Changing our diets, one seed at a time

Our very definition of food has changed drastically in the past 50 years or so. What is “food” to you? If we change something in the DNA of a soybean, for example, is it still food?

When I started learning about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), I couldn’t stop learning. It is difficult to ignore the biotech industry, especially Monsanto, the company that pretty much started the business of GM foods.  “The World According to Monsanto” is one of my favorite documentaries that gives insight into this controversy.  You can even watch it for free online! If you’ve ever been interested in the history, production, and regulation of GM foods, I encourage you to watch this film, ask questions, and read more online (be patient through the lady at the computer searching on the internet parts– the information is totally worth it).

While you are watching, keep this question in the back of your mind: “Who or what is truly benefiting from GM foods—corporations, consumers, our health, the environment, the farmers, or someone/something else?”

I would  love to hear your thoughts after you’ve watched!

Sustainable Snacking

Every year, we throw away millions of plastic bags and spend hundreds of dollars on plastic snack baggies. Most of these bags are not reused or recycled. They stay in landfills for hundreds of years, and contain nasty chemicals that get in our soil and water and harm not only us, but other animals and marine life.

The funny thing is, we spend so much more money on plastic snack baggies that we usually use once and throw away. We pay for the convenience of being able to carry our snacks and lunches to work or school, but does this convenience truly outweigh the harm we are doing to our environment?

Several months ago, I decided to try out a couple of reusable cloth baggies to take my snacks to work in. I do not miss my plastic snack bags, and what’s even better is that people ask me what they are and where I got them!

Reusable snack bags are often made with 100% cotton on the outside, and an easily washable nylon lining on the inside. These can be hand-washed or thrown in your washer with your load of laundry and laid out to dry. Most baggies I’ve seen are closed with velcro, but some will have zippers instead.  Plus, they are usually made with cute fabric colors and designs!

The more you use your snack baggy, the more money you will actually save and the less plastic you will be throwing away. It’s also a great opportunity to teach others, especially children, about being less wasteful.

Here are some great places to buy reusable snack bags:

If you want to find more snack bags, just do an internet search on reusable snack bags and you’ll find tons!

Friday Food News

I’ve been trying to catch up on all the interesting food news this week—there’s certainly been a lot this week on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  Here are some interesting stories for your Friday’s Food News:

  • If you haven’t already heard, the Corn Refiners Association is being sued by a group of sugar farmers and refiners over the potential name change from high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA), a common chemical found in plastics, has been linked to neurological defects, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A review of the studies done on BPA that showed the chemical was safe has now discovered that those studies were actually funded by the chemical and plastics industries, or conducted by those who benefited from these companies.
  • Think you know everything there is to know about oats? Think again.

What food/nutrition stories have you been reading this week?

Earth Day 2011: New Ideas

Today is Earth Day, and although it may be one that you normally skip over, I think it’s one of those “holidays” that can be a great opportunity to start something new in your life that will benefit your health and the environment. I’ve already made a personal commitment a while ago to start doing something new each month that will make my home, my food, and/or the environment more sustainable.

This month, I’ve been thinking about trash. My boyfriend already bought us biodegradable garbage bags (unlike regular plastic, to be biodegradable, they must break down within 10 years– which is a long time, but better than plastic, which stays in a landfill forever), but I want to also think about what we are throwing away. I live in Seattle, and we pay for our food & yard bin that gets emptied every week, but we haven’t been using it often enough. So, this month, and in celebration of Earth Day, I’m committed to finding a good counter-top compost bin so that we can start composting more often.

Here are some ways to get inspired on Earth Day and do something every month for your own home and family:

ADA’s 8 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Nourish Network’s Earth-Friendly Fare: 3 Ways to Eat Lower on the Food Chain

Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green