A Guide to Buying Organic Food

 Kate NG SommersPhoto Credit: Kate NG SommersPerhaps you shop at the local coops and look for that label on all of your purchases. But with a limited budget, maybe you’ve wondered what makes the most sense to buy organic. As a nutritionist working with people to improve the quality of their diet, I get asked this question a lot. So here are six suggestions for prioritizing your spending to maximize your dollars and your health.

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Smart Ways to Pick Your Fish

Fish is good for you! It’s low in saturated fat, good for your heart, and tastes great. It’s true that large ocean predators are high in mercury and chemicals from plastics. But the benefits of fish are bigger than the risks, according to studies. So we should eat it, right?

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The Best Fish for the Environment? Frozen

The other day, as I was contemplating the offerings at Lakewinds' seafood case, one of the gentlemen working there told me to consider the frozen wild salmon.

It's actually better than fresh, he said, because it's flash frozen as soon as it's caught and then vacuum-sealed to preserve the flavor -- even before it begins its journey to restaurants and stores.

I took his advice because he has steered me right in the past with other seafood purchases I've made there, such as buying, stuffing, and grilling the delicious -- and almost local -- Wisconsin trout.

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Talking With Curt Ellis from "King Corn" About His New Film "Big River," Part 2

Today’s post is the final half of a two-part interview with Curt Ellis (the first part of our "Big River" article is here), who will be in Minneapolis this week showing “Big River,” a companion to his 2006 documentary “King Corn.” Both films will be screened at the Riverview Theater on Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00, with a panel discussion afterwards. Admission is $10.

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Talking With Curt Ellis from "King Corn" About His New Film "Big River," Part 1

I recently had a chance to catch up with Curt Ellis, whose “Big River” documentary picks up where his film 2006 “King Corn” left off - in the banks of the Mississippi River.

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Lakewinds is "First in the U.S." to Use Biodegradable Shopping Bags Made from Tapioca

This shopping bag won't be around for long.This shopping bag won't be around for long.

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Vermiculture and Our Friends the Worms

In the coat closet of my tiny one-bedroom apartment, next to a suitcase and my winter boots, is my blue plastic worm bin. I have been composting with worms for about a year, and cannot imagine going back.

I am still in awe of the efficiency with which my worms work, and I'm always amazed to open the bin and find almost no evidence of the food scraps and coffee grounds I fed them only a week earlier. I am not an expert in biology, agronomy, or even vermiculture, but right in my closet, I have managed to maintain a thriving little ecosystem, and produce a continuous supply of rich, dark compost.

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Consider Banning the (Water) Bottle

Bottled water ain't all it's cracked up to be. Sure, it's better than the alternatives you'll find in a Coke machine, but filling your own bottle with tap water is even better. An excellent, recent Lighter Footstep article gives us Five Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water. Here's an excerpt:

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Which Foods Are Produced with Lower CO2 Emissions? Swedish Shoppers Ponder New Food Labels

Recently, I wrote about Food Democracy Now's campaign against the new Smart Choice labeling system, the large, green check mark appearing on packaged processed foods -- such as Froot Loops, Keebler Cookie Crunch, Lucky Charms and other products containing "as much as 44% sugar" -- intended to lead consumers to make "healthier" food choices.

Now, a new labeling system is making the news, though the purpose of this one is to teach food buyers how their choices affect the health of the earth.

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The Environmental Cost of Cheap Food: Part Two

Yesterday, I wrote about two of the biggest ecological challenges we face, both caused directly by agricultural practices, and both driven by the U.S. appetite for cheap food. Factory farming and its effect on oceans was the focus of yesterday’s blog post. Today, I will examine a vital collection of forests that are literally losing ground to the raising of one small (in size) but significant (in sales) crop: shrimp. In South America and Southeast Asia, mangrove forests once lined the coasts. Mangroves are amazing trees. These salt-tolerant plants grow directly in the ocean, sinking a thicket of aerial roots into inter-tidal areas. The roots trap sediments and protect the shoreline from the battering waves of tropical storms.

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