepies at the farm!

Our sheepies at the farm!

I went out to Beans in the Belfry  with my mom and grandma for a coffee. They both got cappuccinos and I was definitely jealous as I sipped by black coffee (cafes should definitely start having coconut milk as a non-dairy option!) and they noshed on a fresh fruit cup, which I avoided, but did steal a raspberry out of.

Once we got back to the farm again, I snacked on some olives, prosciutto, and sprouted almond butter.

Dinner was amazing! (Have I mentioned my mom cooks and does menu planning for a living?) We had steaks marinated in olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper along with some Whole30-ified okra/jalapeño cakes, and tomato salad! Amaze-balls!

Marinating steaks.

Marinating steaks.

Grilling.

Grilling.

Beefy perfection.

Beefy perfection.

Mom adapted the Okra Cakes recipe from a fabulous cookbook titled, “Cooking With Les Dames d’Escoffier: At Home with the Women Who Shape the Way We Eat and Drink.”

The original recipe.

The original recipe.

Instead of using rice we used grated yellow squash, and instead of all purpose flour we used almond flour and a touch of arrow root.

Our Modified Whole30 Fresh Okra Cakes Recipe:

1/2 pound fresh okra, tips and stems removed, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup sliced scallion

1/2 cup minced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 jalapeño seeded and minced

1/2 cup grated, salted, and drained yellow squash

3 tablespoons almond flour

1 tablespoon arrow root

1 tablespoon cilantro

2 large eggs beaten

Sesame Oil for frying

Prepping scallions.

Prepping scallions.

Okra is sliced!

Okra is sliced!

Ingredients mixed in a large bowl.

Ingredients mixed in a large bowl. Ours looks super yellow because we use our homegrown, free-ranged chicken eggs.

Sesame oil for frying.

Sesame oil for frying.

Frying up some okra cakes!

Frying up some okra cakes!

Placing cakes on drying rack with paper towels before placing in the oven.

Placing cakes on drying rack with paper towels before placing in the oven.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix ingredients in a large bowl. Heat sesame oil in skillet. Add 1-2 large spoonfuls to the skillet to create pancake of your optimal size (remember that smaller are easier to flip!). Once small bubbles begin to appear on the top and the bottom begins to brown flip your pancake. Once pancakes are browned place on cooling rack with paper towel and let it stay warm in the oven until ready to serve! Yum!

The finished products unite!

The finished products unite!

Day 12 has been a long day. Working customer service today was crazy busy. Busier than I think I have ever experienced first hand, and it didn’t help that I was hungry! Actually, more like hangry…

I had a big mug of the usual coffee with coconut milk and coconut oil as well as a big mug of beef stock for breakfast. It was a great start to the day, but when lunch time rolled around and I didn’t have time to eat and I started to get really hungry, it stunk.

I ate a bag of Gone Nuts! Rosemary Garlic Pistachios and Almonds , which totally hit the spot. I also grabbed a Cherry Pie Larabar which was great. I’d never had one before and really enjoyed the tartness to it, as opposed to the other ones which seem so heavy on the super sweet dates. Then I drank some greens with a Multi-Green GT Kombucha. A quick and easy snack-lunch that was just right.

When I got home I made pre-workout dinner. I picked up some dark meat ground turkey and cooked it with jalapeño and a bag of frozen bell peppers with a clove of garlic in coconut oil. Next thing I knew, I decided to veer away from my usual go-to tex-mex seasoning and give curry a whirl! I had a box of coconut cream that I knew would be great so I threw that in along with some curry powder, coriander, basil, and some unknown, unlabeled spice in my cupboard. Haha! I baked a sweet potato and poured that delicious turkey-curry concoction  all over it and topped it with from dehydrated flaked coconut. Winner.

Turkey Curry Sweet Potato Bowl.

Turkey Curry Sweet Potato Bowl.

So, if you made it this far into reading this post, thanks. I know it’s been a long one, but it’s been four days with some pretty awesome food. Just goes to show that on the Whole30, or any other lifestyle changing diet, you can really focus on what you are gaining versus what you may be giving up. I am so excited to see what other recipes I come up with over the next 18 days!

Last night was a late night, so this post is going to be quick before Day 8 gets rolling!

