Sunday, January 20, 2008

Exploring Issues & Answers........

Related to our food systems, our health, and our community.
It surely seems as if by magic all major companies have suddenly switched from spoon feeding us less than healthy foods to spoon feeding us all natural and totally healthy foods.

Green is getting attention, the masses are taking notice of the fact that our food choices are laced with "stuff" that is less than ok.

Are we being duped by the 'Green' label and the 100% natural, toxic free, and a host of other 'buy' me, well written ads designed to once again keep us from thinking for ourself and doing our own research, and most of all making our own decisions about what is healthy.

I know what is required to be organic, healthy, and toxic free, I also know you can't get there overnight, in a few weeks, or even months, it takes years to undo and redo what is needed to make that transition. But...not if one is allowed to cut corners, by-pass laws, mis-label, leave out and just plain lie and revamp the truth.

My suggestion is this...if you are moving into the green living stream, seriously changing the way you look at and decide your food choices...then look at locally grown, in season, and small companies that you can easily track their history and operating modes.

Learn how to read labels, if it has a lot of words that you have to look up the meaning...leave it on the shelf.

Natural, organic, green, whatever it is to you or to me....isn't always 100% as we would like it to be. But on a scale of safe to harmful, it should be very close to safe. That isn't asking to much..is it?

I invite you to make 2008 a very Green year.

Bea Kunz
http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com

13 comments:

greeny said...

Hi, Bea. I loved this post.
I think taking some time to consider our food sources and how to change what we consider necessary in our diets is a good thing.
To keep from being overwhelmed, one must remember to take it slow and to definitely look locally for what a person can purchase. Otherwise it looks too monumental for the average consumer.
I like the idea of cooking from local fare. Somewhere I read about cooking for a week with only local produce including meat and of course, eggs just to give it a try. I have grown up as a gardener so it's not that much of a stretch to believe it can be done.
Thanks for your thoughtful posts.

BeaK. said...

Thanks greeny, your visits are always a pleasure.

I recently read an excerpt from a newsletter that was speaking of food as nutrition and not so much for pleasure.

Healthy food does taste good...in most cases it is so laden with salt, fat, etc., that the real taste gets lost.

Nothing compares to fresh vegetables slightly cooked in herbs to accent the flavor.

It is for sure an ongoing and learning process for us all.

Happy day!

Bea Kunz
http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com

Dina at Wordfeeder.com said...

Hi Bea,

I was just pondering this the other day. I wonder how long before a new term must be coined to take the place of "organic" once the masses remove its credibility.

When I see major brands like Lay's chips and General Mills jumping on the organic bandwagon, I have to wonder. I mean, hey, it would be great to know that those tasty corn chips are truly chemical and pesticide free, but... we all know how large companies operate. We know the outsourcing that goes on. Big companies buy from distributors who get their product from who-knows-where.

How is it that every major food label managed to go organic so quickly??

Really makes you wonder. And so yes, I agree with you that local and sustainable is the way to go. Thanks to folks like you, Bea, we are fortunate to have that option.

Virtual Woman's Day said...

Bea,

Your post made me think about a comment my husband made the other day when he stopped by my floral shop.

Every morning I grab a cup of coffee with half and half and "natural" sugar. I don't like coffee all that much and yet, I love the aroma - but I digress.

When he stopped by I had just made the pot of coffee and offered him a cup. He made it and came over to me and said, "have you ever read the ingredients on the half and half. I said "yes" - milk and creme. He said that morning when making his coffee he noticed that the brand he buys has preservatives and other additives. Mine only proclaims to have milk and creme. Anyway he said he'd never buy that other brand again!

Makes you wonder about the contents of everything. I am a label reader mainly because I don't want to put all those preservatives in my body. We buy organic as much as possible and since doing so, our overall health is much better. I firmly believe that all those additives cause cancer even though I have no scientific data to back up my feelings.

BTW, I never noticed this before because I rarely drink coffee at home. At home I like to have tea (especially the kind you grow, BEA).

Thanks for all the great info.

Heidi Richards, Publisher & Editor in Chief - WE Magazine for Women

BeaK. said...

Dina,

What so many don't understand is; inside the rules and regulations for "organic" is another set of rules and regulations for big companies. Many loopholes to allow them to use "organic" as a label, even though the product doesn't come close to meeting all the standards that we understand as organic.

I've used this example before and it is a good one.

WE buy meat from a local farm, naturally raised, no additives to the feed and no hormones.

