April 8th, 2011 - Jill Ettinger
Whole Foods Market is working toward redefining organic, at least when it comes to personal and beauty care items. As of June 1st, the natural retail giant says all organic personal care products sold in their U.S. stores will be certified organic.
Read More:Major Changes for Organic Body Care Labels
August 31st, 2009 - Laura Klein
I’m a huge proponent of grass-fed beef, from birth to market (not finished on grains). Cows, biologically, are created to graze on grass – not feast on nutrient-poor grains. Grain-fed beef is the result of large agribusinesses wanting to fatten up cows as quickly as possible, regardless of the harm it does to their health (not to mention how grain diminishes the nutritional quality of the meat consumers wind up eating!).
Another reason I love grass-fed beef is that it’s simply cleaner.
Feedlot cattle stand all day long in dirt and manure. You can imagine how much harder it is to remove all the fecal contamination given that scenario.
Pasture-raised animals are much easier to clean “because they come from small herds raised in relatively clean pastures,” according to Meat Marketing and Technology’s associate editor. Most U.S. cattle, he said, “are raised in far larger numbers in congested and typically less sanitary feed lots.”1
The E. coli Question
E. coli contamination occurs when manure from an animal comes in contact with meat in the slaughterhouse. The less manure on an animal when it enters the slaughter house, the less likely the meat will become contaminated.
Some studies show that grass-feeding (vs. grain feeding) may reduce the number and acidity of E. coli in the digestive tract of cattle.
Another study shows that E. coli from grass-fed cattle is more likely to be killed by the natural acidity of our digestive tract and therefore might be less likely to survive and make us ill. The reason for the greater persistence of E. coli from grain-fed cattle, the researchers speculated, is that feeding grain to cattle makes their digestive tracts abnormally acidic. Over time, the E. coli in their systems become acclimated to this acid environment. When we ingest them, a high percentage will survive the acid shock of our digestive juices. By contrast, few E. coli from grass-fed cattle will survive because they have not become acid-resistant.2
Science and the Senate: HR 2749
Time after time, scientific evidence proves that it’s industrialized animals that spread E.Coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella. Let’s hope that the senate, who will soon be voting on HR 2749 – the so-called Food Safety Enhancement Act – take these types of facts into consideration.
1“The Future of Food Safety,” by Joshua Lipsky. Meat Marketing and Technology, April 2001
2 Russell and Diez-Gonzalez (Microbes Infect 2, No. 1 (2000): 45-53.)
Read More:Don’t Eat Dirty Meat!
July 13th, 2009 - Leslie Billera
I don’t know about you – but here in San Diego, there seems to be a Macy’s on every corner.
Typically, the iconic department store’s off-the-rack offerings bore me to tears when it comes to gift shopping.
But when I found out that Farmaesthetics is sold at some of the larger Macy’s locales in their ‘Beautiful Planet’ green boutiques, I was thrilled!
Ten years ago, Farmaesthetics CEO and owner Brenda Brock was whipping up her all-natural, homemade concoctions in a blender at local farmers’ markets. Today, she’s the owner of the premier green skin care line at Macy’s, which can also be found at luxury spas nationwide.
Lauded in Treehugger’s coveted 2009 BEST of GREEN as their Best Skincare Brand pick, Farmaesthetics use only organic herbal and floral ingredients and no preservatives grown on small American farms. Products include Fine Herbal Cleanser, Eyebright Eye Makeup Remover & Treatment Oil, Nourishing Lavender Milk, Cool Aloe Mist and many more.
So next time you need a gift for someone else – or yourself! – check out Farmaesthetics either online or at Macy’s and support organics, small American farmers and a feel good American Dream!
Via The Herald News
Read More:Farmaesthetics Helps Get Macy’s Green Gift-Giving On!
June 18th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Researchers at Cornell University found that giving funky names to everyday vegetables prompted preschoolers to eat—and enjoy—produce offerings.
Brian Wansink, PhD, director of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, and his team presented 186 preschool children with “X-ray Vision Carrots”—the same carrots normally offered on lunch days. Transfixed by the new name, the kids ate almost twice their normal portions, he says.
And even after the “X-ray Vision” label was removed from the serving tray, children continued to eat about 50% more carrots in school.
