Showing posts with label Healthy Living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthy Living. Show all posts

Thursday

SOS Mom Saver: Homemade Popsicles

I've been getting ready for summer by dehydrating foods we'll eat while out and about this summer.  Now, it's time for me to fill my freezer with healthy popsicles. 

Feed my kids popsicles for breakfast?  Why not?  

(What kind of a mom ARE you?  You'd feed your kids POPSICLES for BREAKFAST?!?!  I'm not sure I can keep reading your blog!)

I promise.  I'm not crazy.  In fact, I can almost guarantee that YOU will feed YOUR kids popsicles for breakfast too after I'm done with you.  These aren't your typical "is there even any actual fruit in there" popsicles.  These are popsicles that you and/or your kids make from scratch.  And it's EASY!

The easiest way to make popsicles at home is to use pre-packaged fruit juice that you'd buy at the store.  If you purchase a juice from the Lakewood "Just" juice line, or the Knudsen "Pure" juice line, then you'll be giving your kids pure fruit juice popsicles.  (Thankfully, these are now carried in most grocery stores.  As a bonus, they also come in organic varieties.)

I like to go a step further here, though.  I like to find creative ways to use the fresh fruit that I get...especially as it gets past its prime.  (I know every one of us has that apple that gets lost in the back of the fruit drawer in the fridge.)  Many people think these fruits are trash.  The opposite is actually true.  The riper the fruit gets, the sweeter it becomes.  I wouldn't eat it plain, but I'll freeze this fruit straight to use in smoothies or...my kid's favorite...puree the fruit and make homemade popsicles.

The ingredients are incredibly simple:
  • A blender, food processor, or smoothie maker
  • Popsicle holders (or small cups)
  • Lids for the popsicle holders or small popsicle sticks
  • Fruit...Be creative!
  • Some sort of liquid: Yogurt or Kefir can be used for a thicker popsicle.  Juice or water can be used to make it more light.

 
We got these molds on sale at Albertson's for $2.49 each, but you can find them at Wal-Mart, Target, and other discount stores as well.  WARNING:  The lids typically do NOT hold up well!  I would highly recommend that you have wooden sticks on hand because the lids WILL eventually break on these cheap holders.

The fruit is in!  It's ready to go!


It's blending!  (The blender pictured has long since died.  I now have the mother of all blenders; a Vitamix...which I LOVE! Someday, I will update these pictures.)


Ready to pour!  This is when the kids run over and try to eat some before we pour.  They usually end up eating a good bit of this "fruit sauce" before I get it all poured.  I fought them off this time just for you.  You should feel special.


Children have been fended off and pouring begins!


They're all poured now and ready for the freezer.  Wasn't that easy?


Once you put them in the freezer, they'll be ready in about 12 hours...although my kids are usually trying to grab their first one well before that.


Doesn't that look delicious!  And it's FULL of nothing but fruit!  How awesome is that?  So go tell your kids they can have popsicles for breakfast now, K?

SOS Mom Saver: How To Test the Freshness of Eggs

Cracking Eggs in a Bowl

Ever had eggs in your fridge that you thought had perhaps been there a little too long?  You hate to throw out good eggs, but you don't want to risk your family getting sick if they're bad.  Is there something you can do to test their freshness?

(You know there is or I wouldn't be writing this.)

There's what's called the "Water Test".  You fill a glass half way with water and drop the suspect egg (or eggs) in. (When I say "drop" it in, you should do so carefully.  I don't recommend giving the instruction to "drop" an egg to your 9yr old boy without first clarifying exactly what you mean.  Don't say I didn't warn you...)
  • If the egg goes down to the bottom, then it's good.
  • If it goes down to the bottom, but is kind of in their diagonally with the top end pointing up, it's still good for baking.
  • If it floats...throw it out.  I wouldn't recommend that you open it either as it will likely smell.
 This is what they did back in the "good ole days".

SOS Mom Saver: Cook Once, Eat Twice

Homemade Pot Pie With Top Designed by Kirstie
Like many moms, I want to make sure that my family eats as healthy as possible. The best way to do that is through home-cooked meals.  Who wants to spend every night in the kitchen, though?  Well, okay...unless you're Paula Dean or the Pioneer Woman, most of us don't want to spend hours every night in the kitchen.

I like to make the best use of the time that I'm already spending on something.  When I'm cooking dinner, that means I'm going to put together another 2-3 batches of that same meal we're having.  I've just spent ONE night cooking and have THREE days worth of meals to show for it!  My feet are thanking me already.

Another huge plus to cooking this way is that you've almost always got a meal ready to go should someone in your circle of friends have a new baby or need meals because of a sick family member.  Making the best use of your time can also allow you to be a blessing to others!

SOS Mom Saver: Affordable Healthy Eating

 
One of the best ways to eat healthy is to eat fresh fruits and veggies.  Um.  Duh, Amy. (Yes, I said "duh".) We kinda already knew that.  Do you KNOW how expensive that is, though? (Just ignore the Christmas tree in the pic.  This pic was taken a week before Christmas after we had just done our shopping for the week and had just gotten our co-op order from Azure.)

Honestly, if you're eating conventional produce, it's really not that expensive.  It's fairly cheap if you shop sales and shop seasonally.  A lot of people just don't have the time, energy, or desire to shop the sales every week, though.  Even if they can just price-match all of the other ads at Walmart.  (Which is, by the way, an excellent way to do one-stop shopping.)

An excellent way to eat the same regional, conventional produce you'd eat from the grocery store is to purchase your produce from a company like Bountiful Baskets.  The way they work is simple.  You pay them $16.50 a week ($15 + a $1.50 fee) for a basket of conventional produce.  They do all the work for you.  They find the best deals for the week, do your shopping, & put all of your produce together in a basket that you just go and pick up on Saturday morning.

The concept here is good.  They do the shopping for you saving you time and energy.  The get fairly good deals saving you money.  There are some potential "bads" to shopping this way, though.  You don't get to choose your produce.  If your family is  picky and only likes certain fruits and veggies and isn't willing to try new stuff...then you may not see the same savings as others.  On the other hand, a family who eats a wide variety of fruits and veggies or doesn't mind trying new foods would enjoy the convenience Bountiful Baskets can bring.

Is it really a cost savings?  Yes.  If you normally just go to the store and buy what you want that week and never shop sales then this will save you money.  If, however, you regularly shop sales or your family isn't adventurous food-wise then you'll likely do better shopping on your own.

What if you want organic produce?  Bountiful Baskets offers an organic basket as well.  They charge $26.50 ($25 plus a $1.50 fee) for that basket.  If you eat exclusively organic and only shop at local grocery stores, then you will likely save more money by going through Bountiful Baskets.  The downside of not being able to choose your own foods might hinder some and limit their savings, though.  If, however, you order your produce through a co-op (which I'll discuss in a bit), then you're likely to save more by going through the co-op.

Now...on to the organic options.

