Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Make a resolution to eat more organic foods

There are so many reasons to eat organic foods--here are some excerpts from this article by the Organic Consumers Association:

- Many unprocessed organic foods contain more nutrients than conventionally-grown foods
- Organic food doesn't contain food additives, flavor enhancers (like MSG), artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup), contaminants (like mercury) or preservatives (like sodium nitrate), that can cause health problems.
-Organic food doesn't contain pesticides. More than 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues remain on non-organic food even after washing. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. One class of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, are likely responsible for early puberty and breast cancer. Pesticides are linked to asthma and cancer.
- Organic food isn't genetically modified.
- Organic animals aren't given drugs. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified vaccines in farm animals. Hormone-laced beef and dairy consumption is correlated with increased rates of breast, testis and prostate cancers.
- Organic animals aren't fed animal remains or slaughterhouse waste, blood, or manure. Eating organic reduces the risks of CJD, the human version of mad cow disease, as well as Alzheimer's.
- Organic animals aren't fed arsenic.
- Organic animals aren't fed byproducts of corn ethanol production (which increases the rate of E. coli contamination).
- Organic crops aren't fertilized with toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, or irrigated with E. coli contaminated sewage water.
- Organic food isn't irradiated. Cats fed a diet of irradiated food got multiple sclerosis within 3-4 months.
- Organic food contains less illness-inducing bacteria. Organic chicken is free of salmonella and has a reduced incidence of campylobacter.

Not to mention organic (and especially locally-grown) foods just plain taste better.

I know some people are hesitant to buy organic because of the cost . . . but really it's the processed organic stuff that costs a lot. Brown rice and other whole grains, fruits and veggies, and other unprocessed ingredients really aren't that much more expensive . . . and the savings to your health and the planet more than make up for it.

So when you're making those New Year's resolutions, add eating organic to your list.

Wishing everyone a great 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time for baking

What a great day -- sewing machine is put away, presents are wrapped, and I actually have time to do something I really love: BAKE! So far, Barley Soda Bread (perfect for breakfast or with soup for dinner). And since we are having a friend over that can't eat gluten, I made these yummy Flourless Sesame-Almond Cookies (made with arrowroot flour!). Both recipes are from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. I've posted them below so you can try them as well.

Happy Holidays!

Barley Soda Bread

This bread is delicious plain but I especially like it with butter, cream cheese, or nut/seed butter.

3/4 cup rolled oats or rolled barley

1 cup regular or golden raisins

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (dairy or nondairy)

1/4 cup water or milk (dairy or nondairy)

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or honey (optional)

3 1/4 cups barley or other whole grain flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a large baking sheet. In medium-size bowl, mix together oats, raisins, yogurt, water or milk, molasses, oil, and optional sweetener. In separate large bowl, whisk together flour, nuts, sea salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add oat mixture to flour mixture. Stir until dough holds together. Turn out onto a floured board and knead gently for 45 to 60 seconds. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into an oval ball. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between loaves. Use a sharp knife to make 2 slashes on each loaf about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375ºF and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, or until loaves are golden. The bottom should sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

Makes 2 loaves

Flourless Sesame-Almond Cookies

These delicious crispy cookies are gluten- and egg-free.

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup almonds

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter or coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup arrowroot powder

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated orange rind (optional)

2 to 3 tablespoons water or orange juice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Oil 1 or 2 large cookie sheets. In food processor or blender, grind sesame seeds and almonds to powder. In mixing bowl or food processor, mix ground seeds and almonds with butter or coconut oil, sea salt, arrowroot powder, evaporated cane juice, almond extract, vanilla, and grated orange rind. Add water or juice, a little at a time, until dough holds together. Place walnut-size balls on prepared baking sheet leaving about 3 inches in between. Press balls with fork twice to form a criss-cross pattern. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until bottom and edges are golden.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

Note: I chilled the dough and then rolled out because my kids wanted to use the cookie cutters. The dough is a little crumbly for this so don't roll too thin.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And the winner is . . .

MONSANTO!!!!! What did they win you ask? The Angry Mermaid Award! And I can't think of a more deserving corporation. Find out why they won.

And by the way -- the latest study on Monanto's GMO corn finds that it has adverse affects on the kidneys, liver, heart, adrenal glands, spleen and more . . .

Monday, December 07, 2009

Book Reviews: Children's Books

Check out the December issue of VegFamily Magazine for reviews of some children's books that promote vegetarianism, kindness to animals and healthful eating. My pick is Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli!