Consider This... Corn

One of the hottest topics out there is GMO’s-Genetically Modified Organisms. Are they healthy, are they needed, and are they safe? It is a massive and controversial subject that can be pretty difficult to sort out. Today I am only going to talk about corn since most of it is Genetically Engineered, and is done so ONLY to withstand the billions (yes billions) of pounds of pesticides we drown this and other crops in. So rather than ask if you think GE corn is a good or necessary idea, why not Consider This… 

How many pesticides and herbicides do you like in the food you eat and the food you feed to your family or your pets? I am going to assume that most of us would say none. The logical answer might be to stop eating corn altogether and therefore eliminating all those nasty chemicals. Unfortunately that is not the case, not even close.

If we are what we eat, then most of us should be walking cobs of corn. You would think that the assortment of food available to us (over 50,000 various products) would serve us with a genuine variety, but that is not the case.

Corn is the main diet of the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs and even salmon, tilapia, and catfish. Our eggs, milk and cheese all come from animals that are fed mostly corn if not exclusively. An easy answer here… become vegetarian or vegan, don’t eat corn and presto- no more corn chemical soup, right? It will help for sure but this is not entirely the case. 

Corn is in your canned fruit, prepared soups, beans and your morning waffles and cereal. It is in your salad dressings, hot sauces, syrups, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish, margarine, peanut butter, jams and gravies. Your cakes, cookies, candies, chewing gum, potato chips and doughnuts all contain some form of the yellow stuff. Even the shine on your cucumbers and apples comes from a wax made from corn. Thirsty? Your beer, sodas and even your glass of wine - corn and more corn. Of the average 50,000 food items in your supermarket more than 40% contain some form of this genetically engineered vegetable.

Grow your own food, don’t eat meat and skip the yellow cobs? You will still find yourself surrounded in corn. It is in your vitamins, toothpaste, diapers, cleaners, trash bags, batteries and matches. Magazines covers and produce shipping containers are coated with products containing corn. Even the supermarket itself has been built with products made from corn and don’t forget about your cars, it is in your gas tank as well.

Not such an easy fix: It is a difficult ingredient to avoid, but the best you can do is to read the ingredients of the products you buy, choose organic when you can, cook your own food and eat mostly greens. Avoiding meat does cut out a lot of corn, not to mention all of the other health benefits. If you have the option, grow as much of your own food as you can. You would be surprised at how little space it takes to grow food.


Shopping Local This Holiday Season

Where you decide to shop this holiday season could have a major impact on both the economy and our environment.

Consider This... Shopping locally cuts down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to much less pollution!

Your independent retailers and restaurants generally stock a greater percentage of locally produced goods, meaning less fuel consumption, and these goods typically will come from smaller scale farms, factories, artists and producers. As well, local and independent companies are much more likely to reuse materials. 

These businesses are usually owned by people who live in your area and are more invested in the community’s future. A great deal of the money you spend with them stays in the community. Best of all, studies show that local businesses support non-profits by 250% more than large ones.

If you don’t like the idea of becoming a “clone town” filled with the same retail and fast food chains as the next town, then consider spending your money locally this holiday season.

Our One and Only World

Absolutely everything we do in our daily lives has some type of impact on our environment. Many of our daily habits may have more of an impact that you might have realized, so for today, I would like you to Consider This…

Eating with disposable chopsticks – not one I ever considered, but over 80 billion pairs are thrown out each year. They all end up in landfills. The plastic ones don’t biodegrade and their wooden counterparts take over 4 million trees a year to produce just in China! Sulfur, paraffin and insect repellents are used in the production. 

Easy fix:  Buy a few pairs of reusable sticks and put them in your home, car, your purse or briefcase.

Here is one we like.

If you prefer made in the USA, try these.

We Only Have One World

coral reef.jpg

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it-Robert Swan.

On any given day we are inundated with messages about water, soil and air pollution, global warming, fracking, overuse of pesticides, deforestation, GMO’s and a very long list of issues that are negatively affecting the planet we live on. It can seem overwhelming. 

USING SUNSCREEN – This is a topic with much debate. Studies have shown the common ingredient oxybenzone used in sun screens has a detrimental effect on coral reefs around the world, some studies say it is toxic for us as well. Other studies state that while coral does not do well when exposed to oxybenzone, other factors like over-fishing, global warming and pollution are part of the problem as well – no duh! 


-          Keep covered up

-          wear sunglasses

-          wear SPF clothing

-          find shade or bring an umbrella

-          use water resistant sunscreens and ones that don’t contain oxybenzone

-          Here is one that we like. 

The bottom line is, we all need to care, we need to help out where we can, and we need to realize that we are all connected-the earth, oceans, animals, air and humans. We need to respect each other and create an environment that doesn’t need protecting.


The 100 Mile Diet: Buying Locally

No matter where you live, you’ll find that buying local has a wealth of benefits for you and your community. Here are some reasons and tips to help get you started:

Top reasons to buy local

  • Support yourself and your community economically
  • Keep your community unique and promote diversity
  • Reduce environmental impact
  • Create more good jobs
  • Get better service
  • Invest in community
  • Put your taxes to good use
  • Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy
  • Encourage local prosperity and diverse character.
  • Support community groups
  • You can taste the difference and experience new flavours
  • You know what you're eating.
  • Get in touch with the seasons.
  • Have more fun travelling.

