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A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What are Organic Foods?

Organic foods are grown using the most natural, safest farming practices to reduce the risk of toxic chemicals and poisons found on and in food. Organic foods are foods grown without pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste or sewage sludge. They are also processed without food additives, chemical ripening or ionizing radiation, and have not been genetically modified. Organic farmers use natural fertilizers such as compost, as opposed to chemical fertilizers, to feed soil and plants, and rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds, instead of using chemicals herbicides. They also use beneficial insects, and birds, as well as mating disruption or traps to reduce pests, instead of spraying chemical insecticides.

When it comes to organic meats, they are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or medications to spur growth and manage disease, instead they are given organic food, allowed access to fresh air and exercise, given clean housing and allowed to graze, to minimize disease.

Organic food is legally regulated and must go through certification to be labeled organic. There are different labels for organic foods. The label ‘USDA Organic’ means they are 100% organic. These foods are usually one ingredient foods, such as vegetables and fruit. The label ‘Organic’ identifies foods that are at least 95% organic. If the label says, ‘Made with organic ingredients’, it contains at least 70% organic ingredients.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Disappointment and Raw Foods

I’m disappointed. Maybe I don’t have a reason to be, but I truly am. I just found out that General Mills bought Humm Foods.

Humm Foods is a small 26-person operation located in Denver, CO, that creates my very favorite ‘fast food’ – the Larabar – a raw food bar made with fruit, nuts and spices.

Mmmm…I love Ginger Snap and Cherry Pie, but I think Lemon Bar is my favorite. Oh they are so good! I always carry one or two in my computer bag, because one never knows when they’ll be stuck in traffic or delayed for some reason and the bars are the perfect healthy food. I don’t eat fast food, so when other people would stop at some of the fast-food joint because they are in a hurry and need to eat, I just grab a bar and all is well.

I understand that the owner of Larabar had a vision to bring affordable, healthy, raw food bars to the world. I understand that she became very popular and that a big corporation can make the Larabar available to everyone. I also understand that she must be rich now and of course, she deserves it.

I just wonder if General Mills will take pride in making sure the products are actually raw and that the standards are high. Lara Merriken, the founder of Humm Foods and namesake of the ever-popular Larabar, will stay on as creative director and both she and General Mills assure us that the quality of these raw food bars won’t change.

I just wonder. It seems that all of the great, small-companies that bring us healthy food and drinks eventually sell out to a larger corporation. Even if they did keep the standard of quality and care that the small companies do (which I highly doubt), I still don’t enjoy supporting larger corporations. As much as I loved Odwalla juice back in the day, I stopped buying it when Coke bought it out for $181 million. Yes, that's right, 181 million dollars!

General Mills has not disclosed how much it is paying for Humm Foods. I imagine the news will leak out eventually.

I enjoy supporting smaller companies and people who are creating with their heart. Lara started the company in her kitchen using a food processor and a rolling pin. That's awesome.

I guess this just pushes me one more step into buying locally. If I want fresh organic healthy juice, maybe I should just invest in a juicer and buy local, organic produce and if I want raw food, maybe I should just buy a locally-grown, organic apple.

Farmer's markets here I come!

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