Communiversity Gardens to break ground

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Northern Illinois University student organization, Communiversity Gardens, will be groundbreaking this Thursday with the DeKalb County Community Gardens.

The garden is 22,000 square feet on the east side of Anderson Hall. The garden will involve NIU students and community members in growing food to share with the locals in need.

One idea from a student is to include an international garden that will let students from other countries plant and grow their own vegetables from their home country.

“Growing your own garden or participating in a community garden is a great  way to improve your health, help build a sustainable food system, and support our planet as it struggles to make room for increasing numbers of us.” Dr. Mercola said. “Food grown in your own garden is fresher, more nutritious, and tastes better than store-bought food and you can’t beat the price!”

Students at NIU care about the community and it also educates others. “Sustainable agriculture is important so that we can provide food for many years to come,” Nutrition and Dietetics major, Anna Villarreal said. “We have to think about the future and leave the world a better place for future generations.”

The garden will have a variety of plants. “From Illinois native prairie plants, heirloom and new varieties of vegetables originated from all corners of the world, herbs and wild edible berries. In the future we plan to include gardens with specific interest: children garden, urban/container garden to teach students how to grow their food on the small scale,” Michaela Holtz said, garden designer and staff member at the Office of Student Engagement & Experiential Learning.

At the event, there will be food, music and in attendance will be the mayor of DeKalb, NIU President Baker, and Dan Kenney, director of DeKalb County Community Gardens.

The groundbreaking event will will be this Thursday, May 8. It starts with the opening gathering at 1:30p.m., and speakers at 2:30p.m. behind Anderson Hall.

The truth about bread

Bread is a carbohydrate. We all know carbohydrates is what fuels the body with energy. But are we really eating the right kinds of breads?

Food blogger, Vani Hari aka Food Babe’s list on the “health wrecking ingredients in bread“:

  • Dough Conditioners – Hari says, “these are unnecessary in traditional bread making and only make the process faster and cheaper for the food industry to make break in big machinery. Many dough conditioners like azodicarbonamide (which is banned all over the world), DATEM, monoglycerides, diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate are linked to health issues…
  • Preservatives – Bread is supposed to be fresh and eaten within a few days unless frozen.
  • GMOs – Most commercially available breads contain one or more many genetically modified ingredients like soybean oil, corn oil, corn starch or soy flour.
  • Added sugar – High fructose corn syrup, GMO sugar made from sugar beets, or some other artificial sweetener.
  • Artificial flavors and coloring – These ingredients are made from petroleum and are linked to several health issues like allergies and asthma.

These are just some of the health risks that are in breads that are not necessary. You need to be consuming breads with actual whole grains, vitamins, and antioxidants.

The healthiest breads on the market have sprouted grains. Hari says “that sprouted grains are technically vegetables. To sprout a grain, you just soak it until begins into a little plant. These sprouts are then ground up to make bread.”

The most important thing about eating breads with refined flour, your body metabolizes it like a sugar which it causes your insulin to spike. This can cause weight gain, inflammation, and diabetes. The sprouts are easier to digest in the body than flour.

Here is a list of the most healthiest breads:

  • Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread – Food for Life (all varieties)
  • Sunseed Bread – Manna
  • Banana Walnut Hemp Bread – Manna

I personally love the Ezekiel Bread, cinnamon raisin and sesame. For more information on Ezekiel Breads, click here.

GMO-free fast foods

Chipotle, announced last week they are now ‘virtually’ GMO-free.  They would be the first fast food restaurant to be non-GMO.

According to Food Business News, “To date we have eliminated virtually all of the GMO ingredients in our food,” Steve Ells said, chairman and co-chief executive officer. “Our corn and flour tortillas are the only foods we currently serve that are made using ingredients that contain or could contain trace amounts of GMOs, and we are testing new non-GMO recipes for these tortillas and we hope to be able to roll them out by the end of the year.”

Chipotle plans a menu price increase later this year. The cost for beef, cheese and avocados has risen. Chipotle shares rose nearly 13 percent because of the announcement of this price hike.

Another popular fast food restaurant that responded to health concerns, Chick-fil-A, changed its ingredients such as yellow dye from its chicken soup, artificial ingredients in the buns and high fructose corn syrup in dressings and sauces. Chick-fil-A announced in February they plan to use chicken raised without antibiotics in all of its restaurants within five years. (From Dr. Mercola: Agricultural Antibitoic Overuse).

