Archive for September, 2012

Why Melt® Organic Spreads are Certified Non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

We are proud to support the efforts of the Non-GMO Project and believe in their mission and philosophy. We are also pleased to announce that Melt and Honey Melt are certified non-GMO with the Non-GMO Project. Why does this matter?

Monsanto Safety Statement on Genetically Modified foods:

“There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans. So long as the introduced protein is determined safe, food from GM crops determined to be substantially equivalent is not expected to pose any health risks. Further, it is impossible to design a long-term safety test in humans.”

On December 7, 2010, the Dr. Oz Show aired an episode on the GMO debate. Monsanto declined to participate in the debate panel, instead issuing the safety statement above.

With phrases like, “no need for or value in testing”, “substantially equivalent”, and “impossible to design a long-term safety test in humans”, I have no consumer confidence in products invented and manufactured by Monsanto.

For context, no regulatory authority requires chronic (i.e., long-term) animal feeding studies to be performed for edible GMOs and formulated pesticides. The biotech industry (e.g., Monsanto) has conducted several studies consisting of 90-day rat feeding trials. The study period of 90 days is too short for adequately evaluating the potential effects of GMOs on health, even though these studies are repeatedly used to assert their safety.

Moreover, the studies conducted by the biotech industry focus on one single active ingredient, such as glyphosate in Roundup, instead of the total chemical mixtures that are actually used in agriculture, thus under-representing the potential toxic effects on environmental pollution and human health.

A disturbing new study published by the academic journal Food and Chemical Toxicity is the first to document the long-term deleterious effects (over a two-year period) of consuming GM Roundup-tolerant corn and of Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world (Séralini et al, 2012):

• In female rats, all treated groups died 2 to 3 times more than controls and more rapidly; the same results occurred in 3 male groups fed GMOs. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often and earlier than controls. The pituitary was the second most affected organ because the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments.

• In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5 to 5.5 times higher than controls. Significant and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3 to 2.3 times greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors that occurred 600 days earlier than the control group.

• Underscoring the inadequacy of 90-day trials, the first large detectable tumors occurred at 4 and 7 months into the study in males and females, respectively.

• The effects described above occurred at the lowest doses studied, i.e., most observed effects were not proportional to the dose of treatment but had a threshold effect at the lowest doses tested.

• The effects described above occurred in residual levels of Roundup formulations found in contaminated drinking water falling well within authorized, regulated limits.

Americans have the right to question GM foods, an infant science being forced into the food supply, when U.S. studies on the effects of GM foods are limited to 90-day trials on rats and are overwhelmingly funded by Monsanto.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Family?

The Institute of Responsible Technology offers a non-GMO buying guide for grocery shopping (download as a pdf or on your iPhone). Read more about it at the Institute of Responsible Technology website.

What are “Bad” Fats? 5 “Bad” Fats to Avoid

Monday, September 17th, 2012

This is one place where you won’t find anyone labeling high quality, organic sources of saturated fat – like virgin coconut oil – as “bad” fat. No, indeed the true “bad” fats, as we see define them, are described below:

Hydrogenated oils: In essence, hydrogenated oils are fake saturated fats, where long chain polyunsaturated fats (found in high quantities in corn, soy, and safflower oils) have been artificially converted into long chain saturated fats through a laboratory process. Not only do long chain fatty acids make higher demands on the body for utilizing them, the body is not able to easily transform these fake saturated fats with “trans” bonds versus naturally occurring saturated fats with “cis” bonds. Hydrogenated oils precipitated the dramatic increase of seed oil consumption in the American diet at the expense of quality forms of saturated fats and Omega 3s. For a more thorough discussion, we recommend reading Dr Mary Enig’s book (2000), “Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol.”

Animal fats from factory farmed sources: You are what you eat and the animals we consume are not any different. Think about it: if cows, pigs, and poultry are fed diets of mostly corn and soy (GMO or not), the nutritional profile of their diet is very poor as well as the food products we get from them, which lack vital minerals, vitamins, and quality forms of dietary fat, like Omega 3s. This is in addition to the ethical issues associated with factory farming.

Oxidized fats: Oxidized fats are usually fats high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g., flaxseed, corn, soy, canola, safflower oils) that have been exposed to enough heat to cause molecular changes like polymerization, double-bonding, and creating free radicals. Eating oxidized fats places a burden on the body and contributes to many chronic inflammatory diseases. Many mistakenly believe that oils high in polyunsaturated fats are “healthy” to use in cooking (e.g., safflower, corn, soy), when in fact they create toxic by-products that cause disease. Another unintentional source of oxidized fats is fish and flax oil gel caps. Often the oils in these gel caps are already rancid and should not be consumed. Only liquid forms of fish, cod, and flaxseed oil should be eaten, and only if stored in the refrigerator!

