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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Why Organic Almonds? Because of the Super-Toxic Fumigant Propylene Oxide

As more and more people are moving toward a plant-based diet and migrating away from animal products, organic cannot be forgotten in this equation.

Unfortunately, I see far too many people who think that as long as it is plant-based, that is sufficient. It’s not.

Case in point: almonds.

In the early 2000s, there were a few outbreaks of salmonella traced to raw almonds from California, a state where nearly 100% of America’s almonds are grown. As a result, the USDA implemented a rule that required all almonds grown in California to be pasteurized. This holds true for both organic and non-organic varieties.

What is essential for people to understand are the methods that can be used to pasteurize the nuts.

“California can use steaming, steam-vacuuming technology, blanching, dry-roasting, oil roasting or propylene oxide. However, propylene oxide, also known as PPO, is prohibited in organic,” said Wendy Larsen, General Manager at Big Tree Organic Farms, a California-based grower and manufacturer of organic almonds and almond products.

There is a good reason why the spraying of PPO is banned in organic — it is a super-toxic chemical that is used in foams in furniture and car seats, building insulation, waterproof clothing and aircraft de-icers.

Furthermore, the American Cancer Society says in its National Toxicology Program 14th Report on Carcinogens, PPO is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” That means it is reasonable to assume that PPO causes cancer to humans. Furthermore, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that PPO is a “probable human carcinogen.”

Does this mean that all conventionally-grown almonds, almond butters, almond milks and other almond products apply PPO in order to pasteurize the almonds?

Not necessarily.

There are companies that disclose on their websites that they do not use PPO on their conventional almonds, such as what supermarket chain Natural Grocers says about their almonds sold in bulk. However, unless you are going to contact the manufacturer and ask them directly, you just do not know. This is particularly difficult when you are at a restaurant, and you have absolutely no idea what the brand is. The bottom line is that all conventionally-grown almonds can be treated with PPO.

Even if the conventional almonds are PPO-free, they are allowed to be sprayed with other super-toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate — the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp. And according to EPA documents from October 5th, 2015, 85% of almonds are treated with glyphosate. Why should this concern you?

The State of California said that glyphosate is known “to cause cancer.”

Because of the salmonella outbreak many years ago, even California-grown organic almonds must be pasteurized. So, the question that some people may be asking is: what do you do if you want organic almonds that are truly raw and unpasteurized?

There are options.

Because of the Roadside Stand Exemption in California’s almond pasteurization law, consumers can purchase up to 100 pounds of organic, unpasteurized almonds per day directly from farmers. Or, you can purchase organic, unpasteurized almonds which have been grown abroad, such as from Italy.

If buying in bulk is too inconvenient, there are companies that source their almonds from overseas.

Jem Organics, a fantastic brand of organic almond butters, purchases its raw, organic almonds from Spain.

Jen Moore, founder of Jem Organics, told me, “We have done extensive testing on the organic almonds from Spain for both mold and chemicals, and they have all come back clean.”

Whether you prefer pasteurized or unpasteurized almonds, one thing is certain — they must be organic.

A message from E3Live

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The best testimonial that I can give is that I drink this every single day, as it impacts my mood in an incredibly positive way.

E3Live + BrainON is certified organic, fresh-frozen AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) with a concentrated, aqueous, organic extract of Phenylethylamine and Phycocyanin.

Learn more.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

The 3 Most Important Foods to Eat Organic

For many people, switching to an all-organic diet is simply not practical or possible. And I completely understand this.

So, if a person can’t keep an entirely organic household, what organic foods should they buy?

My Top 3 Most Important Foods to Eat Organic

1) MILK If you have kids, organic milk should be the absolute number one priority for the entire household. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that the children are drinking organic milk.

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A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Top 10 Herbs by Nutrient Density

By now, many of you may be familiar with the “ANDI Scores” when you walk into the produce section of Whole Foods Market.

Created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index” and ranks a food’s nutrient density on a scale from 1 to 1000.

The ANDI scores are calculated by evaluating an extensive range of micronutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities, and by dividing the nutrient level of a food by its caloric content (N/C).

For context, kale, a dark leafy green, scores 1000 while soda scores 1.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Have We Been Misled? 5 Organic Foods That Should Make You Think Twice

I spend an inordinate amount of time learning about the healthiest and newest organic food products available. Through my research at the various trade shows — most notably, Natural Products Expo East and Natural Products Expo West —  talking to industry contacts, roaming supermarket aisles, speaking with as many well-informed food people as I can and reading books, I have come to the following conclusion:

You can take almost any food in the world and some health expert will have something good to say about it while a different health expert will have something bad to say about it.

So, what I do is educate myself as much as I can and then make my own decision about whether I should be eating it or not.

The following five organic foods seem to be the most controversial. While books could be written on all of the foods below and by no means am I covering all of the pros/cons of each, I will try to highlight the most salient points.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink