March 23, 2011

EcoTensil and EcoTaster Replace Plastic Single Use Spoons

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When I was a child, we frequented Baskin Robbins. I think I tried all 31 flavors with those little pink disposable spoons (just one more example of the heavy carbon footprint of my childhood) EcoTensil and EcoTaster have a solution with their paperboard alternatives:

EcoTensil is building a lot of momentum in the industry by making a truly sustainable replacement for plastic tasting spoons. It's just one step of the green puzzle, but something that often gets overlooked. According to the Clean Air Council, enough paper and plastic utensils are thrown away every year to circle the equator 300 times. It is estimated that close to 40 billion individual plastic utensils--meaning between 14 and 18 billion plastic spoons--are produced each year, and as you know with such low rates of reuse and recycling, most of them end up in our landfills, beaches and oceans, where they are likely to remain for hundreds of thousands of years. This astounding figure gives businesses an easy opportunity to make a decision for the environment by doing away with these unnecessary pollutants and replacing them with environmentally friendly utensils.

Anything designed to be disposable is contrary to being green; however, we are not going to live in a perfect world anytime soon where disposables no longer exist. Just last week, 78,000 EcoTensil single-use spoons used at the Natural Products Expo.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 22, 2011

Radiation Found in Japanese Milk, Spinach, and Water


Fears of radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant entering the food supply have now been confirmed as reality. Trace amounts of radioactive iodine have been found in the drinking water; greater amounts have been found in Japanese milk and spinach.   

Huffington Post reports: 

 In the first sign that contamination from Japan's stricken nuclear complex had seeped into the food chain, officials said Saturday that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the tsunami-crippled facility exceeded government safety limits...

The tainted milk was found 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the plant, a local official said. The spinach was collected from six farms between 60 miles (100 kilometers) and 75 miles (120 kilometers) to the south of the reactors.

Those areas are rich farm country known for melons, rice and peaches, so the contamination could affect food supplies for large parts of Japan.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 15, 2011

Sunspire Sun Drop Cookie Recipe: M & M Cookie Healthy Alternative

Baking-SunDrops.pngI recently walked into our school kitchen and saw a flashback from my youth: M & M cookies. Luckily, Sunspire makes a natural alternative to M & Ms.  

Ingredients: Dried cane juice & unsulphured molasses, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin [a non-GMO emulsifier], pure natural vanilla), SHELL (Dried cane juice, whole rice solids, beta carotene color, beet juice color and caramel color, vegetable & beeswax, pure food glaze [without sugar]

Sunspire Sundrops Plain are delicious to snack on alone, but this week I was inspired to try the recipe on the bag and make cookies. Here is the recipe, with some healthy modifications. I omitted the additional chocolate chips and added spelt flour.

Sun Drop Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine and set aside:

  • 1/4 cup organic spelt flour

  • 2 cups organic unbleached white flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream together:

  • 8 ounces organic butter

  • 3/4 cup organic Sucanat (or brown sugar)

  • 3/4 cup organic sugar

Beat into sugar/butter mixture:

  • 2 organic eggs (add one at a time)

  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla

Blend in flour mixture slowly, then fold in:

  • 1 cup Sun Drops

  • 1 cup chopped organic walnuts

Drop by teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Yields three dozen cookies.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 10, 2011

GMO Warning: Your Natural Cereal is Genetically Modified!

Natural and genetically modified sound like antonyms to me; however, many "natural" cereals contain ingredients that have been altered from Mother Nature's design. Organic Consumer's Association explains:

Does "natural" mean non-GMO? Not likely. Many breakfast cereals labeled natural are likely to contain ingredients from genetically modified corn, soy, canola, and sugar beets.

This was a key finding from a survey of natural cereal manufacturers conducted by The Organic & Non-GMO Report. Several natural cereal manufacturers admitted that their products may contain GM ingredients, one manufacturer refused to comment, and three are putting their products through a non-GMO verification program to avoid the use of GMOs.

While GM ingredients are prohibited in certified organic food products such as cereals, "natural" products have no such requirements.