One of my favorite ways to get local, organic produce is through our local co-op, Azure Standard.  A There are three main co-ops in the US.  Of course, there's Azure.  There's also United Buying Clubs and Country Life Natural Foods.  I have personally used all three of them; depending on where we have lived and have been very pleased with all of them.  With Country Life, I actually went directly to their farm which was only 40 minutes from my home to pick up my foods.  They don't all offer fresh produce.  That will depend on whether they contract with a farmer in your area or not.  The only exception is Azure.  If you can get a co-op order from them, you can get produce.

I want to add here that some people have smaller health food stores in their area that are ALSO called "co-ops".  These are NOT the same as the co-ops about which I'm discussing.  In fact, the co-ops that I've mentioned are where most of those smaller health-food stores get their produce.  Some of them will also sell produce from local farmers, but often at a mark-up that's a good bit above what you'd pay directly from the farmer, at a farmer's market, or through a CSA.  Basically, these are just local health food stores.  They're the Mom & Pop version of Whole Foods.

My other favorite way of getting local, organic foods is through a CSA.  "CSA" stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  They generally offer a certain amount of "shares" for sale at the beginning of the season.  People front a certain amount of money (usually around $300-$500 for 3 months).  The farmer uses this investment to purchase seed and other supplies.  In return, each "investor" gets a share of the harvest; equally divided.  There is a risk here.  If there's a flood or other natural disaster that destroys the crop...you're out of luck.  You've spent the money and you won't get it back.  However, I have never had that happen in several years of buying through CSAs.

Remember those local health food stores (also called co-ops in some cases) that I discusses above?  Some of these local stores will also be the "hub" for farms that are further out of town.  You'll meet there to pick up your CSA shares.  However, if you're not picking your produce up directly from the farm, the cost will often be higher so keep an eye out for that when signing up for the CSA.

And of course, you have farmer's markets.  I love being able to talk to the farmer from whom I'm buying the produce.  A hint here:  If you don't mind non-perfect produce, wait until the end and offer to buy the "seconds" or ends from a farmer for a discounted price.

To find local or regional farms in your area, you can go to Local Harvest.  They'll give you the names of local farms in your area that either sell produce directly, through a farmer's market, or through a CSA.

Eating healthy (even organically) doesn't have to be expensive.

How do you save money on produce?

Wednesday

Food Storage Saved Dinner!

That sounds so dramatic, doesn't it?  I picture a 6 gallon bucket with a red cape flying into the kitchen with a magic spatula.  (Some of you will get that.  The rest of you are trying to figure out why we would have a 6 gallon ANYTHING in our home.)

That's not really what happened, but it sounds so much more grand than my simple story.

I frequently fight with my 13yr old over who is going to cook dinner for the night.  By "fight", I mean she says, "Mom, can I cook dinner tonight?"  To which I respond, "Um.  No.  That's MY job! Get out of the kitchen!" "Um.  Duh.  Of COURSE you can.  If you need me, I'll be watching TV while eating bonbons cleaning something so as to look as productive as my 13yr old daughter who is slaving over dinner."  

Tonight was no exception.

Have I mentiond that I love that my 13yr old daughter loves to cook?  Because she does.  And I do.  You know, love that she loves to cook.

No.  She is not for sale.  Although she wants to own a restaurant or catering business one day...so she might hire out her cooking skills.

Anyway...she was cooking lasagna tonight.  That's her favorite meal to cook.  We order our cottage cheese from Azure Standard.  She'll typically make lasagna once a week for the next 2-3 weeks; depending on how long the cottage cheese lasts.  She also follows my "cook once, eat twice" philosophy & will double the batch making one to freeze each time she cooks.  

She's going to make some guy fat and happy one day.  My guess is, an Italian will taste her lasagna and marry her on the spot.  

Oh please don't tell her Daddy I wrote that part.  He thinks she's still of the "Ewww...I'll NEVER do THAT even when I'm married" belief.  Even though she's not.  But don't tell him that either.

So...she starts cooking lasagna.  She pulls out the ingredients and knows she has everything.  Except she doesn't.  Someone left the cottage cheese out overnight...and then put it back in the fridge hoping they wouldn't get caught...and it got moldy.  Thankfully.  You know, so we didn't all DIE from eating it!

She's starting to panic.  No worry.  Mom will find a recipe.  Surely there's  a substitute, right?  Nope.  No yogurt in the house.  Nope.  No tofu.  (Do people really eat that?  Or do they just say they do so their vegan friends will think they're cool?)

Now, back to where I look like a Mormon.  Without the cool underwear.  I have a friend who IS a Mormon.  I was griping about how I really wish there was a bouillon that was msg and soy-free.  I have several mixes I make where I had to leave OUT that ingredient because we couldn't use the store-bought stuff.  

She told me how one of her favorite companies, Shelf Reliance, had this line of food storage products that was largely free of artificial junk and soy.  A food storage company?  What?  What was that?  I mean, sure we buy our grains and some other things in bulk from Azure, but we're not Mormon.  I don't do that 8 years of food storage thing.  I don't buy freeze-dried pickles and hot dogs.  ('Cause that's what I thought Mormons did.  My friend laughed at me.  Come to think of it, she laughs at me a lot.  Probably out of pity.)

I was thrilled to find that their chicken bouillon was soy-free and msg-free.  While browsing their site, I also discovered a sour cream powder.  "How cool would THAT be?" I thought to myself. (Yes, I just quoted myself thinking to myself.  'Cause that's how I roll.)  I hate sour cream and thus never cook with or even buy it.  However, some of my family members DO like it.  This would allow me to give them what they want without having to worry about countless tubs of sour cream going bad because I forgot about them.  Not that this has EVER happened...
Picture courtesy of Shelf Reliance
And that...is where food storage saved the day.  I went online in search of an answer for my daughter.  After much searching, I found two recipes that contained ingredients that we had on hand.  I combined parts of the two...because that's ALSO how I roll.  (Read:  I have control issues and don't like people telling me what to do even in recipes.)  We had 1/2 a bar of cream cheese left and combined that with re-constituted sour cream powder to make the lasagna.

And it was good.  (I think that's a verse in the Bible, but I'm not quoting the Bible.  I'm saying the lasagna was good.  Very, very good.  So good, that we might even add sour cream to it in the future.  And I don't even like sour cream.  Go figure.)


And thus is my story of how food storage saved dinner! 

Thursday

SOS Mom Saver: Homemade Oatmeal Packets


My family LOVES oatmeal.  This is great as it's incredibly healthy.  Unfortunately, they also like the convenience of oatmeal packets.

But..have you looked at the ingredients for those packets lately?  Yeah.  Um.  Not exactly healthy...or even pronounceable in some cases.  Even those that are organic or healthier are full of refined sugar.

Even if you did find a healthy packet of oatmeal with only good ingredients, I challenge you to find one that's reasonably affordable.

So...I set out to make the bulk oatmeal also convenient.  I have promised a couple of friends who have asked that I will detail out the process with cost and pictures the next time we make packets.  In the meantime, here's a basic ingredient list for each of our 3 favorite oatmeal packet "flavors" (which are pictured above):

Oatmeal Raisin:
  • 1/2 cup oats (I put these in the food processor and pulse them a couple times to break them up some.  That's not necessary if you're using quick oats.)
  • 1 TB ground oats (see note below)
  • 1 TB ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (You can use 1 tsp -1 TB; depending on your taste preference.)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ginger 
  • 1/4 cup raisins
Strawberries & Cream:
  • 1/2 cup oats (I put these in the food processor and pulse them a couple times to break them up some.  That's not necessary if you're using quick oats.)
  • 1 TB ground oats (see note below)
  • 1 TB ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup freeze-dried or dehydrated strawberries processed in the food processor to your desired consistency (We've also used blueberries in this recipe instead of strawberries.  YUM!)
  • 2 TB powdered milk (You can use 2 TB -1/4 cup powdered milk; depending on taste preference)
Apple Cinnamon:
  • 1/2 cup oats (I put these in the food processor and pulse them a couple times to break them up some.  That's not necessary if you're using quick oats.)
  • 1 TB ground oats (see note below)
  • 1 TB ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (You can use 1 tsp to 1 TB; depending on your taste preference.)
  • 1/8 tsp ginger  (1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp; depending on taste preference
  • 1/4 cup freeze-dried or dehydrated apples processed in the food processor to your desired consistency
Put all ingredients into a sandwich-size baggie.  Close the baggie, shake to mix the ingredients, & you're ready to go.  I do re-open the baggie after mixing the ingredients so I can get the air out before storage to save space.   I'll typically do a couple hundred packets at once.  No.  Really.  That means I don't have to do them again for awhile.  We keep them in a food-grade storage bucket that we got from a local donut shop for $2.

To cook, you simply dump the oatmeal packet into a bowl and add 1 cup of hot water. (We use the hot water from our water cooler right now, but have used water from our stove-top kettle in the past.)  Stir and enjoy!  Yes, you MUST enjoy.  We also add honey to ours when serving.  We don't typically use much.  A 2 lb container that we use only for oatmeal lasts us a couple months.

A note on the Ground Oats:  You know that powder that you see in store oatmeal packets?  That's what this is.  It's a combination of the sugar...and some ground oats which helps your oatmeal be more "mushy".  If you like mushier oatmeal, then you'll want to add some of this to each packet.  (It doesn't take much.)

The thing to remember here is that these recipes are VERY forgiving.  You can add healthy things (like the flax seed) that your family likes and take away what you don't want or like.  You can add different fruits to suit your liking. Experiment and find what your family likes best.

Exactly HOW healthy is our oatmeal?  The oats, flax seed, and raisins that we use are organic.  The powdered milk isn't organic, but is rbgh-free. 

Like I said, I will detail out the exact cost in a later blog when I do our next batch.  The estimated cost here, though, is about 36¢/packet.  If you include the cost of the honey, it makes it a little over 38¢/packet.  Note that this is for largely-organic oatmeal that contains only ingredients you can pronounce.

SOS Mom Saver: Make BPA-Containing Plastics Safer For Your Family

Are BPA-containing plastics as bad as they've made out to be?  In short, yes.  They are really bad for you.  Ideally, you should change out all of the BPA-containing plastics in your house over to BPA-free varieties or glass.

And now, I introduce you to...reality.

Unfortunately, most of us don't have the money to change over all of the plastics in our home at once.  It's...um...kinda costly.  Trust me, I know.  I've tried to switch over literally every piece of plastic in my home that contained BPA.  It's not nearly as easy as you'd think.  I'd venture to say that most of society has no idea how many of the plastics we encounter on a daily basis contain BPA. 

If you can only afford to change a little at a time, I always recommend starting in your kitchen.  Specifically, with dishes that you eat on daily or  storage containers that you use on a daily basis.  (Rubbermaid now makes a fairly affordable BPA-free line.)  The starter set is only $10 at Walmart.  However, our favorite storage containers are glass.  We have a ton of canning jars, but will also re-use old pickle & applesauce jars.

In the meantime, what do you do?  Just keep exposing your family to the BPA and pray for the best?  Well yes, but there's also more you can do to ensure that you are lessening the exposure they may have to the BPA in the plastics.

The number one thing to remember is that heat is what causes the BPA to leach into your foods.  In order to minimize the likelihood of that happening, you can do one of two things.
  1. Hand wash your BPA-containing plastics.  We all put our plastics on the top rack of the dishwasher, but if that plastic has BPA...you don't want it exposed to the heat of the dishwasher at all!
  2. Don't put hot foods in any plastics that contain BPA.  Save those bowls for cereal, ice cream, or other room temp or cold foods. 
That's it.  Those are the two main rules to remember when using BPA-containing plastics if you hope to minimize your family's exposure to the BPA in those plastics.

I do recommend that you change over the BPA in your kitchen as soon as possible.  In the meantime, do what you can to help your family be safer and healthier.

Friday

High Chocolate Consumption Is Good for Your Health

I gotta be honest with you.  Stories like this just warm my heart.  According to that article in Medical News Today, high chocolate consumption reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by one-third.

Let me go over that with you again.  That's not just chocolate consumption in general, but HIGH chocolate consumption.  I will now judge my husband's love for me based on how much chocolate he brings me.  If he really loves me and wants me to live a long, healthy life...he will bring me much chocolate.

Here's my question, though.  How does one get in such a study?  This seems like the PERFECT study for me.  I hereby willingly offer myself as a sacrifice for all of humanity by agreeing to participate in future chocolate studies.

Does my selflessness and humility not underwhelm you?

Tuesday

SOS Mom Saver: Reduce Pesticide Exposure When Buying Non-Organic Foods

Last week, the new Dirty/Clean List came out for produce.  I love that guide because it helps me decide where it's worth it for me to spend more money on organic produce.

I remember what it was like in the "good ole days", though when we couldn't afford ANY organic produce; regardless of how "dirty" the produce we were buying may have been.  However, I also shopped as wisely as I could for that non-organic produce in attempt to limit my family's exposure to harmful chemicals.  I also diligently processed the produce to further reduce exposure.

Here's what you can do to limit your family's exposure to chemicals if you can't buy organic:
  • Soak your fruits & veggies in vinegar.  This will help remove much of the chemical residue.
  • If you can peel it, then do!  Taking the outer layer off of produce such as apples & peaches will help remove a HUGE chunk of the pesticide residue that sits on top of the produce.
  • Buy frozen!  That's a HUGE one!  With the exception of green beans, domestic blueberries, and some squashes, produce that is frozen has significantly less pesticide residue largely because they don't require as much chemicals when they're being grown.  You don't need plump, juicy strawberries that will stay that way for weeks when you're freezing the produce immediately or shortly after harvest.
  • The same goes for canned produce, but the canning process also removes a LOT of the nutrients...and adds a whole OTHER worry with the chemicals in the can itself (unless it's canned in a glass container).  If you're going to choose a processed food, frozen is ALWAYS better!
  • Buy local and ask what they use and WHEN.  This can be key!  There are some local producers who will spray fungicides just before or after planting and will spray while the produce is sprouting, but won't spray from around 3 weeks before fruiting until harvest or from fruiting until harvest.  This produce will still have some chemicals, but it will have less than traditionally and mass-farmed produce.
We are now able to buy organic for the "dirty dozen" items most of the time.  We still employ many of these methods, though, when we purchase non-organic produce...even those on the "clean dozen" list.

