What other beverage contains as many Antioxidants, Omega 3s, Calcium, Protein, Fiber, and is non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten Free, and Kosher!?
What other beverage contains as many Antioxidants, Omega 3s, Calcium, Protein, Fiber, and is non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten Free, and Kosher!?
Check out the benefits of Chia Star for the sport enthusiast!
Welcome to the age of product certifications! Pick up a product at the grocery store today and really look at how the labels have changed – you’ll notice all kinds of letters indicating various certifications for that particular product. But what exactly does all that mean to you? Let’s take a look at each one and by the end of this blog, I’m hoping you’ll have a better understanding of each one of them.
Gluten Free Certification:
This is a big one and it affects millions of people. Gluten is a protein found in foods processed with wheat and it gives elasticity to dough. It’s also found in cosmetics, beer, soy sauce, ketchup – the list is pretty extensive.
There are 3 organizations that can certify a product as gluten free. The Gluten Intolerance Group (GFCO), the Celiac Sprue Association (CSA), and the National Foundaton for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).
The US Food and Drug Administration’s gluten free label requires foods to have a measurement of less than 20 ppm of gluten; the Gluten Intolerance Group and National Foundation for Celiac Awareness tests foods to 10 ppm of gluten, and the Celiac Sprue Association, to 5 ppm of gluten. In addition, these organizations require yearly certifications that include reviewing ingredients, testing the product, and inspecting the manufacturing plants where the product is made.
When a company is applying for a gluten free certification, as a consumer you should know it costs time and money – therefore the companies that seek this certification tend to be very committed to serving the gluten free market. If a manufacturer has gone to the trouble of being certified, it’s very likely they will adhere to the strict standards once the inspectors have left the building! Remember to use the certifications as a guideline but use your body’s reaction to the product as the final verdict as to whether or not you can tolerate it.
This shows the product does not contain animal or byproducts that have not been tested on animals. The vegan logo is administered by “The Vegan Awareness Foundation” which is a 501 © nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about veganism and to help out vegan friendly businesses. To be vegan, the product must not contain meat, fish, fowl, animal by products (which includes silks or dyes from insects), eggs or egg products, milk or milk products; no animal testing; it must show verification that no animal products were used in manufacturing of ingredients, and that no animal derived GMO’s or genes were used to manufacture the product.
This certification refers to not only a strict compliance with food laws pertaining to cleanliness, purity, and quality, but also refers to a set of laws that detail the types of food a Jewish person may eat and the ways in which it may be prepared. There are 3 categories; meat, dairy, and pareve. (what is pareve you ask….foods that are neither meat or dairy – like eggs, fruit, veges, pasta, candies, snacks, etc)
This is the big one everyone is talking about and with very good reason! GMO’s or ‘genetically modified organisms’ are plants or animals created through gene splicing techniques or genetically engineered – in other words, it merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plants, animals, bacterial, or viral genes that do not occur in nature. The Non-GMO Project is the ONLY third party verification program and label in the United States for non-GMO food and products. Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified butterfly on the label – it shows strict standards and compliance with transparency and consistency! Most cereals, snacks bars, cookies, processed lunch meats, and crackers contain large amounts of high risk food ingredients…over 80% of our food contains GMO’s! (I was even floored to learn that fact!) Common GMO foods include soy, cotton, corn, sugar beets, squash, alfalfa, papaya, and canola to name a few.
Organic vs Natural:
Sounds like the two should be synonymous but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Organic food production is regulated by a third party government accredited certifying agency who’s job it is to be sure farms and processors follow a strict set of federal standards that promote sustainability and that avoid substances that are hazardous to the environment or human health. The USDA administers and regulates the Organic Seal under the National Organic Program. When you see this label, you know the product contains at least 95% of organically produced and processed ingredients. A label that reads “100% Organic” contains 100% organic ingredients. “Organic” contains a minimum of 95% of organic ingredients and the remaining 5% are produced using no GMO’s or irradiation. “Made with Organic Ingredients” means a minimum of 70% of organic ingredients are used while the remaining 30% are produced using no GMO’S or irradiation.
A “Natural” label, on the other hand, is not regulated. There isn’t a set of standards to adhere to and is used as a marketing tool to try to appeal to health conscious and environmentally aware consumers. Can you believe foods that contain high fructose corn syrups or GMO’s can be labeled “Natural”? The only time the USDA steps in is when that label is applied to meat, poultry, and eggs. If you see “Natural” on those products, it means it has no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed. Beware though, it does not mean antibiotic or hormone free! (We’ll save that one for another day!)
So be aware, pay attention to the labels on the products you’re purchasing, and support those that go the extra distance to be sure they’re fully certified and transparent to you, the consumer. Chia Star is dedicated to health and transparency to the consumer, and we’re very proud to display our certifications!
