you are what you eat
18 May 2013, by gj
A lot of confusion surrounds GMO seeds, as the term is now used in reference to Monsanto; and there are many gardeners concerned that they might buy some by accident.
That is simply not possible.
You won’t find GMO seeds this way.
Here’s what you would have to do to get it:
1. Buy a farm. Call up Monsanto and tell them you want to sign that long intense contract that even controls you and your crop after you stop growing GMO. Buy seeds from them, buy Round-up from them. Grow the crop, but don’t save any seeds, or they will sue you.
2. Buy land down wind from a farm that is growing GMO crops that are wind pollinated, like corn. Let them cross pollinate your non-GMO crop. Save the seeds. Just don’t let Monsanto find out, or they will sue you.
3. Buy GMO veggies at the store, like corn or zucchini. Save the seeds and replant. Chances are they won’t grow, because the seed is too immature to germinate. So what if Monsanto finds out? They might sue you anyway.
Here’s the thing to remember, Monsanto doesn’t want you to have their seeds without the contract. They are not in seed packets at your local Farm and Garden. They’re just not.
So usually when someone says they only grow non-GMO, what they probably mean is they are growing heirlooms and open pollinated, not hybrids.
But a hybrid is only a cross between a plant and a similar plant, like a tomato and another, slightly different, tomato. Bees do it naturally, and growers do it on purpose.
A GMO is not plant to plant. It’s a tomato and a fish, or corn and E. Coli.
Really big difference.
The danger of foods containing GMO.
Categories: all about seeds, GMO's, you are what you eat
26 April 2013, by gj
It is said that in Pennsylvania there are four seasons:
This spring certainly seemed to agree.
But I found out recently there is a marking of springtime that I was not aware of.
I had stopped in the local grocery very early in the morning to pick something up for work. They had their refrigerated produce section completely emptied out.
When I asked one of the staff what had happened, she told me that “They do this every year, in the spring. A guy from ‘main’ comes out and sets everything up. You know, the weather’s getting warm, everyone’s going to want watermelon.”
You got to love marketing.
So I stopped back later and sure enough they were done.
Look how that produce just leans towards you, begging you to choose it. See how conveniently the bags are placed? Look how bright everything is!
Then I noticed something. That produce is similar in color to the red and orange plastic coolers above, and about as uniform in size. My produce isn’t that bright and it certainly doesn’t look all the same like that.
Did you know that groceries have a higher markup on produce than anything else?
That’s why most stores have the produce department right by the main entrance.
Don’t get taken by their ploys:
Eat real food.
Grow what you can.
Learn to preserve food.
Choose non-GMO and organic what you can afford.
Here’s a great link to the Certified Non-GMO Project with lists of foods that have been certified to be GMO free.
And here’s a cute video in case you need a little more motivation.
Oh yeah, and there is one more sign of spring:
Categories: GMO's, you are what you eat
31 March 2013, by gj
This recipe sounds fancy-shmancy, but actually it’s pretty easy.
Crème Anglaise is most often flavored using vanilla beans, but really the sky is the limit when it comes to combinations of fillings and flavors.
Creme Anglais flavored with Fresh Mint.
Crème Anglaise Sauce
2 cups milk
3/4 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
Mix the milk and half of the sugar together in a pan. Bring it just to a boil over medium-low, add mint and remove from heat.
Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a bowl with the other half of the sugar. Whisk the mixture to make it light.
Bring the milk back up just to a boil, then slowly add to the eggs, whisking as you go. Do this very slowly, known as tempering, or you will get scrambled eggs. For your first time, it helps to have one person whisk as the other slowly adds the eggs. Once you see how it’s done, you’ll know how simple it is.
Return the mixture to the stove and cook stirring lightly but constantly, until it starts to thicken. The end result should be more like a syrup not a pudding.
Strain through cheesecloth or other strainer to remove the mint and let cool. Give it a stir once in a while or it will get a ‘skin’ on it. When cool enough, refrigerate.
The only thing you need to keep in mind is to not rush the process. Cook it slow and low, and take your time adding the milk to the eggs.
Add the filling.
Fresh Fruit Crepes
First, make a Pancake Dry Mix:
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Use 1/2 cup pancake dry mix:
Add 1 egg
1 Tbs. oil
1 generous cup milk
You want this batter to be really thin. Pour into medium-hot preoiled pan and cook as you would a pancake, flipping over when the batter is bubbling and the edges begin to look dry.
Remove from pan and when cool enough to handle, bush one side with the crème anglaise. Add your choice of fruit to one end. It helps if the pieces are about the same size. Roll, using a little more crème anglaise to help hold the crepe closed.
Drizzle with a little more of the sauce, and dust with confectioners sugar. Serve.
If you have leftover batter, you can make more crepes and freeze between layers of waxed paper.