“Cool names can make for cool foods,” Dr. Wansink says. “Whether it be ‘power peas’ or ‘dinosaur broccoli trees,’ giving a food a fun name makes kids think it will be more fun to eat. And it seems to keep working—even the next day.”
Adds researcher Collin Payne: “I’ve been using this with my kids. Whatever sparks their imagination seems to spark their appetite.”
Read More:The Princess Eats Her Peas
June 15th, 2009 - Laura Klein
Hooray for organic dairy!
Boo to ‘big organic’ dairy companies who break the good organic rules!
According to the Cornucopia Institute, a respected sustainable farm watchdog group …
Since 2005, a handful of giant factory farms, each milking thousands of cows, have been accused of skirting strict federal organic regulations and creating a surplus of cheap “phony” organic milk flooding the market and driving down profit margins for legitimate industry participants. The Cornucopia Institute estimates that as much as 30-40% of organic milk is now coming from giant industrial operations, milking as many as 7000 cows each.
Spoiling organic dairy even further is a class-action law-suit that was recently rejected by a St. Louis judge.
These consumer law suits claimed fraud in the sale of “organic” milk coming from Aurora Dairy, which the suit claims violated 14 different federal organic regulations. Consumers from 40 states sued alleging fraud in store brands in Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, Costco and other national chains served by Aurora. Lawyers will appeal the judge’s rejection.
Milking the System for the Best Organic Milk
Good news for you: The Cornucopia Institute’s recently updated online scorecoard can help you make smarter consumer choices when buying your organic dairy products.
Check out the report and take advantage of 110 ratings of all organic brands (listed alphabetically) based on their ethical and legal approach to milk production. While ‘big organic’ may be shortcutting the rules, the report shows that 90% of organic milk, cheese, butter and yogurt marketers are subscribing to the “spirit and letter of the organic regulations.”
Sneak peak: Organic dairy kudos go to Organic Valley, a farmer-owned cooperative that garners a four-cow rating in the Cornucopia scorecard.”
Read More: Organic Food Supermarket Trends: Got Milk?
Read More:Keeping an Eye on Organic Dairy
June 14th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Angelina Jolie’s kids wear them.
Ditto for the children of Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani, Angie Harmon, Keri Russell, Melania Trump and Samantha Harris.
BabyLegs’ adorable organic arm and leg warmers have taken the world by storm. Available in more than 50 countries, they’re only $10 to $15 a pair and make a fashionably green baby shower gift.
The company uses SKAL-certified organic cotton and Oeko-Tex-certified dyes.
Check out these super-cute styles:
Natural cotton organic leg warmers
Colorful organic leg warmers
Baby/toddler organic leg and arm warmers
Why is it important to buy organic cotton? Check out The Cotton Club.
Read More:Baby Couture: Trendy Organic Arm/Leg Warmers
June 1st, 2009 - Laura Klein
With all due respect to my fellow OrganicAuthority.com blogger, Gerry Pugliese, who recently shed doubt on whether organic foods are actually more nutritious: I strongly disagree!
It’s been proven, scientifically, that plant-based organic foods are higher in nutrients and better for our health. I am deeply passionate about this – in fact it’s one of the core reasons I launched OrganicAuthority.com several years ago!
After studying the science behind how conventional and organic foods are grown in culinary school, I had a paradigm shift. I discovered why organic foods taste better and are of superior quality: we aren’t spraying them with synthetic toxic pesticides that are designed to kill (see the EPAs definition of pesticides). And I discovered that we are poisoning the earth, humans, animals and everything in between with these same synthetic toxic pesticides (see our blog Carbofuran Gets the Axe – a single granule of the chemical can kill an adult bird).
Today, I consider organic food to be one of the most powerful forms of preventive medicine we have available to the human race; and is a key component to green and healthy living. The good news is, you can simply buy organic foods over the counter! If you think organic foods are expensive, I say try health care and prescription drugs. Now that’s expensive. There are truly miraculous stories of people healing themselves from serious disease and illness like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, MS and more, simply by switching to a pure organic whole foods diet. The added bonus, organic foods are of superior quality and flavor!
