Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ethylene Gas Ripened Tomatos

Most of the non-organic tomatoes that you find in a supermarket "year round" are not grown and allowed to ripen naturally. These tomatoes are sprayed with a ripening agent called "Ethylene gas".

Studies have shown that long term exposure to this gas in lab rats caused an increased risk of cancer.

Something to think about...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stale Bread

I couldn't bring myself to throw out some of our stale home made bread, so I made croutons.

*Cut the bread into small cubes.

*Place in bread and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever seasonings you like

*Cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes

These were absolutely delicious, and probably the cheapest/healthiest croutons you can find.


Expensive Organic?

Excerpt from "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan

I asked Joel how he answers the charge that because food like his (organic) is more expensive it is inherently elitist.

"...whenever I hear people say clean food is expensive, I tell them it's actually the cheapest food you can buy."

"Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water - of all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap."

"You can buy honestly priced food or you can buy irresponsibly priced food."

Adrianne Collects Eggs

Adrianne is learning that eggs don't have to come from a supermarket. Thanks to my brother Chris, and his many chickens, Adrianne has been able to collect our eggs herself. I believe she is starting to see the importance of knowing where the food we eat comes from.

What we consume should never be a mystery. We research our mechanics, carpenters and plumbers. Why not our farmers?

Monday, February 22, 2010


If your like us then you probably thought eating "Sarah Lee 45 Calorie Delightful" bread from the supermarket was a healthy option. Sure, the calories are low, but at what cost?

Leave a loaf of this bread alone for a couple weeks. You won't see much of a difference. Here is why:


Water, enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), folic acid], cottonseed fiber,wheat gluten, high fructose corn syrup, wheat protein isolate, cornstarch, contains 2% or less of the following: yeast, salt, calcium
propionate (preservative), yeast nutrients (mono-calcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate), natural flavor, dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium peroxide), soybean oil, sucralose, guar gum.

Try baking your own bread. It's relatively easy if you buy any of the "Bob's Red Mill" bread mixes, and you don't need a bread maker machine. The end result is whole, nutritious, and tastes great.

They sell these bread mixes almost everywhere. There is a large selection at HyVee on 40 hwy and Noland.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Local Dairy

Our family drinks 1-2 gallons of milk a week. That gives us a lot of potential to ingest a liquid produced from an animal that is often given growth hormones and fed corn grown in an industrialized setting with petroleum fertilizer and a long list of chemicals/pesticides. Studies have shown that milk carries some of these harmful chemicals when the cow is exposed.

Luckily, we have toured and fell in love with a local dairy.

Shatto Milk Company is a local dairy which prides themselves on "No Growth Hormones" and milk from cow to shelf in 12 hours!

The milk comes in glass bottles (which require a $1.50 deposit) and tastes delicious.

My wife and I both agree, buy local when available. When presented with Organic vs. Local, we will often take the local option.


Organic isn't perfect. There are a couple of factors which we believe make local the best option.

1. Local produce, milk, and meat have a travel time which allows for the best tasting, and freshest available products.

2. The impact of transportation with organic food is sometimes so great that it offsets the positive environment impact. A peach traveling 500 miles burns a lot of fossil fuel.

3. Supporting local farmers and a local economy will only benefit the cause.

Take the time to find a local dairy.

Make a weekend out of it. Take the family and see how these animals feed, and how they are cared for.

The local dairy is still out there, and it's worth it.

Read The Label

Take a second to read the ingredients label on that box in your hand...


A couple of months ago, I was inspired by a documentary.

I casually watched "Food Inc.", not expecting to leave with much more than a broader knowledge of the food industry.

What this movie did for me, was plant the seeds of nutritional knowledge. I became more interested in reading the ingredients of the food I was ingesting, and feeding to my children. Slowly I became more familiar with a certain list of ingredients.

Here is the ingredient list from a box of Lucky Charms:

Whole Grain Oats, Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellows 5 & 6, Blue 1, Red 40, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Oat Flour, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Color Added, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), A B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), A B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D

Should my 4 year old daughter be consuming four different artificial colors, and several refined corn chemicals/ingredients each morning for breakfast?

...5 days a week?

...for 18+ years?

These are the questions I began asking myself, and discussing with my wife.

Our Conclusion :

"Until our children are old enough to make their own nutritional decisions, it is our responsibility to present them with the best available option".

Well, here we go....

Organic in a Box

For the past few weeks we have been making the transition to Organic. We have slowly been replacing breads, snacks, milks, and meats to either organic or "whole" (Whole means the ingredients contain no preservatives or refined flour/sugar).

Buying USDA Certified Organic snacks and boxed foods is a relatively easy endeavor. There are a lot of options to choose from, even at the local HyVee. Most of the boxed organic items taste pretty similar to the preservative and chemical laden foods down the main aisles of the supermarket, but do cost a bit more.

Do they really "cost" more though? That is a topic for another day....

You can find several shelves of organic cereals, cookies, fruit snacks, and chips in the typical grocery store. These are the easiest to start with when beginning the transition.

Take this quick challenge :

1. Grab a box of your kids favorite cereal from the inner aisles of the store (Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Corn Flakes).

2. Find the equivalent cereal with the USDA Certified Organic seal.

3. Read the ingredients.

4. Do you recognize any of those chemicals on the center aisle cereal? Sadly, this works for just about all boxed foods.

So here we are...

There is something compelling me to fan the tiny flame of change that has recently began burning brightly. I am seeing with a new set of eyes, and a broader acceptance of the most basic needs in life.

You may ask, "What is minimalism?". There are many definitions pertaining to several facets of life, but what I have centered on "minimizing" are:

1. The effect of the industrialized food industry on my family's nutrition
2. Our physical footprint on future generations
3. Disappearing knowledge of non-invasive "natural" techniques

The recent changes and readjusting of priorities have led me to feel the need to share this journey. After all, sharing the successes and failures of this adventure may help to strengthen the core set of principles that are growing, but still a foundation for a much larger ideal.

This small piece of virtual paper will be the place for this family to share a lifelong pilgrimage of minimal proportions.

~ Rolling digital paper ~
~~ Placing into bottle ~~
~~~ Throwing into the virtual sea ~~~