Yesterday felt great! Energy felt normal to better than normal, and I think that was thanks to the decent night of sleep. Although, it was interesting having nightmares about cheating on Whole30 and having to start over again! Haha! The only downside to Day 7 was that the detox breakout began.

If you have ever heard of Face Mapping or believe in such things, my break out has been in the hormonal fluctuation section. I feel like on the one hand my skin is looking better since I haven’t been having any sugar, but the lack of soy, and probably some other additives I didn’t even realize were effecting my hormones, I’m sure is what is making my hormones start to even out somehow. I’ve even notice my sex drive has been revving up, too.

I had training all day yesterday for my new position at work, so my quest to consume less sugar didn’t quite work out. The tables we were sitting at were filled with snacks and fruit. I had baby carrots in my bag, but I also ate a bunch of fruit throughout the meeting, along with some SeaSnax (they are strangely addictive!) and a bunch of coffee.

For lunch I had to maneuver through the Naked Lunch counter at MOMs Organic Market in Rockville, MD. I could eat any of the items on the menu because they were all vegan and containing some type of grain and legume, but I designed my own sweet potato. It was one of the most delicious sweet potatoes of my life!!!

Baked sweet potato with raw red onions, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, and Mojito Pesto dressing. Yum!

Baked sweet potato with raw red onions, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, and Mojito Pesto dressing. Yum!

The hardest part about putting this together at the lunch counter was reading through all of the different dressings and figuring out what type of sauce I could go with. The Mojito Pesto was just perfect!

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After training I came home and made sure I got some more veggie intake for the day. I picked up some Rainbow Chard and cooked it in ghee with garlic, salt, and pepper (my go to seasonings). I made a big batch so I could have some left for Day 8 leftovers.

Rainbow Chard, the most stunning of all the leafy greens!

Rainbow Chard, the most stunning of all the leafy greens!

So my pre yoga snack was some chard, nut butter, and a giant glass of water.

Pre-Yoga snack!

Pre-Yoga snack!

My post-yoga snack was a bison burger cooked in coconut oil with a grainy dijon mustard and then I snack on kumquats, grapes, and pistachios later in the evening hanging out with friends.

I was actually tired last night when I went to bed, and I slept. Like a rock. I think I may finally be catching up on some zzzzzz’s. Yay!

Sleep didn’t go as well as I hoped last night, but it was far better than the night before, so I can’t complain there!

I woke up and had a hardboiled egg wrapped in roast beef (possibly my new favorite snack), a handful of blueberries, and grabbed a cup of coffee with coconut milk on my way to Bethesda. Then I had enough time to swing by the house again on the way to work and ate some almond butter with the rest of my coffee. I love that I can drink as much coffee as I want on this, and I have been– even if I haven’t been documenting it.

When I went to work we were in a special diets class where we were covering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. The pros of working at MOMs Organic Market is there are so many great dietary options for everyone, including all of us doing the Whole30 challenge. Today, however, it was slightly torturous as everyone around me was tasting yummy sweets and other snacks. I grabbed a jar of applesauce, cashew butter, and SeaSnax to keep my appetite at bay, and lucked out when we got to the raw vegan section and I got to sample a few different nut and seed based savory treats.

After work I ate some smoked salmon, green olives stuffed with jalapeños, and some more cashew butter (it’s the new crack) before taking about a 3 mile walk around Theodore Roosevelt Island.

For dinner tonight, I sautéed an adorable heirloom zucchini in coconut oil with salt and pepper along with a fried egg and bison burger followed by a spoon full of almond butter for desert.

Sautéed heirloom zucchini, bison burger and fried egg.

Sautéed heirloom zucchini, bison burger and fried egg.

Tomorrow is going to be another busy day, but I’m planning on trying to cut back on the fruit and nut butter since I can tell my body is working on me getting my sugar through them. I’ve been doing more research on sugar and how it’s processed in the body. I’m fairly certain that the lack of sugar and increase in protein has been keeping me up at night, so I also need to make sure I’m eating my protein at least 4 hours before bed.

Now it’s off to try to sleep again. Hopefully tonight will be better. I ate about 3 hours ago, so we’ll see.

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow with be a week!