Tips on how to buy local

  • Frequent the same farmers markets and stands
  • Know what is in season and available in your community
  • Invest in a farm share program and receive weekly boxes of fruit and vegetables.
  • Arrive at markets early for the freshest and best picks. You can also arrive just prior to close to take advantage of deals.
  • Start your own garden of herbs or veggies
  • Consider raising your own animals in your yard, i.e.) turkeys or chickens
  • Volunteer in markets
  • Be open to trying new things
  • Research local products before travelling.




Consider This... Water

Thomas Fuller said it best, “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry”.

In the middle of a very cold winter two years ago, I went out to fill the water troughs for my Highland cows. I was horrified when the turned-on tap didn’t produce a single drop because just like us, animals cannot live without water. Water is life and there is not a single living organism that can live without it. And yet, we collectively waste it, pollute it and allow companies to drain our aquafers even during the worst of droughts.

It has been said that the Earth provides for everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed, and that is what I would like to talk about today. It is unlikely that the Earth will ever run out of water, but how much of our H2O remains usable and available to those who need it, is of great concern. Experts have predicted in less than 10 years nearly three billion people will be experiencing a real water scarcity and two thirds of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions. Some feel armed conflicts will result. That being said, I would like you to Consider This….

The number of issues facing our water supply is immense. From fracking and global warming to polluting our oceans and drinking water to a growing demand and a growing population, the list goes on and on.

I am going to talk mostly about our water-footprint which is basically the total amount of H2O that is needed for the production of all goods and services added to our personal water usage. There are a lot of numbers out there, but in North America the norm is about 7800 litres (2060 gallons) per day-which is as much as it takes to fill an Olympic sized pool!

I know it seems like that number is completely ridiculous, but let’s walk through a typical morning for many of us. We get up and take a shower, brush our teeth, flush the toilet, and then eat a breakfast of say toast, eggs with a couple of pieces of bacon, a small glass of juice and a cup of coffee to wash it down. We haven’t left the house and have already used about 1200 litres or 320 gallons, and that doesn’t include the over 5,000 litres/1320 gallons it took to put on our cotton shirt and our favorite pair of jeans. It also took water to make the dishes we eat off of and produce the shampoo and to run the electricity and and and...

The cars we drive take more than 60,000 gallons to produce, and then there is 2 gallons of H2O for every gallon of gas. Some of our favorite treats take enormous amounts of water to produce from almonds at a gallon for each one to about 400 gallons for a chocolate bar and 60 gallons to produce a glass of wine. There is good news for Beer drinkers – each beer takes only 19 gallons to produce and for the vegans and vegetarians out there, your water-footprint is much less than the meat eaters. With beef, chicken and pork ringing in between 600 and 1850 gallons per pound, which is around 150 times more than it takes to grow the same weight in plant food.

If you would like to figure out your water-footprint, there is a very cool tool on line that calculates your daily average water footprint (this one is specific to America, but you can use it to get a good idea).

Not running the water to brush our teeth and purchasing low flow everything helps but that type of water usage is very small compared to what is used to produce food and consumer products. So what can we do?

One of the most important things we can do is to be less wasteful. This means stop overbuying food that ends up in the landfills and clothing that we hardly wear. Work hard at the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Eat lower on the food chain-start off with Meatless Mondays, then add another day or two of vegetarian or vegan meals. If you do eat meat, buy locally produced grass fed products. Buy less processed foods, more sustainable foods and grow some yourself. Don’t support companies that are known for their water crimes-a quick Google search will tell you who they are. Fix leaks, buy Energy Star appliances, use shower buckets, take fewer baths, and conserve energy.

We all need to work at creating an environment that doesn’t need protecting, and we do this with knowledge and our efforts.

Consider This: Air Fresheners


If I were to lock you in a room, shut the windows and door, and then proceed to shower the area with a concoction of formaldehyde, and say another couple hundred or so chemicals (I wouldn’t know exactly what they are because there is no ingredients listed on the can), would you thank me? Probably not. How about if when I sprayed this magic fog, it got rid of a disgusting wet dog smell or yesterday’s fish stench? I would like to hope that you would still opt out of the toxic brew. But for a huge portion of the population, they choose to breathe in these poisons in the form of air fresheners over and over, day after day!

We spray, plug-in, heat up and even burn these deadly cocktails to the tune of over 8 billion dollars’ worth each year! We seem to be obsessed with Island Breeze, Clean Linen and Berry Burst. The commercials show us spraying enough of this stuff to ‘wash rooms’, entire families are euphoric as they plug in their car vent clips, and spray-happy women are dousing shoes, clothing and even pets. We melt them and light them and even have them change scents as if they were a music player on shuffle. And yet, most of us know very little about these addictive air fresheners.

