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Monday, April 28, 2014

Organic Eating as a Way of Life

I am another person who has recently "gone organic." Gluten-free, too (since 2005). But, I discovered that gluten-free wasn’t good enough, when I fell sick with shingles in the summer of 2013. My doctor said I might have to live on anti-viral pills for the rest of my life to keep the shingles at bay...and I KNEW that kind of treatment would kill me. Quite literally. I walked out of his office and located a naturopathic doctor who suggested that the only way to build up my immune system and my health was to go completely organic.

"Our bodies are designed not for drugs, but for nutrition," he gently reminded me.

I could sense the clear logic in that statement and I heartily agreed with him.

So I went home and began my transition to real food.

Not a small feat, but through my learning process I discovered how much Genetically Modified Organism food (GMO food) I had been eating. Inadvertently, of course. Now I so obviously am not a fast-food fiend, being gluten-free. Most fast-food places do have not even one gluten-free item and most of that food would be GMO besides.

Nevertheless, I was getting enough crap food in my body to make me sick. It would kill me if I didn’t take drastic measures.

"Start where you are at," my new improved doctor stated matter-of-factly. "Begin with your staples. In other words, what do you eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner?"

I had recorded the food I was eating ahead of my appointment and found that I wasn't too far off course, from what he was now suggesting. Lots of good home cooking plus occasionally eating out at a "good" family restaurant in our neighborhood. Good food, except for lots of pesticides. *sigh* But I had to start somewhere. Some people learn much from their mistakes. Maybe not even mistakes. Just a learning process. I was encouraged!

My first shopping spree for organic groceries was most interesting. My selected foods contained the labels "organic" and "gluten-free."

I was surprised how much healthy food remains on the shelves and in the bins. The food industry would have us believe that up to ninety percent (90%) of the grocery store food is GMO and sprayed with pesticides. During my quest for healthy food and knowledge, I realized more and more new "health foods" are springing up with my kind of labels: "Organic" and "Gluten-Free." I am excited how well my new lifestyle is going!

Of course most vegetables are not glutenous. Mostly, that term applies to the breads and processed "convenience" foods. My biggest challenge was finding a "gluten-free and organic" bread. Only one such bread exists at my grocery store: Silver Hills makes a "Chia Chia" and a "Flax" gluten-free, organic bread. I put quotation marks around it because the bread base is really Sorghum. Chia seeds or flax flour are added ingredients. I find myself eating very little bread, only about two slices per week, just because the bread is, well, kind of like a brick.

Now I read every. single. label in my quest for safe ingredients.

I discovered that all ingredients must be organic, otherwise they may be genetically modified or else sprayed with toxic pesticides---or both.

I learned that:
  • Organic labels have a five-digit product code, beginning with nine (9----),
  • GMO foods begin with eight (8----),
  • A four-digit number beginning with four (4---) means the product is conventionally-grown, likely with pesticides (or else they would call themselves "organic").

During the short time since I've "gone organic," my life has changed considerably for the better. The shingles infection has cleared up. I have regained my health, with no recurring episodes of shingles. I plan to keep my good health and that means I will never go back to the state of ignorance from whence I came. Best thing is I'm not craving any of those foods from my past. The one thing that I do miss is eating out. But, I figure that restaurants will come on board, once they figure they are losing entire families at a time by not serving organic selections.

Yet, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface.

I support the initiatives to go organic and follow many good websites and blogs to keep myself informed about eating my way to health. And really, organic is how our food existed before the big food monopolies decided to create toxic food for us.

From now on, I decide what to eat and what to avoid!

*For more information:
GMO Introduction Institute for Responsible Technology (Video)
GM Foods, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gluten Sensitivity – What is the relationship? (Dr. Jonathan Berghamer's Blog)
Help for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia (Video)
Dealing With Depression (Video)
Seeds of Death (Documentary)

Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
Copyright © 2014.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Restaurant Review of Sushimoto

My partner & I chose to dine at Sushimoto since we had a yen for Japanese food. The restaurant appeared near the top in a Google search and made a claim that it served 90% organic food. One of the highest percentages, we noted. It is located under the Holdom SkyTrain Station, at Holdom Avenue and Lougheed Highway in Burnaby, British Columbia.

We arrived at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening and were seated almost immediately. It’s a small place with about eight tables. As we browsed the menu, no mention was made of the word “organic” so I had to wait until a waitress actually came to take our order to inquire about organic menu items. She didn’t have the answer, so she consulted with the chef and the rest of the staff. I couldn’t hear what was said because first, it was in a foreign language and second, the restaurant was loud and echoed like the cone of silence in those old Maxwell Smart sit-coms back in the day. Remember that?

After about five minutes the waitress again approached me and pointed to three kinds of wild/organic sashimi and a garden salad. Sort of fell short of the 90% claim, but oh well. Whether these folks actually know what the term “organic” means came to mind. I’m kind of at the same place I was at with the gluten-free transition I underwent back in 2005. Some people seem to think if they “buy local” they are buying organic. So I suppose we are breaking new ground and I must trust what the restaurant staff suggests.

The food arrived quickly. My partner ordered four kinds of fish atop a bowl of rice. I ordered Wild Atlantic Salmon Sashimi garnished with radicchio and a mint leaf. The second dish contained a beautiful Garden Salad. The dressing I'm guessing consisted of sweet vinegar, oil, slivered almonds and cranberries. Good size portions — and truly delicious!

I will know if they mislead me — even inadvertently — by morning I will have an eczema eruption with which to contend. Pesticide-laden vegetables or farmed fish filled with growth hormones and antibiotics will do that to me.

Fortunately I brought my own organic pickled ginger without toxic Aspartame. As well, I brought along an organic and gluten-free tamari sauce. There is no such thing as organic AND gluten-free soya sauce I have discovered. But for me, Tamari is a reasonable facsimile. No such thing as organic AND gluten-free wasabi either. Yes, a gluten-free version exists, but the second ingredient is Canola Oil and you can bet it’s genetically modified.

Well, sure enough, Monday morning I awoke with an eczema outbreak. I suspect the salad dressing was the culprit. Also I couldn’t help notice the divide between the restaurant’s “90% Organic” claim and the waitress suggesting four menu items. Next time we want sushi I’ll bring my own home-made dressing in my trusty “condiment bag.”

I do realize there is much mis-information about what defines healthy food. Terms such as Organic, Natural, Non-GMO, Healthy, and Buy Local, all have different meanings depending on where you live and how much industry lobbying (read: BRIBING) goes on in the government. Why, back in the 50’s Monsanto placed a food ad with the catchy phrase that "DDT is good for me-e-e!"

Imagine. DDT is a toxic pesticide now widely used on our food. No wonder organic farmers are springing up all over the map.

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I recently turned to organic eating, and as a result of the toxins in our food which were making me sick, we haven’t eaten out in three months — and it’s high time my partner and I had a date night!

I do hope that one day soon restaurants will post signs in their windows such as “Non-GMO, Gluten-Free and Organic Meals available here!”

As time moves forward I believe more and more people will be requesting healthy organic food — and real food will be the norm. The food industry as it now stands is not sustainable.

Is anyone else out there in search of organic restaurants in the Vancouver lower mainland? I’d love to know about your experiences with eating out.


Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith
Copyright © 2014.