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Archive for October, 2010

This short 6 minute video is INFORM‘s newest in their intriguing The Secret Life video series. The video focuses on the impact today’s beef production has on the environment and what you can do to help.

If you purchase local, grass-fed beef for your family, leave us a comment with your city and name of the farm/beef. Let’s spread the word and give these farmers a shout out!

You have a wonderful assortment of organic, local vegetables that you are ready to cook.  You pour a little olive oil into your non-stick pan and saute your veggies. What do you get? Delicious sauteed veggies with a side of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Wait, what?

What is PFOA?

PFOA is the chemical used to make the non-stick coating on cookware (pots, pans, muffin tins, baking sheets, etc.) and electric cooking appliances (griddles, indoor grills, sandwich makers, etc.). Products with Teflon can contain levels of the chemical or similar chemicals (such as Polytetrafluoroethylene or “PTFE”). PFOA is widely used in other products such as carpet, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant clothing, and in water repellents for fabric and upholstery.

We are exposed to PFOA through drinking water, air, dust, food packaging, breast milk, umbilical cord blood, and microwave popcorn. When non-stick cookware is exposed to high heat, the chemical gets into the air and there can be a risk of PFOA exposure.

Why Does PFOA Pose a Risk to my Health?

On the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, this is what they have to say about PFOA:

“Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as “C8,” is a synthetic chemical that does not occur naturally in the environment… EPA has been investigating PFOA because it:

  • Is very persistent in the environment
  • Is found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population
  • Remains in people for a very long time
  • Causes developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.”

When tested, the chemical has been found in all or virtually all people’s blood, including newborn infants. Many animal and human studies over the years have shown that PFOA may cause a multitude of health concerns. These include, low birth rates, developmental delays, various forms of cancer, tumors, and liver toxicity; although the makers of PFOA maintain that the chemical is safe for humans and there is no reason for concern.

PFOA and Children

A recent September 2010 study from the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center studied 12, 476 children
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Check out this hilarious rap music video from Yeo Valley Organic. The video features cows, farmers, wheelie-popping tractors, and shiny, farm-related hood ornaments. This organic dairy farm is based in the UK and produces butter, milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream.

The song was made by an actual rap video music director, Julien Lutz, from Toronto. Below is the making of video which showcases interviews with Yeo Valley employees and the video music director.  It is wonderful to see a company so passionate about their organic food.

Cheers to Yeo Valley for having such fun with their message and for creating one awesomely catchy tune.


via www.Grist.org

If you skipped the TV show, Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution this past spring, you missed out. The “Naked Chef” (as he was known on his former cooking show) had a mission to change the way the people eat. Between 2005 and 2008, this British chef began a campaign to ensure UK children were fed healthy and nutritious food in school. The campaign brought public awareness to the issue and prompted the UK government to pledge millions to change school lunch programs.

In December, Jamie was announced as the 2010 TED Prize Winner.

“I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”  – Jaime Oliver

After his success in the UK, he brought his message to the US with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution show on ABC. Through six, 60-minute episodes, he helped open America’s eyes to the world of public school lunch programs, flavored milk, junk food, and the expanding waist bands of millions of American families. I watched every episode in awe that I was actually hearing such an amazing message on prime-time television. Not only did Jamie do a terrific job of pointing out what’s wrong with food these days, but he also offers solutions.  If he can change the mind of stubborn school cafeteria workers, grumpy radio hosts, parents, and politicians in West Virginia, he may actually be able to elicit change across our nation.  Check out this short clip above  which explains his mission.

The show won an Emmy for Outstanding Reality Series and based on recent news reports, has been renewed by ABC for a second season.  It is scheduled to air in Summer or Fall 2011.  Join Jamie’s campaign by clicking on the “Sign the Petition” logo at left.

Homemade Pesto

Homemade pesto is always amazing. My 2 year old daughter loves it and it is a great way to eat raw garlic. Here is a simple recipe that we use which makes about 3/4 cup or enough for half pound of pasta (I like a lot).

Pesto Recipe

1/4 cup pine nuts (toast them if you have the time)

3 cloves chopped garlic

2 cups basil leaves – packed into measuring cup. Smash and bruise the leaves to release the oils.

7 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

salt and ground pepper

Place top 5 ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth (scrape sides of bowl as needed) for 30-60 seconds. Put in the cheese and pulse for a few seconds until fully incorporated. Taste the pesto and add salt and pepper as desired. Use the pesto on spiral pasta, panini sandwiches, or as a dip for pita chips and veggies.

We had some leftover pesto so last night, we cooked up grilled cheese sandwiches made with wheat bread, butter, Tillamook Cheddar, and the pesto.  It was a melty, gooey, green and orange delight. We served it with homemade tomato basil soup. Scrumptious!

Pesto and cheddar grilled cheese sandwich

Last year my friend posted an update on her Facebook page saying she was sitting at her desk eating chia seeds. Chia seeds? As in the Chia Pet? Apparently, yes! The same seeds used to make “hair” on Chia Pets is the same stuff you can eat. Fast forward to last month when my eye doctor recommended I buy chia seeds to help with dry eyes. I went to Whole Foods only to find they are were out of the seeds in their bulk bins. Apparently, the stuff is selling like hotcakes. I ended up with a 1lb container of chia seeds from the supplement aisle and dropped $19.95 + tax to see what they are all about.

After some research, I came to realize that there might be a good reason for the hype. Salvia hispanica or chia seeds, contain more omega-3s than any other plant source, including flax! Two servings (2 tablespoons or approx 23 grams) provides:
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We are all looking for ways to save money. Food costs keep climbing while paychecks seem to stay constant or be non-existent for many American families in this tough economy. There are ways to save money while still managing to eat healthy. Here are a few simple tips.

Plan Weekly Meals
Every Saturday morning, my husband and I sit down and plan out our meals for the week. We look at the calendar to see what we have scheduled and select meals accordingly. If it is a busy week, we stick to quick and easy to prepare meals. Have kids? Involve them in the meal planning process and get their suggestions too. It sounds simple, but one of the keys to success with this tip is writing the meals down in a visible place (we have a whiteboard on the fridge). This way everyone in the family knows what to expect each day and cooking can start immediately instead of playing the “what’s for dinner tonight?” game again. If you stay committed to the weekly plan, you’ll also find you go out to eat much less often.
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