Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Lately, we have been trying to get foods that are certified organic. We had already found out that USDA Organic doesn’t mean much, so we were trying to get foods that are certified organic by other organizations, for example, Quality Assurance International. Unfortunately, it turns out that even foods certified by companies like these aren’t always fully organic.

Foods labeled “organic” have been tested for certain pesticides and sadly, high levels of those pesticides were found. As an example, our source of information said an organic tomato imported from Mexico was tested for four pesticides and it was found that it had two of them, both of which went over the acceptable limit. Thankfully, it was not really the farmer’s fault. According to the article, pesticides can get on the plants through the soil or by being in contact with other vegetables that have pesticides on them. But who knows? Like we’ve said before, our dad knew of a man who took completely non-organic apples that looked less than perfect, shall we say, and sold them as organic just because he knew he could make more money. Sometimes people are cheap, right?

So beware the Organic label. You may be paying premium prices for nothing.

by John

Well, apples are in season now, so we looked online for an orchard near Philadelphia, and we found one called Linvilla Orchards. It’s kind of like Larriland (Picking Peaches), but it has more family events, such as hayrides, swim clubs, pony rides, and several other things which you can see from the picture on the box. Larriland does have hayrides and a country market, but it doesn’t have all the other events.

Wagon We Rode To The Fields In

Wagon We Rode To The Fields In

Anyway, as soon as we arrived there we got a wagon ride. The floor of this wagon was actually just a flat bed covered with hay so it was kind of like a hayride, but the purpose of it was to get you to the actual trees which had ripe apples on them. The ride was really bumpy, I have to say, and since there was only enough hay to cover the bottom of the flat bed, everyone kept sliding down and around.

We picked two boxes of apples, one Pink Lady and one Gold Rush. We all ate 1 apple while we picked and realized once again how different fresh fruit is from store-bought fruit Fresh fruit is very crispy and “real”. We grow our own apples, but haven’t cared for them in a couple of years, but we plan on doing our work next year.

While driving to an orchard and picking apples for yourself and possibly having to preserve them if you get a lot does take much more effort then driving to the store and buying them, most of the time it is worth it, because fresh apples are so much better than store bought apples. Besides, you probably don’t want to be eating year old apples from the store. (Birthday Apples) That’s why we like to get peaches when they’re in season, apples when they’re in season, etc. Buy fresh fruit whenever possible!

Just for your information too, most of the fruit at Pick-Your-Own places is not organic – they are sprayed very heavily. Like I said, we grow our own apples (and peaches, pears, blueberries, etc), and it is near impossible to get good produce without a bit of spraying. For anyone just starting out with their own fruit trees, the 3 most critical things we have found to cut down on disease are dormant oil spraying – to kill pests before they hatch, removing all grass/other growth from underneath the trees (or bushes), and pruning and then thinning the fruit. We take off 75% of the fruit when we are doing it right. That way, there is plenty of air flow and the fruit is nice and big.

As a side note, for us plain apples can get a little boring. Or course they’re really good, but sometimes we want something with them. That’s why we decided to make a caramel dip to go along with them. This recipe is good, quick, and easy:

  • 16 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat melt caramels with water, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Fold in caramel mixture. It’s good warm or cold.

by John

We found out that the Clif Builder’s Bars has an ingredient that we don’t like, so we started to look for a different protein bar. We didn’t find a good substitute protein bar, but we found Dr. Mercola Organic Energy Bars. They got very good reviews, so we bought some to see what they were like. These bars are not protein bars; we just wanted to get something that we could eat as a snack or bring as food on hikes.

I have to say, they are very delectable (using a word that we just wrote about). Cocoa cassava is the only flavor available from Dr. Mercola. This flavor has coconut in it, so if you dislike coconut, then you probably wouldn’t enjoy these too much. Also, they have these little chia seeds that can sometimes get stuck in between your teeth. I have never gotten one stuck in my teeth, but my mom and John both have.Energy Bar

Anyway, these energy bars taste much like a candy bar. They are fairly small compared to a Clif Builder’s Bar, but they stay with you so it doesn’t really matter. You can eat one bar and be satisfied for hours. You may not be full, but you probably won’t feel like eating anything for a while. Because they taste like candy, they can make an excellent desert or just a nice snack.