Today has been difficult. I was working so I didn’t really get a chance to eat a solid breakfast or lunch, although I did get to munch on some leftovers from yesterday.

It’s mostly been hard because I started getting headaches last night after posting about Day 2. I also woke up at 3 am drenched in sweat. I had been having hot flashes (keep in mind I’m 26, so we’re not talking menopausal… I hope.) the day and night before but hadn’t realized that they might actually be related to the Whole30. But today I’m certain of it. I’ve been having these temperature spikes all day whether its stress induced or just hits me. My hips have also been feeling much tighter and sore than usual.

After experiencing all of these withdrawal symptoms, I started googling and found out about something called the Carb Flu. These flu-like symptoms hit you while your body is transitioning to a strict paleo diet. It can be achey body (check), headaches (check), moodiness (check), shakiness and fatigue (check and double check). I’ve always been very conscious of what I put in my body, so I didn’t think that this transition would be as tough as it has become, but I’m certain that I will get through it and feel better soon. A lot of the posts I’ve seen say that the Carb Flu may last up to two weeks, but once you get through it you feel amazing, so that’s what I’m planning on.

To combat the sugar and carb with drawl I made a sweet potato with coconut butter, ghee, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut flakes, and a touch of sea salt for minerals, along with a GT Original Kombucha, so I’m hoping that these few naturally occurring sugars and starches with help my body chill the eff out!! (There’s that moodiness…)

Baked sweet potato with coconut butter, ghee, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut flakes and a touch of sea salt.

Baked sweet potato with coconut butter, ghee, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut flakes and a touch of sea salt.

I also made chicken liver and onions, both just flavored with salt, pepper, garlic, and ghee for a little extra nutrient dense snack.

Chicken livers and onions sautéed in salt, pepper, garlic, and ghee.

Chicken livers and onions sautéed in salt, pepper, garlic, and ghee.

For dinner I went to a friend’s house. I was sad that I couldn’t partake in their creamy dressed shrimp salad, so they helped me make my own Whole30 kosher salad on the side. Their dressing had homemade mayo (but the mustard had white wine in it) and yoghurt, so that was a no-go. My little salad was so perfect for dinner, though, and I barely missed the glass of white wine along with dinner or chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream for dessert.

Shrimp salad with grapefruit, avocado, cherry tomatoes, salted cucumbers, red onion, cilantro, Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, olive oil, and fresh ground pepper.

Shrimp salad with grapefruit, avocado, cherry tomatoes, salted cucumbers, red onion, cilantro, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, olive oil, and fresh ground pepper.

Now to permit myself a good night sleep and hopefully no waking up sweaty!! Good Night, blog land!

Stop Frankenfish from Hitting our Plates Soon

Posted by on Feb 7, 2013 in Featured, GMOs, Organizations | 0 comments

Stop Frankenfish from Hitting our Plates Soon

On December 26, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Frankenfish, otherwise known as the genetically-modified organism they’re calling salmon. The salmon trademarked as AquAdvantage by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies, is an Atlantic salmon with DNA from the Chinook salmon blended with growth hormones from the eel-like ocean pout, allowing it to grow to market size in 18 months instead of 3 years.

Genetically Engineered (GE) Salmon has not hit the shelves yet, and the FDA will take comments until February 25, 2013.   http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0899-0001 Arrival in supermarkets has been stalled by a farm spending bill amendment, backed by U.S. House Rep. Don Young of Alaska, which seeks to prevent FDA from spending any money approving AquaBounty’s application.  Senator Mark Begich and Senator Lisa Murkowski have also spoken out against it.

This week Genetic Roulette, a film advocated by multiple medical specialists and biologists, won  the Transformational Film of 2012 from AwareGuide.  It’s online for free viewing until February 10.  Credible testimonies given in the film presents evidence that GMO crops — so widespread in the US now — are a probable cause for a slew of health problems, including autoimmune disorders, autism, birth defects, infertility and allergies.  Currently nine American crops, including most of our corn and soybeans are genetically modified, and they continue to be modified more and more as they develop resistance to herbicide sprays.  Most of the meats we consume are from animals who have been fed GMO-crops, crops which have proven to cause the animals health problems and infertility.