Oils high in Omega 6s: Americans in general consume too many oils high in Omega 6s (e.g., corn, soy, safflower oils), which can contribute to inflammatory disease as well as an Omega 3 deficiency. Both Omega 6s and Omega 3s use the same mechanisms for uptake in the body, so eating a diet high in Omega 6s out-competes Omega 3s from being absorbed properly. Omega 3 deficiencies have been linked to heart disease, arthritis, weight gain, cancer and inflammatory diseases. The ideal ratio for Omega 6s to Omega 3s in one’s overall diet is between 4:1 to 2:1. Melt Organic has a ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s of 2:1.

Plant fats from genetically modified organisms (GMO) sources: We feel strongly about certifying Melt Organic and Honey Melt non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project because information is coming to light that suggests we should approach GMOs with caution.

Why We Use Organic Honey, Not Agave Syrup in Honey Melt® Organic

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Why We Use Organic Honey, Not Agave Syrup in Honey Melt® Organic

Agave (pronounced ‘uh-GAH-vay’) nectar is a sweetener that ranks relatively low on both the glycemic index and glycemic load scales. Many health-conscious people have switched to agave as a safer alternative to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sweetener that is well documented to cause many health problems.

Unfortunately, agave nectar is actually far worse than HFCS, which is why we only use whole food sweeteners like organic wildflower honey and organic coconut nectar in Honey Melt. Most agave syrup has fructose contents higher than any commercial sweetener ranging from 70 to 97 percent.

Leading experts across the country, including Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Mercola, and the Weston A. Price Foundation, caution against the use of agave nectar as a “healthy” and “safe” alternative to HFCS. As reported by Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt, a fellow of the American College of Nutrition and an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health: “Agave is almost all fructose, a highly processed sugar with great marketing.”

Fructose does not increase insulin levels but dramatically increases insulin resistance, which is far more dangerous. Research shows that excessive fructose consumption deranges liver function and promotes obesity. Fructose is a major culprit in the rising incidence of Type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It may also increase risks of heart disease and cancer.

The less fructose you consume, the better.

(While fructose is the primary sugar in most fruits, fruits in their whole form also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and vital nutrients like antioxidants. Fructose is not intrinsically bad for you, however moderation is highly recommended since HFCS is added to virtually every processed food.)

What is Agave?

Agaves grow primarily in Mexico but also in the southern and western United States and South America. Agaves are succulents of the yucca family, more closely related to amaryllis and other lilies. Edible parts of the agave are the flowers, leaves, stalks and the sap.

Blue agave is an exotic plant growing in the rich volcanic soil of Mexico under a hot tropical sun with a stately flower stem that blooms only once in its lifetime. “Agave” literally means “noble.” It’s generally recognized as a superstar of the herbal remedy world claiming to offer relief for indigestion, bowel irregularity and skin wounds.

Ferment it, and you have Mexico’s favorite adult beverage – tequila.

Unfortunately agave’s royal pedigree has no relation to the high-fructose syrup sold as agave nectar, which is a highly processed and refined product.

Most agave “nectar” is not made from the sap of the yucca or agave plant but from its pineapple-like root bulb. The root has a complex carbohydrate called inulin that is made up of fructose molecules. The process that many agave producers use to convert this inulin into “nectar” is very similar to the process by which cornstarch is converted into HFCS. Most commercially available agave is converted into fructose-rich syrup using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process involving caustic acids, clarifiers and filtration chemicals.

Other Reasons to Steer Clear of Agave

Poor Quality Control. Few quality controls are in place to monitor the production of agave syrup. Because most agave sold in the U.S. comes from Mexico, industry insiders are concerned that most agave producers are using lesser, even toxic, agave plants due to a shortage of blue agave.

Pesticides. There are concerns that some distributors are adulterating agave syrup with corn syrup – how often and to what extent is unknown. The FDA has refused shipments of agave syrup due to excessive pesticide residues.

Saponins. Agave is known to contain large amounts of saponins. Saponins are toxic steroid derivatives, capable of disrupting red blood cells and producing diarrhea and vomiting. There is also a possible link between saponins and miscarriage by stimulating blood flow to the uterus. So you should definitely avoid agave products if you are pregnant.

Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Some agave syrups contain HMF (a contaminant also called 5-hydroxymethyl furfural), which is an organic heat-formed compound that arises in the processing of fructose – in both agave syrup and HFCS. HMF has potential toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects.

