Luv My Planet

The World According to Monsanto

Posted in Food, Gardening, & Agriculture,TV and Film by luvmyplanet on 17/02/2011

Watch the entire documentary below:


Shame on the USDA (AGAIN!)

Posted in Food, Gardening, & Agriculture,News by luvmyplanet on 17/02/2011

It just keeps getting worse with the love affair between the USDA and Monsanto…

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved plantings of three genetically engineered (GE) crops in as many weeks, including Monsanto Co.’s Roundup Ready sugar beets and alfalfa that are engineered to tolerate Roundup Ready weed-killing herbicide.

The USDA on February 11 also legalized, without restriction, the world’s first GE corn crop meant for biofuel production. Biotech giant Syngenta’s Event 3272 seed corn will simplify ethanol production and is not meant to feed animals or humans.

Read more at TruthOut.

Is it REALY Organic?

Posted in Activism,Food, Gardening, & Agriculture by luvmyplanet on 12/02/2011

Yesterday, as I was browsing the produce aisle in my local Kroger, a sign advertising organic domestic beets caught my eye. Not having enjoyed roasted beets and beet greens since farmers market season, I felt my stomach rumble. As I was lifting a bunch to place in my shopping cart, a number on the twist tie caught my eye. It was a four-digit PLU code beginning with the number 4. Immediately, I put the bunch of beets back on the shelf.

What was the red flag with the PLU code? True organic produce is labeled with a five-digit PLU beginning with the number 9. This ensures that the produce is free of chemicals and — at least for the time being — genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The following list breaks everything down into a user-friendly format:

  • five-digit starting with 9 = certified organic
  • five-digit starting with 8 = genetically modified
  • four-digit starting with 3 or 4 = conventionally-grown

One word of warning — producers are not using the proper GMO PLU, due to lack of truth-in-advertising laws regarding GMOs. This means that produce bearing a four-digit code should be considered suspect. (To make your voice heard in favor of truth-in-advertising, visit the Organic Consumers Association.)

My rule of thumb is “better safe than sorry.” Even if the sign says “organic,” always check the PLU code. If there is a discrepancy, file a complaint, either in person or via the grocery store’s website. You don’t need a law degree to know what false advertising looks like.

Addendum: On a related note, check out this informative post on Sustainablog regarding greenwashing.

The Trouble with Cinnamon Sticks

Posted in Food, Gardening, & Agriculture by luvmyplanet on 06/02/2011

For the past two weeks, the stock of ground cinnamon in my local health food store’s bulk section has been depleted. With my own stash running dangerously low, I opted to buy cinnamon sticks…

Now, I was under the impression that a few minutes with a mortar and pestle would yield that coveted cinnamon powder. Silly, naīve me! Under the advice of an Internet search, I cooked a stick in the frying pan for a few minutes and proceeded in my quest. The stick did break into several pieces, but it took a good 15 minutes before any piece was beaten small enough to be deemed a powdery granule…

Ninety minutes, and two very sore arms later, there were still pieces too large to put into a typical spice jar — and this was just ONE stick!!

Deciding to quit before I dislocated an arm joint, I carefully scooped the powder into a spice jar. The small granules were dumped into a batch of applesauce still in the food processor, in the hopes that they would be pulverized as the apples turned to purée…

Lo and behold, there were still some small cinnamon chips when the applesauce was ready for the canning jars. For the next batch, I just grated a small cinnamon stick, with better results and less pain in my arms.

If I have learned anything from this experience, it’s that, if worse comes to worst, I may have to spend an extra half hour on the bus to get to the other health food store, hoping that their bulk ground cinnamon is in stock.

Fight Back Against GM Alfalfa

Posted in Activism,Food, Gardening, & Agriculture by luvmyplanet on 29/01/2011

As you may be aware, the USDA has approved Monsanto’s genetically modified alfalfa, despite the potential side effects that it could have on the people and animals who consume it. Almost as soon as the decision was publicized, Food and Water Watch responded with an action alert, calling upon President Obama to reverse the decision.

Now, I know you may ask what the point is, with the president having some of the pro-GMO crowd in his advisory circle. However, we can do this. Remember earlier this week, when Social Security cuts did not make the State of the Union address? That was due to public pressure. If we can convince him to preserve our post-retirement safety net (for now, anyway), we can convince him to keep this garbage out of our food supply.

And after you have taken action at Food and Water Watch, check out this article at Organic Consumers’ Association. It explains how Whole Foods, Stonyfield, and Organic Valley have caved and are now calling for coexistence with Monsanto. Be sure to read the entire article. At the end of it, you should be fired up enough to sign the petition calling for truth in labeling.

