Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Zero Grams Trans Fat

There are several loopholes in the law regarding trans fats. My favorite is the "what's" considered trans fat. Companies are now trying to disguise the trans fat as best as they can. They know many people are clueing in to reading labels and will be on the lookout for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Just remember that BOTH are artificial and BOTH harden arteries. Hydrogenated OR Partially Hydrogenated. Saturated fat is NATURAL. Hydrogenated fat is UNNATURAL. Shortening is another word for trans fats, even if it says vegetable shortening. *wink*

Now, Todd's favorite argument is the latest loophole in the law regarding the AMOUNT of trans fats in the food. A large number of companies were able to get legislation passed saying that if a SERVING has less than 0.5 grams of trans fats, the WHOLE PRODUCT can be labeled zero trans fats. Sadly, most people read the Nutritional Label rather than the Ingredients list and on the Nutritional Label, it says 0g trans fats. So of course, the companies lower the serving size to meet this requirement. Think about it. If you eat several servings of a few products that say they have zero grams of trans fats, what does that add up to? In a day? In a week? In a month? Here's a perfect example of how trans fats can sneak into your diet every day...

You wake up in the morning to a cup of coffee with a tablespoon or two of that flavored non-dairy creamer stuff (*cough* *cough* POISION). Maybe you drink two cups every morning?

A cup of instant, powdered hot chocolate (in a big mug, so maybe 3 HEAPING tablespoons of powder) with a scoop or two of fat-free cool whip (and of course, you scoop and eat a spoonful before closing the lid). If not hot chocolate, any powdered cocoa or powdered coffee drink mix.

Then maybe later that day you have a bag of 94% fat-free microwave popcorn (the typical, most popular non-organic brands). And of course YOU eat a whole bag yourself, which is about 3 servings. Who doesn't? Get your own bag! LOL

Or maybe you also make some fat-free, sugar-free instant pudding. Those trans fats add up! Especially when you eat foods like this every day. This is just snack food and doesn't take into account the trans fats in everyday MEALS. Just think... Add on top of the snacks listed above maybe... a frozen, non-organic, microwavable dinner or lunch? EEEK! Those things always have trans fats!

It all adds up...

Here is a great video that talks about just that...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Scary! Obama IS hot! LOL

A fellow blog that I read (United States of Motherhood *waving hi*) pointed out yesterday that Obama is hot. Which is funny because I've obviously seen him before on tv, but it never dawned on me that he was attractive... because he's a democrat... Until now! And she's right, he is a pretty good looking guy! LOL I think HOT is giving him a bit too much credit (my hubby is truly worthy of the word HOT), but Obama is better looking than other candidates.

That's scary though because unfortunately people will vote for them, simply because they're more attractive than the other candidate. Especially if they don't pay attention to politics! I can just see it now. Some chick is standing there filling out her ballot, wondering who to vote for (hmm, republican? democrat?)... *very dim lightbulb moment* "Oh, that democrat dude is pretty hot!" PUNCH (quite possibly a hanging chad punch, too)


You KNOW that would happen...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Crummy Organic Chickens

I was just reading one of my weekly health newsletters and came across a startling fact. Consumer Reports reported that organic, antibiotic-free chickens sold at supermarkets are MORE likely to contain campylobacter and salmonella! This includes the O-Organics brand at Safeway and other more expensive, organic birds sold at most grocery stores.

Unless you know exactly where your chicken comes from, most organic, antibiotic-free, free range chickens are barely a step above regular chickens. The farmers squeak by making the bare minimum changes to meet USDA Organic standards, but not much else changes. The animals are still beat up, mistreated, debeaked, stacked on top of each other and housed in the same filthy environments as all the rest. In environments like this, antibiotics are NECESSARY so the antibiotic-free birds actually get sicker than the rest. But hey... They meet USDA standards, right? *sigh* Sad, huh?

Luckily the brand that I buy was very clean. Ranger. :) I was sooo upset when Safeway switched from carrying Ranger to their O Organics brand. So upset that I spoke with the meat department manager and then quit buying my chicken there. I think Fred Meyer still sells Ranger chickens, but if not I know I can always find them at PCC, Whole Foods and even Trader Joe's. Rosie chickens are my second favorite, but they're more expensive and they're vegetarian-fed... which bugs me. Read my blog on eggs for more on that tangent.

Read this story for yourself on the Consumer Reports website.

Friday, January 12, 2007

What on earth does Shade Grown coffee mean?