Mmmm… Tasty and Light
There are so many possible flavor combinations. While we were enjoying the meal, Mandolin and I came up with a few to try:
Pear-Raspberry with Bourban Crème Anglaise
Peach with Praline Crème Anglaise
Apple-Walnut with Maple Crème Anglaise
Perhaps those leftover crepes won’t be in the freezer all that long.
Any other combinations you would like to suggest?
Categories: recipes, you are what you eat
15 March 2013, by gj
100 years apart
While putting away the china I inherited from my Grandmother over the holidays a few months ago, I happened to notice the difference in the size of the dishes from her day to ours.
If you look at the picture above, it may seem like the yellow dinner plate with the china plate sitting on top of it are about the same size. Likewise the two bowls and two sandwich plates. If you closer you might see the difference in the actual area allowed for putting your food.
The china dinner plate has a 6.5 inch diameter serving area, where the fiestaware plate has 9 inches. The sandwich plates likewise vary from 4 inches to 5.5 inches.
The china bowl has a 1 cup capacity. The fiestaware? Double that.
Now this has nothing to do with gardening, but has everything to do with your health; something most of you are also concerned with.
It’s no wonder there is a weight problem in this country, as we become increasingly removed form how much we actually should be eating. Portions in restaurants are more than enough for two people, not just one. If you think ‘Supersize it’ is an effort to save you money, it’s not. Think about it- the restaurant is already paying the overhead bills, the more food they can sell you the higher the profit they’ll make.
Think of a restaurant serving, and now picture the Recommended Daily Allowance for a meal instead:
3 pounces protein, or less than 1/2 cup
4 oz. each fruit and/or vegetables, or 1/2 cup each
Here’s how you can save money and lose weight at the same time. Don’t serve or eat meals like a restaurant would, downsize to the right amount.
Of course I would add that when it comes to veggies, have at it.
Check out this great link that does some portion size comparisons.
Categories: fast food, saving money & time, you are what you eat
4 February 2013, by gj
The You Can Grow That! theme for February is love, an easy subject for a new grandmother.
From the very moment the upcoming birth announcement was made my life was forever changed, more than I could even imagine.
Stealing Grammie's heart.
“You are what you eat” is much more than just an expression, and I knew right away I wanted to help ‘Sprout’s’ food be as healthy as possible.
Organic baby food is incredibly expensive, yet so simple to make.
A jar of carrots should contain carrots, maybe a little water, and nothing else.
The only way to really know what is in a baby’s food is to make it yourself.
Here’s one Grammie’s tips for healthier baby food:
1. Grow or buy organic the vegetables most likely to have higher doses of pesticides. Here’s the list.
2. If space is limited, plan your garden based on what foods you expect the baby to be eating. Carrots, peas, beans and squash are much more likely to be in his diet than eggplant and peppers.
3. Learn to safely can foods and how to properly freeze, and which foods can be stored fresh the longest. Check some of the links to the right under ‘How to Store’ to learn more.
4. Follow your pediatrician’s recommendations for introducing new foods to the baby.
5. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look at the grocery store shelves for fruit and veggie combo ideas. Trust me, a lot of research went into it already.
Aww, look at that face… I just may have to give over more of the garden.
Here’s a great resource for recipes and tips.
Categories: grandkids and kids, saving money & time, you are what you eat, you can grow that
26 January 2013, by gj
Sort of food-like.
With all the recent talk in the media about reforming laws, restricting freedoms, and assigning task forces, I decided to add my voice to the discussion.
I believe many of the problems in our country are a function of the declining mental health and physical health of our population, primarily caused by what we are eating. Herbicide, pesticide and homicide all share the same suffix ‘cide’ meaning ‘to kill’.
Simply put, we are eating chemicals designed to kill other living things; and we are eating increasingly more of it.
Below you will find a letter I have sent to my elected officials. If you agree, please copy it and send it along with your signature to those you have elected to serve. Let’s bombard them!
Share this post with everyone you know, pin it, tweet it, FB it, email it. Are you a blogger? Blog about it and share the link. Let’s get this done.
Let’s really save our children.
Use this link to contact your representatives.
Do I see HFCS from GE corn and pasta from GE wheat?
Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School there has been much talk about gun control. We even have a task force to look into it.
There also has been some talk about mental illness, an obvious factor in crimes of such a horrendous nature.
If all this is really about saving our children, then what about all the other children we are not thinking of?
I’m referring to the increase, according to the American Cancer Society and other sources, in childhood cancers. What about the over 1300 children that are expected to die from cancer this year?
Are we thinking about the 1 in 110 children born in this country today, according to Dr. Oz and others, who will be diagnosed with Autism? This is a dramatic increase in cases. There has even been some speculation, reported by The Los Angeles Times, that Adam Lanza, the young gunman in Connecticut, may have a form of autism.
