Facts About Kids in the Kitchen

Sneaky Names for Sugar

 

Sneaky names for sugar

Even if we think we are relatively healthy eaters, there is a good chance we are consuming far too much sugar from “healthy” foods we typically love to eat. Foods such as cereals, yogurt, drinks, condiments, breads, pasta sauce, energy bars, peanut butter, jelly, and more are loaded with added sugar. You may be shocked to know that we are eating potentially toxic levels of sugar in our diets without even knowing it which can be a driving force behind killers such as heart disease, obesity, stroke, and cancer.

How Much is Too Much?

Over the past 30 years, Americans have steadily consumed more and more added sugars in their diets, which has contributed to the obesity and chronic disease epidemic. We are eating about 22 teaspoons a day, equal to about 150 lbs per year. That is about 2-3 times more than the recommended limits.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men). Children should consume only 12 grams (3 tsp) per day.

While these are wonderful goals, it’s difficult to obtain when most people’s diet consists of processed, packaged foods.

Other Names for Added Sugar

Don’t be fooled by ingredient labels. Sugar hides behind many different names.

List of Sneaky Names for Sugar

Are Artificial Sweeteners a Better Choice?

Saccharin, Sucralose, and Aspartame often known by the brands Sweet and Low, Equal, Splenda, or NutraSweet are artificial sweeteners mostly used in diet sodas, candy, and processed foods. Some add it to coffee or in baked goods associating lack of calories with health. The truth is, all three are completely artificial, chemical sweeteners made by industry. They have been linked to cancer, digestive issues, migraines, obesity, and more. None of them are real food and should be avoided at all costs.

Should I Ditch Sugar Completely?

While no sugar is without health risks in large quantities, a healthy relationship with sugar can be okay for most people. There is no reason to deprive yourself of a treat every now and again but be mindful of the type of sugar you are consuming. Adding bananas, applesauce, lemons, or pears to baked goods, smoothies, or fresh pressed juices are an easy, nutritious way to add sweetness without using refined ingredients. When needed, chose minimally processed sugars such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, raw honey or stevia which can all be delicious additions to a healthy real food life.

Do you struggle with a sweet tooth? If so, how do you handle it?

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

10 Ingredients and Labels to Avoid

10 Ingredients & Labels to Avoid

Since we’ve been on this real food journey for awhile now, I have learned over the years the difference between what many labels and ingredients mean. It’s become second nature to me. It’s important to know what foods to buy but also what foods to avoid. Food marketers have become very sneaky and savvy in their advertising. Knowing that consumers want healthy food, they bet on the fact that many may not read or know exactly how to decipher food labels. It becomes a big marketing game at your expense. Keywords such as “natural,” “low-fat,” “whole grains,” and more are used to give us the illusion that we are buying healthy products.

This list contains ingredients or labels that I try to steer away from while shopping. I think it’s important to be aware of these so that you, too, can easily avoid them and make better choices. And while it may sound restrictive, the good news is that there are always alternative real food options that are easily found at many conventional grocery store, health food stores, or even on the internet in places such as Amazon.

