July 26th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Romaine, Cookie Dough Recalls
We have a new recall to report: romaine lettuce from Salinas, Calif.-based Tanimura & Antle. The company sells artisan lettuces and specialty vegetables.
As for the Nestle cookie dough recall, the Associated Press reveals that the company had refused to supply reports to the FDA over the last 5 years—not illegal, but certainly noteworthy as U.S. food-safety incidents pile up.
As consumers, we need to put pressure on mainstream and organic companies to comply with FDA inspectors’ requests—even the voluntary ones.
Farm Aid Adds Artists
Farm Aid has signed new artists for its Oct. 4 concert.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Jason Mraz and Phosphorescent to the Farm Aid family, and having Wilco and Jamey Johnson back to Farm Aid this year,” says Carolyn Mugar, executive director. “Every year, artists and bands donate their time to perform on the Farm Aid stage, raising funds and awareness about the critical contributions family farmers make to our country.”
Farm Aid seeks to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America.
What’s on My iPod?
I can’t get enough of Jason Mraz’s We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things—and not just because he’s supporting Farm Aid.
Science geek that I am, I’m finishing up Mary Roach’s audiobook Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. It’s also available in paperback. Great info about the human body, but not recommended for those with queasy stomachs!
Photo courtesy of Tanimura & Antle
Read More:Update: Food Recalls, Farm Aid, My iPod Playlist
July 14th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
School may be out for summer, but seize the opportunity to increase your children’s vocabulary and environmental literacy with a good book.
Kids ages 3–8 will enjoy Recycle! A Handbook for Kids, by Gail Gibbons—a colorful 32-page book that explains the recycling process from start to finish.
Children will learn how different types of garbage—from paper and plastic to glass and aluminum cans—are recycled into new products. Gibbons also offers recycling tips and “trash trivia.”
“Gail Gibbons is a phenomenal writer whose informational books help kids learn new and interesting facts,” says Jennifer D. Turner, PhD, an assistant professor of education at the University of Maryland. “And she doesn’t disappoint with her book on recycling. This book is very readable and well organized, and helps children really get a sense of what landfills are and why we need fewer of them.
“Gibbons does thorough research in order to write her books,” Dr. Turner continues, “so when she describes how to recycle, why it’s necessary and its benefits, you know the information is accurate. The book ends with some interesting information about the ozone layer and the limited potential for recycling polystyrene, followed by 14 facts about garbage.”
For Your Child’s Organic Bookshelf
- Where Does the Garbage Go?
- Why Should I Recycle?
- The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
- Garbage and Recycling
Read More:Recycle! A Handbook for Kids
June 24th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Brooklyn’s Isa Chandra Moskowitz hosts the online Post Punk Kitchen video series, which offers great vegetarian cooking lessons. She’s also the author of the highly acclaimed Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock.
The cookbook is divided into nine sections:
- Brunch (Sweet Potato Hash with Five-Spice and Watercress, Ginger-Pear Waffles)
- Muffins and Scones (The Best Pumpkin Muffins, Glazed Orange Scones)
- Soups (White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup)
- Little Meals, Sammiches and Finger Food (Parsnip-Scallion Pancakes, Fresh Corn Fritters)
- Sides (Balsamic-Glazed Portobello Mushrooms, Coconut Rice with Toasted Coconut)
- Pizzas and Pastas (Homemade Gnocchi, Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade)
- Entrees (Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Tofu with Baked Pumpkin and Cranberry Relish, Moroccan Tagine with Spring Vegetables)
- Cookies and Bars (Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Macadamia Blondies with Caramel-Maple Topping)
- Desserts (Coconut Heaven Cupcakes, Gingerbread Apple Pie)
Rocker Joan Jett added her review to the book’s back cover: “This fun and creative book is delicious for people like me, who don’t eat pets!”
Vegan with a Vengeance retails for $17.95, but the current price on Amazon is $14. Use the recipes to jump-start your organic Meat-Free Monday meals.
Read More:Vegan with a Vengeance
August 11th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
When I voiced my concerns about the marketing campaign for Burger King’s new BK Stacker (see A Mountain of Meat and Cheese), many OrganicAuthority.com readers took me to task. Because this website is dedicated to organic food and living, it seemed a bit perplexing.
My views, however, haven’t changed. As Dr. Rallie McAllister points out in Sobering Stats on Childhood Obesity, 90% of the products food manufacturers hawk to children meet the criteria for junk food.
Jeff Novick, director of nutrition for the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, doesn’t mince words about the BK Quad Stacker, whose commercials proudly advertise that it contains “no vegetables.” (When did this become a key selling point?)
“With four slices of cheese, four fatty patties and four slices of bacon, this burger might better be called the quadruple bypass special,” Novick says. “Maybe they call it the ‘stacker’ because it helps stack the odds against the long-term consumer collecting much from Social Security. Fast food like this is great if you’re in a hurry—to die.”
I sent Jeff some of the comments on A Mountain of Meat and Cheese and asked him how he’d respond to the folks who are proud of their fast-food habits.
“We live in a very permissible society,” he tells OrganicAuthority, “and unfortunately many of us indulge in self-destructive products and behavior. As a nutritionist, it is my job not only to give people the best education possible on how to live and eat healthfully, but to model the behavior that I teach to our clients, to my children and to anyone with whom I come into contact. But as the saying goes, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.’
“I help many, many people every day,” Jeff adds, “but there are some who need to reach rock bottom before they finally decide to make healthy changes in their life. As a society, we are faced with the same dilemma in trying to stop people from smoking. I could show smokers statistics about death rates for cancer, I can show them a lung ravaged by disease caused by smoking, and I can model a nonsmoking healthy lifestyle. But with some people, no amount of information will stop them from smoking until, unfortunately, they are finally diagnosed with cancer. For some people who eat poorly, just as those who smoke, they have to reach a point where their bad habits have impacted their lives so profoundly that they decide to make a change. Then—and only then—can I truly help this particular group.”
Read More:You Can Lead a Horse to Water…
March 29th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Native American author Devon A. Mihesuah’s book, Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness
, won the Special Award of the Jury from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and is a finalist for “Best in the World.”
“High incidences of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and related physical problems among indigenous peoples are pervasive consequences of colonialism,” says Mihesuah, an Oklahoma Choctaw and the Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding at the University of Kansas’ Center for Indigenous Nations Studies. “Natives once gathered, hunted and cultivated foods that kept them physically strong. Now, many Natives across the Americas are sedentary and have lost touch with their traditional tribal knowledge, including methods of cultivating, preparing and preserving foods. Taking charge of our health by boycotting the greasy, fatty, sugary and salty foods that are killing us in favor of the nutrient-rich and unprocessed indigenous foods of this hemisphere is greatly empowering.”
The book contains sections on exercise, strategies for healthy eating, gardening and indigenous recipes, including Acorn Squash-Pumpkin Soup, Creamed Corn and Boiled Okra Soldiers. Mihesuah strongly believes in consuming fresh, homegrown foods.
“We can only do so much to combat racism and prejudice,” she notes, “but we can control what we eat, what we feed our families and how much we move around. We must take responsibility for our health and for the well-being of our children. In so doing, we pass on a legacy of self-respect and tribal strength to future generations.”
Read More:Organic Food, Choctaw Style