Studies of GMOs have only just been released by scientists. Since GM foods have been sold to consumers since 1994, it is a good time evaluate results and judge if we should continue eating these foods. In 2012, long-term studies came out of Cannes, France dissecting the effects of Genetically Modified (GM) Corn, particularly the strand NK603 (Monsanto’s Round Up Ready variety). The findings showed that rats fed feed with any amount of GM corn, experienced premature deaths and sickness. At the 14-month stage in the testing, no rats in the control groups showed signs of illness, but 10-30% of female rats in the groups being fed GM corn developed cancerous tumors. Males, which fell sick, suffered liver damage, developed kidney and skin tumors and digestive problems.  Since humans have been eating this stuff (often unknowingly) for close to two decades, how can we possibly believe the AquAdvantage salmon will not also carry risky side effects?

In addition to the questions of long-term health effects, there are concerns of the impact these fish will have on the environment. While these fish are currently being raised in-land in tanks, will its status as “safe for human consumption” mean that they will eventually be accepted as farm-able in off shore fisheries? What would it mean for an egg or fish (it only takes one) to escape the confines and mate with the other naturally occurring salmon? The Alaskan Department of Fish and Game released its annual fisheries forecast for the year on January 2nd showing that the Chinook (king) salmon yields is expected to be the fifth smallest since 1980.

Demonstrators came out against GMOs in front of the Washington, DC  federal district court last month.

Demonstrators came out against GMOs in front of the Washington, DC federal district court Jan. 10

While GE Salmon supporters will argue, If the salmon population is already dwindling, shouldn’t we turn to our own devices for salmon? Wouldn’t it be more environmentally friendly? We’ve already seen that the cross pollination of GE crops with their natural counterparts can result in a weakening of genes in new generations, sterilization thanks to the “terminator gene” (an engineered trait that ensures that farmers will need to buy new seed for every planting), and has contaminated organic farmers’ crops resulting in financial ruin. Now studies and computer simulation tests at Purdue University have shown that one GE Salmon escaping into the wild could be detrimental to the population. “Transgenic fish are typically larger than the native stock, and that can confer an advantage in attracting mates

Purdue animal scientist Bill Muir says, “If, as in our experiments, the genetic change also reduces the offspring’s ability to survive, a transgenic animal could bring a wild population to extinction in 40 generations.”  Muir refers to this phenomenon as the “Trojan gene hypothesis” when fish have an evolutionary predisposition to be attracted to larger fish.  So, how do we keep these GE fish from contaminating and leading natural salmon to possible extinction?

AquaBounty is pressing hard to have the AquAdvantage approved, and have solicited the President Obama and other major political contenders with a letter from their scientists. The company says that they can’t financially sustain much longer, waiting for approval, but perhaps they are hoping to reach approval before anyone catches onto their “science?”

The “Preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact” for AquAdvantage Salmon states:

“AquAdvantage Salmon would be produced as triploid, all-female populations with eyed-eggs as the product for commercial sale and distribution. These eggs would be produced in the sponsor’s facility on Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada. After confirming the genetic integrity of the broodstock used for manufacture and effective induction of triploidy in the eyed-eggs, these eggs would be shipped to a land-based grow-out facility in the highlands of Panama, where they would be reared to market size and harvested for processing.”  This long journey from processing to market leaves a large window of opportunity for possible catastrophe, including human error and natural disasters.

The future of fresh Alaska salmon will be endangered if we allow the FDA to approve high tech GE salmon

The future of fresh Alaska salmon will be endangered if we allow the FDA to approve high tech GE salmon

Under the proposed action, AquAdvantage Salmon would not be produced or grown in the United States, or in net pens or cages, and no live fish would be imported for processing.  AquAdvantage Salmon may, and most likely will, make it out into the general population, just as all other harvested GMOs have succeeded in doing.

Should the AquAdvantage Salmon be approved, it will mean that we will no longer be able to safely consume salmon without reading the label. Just like all other GMO products, the GE salmon will not be identified as a GMO  (Click here for more information on GMO labeling and Prop 37). Alaska’s fisheries and economy will suffer. Farm raised salmon is banned in the 49th state after Alaska’s fisheries lobbied lawmakers in an effort to fight market competition, but farmed salmon flooded the market from other sources causing the prices of wild salmon to drop by almost 50% before resurging in 2000. Why would we want to take jobs and money away from hard working Americans and send out salmon sourcing to Canada and Panama?