So for a while I've been wondering what shade grown coffee means. I see it everywhere and assumed it had something to do with worker conditions - like maybe workers were being forced to work in the hot sun. I didn't know, don't laugh at me! :) It was just my best guess since most shade grown products are also labelled fair trade. I research soooooo many things online and this just wasn't at the top of my list. Well, I finally got around to researching it so I thought I'd share my findings here.

Traditionally, coffee was always shade grown. It grows best that way and naturally doesn't need any fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. The large rainforest trees protect the plants from direct sunlight and also mulch the ground with fallen leaves to retain moisture and nutrients. Since rainforests are home to tons of animals, they act as a natural pesticide. This process also keeps the soil full of nutrients so the coffee beans are much healthier and produce a healthier product. Sadly, shade-grown coffee only represents about 1% of the US market for coffee beans.

Sun grown coffees were invented (hybrid plant) because they are easier to produce. The smaller plants produce way more coffee beans and are easier to harvest. Unfortunately they are best produced in direct sunlight. This means large amounts of clear-cut land is needed. There are no large trees dropping foliage to mulch the ground so the soil dries out (soil nutrient depletion and erosion). No birds to eat the bugs so heavy amounts of pesticides are needed - so heavy in fact that next to tobacco, sun-grown coffee is sprayed with more chemicals than any other product consumed. Fertilizers are then needed because all of the nutrients have been zapped from the dried out, unsustainable soil.

While sustainable farming is absolutely important and I wholeheartedly believe it is the best way to farm (note: biodynamic is the best type of sustainable farming)... my main goal is health. My health and the health of my family. I wanna know what's in it for me. *wink*

I had no idea coffee was that heavily sprayed and so vastly depleted of nutrients. According to an article I read, coffees from Columbia, Brazil and Costa Rica are more likely to be sun-grown. Coffee from Sumatra, southern Mexico, Guatemala and Ethiopia (the list is huge) are mostly shade-grown. And of course it's always easier to just look for the shade-grown label rather than trying to figure out which country it's from. And a quick side-note: the whole sun/shade grown thing is also true for cocoa beans.

I hope you all found this interesting!


Thursday, January 4, 2007

People Against Dirty - Method

For those of you not aware of this product line, it's awesome!!! I have been using so many of their products, all over my house for the past year. Why do I like their products?

  • All natural, environmentally-friendly, biodegradable ingredients

  • VERY safe around children

  • Older children can safely help clean!

  • The're extremely affordable (most items are typically $5 or less)

  • They're the same price online and shipping is cheap!

  • You can actually BREATHE while cleaning your bathroom with their bathroom cleanser. I usually clean mine while I'm showering because I know their spray isn't toxic.

  • Target carries them! Fred Meyer carries some of their products, but not many and I've found a lot of them at my local Bartel Drugstore. The store manager is really into green living so they stock a lot of the products. On the Method website you can click "where to buy" on their bottom navbar to find stores that carry their products near you.

  • My favorite product is their lavender all-purpose cleaner. It smells absolutely wonderful, yet is made of natural ingredients. So Lindsey can help me clean and not get toxic residue on her.

    I have tried and been thrilled with their all-purpose spray, laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets. The laundry detergent smells amazing in "morning bloom" but I wish they'd come out with a lavender version. They even make an all natural, fragrance-free baby version that competes with the ever popular Deft.

    They make a wood cleaner, but unfortunately the ONLY scent they offer is cherry almond... which I don't prefer. I like lighter scents (like lavender) and really wish they'd come out with more choices since I have hardwood floors all over my downstairs. You may try it and love it. It does work very well and I still continue to buy it because it's better than the harsh chemical alternatives.

    I also use their liquid hand soaps and our most offen used product is the hand sanitizer. Or as my 2-year-old would put it, "hanitizer." LOL The green tea scent is our favorite, but it's a bit stong so test it before buying it. I keep a bottle in the door pocket of my car. I do not recommend anitbacterial products (soaps, body washes, etc) because people don't need to be sanitized... Good grief! Every product on the market now comes in an antibacterial version. Ugh! Most germs actually serve to strengthen our immune systems by exposing us to them. HOWEVER, not all germs are good... Grocery carts and public restrooms can be repulsive so hanitizer is always nice to have on hand.

    Now it's only fair that I admit I still use bleach on occasion! Some things need serious sanitizing, like my toilets and any area of my kitchen after handling raw meats.

    Oooooooooooh! I'm surfing the Method website right now and they have BODY WASH! AND it's in my favorite scent, lavender!

    Happy green cleaning!


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