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Better Choices

Organic vs. Natural: Understand the Difference, Educate Others

These past few days have been heaven for college football junkies such as myself. Why?

We got to watch a ton of great bowl games and the best is yet to come — January 10th when Auburn and Oregon play for the National BCS Championship. Then, a few months later comes March Madness, the college basketball championship tournament.

Now that I got the sports plug in, let’s talk about Organic vs. Natural.

I am addressing this now because when I was watching the Rose Bowl game yesterday (TCU vs. Wisconsin), a major potato-chip manufacturer kept popping up with its “all-natural” ads. The vegetables in the ads looked pristine, the kitchen was sparkling white and the cutting board was beautiful. It was about as picturesque and healthy-looking as you can imagine.

And, they kept saying their potato chips were “all-natural”.

According to the USDA’s website, this is what “natural” means.

As required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

Did you read that last sentence? There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

As a result, “natural” has been badly abused as a marketing technique, and tons of companies have used genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), synthetic chemicals, and growth hormones in the production of their “natural” foods.

Since the government has been unwilling to enforce any type of standard for the term “natural”, class action lawyers have gotten involved and filed lawsuits against corporations such as Pepsi (Naked Juice) and Kashi who have used ingredients that are anything but natural.

What to do?

Avoid buying products labeled as “natural” and purchase “organic” products.

Organic food has very strict standards — no GMOs, no toxic pesticides or chemicals, nothing artificial, nothing can be irradiated or grown in sewage sludge — and the certification process is rigorous. Organic food is MUCH healthier for a person and for the planet.

So, the next time some person or some advertisement says that a food product is “natural”, now you know what the word really means. Or, doesn’t mean.

A message from Tradin Organic

Why Tradin Organic is Prioritizing Regenerative Organic Farming

At Tradin Organic, we believe that regenerative organic farming is key to growing healthy and nutritious food ingredients — for now and for future generations.

And in Sierra Leone, we have grown the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified cacao.

Learn more.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

My Latest Concoction – Organic Black Sesame Seed Milk

Earlier this year, I wrote a post talking about the tremendous health benefits of black sesame seeds.

I love putting them on quinoa, millet, and on my salads, and they add a whole new dimension to whatever food that I am eating.

Since Brazil nut milk and cashew milk are two drinks that I make quite often, I started asking myself “What if I made a milk out of organic black sesame seeds?”

My immediate thought was that the taste would be too harsh or too strong, and that I would need to use a lot of honey or organic palm sugar to even it out.

Over the past week or so, I have been experimenting with black sesame seed milk and much to my surprise, I have been thrilled with the results.

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A message from Foodstirs

Finally! Yum-Mazing Donuts Without all the Junk

Consumers refuse to compromise, and Foodstirs — with its Junk-Free Bakery™ — is delivering on those expectations.

USDA certified organic, Non-GMO, nothing artificial, 25% less sugar than those other guys and yum-mazing taste!

Get your donuts today.

Organic Insider

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic — Child Labor and Sustainability Issues with Many Conventional Chocolate Brands

For many of us when we eat a piece of chocolate, our biggest concern is how many grams of sugar we are consuming.

Yet, how often do we ask ourselves — was this chocolate bar made with the help of child labor? Or, was the cocoa produced in a way that resulted in deforestation to the environment?

The truth about cocoa – the main ingredient in chocolate – is quite grim.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

10 Organic Foods You’ll Always Find in My Kitchen

For someone who loves organic food so much and cooks so often, my refrigerator is surprisingly empty. How could this be?

Well, I go food shopping A LOT and pretty much only buy whatever I need for the next meal that I’ll be eating. I have the good fortune of being able to do this because an amazing organic market is literally less a one minute walk from my apartment.

Plus, I LOVE going food shopping and making multiple trips to the market in one day is not exactly a burden. Staring at all of the amazing fruits and vegetables in the produce section is one of my favorite things to do.

Even though I do tend to “buy on-demand”, you’ll pretty much always find these 10 organic foods in my kitchen:

COCONUT OIL I am a huge fan of coconut oil.  Not only is it high in lauric acid and great to use after a workout but it is one of the few oils that you can safely heat and cook with. (Olive oil is not one of them.)

Aside from using organic coconut oil in my smoothies, I use it as a moisturizer as well.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink