Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

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GMO Food – You Don’t Want to Eat It! August 1, 2009

Filed under: Healthy Living — Rachel @ 8:17 am
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Do you know what GMO foods are?  GMO stands for “genetically modified organisms.”   They are genetically modified, scientifically created foods that are unnatural at their core.  You know, like where they alter the food at the DNA level to create a corn that manufactures its own pesticides….

Sounds odd, but actually, according to the FDA, 75 percent of processed food in the United States may contain GMOs.  Gee, that’s a lot.  And, you wouldn’t know it.  There are no labeling laws.  Unless your processed food is certified organic, it probably contains some GMO ingredients.  Another reason to skip those chips and cookies!

Should you care?  Yes!  There is very limited science being the safety of GMO.  What little there is was sponsored by GMO growers…. or raises some bright red flags.  That’s why 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs.  They are not considered safe.  Yet, in the US, it’s no big deal. 

Animals have to be forced fed to eat GMO.  Something about the food causes their instincts to reject it.  Nevertheless, animals have been force-fed the foods for scientific studies.  Here are some red flags from  “Just Say No to GMO” by Dr. Joseph Pizzorno:

• A preliminary study from the Russian National Academy of Sciences [found] that more than half the offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks (compared to 9% from mothers fed natural soy).
• [An] estimated 10,000 sheep died in India within 5-7 days of grazing on GM cotton plants engineered to produce their own Bt-toxin pesticide.
• The only human GM feeding study ever published show[ed] that the foreign genes inserted into GM food cropscan transfer into the DNA of our gut bacteria. This study gives new meaning to the adage, “You are what you eat.” Long after those GM corn chips you munched are history, your intestinal flora may still be churning out the “Bt” pesticide GM corn plants have been engineered to produce.
 

What to do?  Here are some tips from Healthy Child Healthy World:

• Check food labels for soy-, corn- and cottonseed-based additives, most likely to be genetically engineered.
• Buy 100% certified organic especially for corn, soy, potato and animal products.
• Choose a wide variety of fresh, whole foods over processed foodsthat are likely to contain bioengineered additives. Check the PLU code on produce to identify if it’s genetically engineered. PLUs consist of 4 to 5 numbers (4 numbers = conventional produce, 5 numbers starting with 9 = organic produce, 5 numbers starting with 8 = genetically engineered produce).

• Look for the Non-GMO Project verified label (visit their website to find products they have tested).
• Buy locally grown produce from farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms where you can talk to the producer.
• Prepare meals at home so you know exactly what you are eating.

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Local vs. Organic Produce – What to Buy? July 16, 2009

Filed under: Healthy Living — Rachel @ 8:19 pm
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When it comes to food, buying organic is buying the best for our families and our world.  Pesticides are clearly a problem, and poison-free fruits and vegetables are definitely the way to go when you’re feeding young children.  But what do you do when the summer’s bounty offers you the choice of buying organic or picking your own at a local blueberry farm?  After all, buying local reduces so much waste in the form of dollars and fossil fuels.  It also supports farmers near you, possibly reducing pollution, crime and destruction of natural habitats.  To top it off, the food will certainly be fresh – which means more nutrients in every bite.  If the idea of eating locally interests you, be sure to read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  It’s a gem of a book!

I was talking with my girlfriends about this quandary: local or organic?  Of course, we all wish we could have our cake and eat it too.  And, sometimes you can.  With CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) becoming more and more popular, it’s not too hard to get local, organic vegetables on a regular bases.  I think it’s the fruit that presents a real problem.  Have you ever gone to the store, hoping to indulge in some organic berries or peaches only to discover that the extremely limited organic options are quite uninviting?  Moldy berries or rock-hard peaches won’t win my money, organic or not.  That’s when I may head over to the conventional fruit stands, and none too pleased. 

But, with a little planning, you can buy local fruit with ease during the summer.  Search for local farms that offer pick-your-0wn.  Harvesting is a fun, education outing for young children!  It makes kids appreciate good fruit and it’s value so much more!  Plus, you’ll save a few dollars by picking.  PickYourOwn.org seems to be the largest database of farms that offer this service.  It’s organized by state, but doesn’t have a very nice layout.  Often there are better farm databases on a state-by-state basis, so do some searching online.

