GMOs: The Case Against Them

I’m sure you’ve heard the term: GMO: Genetically Modified Organism.  But depending on whom you ask,Unknown it is either Frankenfood or just the norm in the way we eat.

A Pew Research Poll states that 88% of scientists believe that GMOs are safe.  57% of adult Americans feel that GMOs are not safe.

“But most Americans aren’t sold on the idea that scientists have a full understanding of the safety of GM foods. Two-thirds (67%) of U.S. adults believe scientists do not have a clear understanding of the health effects associated with genetically modified crops, compared with 28% who say scientists do have strong knowledge of the issue.”

What are the people against GMOs saying about them and how they affect us?

Last year, President Obama issue a memo asking questions regarding biotechnology and enlisting EPA, FDA, and USDA to “…Develop a long-term strategy to ensure that the system is prepared for the future products of biotechnology, and commission an expert analysis of the future landscape of biotechnology products to support this effort.”

But, what does this mean?  To me, it means, lets have the three major federal agencies work in tandem to determine if what the big food companies and chemical companies are “feeding” us is safe.  It also means that the White House doesn’t want to say one way or another if they think what is going on is safe.  Can’t blame them.

Pesticide Action Network

PAN has a problem with the memo though: “Aided by USDA’s consistent refusal to regulate herbicide-resistant GE seeds, the unchecked expansion of GE crops has driven an increase of hundreds of millions of additional pounds of herbicides. Most of the increase comes in the form of Monsanto’s RoundUp, with an active ingredient (glyphosate) now classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. This chemical is now ubiquitous in the air and water of our rural communities.”

They feel that the current framework of the regulatory system doesn’t adequately address problem and that White House doesn’t really want to address the problem.  What is the problem exactly? The problem, it is said, is that biotechnology companies involved in the food chain have already had too much unfettered influence and their genetically engineered products that are dependent on the nasty pesticides are everywhere in our food system.

In addition to the concerns about pesticides and industrial farming, there are people and groups who claim that GMO’s in food might cause allergies, autism and other diseases.  It is claimed that there are environmental effects, human health risks and economic concerns by the increased use of GMO’s in our food chain.

There is a lot to digest in this information.  As I do research and find reputable sources, I will add to this article.  In addition, I will also explore the other side of the issue.  I first saw a piece on GMOs on CBS Sunday morning and wrote a piece on it a couple of months ago.  You can read that here.

If you have any suggestions for documented, tested, and reputable information regarding GMOs, please leave suggestions or links in the comments section below.

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Meatless Monday: August Chopped Salad

John Besh.

Yes, please! 

Not to be confused with John Tesh – the American media icon and musician. Though I didn’t go to August on my recent trip to New Orleans, I am going to post a recipe from this restaurant as a way to set my intention to go there on my next trip to the Big Easy. Plus, after a weekend of milk punch, beignets and charbroiled oysters, I need a salad tonight!

August Chopped Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound prepared beet salad or cooked beets

18 baby carrots, halved lengthwise

1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/2 pound marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

One 1-pound fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline

4 radishes, thinly sliced

1/2 seedless cucumber—peeled, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

3 ounces pea shoots

2 tablespoons chopped dill

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the dressing to a small bowl and toss with the beets.

2. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cook the carrots for 5 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer to the ice water. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 8 minutes. Drain and add to the carrots; pat dry.

3. Add the carrots and potatoes to the dressing in the large bowl. Add the artichokes, fennel, radishes, cucumber, pea shoots and dill. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to plates, scatter the beets on top and serve.

Clothing at a Grocery Store?

Arriving at Whole Foods the other day I noticed that a rack of clothing was obviously placed to encourage people to look.  I was lured in by the 30% sign on plain black, gray and white tank tops.  I didn’t recognize the label but that didn’t stop me from at least taking a look at the rack.

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Tank tops and shirts in general are tough for me.  Most of the time because of “the girls” my shirts are too short and if they are button up shirts, they gape open just begging people to look at my bra.  I often go up a size but then deal with a fit that is entirely too baggy.  I have lamented my body type and style woes before but never in a blog post.

 

I understand that not everyone is as curvy as I am.  I get that extra room for the girls on my is good but someone with a less endowed top half would look strange with extra billowing material in what should be a tailored shirt.

I’m not sure how to remedy the situation but I will say that “Threads 4 Thought” has great tank tops and IMG_0655other shirts.  In addition, they have clothing for men!  So, while not all of my clothing challenges have been solved by this line, I am happy to have a resource for some great tanks and tees.

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Captain and Poopsie Go to Scottsdale

As you know Captain likes to go mountain biking.  Poopsie likes mountain biking too but only because Captain is often

Our standard cuteness

Our standard cuteness

her savior (see Captain and Poopsie Go on a Mountain Bike Ride).  Last weekend, Captain decided to torture himself by riding in a mountain bike race just outside of Scottsdale.  Poopsie had visions of fine dining, luxurious accomodations, and spa treatments while Captain went out to the desert to prove his manhood.  It kind of worked out like that.

