Senate Defeats the Latest Industry Effort to Block GMO Food Labeling

Good news in the ongoing fight for consumers’ right to know! By a slim 1-vote margin, the bill was stopped in its tracks. Thanks to the efforts of numerous consumer, health and anti-GMO groups, their communities and their state representatives.

The Center for Food Safety reports:

Defeat of the “DARK Act” is Major Victory for America’s Right to Know

Today the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act failed to garner enough votes for cloture by a vote of 49-48, effectively defeating the bill.  The bill introduced by Senator Roberts (R-KS) faced bi-partisan rejection.  The bill would have preempted the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska.  In its place it would have put a voluntary labeling scheme that relies primarily on QR codes, websites and call in numbers to inform consumers about the presence of GMOs.

“The defeat of the DARK Act is a major victory for the food movement and America’s right to know,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. “It also is an important victory for Democracy over the attempt of corporate interests to keep Americans in the Dark about the foods they buy and feed their families.” Kimbrell concluded.  Continue reading

Shoppers’ Guide to Avoiding GMO Foods

With Vermont’s recent court victory to require manufacturers selling food in the state to adhere to GMO-labeling guidelines set forth, it’s time for other states to demand the same transparency on their own grocery store shelves and restaurants.

The Center for Food Safety updated its Food Shoppers’ Guide to Avoiding GE Food a little over a year ago, and they provide some good resources to get you started should you wish to have the option to either avoid, or have labeled, GMO foods. Public opinion polls hold that a large majority of Americans want their food suppliers to clearly label whether or not their products have GMO ingredients.

From the Center for Food Safety website:

“We’ve seen that our government, under pressure from the biotechnology industry, has not required the labeling of GE foods. And the biotech industry does not voluntarily identify them, fearing, probably correctly, that the majority of Americans would avoid GE foods if given a choice. As a result, the U.S. public has been deprived of its right to choose
whether to buy and consume these engineered foods. However, this is not the case with most of our major trading partners around the globe who have instituted mandatory labeling of all GE foods and ingredients.

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Quirky Cuisine: Three Strange Meals


beggal in a basket

Beggal in a nest. I first tried this by cutting out the center of both the top and bottom halves of a begal, but found it easier to leave the bottom one intact for better stacking the second time I tried it. Sesame, onion or everything bagel, one free-range large brown egg, 1-2 slices of cheddar or swiss cheese, butter for cooking.

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Our Imperiled and Dwindling Food Variety

A shocking stat: 93 percent of the seed varieties available in US seed houses in 1903 had gone extinct before 1990.

Now keep in mind that 1994 and 1995 were the first years that outdoor growing of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) began, which started to result in crop contamination and further pressure on our international seed stocks.

This National Geographic infographic spells out some of the specifics (but only through 1983), which means that the graph below shows a picture of an already dwindling food variety a full ten years before the introduction of GMO-contamination to our crops:

1903-1983 study by Rural Advancement Foundation International results.

1903-1983 study by Rural Advancement Foundation International results.

Needless to say, the situation has become more dire in the 2000’s. Continue reading

Strawberries and Sprouts Sandwich

Here’s an interesting little combo I put together when I was on a tomato n’ sprouts sandwich kick and ran out of tomatoes. I thought, “Hey, how about putting two layers of strawberries in there instead?” Strawberries in a sandwich with mayo?!

Yup, turned out really good in fact.

A strawberries and sprouts sandwich pic from Life Is Melody

A strawberries and sprouts sandwich

  • Two lightly toasted pieces of sprouted or whole grain bread
  • 3/4 cup of organic mixed sprouts
  • 6 (organic) strawberries sliced to 1/3″ thick
  • Organic mayo

Put a light layer of mayo on each slice of toast. (Toast makes a much better sandwich here than untoasted bread.) Build a two-layers thick bottom base of strawberries. Pile on the sprouts and maybe a little more mayo on the top piece of toast. Press down to slightly ‘pack’ the sandwich so the sprouts and strawberries don’t tumble out as easily. You’re set to go!

5 More Supplements for the Winter Months

Vitamin D, Echinacea, Garlic, Nux Vomica, Green Superfoods

With the arrival of colder temperatures for the last 2-3 weeks for much of the U.S. and Canada, it’s time for a followup to last year’s ““5 Great Supplements for Winter”” post. That article espoused Singer’s Saving Grace throat spray, vitamin C powder packets, OscillococcinumTM (homeopathic flu remedy), Rescue Remedy and Olba’s Inhaler as five of my trusted companions during the chillier part of the year. Here are five more supplements for the winter months.

  • Vitamin D -the most common forms come from cod liver oil and sheep’s wool. The lanolin version from sheep’s wool is the closest to a ‘vegetarian’ form since it technically doesn’t have you ingesting an animal part, and no animals are harmed during the process. Unlike vitamin C, there aren’t a whole lot of non-animal/dairy food sources of this nutrient. Many people also supplement with D in the winter because the northern climes they live in don’t provide enough winter sunlight for them to get their usual amount of skin-absorbed and synthesized vitamin D that they get during the warmer months. Capsules or drops in the 400, 1000 and 2000 IU dosages are popular. There’s been a noticeable uptick since 2010 of doctors and nutritionists starting to recommend higher dosages of this supplement for their patients, and of manufacturers rolling out potencies as high as 5000 IU.
Echinacea on the D.C. mall

Echinacea growing behind the Smithsonian in DC

  • Echinacea -tincture, tea or capsule form. The purple coneflower; echinacea angustifolia and echinacea purpurea are the two most commonly used species. Echinacea helps support the immune system and produce white blood cells. Usually ‘pulsed’; that is, taken for three to four weeks and then stopped, for a break, before resuming. Once a bug or cold is three days old, echinacea is not as impactful. Thus, it is a good immune supporting supplement when you’re not sick or if taken at the first signs of an oncoming illness. I prefer the liquid tincture forms, which usually come in 1- or 2-oz. dropper bottles in a vegetable glycerin or grain alcohol base. The alcohol-based tinctures tend to have a longer shelf life (sometimes by years) than the sweeter tasting glycerin ones, but you can prolong the efficacy of the glycerin-based tinctures by storing them in the fridge after opening them and using them up within six months. Good echinacea (tincture) causes a distinctive tingling sensation on the tongue after ingestion.

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5 Great Supplements for Winter

It’s winter! That means sniffles, colds, the holidays and flu season. The temperature see-saws, the stress, the travel, the year-end bills and the months of lessened sunlight. I’ve got a few stand-by supplements for winter that I always keep nearby at this time of year for the inevitable immune system stresses. Here are the first five in our supplements for winter series.

  • Singer’s Saving Grace throat spray by Herbs Etc.-comes in 4 flavors, 2 sizes. An indispensable item to have on hand for people who rely on their voice for work: teachers, sales staff, singers, preachers, filibustering politicians; but also useful for anyone with a scratchy voice and a long day ahead of them. Continue reading