Genetically Modified Alfalfa

Been way to long!  Busy working on my last artists’ contracts and looking forward to getting back to writing my book. Alas my book waits a while longer as I attend to some additional priorities.  As my husband would say there are the fun projects and there are the ‘other’ projects.  The former includes helping organize a party to celebrate my remarkable father’s upcoming  80th birthday.  One of the ‘other’ projects involved attending a political rally outside our MP’s office regarding the impending release of GM alfalfa into Canadian farmers’ fields. The rally was my first in 51 years but I felt a moral obligation to stand in support of keeping GM alfalfa out of our food supply.

GM aka genetically modified foods are bad news. They are grown from seeds that have been genetically engineered to withstand the onslaught of very strong pesticides.  GM foods are not recognized as food by our bodies and are, not surprisingly, associated with a wide variety of illnesses ranging from cancer to autoimmune conditions.

A high percentage, possibly as high as 90%,  of soy, canola and corn crops grown in Canada, are grown from GM seeds.  So if you are buying these foods or processed foods that contain them and what you are buying is not certified organic, there is a high probability that you are getting the genetically modified version. 

So, if we are already inundated with GM crops in this country, what’s the big deal about alfalfa?  Unfortunately alfalfa is a really big deal because it is a widely used crop and one that is pollinated by bees.  Since bees know no boundaries, once the GM alfalfa is planted, the poor bees will transport it across the country from farm to farm, conventional and  organic alike.  The arrival of GM organisms into the organic farms will mean that they are no longer organic.  End of story, end of organic farming, and some would aruge, the end of our safe food supply.

When asked why we need GM alfalfa, our learned MP responded that it is “just another choice for farmers and is not political”.  “We’ll leave it to the scientists” he offered.

Sorry, but I have to go with the man in the crowd who asked “Isn’t choice political?” because the introduction of GM alfalfa into Canada will effectively end the right of Canadians to choose to grow and to eat local organic food.  If that is not political, what is?

Other questions raised before our honourable MP included what will happen to the millions of jobs that will be lost to organic farming if GM alfalfa is introduced here.  Similarly, he was asked about the negative economic impact when our exports are no longer welcome in places like Europe where GM food is prohibited and treated like a pariah. He promised to take this information to colleagues in Ottawa and make sure they know about it.  I guess time will tell but its still not too late to write to your MP and your Prime Minister.



The Chocolate Covered Diet

If you like simple, delicious desserts, have a look see at Chocolate Covered Katie. The impossibly adorable chef, photographer, blogger is a bit of a genius at whipping up desserts (and some savoury dishes) that copy popular ‘conventional’ versions but with healthy ingredients that significantly reduce bad fats and sugar.  Recent posts include Chocolate Frosting Shots made with coconut milk and a to-live-for cinnamon coffee cake’ish sort of deep dish cake made with a large can of beans instead of flour (that one’s for you Rosanne ;).

Oh and the recipes are also vegan but don’t let that scare you.


A Year of Change

Happy New Year!  I hope you enjoyed the holidays and apologize for my dearth of posts.  I intended to write after Christmas to tell you about my husband’s family’s eco-friendly way of wrapping gifts.  Over the years they have accumulated a closet full of festive bags and prewrapped boxes of all sizes which they pull out every year and reuse.  Fast and simple.  Even tissue paper and gift tags get recycled.  Garbage following the big day is restricted to a few plastic tags or shrinkwrap from CD’s, movies and the like.  Giftwrapping our presents is fun, simple and stress free.  I highly recommend it.

The reason I haven’t been posting here is that my writing time has been devoted to the book I have started.  My working title is “Food Allergies – A Parents’ Guide”.  My friend Lesley challenged me to do this years ago but at the time I wasn’t ready.  Looking back I don’t think I had the confidence to believe I had enough to say.  Her suggestion did though motivate me to start this blog and for that I am grateful.