  1. The words, “healthy,” and/or “natural.”
    Even after all these years, seeing these words still makes makes me pick up the package or box. It’s a truly magically marketing word that makes us think we are doing something good for ourselves. Avoid products that use these words on the front of the package to proclaim it’s qualities.
    Alternative: ALWAYS read the ingredient labels!
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup, Refined Sugars, and Artificial Sweeteners.
    Stick with sugar that is as minimally processed as possible. Look for sweeteners such as raw honey, 100% maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar, or stevia. Read the ingredient labels as many products contain hidden sugars.
    Alternative: Look for products without refined or added sugars. These can include corn syrup, cane sugar, or artificial sweeteners.
  3. Carrageenan
    A highly debated product, carrageenan is found in many products ranging from dairy products to toothpastes. It’s used to make the texture of products creamier, but can be harmful if ingested in large amounts. I choose to steer clear of this ingredient since it’s not something that fits the real food rules and I would NOT have found in my great-grandmother’s pantry.
    Alternative: Look for products without carrageenan. Silk brand of almond milk does not contain this ingredient. Or make it yourself! This almond milk recipe is easy and tastes delish!
  4. Canola, Soybean, or Vegetable Oils
    Even though “vegetable” oil sounds healthy, in all actuality it’s not. All of these oils are highly refined and most likely genetically modified.
    Alternatives: Coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed butter, or ghee. You can even use unsweetened applesauce as a substitute in baking or use water when sauteing.
  5. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Products
    In the late 1980’s the “fat free” and “low fat” craze hit and these products flew off the shelves. In turn, these companies added sugar, artifical flavors, and carrageenan for flavor and texture. Any time you see the words, “low fat” or “fat free,” put down the product and run!
    Alternative: When purchasing dairy products, always purchase full fat, plain varieties. For all other products, read the labels and avoid any artificial ingredients and sugars.
  6. Flavorings
    I try to avoid all artificial flavorings including the infamous “natural” flavorings. You’d be surprised how many granola bars or cereals contain “blueberries” or “strawberries” that are nothing more than an artificial flavor.
    Alternative: Buy real ingredients. Flavor foods yourself including oatmeal, yogurt, or baked goods.
  7. Food Dyes
    There are many questions to the effect of food dyes on our children, particularly their effects on mood and behavior. Naturally, we avoid it whenever possible.
    Alternative: When you need food dyes for things like a birthday cake, try to use whole food options such as strawberries or blueberries.
  8. Soy Lecithin
    Used primarily as an emulsifier, you can find soy lecithin in anything from salad dressings to tea bags to chocolate. Because it’s derived from soy, it most likely is genetically modified and is refined.
    Alternative: Make your own foods to avoid this ingredient. Try chocolate made without this ingredient. I love Theo’s chocolate bars and use Enjoy Life’s Dark Chocolate Chips.
  9. Too Many Ingredients
    A huge red flag for me is an ingredient label that is loaded with unidentifiable ingredients. Most companies will highlight ingredients on the front of the box to make you think they are healthy, but the ingredient list doesn’t lie. When you turn the package over to read the list, if you see more than 5 ingredients that you most likely wouldn’t find in your own kitchen, put it down and walk away.
    Alternative: Try to purchase ingredients rather than ready made products. If you do purchase a product, make sure the ingredient list is short and you can pronounce each ingredient.
  10. Pasteurized Juices or Ultra-Pasteurized Milk
    Pasteurizing or ultra-pasteurizing heats juice or milk to a high temperature to kill any bacteria. The problem is, it also kills any beneficial nutrients resulting in a  “dead” food.
    Alternative: Make non-dairy almond milk easily from scratch. If you are looking for a dairy milk, and your state allows the sale of raw milk, then purchase grass-fed raw milk from a reputable farm. You can make  your own juice at home using real fruits and vegetables. All you need is a juicer or try a green smoothie in your blender.

Take Aways

  • Read ingredient labels.
    Always ask yourself if you would use those ingredients in your own kitchen. If not, put it back.
  • Use ingredients instead of buying pre-packaged foods.
    Learn to cook with these ingredients and make your own homemade versions. Your food will taste better and you won’t have to worry if the ingredients are real or not.
  • Be informed!
    Question products and get to know which companies you can trust. Once you learn, shopping will become easier!

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but we earn a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Real Food Halloween Tips

Real Food Halloween Tips

Halloween is just a few days away and we will be inundated with candy once more. A little candy once a year is probably pretty harmless, but more and more I am realizing that candy in today’s culture is not just a one-time isolated event. Candy is being dressed up into sugary drinks, granola bars, and cereals. It’s used as rewards for good behavior, perfect attendance, and even for doing a great job at the doctor’s office! It tricks us into treating all year long.

Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard we try, junk just follows us everywhere we go! So here are a few ground rules to set so that you can still have fun during the holiday, but also keep focused on making it a real food Halloween instead.

  1. Set limits on candy.
    While I’d love to just throw all of it in the trash, I know that’s not reality. We often talk about letting life happen some of the time and that pertains to holidays as well. While we don’t let our kids go crazy with candy, we do allow them to have a few pieces on Halloween night and also let them keep 10 of their favorite pieces  for later. We put it away in a cabinet to pull from on occasion to put in their lunch or for an after dinner treat. Honestly, those 10 pieces last us almost the entire year until Halloween comes again!
  2. Focus on the dressing up.
    Try to make Halloween more about the fun of picking and creating their costume. That involves creativity and imagination!
  3. Create candy alternatives.
    I often try and steer my kids into more real food treats whenever I can. When they ask for candy, I tell them that I will make chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip blondies (made with chickpeas!), or mint chip “nice” cream. That way they are not deprived of getting a treat, but we do it without all the added junk.
  4. Be proactive.
    Knowing the possible inundation of sugar at a party or trick or treating, make sure there is good food in your kid’s belly before and after. Pull your kids aside and tell them they can have one piece of candy with her friends. Everything else has to come home and gone through later.
  5. Be a role model.
    Parents are important role models in their children’s food choices. We can determine what types and how much food they are exposed to all year long, why should Halloween be any different?

What to Do with the Candy You Get

Doing an internet search, you will find some ideas for leftover Halloween candy including donating to your local Ronald McDonald House, nursing homes, food pantries, children’s hospitals, veterans’ homes, or women’s shelters. I am personally not a huge fan of donating candy to other people. As a real food advocate for everyone, if it’s not good enough to keep around my house then I don’t want other people eating it either! Especially low income families challenged with access to real food, or kids or adults that are battling potentially life threatening diseases that are fueled by sugar like cancer! Oy Vey!

Try these alternatives instead:

  1. Trade it in for money.
    Determine an amount of money you will pay for each piece of candy. Let your kids take the money they earn and add it to their savings, spending, sharing jars.
  2. Find a local dentist that participates in the Halloween Buyback Program.
    Again, I hate that they are sending the candy overseas as our troops deserve to eat healthy too. So, maybe you can find a local dentist that will take the candy and donate money to a local charity or give out toothbrushes to the underprivileged instead.
  3. Leave it out for the Switch Witch to take. 
    On Halloween night at bedtime, kids leave a heap of their trick-or-treat sweets with their Switch Witch pal… and in the morning they will see their candy has been switched for a special switch gift!
  4. Allow them to trade in their candy for the “gift of an experience.”
    We started asking for family members to do this for Christmas last year. We’d much rather experience something together than have more “stuff!” So why not trade in candy for a night out at the movies (bring your own homemade popcorn), or some jumpy time at a bounce place…or a new favorite of ours is going roller skating!
  5. Get Crafty!
    The wrappers can be used for decoupage or other crafts and the candy itself can be re-purposed for your gingerbread house at Christmas. You can even make glossy paint out of Skittles!!!
  6. Use it for math games.
    M&M’s can be used for addition and subtraction or, you can sort your candy (chocolate, gum, lollipops, fruit snacks, etc.) and figure out what percentage each group contributed to your total amount.
  7. Donate your candy to science.
    Have a science fair coming up? There are lots of great candy experiments you can do at home.

How will you be handling Halloween this year?

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Are Your Personal Care Products “Simply Real?”

Simply Real Personal Care Products

Cleaning up your personal care products is just as important as cleaning up the food in your kitchen. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and can absorb 60% of what you put on it topically. Laboratory tests reveal that chemicals commonly used in personal care and cosmetic products can be found in our blood supply for a time period ranging from a few hours to decades. The products you put on your skin do matter! Here are some of the most common nasty ingredients you will find in commercial personal care products that you might want to reconsider.