"Many natural products use GM ingredients"

Four natural cereal manufacturers issued statements saying that their products may contain GMOs. Malt-O-Meal, which manufactures Mom's Best Cereals, said "many all-natural products use some genetically modified ingredients, particularly corn. We respect that some people object to GMO ingredients for a variety of reasons, and we're continually researching and testing alternative ingredients that will make our cereals appealing to more people."

Quaker Oats, which manufactures Mother's Nature Cereals, said that because it buys bulk grains such as corn, soy, and canola "there is always a possibility that those grains may contain GMO material due to cross contact during manufacturing and transportation."

Even Kashi, a brand we have reviewed before here on Really Natural, will not guarantee there "natural" cereals are free of GMOs. I'm glad we can still safely enjoy our organic Kashi cereals!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 9, 2011

All Natural FruitziO Freeze Dried Fruit Snack Only 100 Calories Per Bag!

If you are looking for a full flavor delicious snack that is low in calorie, FruitziO may be the answer. Freeze dried fruit is crunchy and is a great treat; however, FruitziO is not organic. It is made by Crispy Green:

Our Crispy Green and new FruitziO product lines are created using a sophisticated freeze-drying process where water is removed from the fresh fruit in a cold (freezing) vacuum condition, leaving behind the true essence of the fruit in a light and crispy texture that's perfect for snacking.

Fruitzio comes in the following flavors:

These snacks are made in China, which does leave me with a little concern. Cane sugar is also added to these products, which makes me wonder what they would taste like if they were simply fruit. Our samples were packed in styrofoam peanuts (the non-compostable kind). FruitziO may be all natural and have great flavor, but these snacks would be better if they were organic, sugar-free, and made in the USA.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 22, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks: Raw Food for Real People

Raw food contains the most nutrients compared to its cooked counterpart. Other than fruit, most people don't eat enough raw food. Raw Food for Real People: Living Vegan Food Made Simple by Rod Rotondi makes it easy for anyone to be a raw foodie!

Many have touted the health and energy benefits of raw foods, but few have presented recipes and instructions for making raw food appealing -- and satisfying -- to everyone. Chef Rod Rotondi demonstrates that going raw isn't hard -- in fact, it's fun, easy, and more delicious than you've ever imagined. You will learn all the fundamentals of preparing your own raw foods at home, including setting up your raw kitchen, transitioning to raw foods, sprouting, dehydration, and raising your kids on raw foods. Best of all, he offers a wealth of recipes for smoothies, breakfast, appetizers, soups, salads, dressings, entrées, and decadent desserts. Rod demonstrates that the best -- and utterly delectable -- way to go green and get healthy is to eat fresh food in its natural state.

I especially like the section on "Making a Salad a Meal". We do this a lot in our home, and I feel so much better after a salad meal. I don't feel weighed down. From "rawsagna" to nut "mylk", there are recipes sure to please anyone, even skeptics.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 18, 2011

Pretzel Crisp All-Natural Spreadable Pretzel Cracker

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Pretzel Crisps are a unique, all-natural, although NOT organic, snack. They taste just like a real pretzel, only they are thinner and flatter allowing for spreadable toppings. One of my personal favorites dips for pretzels is hummus, and Pretzel Crisps allow for you add additional toppings like a sprig of basil or some avocado.

Using a patented technology to compress the center of the pretzel, Pretzel Crisps, has turned one of America's oldest snacks into the world's first spreadable pretzel cracker, with no fat, cholesterol, artificial flavors or preservatives and only 110 calories per serving.

Created by the husband and wife team behind New York Style Bagel Chips and Pita chips, the vision for Pretzel Crisps was of a thin and crunchy pretzel that could be great for spreading, dipping and adding toppings.