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For Consumers, there is still time to tell your representatives, “No. We don’t want GE Salmon.”

TAKE ACTION

Please submit your comments to the FDA, urging it to halt approval of the GE

salmon.  Comments must be received by the FDA no later than February 25, 2013.

ONLINE: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0899-0001

* There is a time limit on the government’s online system.  We encourage you to write your comments and save them in a document on your computer, then copy and paste them into the online comment form or upload the file.

* For the required field “Organization Name,” please enter “Citizen.”

* Remember to hit “submit comment” when you are done.

BY MAIL:

Division of Dockets Management

(HFA- 305), Food and Drug Administration

5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852

Include the following docket number in your mailed comment: FDA-2011-N-0899.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Docket FDA-2011-N-0899

I am writing to urge you not to approve genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The agency’s draft assessment does not adequately examine the risks posed by the first genetically engineered food animal, both to people and our environment.

First, the draft assessment does not adequately address the many potential food safety risks posed by GE salmon. There are potential human health impacts from both the increased levels of hormones and the increased allergenicity.  The agency should not approve a genetically engineered food animal for commercial production and sale without independent, long-term studies on its health effects in people.

Second, the draft assessment also fails to adequately address the major environmental impacts of GE salmon.  The agency assumed that the GE salmon would only be raised in the type of facility specified in the company’s application.  But once approved, it is very likely that GE salmon will be raised in other, less secure, types of facilities, such as open net pens in the ocean. The persistent problem of escaped fish and the spread of diseases from commercial salmon farms where this GE salmon could one day be produced must be evaluated before approval.

I urge you to put human health, the environment, and the economic well-being of coastal fishing communities first. Please delay approval of GE salmon until the results of independent scientific studies show that genetically engineered fish is safe to eat and harmless to the environment.

Please also require the labeling of GE foods, to allow consumers to make an informed choice.

Sincerely,

Name

ADDITIONAL ACTION

Please contact your legislators, asking them to block the approval of GE salmon, with the following message:

“My name is___, and I am a constituent.  I urge you to take action to stop the approval of genetically engineered salmon by the FDA.  There is absolutely no independent research showing that it is safe for people to consume this GE fish, both because of the increased levels of hormones in it and its altered DNA.

To add the potential for harm, the salmon wouldn’t even be labeled, so Americans won’t know what they’re eating.  The fish also poses a threat to the health and economic viability of wild salmon and our coastal fishing communities.  Please take action today to halt the agency’s approval process for GE salmon.”

To find contact information for your representative and two senators, go to:

* House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

* Senate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Sources:

As September creeps closer and closer, the first day of school has come for many students, and that means mom has lunch on the brain!

I remember when I was young and I was the kid with the healthy lunch. Sometimes I felt uncool because no one would trade with me, except for my cousin Katie. The only item she would ever trade for, though, was my mom’s tuna fish sandwich! Weird right? But actually, it makes perfect sense! It was a sandwich packed with good fats, protein, veggies, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3’s! Everything a little growing body needs!

There are also lots of other easy to make snacks to go along with sandwiches. Celery is a great base for snacks. You can fill the stalks with cream cheese or raw almond butter with raisins.  Dips and hummus with baby carrots and other raw veggies are great! Letting kids have interactive lunch items may even inspire them to create more of their own recipes at home! (And who doesn’t love a helping hand in the kitchen?) Hard boiled or deviled eggs are also a great source of healthy fats and omega-3’s. You can also use raw cultured butter and  lacto-fermented apple butter on sprouted bread for a sweet sandwich filled with probiotics! Fresh fruit is great for a little something sweet your little one to finish off their meal (If you slice up apples, make sure to squeeze lemon juice over them to prevent oxidization!)

Whatever you do, though, don’t forget to put your own mommy spin on your kids’ lunches and let your creative side show! You may as well make making lunch fun, right? My mom used to cut my sandwiches into hearts and stars once in a while for holidays or special occasions, and I always felt extra loved when I got a “I love you!” note in there, too.

