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Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Feed Your Family Organic

May 14th, 2015

1.    More Nutritious
 
In an organic farm plan, the soil is managed by sustainable practices that nourish the soil, which in turn, results in more nutrient-dense crops. Multiple studies show the nutritional content in organically-grown fruits, vegetables, and grains is higher versus their conventionally-grown counterparts. And when it comes to dairy, did you know organic milk can contain about 2x the levels of heart-healthy Omega-3 fats compared to conventional milk?

2.    Supports the Farmer and the Farm
 
According to The Organic Center, about 25,800 square miles of degraded soils would be converted to rich, highly productive crop land if consumers were choosing at least one organic product out of every 10 food items purchased.  Every year, American tax dollars subsidize billions of dollars for a farm bill that heavily favors conventional agribusiness. By supporting organic farmers and their farms, you are making an investment in the farmers who care about our ecosystem and the sustainability of the soil for future generations.

3.    USDA Certification
 
Consider it a “Peace of Mind” seal of approval. Wherever you find the “USDA Organic” seal, you know that food was grown and raised by farmers who never use synthetic pesticides, GMOs, growth hormones or antibiotics.  The USDA Organic seal also guarantees no artificial colors or flavors, no artificial preservatives, no irradiated ingredients and no GMOs.  Further, to obtain the seal, organic farms have to be free from prohibited substances for at least 3 years and must pass yearly inspections.

4.    No GMOs
 
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are prohibited in organic production.  Besides concerns over forever contaminating our food supply’s gene pool and the now documented negative long-term effects on human and environmental health, GMOs have dramatically increased herbicide use.  Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant,” which means they’re designed to survive applications of Roundup herbicide. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides and consuming residual traces of herbicide are linked with infertility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
 
5.    No Antibiotics or Hormones
 
Antibiotics, drugs and growth hormones are directly passed into meat and dairy products. According to Prevention Magazine, roughly 70% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are fed to animals for nontherapeutic reasons, while sex and growth hormones are injected into cattle to artificially increase the amount of meat and milk the cattle produce without requiring extra feed. These practices are strictly prohibited in organic farming, thus eliminating the negative  potential health consequences.

6.    Reduces Pollution and Saves Energy
 
Did you know that 2.9 billion barrels of imported oil would be eliminated each year if 1 in 10 purchased food products were organic? What’s more, organic farms have 30% less greenhouse gas emissions than their conventional couterparts! That’s some serious energy saved. There are also residual effects of synthetic agricultural chemicals contaminating our land and infiltrating our water supplies remain unanswered.  Sadly, an estimated 1% of applied pesticides reach the target pests, while the remaining 99% is absorbed by the surrounding environment, according to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel.  Conversely, organic farming practices require the responsible management of the soil while encouraging biodiversity.

7.    No Biosolids
 
Sewage sludge, also referred to as biosolids, are not permitted in certified organic foods. Biosolids contain heavy metals, toxins, steroids, and questionable substances that can pose a threat to your health. Possible health risks from substances in biosolids include kidney damage, adverse effects to the immune system, hormone disruption, and even cancer. (Source: Mamavation)

8.    Tastes Better
 
If you think organic tastes better, there’s actually scientific data to back up your taste buds. According to Richard C. Theuer, Ph.D, the more intense flavors in organic fruits and vegetables probably stem form two factors: somewhat higher levels of antioxidants, and somewhat lower crop yields.  Yield levels, and the availability of nitrogen to crops, can affect both nutritional and taste quality.  Organic food is harvested when it’s ripe, rather than gassed with ethylene to quickly ripen it, allowing for natural flavor development.

9.    No Persistent Pesticides
 
Organic farmers don’t uses persistent pesticides such as glyphosate and organophosphate pesticides. The negative effects of residual glyphosate traces found in GM foods has been linked to cancer, autism, allergies and a host of other health-related problems.  In lieu of these synthetic chemicals, organic farmers use natural methods to keep pests off of their crops. Some methods organic farmers employ are sophisticated crop rotation to disrupt the pest’s environment, introducing soil organisms and insects that benefit the crops, and traps or barriers.  
10. Preserves the Environment and Ecosystems
 
Organic farming is about farming in harmony with nature.  Organic farming encourages the coexistence of beneficial insects, wildlife, frogs, birds and soil organisms within its farm plans.   The cultivation of healthy soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, while chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem.
 