Do we have a task force that will look into the health of all our children? If we look at the main thing that has changed over the years, it would have to be the diet of Americans. ‘We are what we eat’ is more than a catchy phrase. This simple fact has been known and stated as far back as Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food.”
What we are feeding our children is heavily loaded with pesticides and other chemicals. We no longer serve food, we serve things that are like food. Genetically engineered crops that are heavily doused in pesticides have been shown to cause cancers and organ disorders in laboratory rats. There is also evidence that livestock given feed with this ‘food’ in it are developing numerous organ disorders, and there is an increase in early deaths of farm animals.
Yet we continue to let this practice go on. Do we really care about the lives of our children, or is all this just political rhetoric? If we want all kids to have access to health care, why not access to health? Will someone have the backbone to ask the hard questions and find out the truth?
I am asking you, as my elected representative, to form such a committee and really work to save our children. All of them.
For more detail, please check these sources:
Dr. Oz on Autism and environmental factors.
The New York Times reported this over 20 years ago.
The National Cancer Institute posted it 5 years ago.
The American Cancer Society this year.
Categories: GMO's, you are what you eat
25 January 2013, by gj
Many gardeners find themselves limited as to what they can grow.
It might be because of the amount of room they have, the free time to spend in the garden, or the physical demand a garden requires.
Of course there are gardening techniques and practices that can help in each of these areas.
For today though, let’s look at how to decide what to plant, and what not to. It all depends really on what you want your garden to provide:
1. Financial savings. If saving money is your top priority, you are not alone. So what veggies are expensive in the stores but easy to grow? Raspberries would probably top the list, expensive mainly because they are difficult to ship. Herbs are another food item that can be quite pricey, yet most do well in pots or hanging planters. For some odd reason lettuce has become expensive, at least in our area. A small head sells for almost $2, are they serious? Conversely, dry beans and potatoes are relatively inexpensive all year.
2. Fresh eating or long term storage. Are you mainly looking for a variety of fresh produce or do you want to load up the pantry shelves? If its the former, then one or two tomato plants, a variety of fresh greens, one cucumber, peas and beans growing up a trellis, etc. can provide you with a mini produce department from spring until fall. If winter storage is the goal, potatoes, garlic, onions, and sweet potatoes can be held through most of the winter. Dry beans will last for years, and there are pole varieties that save space.
cold holding sweet potatoes and squash
3. Self Sufficiency. If your concern is more for the future you would probably want to plant heirloom and open pollinated varieties of plants, so the saved seeds will continue to produce true to the parent. A variety of veggies that includes at least one protein, such as a dry bean, will offer the most nutrition per garden. Shoot for color- orange sweet potatoes, carrots or squash, a red tomato or berry, purple eggplants and dark green broccoli. This will arm you with a good balance of vitamins in your diet. Also consider some perennials plants or those that can be replanted like onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
4. Food Safety. This is becoming an increasing concern for many, and is one of the reasons they are turning to their own yards. Some of the veggies with the highest levels of pesticides were found by the FDA and USDA to be Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Blueberries (Domestic), Nectarines, Sweet Peppers, Spinach, Kale & Collards, Cherries, Potatoes, Grapes (Imported), Lettuce, Blueberries, and Carrots. Here’s the complete list.
This list is now 5 years old, and since then I have read that summer squash is also loaded with pesticides. Geesh.
In addition GE corn, which is now headed to some markets, is very heavily sprayed with pesticides. If you’re looking to grow food that is safer to eat, keep this in mind.
choose organic what you can
This subject came up a few times lately, and after much consideration here’s what we would grow if for some reason we had to downsize:
A few raspberry canes, 2 blueberry bushes, 1 small vining summer & 2 winter squash and peas & beans on trellises, carrots, kale, a few strawberry plants, ‘garbage can’ potatoes, pole dry beans and 2 celery plants. If there was room, then a tomato or two.
We would buy organic corn just to be safe.
How and what would you choose?
Categories: faq's, gardening, organic, preparedness, saving money & time, you are what you eat
20 January 2013, by gj
These terms have become almost interchangeable, but there really is a technical difference in their meaning.
Our wall of non-ge food.
GM and GMO refer to something that has been genetically modified. Anytime there is a cross between two organisms, the offspring is genetically different than the two parents and therefore modified.
This happens intentionally, for example when breeding animals or creating a hybrid plant. Hopefully the offspring, or organism as most everything living is, will have the desirable traits of both parents.
Genetically engineered is a little different. This is when a scientist places a gene from one organism into another organism. This can be a cross between a tomato and a fish, corn and e.coli, etc.
From what I have read, Monsanto thought the term ‘Genetically Engineered” sounded too frightening, so they started to use the kinder, gentler term ‘Modified’.