They are certified organic by USDA as well as Ecocertico, which is an independent agency. Because of this, you can probably be more certain that they are really healthy. They are made in the U.S.A., and that’s also a good thing. They are expensive, so you probably would not want to eat them every day. Our mom got them on a sale, and you might want to try the same thing. We got a picture of the nutrition facts in case you want to see what’s in them.

As far as how much energy they give you, I can’t say. It’s hard to tell. All I know is that they sustain you for a long time and that they taste very good. However, they are very expensive, and if you get them at all, you should try to get them on sale. You can get them here. On a scale from one to ten, I would rate this product a 10 and so would John.

by Dink

A while ago, we tried a new product called Celtic Sea Salt Toasted Sesame With Garlic. We are familiar with the Celtic Sea Salt products, but so far we have only gotten their bags of light grey sea salt. This product is made of sesame seeds with sea salt and garlic, and it’s really good. I mainly like it on buttered toast, but it’s good in a lot of other things, too. It makes a good seasoning for spinach, for instance. If you like the way sesame seeds taste, than you would probably like this product, because the sesame flavor is very strong.

I also think that the design of the bottle is good. It is refillable and comes with a built-in grinder that will last for at least 5 refills. You just hold it over whatever you’re eating and twist the top of the bottle. Oh yes, we forgot to mention that it is organic too. In case you didn’t know, we’re trying to eliminate all GMO products from our diet and switch to healthier food. If you are trying to do the same thing, this is a good product.  On a scale from 1 to 10, I would rate this product a 9 and a half and Dink would rate it an 8.

by John

Most of the big name brands  like Frito Lay, Hershey’s, General Mills, Aunt Jemima, Pepperidge Farm, Quaker, Ragu, etc. use GMOs in their products. GMO stands for genetically modified organisms and eating GMO products is very bad for you. They give you cancer and they also give you tumors. Some people conducted an experiment where they fed rats GMO corn and they ended up with massive tumors. You can see pictures of them if you do a search on the internet. So it’s probably a good idea not to eat GMO products.

We’re going to eliminate GMO products from our diet until we’re eating all non-GMO foods. They cost a lot more than regular products, but I think it is worth it. Some companies like Snyder’s have started a non-GMO line and it’s likely more and more companies will follow. Because people want it, companies will make it. After all, they are in the business of making money so it wouldn’t make sense to make a product no one wants to purchase.

Also, you should know that a lot of GMO products will say “All Natural” on them. Well, “All Natural” doesn’t mean anything, so don’t get tricked by that! They still are very bad for you if they contain GMOs. If the product says “USDA Organic” on it, then the makers are not allowed by law to have GMOs in them, so you might try to get organic products instead of “All Natural” products, because like I said, “All Natural” doesn’t mean anything.

We bought some big water bottles from the store a couple of days ago. The company is called Nirvana and we only bought it because it cost 99¢. Here’s exactly what it says on the bottle:

“Nestled amidst 2,000 acres of untouched wilderness in the majestic Adirondack Mountains is the source that provides Nirvana Natural Spring Water. This pristine spring water flows to the surface naturally at a constant 42 degrees, attesting to its extremely deep-rooted nature.”

So they say, but how do we know where the water actually comes from, or where it’s been and what has been done to it after they retrieved this pristine spring water and before they bottled it up?

You have to be real diligent these days to get to the bottom of things. Unfortunately, you can’t just believe people because there are lots of people who will lie if they think they will profit from their lying. My dad knew a farmer who sold some non-organic apples as organic because he could make 3 times the money. He just took the apples that looked bad and that had been chewed up a little by bugs and sold them as organic and he laughed all the way while doing it. I guess the best and safest way to get your food is grow it yourself or buy it from people you know and trust. People you know would never lie.

by Dink and John