My mom (somewhat embarrassingly) made my lunch for me almost every day through my senior year of high school, (I was not a morning person, and therefore did not make my own lunch.) but kids are never too old to need good nutrition throughout the day. I know I owe my mom a great debt for keeping me fueled through school and all my extra curricular activities. I’m sure I performed much better in life having a healthy lunch in my tummy. You are what you eat, so make sure your kids are healthy, pure, and nutritionally satisfied!

Good Luck, Moms!

Mom’s Tuna Fish Sandwich:

Sprouted Whole Grain Bread

1 Can White Albacore Tuna Fish (low mercury)

2 Tbsp  Mayonnaise

(Go for the real deal, or buy safflower based Mayo. Stay away from canola and soy oil based! They are most likely GMO!)

2 Tbsp Chopped Organic Celery

1 Tbsp Diced Organic Red Onion

1 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Organic Parsley

Sea Salt, Pepper, and Herbamare to taste!

Note: Now that I’m a big girl, I also like to add a bit of Dijon Mustard to the mix with some lettuce or cucumbers on top, and if you’re making it at home, it’s awesome to do an open face tuna melt with raw milk cheese in the toaster oven! Yum!

I’m so sorry I’ve been away from the blog for so long! Life has gotten a tad bit crazy with the start of Fall just on the horizon! So, I’m going to take a moment to breathe and go back to my amazing foodcation because I promised M. I would write about oysters!

I only started eating oysters over the past two years or so when I started dating my boyfriend. While he doesn’t like the slippery little buggers, his parents love oysters and his sister works at Hank’s Oyster Bar in Alexandria, VA, so family dinner equals oysters quite frequently.

While staying at the beach, the girls and I went out for oysters. Being M.’s first time eating oysters, we proceeded to order oysters in all formats– raw, broiled, and shooters. Well, she loved them, and we put away a good number of those guys!

Oysters are an excellent source of vitamins A, B1 (thiamin) B2(riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C (ascorbic acid), and D (calciferol). Four or five medium size oysters supplies the recommended daily allowance of iron, copper, iodine, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese and phosphorus. Everyone should be eating more oysters because so many of us are mineral deficient! Oysters are great for eye health, getting rid of the white spots on your nails, and keeping your hair and skin healthy along with a  of benefits.

While I generally recommend eating wild caught seafood, I support eating farm raised oysters. Almost 85% of natural occurring oyster reefs have been destroyed due to crabs and other invasive aquatic life. Plus, oysters and other shellfish are filters, and getting them from a source with clean water is a must!

Bon Appetit!

 

Me and the girls at the oyster bar!

 

Sources: salishseafood.com

The foodcation of champions continues! After frolicking the dogs on the beach this morning, we came home to craft an impeccable meal.

Returning home we decided to make sprouted bagels with raw cultured butter and avocado (yay, fats of all kinds!), omelets with local pastured eggs (from yesterday’s farmer’s market), organic tomatoes (also from the market), avocado, onions, and raw cheese cooked in raw butter. Not to mention, topped with sea salt!

Because every meal, including breakfast, should be finished with a little something sweet, I made an oven pancake with organic blueberries and peaches (from yesterday’s farmer’s market), pastured eggs (from the market, too!), sprouted flour, raw milk and butter!

Oven Pancake

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter (preferably raw cultured butter)

1/2 cup milk (preferably raw whole milk)

1/2 cup flour (preferably sprouted whole grain or I use almond for gluten-free)

2 eggs (pastured, free range)

1 organic peach*

1/2 cup organic blueberries*

cinnamon to taste*

raw cane sugar to taste*

Put it Together:

Step 1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 2. In a bowl, combine milk, flour, and eggs. Mix well.

Step 3. Slice peaches and rinse blueberries.

Step 4. Butter and arrange peach slices and blueberries in pie dish.

Step 5. Pour mixture over fruit in pie pan.

Step 6. Sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, and small pieces of butter on top.

Step 7. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until top and bottom are brown.

*Note: Fruits and spices may be substituted for savory ingredients and butter topping substituted for cheese (fat on top guarantees a good brown top).

Enjoy!