SOS Mom Saver: The Dirty Dozen (i.e.-Which Produce to Buy Organic)

The newest dirty dozen list is out.  No, I'm not talking about the mob.  I'm talking about the list put out annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). 

They tell you which fruits & veggies have the highest concentration of pesticides and which have the lowest.  This is incredibly helpful for those who cannot afford to buy 100% organic produce.

You can see the list yourself at the EWG site:  The Dirty (and Clean) Dozen list.

The Dirty Dozen:
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale/Collard Greens
The Clean Dozen (items you're okay buying non-organically as there is little to no pesticide residue on the portions you eat):
  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Mango
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms
If you can count, you'll notice that they actually gave us 15 "clean" items.  I won't complain about knowing I can safely buy even more items non-organically (and save TONS of money in the process)!

Why are these items "clean"?  In most cases, it's because you don't eat the outer portion which does contain pesticide residue (such as with the onion, sweet corn, mango, etc.).  In other cases, it's because that particular item (like mushrooms) grows incredibly well without any help from pesticides.  There isn't much residue because they don't use them.

Where do I stand?  We're a mixed-produce shopper.  I buy local, organic produce as much as is possible in an attempt not only avoid pesticides but also have food as close to the source as possible.  I almost always buy the top "dirty" 12 organically only.  However, I almost always buy those fruits & veggies on the "clean" list non-organically (but still try to get them as locally as I can).  Even better, I try to grow as much as I can myself!

Where do you stand?

Wednesday

The Milk Fight

Raw milk.

And now let the fighting begin. 

No.  Really.  Let's fight about milk.  It seems to be one of the government's favorite fights.  Let's gather up all of those horrible farmers who own cows, are milking them, and are selling the milk.  The HORROR!

The Washington Times recently put out an incredibly biased piece about one such fight involving a farmer in Pennsylvania who was daring to sell his raw milk across state lines.

I love how they list everything that COULD happen if you drink raw milk and barely list one instance where raw milk can be better than pasteurized milk. 

Here's the bottom line for me:  It should be our choice.  WE should decide whether we or our families drink raw or pasteurized milk.  Heck, we should have the choice to purchase someone's CAT'S milk if we so desire!  It should be OUR choice...not one the government forces upon us.  Nor should we have to jump through numerous hoops & regulations (or drive 3 hours) just to obtain raw milk if we choose to drink it! 

While they're listing stats about bad things that could happen to you, I'd also like them to include the stats for those who get sick from the over-processed food and chemicals masquerading as food that they sell in the grocery stores.  Or how about the numbers from those sickened due to poisons put in food manufactured in China?  From chemicals they spray in the air?  On our food?  Try to get us to take or inject into our bodies?  I could go on.  I think the raw milk is the least of our worries!  (For the record, I am not completely against immunizations or medicines.  I rely on a heart medicine daily.  However, I believe we should FULLY understand ALL of the risks to everything we put in or on our bodies.  That way, we are TRULY making an informed choice...and not one that someone else has forced upon us.  The only thing I am 100% against as far as immunizations go is a parent making a choice to give or not give said shots without first understanding ALL of the risks involved both in choosing and rejecting them.)

I will ALWAYS err on the side of an individual making the choice for him/her self regarding what goes in or on their bodies.  I don't believe the government has the Constitutional right (or moral right) to tell US what we can or can't do with our own bodies. (The only exception being a person having the right to kill someone ELSE who is living IN her body.  You don't get to decide for someone ELSE'S body any more than THEY would or should get to decide for YOURS! Nevermind that murder is ALREADY illegal yet not being enforced when a mom is choosing to murder her own child.  But that's a horse for another thread...)

I just don't understand why this raw milk "issue" is even up for debate.  It's MILK.  If you're interested in obtaining raw milk, Real Milk lists the sources for raw milk in each state and various countries.

Want to do more research?
  • Real Milk and Raw Milk Facts have information on the health benefits of raw milk and why you should drink it over pasteurized milk.
  • The CDC will tell you everything bad that could possibly happen if you drink raw milk.
Please keep in mind that I am NOT against you choosing to drink pasteurized milk.  I simply believe that you should only make that choice after becoming informed.  Regardless of what you eat yourself or feed your family, you should only do so after first researching that food item so you are making an informed choice.  (Notice I didn't just give you the site stating the benefits of raw milk.  I gave you the site that will tell you the bad stuff too because I feel you should know THAT as well so you can make an informed choice about drinking raw milk.)  An informed choice can only happen when one knows the benefits AND the risks to their decision.

We DO drink raw milk and eat raw milk products in our family and have for years.  At one point, we only consumed raw goat milk products.  However, I would never advise you to make any changes to how your family eats without fully understanding the risks and benefits of that change.  You should never make the decision to do or not to do something simply because ONE person said so.  Do the research yourself!

And above all, I would encourage you to join us in the fight to gain the choice to decide for ourselves how we feed our family.  How?  Contact your state representatives (this is a state issue) and tell them that you want the right to choose for yourself whether your family drinks raw milk or not and ask them to work towards making it legal to sell and consume it in your state if it isn't already.  (You can do this even if you would never choose to drink raw milk yourself.)

What are your thoughts on this issue?  Do you have personal experience with raw milk that you'd like to share (good or bad)?  I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday

Have Healthy Foods Even in the Heat of Summer

One of the hardest things to do is to give your family healthy foods even when you're out & about in the heat of summer.  It doesn't matter where you are, foods like to go bad quick in the summer!

To get around this, we dehydrate many fruits & veggies so we can safely take them anywhere with no fear of them going bad while we're at the park or running errands on a hot summer day.

I could go item-by-item and tell you how to best dehydrate each food.  However, someone beat me to it!  (And for this I'm grateful!)

Dehydrate 2 Store has a wonderful website and YouTube channel dedicated exclusively to teaching you how to dehydrate.  She not only gives you instructions on how to dehydrate in general but goes through different foods telling you how to dehydrate each one.  Her site provides a wealth of information on this subject. 

Don't feel overwhelmed by her expensive dehydrator and vacuum-packaging machine.  You can get the same results with a cheaper Nesco dehydrator.  (I know; I have one.)  I do now have a Foodsaver, but it's only because I got it for $15 at a local thrift store.  Until then, I just put my foods in clean jars.  We went through the foods quickly enough that it wasn't ever a problem.

Wednesday

Police Protect Public from DEADLY Organic Foods!

Really, California?  Really with the fruit?  Again?  Really?  For those who don't know, I briefly twittered about the border patrol in California that is doing a suberb job of protecting the people of California from out-of-state fruits.   

(Not so good a job at protecting people from illegals from other countries who run into cars filled with children on the highway and then flee the scene, but I digress.)

They are, however, EXCELLENT at protecting the people of California from fresh fruits, vegetables, and raw dairy products.  Which is kind of ironic if you think about it because a good portion of our nation's produce is grown IN California...and good portion of that is organic.  Kind of doesn't make sense, does it?

Anyways...back at the end of June, they raided the Rawesome Foods Co-op warehouse in Venice, CA.  No one's quite sure why, though.

Perhaps they're just bored?  Find the fruit easier to tame than people coming illegally from another country?  The fruit charge more for day labor?

Who knows?

For the record, it is not illegal to sell raw milk or raw milk products in California(For info on the raw milk laws in your area, check out Real Milk courtesy of the Weston Price Foundation.)

So...if it's not illegal to grow or sell produce and it's not illegal to manufacture or sell raw milk or raw milk products, then what was the problem?  Surely there must be SOME logic to it, though, right? Please tell me there is.  I cannot for the life of me imagine what that logic might be, but I have to believe that somehow, someway there is a logical reason for them raiding a raw foods health store with their GUNS DRAWN!!!



I guess that kind of makes sense, though.  I remember that robbery last spring when a band of rabid strawberries stormed into a bank like a S.W.A.T team and took everyone down with their automatic weapons.  Or maybe it was because of that hoard of raw milk jugs and raw yogurt containers that went throughout LA randomly attacking people without provocation? Yup.  DEFINITELY a reason to go into a health food store with RAW fruits, veggies, and dairy products ready to defend yourself against the heavily armed produce and dairy products.  Definitely a reason.

Thank goodness we have the police to protect us from that nasty, chemical-infested, rabid, gun-toting raw, organic food!

(You can find detailed info on the raid and the charges directly from the owner of Rawesome Foods himself here.)

Tuesday

SOS Mom Saver: Honey for Allergies

Have allergies? Eat some honey. No. Really. Raw, local honey (i.e.-native to YOUR area) helps prevent allergies. How? In the same way that allergy shots do...only it's much healthier, in many cases cheaper, and has no side effects!


The way an allergy shot works is by introducing the allergen (what you're allergic to) into your body. They do this a little bit at a time on a weekly basis. Eventually, your body is used to this allergen and no longer has an allergic reaction to it.

Honey works the same way, only naturally. Many of us are allergic to pollens. Bees work by carrying the pollen from one plant to another. This pollen ends up in the honey that they produce. When you have honey daily (a tablespoon a day is recommended), it slowly introduces these pollens to your body. Just as with the allergy shots, eventually, your body will have become used to this allergen and will no longer have a reaction to it.


This is what we use in our area. You can see that the producer clearly labels their honey as raw & unheated. The location information (to the left on this bottle) tells you what area it's from. If the bottle is not clearly labeled as being raw (unheated), then you should assume it's not. It would be labeled that way if it were as that's a MAJOR selling point & major producers know that.

It is important that you utilize raw, local honey for several reasons. If it's raw, then it's not been heated. Heating the honey destroys many of the enzymes and pollens that allow it to be beneficial to your body. You need it to be local so that you're getting the right allergy "shot" (so-to-speak) for your area. It wouldn't make much sense for a person with an allergy to grass to receive an allergy shot for mold instead. The shot wouldn't be beneficial. In the same way, using non-local honey will help you not have an allergic reaction to the pollens in ANOTHER area...which doesn't do you much good if you don't live in that area!

I called and spoke with Dee over at Annsley Naturals Southwest who produces honey in the Henderson, NV area (which covers Vegas as well). She said that not only is the honey good for allergies, but it's great for diabetics. It is the only natural sweetner that most diabetics can safely use. (I'll assume here that we all know the dangers of artificial sweetners. If you don't and would like me to enlighten you, shoot me an e-mail & I'll do a write-up on it.)

Where do you find this fantastic raw, local honey for your area? Once again, Local Harvest comes to the rescue! Enter your zip on their honey page and you'll get the info for local producers in your area. If that doesn't turn up anything in your area, then check out your local health food stores. If that doesn't work, then head to Whole Foods. You can usually also find local honey producers at your local Farmer's Market. Again...Local Harvest can give you that info.

How much?

1 tablespoon a day.

Doesn't that look delicious!

Do I seriously eat a tablespoon of raw honey a day? Yep! In most cases I actually put it in my smoothie. On days when I don't get a chance to make a smoothie, I eat it straight or have a peanut butter & honey sandwich. YUM!

SOS Mom Saver: Homemade Popcorn



Today's Mom Saver isn't just about saving money. It's also about helping your family become more healthy! A LOT of people have the misconception that being healthy costs more. In some cases, that is true. In some cases, though, being healthy can actually save your family money!

I think pretty much everyone has heard the dangers of microwave popcorn bags by now. There are concerns that the chemicals coating the inside of the bag can cause cancer. They also say that the chemical used to make the butter flavor can be problematic if inhaled.

Besides, honestly, which would you rather feed your family?

Microwave & Real Popcorn Comparison Thoughts of THAT Mom
Which would you rather have your starting product be?

Microwave Popcorn in the Bag Next to Real Popcorn on the Counter Thoughts of THAT Mom
I know what MY answer is!

Like most people, I used to think that making my own popcorn would be some time-consuming task that I really didn't want to mess with. Either that, or I had to buy a special popcorn maker. And really? I don't need yet another gadget. I like to keep things simple.

I had heard that you could put popcorn into a brown lunch bag, fold it & cook it in the microwave just as you would a store-bought bag of microwave popcorn. That's all well and good, but we didn't have a microwave at the time and had no intentions of buying one. I needed something else.

I learned that you could very easily make popcorn right on your stove-top!

The only ingredients required are popcorn kernels and a high-heat oil. (I use Safflower oil.) You'll also need a pan with a lid.

Add 3tbs of oil to your pan.


Drop 1 kernel of popcorn into the oil & turn it on to high heat.


Once that kernel pops, then add the other kernels.


They're all in the pan now!


Put on the lid & get ready for it to pop!


(You might need to hold the lid on as the popping corn likes to knock it off. Be sure you wear a glove or potholder while doing this as the oil does splatter if you have any venting in your lid.)


Look at it popping!


You'll be able to easily see when the popcorn is done popping.


Almost Done!


It's done!


The popcorn will have a slight flavor from the oil so butter may not even be necessary.

Dump it into the bowl & enjoy!


How easy was that!

Sunday

Weight Watchers Endorses McDonald's?

I have to be honest here and admit that I couldn't even get through this article. Instead, I stopped and checked my calendar. I wanted to be sure I hadn't missed the rest of March.

Surely this was an April Fool's joke. Right?

When I realized it was no joke, I went back and tried to read the article again. And again, I couldn't get past the part in the first paragraph where it says that Weight Watchers will endorse McDonald's.

Now I'm not perfect. I fully admit that once in awhile, we do partake of the chemicals that are called McDonald's food. I fully admit, however, that it is NOT health food. I KNOW what I'm eating! I know that the meal I just had will NOT help me shed any pounds and might not even really be considered food. It is with FULL acceptance of this fact that I choose to partake.

I'm not one for calling something what it's not. I'm a very, "what you see is what you get" type of girl. And when I see (or hear) "McDonald's" I am NOT thinking...I'm gonna lose weight with this ultra-healthy health food.

I live in reality people!

Perhaps you'll have better luck than me at processing this. I still can't fathom how much McDonald's must have paid the powers-that-be at Weight Watchers to get them to agree to this. (Either that or Weight Watchers was in a LOT of trouble that none of us knew about. Because really. McDonald's?)

I think I better go to bed before I read something else. I don't think I could handle hearing something outlandish...like that Bill Clinton has sworn off cigars...or that George W. Bush has become a grade-school language arts teacher.

Yup. I just need to go to bed!

Wednesday

Homemade Laundry Detergent

You've heard me reference my homemade laundry detergent before. Many of you have asked for my recipe. Your wish is (finally) my command.

The ingredients are fairly simple. You only need 3: Borax (1/2 cup to 1 cup), Washing Soda (1/2 cup to 1 cup), and 1 bar of Ivory (or Fels Naptha) soap.

Utilizing these 3 ingredients, you can make a dry or a liquid version. I have not yet tried the liquid version, but intend to in the future. I have been using the dry for two years now with excellent results.

Here’s what you do:
  1. Grate the bar of soap. (I would recommend buying a separate grater for this as it will be very hard to clean it sufficiently enough to use with food again after using it for grating soap. I got mine for 25¢ at a local thrift store. You didn’t really think I would have paid full price, did you?)
  2. Add grated soap to the Borax and Washing Soda.
  3. You can make as big a batch as you like and add it to a suitable container.
  4. You use 1-2 tbs of the mix for each load of laundry.
Here are some things to remember:
  1. The soap will not suds a lot. Don’t expect it to.
  2. You can use either ½ cup or 1 cup of the Borax and Washing Soda. The amount you use will be totally dependent on your needs. I usually use a mixture with ½ cup each, but I keep a mixture with 1 cup each in a mason jar in my big container for heavier loads (like when my son walks in the door covered in mud).
  3. If you don’t want to bother with 2 separate mixes, you can always just add a little extra Borax to the load. It is a natural laundry booster that many use even with the regular laundry detergent.
  4. Yes. You really only use 1-2 tbs with each load. I know it seems like an incredibly small amount. But your clothes WILL be clean. I promise. 
When I do the liquid version (sometime in the ever-elusive future), I will get back to you and let you know how it goes. You will save more money if you use the liquid version, but for me, I needed convenience. I’m still saving money by utilizing the dry version, just not as much.

If you try it, please let me know how it goes for you. Good luck!

P.S.-(Okay. Not really “post”, but work with me here. Anyway, back to the previously-scheduled P.S.) The kids really love grating soap so if you don’t feel like grating soap today, call a family project…and let your kids do the “dirty” work!

P.P.S.-(Again, please work with me here.) The extra bar you see in the pic above is a laundry bar I buy at the local health food store. It works wonders at getting tough stains out.

Friday

The Sand Pool

If you've known me for long on Twitter, Facebook, or my old blog site, then you've heard me mention the "sand pool" more than a time or two.

It's easy to tell someone that our "sand pool" is just that: A pool...filled with sand. It just doesn't quite sink in, though, until you see it first-hand. It's at that point that you realize I'm not talking about a tiny kid's pool filled with sand. I'm talking about a giant, L-shaped pool that is 12 feet deep at it's deepest point, and is filled with sand.

It has taken us 2 summers to get this "pool" to where it is today. When we first acquired it, it was full of not only sand and rocks, but weeds...and LOTS of them! The weeds, combined with many, many sprouts of maple trees (thanks to "helicopter" seeds that are in over-abundance here) left this "pool" anything but fertile for growing anything "normal".

With the kind help of a neighbor and many new tools I didn't even know existed, we pulled, we dug, we plowed, we made it look pretty. After doing so for two summers, we have finally seen the fruits of our labor. This year, we had very little of the weeds and maple. We were finally just dealing with a sand pool with some rocks on the top.

What next? We really wanted a garden, but the entire rest of the back "yard" was concrete. Literally. All of it.

That left us a couple of flower beds and some pots in the front yard to grow in. The local rabbits would have been quite pleased had we chosen this option. (We did use pots for some snow peas and carrots and a show-down with the rabbits about left us having rabbit stew for dinner!)

After much research over two years, we decided to build a square foot garden...ON the sand pool!

I've got tons of pictures and fantastic fruits, veggies, berries, and herbs growing.

For now, have a look at what we started with (Ignore the green on the sides. The houses on either side of us BOTH went into foreclosure. To say there is overgrowth is an understatement. I've done all I can on my side. I'll be going over to the other side to try and fix the problem spots within the next couple of weeks.) Enjoy!




-Me

Wednesday

Natural Mosquito Repellant


Doesn't that picture just make you itch?

Three of us neighborhood moms were sitting at a neighbor's house and were griping about the mosquitoes that kept attacking us mercilessly. One friend was showing off the massive bite that her 3yr old had been sporting for several days.

One neighbor asks why we didn't just put vinegar on. Um...What? I looked at her like she was crazy too.

Apparently both vinegar and lemon juice repel mosquitoes.

Honestly. I didn't believe her. Despite all of her wonderful advice, I though maybe she was starting to go crazy. I'd tried EVERYTHING to no avail in the past! I was in the process of trying out the new Off Clip on that they gave me. I found it works well...if. I'll discuss that later, though.

Despite my disbelief, I went ahead and doused just my arms (which had mosquitoes swarming) in the vinegar, but I left my legs and feet exposed. (I had to do some sort of testing here.) My arms didn't see another mosquito for the rest of the day. My legs and feet? Let's just say I'm itching...a LOT!

Today, I put vinegar on all the kids and myself. So far, we've remained bite-free all day.

I've not tried the lemon juice, but she said it works as well.

For ease of use, put the vinegar in a spray bottle and just spray it on. That's what we did today!

I know what you're thinking. Why on EARTH would I voluntarily walk around smelling like vinegar? You won't. Once vinegar dries, it is odorless. I have been using it as a rinse on my hair for months and my hair doesn't smell like vinegar. I also had a friend smell my arm today. She confirmed that I didn't smell like anything; let alone vinegar.

Don't you love learning a new, healthier, MUCH cheaper and simpler way of doing things?

-Me

Saturday

HR 875: The Truth

There are a lot of misconceptions out about House Resolution 875 and Senate Resolution 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. A lot of this misinformation has people fearing this bill will do things that it just won’t do. Does that mean I think it’s a good bill that should pass? ABSOLUTELY NOT! However, if we are going to be concerned about it, then we need to be concerned for the right reasons.

I have found that we are much more likely to be taken seriously when we call and/or write our congressmen and women if we are well-informed about the issues. Granted, many of our congressmen and women wouldn’t know what the bill you were calling about included if it bit them in the face. Still, that shouldn’t stop US from reading and being informed!

I’ve heard lavish claims regarding this bill.

I’ve heard that Monsanto sponsored the resolution. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I don’t like Monsanto nor the things they have been doing. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had put money into this bill. However, I’ve yet to see anything concrete that tells me they definitely had something to do with it. I am told that people believe Monsanto is involved because one of the main sponsors of the bill (Rose Delauro) is married to a Monsanto employee (Stanley Greenberg). I'm in the process of investigating that right now. Still, even if he DID work there, that isn't concrete evidence that they were involved, but it certainly smells of conflict-of-interest...at the least.

According to Monsanto, Greenberg merely did contract work for them more than ten years ago. Being that this information comes directly from Monsanto and that most of the rest of what they say in this article regarding HR 875 isn't true, I don't know that we can trust the validity of that information. The Las Vegas Review Journal gives a little more information on Mr. Greenberg and his supposed connection to HR 875. I know that politicians have been known to lie (stop snickering). I also know that Monsanto has NOT had the best intentions regarding our food supply. So, take the information and the possible connections given the information we know as you will.

Some have said there will be a $1 million fee for each infraction. Again, I'm just not seeing it. I see where the groups formed will determine fees, but no fees are yet listed within the legislation. For what it's worth, I don't think any legislation that doesn't lay out details like this in advance should be passed. The claims of $1 million, though, just aren't there. (Update: I had a commenter point out to me that I had, in fact, missed something in my original reading of this bill. I apologize. Call it tiredness after reading through the entire bill. By the time I got to the 400 section, I apparently missed something. I have updated with the bill text below. Here's an overview: It states that the civil penalty for violating any portion of the act could be up to $1 million. However, it THEN goes on to say that each day that the violation continues will be considered a separate offense generating yet another fee. So yes. It is there.)

I’ve heard that this bill will make it illegal to sell, buy, or use heirloom seeds. I read the entire bill and find nothing even remotely close to that within HR 875 or HR 814 (a related bill). It is entirely possible that there is yet another related bill that includes such information. If this is the case I would ask you to please send me the info, but thus far I have seen nothing that substantiates this claim.

I have also heard that this bill will force home gardeners, local farmers, and organic farmers to use certain amounts of pesticides. Again, I have found nothing that substantiates this claim. I have found information regarding them limiting the type of fertilizer used. I understand they are trying to be safe and prevent e-coli, but I still don’t think it is right for them to attempt to regulate EVERYONE’S use of a particular substance because of the reckless regard of a few. If there is something in there that I am missing, again, PLEASE point it out to me.

There have also been those who have said that people are exaggerating regarding HR 875 and causing an unnecessary panic. Well…yes and no. There are some things (see the above 2 paragraphs) that are circulating that I have been unable to substantiate. However, their MAIN concern-that it could lead to regulation over local farmers selling at farmer’s markets and/or home gardeners- is, sadly, true. While this bill doesn’t specifically list home gardeners or local farmers, it doesn’t specifically exclude them either. With legislation, nothing should ever be assumed. If something or someone is not specifically excluded within legislation, then those considering such legislation must consider that those things or people COULD be interpreted as being subject to regulation under the legislation either immediately upon its passing or sometime down the road.

There have been cries of this resolution taking away the 10th amendment rights of states. This, unfortunately, is also true. They are doing so by making everything having to do with food federalized and saying that the states are forced, by this legislation, to adhere to the federal standards. They are effectively taking from the states something that belongs in the hands of the states. This is not new. This is not uncommon. This is and has been happening regularly which is why 32 states now have filed for sovereignty.

There is a section in there discussing the prohibition of “conflict of interest”. Given that this is the government and politics we’re talking about; I don’t expect much here in the way of true, unbiased regulation.

By far, my favorite part of the of the legislation is where they state that NAIS became a law in 2002. Um...No. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has NOT been passed into law yet, and certainly didn't become law back in 2002. It wasn't even proposed then!

This bill will also affect hunters who intend on processing the meat they kill. Some who self-process (very few) will get away with doing it themselves and no one will be any the wiser. If, however, a hunter takes his meat elsewhere to have it processed then it would fall under HR 875 even though it would be consumed by the hunter himself. HR 814 also has implications relating to hunters.

House resolution 814, a companion bill, is also currently before the house. If you have any questions, would like to add to what I have said, or show me where I can confirm the other rumors that are floating about 875, please e-mail me or comment below.

Could it be argued that they intended this to be used for corporations and that since we've had food issues lately we should just let them pass it and keep our mouths shut knowing what their actual intentions are? Perhaps. In my experience, though, our government doesn't work that way. If they actually intend for something to be a certain way then they need to state so in the legislation. There are few politicians who when given latitude to take something beyond its original intent will choose not to do so. My point? If they have the ability to do something within a bill, then it is likely that they eventually will. If we don't like what they will have the ability to do with a bill, then we should insist that it not be passed until it is written to our satisfaction. Remember, THEY work for US; not the other way around!

If you are not happy with what you have read so far or with what you read in the original resolution, then please contact your representatives and senators and let them know ASAP. I have heard rumors that they are trying to push this through in the next 2 weeks to avoid too much outcry. That in & of itelf should be a crime, in my oft-humbled opinion.

You can find the complete resolution as it currently stands by going here. In the search query field enter “875” (without the quotes) to see the house resolution. (You are looking for HR875 when the results come up.) Enter “510” (without the quotes) to see the senate resolution. (You are looking for S510 when the results come up.) I have yet to read the senate version.

Everything I have said thus far comes from the house version. I’ll be reading the senate version in just a bit and will update if necessary once I’m done.

I have included parts of the proposed legislation below. You will find my comments regarding each section in bold italics immediately following each section. Warning, this is long and tedious, but if you want to know what's in the bill, I'd recommend you take the time to read it here or on the Congressional sites. I do not include the entire bill below, but sections I have found to be relevant.
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Section 1, Section 3 (Definitions):

(5) CATEGORY 1 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 1 food establishment' means a food establishment (other than a seafood processing establishment) that slaughters, for the purpose of producing food, animals that are not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or poultry that are not subject to inspection under the Poultry Products Inspection Act. (This would include local farmers slaughtering for their families &/or friends & neighbors &/or those doing so at Farmer's markets, etc. In other words, "anyone not currently subject to inspection"...everyone.)

(6) CATEGORY 2 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 2 food establishment' means a seafood processing establishment or other food establishment (other than a category 1 establishment) not subject to inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act, that processes raw seafood or other raw animal products, whether fresh or frozen, or other products that the Administrator determines by regulation to pose a significant risk of hazardous contamination. (Again...this would include local farms selling raw milk, raw cheese, raw eggs, etc. for personal use, for use by friends &/or family, or for use by those who own shares in their livestock..."other raw animal products, whether fresh or frozen...")

(7) CATEGORY 3 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 3 food establishment' means a food establishment (other than a category 1 or category 2 establishment) that processes cooked, pasteurized, or otherwise ready-to-eat seafood or other animal products, fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form, or other products that pose a risk of hazardous contamination. (Note the absence of the word "sells"...simply, "that processes...fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form..." This would include those growing food for their own family's consumption, food for consumption by their family &/or friends & neighbors, etc. as well as those selling at local farmer's markets.)

(8) CATEGORY 4 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 4 food establishment' means a food establishment that processes all other categories of food products not described in paragraphs (5) through (7).

(9) CATEGORY 5 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term `category 5 food establishment' means a food establishment that stores, holds, or transports food products prior to delivery for retail sale. (Just in case we weren't sure before, we can now be sure that farms holding foods at their farms prior to delivery for retail sale at a farmer's market would be included here.)

(13) FOOD ESTABLISHMENT-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term `food establishment' means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients. (This would kindly include any location...local farm or otherwise that holds, stores, or transports foods as they typically do when they're waiting for delivery to a farmer's market or delivering food to a farmer's market.)