We tried three varieties of Pretzel Crisps:

 These are good snacks; however, I would prefer organic ingredients.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 17, 2011

Honey Reduces Weight Gain Compared to Other Sugars

In a study involving rats, researchers discovered that a honey-based diet promotes lower weight gain. According to the abstract for "Honey promotes lower weight gain, adiposity, and triglycerides than sucrose in rats":

Thirty-six male Sprague-Dawley rats (228.1 ± 12.5 g) were equally divided by weight into 2 groups (n = 18) and provided free access to 1 of 2 diets of equal energy densities differing only in a portion of the carbohydrate. Diets contained 20% carbohydrate (by weight of total diet) from either clover honey or sucrose. After 33 days, epididymal fat pads were excised and weighed, and blood was collected for analyses of serum concentrations of lipids, glucose, and markers of adiposity and inflammation. Body weight gain was 14.7% lower (P ≤ .05) for rats fed honey, corresponding to a 13.3% lower (P ≤ .05) consumption of food/energy, whereas food efficiency ratios were nearly identical. Epididymal fat weight was 20.1% lower (P ≤ .05) for rats fed honey.

We've known that honey does contain "small amounts of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants". Now we know it also helps maintain healthy weight. Next time when deciding what sweetener to use, consider honey.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by mynameisharsha

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 16, 2011

Two Degrees: Every Bar = Nutrition Pack for Hungry Child in Malawi

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Two Degrees is a unique company offering all natural, gluten-free fruit and nut bars. In exchange for every bar purchased, children in Malawi are fed.

For every Two Degrees nutrition bar sold, a medically-formulated nutrition pack is delivered to a malnourished child around the world. With the launch of Two Degrees nutrition bars, consumers can now feed a hungry child by purchasing food that tastes good and does good for the global community at

"Two degrees of separation is all that stands between Americans and the 200 million hungry children around the globe," says 24-year-old social entrepreneur Will Hauser, who co-founded Two Degrees Food. "We see ourselves not just as an innovative food company, but as a movement against childhood hunger. Our customers can join us in this fight through simple, everyday purchases of delicious Two Degrees nutrition bars."

Two Degrees bars are delicious; however, they are not made from organically-grown ingredients. I like the concept of the company, but I think that they should be supporting healthy nutrition in both the rich and impoverished countries with organic ingredients.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 15, 2011

Where's the Beef? Taco Bell Uses only 36% Beef

Hopefully if you are reading Really Natural, you do not frequent fast food restaurants. Not only is the quality of the food poor and caloric intake high, there are often issues of mislabeling or misleading consumers. Take for example Taco Bell.

"Where's the beef?" may have been the motto of the Wendy's fast food chain many years ago; however, it is applicable today for Taco Bell not because of small quantities, but because of actual beef content. In fact, a lawsuit has been filed about their "meat filling". The Consumerist reports:

The suit claims that Taco Bell's meat-like offering is filled with extenders and other non-meat substances listed in the lawsuit like water, "Isolated Oat Product," wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate as well as beef and seasonings. Yum!

As the USDA definition in the lawsuit says, to be called "ground beef," the product must "consist of chopped fresh and/or frozen beef with or without seasoning and without the addition of beef fat as such, shall not contain more than 30 percent fat, and shall not contain added water, phosphates, binders, or extenders."

Dr. Mercola further explains why it isn't even food, let alone beef:

Taco Bell is known for its inexpensive Mexican food available at all hours of the night -- not their dedication to serving healthy food. Still, passing off "taco meat filling" that contains only 36 percent actual meat as "beef" is pretty low, even for Taco Bell....

There are major incentives to center your diet on real foods as opposed to "food products" like the ones sold at Taco Bell and other fast-food outlets, the primary one being it is essential for optimal health. Real foods also taste delicious, and when bought from sustainable sources help to protect the environment. It's actually very easy to tell the difference. Real food almost always has the following characteristics:

  • Grown
  • Variable quality
  • Spoils fast
  • Requires preparation
  • Vibrant colors, rich textures
  • Authentically flavorful
  • Strong connection to land and culture
"Food products," meanwhile, tend to have these traits:

Produced, manufactured

  • Neat, convenient

  • Always the same

  • Keeps forever

  • Instant results

  • Dull, bland

  • Artificially flavorful

  • No connection to land or culture

Gizmodo posted a photo of what appears to be the label from a package of Taco Bell's taco meat filling, and you can see very clearly that it meets the definition for a food product, not a real food.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by compujeramey

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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