This Frito Lay Organic Product Sent Shockwaves Through Me – Help Get It Everywhere.

Everyone knows that chips aren’t exactly healthy and many of us eat them anyways. They are part of our culture whether we like it or not. Super Bowl Parties. Vending Machines. Side Items. School Lunches. They are everywhere and that’s why seeing a very popular chip change sent shockwaves through me and a burst of hope shot up my spine.

I was recently near San Francisco visiting a local Costco store and saw a huge display of Organic Ruffles in one of the aisles. I was really surprised to see this because I’d never seen Organic Ruffles, and in fact, I had never seen a certified organic Frito Lay product ever in my life. Turns out that these chips are an exclusive deal, and are only available to Costco members. Costco wanted to have more organic snacks available to their customers, so they asked Frito Lay and got them. I also came to find out that it’s not just Ruffles and that Costco also asked Frito Lay for an organic version of Stacy’s Pita Chips, and also limited-edition Supreme Cheddar Doritos without the MSG (that you find in regular Doritos). Go Costco! 

This is why grocery stores are our friends. It’s not just us activists that can get change at these mega-billion dollar food companies – there are hundreds of amazing people working within the system to drive change and it can happen fast. They are the unsung heroes you never hear about… 

FritoLayFoodbabe

You might not think this a big deal. But it is.

Finding Organic Ruffles was a huge sign that Frito Lay is capable of much more than I previously thought. Frito Lay is owned by Pepsi Co and considered one of the worst junk food companies in the world – their products are FULL OF ADDITIVES & GMOs – so much so, that they have spent over 8 million dollars fighting GMO labeling over the last 3 years. 

Take a moment and think about this.

Part of our work is to speak up about these little changes because they do matter. In this case, switching from regular potato chips to organic chips can make a big difference for average people. That’s why I want to draw attention to this.

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone had access to these Organic Ruffles? We would have have… 

Continue Reading →

Organic Food Delivery Straight To Your Doorstep

A few months ago, I visited the small town of Pickens, Mississippi, located in what is considered the most obese county in America. I went there because I wanted to understand the issues with food deserts and to help the community understand what is really in our food supply, specifically the chemicals in processed foods that are making people suffer and how to choose better options. The local grocery store carried some fruits, veggies, and meats, all conventionally grown, with the majority of the store being processed foods. The store had virtually no organic food. The closest place to buy better quality packaged or organic foods was in Jackson, MS – a drive well over 45 minutes.

Several members of the community were so dedicated that they went shopping at the natural food store in Jackson with me while I was there but I knew this would be difficult, expensive and tiresome for them to do on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the people of Pickens are not the only ones with little access to organic foods – there are thousands of Americans in the same situation and that’s why I’m thrilled I found this new delivery service.

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Green PolkaDot Box is an online grocery store that carries natural, organic, and non-GMO foods at wholesale prices and delivers them directly to you. It’s like Costco, but you don’t have to drive or spend the time to go get it! But, unlike Costco, Green PolkaDot Box actually has most of the brands I love and support (You can check out which brands they have here).  Continue Reading →

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Supermarket Birthday Cakes

My birthday was last week and I had only one thing on my mind. Can you guess what it was? Nope, it wasn’t thoughts about getting older, or what presents I wanted this year or where I wanted to go on my next vacation. All I could think about was “Where am I going to get my birthday cake from!?!”

This is a dilemma for my family and me every single time there is a birthday on the horizon. We sometimes have knock down, drag out fights about where we buy our cakes…and that’s because not everyone in my family follows the same real food principles as I do. (I’m secretly hoping they will read this post so they’ll think twice about fighting me next time around!)
Growing up we would always get our cake from the local grocery store chain “Harris Teeter.” This was our go-to cake for as long as I can remember. Then in college and in my early twenties I became a Costco member and was thrilled to be able to get such a huge decadent cake for only $14.99 on my college budget. As I became more refined in my taste for cake, I thought it would be a good idea to upgrade and shop at the Fresh Market because… well… it had to be “fresher” than Harris Teeter or Costco, right? Unfortunately, as you’ll find out this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Supermarket facades

When you look into these three different cakes from three very different places – a regular grocery store vs. a huge wholesaler warehouse store vs. a specialty market – you don’t see much difference in the ingredients. They all resemble one big science experiment…

