Category: Food

Where Does My Stuff Come From: GMO Food

What are you feeding your children?
What are you feeding your children?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that we were educating our family about where our stuff comes from, starting with our food.

We were learning that there are “strange” ingredients in many processed foods. Some of these ingredients you can learn about just by reading the labels and Googling what they are on the internet. Others you would not know about unless you ask someone.

So I started an endeavor to ask manufacturers what is in my food. Here are my results so far.

 

 

 

GMO Cut Corn

Hy-Top:

I had a package of Hy-Top corn in my freezer. Hy-Top and the Federated Group provide generic store-brand foods for WinCo, Lowes, and other stores.

Find stores here: http://www.hy-top.com/pages/where_to_buy/99.php

My request to them was a simple note:

“I was wondering if any of the Hy-Top Frozen Corn products were GMO Corn?

Their response was also simple:

Dear April, The Hy Top Frozen Cut Corn is not GMO free. Sincerely, Name Withheld, Federated Group, Consumer Concerns

After taking the photo, the corn went into the garbage. Although I will still shop at WinCo as they are my primary store for many reasons, I will not be purchasing their generic Hy-Top products anymore.

Tastes good, but not worth the risk.

General Mills:

We had a coupon for $1.00 off of General Mills cereals, and our little ones really like the Os. But, since I am committed to learning more about our food, I sent a note to GM that was similar to the one to Hy-Top.

Their response was a lengthy one:

Thank you for recent inquiry regarding General Mills′ position on the use of ingredients that have been modified through biotechnology.

 First and foremost, all food must be safe. It is not only the law, but also an issue of ultimate importance to all food manufacturers. Second, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have all concluded that food using ingredients from biotechnologically-improved crops is completely safe and no different in any meaningful way from other food. For that reason, the FDA does not require special labeling for it. However, if food has been significantly altered in composition or nutrient content, or if biotechnology introduces allergens into food, special labeling is required. None of our products requires special labeling. Accordingly, we do not test them for the presence of this material.

Because of the growing use of biotechnology by farmers and the way that grain gets commingled in storage and shipment, it′s certainly possible that some of our products may contain ingredients that have been improved through biotechnology. We can assure you, though, that every major regulatory agency, as well as independent scientific groups like the American Medical Association, has concluded that these ingredients are safe. For more information, you may wish to visit The Alliance for Better Foods website at www.betterfoods.org.

 General Mills also believes in providing consumers with a variety of food options. Toward that end, we do offer organic products that, by definition, do not use ingredients that have been improved through biotechnology. Please look for organic Gold Medal flour and a wide range of products from our Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen brands. To get more information about our organic products, please visit us at www.smallplanetfoods.com.

 Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. Sincerely, Name Withheld, Consumer Services

They obviously believe what they are saying.

I do not.

Understand that I don’t think that a few bits of GMO food will kill us, but I do believe that there could be issues with GMO food with long-term use. So, the Cheerios did not go into the garbage and we will eat them up, but we won’t be purchasing any GM products in the future.

So what are you thoughts on GMO foods? Have you been eating something you like, only to discover that an ingredient could be bad for your health with long-term exposure (or even short-term)?

Want to know what foods don’t have GMO without a lengthy email campaign? Here is a GMO shopping guide from Dr. Mercola: http://gmo.mercola.com/sites/gmo/shopping-guide.aspx

I plan on continuing this series with other foods that make their way into our home, but the goal is to avoid as many foods with unnatural ingredients as possible. I mostly make that happen by cooking 90% of our foods from scratch. Come back soon for a Super Simple Recipe made from all natural ingredients.

What Is In My Apothecary: Gallbladder Issues – Or – How I Can’t Eat Chinese Buffet Anymore:-(

Citrus fruit

I haven’t been feeling well lately.

I am nauseous, run down and out of sorts.

I wish the issue was that I was pregnant again, but it is not.

Instead, most likely my gallbladder is not handling fats that well and is very unhappy with me.

I was really, really sick a couple of nights ago, the day after eating a lovely dinner at a Chinese Buffet place. OK, I realize that Chinese Buffet is probably not part of the Simple Living lifestyle, but it is my favorite and it is something we do just a couple of times a year.

But I can’t go anymore… or at least not for a while. I have to cut out bad fats – and Chinese Buffet does have a lot of fat. Yes, I can eat the sushi and hibachi and soups and fruit, but I love some of the fried dishes too. But they are probably just wrong, so I commit to passing them by for now.

The good news is that I appear to be getting to the issue early enough to do something about it naturally. I thought I would take the opportunity to share my process with others. The point of the “What Is In My Apothecary” series is to cut through the hype of natural remedies and see what real people use to stay healthy, treat illnesses, and handle physical issues.

 The Plan:

  • Drink more water and water with lemon in it

  • Cut out bad fats – at least reduce them by 90% – no dairy, no fatty meats like beef, no bad oils

  • Sparingly use good fats

  • Eat four or more servings of fruit per day, especially citrus fruit

  • Actually eat three to four servings of veggies per day

  • Use camomile and peppermint tea when my tummy is nauseous

I still have some test results to get back and a follow-up with the doctor before I know for sure the state of my gallbladder. Until then, I am keeping a food diary and will research more about what can help me. I will report back in a few weeks the best course of treatment and how I am doing in following it.

April Schroader is a freelance writer and blogger. Even though she is experiencing some illness right now, she is still available to guest post on your blog, write a quality article for your magazine, help with a non-fiction book project, or write quality content for your website. To contact her, visit her portfolio and click on the Hire Me link.

 

Super Simple Recipes: Fish & Potatoes

Super Simple Recipes

Our family makes about 90% of our food from scratch. However, we don’t have a lot of time for cooking fancy meals, so I have been learning to make very simple recipes lately.

The recipes in the Super Simple Recipe series should only include a handful or so of ingredients and take 10 minutes or less of prep time. However, they make take an hour or more to cook, but with little or no further work required.

 This week, I made a simple fish and potato recipe:

  • 5 – 7 medium size, local potatoes
  • 1 lb of local caught fish – if possible – otherwise store-bought will do
  • Your favorite seasoning – I used one called Israeli spice
  • Olive Oil – other oils like coconut can work too

Chop up potatoes into chunks and put in 9X13 dish. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle seasoning to your taste. Cook for 50 – 60 minutes @ 400 degrees, give or take a few minutes for the kind of potato. We used Idaho (where we live) Yukon Gold and they take longer to cook than some other varieties.

Take dish out of oven, add fish on top, drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with more seasoning. Cook another 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the type and thickness of the fish. We used store-bought salmon here. Haven’t had time for fishing this year:-o

Serve with a mixed green salad and favorite healthy dressing.

Here are some great cookbooks for simple, healthy, and cheap eating.

Where Does My Stuff Come From: Food

So you have signed up for a simpler life.

You have your chickens, your garden, your canning equipment and you are ready to go!

And then you realize that this is a LOT of work and you can’t possibly feed yourself and your family on just the food you are growing and raising, at least not yet.

Or maybe your idea of a simple life is purchasing all of your food pre-made and prepackaged.

Either way, you have to go to the market.

You Want Real Food

As you are standing in the market, you know that you want real, fresh food. Maybe you want some convenience foods too, but you want them to be natural, right?

So you start to read the labels of containers of things that say they are natural, and you realize that there are things in here that you weren’t aware grew in nature.

Or maybe you aren’t aware of what is in the food because it is cleverly labeled? I know that I fell for it…

The Article You Don’t Want To Read

My husband shared this link with me the other day. It is just a small list of “Natural Cereals That Aren’t.”

http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/9-natural-cereals-arent#sharetagsfocus

I read this and wished I hadn’t. I don’t always have time to make homeade granola (seriously) and have opted to purchased some of these cereals on this list in the past.

And then the idea came to me – why don’t I start a multi-part series on my blog about where our stuff comes from. Not just food, but everything – our clothing, our furniture, our electronics. What is in them, who made them, and are they good for us?

My next blog post on this topic will be the results of asking a couple of companies (for which I currently have a container of a food item that they produce) if their food contains any GMO ingredients or other additives that aren’t made from truly natural food.

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April Schroader is a freelance writer and blogger. She is available to guest post on your blog, write a quality article for your magazine, help with a non-fiction book project, or write quality content for your website. To contact her, visit her portfolio and click on the Hire Me link.