Nutrient Void. Agave syrup is not a whole food as nearly every brand’s product is fractionated and processed, thereby devoid of the nutrients contained in the original whole plant.

Enzymes. Agave syrup is not a live food. The natural enzymes are removed by most companies to prevent agave syrup from fermenting and turning into tequila in your food pantry or cabinet.

Addictiveness. Agave is, for all intents and purposes, highly concentrated sugar. Sugar and sweeteners wreak havoc on your health and are highly addictive.

Mercola.com. “Shocking! This ‘Tequila’ Sweetener is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup”, March 30, 2010.

Stanford’s Report on Organic Food Should Serve as a Serious Wake-Up Call

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Written by Max Goldberg on September 5, 2012

Late Monday night, I read about the Stanford University report on organic food, which said that organic and conventionally-grown food offered similar nutritional benefits, and have spent the last few days processing this news.

After careful thought, here are my key takeaways.

INTELLECTUAL HONESTY MUST REIGN SUPREME

Based on the parameters that the Stanford professors used, it was obvious that organic was going to be the clear loser before they even got started.

Why?

No study that they looked at was longer than two years. Furthermore, rather than doing their own testing, the Stanford professors compiled other people’s research, much of which was presumably biased, influenced and/or funded by industry.

Doing it this way, how can anyone be in the least bit surprised at what Stanford came up with????

As I say all of the time, plant nutrition is all about soil quality.

How can soil that is not bio-diverse, that has been ravaged by toxic pesticides, and that is not the recipient of crop rotation produce food with the same nutritional content as organic food?

I don’t believe that it can.

How can genetically-modified food (much of which has toxins genetically-inserted inside of it) or food produced with synthetic growth hormones have the same nutritional content as organic food?

I don’t believe that it can.

A person doesn’t need to be a MD or PhD to come to a similar conclusion.

A person just needs to be intellectually honest.

A WAKE-UP CALL

While I could go on and on poking holes at this report, there is a bigger message that we all must understand.

There is a massive and incredibly well-funded campaign at work to discredit organic.

Why is this?

Educated consumers know that toxic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) have absolutely no business being on our dinner plates.

Educated consumers are also putting up increasing resistance to our water supply being ruined by poisonous chemicals and are filing lawsuit after lawsuit to prevent the USDA from force-feeding us a slew of new GMOs.

And the number of educated consumers is growing by the day, which presents a serious problem for Big Ag’s plans to control every aspect of the world’s food supply while making billions in the process.

Even though industrial agriculture has proven that it can “buy” food policy on the federal level, by spending $572 million on lobbying and campaign contributions from 1999-2010, it is facing its largest threat yet – the upcoming California ballot initiative to label GMOs.

Because California citizens will be voting on this measure and California citizens cannot be “bought” via lobbyists, industrial agriculture will be pulling out all the stops to damage the organic brand.

By discrediting organic, it is creating doubt and confusion in the minds of those people who do not fully understand why they should be eating organic and avoiding genetically-modified food.

It is also creating doubt and confusion in the minds of California voters, who will associate GMO-labeling with organic.

Is it any coincidence that this research report came out of Stanford, a world-class institution which just happens to be based in California?

Is it any coincidence that this research report has come out just a few months before the GMO-labeling ballot initiative takes place in November?

For me, the answer is a resounding “no” to both of these questions.

Any educated consumer who understands the true value of organic knows that this Stanford report has zero merit.

However, the problem is that there are far too many people out there who don’t know the truth about organic and are ripe to be influenced by misleading propaganda. As such, they are susceptible to making dietary and voting choices that will be detrimental to their own health and that of future generations.

That is precisely why this Stanford report, which spread like absolute wildfire across the national media landscape, should serve as a serious wake-up call to all of us who understand that high-quality, organic food is essential to our well-being.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

We need every American citizen actively engaged in this fight to protect our food supply. Here’s what you can do:

– Continue to purchase organic. As Joel Salatin, star of the movie Food, Inc., told me, “there is nothing more powerful than voting with your dollars.”

– Inform your friends and family. It is imperative that we are all educating our friends and family about the importance of eating organic food – food that is free from toxic pesticides, synthetic growth hormones and very risky genetically-modified ingredients.

– Get involved and support the upcoming California ballot initiative to label GMOs (Proposition 37). Even if you don’t live in that state, a victory will have a monumental impact on food policy throughout the nation and will affect every single one of us.

To learn more about this ballot initiative, click HERE.

To learn which conventional, organic and natural food companies are trying to defeat the mandatory labeling of GMOs, click HERE.

Thank you so much for supporting organic food.

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