Facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS Feed

See an unfamiliar ingredient

Soup Can Ingredients

Search the Be Food Smart database

Keyboard

Enter food additive or ingredient name

Select and eat smarter food

Plate

Tag: pesticides

When I woke up yesterday and saw the headline, “Organic produce is no healthier or nutritious, finds study,” I was very curious. What exactly did this study look at and how did they come up with their conclusion? Turns out I wasn’t the only one who was interested. Our twitter page blew up with comments and articles on what the study missed. Mark Bittman showed a wee bit of frustration in his tweet:

Ridiculous Study Claims Organic Same as Conventional, irritates anyone capable of thought: http://buff.ly/NaNeKI

The Standford Study, as it is being referred, is a “meta-analysis” of a few hundred previously published research papers on the topic. The researchers reviewed the studies and and summarized the results in the journal, The Annals of Internal Medicine.

The Purpose: To review evidence comparing the health effects of organic and conventional foods.

The Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

While this sounds compelling, there was a whole lot left out. For example, two glasses of milk might be identical when it comes to the amount of vitamin D or calcium, but vastly difference when you start comparing added hormone or antibiotic levels. Also, nutrition is not the only reason why people choose organic. In the last day, I’ve read numerous articles about the Standford Study. To further understand what the study actually did and did not include, I urge you to read these three compelling articles.

5 Ways the Stanford Study Sells Organics Short
by Tom Philpott of Mother Jones

As an investigative journalist, Tom takes a deep dive on the study and points out the multitude of risks that pesticides both
Continue reading…

 

Is your breakfast cereal “natural” or “organic?” Think there is not much difference between the two? You’re not alone. Fancy marketing campaigns specifically designed to trick consumers into believing that these two terms essentially mean the same thing are in play every time you see a cereal box. But the true difference between “natural” and “organic” is huge and one organization took up the challenge of exposing this practice.

A just-released report from The Cornucopia Institute found many breakfast cereals bearing the label “natural” to be loaded with pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and ingredients processed with unnatural chemicals.  To be clear, the report was not looking at cereals such as Lucky Charms or Pops, but rather brands like Kashi, Barbara’s and Annie’s Homegrown; cereals and granola which are specifically marketed as health-conscious and “natural.” In Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label—A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle, the analysis looked at over 45 “natural” cereal brands to determine how natural they really were. They also tested the products for the presence of GMOs. The results of the GMO tests were especially surprising. Even several brands enrolled in the Non-GMO Project contained genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.
Continue reading…

I keep seeing articles claiming that many organics are a waste of money. Even health guru Dr. Mercola (whom I tend to agree with on most issues) wrote an article on it. The advice is to buy conventional (non-organic) for the EWG’s Clean 15 list or for fruits & veggies with thick skins/those you peel to save money. What this advice says is that the rate of pesticides found on produce should be the ONLY determining factor when deciding between organic and non-organic. While pesticide levels are extremely important, it is concerning that people may automatically choose conventional for the “cleaner” foods. The writers, many of whom are nutritionists, are failing to point out the OTHER reasons why organic makes sense.

Contemplating between organic and conventional?  Here are 6 OTHER reasons why organics make sense:

ONE:  More Vitamins & Minerals – There is evidence suggesting that conventionally grown produce may be less healthy than it once was due to the “dilution effect.” Why? Produce is grown with fertilizer for desirable traits (firmness, color, increased size, etc.) instead of optimal vitamin & mineral content. Essentially, produce is larger with more “dry matter,” but doesn’t proportionately contain as many nutrients. You have to eat more to get the same amount of nutrients.
Continue reading…

Dina (left) & Robyn (right) in San Francisco

It was a bright, yet breezy day on the Embarcadero pier in San Francisco on Thursday. I was still buzzing from meeting food activist, Robyn O’Brien a few minutes earlier and knew I was in for a treat. The setting was the patio of The Plant Cafe, an organic restaurant which overlooks the sparkling water. It was an intimate group of food bloggers at a luncheon sponsored by Stonyfield. The mood was lively and inquisitive, and as we all took our seats, featured speaker Robyn O’Brien stood up to tell her story. To find out how she was transformed from an everyday American mom into “the Erin Brochovich of the food movement,” watch her story in this TEDx Austin video. My blog post today attempts to recapture to essence of Robyn’s message through a series of her quotes.
Continue reading…

This is a guest post by Jean at Delightful Repast. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

.
Pan-Seared Ribeye Steaks with
Shallot Pan Sauce


When Dina invited me to do a guest post at Be Food Smart, I didn’t have to think twice. Be Food Smart is one of my favorite blogs, one I visit regularly. I was attracted to it because of its primary focus of increasing awareness of the harmful additives in today’s food. I grew up with that awareness, having a mother who got interested in health and nutrition when she was a young woman. I believe saying “No” to pesticides, herbicides, chemical additives, preservatives, food coloring, irradiation, GMOs, hormones and antibiotics puts our consumer power to work for a better world as well as better health for ourselves and our families.

I’ve been vegetarian at various times in my life and ideally I would be vegan; but that’s not going to happen any time soon. So I try to eat meat less often and choose meat that has been produced under the best conditions. We need to insist on humane treatment of all animals and proper working conditions for those who work in the meat industry. (One of the reasons I insist on organic produce is so that I know the people who worked in its production and harvest were not harmed by pesticides and herbicides.)

When I “met” Rod Morrison of Rocky Mountain Organic Meats on Twitter, I looked into the company and learned that their beef and lamb are 100% grass-fed, grass-finished and certified organic. No hormones. No antibiotics. No grain. No GMO feed. No irradiation. No feedlots where deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria thrive. Passionate about sustainable and organic agriculture and livestock production, Rod is dedicated to environmentally friendly agriculture practices, healthy land stewardship and–most important to me–the ethical treatment of animals. The animals are allowed to roam free and are treated humanely.

Yes, organic grass-fed beef is more expensive than conventional beef. But I would rather have it less often and in smaller servings and feel good about what I’m eating and feeding my family and friends. Of course, I am a locavore and always favor buying food produced as close to home as possible. But organic grass-fed beef is not available locally to many people across the country, so it’s wonderful to have the mail-order option.

I hope you’ll try my original recipe for Pan-Seared Ribeye Steaks with Shallot Pan Sauce (pictured above) with some good organic grass-fed beef. And be sure to let me know how you liked it!


.

Jean at Delightful Repast is a freelance writer who writes about food (also entertaining, weddings and etiquette) for numerous publications. She started her food blog Delightful Repast February 2010 to share her passion for good food that is also good for you and good for the planet.

.