 
 

7 Health Benefits of Drinking Organic Orange Juice

April 28th, 2015

You grew up drinking orange juice every morning at breakfast, but did you ever ask why? What’s so special about orange juice that makes it a staple around the world?

There are so many health benefits to drinking organic orange juice that no one could possibly name all of them. With high concentrations of vitamin C and other nutrients that are not only healthful but necessary, the orange is a super-fruit that most of us take for granted. Even if you aren’t a fan of peeling and eating sticky, juicy oranges, you can still get many of the same benefits out of a glass for breakfast each morning. If you need an extra push to start putting a jug of orange juice in your cart as you pass by the organic section on your next grocery run, check out these seven reasons to not let another day go by without adding orange juice to your diet.

1. Healing Phytonutrients: Oranges have particularly high levels of certain phytonutrients that are thought to be helpful for reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and balancing cholesterol! Adding a glass of organic orange juice per day to your diet can provide enough of these phytonutrients to contribute to an improvement in your overall health.

2. Daily Value of Vitamin C: We all know that we can’t function well without at least some vitamin C in our diets. It does everything from promoting strong and healthy bones and clear skin to strengthening your immune system to fight off infections and viruses. You could always take a supplement, but why do that when a delicious glass of organic orange juice provides more nutrients than vitamin C supplements with added health benefits?

3. Consuming Citrus Lowers Risk of Certain Diseases: Oranges contain many of the elements that are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias, and some studies have even shown a slight reduction in the occurrence of many types of mouth, throat, esophageal, stomach and liver cancers in people who have a lot of citrus fruits in their diets.

4. Lower Cholesterol: Certain compounds in oranges are being studied as possible means to lower cholesterol. These compounds may interact in such a way with the body that they reduce its ability to produce LDL cholesterol. Lowered cholesterol then translates into a reduced risk for many types of health issues from heart disease to stroke.

5. Prevents Ulcers: Some studies have shown that people with a higher blood level of vitamin C are at less of a risk of developing peptic ulcers—a condition which can lead to stomach cancer. How do you get your vitamin C levels up? Orange juice, of course!

6. Prevents Kidney Stones: If you want to reduce your risk of developing calcium oxalate kidney stones, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that simply drinking a couple of glasses of orange juice or other citrus juice per day increases your citric acid excretion preventing kidney stones from forming.

7. Healthy Carbohydrates: For diabetics or those who are watching carb intake, you’ll be happy to know that you can still drink orange juice! Like any food, it’s important to be aware of how much you are drinking, but orange juice only has a glycemic index of 40. This means that, since it is under 55, you can drink orange juice in limited quantities to benefit from all of its nutrients—and great flavor—without having it spike your blood sugar or cause problems with weight gain.

Are you convinced? Whether you are simply looking for a healthy, nutritious alternative to a 500 calorie morning latte, or you are looking for natural ways to help reduce your risk of certain health problems, organic orange juice may be just what you need to add to your daily diet.

Kayla Matthews is a healthy living blogger with a passion for organic and natural foods. You can read all of her latest articles by following her on Google+ and Twitter.

Eco-Friendly Easter Celebration

April 3rd, 2015

Eco-Friendly Easter1. Locally sourced eggs
If you choose to celebrate with real eggs, support your local farmer and buy eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Or buy organic eggs. Eggs from pasture-raised hens or organic fed hens are healthier for you, containing more vitamin A, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids, according a report conducted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. Alternatives to Easter eggs
There are many alternatives to using real eggs for Easter celebrations; for instance, the White House traditionally uses decorated wooden eggs for its annual Easter Egg Roll. There are also plastic Easter eggs that are compostable, and ceramic Easter eggs that are dyeable!

3. Blown eggs
Blown eggs are another reusable dyeable option. Blown eggs are made of real eggs whose yolks and whites have been removed. Here is a tutorial. The leftover yolks and whites can then be used for baking, scrambled eggs, or other cooking projects.

4. Homemade egg decorating
There are many methods to make homemade egg dyes, using vinegar and spices, fruits, and vegetables. Check out these instructions from Real Simple Magazine!

5. Prevent food waste
If you hard boil fresh eggs before you dye them, the prospect of eating all of those hard boiled eggs may be daunting, but throwing them out is wasteful. Turn the eggs into a delicious dish: here are some great ideas!

