Wholesome Foods Are Expensive for Small Budgets

In search of wholesome vegan and vegetarian food brands. Looked in 4 stores in the Cleveland suburbs including Marc’s, Aldi’s, Acme, and Whole Foods Market and haven’t found brands suggested.

I love perusing new grocery stores, farmer’s markets and community gardens in search of the best wholesome local food. However, wholesome does not equal wholesale prices.

whole foods market logoEver since I watched Oprah’s staff go vegan for a week and listened to the complaints as well as the accolades of how much better they felt and some staff members actually lost weight, I’ve been in search of the wholesome vegan and vegetarian brands mentioned on the show. So far, I’ve only found the website and their fan page, I have looked in 4 stores in the Cleveland suburbs including Marc’s, Aldi’s, Acme, and Whole Foods Market and haven’t found one of the brands mentioned.

I did, however, find several other “meatless and soy-free” frozen products, which wasn’t what I was looking for since I really like the soy products and not the vegetable protein crumbles that resemble meat. These generic and name brand products were outrageously expensive for such a small serving. For example, 1 box of meatless chicken patties cost nearly 6 bucks and only contained 4 patties. Products such as these do not fit within my small monthly food budget for 2 people.

My son and I did find fairly good prices on organic and specialty dairy products and soy milk. We have taken a liking to soy milk both for drinking, adding to morning coffee and cooking with it. And it seems to last a little longer in the frig too.

Overall, I found 4 out of 5 items on my small grocery list at Whole Foods Market, and a couple other inexpensive items including frozen soy beans and organic yogurt. My total for about 15 items…$33.64. Between local farmer’s markets, Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s and Whole Foods I think I might be able to squeeze in some wholesome meals that are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Where do you find the best prices on organic foods, or wholesome local foods in your neck of the woods?

What is Organic Green Tea?

Two leaves and a bud Jasmine Petal Green Tea

http://www.twoleavesandabud.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/jasminepetalhigh-300x214.jpgSome Jasmine tea is simply tea leaves that have been harvested, prepared as green tea, and then jasmine flavor is added.

Higher quality Jasmine tea, like two leaves and a bud’s Jasmine Petal green tea, is harvested in April and May, and when June arrives, the tea is spread out for five nights and the Jasmine flowers that bloom that month are laid on top of the tea. Tea absorbs odors very easily, and so during the cool nights, the premium green tea is basking in the floral scent, building up a nuanced taste profile.

If you’ve never had this quality tea, it’s a revelation when you taste something like two leaves and a bud Jasmine Petal green tea. This is the sort of tea you taste as much with your nose as with your tongue, as its delicate, flowery Jasmine flower scent lingers over the cup.

Exclusively through 4/15/2011, use promotional code JASMINE2011 and receive 20% off Jasmine Petal green tea. Click here to order now.

#Food Prices Increase, Food Manufacturers Turn to Soy

As the Cost of Food Goes Up, Will We See More Consumers Buying Local and Less Meat to Curb Food Spending?

Three times is the charm or the price increase for many foods this year. First read it on one of the newsletters I receive (see stats below), then it was the topic of a NPR radio program the other day and now another story from Business Week about manufacturers turning to soy as “The Other, Other White Meat.” It was a matter of time before the steep increase of fuel and agriculture caught up to the rest of us.

Here’s what I learned this week about the cost of food for 2011

According to the Greenest Dollar and Richard Benson, from Financial Sense, food prices will see a sharp increase…these are all increases from the previous year

Coffee — 45%
Barley — 32%
Pork — 68%
Oranges — 35%
Cotton — 40%
Salmon — 30%

We will be spending more on not only fuel for our cars, but also food including groceries and restaurants. This may induce panic, but you can curb your spending if you shop locally for fresh produce in season, eggs from local farms or roadside stands, grain fed beef and pork only within your locality or look to replace your main meat staple with soy or fish.

Plant a garden in your yard or even grow lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries and smaller but high yield plants in pots if you don’t have a yard to dig in the dirt. I learned from a friend that lettuce does well in the shade, and I have a lot of shade on my 4th floor patio. You can hang tomato plants in the sun, and rotate them to shade on especially hot days. Start with seedlings indoors on your window sill that gets the most sun, and then move them outside when the weather warms up. Can and freeze your crops or join a CSA and get fresh food all season long.