Captain and Poopsie had to meet with their insurance agent…no need to bore you with those details.  As Captain and Poopsie were heading toward their hotel, Poopsie kept a watch on the traffic and then noticed that Captain took a wrong turn right before we got to the La Quinta at Shea and the 101.  Instead of staying at a perfectly acceptable modest hotel for our getaway weekend, Captain took Poopsie to The Fairmont Princess!  Poopsie was once again smitten with her knight in shining armor!  Poopsie had been there several years ago for a work conference and knew what she was in for.

My amazing view on the race

My amazing view of the race course

The weekend turned out to be one of the most wonderful Captain and Poopsie have had in a long time!  Dinner in Scottsdale was delightful at The Upton.  Captain and Poopsie dined with friends from residency Evan and Melanie Freedman.  Melanie is a firecracker who runs Udderly Hot Mama.  Her company makes the cutest darn nursing tops you can find on the market.  Poopsie still wears hers regularly!  See my review from a couple of years ago.  Evan is the yin to her yang with a quick wit but a calm way about him.  They are dear to us and we always have a blast together!

Fast forward to 5 am the next morning.  Captain presents Poopsie with coffee (always a knight in shining armor) and they get ready and head out to the race site.  Captain is ready to ride and Poopsie is ready to help out

Captain finishing the race!

Captain finishing the race!

the race organizers in anyway possible.  Poopsie meets a delightful Brazilian lady named Solita whose husband (a Tucson native) is riding in the race.  Wit, one of the race organizers drops each of us at our spots and provides us with bright green reflective vests and big red flags.  Poopsie has been charged with stopping traffic (like that’s hard!  I do that every day!) and waving riders across the road to continue on their trail.  It was a lovely morning.

After the race, Captain and Poopsie headed back to the hotel, ate lunch

ordered several boat drinks and basked in the sun late into the afternoon.  It was

heavenly.  After a quick nap, Captain and Poopsie prepared themselves for a magnificent dinner at Toro at the TPC in Scottsdale.  Check out the rum selection!  Jeff and Amber joined us for drinks and dessert before they headed back to Tucson.  Our dessert was a great ending to a delicious dinner…it was called La Bomba: a chocolate bowl filled with cookie crumbles, 3 types of ice cream, edible flowers and berries.  Our waiter put down what I can only call a “splat mat” on our table and held the bowl high over the table.  He

This is a fraction of the large and delicious selection of rums available at Toro

This is a fraction of the large and delicious selection of rums available at Toro

then dropped it and the whole thing exploded on to the mat.  He then drizzled not one, but three sauces over the explosion (caramel, raspberry and white chocolate).  It was divine!

Captain awoke the next day with breakfast already planned at a neat little cafe called Snooze.  It was a fun place with a full menu of delicious foods and spiked breakfast cocktails…after all the run the night before, Poopsie decided to abstain. I know, its a first!

Big kudos to my Captain!  I love you so much!

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I’m Glad THAT is over!

After a blissful week of skiing in Idaho and super fun family wedding in Orange County, Ryan and I were recharged and pumped up for our move.  Then, Sunday night, as we were getting ready for bed, Ryan said that he had that “lump feeling” in the back of his throat.  Usually, Ryan can work through a cold like a champ and I when I get a cold, as a mom, I don’t get much of a choice but to go about the daily goings on.  My symptoms hit me on Wednesday and bless her heart, Ryan’s mom not only got the cold but also a stomach virus that ended up preventing her from traveling.  She ended up staying four extra days.  Non of this is really very exciting except for the fact that we had to finish packing the house, move, and then unpack the house and pull off a belated birthday party for Chase all while taking care of the regular responsibilities of life with two rambunctious boys.

Fever

Chills

Head Congestion

Chest Congestion

Deep Cough

Sore Throat

Itchy, Burning Eyes

Muscle Aches

Sore Joints

Headache

From Thursday morning through Saturday afternoon I would like to tell you that I was able to cozy up on my couch sipping chamomile tea, but that is the exact opposite of what happened.  Not only did we paint Chase and Andrew’s room that week, but we also unpacked boxes at the new house and finished packing the old house.  Friday, we woke up for the big day.  Thanks to our babysitter, her boyfriend and a well placed call to a guy named Joe, we were able to get our house moved.  Joe and his team brought two trucks and two trailers.  They got to work disassembling our furniture and made quick work of 2,700 square feet.

Hacking, coughing and sniffling throughout the whole day, we managed to make it all happen.  Instead of meeting some girlfriends out for an evening of Manhattans we collapsed in heaps and the next morning kept going.  Saturday morning, my MIL and I mistakenly ventured out of the house to go to Costco to pick up the provisions for Chase’s birthday party.  Looking like we had been up all night we slogged through the aisles coughing, sweating and laughing at how awful we felt.

After returning home, it was all I could do to sit on the couch, cover up and take a nap.  Ryan, who had turned a corner over night, felt good enough to take the boys swimming.  My MIL crashed on the couch for several hours.  When I woke up, I finally felt better.  I even had the energy to make dinner.  My MIL, however, took a turn for the worse.  She ended up with a stomach virus.  Unable to eat anything but rice, bananas, Powerade and Pepto, she stayed on with us in her sick bed for another 4 days.  By the time she left Tucson, she was feeling better but she was sad that she was not able to enjoy the warm 80 degree weather or her grand children.

I still have a bit of a cough but nothing that isn’t manageable.  Thank goodness for water, Advil, and very patient kiddos.  I need another vacation.

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GMOs The Debate

Have you ever watched CBS Sunday Morning?  It is one of my favorite shows ever and continues to be a source ofUnknown information and inspiration for many of my musings on this blog.  This last Sunday, there was a piece on GMOs.  As a disclaimer, I am in favor of labeling but I also buy products with GMOs.  I’ve never fully understood why people are against them entirely but I understand that there are a lot of people are against companies like Monsanto controlling so much of the food industry.  Below is a quick rundown (with my opinions added in) of what the piece brought to light.

GMO – Genetically Modified Organism

Forms of Genetic Modification: grafting, cross breeding and hybridization (It’s been happening for thousands of years)  Most of the foods we eat have been genetically modified over time.

Are they safe?  Yes.

images-1Do we have the right to know if our food contains GMO ingredients?  I think so.  Do people who do not want to ingest GMOs have the right to not buy food with GMOs? Yes.

Take papayas in Hawaii that were devastated by ringspot.  A local scientist successfully injected DNA from the destructive papaya ring spot into a papaya seed (like a vaccine) and the subsequent papayas became immune to ring spot.  The papayas that now grow on that farm in Hawaii are GMO papayas.  So, are they safe?  Yes.

Many farmers in the US grow GMO crops, including apples, papayas, potatoes, cotton, zucchini squash, corn (have you ever tasted its ancient form?  It’s not like the sweet corn we eat today) and soy beans.  Many are engineered to ward off insects or resist weed killing herbicides, or both.  They can dramatically reduce the amount of insecticides used in their growth. There are also genetic modifications that make plants resistant to flooding and drought.

The most recent high profile food to have the label GMO: salmon.  They are engineered to grow faster.  On the horizon: a peanut without the deadly toxin to which many people are allergic.

There are some disturbing details that could very well get lost in all of this debate: the chronically hungry people in the 3rd world are benefitting from genetically modified rice in the form of yellow rice that is fortified with Vitamin A (which makes the rice yellow) and in the process, saves their lives.  I don’t think the starving people across the world care if their food is organic or gluten free or even fair trade.

There is nothing wrong with the general public being skeptical about a large corporation that says its products are not harmful to humans and the earth, water, and air. (DDT, Tobacco, NFL anyone?)  But what are the, if any, adverse health effects that GMO foods have?

There aren’t enough long term studies to determine what the negative effects are.  And right now, most scientists (88% according to a Pew Research Poll) feel they are safe.  However, 57% of American adults feel they are unsafe.  So, why are so many (mainly in obese rich countries) against GMOs?

I have some answers.  See the following posts listed below.

In the meantime, leave any questions in the comments below.

In addition to finding out why some people are against GMOs, I’m going to talk someone who works for Dow AgroSciences and get some information from her.  If you have any questions for her, please leave them in the comments below.

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Meatless Monday

Are you familiar with persimmons?  Until  

 two days ago The only thing I knew about them was that I knew very little about them! I knew they were beautiful and kind of reminded me of tomatoes. I also knew that I was sure that Pottery Barn had named a color of throw blanket or towel: perfectly persimmon.

I knew nothing about fragrance, texture or flavor. I’m sure I have read something about them in reference to a Shakespearean play…but, alas, I cannot be sure.

When Chase, Andrew and I went to Lee Lee International Market here in town to find Lychees to make eyeballs for my Halloween Dark and Stormy Death Punch, I dragged them through the entire 20,000 square foot store that holds items from all over the world. I was hoping they would have some fresh lychees but we didn’t find any. On a brighter note, we found fresh persimmons and jack fruit, which are divine. 

This is the recipe I found for an ultra simple but delicious fruit crisp. I hope you enjoy it!

If you have any inspiring persimmon recipes, please leave a link to them in comments section below. I’d love to explore some more!

Coastal Kitchen’s twist on the traditional fruit crisp!

