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Thursday, October 17th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
Tuesday afternoon when I picked you up from school, your teacher Ms. Lauren directed me over to the current poster on the wall, featuring what you and your friends have been learning about this week.
The question was, “What do we buy at the grocery store?”
As always, you had the most random, confusing answer:
“Old MacDonald mac and cheese, apple squeeze things, fruit juice, pizza.”
By “apple squeeze things,” Ms. Lauren knew you meant fruit pouches (GoGo Squeez applesauce pouches).
But as for “Old MacDonald mac and cheese,” she had no clue…
I explained to her that Annie’s Homegrown makes a type of mac and cheese called Bernie’s Farm, which contains noodles in the shapes of rabbits, tractors, carrots, and cows.
That, to you, is “Old MacDonald mac and cheese.”
The only other peculiar answer I saw on the list was your friend Sophie’s:
Yes, well, I guess sometimes you do have to get spoons at the grocery store…
Of all weeks for this story to be something I would write about, when I signed on to the MSN homepage today, I saw a link to the story, according to Forbes, “America’s Top 25 Best Small Companies.”
Annie’s Homegrown is #10 on Forbes’ list!
Do you know how happy that makes me?
I love it that a food company like Annie’s Homegrown, who is committed to saying no to GMO’s (and Monsanto) and petroleum-based food dyes (like Kraft uses) is able to be so successful in the free market.
The other thing I love is that there’s enough people in America who demand real food (that doesn’t contain mysterious and potentially harmful chemicals) so that a brand like Annie’s can be this successful.
This is such a beautiful case of supply and demand.
But most of all, the best part of this story for me is, you love Annie’s enough to mention it at school as one of the necessary staples that you like to buy at the grocery store.
You’re as passionate about Annie’s as I am! (Okay, so maybe you just like the way their food tastes and looks, and you’re not really aware of Annie’s “no GMO” policy, but still.)
That gives me one more reason to be so proud of you.
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Sunday, September 8th, 2013
2 years, 9 months.
Our family cares about buying organic and non-GMO foods.
To put it lightly, I’m personally not a fan of Monsanto.
In fact, I recently (jokingly?) referred to them as the antichrist and GMO foods as the mark of the beast:
“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” [Revelation 13:17]
A good amount (that’s an understatement!) of the food bought or sold in America is GMO and not organic.
What’s the different between non-GMO and organic foods?
To put it simply, non-GMO (“GMO” stands for “genetically modified organism”) means that a company (like Monsanto) has not synthetically interfered with the seed of the food to fit a uniform, worldwide model.
If the food is organic, it means that chemicals and additives (like pesticides and fertilizers) were not used in the process of the food being grown.
Yes, a food product can be one without the other. I think of it this way: “Non-GMO” refers the the seed, “organic” refers to what happens to that seed once it is planted in the ground.
So how can we know which of our foods are both non-GMO and organic?
We’re definitely not waiting on the government to force companies to label their products…
Instead, we’re paying our respects (and money) to the food brands out there who not only have organic and/or non-GMO products, but who are smart enough to label their products that way, so that families like us know to buy them.
We’re not putting our blind trust and health in the hands of companies who use chemicals and synthetic modifications to “make” their foods.
We prefer our foods the way God intended them to be, instead.
And by now, enough people are passionate enough about this, like we are, that it’s getting easier to identify the labels for non-GMO and organic.
So we look for the “Non-GMO Project Verified” logo with the butterfly and the circular USDA Organic logo. We try to buy those options as much as possible.
We can’t stop non-organic, GMO foods from being sold. But we can certainly choose to buy the alternative. By alternative, I mean, the original.
Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.
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Sunday, July 28th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
I know, I know… After having just written to you a few days ago “Never Talk About Politics, Religion, Or Food You Don’t Eat,” the very next day I followed it up with “A Parent’s Prayer For Wisdom, Humility, And Grace,” which is obviously religious in nature.
And now here I am writing about food we don’t eat.