Can’t help but wonder if causing a little confusion was also part of the plan.
good health waiting to happen
Personally I prefer to call it what it is, but the terms GMO and GM seem to have stuck.
Whatever words are used, I think we have the right to know what is in our food.
Food manufacturers argue that labeling will increase the cost of the food. Come on, really?
Many companies have already switched away from high fructose corn syrup, since it got such a bad rap.
Now they are using sugar beets, which by the way are also GE and heavily sprayed with pesticides, and they happily changed their labels in the hopes of not losing sales.
food at your fingertips
Until such time as products containing GE ingredients become labeled, you can assume that unless it is labeled otherwise, they are probably in there.
The best way to know for sure?
Yep, you got it. Grow your own.
A petition to get our foods labeled
Grocery Store Wars -a funny video to enjoy
Categories: GMO's, you are what you eat
21 December 2012, by gj
Today is the winter solstice, and as such one of our favorite days of the year.
It means simply that the winter tide has turned and the days will be getting longer- little by little we are headed towards spring.
Today also happens to be the day the Mayans stopped keeping track of their calender… scaring more than a few people.
I’m guessing it was a simple matter of the funding stream for the project running out.
So if today isn’t the last day of your life, what is it?
Y’all are soo smart! Yes- it’s the first day!
With that in mind, these are my wishes (and unsolicited advice) for you to make the rest of your life way better:
healthier fast food
1. If you know you should quit, just do it.
Stopping smoking was the hardest, and best thing we ever did. It really sucks, really really…but it does get easier over time.
Seriously, it took 3 months before I could wake up and place my feet on the floor before I thought of smoking.
Now, it’s hard for Mandolin and I to remember ourselves as smokers.
Whatever you are doing that you know in your heart you shouldn’t be- take the time to suffer through it and stop.
It will get better, I promise.
2. Think about what you stuff in your face.
We have found that if we avoid meat, dairy and breads, we feel better. For us, that works.
If you feel wonderful, rock on. If not, try a change in your eating habits. After all, you know that old saying ‘you are what you eat’ is so true.
Please don’t ‘Diet’ – just make a personal lifestyle change.
yoga on the wii
3. Take a clue from the animals.
If you have a cat or dog, consider following their example- nap and stretch whenever possible. Consider a 5 minute yoga stretch in the morning or before bed. It can do wonders!
Naps might be a little harder to come by.
gardening is meditative
4. Don’t sweat it.
If today was the last day of your life, how would feel about it?
Did you make time for what was really important?
It’s never too late to start you know.
Here’s the thing, and it may sound weird- but we’ve gotten to know a lot of you, and there are many others out there reading this.
If today WERE the last, our lives would have been better off because of you.
Since it’s NOT, we want to help yours be better because of us.
The Secret of Life
The song reference.
Categories: special posts, you are what you eat
14 December 2012, by gj
There are plenty of jokes and stories about pregnant women and what they crave, but unless you eat a perfect diet and live a perfect life, you most likely crave foods as well.
Cravings fall into two basic categories: physical and emotional.
“I’m craving meat” I told Mandolin recently, “I don’t want to eat meat, but my body is telling me to.”
“You probably need protein” he responded, “not meat, just the protein.”
covering both bases
At first I figured he was right, I hadn’t been eating a healthy balance. Then I remembered, I also had a hankering for some beets.
What do meat and beets have in common? Okay, yes- they rhyme, but that’s not what I’m looking at.
Iron. That’s probably what my body was trying to tell me it needed.
Sure enough I felt better after making sure to include some iron in my diet.
Have you ever found yourself craving something with lots of garlic and onions? It’s quite likely your body was trying to fight an oncoming cold- garlic has natural antibiotic properties, and both of these alliums will boost your immune system.
The other type of food craving is emotional, but even this is your body trying to talk to you.
Craving chocolate? This delightful substance actually causes your body to release serotonin, making your mood improve.
Holding a puppy does the same thing, but with less calories.
it is easier than it looks
If your cravings lean more toward comfort foods, that may signal some emotional need in your life that’s not being met. Don’t deal with it by eating pizza.
Try yoga instead, you’ll be surprised. It improves your overall sense of well being,
IMHO our bodies know what they need. Since you are here reading, you probably have already gotten rid of most of the garbage in your diet. Good for you! I think that makes it harder for your body to communicate with you.
So the next time you open the fridge or cupboard, and you’re not really hungry, listen.
The next time you have a craving, pay attention.
Figure out what your body is saying- after all, you do speak the same language.
Here are some tools to help:
More on the benefits of onions and garlic.
On eating organically.
Nutrition Analysis Tool will tell you what is in the food you eat.
Information on types of vitamins and their purpose.
Categories: organic, you are what you eat