Archive for the ‘Organic vs Non-Organic’ Category

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Natural food labeling vs. Organic food labeling

In Natural Foods,Organic,Organic Product Reviews,Organic vs Non-Organic,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Reading Nutrition Labels on September 11, 2013 by organicconversion

Remember, “natural” food is not the same thing as USDA Organic. Take a look at these Wal-mart fruit bars…(Yes, I found out only later that these are only sold at Wal-mart & Sam’s Club and are not really a regular brand. That would have changed my buying decision, but too late now).

ImageI recently bought these at Wal-mart…looking for a better option that isn’t so expensive as the one I usually buy. I know, big mistake. First, notice the 100% natural on the box…that does not mean organic!

The one we got was the “Caribbean Mix” frozen fruit bar.

Ingredients: Strawberries, Pineapple, Mango, Passion Fruit, Coconut Flakes, Water, Cane Sugar, Natural Stabilizers (Guar Gum, Carob Bean Gum, Carrageenan), Citric Acid.

The ingredients look okay though the stabilizers really aren’t great for you. Carrageenan is a derivative of seaweed. Some studies indicate that it can cause cancer in animals. People can also be allergic. It can irritate the bowel. You can read more about it online at Charis Holistic Center where there are some nice articles on it.

Really, if you look at the nutrition label these are pretty much just sugar.

ImageWorse than all that, they tasted like rotten fruit! We threw them away. My kids are not picky either, they tasted that gross. Save your money and spend a bit more on the good stuff or freeze your own fruit pops.

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He wanted seconds of the spinach!?!

In Healthy Organic Recipes,Organic,Organic Foods,Organic Product Reviews,Organic vs Non-Organic on February 12, 2012 by organicconversion Tagged: , ,

This morning we got up and I decided to make breakfast for us, but I’d just been reading an article about how bad sugar is for our bodies and also why whole grains can make us fat so when my son wanted cinnamon toast for breakfast I said no and we opted for omelets instead.

I made what turned out to be the most amazing sautéed spinach and greens mixture for the omelet.

Pretty simple, it was organic butter with sea salt, 50/50 mix of organic greens and organic minced garlic.

I went super light on the cheddar cheese and made the omelet with minimally processed turkey slices and organic rice milk.

We all went crazy for it! I’d only made 1/2 the container of greens the first round, but we all wanted seconds of the spinach so I made more!

Only recently we switched to organic butter and organic regular milk – again food budget is tight which is why I don’t get to go 100% organic and I have to pick and choose where to spend the extra money if there is an obvious difference.

Well, besides being a completely different color, organic butter is also tastier and cooks better than the regular old butter I’ve been using. With organic milk I noticed that it keeps longer in the fridge without any strange smell or taste. Organic milk has a “milk” taste, even in the low-fat variety. The regular non-organic milk starts having no taste and looking like white water in the low-fat and no fat varieties.

We also tried organic safflower oil and organic coconut milk (SoDelicious Vanilla) this week which were both excellent!

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Driscoll’s Organic Raspberries vs. Driscoll’s Regular (non-organic) Raspberries

In Organic,Organic Companies,Organic Foods,Organic Product Reviews,Organic vs Non-Organic on January 29, 2012 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , ,

Driscoll’s Organic Raspberries vs. Driscoll’s Regular (non-organic) Raspberries

I was in Super Target shopping for groceries here in Minnesota and I came across some Driscoll’s organic raspberries that looked extremely tasty so I picked them up. As I walked down the aisle I came across the regular non-organic Driscoll’s raspberries which were $1 cheaper. With the container of organic in my hand, I leaned in to look closer at the regular since they were the same brand and I was so shocked I whipped out the phone camera and took a picture of them side-by-side. The regular (non-organic) raspberries were a pale red in comparison with a whitish powder coating, they were ripe and not rotten or anything, and if I wouldn’t have had the organic in my hand I wouldn’t have thought anyhting of it- but the difference in color and quality was so noticable it was like the other weren’t really like real raspberries at all.