5 Ingredients to Avoid

  1. Parabens
    Used mostly to extend shelf life, parabens have been found in urine samples after repeated topical use. They have been shown to disrupt endocrine function and can be linked to certain types of cancers. The label will read: Look for the word paraben as the suffix in the ingredient list.
  2. Phthalates
    The purpose of phthalates is to increase the flexibility in plastics, but has also been used in personal care products such as nail polish (to reduce cracking), in hair spray (to help avoid stiffness) and as a fixative in fragrances. They have been linked to breast cancer, reproductive birth defects, and endocrine disruption. The label will read: Fragrance almost always contains phthalates. You may see it listed as DEP, DBP, or DMP. The “phth” may show up in the middle of a word too.
  3. Synthetic Fragrance
    Synthetic compounds are added to products to make them smell good. The most synthetic compounds contain phthalates (which we mentioned above) and can hinder our cells ability to detoxify. Many fragrance ingredients are allergens and can show up in breast milk, in oceans, blood, and in babies. The label will read: Fragrance, perfume, parfum.
  4. Triclosan
    Used in many hand sanitizers, antiperspirants/deodorants, and soaps as an antibacterial agent, scientists say it may affect human liver, blood, and reproductive systems. There are also concerns that triclosan may add to the growing problem of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. It’s so bad that the state of Minnesota recently banned the use and purchase of products with triclosan. Hopefully more states will be following in their footsteps. The label will read: Triclosan, or Irgasan DP-300, Lexol 300, Ster-Zac, Cloxifenolum.
  5. Sulfates
    Widely used as a foaming agent to break down dirt, sulfates can be found in shampoos, toothpastes, hair color, bleaching agents, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents, and bath oils/bath salts. YIKES! They can be linked to eye irritation, cancers, organ toxicity, and reproductive issues. The label will read: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), or Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS)

The Simply Real Solution

A few years ago I started to make many of my own personal care products. I think we all deserve to use the most natural ingredients on our skin. So, lucky for you, you can now purchase all of my homemade products including deodorant, sugar scrubs, bath salts, foaming hand soap, and hand sanitizer on our Simply Real Etsy page.

Simply Real Etsy All of our products are free of any nasty ingredients yet work better than the store bought versions! All products are 100% natural and I use organic ingredients whenever possible. They make wonderful gifts for teachers, friends, family, and co-workers. Order now and items can be shipped directly to your door both nationally and internationally.

Come and check out the Simply Real Facebook page for updates on new products, sale items, and events that we will be attending.

Until next time, keep it real.

My Top 5 Favorite Kitchen Appliances

my top 5 Favorite kitchen appliances

Today we are going to take a little sneak peak into my kitchen and look at all my recommendations for my favorite kitchen appliances.

I am not one that likes a lot of “gadgets” in my kitchen. I don’t have a lot of space so what I do have is sacred and reserved for only the best and most necessary appliances. And while I’m no expert on what is the “best,” I can at least attest to what works best for me.

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

1. Vitamix 5200

Vitamix

This machine is nothing short of amazing. I can make smoothies, grind coffee beans, chop veggies, shred chicken, make hummus, knead bread (in the dry container), make bread crumbs, grind flours out of corn, oats and wheat berries, and most importantly, make “nice” cream. This machine does it all and it’s been going strong for almost 8 years. I take it on vacations with me and I’ve even thought of giving her a name. How do you like the name, Bessie? Too much?

2. Cuisinart 11-cup Food Processor

cuisinart food processor

I don’t pull out this machine very often as I mostly use my Vitamix for everything, but I am still glad I have it and use it enough to make it worth keeping around. Food processors come in larger and smaller capacities, but for what I use it for, I believe the 11-cup size is perfect. Not too big, not to small. Cuisinarts are built to last, too, as proven by my mother’s model that is probably just as old as me. It can do much of what the Vitamix can, so, if you can’t afford the higher price tag of the Vitamix, then a food processor is a great alternative.

3. Programmable Cook Crock Pot

crockpot

Too busy running around to work, school and extra curricular activities to get a good, wholesome meal on the table for dinner? Then you need a Crock Pot. With a little prep in the morning, you can throw everything into the crockpot, walk away and in 6-8 hours have a hot meal ready to go. It works well on super busy nights when it seems like everyone is running in a different direction. I specifically like this programmable version because after the set cooking time it will turn down to the warm setting until you are ready to eat. The settings are simple enough while not being too “overly techy” for those of us who are technology challenged.

4. Presto Belgian Waffle Maker

waffle iron

There is nothing like fresh waffles on a Sunday morning. Topped with a simple fruit compote and served with some fresh squeezed orange juice … oh yeah. That’s what’s up. I often pull this out during the week as well to make a simple oat waffle before my kids run off to school. So much better than the frozen boxed kind full of sugar.