Myriad qualified experts agree that organic food is nutrient-rich and healthier than ‘conventionally’ grown foods…
Organic Produce: Nutritional Powerhouse
In a study published in March 2008 by The Organic Center,1 a host of past and present studies were analyzed.
One of them, The Worthington study, focused on fertilizers and food nutrition levels. In the study, four nutrients tested as being significantly higher than conventionally-grown food, while one “toxic” nutrient (Nitrate) was significantly lower in organic food (that’s a good thing):
- Vitamin C: +27%
- Iron: +21%
- Magnesium: +29%
- Phosphorus: +19%
- Nitrates: -15%
The same study also found higher quality protein in organic foods vs. conventional food (higher quality protein is determined by the number of amino acids that are evident).
Healthier Food, Organically Grown
In another recent study entitled “Living Soil, Food Quality, and the Future of Food,”2 the following was revealed:
- Organically grown spinach demonstrates significantly higher levels of flavonoids (an antioxidant) and vitamin C, and lower levels of nitrates.
- Organically farmed tomatoes have significantly higher levels of soluble solids and natural plant molecules called secondary plant metabolites, including flavonoids, lycopene, and Vitamin C. Most secondary plant metabolites are antioxidants, a class of plant compounds that have been linked to improved human health in populations that consume relatively high levels of fruit and vegetables.
Definition of Organic Food: Common Sense Dictates Better Health!
Organic foods are grown without the use of chemical fertilizer or pesticides and have not been processed using irradiation or added hormones.
Let me repeat:
- no fertilizers
- no pesticides
- no irradiation (the process of exposing food to radiation)
- no added hormones
I’m not a scientist, but this statement alone is quite convincing that organic foods are a healthier and more nutritionally rich option! Simply put, organically grown foods are not bombarded with synthetic, toxic chemicals that are linked to serious diseases like cancer.
As always, be an informed consumer:
- Products labeled “100 percent organic” must contain only organic ingredients with the exception of water and salt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients.
- Products that are made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients are allowed to be labeled “made with organic ingredients.
Interested in step-by-step, personalized guidance on creating a healthy, green lifestyle? Check out my free Green Club online introduction video to find out more!
1. The Organic Center, March, 2008 Report:
2. The Organic Center, March 13, 2009 Press Release:
Read More:The Science is There, Plant-Based Organic Foods Are More Nutritious!
May 29th, 2009 - Leslie Billera
Relax! Lipstick makes you feel great – not sick.
Beware! Traces of lead, a neurotoxin found in some lipstick, accumulates over long periods of time in your body and can create adverse health effects.
What to believe?
Thanks to A Simple Smooch or a Toxic Smack, a recent New York Times article on the subject…that’s still unclear (with all due respect to the old gray lady and crack reporter Abby Ellin).
The piece quotes doctors like Dr. David Bellinger, who say simply “no level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe;’” and still other doctors like Dr. Therese Bevers, who says “lead hasn’t been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer or other cancers.”
Need to know highlights from the piece include…
- One-third of 33 lipsticks had lead in excess of 0.1 parts per million, the federal limit for candy (according to research done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics)
- Worst offender #1: L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red” lipstick (with a lead content of 0.65 parts per million)
- Worst offender #2: Cover Girl’s Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” (0.56 parts per million)
- Lead is typically found in the pigment of the reddest lipsticks
Price is not the Point
Wet and Wild Mega Colors “Cherry Blossom” contained no lead, whereas a $24 tube of Dior Addict “Postive Red” contained 0.21 parts per million.
How do you know?
The Times writes:
There are no F.D.A. standards limiting lead and other toxins in lipstick. The agency leaves it up to manufacturers to decide which safety and efficacy tests to perform on products. Cosmetics companies are required to list their “intended” ingredients on labels. But lead would be considered an “unintended” byproduct of the manufacturing process.
That sounds like a very convenient excuse for makeup manufacturers to me.
Be your own advocate – read up on the top personal care ingredients to avoid, and tap into www.cosmeticdatabase.com where ingredients of over 42,000 products are clearly listed. Only then can you pucker up with peace of mind.
Via: A Simple Smooch or a Toxic Smack
Read More:Lead in Lipstick?
April 24th, 2009 - Laura Klein
Last week, I wrote about Michelle Obama’s edible, organic garden planted on 1100 square feet of White House Lawn earlier this month.
It turns out not everyone was as excited as me.
Take the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA), for instance…this group represents agribusinesses like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Crop Protection, and they’ve got a bone to pick.
In a letter they wrote to Michelle Obama, brought to the public attention via La Vida Locavore (where you can read the letter in its entirety), MACA expressed concern that the decision to grow an organic garden would give consumers the wrong impression about conventionally grown food – and by that I’m assuming that they mean letting the public at large know that food can actually be grown without using chemicals (imagine that!)….
The letter states…
“We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family’s year-round food needs.”
Which begs the question: are we really considering children and aging parents who have underdeveloped or compromised immune systems, when we spray our yards, and gardens with poisonous pesticides? Children and pets roll around and play on the lawn and in the dirt. If we are spraying our lawns, and gardens with pesticides we are exposing them to toxic chemicals that can compromise the human body.
The Danger of Exposure
We absorb chemicals and toxins three ways:
- Swallowing – ingesting them via our food.
- Breathing – via inhalation of air.
- Skin and or eye contact – i.e. absorption of your personal care products.
So when you spray pesticides in and around your yard and home, keep in mind that you, your family and pets can absorb its chemicals via all three of these passage ways.
The New England Journal of Medicine, published a study in July of 2000, that states we are more likely to get cancer from pesticide exposure than from hereditary causes.
Studies have also shown that pesticides and toxic chemicals can be up to 10 times more poisonous to child’s underdeveloped immune system.
Clearly, I don’t think that a ‘busy’ lifestyle if enough of an excuse to use pesticides – ever.
What are your thoughts on the MACA letter – and about pesticide exposure overall? I’d love to hear from you!
Read More:A Chemical Reaction to the White House Garden
April 13th, 2009 - Laura Klein
“Local, affordable, nutritious food should be a right for everyone and not just a privilege for a few,” wrote Alice Waters, acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and food activist in a letter to the White House in January, 2009.
A couple of months earlier at a Chicago fundraiser – which featured an Alice Waters-created menu – Michelle opined “You can’t just make a dinner. It’s got to be a nutritious dinner, grown with good, fresh, clean food. That takes time. Trust me.”
I couldn’t agree with these two fabulous women more. The time has come for healthier, more nutrition-rich food – that’s local, seasonal and organic when possible – to take center stage for our country. What better place to start than with an edible garden?
The first family is off to a running start when it comes to promoting homegrown eats.
Michelle Obama, an excited group of fifth graders and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack got to work planting a brand new vegetable garden on Thursday, 4/9.
The first sprout hasn’t poked its way through the soil yet, but already, the White House garden – championed by Michelle Obama’s enthusiasm for fresh and healthy food – has several fantastic messages for an under-nourished public that I’ve long espoused:
- Home gardening offers a great way to save money on expensive foods at the market – a tasty stimulus package for your kitchen!
- Home gardening inspires kids to eat their veggies: studies have shown that kids who grow their own vegetables eat more vegetables!
- It’s also a wonderful reason to get outdoors, rejuvenate your soul and reconnect with nature, something we can all benefit from both physically and mentally.
There’s a history of White House gardens. But with the publicity power of Michelle Obama, Slow Food enthusiast Alice Waters and countless other organic foodies, this administration is positioned to get the messages to the masses: grow your own, save money, have fun and eat healthily!
My Own Edible Garden and Get-Started Gardening Tips for You!
When my husband and I moved into our home, we were debating how to landscape our front yard. I suggested we plant an edible garden in both our front and our back yard, including my favorite – scrumptious organic artichokes!
Year after year, our edible garden has reaped us huge rewards in delivering organic produce. It has saved us tons of cash at check-out and made us quite popular on our block: families with children regularly stop to admire our front yard edible garden!
Plus, we’re reminding children about the origin of fruits and veggies – and that they come from the earth first – not just from the supermarket. In this way, my husband and I feel like we’re adding something to the community, which is a great feeling!
Here’s some tips for the beginning gardener. Already have an edible garden? What works for you and what doesn’t? Share your story with OrganicAuthority readers – we’d love to hear from you!
Read More:Grow and Glow: Inspiring a Nation to Eat Healthier