Of course, once I took the picture, I kid you not, the produce man followed me around like I was a spy or something! Eventually, I’ll figure out how to get this mysterious phone picture off my phone and post it here for you to see!

Driscoll’s organic raspberries are USDA certified organic and the same company also offers non-organic raspberries. If they truly cared about why organic food is important and not just making more money of the designation “organic” how can they live with that?

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What is semi-organic? What is organic pesticide?

In Organic,Organic Foods,Organic vs Non-Organic,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Reading Nutrition Labels,Semi-organic on January 9, 2012 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

What is semi-organic?

Every once in awhile I tag a post or label a recipe “semi-organic”, thinking this would be obvious to people what that means, but I guess it isn’t always obvious since I got this question this week from a reader of this blog!

For me, “semi-organic” simply means that not all of the ingredients in a product I’m reviewing are identified as organic or that not all of the ingredients in the recipe I actually made at home and wrote about were organic. Since I’m trying to incorporate organic items in my cooking, but I’m also on budget most of my day to day cooking is a mixture of organic and non-organic items.

I think that this is a more realistic picture of the average person trying to incorporate more organic items in their health & beauty products and in their cooking than having 100% organic cooking or 100% organic products for cooking, but I’m open to hearing other views and experiences so feel free to comment or just send me an e-mail.

 

What is organic pesticide?

I did notice something interesting/misleading on “organic” food packaging recently, a package was marked organic, but with an asterisk saying they use short term, non-lasting pesticides. Hmmm, what does that mean?

Want to know more?

Here is an article from the University of Colorado Extension about chemicals allowed in “organic gardening”: http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4DMG/VegFruit/organic.htm

Check out this interesting article out of Canada that talks about U.S. organic farms using “organic pesticides” with naturally occurring oils and sulfur accounting for most of it. http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/print-friendly/43683

 

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Mmm Salsa!

In Healthy Organic Recipes,Organic,Organic Foods,Organic Product Reviews,Organic vs Non-Organic,Reading Ingredients and Labels on October 7, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

I made real salsa for the first time tonight yum! I had a great jar of Desert Pepper Divino Mild salsa and Desert Pepper Chile con Queso set out too which was great, but I also made real salsa for the first time. My friend Dawn got to be my guinea pig-um-yeah…tester! First try-too chunky and diced tomato-like, but after a quick trip to the blender it was great! Who knew that those purple Spanish onions had such a kick? I’ve never cooked with them before, I usually use the yellow “cooking” onions at home. I also made homemade guacamole, yum! We had friends over and ate super cheesy nachos for my son’s b-day and watched Kangaroo Jack!

 

I guess it was a night for trying out new recipes!

Now, I bought the Desert Pepper salsas in the organic foods section of my store and I looked around online and it is sold at a lot of organic stores, BUT on the jar the ingredients don’t specifically say the veggies it is made with are organic, it just says no preservatives and no additives (which is great), but what do I call that- SEMI-organic? If you know if it is, comment and let me know!


Hmm, we took lots of pictures, but I need to start taking pictures of the food I make!

 

 

 

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Organic Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup (Recipe)

In Healthy Organic Recipes,Natural Foods,Organic,Organic Foods,Organic vs Non-Organic,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Reading Nutrition Labels,Toxic Chemicals in Food,Toxic Food Additives on April 12, 2011 by organicconversion

Going Organic, Easy Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

by Kristina Blasen (2011)

My son loves Chicken Noodle soup. I think eating chicken noodle soup is fine, but companies like Campbell’s add preservatives that don’t need to be in there and when it is canned soup the metal from the can itself can leach into the food. There is a lot of information about this danger and studies have been done on BPA-related chemicals leaching into food (which is common). Check this out http://www.ewg.org/reports/bisphenola (2007) if you want to learn more about those studies.

Here’s the ingredients in Campbell’s Double Noodle Soup:

CHICKEN STOCK, ENRICHED EGG NOODLES (WHEAT FLOUR, EGG SOLIDS, EGG WHITE SOLIDS, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), CARROTS, WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF THE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, SALT, MARGARINE (CHICKEN FAT, WATER, BETA CHICKEN FLAVOR (CONTAINS SALT & FLAVORING), POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, ONION POWDER, DEHYDRATED GARLIC, SPICE EXTRACT, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE & SPICE.

I checked out Eden foods organic canned goods since they don’t use BPA in their cans to see if they had a good alternative to Campbell’s, but they didn’t so I went to plan B, making my own homemade and trying to get a recipe as close to the familiar version so my soup-lover would actually eat it!

INGREDIENTS IN MY SOUP:

2 pts. no-chicken organic broth (I used Pacific, but be VERY careful with this, read the label and make sure all ingredients are organic vegetables and spices with no preservatives or anything added. Beware of modified yeast which is basically 78% MSG.)

1 bunch organic celery, chopped

1 bag organic baby carrots, whole

1 large organic yellow onion, chopped

sea salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

1 tablespoon organic garlic, chopped

3 organic chicken breasts (I cook them in there whole then take them out later and chop)

1 16 oz. package organic noodles (organic durham wheat)

Directions:

Add all ingredients except the noodles to the CrockPot and cook on High for 2 hours. Remove chicken and chop on cutting board. Return chopped chicken to pot. Depending on when dinner is…turn to low/or keep warm setting until almost time for dinner.

Make the noodles separately in the last 15 minutes on the stove (according to package directions) and add them last or they will get mushy and lose their shape. I used twist noodles since my son likes those and they are more kid-friendly.

For the adults: I add a handful of spinach or kale for greens to my bowl and put the soup on top.

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A quest for a deodorant I’m not allergic to…Terressentials Zesty Citrus

In Organic,Organic Beauty Reviews,Organic Companies,Organic Product Reviews,Organic vs Non-Organic,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Toxic Chemicals in Beauty Products on April 5, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zesty Citrus scent

Terressentials Deodorant- Zesty Citrus scent

Terressentials Zesty Citrus Experiment

by Kristina Blasen (2011)

After doing some online research I decided to order Terressentials Zesty Citrus deodorant since I’ve already tried several name brands of deodorant and antiperspirant and either I’m allergic to the scent or I’m allergic to something in the product formulation that makes me super ITCHY and red!

The Terressentials website has a lot of great information and articles. Sadly, their awesome articles will remain hidden for most since they look like ads going down the right side of the page with each title in a little box with a picture…you can check them out here: www.terressentials.com/

I’d already checked out the local natural foods store (Valley Natural Foods) and they didn’t carry what I was looking for- I wanted something 100% organic not something with a token 5 or 10% organic ingredients and the rest all the chemicals in non-organic deodorant.

Terressentials makes Fragrance- free Aloe Vera, Zen Spice, Lavender Fresh and Zesty Citrus deodorants.

Good news is, the smell doesn’t make me sick, it is light and smells like citrus with a mix of lemon and orange smell. It’s working just fine without all those nasty ingredients.

Here are the ingredients so you can compare:

Organic Zesty Citrus

Organic aloe vera juice°, mineral blend, baking soda, organic extract° of wildcrafted usnea, organic extracts° of organic yucca° and organic white willow°, essential oils of organic sweet orange°, organic lemon°, organic true lavender°, organic rosemary°, organic ginger°, organic tea tree°, organic clove bud°, organic bergamot°, organic ylang ylang° and organic eucalyptus°.

°USDA Certified Organic

Let’s compare this with the ingredients of a common brand name deodorant for women you can find on your local store’s shelf.

Secret (Non-organic)

Aluminum Zirconium, Trichlorohydrex Gly, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Polyethylene, Silica and Propylene Carbonate.