His farm is Black Angus...he relayed to us that he was told by the USDA that as long as his stock is 30% Black Angus he can market his meat as "Black Angus."

Now the other 70% could be anything and the public would never know, because he isn't required to list the other.

This is just one example of how the organic term is being abused and misused. Same goes with all big companies....if a product has a percentage of "organic"...well, you get the idea.

Organic is fast becoming a "label" instead of a "way" and labels are always up for grabs.

A product will be labeled 100% organic, if that is the case. Anything less than that, I am very cautious about.

Of course we have those who will argue that some organic ingredient is better than none, I don't buy into that 100%..depends on what the other ingredients are.

A challenge indeed, but aren't most things worth having hard to come by.

Always a great pleasure to chat with you Dina, thanks for the visit.

Bea Kunz
http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com

BeaK. said...

Heidi,

It's so wonderful to have you stop by. My day has been blessed.

I too use half/half in my coffee. ( no sugar) I actually love the taste of good coffee. Organic and Fair Trade.

I'm actually more concerned about milk products that have GMO than I am the other additives, although neither is acceptable.

There are a number of big dairy's now who have gone organic and GMO free...if you need a list let me know.

Also ask your favorite market to stock those brands if they don't already. Many will do so if asked.

I'm very appreciative of everyone who reads labels and takes their food choices as something to be concerned about.

We as "the public" are at a very critical point right now, a lot of movements and a lot of stuff going through the channels of government, if we don't pay attention and make our voice heard now, the option will be forever lost.

Thumbs up for your hubby too. Mine is also a label reader, makes it much easier to transition when everyone is on the same page.

You have a very prosperous day...inside and out!

Bea Kunz
http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com

Dina at Wordfeeder.com said...

GMO... genetically modified something. I have to look that up. I would love to see your list of 100% organic and GMO-free dairies. If you don't mind sharing and it's not too much trouble, of course.

I was raised on organic, home-grown veggies. However, I've also eaten my share of hormone-addled meat. I feel that at age 35 this and other habits I've now shed, are now taking their toll on my body. Strange things are happening. I definitely think it's all related to hormones, preservatives, additives, and anything modified and unnatural. Right down to that mysteriously addictive brown gravy they used to pour all over the chicken in my college cafeteria.

I never took birth control pills thank god, but now they're figuring out that ingesting synthetic hormones is not really a good idea. Hmm, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to reason that one out. And yet I guess it doesn't take a regular old medical doctor either?

Don't know, now I'm going off on a tangent on your blog, Bea. But I am truly concerned with what I'm putting in my body now, as are many of us. I'm going to need a separate room for the herbal remedies I buy.

Thanks for the information you provide. I enjoyed learning about the "30% Black Angus" lets you use the label. Wow. It's worse than I thought!

Keep it coming and keep brewing those magic teas, Bea.

BeaK. said...

Dear Dina,

You can rant on my blog anytime you feel the need.

The bad news is we have all been overloaded with things we didn't have a choice in, you can't say no if you are never given the option.

The good news is, it is never too late to make changes.

It is not rocket science knowing that our food sources are in a frightening state as far as mass produced and over the counter foods go.

But, this is the best time I can remember for information and ways to take a stand, have a voice, and make a difference.

One of the best ways to do that is know where our food is coming from, how it's grown and processed, and if we don't like what we find..don't buy it.
Nothing gets attention like a drop at the bottom line.

There are many great places to shop for healthy food....maybe not everywhere, but I find at least one or two choices everywhere I have been.

There are farmers almost everywhere, and more and more organic farmers...so if we search, we will find.

Eden Foods is a wonderful place to shop...I purchase a lot of things by mail from them.
http://www.edenfoods.com
They are located in Michigan, but have their products in natural and organic stores all over the country.

http://naturespath.com ( I like)
http://www.smallplanetfoods.com
http://www.organicvalley.coop
(Another of my favorites)

http://www.shariannsorganic.com

http://www.horizonorganic.com

Our system is such a marvelous creation...it thrives on just a little of the right treatment...imagin what it could do if we really supported and cared for it the way we should.

You will be just fine Dina...your searching out better ways. That is the first and most important step.

And you have the background of already knowing and practicing better.

Laugh a lot...that is super for the immune system. And toss oregano into everything you cook...mega immune builder.

Hugs

Bea Kunz
EatWell-BeWell~
http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com

organicsyes said...