Admittedly, this is not the waffle maker I currently own. Right now I use a Proctor Silex Belgian Waffle Maker and it does a decent job for the money. But I included the Presto brand one because it’s what I used prior to the Proctor Silex machine. While, both are good machines in their price point, I have to say the Presto has a slight edge for me. I like the fact that you can flip it over and seemed to store slightly better in my cabinets. Either way, if you are looking for a waffle maker that doesn’t take up a ton of space, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, then this is your machine.

5. Aroma Rice Cooker

rice cooker

Again, I am so not a gadgety person, so I never ever thought I would have owned a rice cooker. But we got one as a free gift when we bought a massage chair. True story.  And while the massage chair is now sitting in storage, the rice cooker sure does get a lot of use.

Cooking rice, especially brown rice, is somewhat harder than expected. Unless you are able to find the “quick cook” variety I would strongly recommend you don’t attempt cooking brown rice on the stovetop. I have never been able to get it to turn out correctly no matter how long I leave it cooking. Spend the $30 and save yourself the frustration. And while I can no longer find the brand I own, this Aroma model gets great reviews and does all that mine can.

What are your favorite kitchen appliances?

Until next time, keep it real.

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Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but we earn a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Are Your Cosmetics Safe?

 

Are Your Cosmetics SafeUpon waking in the morning, we start to get ready for school or work by beginning our morning beauty routine. Most of us will use shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, moisturizer, eye cream, body lotion, deodorant, cosmetics for your face, cheeks, eyes, lips and nails, toothpaste and mouthwash. Before you know it, we will come in contact with 200 or more chemicals before we’ve even had breakfast!

Have you ever read the ingredient labels on your favorite products? Can you even pronounce the names of common ingredients in a “natural” shampoo such as: Cocomide Mea, Ammonium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Tetrasodium Edta, Dmdm Hydantoin, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, Propylene Glycol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone? I have to ask, what are these chemicals and what are they doing to us?

ARE THE INGREDIENTS IN YOUR PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS SAFE?

Most people assume cosmetics and personal care products are tested for safety before being stocked on store shelves. In fact, the personal care product and cosmetic industry is one of the LEAST regulated industries. In the United States, cosmetics are regulated by the FDA. While they require that cosmetics be safe, they do not have the authority to require companies to test their products for safety before they go to market. The safety of the products going to market is in the hands of the very cosmetic companies that make them and are only evaluated through a voluntary program known as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) process. The CIR has only evaluated 20% of the estimated 12,000 chemicals used. 

The fact is, cosmetic companies may use any ingredient without government review with the exception of color additives and approximately 8 chemicals which are prohibited ingredients. Whereas the European Union has banned 1000 different ingredients from use. It reminds me of the GMO debate in which 65 other countries come from a “wait and see” approach that bans or requires labels on GMOs rather than the “try and see” approach we use here in the US. I’m starting to detect a pattern here.

ARE “NATURAL,” “ORGANIC” OR “HYPOALLERGENIC” PRODUCTS SAFER?

“All natural” or “organic” aren’t just buzzwords used in food. Many personal care products slap fancy words on the front of their packages hoping you won’t turn it over to read the ingredient label. These products often contain synthetic ingredients and aren’t truly risk-free. Since the market is unregulated, there are no requirements to back up claims. These words have no true meaning on a package and can still contain ingredients that are known hormone disruptors, cancer promoters, carcinogens and neurotoxins.

HOW CAN THESE PRODUCTS HURT ME?

We are exposed to chemicals in different ways such as breathing in sprays or powders, swallowing them on the or absorbing them through our skin. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and can absorb 60% of what you put on it topically. Laboratory tests reveal that chemicals commonly used in personal care and cosmetic products can be found in our blood supply for a time period ranging from a few hours to decades.

HOW DO I MAKE SAFE CHOICES ON PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS AND COSMETICS?

Use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database to find out how your personal care products and cosmetics stack up. Enter the product name or search products by a certain company. The EWG then rates the individual products based on the hazard of the ingredients and data available on each ingredient. A low hazard rating + a high data availability score = good score on the product. I try and use products that score between a 0-2, indicating a low hazard.

If you can’t find your product on the EWG, use some common sense. If the product contains a lot of ingredients you cannot pronounce, it’s a good indication you should not be using it. Reduce the amount of products you use and even try making your own from scratch. Remember, being real isn’t just about what goes IN your body, but what goes ON your body is just as significant.

