Archive | September, 2011

Organic Grocery Store

30 Sep

It’s similar to the organic certification for food processing plants. Hadn’t thought of that either? Well, that box of organic crackers you just bought is full of organic ingredients (insert bucolic images here) but what else makes those crackers organic? A lot, actually.When you hear the word “organic” what do you think of? If you’re at all familiar with organic farming, then you probably know that a certified organic apple has to be grown according to certain standards – such as no toxic or persistent pesticides.

Makes sense. You might also know that certified organic beef comes from cows that eat certified organic feed and steer clear (no pun intended) of antibiotics and added growth hormones. All that makes sense too. So, when someone says “organic,” bucolic images of farms, orchards and pastures probably come to mind. Bustling urban grocery stores? Not so much.Well, like those apples and that beef, Whole Foods Market stores are certified organic. “Wait, what?” – you may ask – “A grocery store can be certified organic?” Yes, it can and we are.

Though, I admit it’s a little confusing, especially since not ALL the products in our stores are organic. Basically, our certification means that we ensure the organic integrity of the organic products we sell from the time they reach our stores until they are safely tucked into your shopping cart.

Courtney Mudge is the Organic Certification Manager for Whole Foods Market. She’s a 5th generation Texan who grew up on a ranch in the Hill Country. When she’s not coaching our stores on organic integrity, she’s being crafty and searching for the perfect taco.

  

Conventionally produced food

29 Sep

You might not be able to afford a regular diet of organic foods. If so, try picking and choosing your organic purchases. A study by the Environmental Working Group of 43 fruits and vegetables shows that you can reduce your pesticide exposure from produce by up to 90 percent by avoiding the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. Will your purchases make a difference? Yes. The reason organic foods are now the fastest-growing sector of the food industry is that consumers have shown that they want it.

There is no other way to promote this concept than by buying it and encouraging others to do the same.Are organic foods always the best choice? Are organic foods safer for us to eat? Yes. Unlike conventionally produced food, you to no synthetic pesticides or growth hormones. Many of these substances have been proven to cause cancer, birth defects and damage to the nervous and reproductive systems in animal studies (although at higher levels than commonly found in food). What has not been studied yet is whether or not exposure to low levels of these substances may also have adverse health effects. In the absence of this information, the best course of action is not to expose yourself to chemicals designed and proven to kill other life forms.

If something happened and you were not able to get anything to eat from the store how would you feed yourself and your family? Well the only answer to that question is to have food reserves. Stocking up on food is putting aside food that is made to be stored for when times are hard and food is not available or money does not buy. These things may not seem possible to you but they are.

This is especially true for children, as their developing body systems put them at much greater risk of harm than adults. Are organic foods worth the extra money? Yes, in the sense that you really do get extra value in the form of safer food that is better for the environment. No. Conventional food that is grown close to you may be a better choice than organic foods grown 1,000 miles away. Why? Because transporting food a short distance causes much less global warming pollution. That local farm is also preserving open space in your area and contributing to your local economy.

How to cake pancakes

28 Sep

My family enjoyed the pancakes topped with butter and sour cream. I also served homemade apple sauce on the side, which turned out to be a lovely combination. The texture of these pancakes is great! My son loved them and I loved seeing my son eating up his vegetables (secretly hidden in those pancakes) and since breakfast is my husband’s favorite meal, he loved them too! Now, its “breakfast for dinner” at our house.

Start by shredding 1 ½ cups of vegetables. For my pancakes, I used zucchini, carrot and onion and then added some frozen corn. But you can use whatever vegetables you like. (And if your child is not ready for chunky foods, you can pre-cook and puree the vegetables and place them in the batter that way). Once shredded or pureed, place the vegetables aside. Crack open three eggs and place one full egg and two of the egg whites into a small bowl. Whip the eggs and then add the butter and mix until creamy. Now, add the milk and vegetables and stir all of the wet ingredients together.

In a large bowl, add the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together. At this point, heat up a griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Add a bit of butter to the pan, if desired, to help keep the pancakes from sticking. Pour on about 1/8 cup of batter for each pancake – on my griddle I cooked three pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes, until bottom of pancake is set. Flip and continue cooking for 2 minutes. The recipe makes about 12 pancakes. I like to keep the cooked pancakes in a warm oven as I cook the remaining batter.

For other yummy pancake recipes that sneak in the veggies, try these Fresh Corn and Zucchini Cakes or Carrot Cake Pancakes.

1 ½ cups of vegetables (shredded zucchini, carrot, onion and frozen corn)

3 eggs (1 full egg and 2 egg whites)

4 TB (½ stick) butter

1 ¾ cups milk

Dry Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

¼ cup oats

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Pancake to your children

27 Sep

My toddler seems to gravitate toward foods such as toast and crackers rather than the vegetables I wish he’d eat. It seems to be a textural thing rather than taste, so by marrying grains with vegetables, I can give him a healthy, well-balanced meal he’ll enjoy eating.Small children arranged in advance by their parents.