(B) EXCLUSIONS- For the purposes of registration, the term `food establishment' does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer, or fishing vessel (other than a fishing vessel engaged in processing, as that term is defined in section 123.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations). (Here they kindly exclude a local soup kitchen, restaurants, or your next church dinner. Ironically, I would think food storage &/or prep practices at a restaurant would contribute significantly to the overall health of those consuming such food. But, alas, they get a pass on this one.)

(14) FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY- The term `food production facility' means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation. (And just in case we had any doubts, they clarify here that "any" farm, ranch...one privately owned, operated, and consumed from would be included here, orchard, vineyard, etc.)

(19) PROCESS- The term `process' or `processing' means the commercial slaughter, packing, preparation, or manufacture of food. (Commercial only defined as made for sale? Local farms selling locally only apply?)
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Sec. 201 (a) (2) ensure that persons who produce, process, or distribute food meet their responsibility to prevent or minimize food safety hazards related to their products. ("...Persons?" Not companies, but "persons"...)

(c) Program Elements- In carrying out the program, the Administrator shall--
(1) adopt and implement a national system for the registration of food establishments and foreign food establishments, as provided in section 202 of this Act; (Remember, we already established that any person growing food for consumption by a human or an animal is included. Ready to register your backyard fruit & veggie garden?) Can we say, "Civil Disobedience" boys & girls?

(2) adopt and implement a national system for regular unannounced inspection of food establishments (Nope. Not gonna give you permission to drop in unannounced to "inspect" my home. Last time I checked, legislation that violates the Constitution does not constitute a valid warrant.)

(3) require and enforce the adoption of preventive process controls in food establishments, based on the best available scientific and public health considerations and best available technologies; (What exactly is this?)

(12) provide technical assistance to farmers and food establishments that are small business concerns (meeting the requirements of section 3(a) of the Small Business Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder) to assist with compliance with the requirements of this Act. (Don't need nor do I want your "assistance"..."technical" or not. This would cover a local farm operating as a small business via selling on their land, at local farmer's markets, or through a herd-share program.)
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Sec. 202
(a) In General- Any food establishment or foreign food establishment engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food for consumption in the United States shall register annually with the Administrator. (We've already established that they consider a local farmer & a family growing food in their back yard as "food establishments". If they are manufacturing (i.e.-growing) food for consumption in the US then they shall be required to register. Um. NO! I am NOT registering my back yard garden with the US. Try again.)

There's a whole bunch of other junk in this section as well including how they can make you re-register, charge fees which are not defined and could likely be costly as a result, etc. You know, a bunch of other "junk".
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Sec. 203 (c) Specific Hazard Controls- The Administrator may require any person with responsibility for or control over food or food ingredients to adopt specific hazard controls, if such controls are needed to ensure the protection of the public health. (Is this what people think would force farmers &/or local gardeners to use chemicals? I guess I could see that.)
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Sec. 204 (a) In General- To protect the public health, the Administrator shall establish by guidance document, action level, or regulation and enforce performance standards that define, with respect to specific foods and contaminants in food, the level of food safety performance that a person responsible for producing, processing, or selling food shall meet. (Here again, leaves it open to anyone who produces, processes, or sells food; even home gardeners and local farmers.)

Sec. 204 (c) (1) (D) in the absence of data to support a performance standard described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C), standards that define required performance on the basis of reliable information on the best reasonably achievable performance, using best available technologies, interventions, and practices. (I’m pretty sure this is another area where people think, “…using best available interventions…” could require the use of chemicals or pesticides even on a home garden, local farm, &/or organic farm.)
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Sec.206
(d) Variances- States and foreign countries that export produce intended for consumption in the United States may request from the Administrator variances from the requirements of the regulations under subsection (c). A request shall--
(1) be in writing;
(2) describe the reasons the variance is necessary;
(3) describe the procedures, processes, and practices that will be followed under the variance to ensure produce is not adulterated; and
(4) contain any other information required by the Administrator. (What matters here? The fact that FOREIGN countries that export produce intended for consumption in the US CAN ASK FOR AN EXEMPTION TO THESE REGULATIONS!!!! Help me out here!! If their intent is to ensure our food is safe and MOST of the unsafe food has come from overseas then WHY exactly are we going to allow overseas companies to exempt themselves? Isn't this defeating to their alleged purpose for this act? Unless, of course, they actually have another purpose that has nothing to do with protecting our food supply at all.)
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Sec. 210 (2) EXISTING LAWS- For purposes of this subsection, the Administrator should review the following:
(d) Relationship to Other Requirements
(D) The National Animal Identification System as authorized by the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.). (Um…The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is NOT currently law and CERTAINLY wasn’t law in 2002!!! It was fought HEAVILY last year because of its strict requirements that would only charge one fee for a corporation such as Tyson which has thousands of chickens, but would charge an individual farmer a HIGH fee PER animal…the cost wouldn’t have even been close to comparable.)
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Sec. 301 (c)
(2) COMPONENTS OF ANALYSIS- The analysis under subsection (b)(1) may include--
(A) a comparison of the safety of commercial processing with the health hazards associated with food that is harvested for recreational or subsistence purposes and prepared noncommercially; (In case you didn't read that right, it will require, "...comparison to foods harvested for recreational or subsistence purposes or prepared noncommercially" Still doubting whether individuals growing food for their own consumption will be included in this legislation?)
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Sec. 302 (b)
(2) to develop standardized formats for written and broadcast advisories; (I don't know about you, but I'm all kinds of happy that they'll be attempting to control media with this bill as well. Hope they know that bloggers don't listen very well to intimidation or fake, unconstitutional legislation.)
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Sec. 303 Research (a)
(5) develop food consumption data; (I'm curious to know how
they intend on developing "food consumption data" with
current methods. I suspect how they'll do it, but I haven't
seen confirmation so I won't mention it here...yet)
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SEC. 401. PROHIBITED ACTS.
It is prohibited--
(3) for a food establishment or foreign food establishment to fail to register under section 202, or to operate without a valid registration; (How about it's unconstitutional to make people register their home gardens? That's what I thought. No. I won't be registering. And again...can everyone say, "CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE" with me!)

(4) to refuse to permit access to a food establishment or food production facility for the inspection and copying of a record as required under sections 205(f) and 206(a) (See note on #3)
(5) to fail to establish or maintain any record or to make any report as required under sections 205(f) and 206(b) (Again...see note on #3)

(6) to refuse to permit entry to or inspection of a food establishment as required under section 205; (Again...note on #3)
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SEC. 405. CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
(a) Civil Sanctions-
(1) CIVIL PENALTY-
(A) IN GENERAL- Any person that commits an act that violates the food safety law (including a regulation promulgated or order issued under the food safety law) may be assessed a civil penalty by the Administrator of not more than $1,000,000 for each such act. (This would be the $1 million for each offense that people are worried about. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there.)
(B) SEPARATE OFFENSE- Each act described in subparagraph (A) and each day during which that act continues shall be considered a separate offense. (Not only is there UP TO $1 million for EACH offense, but EACH DAY that you continue in your violation of this act will count as a SEPARATE offense! This could add up quickly for the backyard farmer...even if they're NOT charged the full $1 million.)