Check out this video for more information on cosmetics:

Until next time, keep it real.

Our recommendations:

Find some homemade products on our Etsy shop!

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Affiliate disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase an item through our link you will not incur any additional costs but Keepin’ it Real earns a small commission. We only recommend products we have used, would use or trust. Your support is greatly appreciated so we may continue to spread the news about real food.

Is Organic Food Really Better?

 

Is-Organic-Food Really-Better

Walk down the aisles of any natural grocery store and you have your pick of all the organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, dairy and meats you could ever want. But the organic choices don’t stop there. Because organic food is becoming more mainstream, companies are starting to produce organic versions of their processed foods like organic cookies, potato chips and chocolate bars. But is buying organic food really healthier? The short answer is yes…and no. Let’s take a look at why.

Junk Is Junk No Matter What the Label Says

Just because it says organic on the label doesn’t always mean it’s now magically healthy. Take for instance Cascadian Farms Fruity O’s cereal. Certainly a better option than the Original Fruit Loops we all ate as children, but clearly not void of refined oils, sugar, natural flavors and other processed ingredients. Many of these organic junk foods are giving you a great deal of calories, sodium and sugar with little nutrient payback.

Read those labels! The most important part of the food package is not the claims made on the front, but the list of ingredients on the back or side. If you see highly refined ingredients such as white flour, sugar, oils or ingredients you wouldn’t normally keep in your own kitchen, then it most likely is a junky processed food and needs to be put back on the shelf. Organic foods to look out for are sweetened drinks, cookies, crackers, energy bars, granola bars and chips. They are just organic junk foods with little nutrient reward.

Organic Crops

The scientific debate has raged on for many years about the benefits of buying organic produce, but if you are in the camp that believe toxic chemicals can have dangerous effects on your health, then the answer is clear cut. A large scale study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that:

“Overall, organic crops had 18 to 69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidant compounds…consumers who switch to organic fruit, vegetables and cereals would get 20 to 40 percent more antioxidants. That’s the equivalent of about two extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day, with no increase in caloric intake.”

Another study done by the Consumers Union covered about 94,000 samples from more than 20 different crops. They consistently found organic crops had about 1/3 as many pesticides than conventionally grown crops. They also found 31% of the conventionally grown crops had residues while only 6.5% in organic samples, and found multiple residues 9 times as often in conventional samples.

GMOs

In the United States, more than 80% or more of many major crops (including corn, soy, and sugar beets) are grown from genetically engineered seed. This means that pesticides are either bred directly into the seed to ward off pests or the seeds are modified to withstand pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed on the crops. (read more about GMO’s) And while Monsanto and the EPA consistently claim there is no impact at all on consumers, in a 2011 study done by doctors at Sherbrooke Hospital in Quebec, they found the presence of several GMO remnants in non-pregnant and pregnant women and the umbilical blood of their babies. I also love this video showing what happened to a family after they made a switch to organic food. No effect? I’m not convinced.

The only way to avoid GMOs is to eat foods with the USDA Organic Certification and/or foods that are Non-GMO verified.

Is Organic Worth the Cost?

I believe there is compelling reasons to buy organic whenever possible so as to avoid contributing to toxic chemical accumulation in our water, soil and our bodies. However, buying all organic can get expensive. If organic food doesn’t fit within your budget, then focus on the ingredient list instead. The ingredient list on a package is far more important to me than any other label. It is better to eat conventional fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds and beans than foods found in a box, can or bag regardless if they are organic or not. As discussed earlier, even organic processed foods can contain a plethora of questionable ingredients.

If you like the idea of eating more organic and have some extra money in your budget, use the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to identify which produce has the highest pesticides loads. If you are interested in reducing the antibiotics and GMO feed that is given to animals you may be eating, find a local, organic farm and purchase your meat and eggs from them. Often times you can buy in bulk and save money overall.

For more ideas of how to save money on organic foods, read Real Food on a Budget.

What’s your thoughts on organics? Do you buy a lot of organic foods? I’d love to hear!

Until next time, keep it real.

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