Of course, my point was that when do we talk about politics, religion, and food we don’t eat, it should be done in a way that’s inclusive, not exclusive. Plus, it has to be a conversation with someone who is already curious or open-minded enough to want to hear what you have to say.
I suppose anyone who has read the title “Non-Dairy, Plant-Based Options For Eggs, Cheese, Milk, & Butter” wants to be here, so I’m going to give this a shot.
As a quick refresher, it was about 4 and a half months ago that, sort of accidentally, I refrained from eating eggs or dairy for a weekend.
It was no coincidence that my severe sinus pressure, which had plagued me constantly since 1992, disappeared. Not to mention, whereas I used to be horribly allergic to cats as well, I can now pet and hold a cat without sneezing, coughing, itching, getting watery eyes, or having a headache for the rest of the day. Plus, I used to regularly get severe sinus infections with congestion and fever… that’s all gone too.
I don’t know the science behind this, I just know it’s been true for me. Needless to say, I have continued not eating eggs or dairy since that random, fateful weekend.
That had to be a bit challenging for Mommy at first, as you can imagine, because that meant she had to rethink all our meals, as well as which ingredients we kept in our fridge and pantry.
But Mommy is great! She has totally embraced this lifestyle change, and now, both you and Mommy are more non-dairy and plant-based as well.
The biggest help for her was a food blog called Oh She Glows. What a lifesaver! It has been really good about helping us understand the non-dairy, plant-based alternatives for the ingredients we use to depend on.
So, since our family’s meals are made without eggs, cheese, milk, or butter, what do we use instead?
I see this question asked frequently on Facebook, as several people I know have children with food allergies.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for what we do for these following American food staples:
Eggs in dessert: Applesauce or chia seeds.
Eggs for breakfast: Avocados.
Dairy milk: Rice milk and coconut milk. (I’m not loyal to a certain brand for either.)
Cheese: Avocados, unsalted cashews, or unsalted sunflower seeds.
Butter: Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread Original, which is non-dairy and plant-based, consisting of a natural oil blend from palm fruit, canola, soybeans, flax, and olives. Not to mention, it’s also non-GMO and gluten-free.
Since you and Mommy still do consume some eggs and dairy, our meals are constructed in a way that eggs and dairy can be added to the meal if desired.
Okay, then, that’s how our family survives without eggs and dairy. Any questions?
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Saturday, June 15th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
One of the most noteworthy things about seeing you grow up right now, in this phase of your life, is the way you’re experimenting with your speaking abilities.
We’ve been taking advantage of our family zoo pass by going every single weekend since we bought it about a month ago. In the process, I learned what a hot potato is.
“Look at that hot potato!” you would exclaim, referring to the climbable statue in the zoo’s playground.
I realized that in your version of the English language, a hippopotamus is a hot potato.
My mind went back to the year 1988 as you preceded to “feed” the “hot potato” some mulch.
Apparently, I was witnessing the live version of the board game “Hungry, Hungry Hippos.”
Of course, “hot potatoes” aren’t the only thing I have to remember to immediately translate in my mind.
When Mommy makes you Annie’s Homegrown macaroni and cheese for dinner, you always ask her to put “black cheese” on it.
Any guesses as to what that means?
Pepper. Black pepper is “black cheese.”
One of my favorite phrases of yours is a “regular bar.”
We have so many different types of organic fruit strip snacks we keep in the pantry, that’s how you have been identifying and differentiating fig bars.
Somehow the fact they have a whole wheat coating around them makes them “regular.”
“Mommy, I have a regular bar?” That’s the kind of thing I would overhear you ask Mommy.
Finally, I had to finally ask Mommy what that meant.
She explained they are the Nature’s Bakery brand (non-GMO verified) version of Fig Newtons.
So there you have it…
Hot potatoes are hippopotamuses.
Black cheese is black pepper.
And regular bars are fig bars.
It has just now occurred to me that really, only Mommy and I understand your version of the English language.
Even then, we’re still decoding what you say every day.
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