If you don’t have time to pick your own, buy locally at roadside stands in the country or farmer’s markets in the city.  Again, you can scout out farmer’s markets online at Local Harvest.  When you buy, don’t assume it’s local.  Go ahead and ask where things you are interested in were grown.  It’s not unusual to find food imported from across the country at a roadside stand.  And, just by asking, you can share your preference to buy local.  That’s how business is changed – one voice at a time. 

However you eat locally, you interact closely with people that grow your food.  This presents a unique opportunity to influence their growing methods.  Maybe they don’t garden organically, but maybe they would… if they knew that was so important to you.  Maybe they do garden organically, but they aren’t certified.  Encourage them to keep it up the good work!  And that’s why it’s a toss up when you consider eating organically or eating locally.  Both options are exponentially easier on the earth than eating conventional produce from the grocery store.  Both choices, eating local and eating organic, are a vote for a safer, healthier tomorrow.  When you can’t find organic in the store – go out and find a farm near you!

 

The Dish on Fish: Safe Sources of DHA without the Mercury May 5, 2009

Filed under: Breastfeeding,Healthy Living,Pregnancy — Rachel @ 8:23 pm
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Be sure to eat lots of fish… it’s the best, whole-food source of omega-3 fatty acids (like DHA).  DHA is essential for your baby’s developing brain (whether you’re pregnant, nursing or feeding a toddler) and essential for your psychiatric health. 

Don’t eat fish…it’s contaminated with mercury, a potent neurotoxin that’s especially dangerous for the young brain.  Plus, fish farming practices vary wildly, with some taking a serious toll on the environment.

So, what do you do?  We know that fish is good for us, but we don’t know what kind of fish to eat, how it was farmed/caught or how much is really safe to consume.  If you’re tempted to avoid fish altogether to save yourself the hassle, think again.  “Research coming out of the most recent American Dietetic Association Annual Conference reported on studies that revealed a “no sea food diet” during pregnancy resulted in children with low verbal IQ, low social development, and poor peer interactions. Women who were DHA deficient were found to be more anxious and distressed” (Fishing For Omega-3 Fatty Acids).

Fortunately, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” program produces a handy little pocket guide, filled with up-to-date info.  It’s even organized by region, so that it lists seafood commonly found in your area.  What are you waiting for? Print your free Seafood Watch Pocket Guide and start making smart choices for your family.  Be sure to note that choices marked with an asteric (*) are likely to be contaminated with mercury.  With plenty of other, safer options available – I say skip those altogether!

 

Enter to win a FREE bottle of “Perfect Prenatal” Vitamins! May 5, 2008

Filed under: Giveaways — Rachel @ 8:11 pm
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Everyone knows that prenatals are important.  Take them once you start trying to get pregnant and throughout your time breastfeeding.  To give your body the best nutrition possible, choose a prenatal vitamin that’s organic and whole food, like the “Perfect Prenatal” from New Chapter.  Organic, because why ingest pesticides daily when your baby is so vulnerable?  Whole food, because the complexity of whole food will nourish your body much more effectively than the synthetic vitamins, minerals and chemical herbal isolates you’ll find in most supplements.  So it’s almost like you’re eating those leafy greens every day… almost.

Here’s what New Chapter has to say, “Perfect Prenatal delivers 23 different easily digested, energizing and protective probiotic vitamins and minerals as well as 13 stress-balancing and free-radical scavenging herbs cultured for maximum effectiveness. Herbs like lavender and lemon balm have been revered for their soothing properties while other antioxidative herbs like peppermint, clove and rose hips provide key health benefits that support and sustain.”

Pregnant mamas will appreciate that this prenatal is cultured in organic soy using nature’s most prized and studied probiotics, featuring Lactobacilli acidophilus, bifidus, rhamnosus, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These factors make it easy to digest, even on an empty stomach.  You know, in case you’re not keeping much down these days.

Enter to Win! We are giving away THREE 180 tablet bottles of the “Perfect Prenatal”!  Entering is free and no purchase is necessary.  Just share one change you hope to make in order to have a healthy pregnancy or breastfeeding experience. Do so by adding your comment below.  Enter now through May 31st.  We’ll choose three random winners from all participants! 

Euphoria will pay shipping.  Winners will be notified by email, at which point a shipping address will be requested.