The next time you go to purchase a can or a candle or plugin, I would like you to Consider This…

The top few ingredients in air fresheners are phthalates, formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, dichlorobenzene, DBP’s, DEP, and DIBP, collectively called VOC’s. Then add another couple hundred others – one study listed 350 chemicals in a sample. Unfortunately for us, it is impossible to know exactly what we are buying because for the most part companies do not list the ingredients on their products, nor do they have to. All of these toxic chemicals are apparently an industry secret and also, none of our business. Numerous studies do show that a large number of the chemicals used are linked to cancer, asthma, allergies, birth defects, changes in hormone levels, heart and lung problems, poor semen quality, and changes in genital development!


Many of the products out there simply mask odors; the scent of the spray is stronger than the actual stink you are trying to cover up-especially if you spray as much as the ads suggest! Others contain chemicals that trap the smelly smells and block them from escaping to our noses. Some coat our nasal passages with a film and others actually use nerve-deadening chemicals that interfere with our sense of smell-yikes!! 

Now this is when I would like to suggest the all-natural route, the organic choice. Unfortunately even air fresheners advertised as green or natural, tested about the same for toxic and hazardous chemicals as did the other brands.

So, then what can we do?

Personally, I try to keep odors to a minimum to begin with; wash up and open windows. Even then, my seriously stinky dogs can override my best efforts. So for those times, I have several Mason jars around the house half filled with baking soda to which I add about a dozen or so drops of my fav essential oils (you can buy these anywhere – they are especially cheap at the bulk food stores). The fancy way to do this is to pierce the metal lids but I just put a piece of tin foil on top and poke holes in it. I also have a pot on my stove which is always filled with water and a combination of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, rosemary, lemon peels or vanilla pieces.

You can also purchase air fresheners made of distilled water and essential oils in a pump bottle or diffusers made from basically the same ingredients. Eco Me offers a great product.

As it is with everything we buy, we are in control of the products made available to us. Knowledge is our power and ignorance is theirs

Consider This: Chocolate

Today I am going to talk about one of our favorite treats - Theobroma Cacao which actually translates to Food of the Gods - also known as chocolate.

Whether it’s a Valentine’s gift, a pacifying bribe for a child or a special treat just because we are having a bad day, for many of us, eating chocolate feels like food for our soul. Some even claim the rich brown delicacy to be better than sex. But seriously though lol, one thing for sure is that even though we consume 8 million tons of chocolate yearly, we know very little about this treasured treat.

Our love affair with chocolate began thousands of years ago in the form of a bitter drink called xocoatl in present-day Mexico. They believed it to be an aphrodisiac containing mystical properties and was reserved for the elite. For a time, it was even used as a currency and counterfeiting the pods with clay look-a-likes was a booming business. Chocolate, they way we know it didn't come until much later when sugar and flavorings were added in the 1500’s, next the Dutch invented a cocoa press and finally in 1847, Joseph Fry was the first to give us the familiar chocolate bar. Companies like Lindt, Cadbury and Hersheys brought the sweet treats to the masses and continue to do so today.

And now for the bad news-sorry to do this - but the next time you grab a Kit Kat, a box of Coco Puffs or a bottle of your favorite chocolate Vodka, I would like you to Consider This…

In many of Africa’s poorest regions tens of thousands of children as young as five are kidnapped or sold by their parents for as little as $30 to traffickers, who then sell them to one of the many cacao plantations, located in Western African countries like Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. Most are never paid and many never see their families again. While enslaved, the children are beaten, injured, over-worked, exposed to pesticides and deprived of an education. The top players in the game; Mars, Nestle and Hershey all deny supporting these practices, but because about 70% of all chocolate comes from these African countries, it is difficult to believe they don't know that the chocolate they sell has been touched by the hands of a child slave. A recently freed African slave, Drissa, had a message for people who eat chocolate from his country, “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh”.

If that isn’t enough to stop you from grabbing that bag of chocolate chip cookies, you might want to Consider This…

Most of the chocolate we eat contains very little cacao and more ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, GMO’s in the form of soy lecithin and all of the corn products, artificial colors, PGPR’s and TBHQ’s – you seriously don’t want to know, and palm oils (an ingredient that should enrage us all!) Palm oil production causes the destruction of rain forests resulting in a serious threat to the environment and to the elephants, tigers, rhinos and orangutans that live there.

Now for some good news. We all have choices! We can give up chocolate altogether – just kidding!! Seriously though, there is a ton of chocolate out there that is ethically sourced. There are vegan and organic products everywhere you turn. I get mine from the bulk food stores and from my local grocery store. A quick Google search can find you lists of companies and products that have great ingredients and do not support child trafficking.  Sjaak's is one we really like. Also remember to use social media and let companies like Nestle, Mars, Kraft and the others know that we do not want chocolate sourced from countries that use child labor. I personally have chosen not to purchase any products from these companies. There are even apps out there that will help you to avoid buying from companies you wish to boycott. This one works well.

Understanding where and how products get to our shopping carts is key to cleaning up our food supply! Most importantly, we really need to understand that we have all of the power. When we speak with our dollars, they will either listen to us or they will disappear! Knowledge is our power and ignorance is theirs.