These changed were caused by food blogger, Vani Hari aka Food Babe. Hari’s posts about Chick-fil-A has made the fast food company to take notice and contacted her for consultation at their headquarters.

Coca-Cola drops controversial ingredient

Coca-Cola drops a controversial ingredient from their Powerade sports drink today.

According to Dr. Mercola, brominated vegetable oil or BVO, the ingredient that PepsiCo removed from their Gatorade sports drink last year because of a Change.org petition that was started by a teenager from Mississippi, “can build up in human tissues, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses.”

“BVO was first patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant. The chemical is banned in food throughout Europe and Japan,” Mercola writes in his blog. “But BVO has been added to about 10 percent of sodas in North America for decades, even though it has resulted in soda-drinkers needing medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders — all symptoms of overexposure to bromine.”

BVO is a vegetable oil that is derived from corn and/or soy, bonded with the element bromine.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says BVO is used as a stabilizer for flavoring oils in fruit-flavored drinks.

Food makers are coming under pressure for the ingredients they use. Some companies stand by the safety of their products and some are making changes in response to the food movement.

Subway, a great example, said it would remove the ingredient azodicarbonamide, also known as the “yoga mat chemical,” from their breads. This hard-to-say ingredient can be found in numerous breads in the market. The petition was started by food blogger, Vani Hari or known as the Food Babe. Hari targeted Subway because of the image for serving “fresh ingredients,” as well as Michelle Obama’s endorsement of the Subway company, saying every single item on the kid’s menu met the “highest nutrition standards.”

GMO Labeling in Vermont

Vermont to become the first state in the U.S. to require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified organisms or GMOs.

Similar bills in other states such as Connecticut and Main require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before they are set.

According to Reuters.com, U.S. packaged food industries spent nearly $360 billion for an opposing bill that was introduced in April to Congress, which would ban any law from taking place that would require any kind of labeling of foods made with GMOs.

It is important that Vermont is leading the “right to know movement” and GMO labeling campaign. It now promotes government to have a stance on GMOs and agriculture. “We have a growing food movement in which people are demanding more transparency,” public health attorney and president of Eat Drink Politics, Michele Simon said.

In the European Union, food products are required to have a label that contain GMOs. Labeling provides information to consumers and grants them to make an informed choice.

Here is an example of a food label on an imported U.S. box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, that was found by a reader of Food Babe (food blogger, Vani Hari), in the UK:

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Warning #1: This Product May Cause Adverse Effects on Activity And Attention In Children. (This warning label is required because The U.S. version of Kraft Mac & Cheese has artificial food dyes yellow #5 and yellow #6 which are proven to be linked to hyperactivity in children),” Food Babe writes in her blog.

Warning #2: GMO Declaration: Made from genetically modified wheat. (May contain GMO), (This warning label is required because the U.S. version of Kraft Mac & Cheese contains GMOs).”

What are GMOs?

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Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, High-Fructise Corn Syrup, just to name a few, are common GMOs in the food and drinks we consume. These ingredients are everywhere and it may be linked to numerous diseases and illnesses. 

GMOs stands for “genetically modified organisms.” According to the Non-GMO Project, “It’s when biotechnology use plants or animals that are created through gene splicing techniques. It is also known as genetic engineering or GE. This technology experiment merges DNA from different species, which create unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature or traditional crossbreeding.” (Source: Non-GMO Project)

There is an alarming study that over 30 other animal studies showing toxic or allergic problems with genetically engineered foods. On Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website, there is an article with a, “study, that was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Technology, found that rats fed a type of genetically engineered corn that is prevalent in the US food supply for two years developed massive mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage, and other serious health problems.” Mercola says, “Rats only live a few years. Humans live around 80 years, so we will notice these effects in animals long before we see them in humans. The gigantic human lab experiment is only about 10 years old, so we are likely decades away from tabulating human casualties.” (Source: Article on Mercola.com)

These shocking claims on GMOs has definitely had me question what I am eating and should make you question and research on yourself. I have a lot more things to post and I hope you follow. But this is the basic introduction on GMOs.