6. Avoid plastic Easter grass
Cellophane Easter grass, often found in Easter baskets, cannot go into the recycling bin. If you already have Easter grass, reuse it. If you were going to buy some for Easter baskets, try replacing it with shredded newspaper or tissue paper.

7. Give children stuffed toys instead of live Easter bunnies and chicks
Dyed Easter chicks are a perennially controversial topic: chicks are dyed while in the egg or sprayed shortly after hatching. The food coloring used to dye the chicks is non-toxic, but the real concern is what happens to the chicks after the dye wears off. Chicks are sold as seasonally-themed pets, most of whom are discarded or neglected after they molt and lose their artificially colored feathers.

Rabbits are also common Easter gifts: just as with chickens, rabbits are often neglected, surrendered to animal rescues, or released into the wild when the novelty wears off. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends giving children stuffed or chocolate bunnies instead of live animals, as rabbits can live seven to ten years on average and are a serious commitment.

8. Make a locally sourced Easter meal
If it’s your tradition to have an Easter meal, why not try to make as many of the dishes as you can from local food? Check Local Harvest for your nearest farmer or farmers market.

9. Visit a local farm
Take the time to bring your family to a nearby farm. Children and adults will get an up-close look at how their food gets from the farm to home. Be sure to contact the farmers ahead of time! Here’s another link to Local Harvest with helpful things to remember before your visit.

10. Instead of an Easter basket, Easter plants
Check your local nursery for seeds or seedlings and give friends and loved ones a reusable Easter gift: a homemade herb garden.

11. Give a donation to Heifer International
If giving plants is not your style, consider making a donation to Heifer International or a similar non-profit to fight poverty while providing an animal to a family in a developing nation.

12. Minimize packaging with candy and treats
Choose Easter treats with less packaging to cut down on the amount of waste generated by the holiday festivities.

13. Reuse your existing plastic eggs
If you still have a treasure trove of plastic eggs at home, there are plenty of ideas online for upcycling. From tea candle holders to a set of toy teacups to sophisticated Easter decorations, there are many great tutorials online.

Source: Huffington Post

10 good reasons to eat an orange a day

September 18th, 2014

Sweet and juicy to taste, orange is one of the most popular fruits in India as well as the world. Belonging to a group of citrus fruits called hesperedium, oranges have more health benefits than one. Here are the top 10 health benefits of the fruit.

1. Boosts your immunity

A single orange can meet more than 100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. This vital nutrient helps improve your immunity, keeping you free from diseases and infections. Here are some more immunity boosting foods.

2. Good for your skin

As we grow older, our skin along with other body parts suffers from free radical damage. This process is similar to how metals rust after exposure to air.  Even though it is inevitable, oranges are packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C which slows down the process and makes you look younger than your age! Besides oranges, you can eat these fruits and vegetables for glowing skin!

3. Great for your eyes

Along with our skin, our eyes too suffers from damage as we grow older. Oranges are rich in nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium which are great for your eyes. So, if you want your vision to be just as good as it is now, eat an orange every day!

4. Prevents heart disease

One of the reasons why people get heart disease is because their arteries are blocked due to unhealthy lifestyles and consumption of junk food. Oranges have flavonoids like hesperidin which reduces cholesterol and prevents your arteries from getting blocked. This, in turn protects you from heart attack and various other cardiovascular diseases. Alternatively, you could try these 8 natural cholesterol busters.

5. Helps in brain development

Folate and folic acid present in oranges promote brain development and keep the vital organ in mint condition. In fact, these nutrients also make orange a healthy fruit for pregnant woman as it prevents the baby from having neurological disorders later.

6. Prevents cancer

Having cancer can be a tough and harrowing experience for both the patient and the caregiver. Research has shown that a compound called D – limonene present in oranges can prevent various types of cancer like lung cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, etc. Additionally, the antioxidants and Vitamin C help promote the body’s immunity which helps in fighting cancer cells. Here are some food habits to keep cancer at bay.

7. Keeps you free from stomach ulcers

Oranges are a very good source of fiber which helps keep your stomach and intestines healthy. A diet rich in fiber will ensure that you are not affected with ailments like stomach ulcers and constipation.