Lemons to Lemonade

Posted in Food, Gardening, & Agriculture,Recipes by luvmyplanet on 04/12/2010

Having bought a pound of pinto beans from the bulk bin at my local health foods store, I decided to make homemade refried beans. As one must always do with dried beans, I had to soak overnight what I intended to cook. This afternoon, I proceeded to cook the beans, along with part of a diced leek. Unfortunately, I misjudged the amount of water that went in the pot. After two hours of simmering, at least a third of the water was not yet absorbed…

…After letting the mixture cool for a bit, I threw the mixture into the food processor, thinking there would be some thickening. No dice. …

…So I poured the soupy mixture back into the pot and reheated…to no avail.

After that, I decided to cut my losses and simply consume my mixture as soup. With a little homemade salsa and nutritional yeast flakes, it turned out to be quite tasty! The recipe for one serving is below. You will need to adjust the measurements accordingly for additional servings.

1/4 cup pinto beans, soaked
1/4 leek, chopped
1 cup water
3 squirts Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (as salt replacer)
Black pepper to taste
1 TB salsa
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes

Put beans, leek, water, aminos, and pepper in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for two hours.

Remove mixture from heat, and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Pour mixture into food processor or blender. Process until well-blended.

Reheat, if desired, stirring regularly.

Pour into a bowl. Add salsa and nutritional yeast. Mix with spoon.


“Crumb”-y Waste Reduction

Posted in Food, Gardening, & Agriculture,Recipes,Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by luvmyplanet on 26/11/2010

How many times have you finished that box of shredded wheat biscuits only to find a pile of crumbs at the bottom? Have you ever wondered if they could be put to good use? Well, why not use them in your baking?

Recently, I made a batch of vegan sin bars whose recipe calls for graham crackers in the crust. Not having access to certifiably vegan or organic graham crackers, I glanced over to that aforementioned collection of cereal crumbs (from Kashi Cinnamon Harvest, if you’re curious) and made a simple substitution. The final product came out just as delicious as I expected — and the crust held together perfectly!

Frugal, vegan, and waste-free!

Mmmm! Garlic Scapes

Posted in Food, Gardening, & Agriculture,Recipes by luvmyplanet on 14/11/2010

I decided to give my most successful garlic plant a break and harvest some of the impressive scapes that have grown to date.  Again, this is the first time I have planted anything edible. As such, harvesting a bit of the scapes was an experience. The scent alone made my stomach growl. I decided to throw them in the potato salad I was preparing, and, boy did they add a kick! On a more significant level, it truly is magical to eat a meal knowing that you actually grew one of the ingredients. Someday, perhaps I can say that of an entire meal…

Shut Down Conklin Dairy

Posted in Activism,Food, Gardening, & Agriculture by luvmyplanet on 05/11/2010

If you don’t think cruelty is involved in the dairy industry, watch this video exposé of some disturbing abuse at the Conklin Dairy.

If you are already aware and are disgusted by what happens behind the scenes, please sign the petition at the above link (a TinyUrl to, urging the Ohio government to shut down the Conklin Dairy.

With this state about to change hands to a governor and state legislature that are hostile to animal welfare issues, time is of the essence. Please make your voice heard!

Join the Fight Against GMOs!

Posted in Activism,Food, Gardening, & Agriculture by luvmyplanet on 24/10/2010

So, first things first. What’s a GMO? “GMO” stands for genetically modified organism, and, at an alarming rate, they are becoming more pervasive in our food supply — even for us vegans. (If you saw the documentary Food, Inc., you may have caught the fact that over 90 percent of all soybeans grown in the United States have been genetically manipulated.) For a primer on GMOs, check out the May 31 broadcast of “An Organic Conversation.” If you are unfamiliar with iTunes, read the instructions at the top of the page.

If the thought of putting GMOs in your body or feeding them to your loved ones rubs you the wrong way, there is still time to take action. On the above broadcast, one of the guests is from a group of unsung heroes called the Non-GMO Project. This is a great one-stop resource where you can take a pledge to avoid GMOs when you shop. (You can do this by accessing the list on the website and by seeking out the “USDA Certified Organic” seal. Current USDA standards forbid the use of GMOs in organic food.) The Organic Consumers Association is another fantastic resource.

Why the emphasis on shopping? Because in our corporatized consumer culture, one way in which we can still have a significant impact is by voting with our dollars. When you scan an organic, GMO-free food at the checkout counter, store managers are more likely to keep those foods on the shelves. The more of us who buy them, the more they will be in stock.

What’s that you say? Organic is too expensive? First of all, it may be a good idea to replace any junky processed foods with organic whole foods. Second, keep in mind that the extra money you spend on organics is less money that you will be giving to Big Pharma for meds that only exacerbate our sicknesses. Finally, if tight funds truly are an issue, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen (the 12 foods that you really should buy organic) and Clean 15 (the 15 that you can get away with buying conventionally-grown). You can download the list in a user-friendly wallet-sized chart.

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