I recently attended an event that brought together people interested in general health and wellness and was shocked at how those in the medical community that were present at this event viewed artificial sweeteners.
We hear so much about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup and are encouraged to use artificial sweeteners instead. But are these any better for you? The short answer is to avoid them like the plague! The University of Texas did an 8 year study on diet soda and found a 41% increase in the risk of obesity for every cup of diet soda you drink daily. So much for saving calories! And that’s just the beginning.
The list of health problems linked to these artificial sweeteners are staggering – from cancer, hearing loss, seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, headaches, nausea, depression, fatigue, and weight gain, each one is more toxic than the next and very dangerous to the human body. And they’re found in over 4000 products – mainly diet or sugar free foods including soda, desserts, sugar-free gum, beverage mixes, baking goods, sweeteners, cereals, breath mints, chewable vitamins, and even toothpaste!
Here’s what you need to know about the three main culprits that are on the market today:
Aspartame: AKA Equal and Nutra-Sweet and come in those little blue packets. The main chemical found in this product is phenylalanine. There are more complaints to the FDA on Aspartame than any other food additive in existence. In fact, there are 92 officially recorded side effects according to the FDA.
Sucralose: AKA Splenda and come in the little yellow packets. This one starts off as real sugar but than it’s chemically altered to make it calorie free. Here’s how that’s accomplished….. they add chlorine, methanol (you know this one as antifreeze and windshield washer fluid), acetone (yes, the nail polish remover), benzene (used in oil and gas production), and formaldehyde (wish I was kidding on this one!). These are all linked to depression, joint aches, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer…the list goes on and on.
Saccharin: AKA Sweet’N Low and come in the little pink packets.This concoction was created back in the 70’s and has zero food value. It was created by chemists in the lab and contains ammonia among other toxic substances. The body has no idea what to do with these chemicals.
Also be wary of “all natural” sweetener claims as well. Honey and Agave may seem like a healthier choice, but they are loaded with fructose and many are highly processed. And it’s the fructose that causes the most harm.
Agave syrup can be considered worse than HFCS because it has higher fructose content than any commercial sweetener, ranging from 70-97% depending on the brand. HFCS by comparison, averages 55% fructose. Agave ‘nectar’ or agave ‘syrup’is nothing more than super condensed fructose syrup without a drop of nutritional value.
Honey averages 53% high fructose, but can be used in moderation especially in its raw form. (very important that it’s ‘raw’)
Regardless, fructose will cause weight gain by turning off your body’s appetite control system so you eat more and develop insulin resistance. It also activates a key enzyme that causes cells to store fat. It decreases the good cholesterol (HDL) and increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) along with elevating blood pressure, blood sugar, and trigylcerides.
So what to do?….stay away from those little blue, yellow, or pink packets of artificial chemicals! And look at Stevia and Luo Han Kuo as a safe alternative.
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Very informative article from www.newhope360.com regarding how our soil is being ruined because of GMOs!
How GMOs forced farmers onto a soil-ruining herbicide treadmill
Q&A with GMO researcher Chuck Benbrook
Aug. 15, 2013Jenna Blumenfeld | newhope360
newhope360: What about soil changes?
Chuck Benbrook, program leader for Washington State University’s Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, is one of the United State’s premier researchers on how genetic engineering impacts pesticide use. Here, we pick his brain about GMOs, and hear his advice for sustainable farming into the future.
newhope360: Why were you skeptical about whether genetically engineered (GE) technology would reduce pesticide use?
Chuck Benbrook: In the mid-nineties, anyone studying weed control in corn, soybeans, and cotton was aware that herbicides widely used by farmers were applied at low rates. Some of them were applied at around one-tenth of a pound per acre, but many at one-hundredth of a pound per acre or less. Glyphosate displaced these herbicides as farmers adopted Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans, RR cotton and RR corn.
But at the time, glyphosate was applied at about two-thirds of a pound per acre. How do you decrease herbicide use if you’re replacing one sparingly applied at a tenth or a hundredth of a pound per acre? The math doesn’t even come close to working out.
newhope360: Could you describe your research methods for your 2012 GMO impact study?
CB: I tracked the early years of GMO adoption, studied USDA data and developed a simple model that calculated the average rate of herbicide used on acres planted with GE varieties versus the average rate of herbicides used on acres planted with conventional varieties—the ones that were not genetically engineered.
I subtracted one rate from the other and multiplied that difference times the total acres each year planted to each type of RR crop. Then I tracked how that changed over time.
By 1999, the first glyphosate-tolerant weeds were surviving lower herbicide applications.
newhope360: What were your findings?
CB: For the first three years, from 1996 to 1998, there was actually a very small decrease in herbicide use because there were still a few herbicides applied at a pound per acre.
But by 1999, there was more herbicide applied on RR acres than conventional acres. That trend has since continued, and most of the increase has been initiated by spraying more Roundup. Remember, when the technology first came onto the market, most farmers had excellent weed control with only one herbicide application. They made that application at about two-thirds to three-fourths of a pound per acre.
