Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food. More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America. That amounts to billions of pounds annually. Not only do these chemicals threaten the environment, but they also pose a very clear and direct risk to human health.
16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person every year are applied to crops grown in the US.
Many of these chemicals were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before extensive testing.
The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed “safe.” Further, the FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticide residue. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely if ever used by the FDA.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, has made headlines because it’s the most used agricultural chemical in history and because the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has identified it as a probable human carcinogen.
A meta-analysis of six epidemiological studies published between 2001 and 2018 now adds further weight to such suspicions, showing glyphosate increases the risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) — a group of blood cancers — by 41 percent in highly exposed subjects.
Senior author professor Lianne Sheppard told Investigative journalist Carey Gillam from The Guardian, “It was pretty obvious they didn’t follow their own rules. Is there evidence that it is carcinogenic? The answer is yes.” There is also evidence suggesting that the EPA had colluded with Monsanto to protect the company’s interests by manipulating and preventing key investigations into glyphosate cancer causing potential.
Even if you’re not exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides via application (which is the case with most who claim glyphosate exposure caused their Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma), your health is still at risk, as most foods (processed foods in particular) are contaminated with this chemical, and more than 70 percent of Americans have detectable levels of glyphosate in their body.
According to Health Research Institute data, people who eat non-organic oats on a regular basis have twice as much glyphosate in their system as people who don’t (likely because oats are dried with glyphosate before harvest).
People who eat organic food on a regular basis have an 80 percent lower level of glyphosate than those who rarely eat organic.
Breaking new tests conducted by the consumer group U.S. PIRG finds that many popular beer and wine brands are contaminated with glyphosate.This news has far-reaching impacts. In 2018, a jury in California found that Roundup was a major cause of a man’s cancer, and awarded him $78 million in damages. Thousands of other people, mostly farmers, are now alleging that their incurable cancers may have been caused by Roundup. And, in January 2019, France banned the use of Roundup, citing it as a “serious risk” to human health. Other countries in the EU are considering similar bans. A study published in the journal Environmental Research, published February 12, 2019, confirms you can significantly reduce your toxic pesticide load by going organic, and results can be rapid.
A 2006 study in Environmental Health Perspectives found pesticide levels were lowered to undetectable levels in elementary school-aged children fed an all-organic diet for five days; levels rose as soon as a conventional diet was reintroduced.
Grass-Fed and Pasture Raised Animal Products
Grass-fed beef and dairy products are leaner, but more importantly, lower in omega-6 fats which are linked to heart disease. Grass-fed meat and dairy products also are higher in beneficial omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acids. (CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in meat and dairy products.) Both reduce the risk of heart disease. Pastured animals store more vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, conjugated linoleic acid, and omega 3 fatty acids in their fat giving us better nutrition and superior food.
Look for these symbols on your food labels.
The Grass-fed Exchange has a listing of producers of grass fed meats across the US.The Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals is an online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, hotels and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
Genetically Engineered (GE) and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are contaminating our food supply. GMO foods do not have to be labeled in America. Because organically grown food cannot be genetically modified in any way, choosing organic is the only way to be sure that foods that have been genetically engineered stay out of your diet.
100 percent organic. This description is used on certified organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat or other single-ingredient foods. It may also be used on multi-ingredient foods if all of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. These may have a USDA seal.
Organic. If a multi-ingredient food is labeled organic, at least 95 percent of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. The nonorganic items must be from a USDA list of approved additional ingredients. These also may have a USDA seal.
Made with organic. If a multi-ingredient product has at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients, it may have a “made with organic” ingredients label. For example, a breakfast cereal might be labeled “made with organic oats.” The ingredient list must identify what ingredients are organic. These products may not carry a USDA seal.
Organic ingredients. If less than 70 percent of a multi-ingredient product is certified organic, it may not be labeled as organic or carry a USDA seal. The ingredient list can indicate which ingredients are organic.
You will benefit from better nutrition with organic food. A Hungarian study published in 2006, which compared the nutritional value of organically and conventionally grown plant foods, found organics contained “significantly higher amounts of certain antioxidants (vitamin C, polyphenols and flavonoids) and minerals”. A British study published in 2014 found organically grown foods contain “significantly” higher levels of antioxidants than the conventionally grown variety, including beneficial compounds linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers.
Organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards. Studies concluded that there are significantly more of several nutrients in organic foods crops.
On average, organically grown foods provide:
- 21.1% more iron (than their conventional counterparts)
- 27% more vitamin C
- 29.3% more magnesium
- 13.6% more phosphorus
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a list of produce containing the food with the highest and least amounts of pesticides. The list changes frequently, based on crop conditions but certain foods such as apples, strawberries, and spinach are always on the list. I highly recommend that you buy organic to avoid the chemical load of the foods on the list.
The Dirty Dozen
These 12 fruits and vegetables contain the highest levels of pesticide residue, herbicides, and fungicides. Here is the list in order of the toxicity:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap Peas (Imported)
Americans consume large quantities of potatoes in chips, french fries, and baked potatoes. According to the EWG, the average potato had more pesticide by weight than any other food.
In addition to these 12, the EWG added hot red peppers, kale and collard greens to its Dirty Dozen Plus list. If you cannot find these foods organic, replace them with foods from the Clean Fifteen list.
The Clean 15
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Sweet potatoes
The Environmental Working Group noted that a small amount of sweet corn and papaya sold in the United States is produced from genetically engineered (GE) seed stock. Buy organic to avoid GMO and GE foods.
