Trader Joe's does label private label products as low sodium, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and kosher to help customers make informed choices - but this trend stops short of reaching the seafood section. Trader Joe's customers are given no information regarding environmentally responsible seafood, and the Trader Joe's seafood section is stocked with a plethora of red list items, including orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, Atlantic salmon, and monkfish. To make matters worse, Trader Joe's actively disseminates misleading information about its seafood selection. In some stores, signs claiming that Trader Joe's seafood comes from sustainable and environmentally benign sources hang above the seafood freezer, lulling customers into a false sense of security and willfully duping patrons into supporting parts of the seafood industry that cause tremendous harm to the planet.
Trader Joe's sells 15 of the 22 red listed seafood items. If you don't feel like you can fully boycott Trader Joe's, at least stop buying fish there and voice your concern to the store managers. Greenpeace is also updating an activist toolkit for Trader Joe's consumers.
The debate is old: whether or not humans are evolutionary omnivores or herbivores. Those in favor of meat consumption point to our incisors as evidence we are meant to be omnivores. Those who think we are naturally vegetarians consider our long winding intestines as evidence we are not designed to eat meat; however, some doctors believe we should not be carnivores at all. According to Kathy Freston writing for the Huffington Post:
The point is this: Thousands of years ago when we were hunter-gatherers, we may have needed a bit of meat in our diets in times of scarcity, but we don't need it now. Says Dr. William C. Roberts, editor of the American Journal of Cardiology, "Although we think we are, and we act as if we are, human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us, because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores."
Sure, most of us are "behavioral omnivores"--that is, we eat meat, so that defines us as omnivorous. But our evolution and physiology are herbivorous, and ample science proves that when we choose to eat meat, that causes problems, from decreased energy and a need for more sleep up to increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Sweet organic fuji apples are used to make Yogachips. These baked snacks are full of crunchy apple flavor. They are made in a two part process where first the apples are baked and then popped. Yogachips are certified USDA Organic and Ecocert.
Ecocert is an international third party certifying body that verifies organic claims and grants organic certifications on behalf of the USDA.
Yogachips uses Ecocert certification because the apples it uses are grown in China. This certainly adds to the carbon footprint of this product if it is consumed in the US.
In the course of producing a wonderful apple chip, we also look for ways to ensure we benefit our suppliers and the environment. Our Fuji apples come from China's northern Shanxi Province and grow on the southern slopes of a mountain range facing the Yellow River. As terroir makes a good wine, so are the natural factors at our orchards critical to nature providing a sweet, juicy apple. Grown at 2,300ft, our USDA (NOP - National Organic Program) certified orchards are cool enough to deter most pests, allowing apples to grow and ripen robustly from the first April blossom through till October harvest.
Yogachips are also Kosher, gluten-free, Halal, and certified vegan. My children love them and can easily eat a couple servings in one sitting.
It's exciting to see more and more alternatives to disposable plates and cutlery appear on the market. Bamboo Studio has introduced a line of biodegradeable dinnerware:
Bamboo Studio is a revolutionary all-occasion dinnerware that is both disposable and reusable. Handcrafted from the sheath of the emerging bamboo plant, these dynamic new serving pieces are elegant, strong, and environmentally friendly.
Strong and leak resistant
Handcrafted from Bamboo sheath
No harsh chemicals or bleaches are used
Requires little energy to make and Bamboo is 100% biodegradable
Bamboo Studio's organic certification is pending. What makes these bamboo plates unique is that they are made from the sheath of the plant, so the living bamboo is not harmed. The sheath also has a beautiful texture. This dinnerware is longer lasting and sturdier than typical paper plates, besides it is far more aesthetically pleasing.
Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.
AAEM was founded in 1965 and is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to expand "the knowledge of interactions between human individuals and their environment." Specifically, AAEM is calling for:
A moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labeling of GM food.
Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GM foods.
Physicians to consider the role of GM foods in their patients' disease processes.
More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GM foods on human health.
We've long been a fan of the original Robert's American Gourmet Pirate's Booty in our home, but I have to admit we took a long break from the products following the Veggie Booty recall in 2007. Enough time has passed, and I hope Robert's Gourmet has learned their lesson, so Pirate's Booty is back in our kitchen cabinets. It's a great snack made from puffed rice and corn that is baked (not fried). We've tried six varieties of Pirate Booty, including two new flavors!
One of my favorite things about eating at the Millennium vegan restaurant in San Francisco is the organic mixed drinks on the menu. To make organic cocktails, you need to start with organic spirits. Blue Ice American Wheat Vodka is handcrafted from "pristine" Idaho water and certified organic neutral spirits by a family owned distiller.
As a USDA Certified Organic product, Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka bears the highest legal benchmark of purity that a beverage can receive. This guarantee ensures a commitment to environmentally sound farming void of chemical pesticides or harsh fertilizers and the absence of chemical additives or other possible taste-altering agents. Combined with a fresh harvest of hand-selected winter wheat and the seasoned palate of Blue Ice's veteran Master Distiller Bill Scott, the new spirit imparts a smooth body and a crisp, refreshing finish designed to please the discriminating vodka connoisseur.
Blue Ice also makes an organic potato vodka.
I'll be enjoying an organic cocktail this Friday evening thanks to Blue Ice!
CVS Pharmacy is now offering a line of disposable plates and bowls made from sugar cane. CVS Earth Essentials Paper Plates and Bowls are affordable and biodegradable. They hold up to water and oil (and a heavy plate full of locavore potluck foods). Made from sugar cane, a natural and renewable resource, these plates are also microwaveable. In just one to three months, these disposable plates and bowls completely biodegrade. It is good to see eco-friendly products in national chains, such as CVS, even though I prefer to support locally owned stores. Reaching out to mainstream American with eco-friendly products, even disposables, at least can make life a little bit greener for the average citizen.
Reward your employees with fresh, organic fruit! The FruitGuys make it easy by delivering organic fruit to your office every week.
The FruitGuys is the industry leader in providing farm-fresh produce to the American workplace. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in San Francisco, The Fruitguys has pioneered this fast-growing category that provides viable solutions to the ever-challenging workplace health crisis. The company was founded on the premise that bringing healthy brain food to the office can boost productivity, improve wellness and help companies improve their bottom lines. The FruitGuys provides fresh seasonal fruit from local farms to thousands of American businesses, from small family-run businesses to major Fortune 500 corporations.
Why fruit in the office? According to the FruitGuys, fresh fruit can increase morale, improve employee performance, and lower health care costs by improving health. FruitGuys makes it easy by setting up weekly or biweekly delivery, and the program is cost effective. Feeding your employees fresh, organic fruit rather than donuts or vending machine snacks will make them feel better and know that their company truly cares about their well-being.