A recent study found little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, challenging organic’s reputation as the healthy alternative to conventional agribusiness. But others say researchers did find some vital differences around pesticide levels and that the study was too narrow, ignoring vital environmental and ethical reasons for eating organic. Today we'll look at the arguments on both sides.
Today we sit down with iconic food writer and activist Frances Moore Lappé. In the 1970's, Lappé pioneered the idea of conscientious eating with her book “Diet for a Small Planet”. Now forty years later, she says much has changed. There's more awareness of the connections between food, health, and the environment, yet there's also growing world hunger requiring she says a complete global re-think.
Dear EarthTalk:We’ve been hearing for years how producing red meat is bad for the environment while consuming it is bad for our health. How do other types of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins stack up in terms of environmental and health impacts? -- Julia Saperstein, via e-mail
Dear EarthTalk: How do I learn about what pesticides may be on the food I eat?-- Beatrice Olson, Cleveland, OH
Along with the rise in the popularity of organic food has come an increased awareness about the dangers lurking on so-called “conventionally produced” (that is, with chemical pesticides and fertilizers) foods.
Sip a glass of Italian wine tonight with dinner. Savor its full-bodied flavor, or its delicate notes of plum or cherries. If you really concentrate, you might detect another subtle but important flavor - equality. Italian women are revolutionizing the way vino is made, promoted and sold. And women in corporate boardrooms might not be a new phenomenon; their entrance in the world’s male-dominated cantinas and vineyards is, especially as they’re making changes that are nothing to sniff at. Nancy Greenleese reports.
You’re at the gym, working up a sweat, burning some calories, getting that metabolism in gear… and then the workout ends and you’re looking for quick refreshment. Grabbing a candy bar or a sugary soda from the vending machine can feel like you’re undoing all your exercise.
Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 6:36 am
We'd probably like to think that clean, safe food goes hand in hand with pristine nature, with lots of wildlife and clean water. But in the part of California that grows a lot of the country's lettuce and spinach, these two goals have come into conflict.
Environmental advocates say a single-minded focus on food safety has forced growers of salad greens to strip vegetation from around their fields, harming wildlife and polluting streams and rivers.
Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 9:45 am
An increasing number of restaurants in the U.S. display signature dishes made with Kobe beef. From Kobe steak raviolis to Kobe beef burgers, you name it, Kobe beef seems to be popping up everywhere — except it's not Kobe beef.
Food writer Larry Olmsted of Forbes.com couldn't help but notice the trend and decided to bust everyone's bubble in a three-part expose of the so-called domestic Kobe beef industry.
Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 12:43 pm
It's the unscripted, offhand comments that get you in hot water in journalism. Yesterday, in an on-air conversation that introduced a piece on All Things Considered about how farmers in California's Salinas Valley try to keep harmful microbes out of bagged salad greens, we had this exchange in the studio:
Allison Aubrey: Does that mean we need to wash this stuff?
Audie Cornish: I wash it every time, I just don't know if it helps.
It's in a ritzy section of town, so the company is hoping to appeal to high end customers with a retro farmhouse style decor. This includes Ottomans covered in vinyl cowhide fabric and the front of a 1960s van mounted on the wall.
Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 7:47 am
Got a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi habit? Lots of Americans do. Consumption of all types of diet soft drinks has been on the rise. And as a nation, we drink an estimated 20 percent more of diet drinks now than we did 15 years ago.
So, is it good for us? A new study finds the answer to that question may depend a lot on, well, what you eat.
Locavores, rejoice. Longer days and warming soil means a fresh crop of spring greens and veggies will soon be arriving in New England. But if you’re not sure what to do with those fiddleheads and dandelion greens, rest easy. We’ve brought in the expert. Kathy Gunstis the author of Notes From a Maine Kitchen, a month-by-month cookbook that reads more like a love-letter to the foods of region.
Here are three of Kathy's favorite spring recipes:
Originally published on Thu April 12, 2012 6:38 am
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today it is calling on the nation's pork, beef, and poultry producers to reduce their use of antibiotics. But some watchdog groups say this voluntary guidance doesn't go nearly far enough.
The issue has been contentious for decades. Just last month, a federal judge ruled that the FDA had to go ahead with a plan it proposed in 1977 that would ban the use of some antibiotics as a growth promoter in animals.
Diners who merely flit over the menu at the Specktakel restaurant in the Netherlands are sometimes shocked when their plate arrives.
"They just read the first two things in the sentence, and then they think they've got the bobotie pie with pumpkin mash, raisins and watercress," says owner Mark Cashoek. "And the last word is actually the insect crumble."
Insect crumble? Who would want to see crumbled insects on their plate next to the antelope quiche?
Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 1:34 pm
Not long after the start of the school year, Monique Sanders, a teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Manchester, Conn., realized many of her students were going to bed hungry.
"It was very bad. I had parents calling me several times a week, asking did I know of any other way that they could get food because they had already gone to a food pantry," Sanders says. "The food pantry only allows you to go twice per month, so if you are running low on your food stamps or you didn't get what you needed and you're not able to feed your family, that's very stressful."
Any idea how many calories are in a 64-ounce double gulp soda from a convenience store? 800, how about one of those big cookies? For a society fixated on weight-loss, very few of us know how many calories we’re taking in and what is a calorie, after all? You can’t see taste, or smell them, but they are everywhere. Your brain knows if you’re getting too much or too little. And the more you take in, the more the food industry makes.
Bet you can’t eat just one. The Lays potato chip campaign plays on the idea of snacking out of control. From Oprah to "The Biggest Loser," people describe themselves like addicts, needing one more bite of fatty, salty, sugary foods, knowing full well that remorse will follow their mouthful of pleasure.
Why are these hard-to-pronounce ingredients added to everything from a burger served in schools to veggie burgers in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store? We try to answer that on this edition of Tiny Desk Kitchen.
It turns out the answers are as varied as the ingredients. But as we yearn to know what's in our food and how it's made, these kinds of ingredients with unfamiliar names make people suspicious.
This weekend is maple syrup weekend in New Hampshire – true, you might not be thinking of sugar and sap given this week’s record breaking temperatures, but more than 100 New Hampshire sugarhouses are opening their doors this weekend and sharing a little of the sweet stuff for visitors.
One of my little psychological tics revolves around those little stickers on apples and oranges. For whatever reason they weird me out - I can pull them off and wash the fruit a thousand times and still I'll think of the trace amounts of invisible sticker goo I'm probably imbibing along with nature's candy.
Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:29 pm
A provocative comment by an extreme right presidential candidate has started a debate that is dominating the French presidential campaign. France may be in the middle of an economic crisis, but politicians seem more interested in talking about halal meat and religious dietary rules.
It all began when National Front Party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.