Why the book now?  It feels like the right time.  I now feel like I know what I need to say, who I need to say it to and how to deliver what I’ve learned.  With increasing frequency I am being asked how to deal with allergies.  Just last evening my cousin emailed to ask if I would talk with friends of his who are, in his words, “lost and confused” after finding out that their four-year-old is “allergic to everything”.  I’m looking forward to talking with these parents, hearing the specifics of their situation and sharing suggestions that I hope will give them confidence to deal with their new reality.  That is really what I needed four years ago – information and reassurance that everything would be O.K.  I was fortunate to have cookbook author Lisa Lundy and our Naturopath, Robin, to lean on.  Now its my turn to pay it forward and do the same for others.

I promise to post here as often as I can but in the mean time, take care and stay green!





Whole Foods

I love Whole Foods.  If we lived closer (we’re almost 50 minutes by car to the closest one) I would soon become one of their organic fixtures.   Yes it’s pricey so I can am careful about what I buy there.  But for the prepared foods section alone I am grateful.  There aren’t many restaurants where a gluten free mostly vegan eater can actually find choices on the menu.  And their perfect organic shade grown swiss water process decaf is pretty swell also.

One of the best things about treking almost an hour to the periodontist for my recent gum surgery, was discovering a brand new Whole Foods located literally 5 minutes from the office.  Always a silver lining.

On our most recent visit we were delighted to find that they have Christmas trees and Chanukah bushes that have not been sprayed with herbicides.  I had searched locally and come up empty handed.  Prices are comparable to conventionally raised live trees and we were able to bring home a petit little potted tree that now stands proudly as our first Chanukah bush.  Speaking of which it is time to light the first candle.

Happy Chanukah!

A Silver Lining

Three weeks ago I had gum surgery.  Pretty extensive and fairly painful for a few days.  I expected the pain and was proud of myself for not making a major dent in the two! bottles of painkillers that were prescribed.  I was also prepared to take a course of antibiotics and I did.

What I was not prepared for was this sore throat, cough thing that has been hanging around for the last 5 days or so.   When it continued to worsen over the weekend I promised myself I would see the MD today.  He said I wasn’t ‘presenting’ like someone with strep throat but did the swab nonetheless.  My biggest concern at that point was that I would need yet another course of antibiotics.  This concern I shared with the doctor.

When he returned five minutes later, culture results in hand, my face lit up as he shared the diagnosis.  My doctor laughed and said that this was a first – a patient thrilled to hear that she had the flu (and would therefore not need antibiotics).

Thar’s Change Afoot My Friends

Went to Lowe’s Friday evening to do some research about Christmas trees.  I regret to report that there was no positive news on that front.  However I did become part of a suprisingly uplifting conversation.  Once the salesperson realized my bent toward the clean and green if you will he proudly told me how his wife has him drinking organic green smoothies.  Spinach and kale work he reported but chard is just too bitter.  “I added a pear”, he said.  “Then a banana, then yet another apple”.  “Still bitter.”

I laughed andd nodded and was in the process of suggesting my secret weapon – a heaping tablespoon of  cinnamon – when another shopper who had stopped and was listening, chimed in to share Dr. Oz’s green drink recipe.

I came home, Googled “Dr. Oz green drink” and tried it today.  I halved the recipe and added extra lemon and ginger and the result was indeed delicious – refreshing and densely packed with nutrients.  Gave the old Vitamix a better work out than my traditional grees/apple/cinnamon and water smoothie.  A nice change indeed.

So thank you to Greg and the mystery shopper for turning an otherwise depressing fact finding mission into proof that the good word is spreading.



More* Words I Never Thought I Would Say…

“I baked pie”.  But I did.  Thanks to Lisa Lundy’s no fail crust recipe and Zack’s help in rolling out the dough,  I assembled and baked a pie. Gluten, dairy and egg free.

Even after almost four years of baking without these ingredients I am still dazzled and amazed when my baked goods turn out.  But pie?  I never imagined baking one period, let alone a version like this. But it actually looks and tastes like pie.

For the filling I mixed together sliced gala apples, cinnamon, lemon juice and sucanat.  Simple.

We made it for dessert for the dinner to celebrate my inlaws’ anniversary.  Everyone enjoyed it but the kicker came when my father-in-law, who is more of an eat to live rather than a live to eat fella, actually accepted my offer to take home the remnants. This meant the world to me.

In fact I am so jazzed that I am attaching a first ever photo with this post.

This is the pie – BD – before dinner.

Had to learn to do the attachment also – but hey, if I can make pie…