8. Protects your vision

Oranges also contain very good levels of vitamin A, and other flavonoid antioxidants such as alpha and beta-carotenes, beta-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps the body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

9. Great for diabetics

People who have diabetes are unable to absorb glucose since the beta-cells present in their pancreas either fail to produce insulin or the body’s cells are unable to respond to the insulin produced. Oranges are high in fibre and have a high glycaemic index which makes it a good food option for diabetics. Also worth mentioning is that good oranges have a sweet taste, and since diabetics aren’t allowed to eat sweets or other sugary foods, they can eat oranges to tingle their taste buds.

10. Prevents hair loss

Orange has high Vitamin C content which is required for producing collagen which, in turn, is responsible for keeping the tissues in your hair together. Nobody likes bald patches on their head, and eating oranges can ensure that you do not have to part with your lovely hair as you grow older.

Source: TheHealthSite.com

Is Organic Really Healthier?

September 16th, 2014

According to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, in fact, it is! Research concludes that organic crops have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower levels of cadmium and nitrates, and fewer pesticide residues than their non-organic counterparts.

Initiated by Britain’s Newcastle University, the study analyzed an unprecedented 343 peer-reviewed research papers documenting the nutritional benefits of organic grains, fruits, and vegetables.  It found that switching to an organic diet would provide a 20 to 40% increase in antioxidant and polyphenol consumption. That’s like eating one or two extra servings of fruits and veggies a day! Antioxidants and polyphenols are known to help prevent diseases triggered by oxidative-damage like coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

Organic foods had roughly half the amount of cadmium as conventionally grown crops, according to the study. Cadmium is a highly toxic heavy metal contaminant that has been linked to kidney failure, bone softening, liver failure, and lung cancer.

The study concluded that conventional crops were three to four times more likely to have pesticide residue than organic crops. Pesticide exposure has been linked to birth defects, nerve damage and some cancers. Synthetic pesticides are not allowed on organic foods.

Add this study to the many reasons that make organic a worthwhile investment in your health and the health of your entire family!

The Florida Department of Citrus responds to NPR story

September 3rd, 2014

Note: We are posting this Florida Department of Citrus rebuttal on our blog because we feel it addresses some very important issues in the “fruit juice and health” debate.

We were happy to have our voice included in yesterday’s story on NPR that described how citrus growers are managing through citrus greening and other market trends in today’s challenging environment. However, it is disappointing that the report included misinformation from Dr. Barry Popkin, a professor at the University of North Carolina, about 100% juice and health. His statement that “every study that followed people for more than a day has shown an adverse effect on cardiovascular health from fruit juice…” is simply wrong.

In reality, a considerable body of clinical and observational scientific evidence exists that supports a beneficial role for 100 percent juice – particularly orange juice – on some health or nutritional indicators, including those related to cardiovascular disease.1-5 In addition, consumption of 100% orange juice has not been associated with detrimental effects on markers of glucose or insulin metabolism, including risk for metabolic syndrome, in clinical2,6 or observational4 studies, or a recent meta-analysis7. Further, with respect to 100% fruit juice intake and weight measures:

  • Clinical studies in adults report no adverse effects on body weight or body mass index (BMI) when 100% orange juice is included as part of the diet.1,2,8
  • A systematic review of the association between 100% fruit juice intake and weight in children and adolescents reported that after assessing 21 cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, more than two-thirds of the studies found no association between 100% juice intake and adiposity – even when juice was consumed in amounts exceeding current recommendations.9
  • Epidemiological studies report no association between 100% orange or citrus juice intake and body weight, BMI, or changes in BMI over time in children or adolescents.4,10,11
  • Epidemiological studies report that 100% orange juice or 100% fruit juice consumption by adults was associated with lower body weight or BMI, or lower risk for overweight/obesity compared to no consumption.3,12
  • A comprehensive analysis published in 2014 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Evidence Analysis Library concluded that the evidence does not support an association between 100% fruit juice intake and weight status or adiposity in children.13

The bottom line is that these and other supportive research clearly report nutritional and other benefits of 100 percent orange juice consumption.

