6 Reasons You Should Buy Organic Meat

edde07cf49c0809388bea15ae1dfjpeg
Marlon Pather is the proprietor of The Butchers, Toronto's first organic butcher shop.

I have to say grocery shopping is probably my most favorite thing to do aside from eating the food that I purchase. So in my grocery shopping experiences I don’t come across organic meat very often, unless I am at a store that specializes in organic, natural foods. But the average grocery store doesn’t carry much organic meat. And meat is probably the most important item to buy organic, aside from dairy products.

Here are 6 reasons why you should buy organic meat:

1. Organic meat is free of antibiotics, added hormones, GMO feed and other drugs. Animals raised organically are not allowed to be fed antibiotics, the bovine human growth hormone or other artificial drugs. Animals are also not allowed to eat genetically modified foods. Further, animal products certified as organic can not have their genes modified.

2. Animals aren’t forced to be cannibals. Animals are fed 100% organic feed without ground up animal parts.

3. Animals are treated more humane and more likely raised without cruelty. Factory farms treat animals like commodities, and they are kept in tightly confined pens and often never move more than a few feet their whole lives. Words like free-range and ranch raised are clues that the animals were raised in a more human way.

4. Organic farms use manure as organic fertilizer. On small, diverse farms, manure is used to naturally fertilize soil. Industrial farms produce so much manure, on the other hand, that it is a human health risk.

5. Fewer chemicals are used on organic farms. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not used on the food or land. Residues of persistent chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, dioxin, and many pesticides concentrate in animal fat. Eating organic animal fat reduces your exposure to these chemicals.

6. The money you spend on the organic meat supports the farm they come from. You can contribute to the well-being of your community by supporting small, local, diverse organic farms.

7 Kitchen Energy Reducer Tips

1174089_59378478

What better way to help the environment than in a way that helps you save money also. Below are some tips to help you reduce your kitchen energy usage.

  1. Keep appliances clean – Clean surfaces maximize the amount of energy reflected toward your food.
  2. Keep liquids covered -The refrigerator has to work harder, using more energy to keep cool, when pitchers of juice or water, unfinished drinks and other liquid items are stored without lids.
  3. Switch to copper-bottom pots and pans – They heat up faster than other types of pans, which means they require less energy from the stove.
  4. Dont peek – Opening the oven door can lower the internal temperature as much as 25 degrees. Use a timer to set the cooking time, and be sure your oven window is clean enough for you to see how your dish is progressing.
  5. Practice smart storage – Don’t overload the refrigerator. Food stored loosely helps cold air circulate better, maximizing efficiency. The freezer, on the other hand, uses less energy when packed tightly(add a bag of ice to help fill it up).
  6. Place appliances strategically – If possible, keep the refrigerator away from the oven and the dishwasher. The latter two generate heat, which makes the refrigerator work harder and use more energy to stay cold.
  7. Don’t preheat the oven – Unless the recipe calls for a preheated oven, dont preheat.

Green Go’s Natural & Organic Food to Go!

On a recent trip to California, I passed by what looked like a small store while making our way to In N Out. I wanted to stop to see what they had and after the second drive by we still hadn’t stopped, so I decided I would look it up on the internet.

img_5138

Green Go’s located in Redding, California is a Dine in or Take it to go little restaurant. Its locally owned and operated and they serve only the freshest products, using locally grown, certified organic whenever possible.

They offer Vegan, Wheat Free and Gluten Free options. Everything on the menu sounds amazing….from Salads to Wraps to Pizza…everything made fresh and good for you. They also use Ezekial and Wheat Free Millet and Rye Breads to make their sandwiches with. And don’t forget they have a selection of Organic Beers and Wines.

If you are ever in Redding, Ca. and your looking for great healthy food, stop by Green Go’s and see what they have.

img_5136

Green Your Fourth of July

920695_26615421If you have been on the green scene for a while than you already know how to green a party, bbq or celebration, Fourth of July is not an exception.

1. Place Settings: When setting the table remember to stay away from plastic, Styrofoam, and paper disposable items. Use your everyday dishes, silverware and cloth napkins, these are the most friendly to the environment. If you must use disposable, try these; Green Feet bamboo disposable ware.

2. Decorations: Here are some eco-friendly ways to decorate the table and yard: Red,white and blue table cloth, Vases filled with red, white and blue flowers, Stick a candle in old jars and add 4th of July ribbon. Sprig has a list of 10 Eco-friendly decorating ideas that wont bust your budget, you can use any of their ideas and just incorporate red,white and blue.

3. Food: Stick to buying locally grown organic food when putting your menu together. Stay away from red meat as much as you can. If you must eat red meat, buy locally grown and organic. Its not enough that its local, it must be organic. For more on what cows are fed and why to avoid red meat read this article, The Truth About Red Meat – What’s the Problem with Beef?

The No Plastic LunchBots

02If you are concerned about the toxins in plastic and are looking for an alternative to the regular lunch box, check out LunchBots.

Packing a healthy lunch shouldn’t stop at the food. If you are going to take the time to be concerned about the food that your kids ingest, you should be concerned also about the toxins that they ingest when their food is packed in items like plastic lunch boxes and plastic juice containers.

LunchBots are manufactured from high-quality, food grade Type 304 stainless steel. Stainless steel has great resistance to stain or rust due to its chromium content, making it the material of choice for food processing, dairy and brewing. Stainless steel is easy to clean, durable, and sanitary.