Ingredients:

  • 3 peeled and sliced persimmons
  •  2 cups blueberries 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  •  1/2 cup flour
  •  1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter (chilled and cut into pea sized cubes) 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg 

Optional add-ons:
• vanilla bean ice cream

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Grease the bottom of a 24cm pie dish with butter. 
  3. Arrange the sliced persimmons on the bottom of the pan, then cover with blueberries. 
  4. Mix the dry ingredients with a fork or wisk. 
  5. Toss the chilled butter cubes into the the dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork. 
  6. Cover the fruit with the dry crumble mix and bake for 30 minutes. 

* Stick a fork in the persimmons to make sure they are soft after 30 minutes.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Kabocha Squash Casserole

I found a wonderful recipe for a delicious roasted kabocha squash casserole.  It wasimage
quite easy and was a perfect compliment to my Thanksgiving trial meal, which included the corn casserole recipe from a couple of weeks ago.  It is from a blog called Fighting Flare…super cool.  Cindi, the author, has a daughter with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), more specifically, Ulcerative Colitis and when her daughter has an episode, it is called a “flare”, hence the name “Fighting Flare.”  Check it out!  She calls it a “sweet Faux-tato” casserole, but I call it divine!

Roasted Kabocha Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

Casserole:

1 large kabocha squash (approx. 5-5.5 lbs.), roasted
3/4 – 1 c. honey (depending how sweet you want it)
1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
1 cup salted butter, cubed
4 eggs, beaten
2 T vanilla

Topping:

12 medjool dates, pitted
8 oz. pecans
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted

Directions:

1. Cut Kabocha squash in half, coat the inside with EVOO, and roast cut side down on a jelly roll pan for approximately and hour in a 400 degree oven.

2. Combine the warm squash, honey, coconut milk, egg, butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Break up gently with a wooden spoon and mix…do not overly mash…leave some chunks. This will be very liquidy…don’t panic. Pour mixture into a shallow 4-quart baking dish and place on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.  (You can also split it into two smaller baking dishes if you need to.)

3. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes to firm up slightly. While baking, make the nut topping.

4. To make the topping, pulse dates and pecans in food processor until they become a coarse crumb. Drizzle in melted coconut oil to coat.

5. Remove casserole from oven, gently spread nut topping over the surface. Return to oven and bake uncovered for another 12-15 minutes.

6. Remove when nuts start to brown and casserole is set. Let the casserole rest a bit before serving to firm up even more.

 

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Girl, You’ve Got This

While on our trip in SoCal, we visited some friends who just had a baby.  They are not new parents. They are seasoned professionals.

Though Mama is “in the weeds” right now, I just kept thinking to myself: “Girl, You’ve Got This!”  I’ve mentioned her before. She’s Danielle Schaffer of City Girl Gone Mom. And trust me when I say this, She’s Got This.  Her blog needs no help from me, she has thousands of followers. If I were in her position right now, I would be institutionalized. She is a successful blogger, photographer, lamp designer, mom of 4, stylish wife, and she’s building a new house. I’m tired just typing that! Though she may feel overwhelmed right now, Danielle is rocking it with Her usual style. Her husband is a hands on dad who adores his wife and kids…and the kids couldn’t be cuter or nicer! They were so nice and generous with our boys. Bobby and Danielle are definitely doing this parenting thing well!

Our short visit with this now complete brood was full of joy, chaos and reconnection. Because we have lived so far away from them for so long, we jumped at the chance to spend some time with their kiddos, pick up some groceries for dinner and clean up the kitchen as the evening began to wind down.  Ryan and Bobby were in the Navy together. Bobby was in our wedding, and the first time I met Danielle, we hit it off immediately. 

As football was being watched and the kids were dressed up in all manner of Knights, the Hulk, and who knows what, Bobby asked Ryan:  “Why is Quin doing all of the dishes?” Ryan’s response was: “I don’t know, I think it’s a mom thing. Just let her do it.”  You know what? It is a mom thing. It’s a “I know how she feels right now and I want to make things a little easier for her.” Though I don’t have 4 kiddos, I know how it feels to be covered in milk, sweaty, tired, hormonal and hosting people at my house! The first couple of months are delicious and yet terrifying. Time slips away from you so easily. 

  

Meatless Monday: Corn Casserole

Mix well and bake! Our friend “Hadge”  

 made this recipe at our most recent GTW. I can say only this about her recipe for Corn Casserole: delicious!  I tried it out last week as a test for Thanksgiving recipes. You will see the other recipe I tried next week. They are both home runs!

Corn Casserole

Serves 8-10 as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 Can of corn (do not drain)

1 Can of creamed corn

1 stick of salted butter (melted)

2 eggs

I box of Jiffy

4 oz sour cream (or yogurt)

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl then pour into a 9×13 baking and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes.

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