Organic


In an effort to pare down my ingestion of corn syrup, I went on a mission to upgrade some of my condiments. Behold, Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup. I absolutely love this ketchup! It has a tart, tomato-vinegar flavor that is fresh and authentic.  Even my picky eaters (two sons) enjoy the flavor. It’s not as sweet as the more popular, mainstream brand that is corn syrup-laden. I also love the fact that the Trader Joe’s  ketchup has its own facebook fan page:

http://www.facebook.com/organicketchup#!/organicketchup?sk=info

With only a few organic ingredients and an affordable price tag, Trader Joe’s ketchup makes it easy to swap out one HFCS condiment in my  family’s diet. I appreciate the opportunity to eat something that is simply what it SHOULD be–which is a tomato-based product, organically produced, without unnecessary additives. Also, the price (less than $3) is competitive to other brands while remaining easy on my wallet.

Check out Trader Joe’s here: http://www.traderjoes.com/index.asp  For the thrifty, note–they DO accept manufacturer coupons! Note–the company accepts coupons for items NOT under the Trader Joe’s label.

*HFCS=high fructose corn syrup.

**Ingredients in Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup: Organic tomato puree Organic sugar Salt Organic white vinegar Organic onion powder Organic spices

As an omnivore with a family that likes to eat meat, I’ve been on the prowl for over a year to revamp our family’s diet and eat meat that has been more consciously raised and finished. Factory farmed meat=not for me. My toddler loves hot dogs, but I was skeptical about serving him something that I typically associated with nitrites, unsavory animal parts, and general “yuck” factor. In my local supermarket, I came across Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs and I decided to give them a try. I had been buying Applegate Farms cold cuts for some time, as I appreciate the company’s dedication to humane treatment of animals. I am happy to report that Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs are now my family’s go-to hot dog. They are delicious!

My little guy really enjoyed these hot dogs. I gave it a try, eating a little bit and finding a pleasurable beef flavor that didn’t have any chemical or acidic aftertaste. They are plump and they aren’t greasy like some other hot dogs I’ve had in the past.

What really appeals to me is that Applegate Farms is a company that is forthright with its customers concerning its practices and products. Its new “Promise Tracker” allows the consumer to track the product (in my case, the hot dogs) back to the farm from which it originated.

Simply, the hot dogs taste good because the beef is derived from grass-fed, free-roaming animals. These are cows that haven’t been sick or fed antibiotics. The meat that goes into Applegate Farms hot dogs is quality meat–it’s not a mish-mash of grade Z meat that would frighten a customer. The ingredients list is short and clear: “Organic Grass-Fed Beef, Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Sea Salt, Celery Powder, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Spices, Organic Paprika.” It’s that simple. There’s nothing on the ingredients list that is a mystery or that I can’t pronounce. There’s nothing like “natural flavors” that are typically synthetic. Applegate Farms is clear and straightforward with what goes into its products and why the final product is superior.

What also appeals to me is that the organic uncured beef hot dog is also lower in fat than its counterparts in my supermarket. Weighing in with 6 grams of fat (as opposed to 14 grams in other brands) per serving makes me feel better about what I’m serving.

It means a lot to me to be able to make a conscious decision about what my family eats–and I have to say, Applegate Farms makes it a bit easier for me. I’ve stood in supermarkets, staring at factory farmed meat and felt frozen in place, wondering what I should/could buy without putting my family at risk for e. coli, omega-6 fat, etc. I’ve wondered if the labels I’ve been reading that say “cage free” or “organic” actually mean what they say. When I buy Applegate Farms products, I’m not worried. I appreciate having that peace of mind when I buy food for my family.

My favorite products are currently these hot dogs, the ham, the cheese, the uncured bacon, and the sausages. Delicious!

Hotdogs

Although I greatly admire vegetarians and vegans for their commitment to meat/dairy/fish-free lifestyles, the truth is that my family is more omnivore that not–thus, prompting me to find grass-fed, grass-finished beef.  I’m a stickler when it comes to eating meat that is sourced humanely and sustainably whenever possible, and I’m lucky to have two Whole Foods Markets near my home.

Whole Foods has a blog on which is an article recently posted concerning their grass-fed, grass-finished beef. Although some detractors are disappointed that not all of the beef sold in Whole Foods is local, the Whole Foods standards for beef are up to my standards. The information that you can find on the Whole Foods site concerning their business practices, philosophies, and products is plentiful–and plainly stated. The blog article “The Scoop on Grass Fed Beef” by Paige Brady is definitely worth checking out, if you want to learn more about grass-fed beef.

I heard about the recent egg recall due to salmonella and immediately checked the eggs I purchased. I was glad to see that my eggs were from Sauder’s Eggs  which has such stringent testing for their eggs quality/ safety. I found these eggs for sale at Fairway Market and immediately, I noticed the “CERTIFIED HUMANE” stamp on the carton. I’m always on the lookout for food that comes from organic, sustainable, and humanely-produced sources. Sauder’s Eggs is a company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania–a place that I love to visit!–with a genuine, honest approach to fair treatment of animals and the employees who work there. I wish that there were more businesses like this one who sold their wares in supermarkets. After watching Food Inc. and doing a bevy of research, I’ve been bypassing “traditional” factory farmed food as much as possible. I can’t imagine serving my family eggs that were produced by chickens living in such unsanitary, inhumane conditions (as most of the “agribusiness” eggs are). Now that there is more demand for healthy, organic, humane food, prices are becoming more competitive and are falling within my price range. The Sauder’s Eggs dozen that I bought cost less than $2.00 at Fairway. Not bad!

It disturbs me that so many people are sick from the salmonella–instead of spreading illness to hundreds or thousands, agribusiness should be working to improve working conditions and living conditions–lose the overcrowded cages, sheds, and fecal-encrusted enclosures in which millions of animals “live” and thousands “work.” It’s so far beyond the time for change.

In the meantime, I will continue to buy meat and eggs from Fairway Market, Whole Foods, and local businesses. 

Keep informed on these pressing issues at http://www.takepart.com/news/tag/hungry-for-change/