Food manufacturers are also turning to soy products after learning that’ USDA is now advocating Americans to eat soy,’ according to Bloomberg’s Business Week and the VegetarianStar. As long as the soy is not tainted with preservatives, and all that other junk food companies put in our food, this could be a more healthy alternative than eating beef and pork.

Now, it’s your turn, how are you going to combat the ever increasing prices of food this year?

Join the P.U.P Campaign to Reduce Water Contamination

Unlike other animal feces, dogs’ feces do not contain organic matter. Do you know where dog’s fecal matter ends up?

The Midwest is melting…well the snow is melting (finally) and what it leaves behind is muck and animal feces. Yuck! I like the scent of fresh rain, however that’s not what is in the air now – it’s my neighbor’s dog poop! Double Yuck!

Do your dog and community a favor, pick up the poop!

Unlike other animal feces, dogs’ feces do not contain organic matter. Do you know where dog’s fecal matter ends up? In lakes, streams and waterways which do not go through a filtration system hence you have contaminated water!

Northeast Ohio’s Pick Up Poop aka P.U.P. campaign is about educating dog owners the importance of picking up after their dog to reduce contaminated waterways. It seems simple enough to buy the recycled plastic bags or a pooper scooper to pick up the fecal matter and through it away in a designated trash can or dumpster; however, I know not everyone adheres to it especially in apartment complexes across the country.

Contaminated water is not the only hazard because dogs that walk through (how often do you see your dog walk around another pile) other dog poop are subject to parasites and harmful bacteria that could lead to Parvo, Roundworms, Tapeworms and other parasites that will affect your dog’s health.

Join the Pick Up Poop campaign today…go out and pick up the poop your dog left behind in the snow..dispose of it properly and responsibly and be healthy!

Other helpful articles about the importance of picking up and disposing of dog poo:

Poop! Cleaning Up After Your Dog
Flushable Doggy Doo Bags (bags break down in the water)
What to Do with Doggy Poo (alternate routes to throwing it away)

Smokers Beware, Businesses Can Tell You No!

Should Companies Have a Smoking Policy?

As a non-smoker and one who is allergic to almost any kind of smoke, I was thrilled when states opted for the no smoking in restaurants and public buildings. Yea for me. Why should I be subjected to harmful toxins? And maybe it would be an opportunity for those smokers to cut the habit completely.

I haven’t worked for a company that allowed its employees to take “paid” smoke breaks either. At one business, you can only inhale and puff during your dinner break outside, otherwise you have to go off the clock. While at another company I once worked for, you didn’t have any breaks not even at lunch. You only could do it before or after work, and we worked long days too. So what is the controversy about being able or not able to smoke during the work day?

Many companies have a “Smoke Free Environment” which may or may not explicitly state that you cannot take a smoke break except during your lunch hour. Would this policy bother you? If you knew this before being hired, would you accept a position?

Smokers and non smokers alike. I’d like your opinion on this topic!

BPA Free Update: Ditch the Plastic Food Containers

Study Shows (and Proves) Harmful Hormones Leach from Non BPA Free Plastics

Most plastic products, from sippy cups to food wraps, can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen, according to a study in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study found these chemicals even in products that didn’t contain BPA, a compound in certain plastics that’s been widely criticized because it mimics estrogen.

Many plastic products are now marketed as BPA-free, and manufacturers have begun substituting other chemicals whose effects aren’t as well known.

But it’s still unclear whether people are being harmed by BPA or any other so-called estrogenic chemicals in plastics. Most studies of health effects have been done in mice and rats.

The new study doesn’t look at health risks. It simply asks whether common plastic products release estrogen-like chemicals other than BPA.

The researchers bought more than 450 plastic items from stores including Walmart and Whole Foods. They chose products designed to come in contact with food — things like baby bottles, deli packaging and flexible bags, says George Bittner, one of the study’s authors and a professor of biology at the University of Texas, Austin.

Read the full article at NPR.org