As a new mom, the concept of having a “play date” was completely foreign to me. I mean, when I was single, dating was hard enough and now I’m expected to be social and meet new parents with a baby in tow?However, after going with my son on his first play date, I discovered that play dates aren’t scary at all.

In fact, they provide an environment for children to meet other children, while moms and dads can interact with other adults. In fact, I’ve learned a lot about everything from child development to healthy foods for children while sipping coffee and chatting with other parents as our kids happily played with toys.I am always trying to find ways to add more vegetables to my family’s diet. On one of our play dates, my new mom friend, Mandy Hutton, suggested vegetable pancakes!

Mandy said, “It’s great to have more options for meals and I like the fact that this recipe is an all-in-one meal. I try to make a big batch ahead of time, then just microwave each pancake one by one, as needed.” As soon as Mandy mentioned the pancakes, I couldn’t wait to get home and whip up a batch of my own.

 

Visit Costa Rica

26 Sep

EARTH University students are passionate about affecting societal change and improving conditions in their home countries and the tropics through their knowledge and leadership — like recent graduate Pierre Paul Audate, who advises small growers in Haiti.Calling all banana and pineapple fans — this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss! We’re teaming up with EARTH University to give our customers a chance to win a trip to Costa Rica to visit EARTH University’s lush campus in Guácimo, Limón. Five winners will embark on a seven-day Costa Rican adventure. No purchase necessary! Just visit our contest page to enter by September 30th.

Whole Foods Market started selling fresh EARTH University bananas in 2007, then added their fresh pineapples, and were excited to begin offering the new frozen EARTH University Pineapple Chunks and EARTH University Banana Chunks in early 2011. The sales of EARTH University fresh and frozen fruits help fund scholarships, and finance research and investment in organic and sustainable agriculture. (Try our collection of tasty recipes featuring EARTH University pineapples and bananas.)

All of Whole Foods Market’s EARTH University offerings are part of our Whole Trade® Guarantee, which ensures fair prices are paid for products, better wages and working conditions for growers and sound environmental practices.

Why is this cleaning foods so important

24 Sep

Why is this important? One word: Transparency. You deserve to know what’s in your cleaning supply products. How can you make good choices if you don’t know what you’re using to clean your homes on a daily basis? We feel it’s important to include this information on actual labels (not just on company websites) so that this information is available to you while you’re shopping. Many people are surprised to hear that full disclosure labeling is not currently required for cleaning products by the government.

Almost three out of four adults (73%) falsely believe that the government requires household cleaning products to provide a list of ingredients on the label, according to a Whole Foods Market survey conducted online in April among 2,483 US adults aged 18 and over. Another two-thirds (64%) believe that many household cleaning brands opt to disclose the full list of ingredients on packaging, when, in fact, few provide this information on product labels.

 

  •   Here’s the nitty-gritty on what you can expect from products sold in our stores:
  •   Ingredients must be listed on all products on our shelf by next Earth Day (April 22, 2012). This gives our suppliers time to make the required changes to their labels.
  •   Ingredients will be listed in INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), which is already commonly used for personal care products.

Listing ingredients or ingredient blends as “proprietary” or using a trademarked name without an INCI name is not allowed, except for fragrances and enzymes only. (Note that as part of the audit process, all fragrance and enzyme blends will still be reviewed for acceptability to our standards).

What does all that mean to you? Well, you may start to see some unfamiliar ingredients listed on your cleaning products. The fact is that cleaning supply products are made from ingredients that most people may not be entirely familiar with. I always say that learning about cleaning supply ingredients is like learning a new language. If you have questions about any of these ingredients, some of which are multi-syllabic or may seem very “chemically,” let us know. For each ingredient, we have an explanation of why we allowed the ingredient in the appropriate tier, or why it was a better alternative than other available ingredients.

FDA summary scientific and regulatory assessment of the food

23 Sep

In the 1992 policy, FDA recommended that developers consult with FDA about bioengineered foods under development; since issuance of the 1992 policy, developers have routinely done so. In June 1996, FDA provided additional guidance to industry on procedures for these consultations (the consultation procedures).

 

These procedures describe a process in which a developer who intends to commercialize a bioengineered food meets with the agency to identify and discuss relevant safety, nutritional, or other regulatory issues regarding the bioengineered food and then submits to FDA a summary of its scientific and regulatory assessment of the food; FDA evaluates the submission and responds to the developer by letter.

The 1992 policy clarified the agency’s interpretation of the application of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to human foods and animal feeds derived from new plant varieties and provided guidance to industry on scientific and regulatory issues related to these foods. The 1992 policy applied to all foods derived from all new plant varieties, including varieties that are developed using recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) technology. This site refers to foods derived from plant varieties that are developed using rDNA technology as “bioengineered foods.”

In the Federal Register of January 18, 2001 (the premarket notification proposal; 66 FR 4706, available as text3 and 193 KB PDF4), FDA issued a proposed rule that would require that developers submit a scientific and regulatory assessment of the bioengineered food 120 days before the bioengineered food is marketed. In the premarket notification proposal, FDA recommends that developers continue the practice of consulting with the agency before submitting the required premarket notice. The comment period for the proposed rule ended on April 3, 2001.