Eggs act primarily as binding and leavening agents, which makes them important in baking. In cupcakes, cookies, and bread loaves they contribute to the moisture, texture, and color of the finished product. And yet… it is possible to bake without them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of egg alternatives. The following is not a complete list of egg replacements. They’re just the ones I have tried.
Chia seeds: Combining 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 1 cup water left to sit for 15 minutes yields a perfect 1-to-1 egg substitute for baking.
Vegetable oil: Typically ¼ cup of vegetable oil (I use avocado or olive oil) can be substituted for one egg when baking. If you need more than one egg, you may want to try another substitute because too much oil will leave your recipe overly greasy.
Flax seeds: Mix 1 tablespoon ground of flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons warm water and whisk with a fork to combine. Let sit in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes before subbing for 1 egg in any baked recipe. You can use pre-ground flax seeds or grind them yourself in a coffee grinder.
Baking powder: Whisk together 2 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon avocado or olive oil, and 2 teaspoons of baking powder in place of one egg. It works so well in cookies, you’ll barely notice the difference.
Banana: Use 1/4 cup of mashed banana, about half a banana, in place of one egg. This may impart a mild banana flavor to whatever you’re making. In many baked goods, this can be a nice enhancement.
Here are three awesome vegan egg alternatives that can make meals a lot easier:
“JUST Egg is free of cholesterol, requires less water and fewer carbon emissions. And yes, it tastes like an egg, but it’s more than that,” according to Just, Inc. You can find this popular egg substitute at most groceries stores.
Follow Your Heart introduced their Vegan Egg and became the first mass-produced scrambled egg substitute to ever hit store shelves. It’s made using black salt, which offers a sulfur-like flavor that’s extremely similar to that of real eggs. It also includes two new ingredients: whole algal flour and whole algal protein, both derived from natural microalgae containing essential amino acids, dietary fiber, and high levels of lipids, carbohydrates and micronutrients. This egg sub can be scrambled, cooked into frittatas and quiches, and used in baked goods. Check out the video they released, proving it can be scrambled up like the real deal. You can buy this in most grocers.
“Scramblit is not eggs; it’s better. Made from one of the most unsuspected and sustainable crops – the pepita – this superfood is a game changer. Miraculous, delicious, and nutritious,” according to Spero Foods’ website. Give this NO preservatives. NO soy. NO nonsense vegan egg option a try!
- The Vegg Scramble
From the company that created one of the most popular egg yolk substitutes, The Vegg, is a product designed to be scrambled up. The first-ever scramble product to hit the market, The Vegg Scramble can be mixed with high protein soy milk and whipped up with a spatula. Made with soy protein, nutritional yeast and a few other ingredients, it also incorporates the flavor of black salt for that familiar eggy taste.
- Tofu Scramble
Ok, so it’s not an identical replica of the eggs your mother made, but a tofu scramble can be surprisingly similar to the real thing. Use firm tofu, crumble it into pieces, and sautée it with nutritional yeast, diced veggies, turmeric (for color and nutrients!) and anything else that pleases your palate. It offers an excellent protein profile and similar mouthfeel to the breakfast dish you remember.
- Silken tofu: With a higher water content than most other tofus, silken tofu is best used in brownies, cookies, quick breads and cakes. To replace one egg, substitute one-fourth cup (about 60 grams) of puréed silken tofu. To replace a second egg you might want to use a different substitute because too much tofu can leave your product dense.
From Stone Pier Press, Lydia Chodos
Aquafaba is the water or brine you find in canned beans. Typically, you’d rinse the beans in a colander or strainer to wash away the liquid, but with aquafaba you save the brine and whip it up with a hand mixer or stand mixer until it’s light and fluffy. Use it where you would use egg whites. Aquafaba substitution guidelines: 1 egg white = 1 tablespoon aquafaba.
How to Buy
All these substitutes can be found in your local co-op or grocery store.
How to Store
How to Cook
Vegan Egg, Scramblit, and JustEgg and the Egg Scramble would work well to make an omelet or frittata and top or mix in vegan cheese and vegetables and spices. A frittata is typically open-faced, whereas an omelet is folded over in half onto the additions.
Grain-Free Carrot Bread
In My Bowl
Makes 1 Loaf, 10 Slices or 10 Muffins
Makes 1 Loaf, 10 Slices or 10 Muffins
1 1/2 cups (168g) almond flour
1/4 cup (15g) finely shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 flax eggs – 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed in 6 tablespoons water – let sit 5 minutes
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large carrots (100g), coarsely grated
1/2 cup walnut (56g), roughly chopped
coconut flakes (optional)
- Preheat over to 350 degrees F, rack in the middle. Lightly grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and set aside.
- In large bowl, whisk together almond flour, shredded coconut, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and sea salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, coconut oil, pure maple syrup, cider vinegar, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients on the dry and stir to combine.
- Add the grated carrots and chopped walnuts and fold to incorporate.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan or muffin molds, tapping the pan to ensure that the batter is evenly distributed. Top with coconut flakes (optional), then bake the loaf for 55-60 minutes and the muffins for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
- Add the grated carrots and chopped walnuts and fold to incorporate.Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan or muffin molds, tapping the pan to ensure that the batter is evenly distributed.
- Top with coconut flakes (optional), then bake the loaf for 55-60 minutes and the muffins for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.