Hi Bea...and all here commenting!

I read this entry a while ago...and did not write when I first read it. I needed to think...

I have been working with my family to change over much of what we eat...but I find it more of a challenge in the winter months...we get busy as a family, and I get overwhelmed as a mom.

That said...I did not respond, because of guilt! All summer we have fresh food available and I did some canning and freezing. But with winter and the costs of everything rising...I am slipping in my diligence. Going to the closer store for convienience and saying no to the more expensive mail order organic products that I have to be organized to purchase ahead of time and know what I need...

Ahhhhh! Help me Bea with some sanity! I feel like I get into a good groove and then...fall out of it, knowing full well I need to get back to the better food!

Well...bet you were not expecting that! Looking for some guilt-free recommendations for peaceful organic/green shopping plans:)
Susan
http://www.organisyes.wordpress.com

BeaK. said...

Hi Susan,

You are not alone my dear in your wavering while trying to make a better plan for healthy eating.

I hear from others who feel the cost and the time it takes to find the resources isn't something they can maintain.

I personally think if it is something we are dedicated to, we will find a way.
I know you are dedicated, I have all the faith that you will make it work, it's too important not to.

Let me suggest a few things here and see if we can get you into a better plan.

Do you practice eating in season.
Not only is it more economical it is also better for our system.

Whole grains, nuts, dry beans, root vegetables, dried fruits, cheeses, and winter greens are all winter season foods.
These are warm foods and they give your body the energy and nutrition that it needs to function in the winter mode.

One dish meals are as healthy as as any when prepared correctly.

I personally don't think we have to eat from the food pyramid to be totally healthy.

Buying in bulk is another way that works for us. Grains, beans, dried foods, etc., can be stored for many months.

Cabbage, kale, swiss chard, turnip greens and carrots are all winter vegetables that can be cooked in a large quanity and frozen for a few weeks or months at a time.

Do you have access to any local farmers. Many times they will barter with you...what do you have that someone would want in exchange for produce, meats and or eggs/cheese.
Art? Your music talent?

Susan, none of us ever make changes easily or without some set-backs, so don't beat yourself up if you have doubts from time to time...or even if you fall out of favor with your plan. Rome wasn't built in a day my dear.

Your heart and your desires are all in the right place, you will find a way.

If you need help with menu planning for one dish meals that are nutritious just let me know.

Will your family adapt to that kind of eating? Do you use a crockpot? Are you all big meat eaters?

Keep your faith and know that it's all worth it Susan..you will find a system that will be the perfect fit for you and your family.

From me to you~~blessings.

Bea Kunz
http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com

organicsyes said...

Thank you so much for the encouraging words, Bea:) As always, your information is clear and gives me the steps to follow to get back on track.

I enjoy how you are able to support me on my journey with information that connects with what I am already working on. That is to say, I have some of these ideas in place, but need to feel that I am not "adding" new, but supporting what I am already doing with fresh eyes.

Simple steps to bring an organic/natural lifestyle into a habit for living.

Love and light to you, Bea,
Susan

Dina said...

I'm back, and intrigued with Susan's post. Yes - we all go for convenience sometimes! Thank you Bea, for your sage advice (no pun). I learn something new every time I visit this blog.

My mom belonged to a natural foods co-op when we were growing up. She bought a large, box-style freezer for the basement and would drive 40 minutes to stock up on whole grain flours, lentils, peas, beans, rice, barley, nuts and specialty items - all of which were frozen. She grew a garden in the summer months, and would freeze broccoli, green beans and other vegetables, can tomatoes, apples, peaches and pears.

Her system worked out well... but today's women mostly don't stay home to raise a family like my mother did. So I would imagine these ideas would have to be modified!

Dina

BeaK. said...

Hi Dina,

Always so sweet to see you here !

Yes, we do live in a different time, and many modifications have to be made if we insist on having the best for ourself and our family.

You are blessed that you have a blueprint to follow from your mother. Many do not have any idea where to start, and it can be very daunting with no history or background to draw from.

I do however believe if we want something badly enough we will find a way.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

I have one of those box freezers in my basement and it is filled every season with things I know I will not be able to find during the off season. Anyone can do this, doesn't matter where we live.
Scout out the best places to shop and make adjustments in order to make it work. It just depends on how dedicated one is to making changes. Do you agree?

Happy Valentines Day Dina.

Bea Kunz
http://www.sagehillfarmsandvintagestore.com