But overtime, there were shifts in the community of weeds towards species less controlled by glyphosate. By 1999, the first genetically tolerant weeds were starting to emerge in fields and were surviving lower applications. Farmers incrementally increased the application rate, and even started to make a second application—which they can do because the crop is not vulnerable.
We found that two-thirds of a pound per acre rate of Roundup increased to more than a pound by 2000. In soybeans and corn, it’s now up to a pound and a half and more than 2 pounds in the case of cotton. Now, most farmers are making two applications at a higher rate. Some farmers are even making three applications.
So of course, GMOs have driven up herbicide use. It’s really not rocket science. However, we found that Bt crops do reduce insecticide use. Although that’s changing because resistant insects are starting to emerge. Some farmers are both planting Bt corn and spraying insecticide.
newhope360: How does glyphosate affect the environment?
CB: Unfortunately there are a lot of impacts. American farmers are spraying so much glyphosate that people are being exposed to it from multiple routes: breathing it, drinking it and eating it. Glyphosate exposure has dramatically increased in the last three to four years.
newhope360: What about soil changes?
CB: With the volume being applied, the chemical has led to changes in soil microbial communities that reduce a growing plant’s ability to draw mineral-based nutrients from the soil like chromium, zinc and manganese. Plants need these to form critical compounds that drive the immune system. Without these compounds, the plant’s ability to respond to bacterial and fungal attack is impaired. This increases the risk of yield loss from plant diseases, and increases probability that the farmer will have to spray additional fungicides.
Plus, there’s evidence that RR crops are more prone to drought stress because their root systems don’t develop as fully as non-genetically engineered soybeans and corn.
newhope360: I understand that glyphosate-resistant weeds are becoming an increasing problem.
CB: This is a huge issue. There are around 28 species documented, and industry estimates range from 60–100 million acres infested with these weeds. The bad part is that this number is rapidly increasing every year.
What farmers have to do, then, is spray additional herbicides. The strategic response by the biotech industry is to breed additional herbicides into corn, soybeans, cotton and other RR crops including canola, sugarbeets and alfalfa. They’re creating multiple herbicide-tolerant crops so farmers can spray 2,4-D and Dicamba, two higher-risk herbicides that have been around since the 50s.
But these chemicals have a nasty habit of drifting. After a farmer sprays them on a field, under not uncommon weather conditions, they volatilize—they move across the landscape with the wind.
It can be disastrous if these herbicides land on plants like fruits or vegetables, grapevines and cherry trees—all of which are extremely vulnerable to drift from 2,4-D and Dicamba, particularly during the fruit-setting stage. This is exactly when farmers would spray these herbicides on their crops if the technology is approved by the USDA.
newhope360: Do you think they’ll be approved?
CB: The seed and biotech industry has invested so much money into this technology that it’s really hard to imagine the USDA not ultimately approving it. One of the worrisome factors in this is that there’s already over half a dozen weed species in the U.S. that are resistant to 2,4-D and Dicamba. Once these herbicides start to be widely used, those resistant weeds will spread and become more serious. No doubt additional resistant weeds will emerge.
This strategy of dealing with herbicide resistant weeds by creating multiple herbicide resistant crops is forcing farmers onto an herbicide treadmill that will need to go faster and faster to keep pace. At some point, the costs, adverse environmental impacts, herbicides getting into water, birth problems, will cause the system to break down.
These are serious impacts that just have not received the attention that they should.
newhope360: What do you think agriculture should look like?
CB: The one recommendation that is universally embraced by weed scientists and universities is that farmers have to diversify the tools and tactics that bring to bear against weeds and insects.
For example, if we only tried to deal with bacteria that affect humans by going to the doctor and getting prescription antibiotics, we’re hastening the day when bacteria grow resistant to those antibiotics. But if it’s coupled with good prevention and health promotion, and using as many different ways to combat infection as possible, it’s much more likely that the efficacy of antibiotics can be sustained over time.
The exact same thing is going on in fields. Farmers have relied far too heavily on glyphosate, and it’s triggering the emergence of resistant weeds. In another three to five years, the RR technology will have much narrower use because it simply won’t work in a lot of areas.
Once the resistance genes are out in the gene pool of weeds, there’s no putting them back in the bottle.
Another really good article from www.hungryforchange.tv on GMO’s! This is such an important topic and we extend our thanks to www.hungryforchangetv.com for their amazing work in getting the word out!
With over 80% of the food in the supermarket containing GMOs it might seem impossible to stay away from all these potent chemicals, but it’s not! Discover 6 simply ways to avoid GMOs in your shopping cart.
Cooking is not only a democratic pleasure, it is also daily creativity, it’s economic, it’s healthy, and it’s a link to the natural world.