Let’s take a look at some of the cakes at Harris Teeter. This cake says “Home-style” carrot cake… but when you you look closely at the ingredients it reveals something much different…

triple layer carrot cake

triple layer carrot cake - too many ingredients

We know why Lisa dislikes artificial colors (that are unfortunately in all the cakes I am sharing with you here today.) But let’s talk about a new and scary ingredient you may not have heard of – propylene glycol. This petroleum based chemical food additive – that’s been approved by the FDA – is also found in products like brake fluid, acrylic paints, tile grout, primer, shoe polish, antifreeze, floor polish, tire sealant and sealant paste, according to Food Facts.org. It has been reported on Dr. Mercola.com that the following symptoms can arise after repeated small doses – throat irritation, headache, backache, and kidney problems. Furthermore, ingesting very large doses of this chemical can cause drowsiness, vomiting, respiratory failure, coma, convulsions, or can be fatal.
Yes – you have to ingest a lot of this stuff to see some of these reactions – but is saying “death by a thousand cuts?” taking it too far? I don’t know – you decide. And why is this stuff in our birthday cakes anyway?
Even the cakes that Harris Teeter gets from a famous local bakery, “Tizzerts,” are just as bad as their store brand cakes because they also contain propylene glycol.
Then you move on to Costco where the ingredient list is so long I literally had trouble keeping count – but it’s close to 80 ingredients! The majority of them are fake chemical fillers and food-like substances that are obviously not real food. (Notice the inflation – the price has gone up $3 dollars since the last time I bought one.)
Costco Chocolate cake

And what’s so American about this “All American” chocolate cake? Gosh I didn’t know you needed this many artificial colors (6 to be exact!) to color chocolate – I thought chocolate was already brown!

All American Chocolate Cake Ingredient List

The most upsetting – and most expensive – cakes were from The Fresh Market where I learned they aren’t made on premises, but instead by a bread and snack manufacturer named “Vie de France.” Again, this name fools you into thinking you are getting a higher quality or fancier product. I was impressed that The Fresh Market had a book of all the ingredients they willingly shared with me, but when I found the page labeled “bakery goods free from trans fat” (which had only a very small subset of the large amount of bakery goods in the book) I was deflated to say the least. Again, most of their cakes had propylene glycol too and lots of other preservatives.

Cake ingredients - propylene glycol, really?

Regardless of these ingredients being clearly labeled on packaging and readily available, I see these types of cakes at almost every celebration I encounter – baby showers, bridal showers, children’s birthday parties, schools, work celebrations, retirement parties, etc. Children’s birthdays are probably the worst offender… especially at school, since the opportunities to celebrate birthdays seem endless.
The thought of consuming artificial flavors, artificial colors, transfat, and other food like chemicals made from petroleum willingly on the day we are supposed to be celebrating our life or our children’s lives seems a little ironic, doesn’t it?

The next time the occasion arises and it’s time to get a cake, here are 5 questions you need to ask your baker before reaching into your wallet:

  1. What ingredients do you use to make your cakes? Always ask this basic question – you may be appalled at what you find. For instance, many cake manufactures use no real sugar at all and the whole cake is made with high fructose corn syrup.
  2. What kind of flour do you use? The answer should be an unbleached flour, and if it is organic flour, even better!
  3. Do you use any preservatives in your cake? Propolyne glycol, parabens, and polysorbate are just a few of the laundry list of potential preservatives. If there are any of these ingredients or other preservatives used – I would keep looking.
  4. Do your cakes contain any partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat)? I would specifically say “partially hydrogenated oil” because legally food manufactures can still include this ingredient and say “no trans fats” at the same time.
  5. Do you use any artificial colors in your cakes? If you find out the cake is clean, but they still use artificial colors to decorate the cakes, ask for the cake to be made without them and then consider decorating the cake with organic candies, dried fruit, chocolate sauce and/or natural food colorings yourself.

You make a decision to vote with your dollars every time you take out your wallet, whether you realize it or not. With the right information and enough conscious decision making about what we eat and how we spend our money, together we can make a change. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too – but why not?

P.S. Check out a new REAL FOOD cake recipe I made for my Dad’s Birthday this week on my blog… (oh and I’m sorry it’s not going to be this gorgeous… this is a cake I had last year traveling in Indonesia!)

Indonesia - gorgeous real food cake