References
1. Basile LG, et al. Proc Fla State Hort Soc.2010;123:228–233.
2. Morand C, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(1):73–80.
3. O’Neil CE, et al. Nutrition Journal. 2012;11:107 (12 December 2012).
4. O’Neil CE, et al. Nutrition Research. 2011;31(9):673–682.
5. Lui K, et al. PLoS One. 2013:8(4):e61420 (Epub ahead of print).
6. Simpson EJ, et al. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2012:71:E182 (abstract).
7. Wang B, et al. PLoS One. 2014;9(4):e95323.
8. Cesar TB, et al. Nutrition Research. 2010;30(10):689–694.
9. O’Neil C, et al. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2008;2(4): 315-354.
10. Forshee R et al. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2003;54(4):297-307.
11. Vanselow MS, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(6):1489-1495.
12. Pereira MA et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010;29(6):625-629.
13. Evidence Analysis Library (EAL), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dietary and Metabolic Impact of Fruit Juice Consumption Evidence Analysis Project. Available at: www.andevidencelibrary.com. 2014.

 

Source: FDOC

Going green for Earth Day

April 22nd, 2014

Going-Green-Earth

 

Earth Day comes just once a year, but it’s a good time to think about the eco-friendly changes you can make all the time. Check out these easy ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to help the environment.

1. Carry a water bottle.

About 38 billion plastic water bottles crowd landfills each year, according to environmental research group Pacific Institute. And by carrying your own reusable water bottle, you’ll not only be helping the environment — you’ll be saving money, too. In total, Americans spend $15 billion on bottled water every year.

2. Reduce your paper use.

Go paperless with your bills and accounts by managing your life online. You can make this even easier by signing up for Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that lets you manage and share all of your bills and accounts in one place online or via the top-rated iOS and Android mobile apps. Manilla provides unlimited online document storage forever, for free, which means you can view, download or print your documents whenever you need them.

3. Use grocery totes.

Save plastic and paper by using your own reusable grocery tote bags. They usually cost a dollar or less and are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative.

4. Opt for a reusable coffee mug. 

Help save the planet (and your money) by using your own reusable coffee mug for your morning Joe. Most coffee shops offer discounts when you bring your own mug — you just fill it up there and you’re on your way.

5. Eat local foods.

Eating locally produced foods, like fruits and vegetables, improves your health and helps the fight against global warming. Do some research online to find farmer’s markets in your area.

6. Take public transit.

Experts estimate that the more than 130 million cars in the United States produce an ecological footprint that’s larger than the size of Texas. Reducing how much you drive can help reduce it. If you live in a city that offers a convenient and reliable public transportation system, use it!

7. Recycle.

Recycling saves energy, reduces pollution, conserves natural resources and has numerous economical benefits.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com

The health benefits of citrus

March 4th, 2014

Loaded with vitamins and minerals.

The vitamin C in citrus fruits acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of non-heme iron (iron from plant foods like beans and nuts). Citrus fruits supply the B vitamin, folate, which plays a role in energy production, growth and development, and may help protect against heart disease. These fruits are also a source of potassium, which is important for muscle function, and fluid and electrolyte balance.

Unique phytonutrients.

Citrus flavanones have been linked to a reduced risk of stroke in women and a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Liminoids in citrus fruits have been found to inhibit tumor growth. More research is needed to understand how these phytonutrients work to improve health and protect against disease. Many are found in the peel and inner white portions of the fruit, so eating whole fruits and using zest and peels as flavorings for cooking will help you get the most benefit.

Super easy snack.

There are few foods easier to grab on the go than a piece of citrus fruit. Oranges, mandarins, tangerines, and many cross-varieties are easy to pack, peel, and section for a snack. Peeling also slows you down and contributes to more mindful eating. Just remember that some citrus, such as grapefruit, can interact with prescription medications. Be sure to check with your doctor if you take medications, especially those to fight infections or treat high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, or heart conditions.

Multiple uses.

Not only is citrus delicious by itself, but the whole fruit can be used in many meals and snacks. Homemade juices are more refreshing with fresh oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and lime. Fruit sections can be blended into smoothies. Lean meats and roasted vegetables are delicious with a splash of fresh juice and citrus zest. Dry the peels of oranges, lemons, or tangerines and add it to loose leaf tea before steeping.

Long storage.

Unlike many fruits that spoil quickly, citrus fruits have a long storage life so you can stock up when they are on sale and enjoy them throughout the season. When refrigerated, oranges and mandarins stay fresh about two weeks, lemons keep for four weeks or more, and grapefruits and limes keep even longer, often five to six weeks.

 

Source: MyFoodDiary.org

Natural is not the same as organic

February 18th, 2014

Source: OnlyOrganic.org

It’s what the labels don’t tell you. Many foods labeled as “natural” include substances that are anything but, including toxic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and genetically engineered ingredients.