LunchBots are a healthy alternative to plastic containers for packing lunch to go. Made from the highest quality 18/8 stainless steel, LunchBots do not leach chemicals like plastic does. Eco-friendly and reusable means saving money and the environment.

So when you are on the look out for lunch boxes for your kids or yourself, check out LunchBots, the safer alternative.

9 Reasons to Buy Organics

organic-foodWhenever I am up in Portland I try to stop at Whole Foods to pick up some organic goodies. Here in Salem we have one store, Lifesource, although a great store, its pretty tiny, hence the need to stop at a bigger, cheaper store when possible.

WholeFoods offers a ton of informational and educational brochures at their door to help you understand different things like the Vegetarian Diet, Handling Seafood Properly and this one about Organics and you.

Here are 9 great reasons why you should buy organic when possible:

  1. Organic farming meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
  2. Growing organically supports a biologically diverse, healthy environment.
  3. Organic farming practices help protect our water resources.
  4. Organic agriculture increases the land’s productivity.
  5. Many organic farms are small, independent and family-run..
  6. Organic farmers are less reliant on non-renewable fossil fuels.
  7. Organic products meet stringent USDA standards.
  8. Buying organic is a direct investment in the long-term future of our planet.
  9. Organic farmers preserve diversity of plant species.

For more information on How the National Organic Standards Evolved, Reading Organic Labels and more click here.

How to Pick the Perfect Produce

1158748_48029256Its summertime and fruit & veggies are abundant, many people are making their way to farmers markets to get the freshest of the fresh. But even with beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables available at every corner, its still tough to pick out the best if you don’t know how. Here are 7 tips to help you pick the perfect produce and get what you pay for.

1. Have a taste. If it tastes good than you know its good, so ask for a sample.

2. Take a sniff. Fruit should have a sweet aroma; veggies should smell fresh. If they are bad, certain vegetables like asparagus tips will have a foul odor.

3. Do the bend test. To make sure veggies are crisp and fresh, bend them. If anything is even slightly soft or pliable its past its prime. This works best with vegetables like green beans, celery, asparagus, or zucchini.

4. Give it a squeeze. The freshest, ripest stuff has a slight spring or squeeziness to it that older produce doesn’t.

5. Weigh it in your hand. In general the heavier the fruit feels when you pick it up or cradle it in your hand, the juicier it will taste. Especially helpful when picking pineapples, melons or citrus fruits.

6. Ask whats good. Always ask the produce clerk, or farmer for recommendations. Everyday is a new day with new items coming in, one day the melons may be good while the next batch may not be as good.

7. Return the bad ones. And sadly with some fruits and veggies there is no way of telling if its good or bad until you slice it open. So to make sure and not lose money on your purchases, take any produce that is not up to par back to the store/market. Most stores have money-back return policies.

Green Your Barbecue

bbq_istock_-lukaszfus_hedBarbecue season has officially begun with this Sunday, Fathers Day,  being one of the biggest barbecuing days of the year. But before you race off to the store to buy all your barbecuing paraphernalia, check out these tips to help you become a more Eco-friendly griller.

1. Go for a cleaner-burning propane or electric grill over one that uses charcoal. Charcoal contributes to poorer air quality. But if you must use charcoal, look for lump brands made from invasive tree species or harvested from sustainably managed forests, and switch from lighter fluid to chimney starter.

2. Use your re-usable plates, cloth napkins and Silverware. Stay away from paper plates and plastic utensils. If you have to use paper, look for biodegradable products or recycled products.

3. Use Eco-friendly patio, grill and deck cleaners. Eco mist has a line of non-toxic, non-flammable and non-fuming cleaners for just those needs.

4. Use citronella candles instead of chemical bug sprays to take care of those pesky mosquitoes.

5. Try out some of these easy green grilling recipes from GreenLiving for your next barbecue.

North American Organic Brewers Festival

header-1

Jared over at The Weekly Brew was kind enough to send me a link to the The North American Organic Brewers Festival (NAOBF), which will be held in my area next week.

The North American Organic Brewers Festival features beers from as far away as England and Germany. Oregon’s brewers dominate the event with locally crafted organic beers. Some of the festival’s breweries brew exclusively organic beers, though others will be specially crafting organic beers just for the event.

Whats great about the NAOBF is that they strive to make the event the most earth friendly beer festival in North America and Europe.

Festival attendees sample beer from compostable corn-starch tasting glasses instead of the heavy plastic mugs used at other beer festivals. Composting and recycling stations are provided for festival waste and food vendors are required to use compostable cutlery and plates. Electricity needs are met with a combination of biodiesel and solar generators, volunteers wear organic cotton and hemp t-shirts, and signage is reusable.

They are also encouraging people to take Tri-Mets MAX line to the event by giving a $1 discount off of tasting glass.

The event is free and open to the public. Participation in beer tasting is $6 for a reusable tasting glass and samples are $1 a token. A full glass is 4 tokens. Strong beers (over 8% alcohol by volume) and certain imported beers will cost more. Children are welcome with guardians. Sorry no pets allowed. Beer sales are restricted to people 21 years and older with valid ID.

So if your wanting to try some excellent Organic Beers check out the NAOBF at Overlook Park in Portland, Oregon next weekend.