Newsflash: “Organic food has no nutritional benefit!”

…so this is what the latest review is telling consumers.  My first reaction sounded something like this: “AUGGGHHHHH!!!!!”  My second reaction was: “Well, what about the rest of the story?”

fruit-shopping1In summary, this conclusion was the result of a British review of studies held over the past 50 years.  It states that organic and non-organic foods possess the same nutritional content and therefore there is no superiority in organically grow produce.

Now first of all… I would consider the inclusion of studies that are 30, 40, 50(!) years old fairly irrelevant at this point. But what bothers me more is what this study DOES NOT include.

At no point does it ever address the real reason organic foods are important.  I can honestly say that I have NEVER purchased organic foods because I had some expectation of nutritional superiority. I do not buy these foods for what they contain… I buy them for what they DO NOT contain

What organic foods DO NOT contain are the herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed on the crop… chemicals that are harmful to both us and the environment.  It’s that simple.  If you have been buying applezorganics for some other reason, then you’ve been buying them for the wrong reason.  I’m buying them to prevent my family from consuming chemicals while they are consuming the foods that have a high nutritional value, regardless of the value (especially if they are equal!).  And our children are the most vulnerable when it comes to consuming these chemicals.  What it also does not mention is that the presence of pesticides can actually block the absorption of nutrients, so then doesn’t this automatically make the amount of nutrients irrelevant if they can’t be properly absorbed?!?

In my opinion, this result is misleading and irresponsible.  It’s only half the story.

You can decide for yourself, but my opinion has not been swayed one inch.  It’s not about non-organic vs. organic, it’s about chemical vs. non-chemical.  Which one would you rather give to your child?

A green(ish) vacation: MGG goes OBX!

… “aaaaand wobxe’re back!” (insert announcer voice here!)

Mom Goes Green and family has returned from a much needed beach vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (and when I say much needed, I mean MUCH needed!). It was amazing, wonderful and just so incredibly great to be able to give my family 100% of my undivided attention for a change.  (Family:  can we go back now???… please!) :)

But it should come as no surprise that I was apprehensive about how green I could remain while away, especially after last year’s vacation in Myrtle Beach.  This time I came much more prepared.  I carted along our eco-friendly dishwashing liquid, dishwasher soap and all of our family’s select products so there was no guilt there.  We purchased all of our regular organic foods, and I even brought along our recycled content toilet paper!  And in one week’s time, we created less than one bag of trash to boot!sunrse

This year, I am happier to report that there was actually a flier in our condo rental encouraging us to recycle.  And did we recycle?  You bet we did.

Once again, I collected all of the cans, bottles, boxes and jugs and did the “crush’em jig” in our kitchen to pack them all into a garbage bag.  The boxes were flattened and made their way into our beach bag next to our towels to make the trek home for recycling.  As I write, every recyclable we collected sits in our blue can at curbside waiting for pick-up.  Am I pleased that I did it (again!)?  You bet I am.

grass-in-sand

I will say that while there were facilities to drop-off your recycling, I felt compelled to bring them home.  Why?  I’m not quite sure, but somehow it feels like it’s going to become a rite of passage for me… to bring them home and see that they are unquestionably recycled and never become trash.  Maybe it’s the satisfaction of seeing what I salvaged in our own recycling can, but whatever silly reason I may have conjured up in my head, I know that our vacation left a smaller footprint than would have been left behind otherwise.

Over the coming posts I’ll share more about the vacation and our experiences, but I just wanted to say that yes, I am back, and seeing my “little ones” footprints in the sand was the best, most invigorating thing I could have asked for right now.

… Mom Goes Green will be back in full force soon… (and thanks for the “where are you?!?!” messages… it’s great to know I was missed!)

Living green… one choice at a time.

Being “green”, “envtogether-greenironmental”, “eco-friendly” (call it what you will) does not happen overnight.  Despite this blog, I know I still have a long way to go and plenty to learn.

One resource that I’ve found to help me along the way is too great to keep a secret:  Together Green.  This site has thought of everything, condensed into one great resource.  Whether you want to green your home, work, travel or your community, they’ve covered it.

And if you have one area that you feel most passionate about (whether it’s land, water, air, energy or wildlife), again… covered!

I’ve never felt it was about installing solar panels on your roof top – and not to say that isn’t an amazing way to green your home – but it’s about little daily actions that all add up to a great big difference.  Check them out for some great ideas.

And while I’m at it, I want to share a great resource for my fellow Ohioans! (O-H!  I-O!… you may only get that if you’re an Ohioan!) :) A reader asked me about an eco-friendly boutique for body products that she ec-ohiohad heard about on the news.  While I had no idea what particular store it may have been, I was able to send her to Ec-Ohio.  This state based directory lists everything from food to pet supplies to building materials to funerals (maybe you don’t want to think about THAT just yet), but they’re a great resource as well.

If you know of a great state directory to share with readers, please comment and help spread the green!

While I do think that I’m a great blog (to visit frequently, by the way!) I know that I don’t have all the answers.  These sites are great resources… just remember who sent you!

Gift giving CAN be eco-friendly!

I recently had occasion to purchase a wedding shower gift for our neighbor’s daughter.  Many of us have been there… that occasion where we labor over 12 pages of “wishes” and try to find something that you honestly feel wasn’t a “whim wish” and an item that won’t actually find itself shoved in a corner closet after the bride realizes it wasn’t really something she needed.

bamboo-crt1While we certainly can’t control what the bride selected, we can certainly choose how to spend our money.  And as I poured over the list, one item caught my eye immediately:  Bamboo Kitchen Cart with Wine Rack.  I was thrilled to know that I could actually buy something useful, as well as something “sustainable”!

I need to remind myself that I do have choices every time I purchase a gift.  A few extra minutes with a list or some special attention and you can be pleased that the gift suits you too!  Look for the bamboo cutting board or cutlery.  Look for the organic cotton towels or sheets.  And whoever said you HAVE TO buy off the list?!  Buy something that you’ll be happy to give.  Just be sure that your gift is useful.  Remember this: An used gift amounts to house clutter that will eventually be cast off.

Other ideas to keep your gift greener:

  • Consider a reusable bag instead of wrapping paper.wrap-raf
  • Simply wrap things (like towels) in themselves.
  • Scraps of fabric lying around after crafty endeavors? Wrap the gift in it!
  • A bamboo kitchen towel or two would even do the trick for any gift. For bigger gifts, a table cloth will cover it!
  • Use biodegradable raffia instead of ribbon or reuse ribbons you’ve salvaged.
  • Use a photo or image from a card you received to make a gift tag.
  • Skip the bow and use a pretty flower from your garden instead.  Even twigs, berries or pinecones make great toppers with simple brown craft paper for the wrap.

My big thing has always been that “it’s about choices”.  And even if the bride’s choices leave you rolling your eyes, your gift can keep your eyes sparkling “green”!

Organic vs. “natural” milk: adding to the confusion

As if there wasn’t enough debate (and yes, confusion) about the benefit of organic vs. non-organic milk, now “natural” milk is being introduced on grocery store shelves.

milk-glassI’ve never wavered in my preference for organic milk.  It is higher quality; contains more nutrients; does NOT contain high residues of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics or hormones; and it comes from cows that have an overall better quality of life and receive organic feed.

Now enter: natural milk. What this essentially means is that the milk cannot contain artificial ingredients and additives like sweeteners, colors, flavors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup, but it CANNOT make any of the claims of organic milk or the absence of all the harmful residues.

The pricing for natural milk will be somewhere between organic and non-organic. And with organic milk being high priced in comparison, some shoppers may be misled into believing that they’re buyinbottle-mlkg a product that is less expensive than organic but getting all the benefits of organic milk.  This simply isn’t true. The difference is simply in the processing after it comes from the cow, not in the quality of the milk itself.

There is already so much confusion about organic milk and its beneficial qualities, and now natural milk will serve only to create more confusion. But be advised that natural milk is not better than organic milk (despite how it sounds), and giving a product the term “natural” is not regulated like the use of the term “organic”.

Just like non-organic milk, natural milk is like a box of chocolates… “you never know what you’re gonna get!”