Toxic Chemical Pesticides

Many of the foods marketed as “natural” have been grown with help from toxic pesticides. Though designed to combat pests on plants, pesticide residues remain on or in the food we eat. Some of your family’s favorite foods, such as apples, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and grapes, are covered with toxic pesticide residues.

Health problems, including cancer, infertility, asthma, and birth defects, have been linked to pesticide exposure. Pregnant women, children and the elderly are especially susceptible to the impacts of toxic pesticides.

What’s more, toxic pesticides frequently miss their intended targets. Nearby streams are often contaminated by pesticide runoff — polluting drinking water supplies —  and harming wildlife, such as honeybees.

Antibiotics

Many “natural” meats have been produced with help from antibiotics we depend on to keep our families healthy. In recent years, 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States have gone to chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals — regardless of whether the animals are sick. Using antibiotics to promote the growth of animals reduces the effectiveness of these life-saving drugs by making them more resistant to bacteria.

In some cases, farmers use antibiotics to treat sick animals. In most cases, antibiotics are used by feedlot operators trying to prevent infections caused by cramped and unsanitary living conditions. This practice has led to the development of superbugs, antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are hard to treat.

Artificial Hormones

Some farmers use artificial hormones to make their animals grow bigger, faster, and to increase productivity. Despite being banned in other countries, some American meat producers and dairy farmers continue to rely on hormones, which pose numerous health risks. For example, rGBH, a growth hormone engineered to make cows produce more milk, has been linked to colon and breast cancer among adults and early puberty in children. Up to twenty additional artificial hormones are currently used in livestock production.

Genetically Engineered Ingredients 

Many foods labeled as “natural” include ingredients from crops that have been genetically engineered. Genetic engineering is a process that alters a plant’s DNA to make a new organism not found in nature. Crops like corn and soybeans — the building blocks of processed foods — have been genetically engineered to withstand large doses of chemical herbicides and toxic pesticides which pollute our air and water.

Green up your Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2014

Follow these green Valentine’s Day tips from Earthshare.org and you’ll benefit more than just your special someone: you’ll be supporting healthy communities and a healthy planet. Now that’s heartwarming.

Give Eco-Friendly Chocolate. Not only does the Rainforest Alliance certify chocolate that’s better for the environment, “shopping the frog” ensures that cocoa farmers have good living and working conditions. Find Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate (and other products) here. The Arbor Day Foundation also sells a line of shade grown organic chocolates in their online shop.

Send an eCard. Love wildlife? Check out these free Valentine e-cards from Ocean Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and Conservation International.

Buy Local Flowers. If flowers are your style, swing by your local farmers’ market for a fresh bouquet of your favorites. It beats buying imported flowers that have often been doused in pesticides. Check out Local Harvest to find a sustainable florist near you.

Find a Date. Single and looking? We have it on good authority that a number of people have found their true love on Sierra Club Outings and public transportation. Visit Grist for some more ideas on where to find your green soul mate.

Ditch Dirty Gold. Did you know that the manufacture of an average gold ring creates more than 20 tons of mining waste? Yikes! Be sure to buy your jewelry from one of the 90 retailers who have committed to ending destructive gold mining through Earthworks. Then sign the pledge yourself.

Love Your Honey (Bees). Bees are in trouble. In the U.S., they’ve been dying off at alarming rates which spells trouble not just for honey, but for our whole food supply. Download this toolkit from Beyond Pesticides and Pesticide Action Network to help protect bees from harmful pesticides.

Let Nature Inspire Your Valentines. Remember how much fun Valentine’s Day was as a kid? For some special V-day kid’s craft projects, check out these nature-inspired ideas from National Wildlife Federation.

Love Your Local Bank. Every Valentine’s Day, Green America encourages people to break up with their mega-bank and shift their money to the community by opening accounts with small banks and credit unions. Click here for tips.

Rethink Generosity. The Acumen Fund is rebranding Valentine’s Day as “Generosity Day”. On February 14, people are encouraged to practice simple acts of kindness. Click here for “Random Acts of Kindness” ideas.

Share the Love. With EarthShare’s One Gift option you can make a donation to our environmental charities on behalf of your special someone. We’ll send them a note letting them know about your gift, complete with your personal message.

Source: Earthshare.org