Posts Tagged ‘ organic ’

Frozen Tire Vs. Frozen Mac-And-Cheese Pizza

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

What do a frozen tire and a frozen mac-and-cheese pizza have in common? Other than them both having a Pac-Man sort of thing going on in that picture collage, they were two important plot devices in today’s story.

Let me back up to where the story actually begins, with Mommy quietly waking up at 8:03 AM. She had let me sleep in; I had stayed up until past midnight writing yesterday’s letters to you.

“Nick… something happened to my tire. I just looked out the window. It’s flat. What do we do?”

It’s been a while since I’ve had to change a flat tire to a spare to get it down to the nearest tire store… probably a dozen years, but for some reason, I tend to think most clearly first thing in the morning and late at night. (Evidently my head is just in the clouds for most of the day in between.)

The nearly brand-new tire for Mommy’s car got a nail in the side of it, and overnight, it froze after it flattened.

As it began snowing, you watched me through the front door, making snake shapes out of your Thomas the Train track against the glass.

Thank God this happened on the one day of the week where it didn’t really interfere with our family’s schedule. Had this happened any other day than Saturday morning, it definitely would have been quite annoying and offensive us getting to work and school, or at least church.

Lucky for you, Mommy and I let you pick out a toy car while the tire was getting replaced. You chose a green 1963 Aston Martin, by the way.

(Not to self: Always buy the extended warranty on tires from Firestone… We only had to pay 20 bucks to cover taxes and a re-up on the warranty. Brand-new tire and labor, $20.)

What could have been a really bad day, where I wasn’t able to change the flat to the spare to drive it to the tire store, meaning we had to pay for a tow truck or something, and where I didn’t fork out the extra cash last time for the extended warranty, we would have lost hundreds of dollars today.

Instead, only 20 bucks.

Plus, you got a very special treat for lunch once we got back to our house. I couldn’t have planned it this way, but yesterday, Annie’s Homegrown had someone personally deliver one of their new Macaroni & Cheese pizzas for you to try.

I’ve always been very outspoken in promoting their company, like a couple of months ago when I reported that they were ranked #10 on Forbes’ list of Best Small Companies in America.

By default, I have become a brand evangelist for Annie’s Homegrown, so passionate about the fact that they are committed to saying no to GMO’s (and Monsanto) and petroleum-based food dyes (like Kraft uses).

And by default, you have become an unoffical poster child for them.

(We’re even trying to work it out where we can visit their headquarters in Berkely next summer when we visit Mommy’s side of the family in Sacramento.)

So, unsurprisingly, Annie’s Homegrown chose you as one of the first kids in America to review their new Macaroni & Cheese pizza. I kept a little notepad handy to document your thoughts on it:

After seeing Mommy pull it out of the oven, you proudly proclaimed, “I’m going to eat all of that pizza!”

I should point out that you didn’t know you were doing a food review, so I found it pretty interesting that on your own, after you finished the last bite, you provided solid and definite feedback that I didn’t even ask you for:

“Daddy, I like this new mac-and-cheese pizza you got me.”

So I think that pretty much sums it up for the folks at Annie’s Homegrown and for the other curious kids across America who heard about that new mac-and-cheese pizza:

Jack liked it!

Since I was already recording everything you were saying, I want to remind you of the last thing you said before I stopped writing it all down:

“No Huggies, no kissies, ’til I see that wagon bean!”

(That’s your verson of the 1986 hit by The Georgia Satellites, “Keep Your Hands To Yourself.”)

The highlight of my day, though, was going back through the pictures of today’s events and seeing the parallel pictures, comparing me changing and rolling the flat tire in the morning to you changing and rolling your “brown tire” (the base of a papasan chair) later in the afternoon.

It wasn’t a coincidence you were doing that.

Yeah, that pretty much made my day, kid.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Disclaimer: The food mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Annie’s Homegrown, for the purpose of reviewing.

 

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Annie’s Homegrown Is America’s #10 Best Small Company

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

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: 

Spoons.

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.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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The Difference Between Organic And Non-GMO Foods

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

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.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.

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What I’ve Learned From Being A Vegan For 6 Months

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

*TMI Warning: Contains “too much informantion,” which may be deemed as innappropriate, controversial, and/or offensive to some readers.

Dear Jack,

It was 6 months ago I took that funny picture of you chowing down a messy, vegan chocolate cookie from Whole Foods, as I officially publicly identified myself as a vegan.

I have learned a lot since then about this growing alternative lifestyle; which now represents about 2.5% of the American population.

For one, I learned to stop using the word “vegan.” It’s not as marketable and has a bit of a negative, stereotypical connotation.

So instead, I refer to myself as “living a plant-based lifestyle.” It doesn’t offend people like the other word tends to do.

That’s a cue I took from several influential documentaries currently available for streaming on Netflix: Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For Change.

I also learned that I am no longer allergic to cats. Seriously, I can rub my hands and arms and face on a cat… and nothing happens- no itching, no sneezing, no headache. That has never been the case for me, until now. (Was I ever allergic to cats, or just eggs and dairy instead?)

Plus, and I apologize in advance for being so open about this, but since this is just between you and me, my sinuses are completely cleared out now. (In other words, I only produce a very small amount of clear, thin mucus. I see now that dairy products were the source of the thick, white and yellow stuff that led to my chronic sinus infections and non-stop sinus pressure which had plagued me since I was a kid.)

And while I’m being gross… I don’t really wear deoderant anymore. It’s not actually disgusting, though, considering that I don’t have body odor under my arms anymore. If you ask me, it’s only gross to not wear deoderant if you need it: No problem means no solution. I guess plants don’t produce as much odor when processed by the human body?

Another bizarre side-effect of removing eggs, dairy, and even honey, from my diet is that now, the thought of alcohol (I considered myself quite the expert of knowing a good craft beer or bottle of wine) sort of makes me nauseous.

It’s like the health benefits of drinking a responsible amount of beer or wine became irrelevant when I began only consuming plant-based foods. My body started getting enough of all the nutrients it always always wanted and needed. I  have learned that for me, alcohol now messes up the natural good vibes that the plant-based lifestyle gives me on a daily basis.

I’ve traded in my Blue Moon for coconut water, which is about the same price, but enhances my sense of well-being, instead of knocking it down. Plus, I’m getting into Yogi Tea, too.

After 6 months of living this way, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier, more energetic, or as clear-minded as I am now.

And I have seen how even though you and Mommy have remained vegetarians, like I was up until 6 months ago, my switch to eating only plant-based foods has influenced our family’s lifestyle as a whole.

Now more than ever, we try to buy as much organic and non-GMO foods as possible. What’s the difference between those two? I’ll be covering that more in my next letter to you…

I can see that my conversion to the “plant-based life” has caused our family, by default, to incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies into our meals and snacks.

Plus, some of my plant-based food alternatives have replaced some of the normal food options in our fridge.

We use Earth Balance butter (made from olives) instead of dairy butter. When Mommy makes cookies, she uses almond milk and/or applesauce instead of eggs.

After 6 months of this alternative lifestyle, I am convinced this is how I want to live the rest of my life. It’s not for everybody, but it is for me. And since you have me as a daddy, you sort of have no choice but to know about all this weird stuff.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.

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Decoding My Child’s Version Of The English Language

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

2 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

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.

 

Love,

Daddy

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