Weighing GMO Claims and Content

Consumer Reports consistently sets the gold standard in product testing. This fall the organization began a comprehensive review of GMOs in the American food supply, and discovered that the corn and soy in nonorganic products and those labeled “natural” are almost uniformly genetically modified varieties.

The nonprofit concluded that consumers who seek to avoid GMO ingredients should trust two independently verified labels: “organic” and “Non-GMO Project Verified.”

In a news release, Consumer Reports described the methodology of the study: “To see how many foods have GMOs and whether you can trust the claims you see on food packages, we bought more than 80 different processed foods containing corn or soy between April and July 2014. Genetically modified corn and soy are used in a wide variety of foods. Nearly all of the samples we tested of the products that did not make any non-GMO-related claim on the package did, in fact, contain substantial amounts of genetically modified corn or soy. They included many familiar foods, such as Kellogg’s Froot Loops, General Mills Corn Chex, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, Doritos Oven Baked Nacho Cheese chips, and Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burgers. Four of the products in this group were soy-based infant formulas: Enfamil ProSobee Soy Infant Formula, Gerber Good Start Soy, Similac Soy Isomil, and Similac Go & Grow Soy Infant formula.”

Other cereals with high GMO content included Kashi GoLean, Kashi GoLean Hearty Honey & Cinnamon and Quaker Life Original.

Consumer Reports was curious about products that do not display the Non-GMO Project Verified seal yet make various non-GMO claims. “These claims made by the manufacturer — which may include the words ‘No GMO’ and ‘Non-GMO’— have no standard definition and don’t require independent verification. Even so, most of the products we tested containing nonorganic corn or soy that made an uncertified claim met non-GMO standards. … The exception was Xochitl Totopos de Maiz original corn chips. The package read ‘No GMO’ and ‘All Natural.’ But our tests showed that the amount of genetically modified corn in the six samples we tested averaged more than 75 percent.”

The biggest disappointment came from products that featured a “natural” claim: “All the foods that had a natural label, but were not specifically labeled organic or Non-GMO were essentially the same as completely unlabeled foods in terms of GMO content. This claim is misleading to consumers who, based on a recent Consumer Reports survey, expect natural products to not contain GMO ingredients. Consumers should avoid foods with this meaningless claim and Consumer Reports is asking the FDA to ban the use of this term on processed foods.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1y1N7b7

The Vegan Cardiologist

The next president of the American College of Cardiology will be a vegan, and that’s giving some members of the medical establishment an acute case of heartburn.

Dr. Kim A. Williams switched to a wholly plant-based diet when his LDL cholesterol jumped from 110 to 170. The increase in “bad cholesterol” happened even as he limited his diet to ostensibly healthy choices such as fish and skinless chicken.

According to a profile in The New York Times, “He eliminated cholesterol from his diet by avoiding dairy and animal protein to see if there would be any effect. Instead of eating chicken and fish, he started eating vegetable-based meat substitutes like veggie burgers and sausages made from soy and other plant proteins and nuts. He also switched to almond milk from cow’s milk. Six weeks later, his LDL had fallen to 90.”

Some of the studies that influenced President-elect Williams will be familiar to many One Degree fans: “He said his enthusiasm for plant-based diets was based on his interpretation of medical literature. He cited observational studies of tens of thousands of members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that found that people following vegetarian diets lived longer than meat eaters and had lower rates of death from heart disease, diabetes and kidney problems. And he pointed to research carried out by Dr. Dean Ornish, who found that patients who were put on a program that included a vegetarian diet had less coronary plaque and fewer cardiac events.”

Dr. Williams told The Times: “I didn’t know [advocating veganism] would create such a firestorm of everything from accolades to protests. The response was really loud, and much of it diametrically opposed. … I recommend a plant-based diet [to patients with weight and metabolic issues] because I know it’s going to lower their blood pressure, improve their insulin sensitivity and decrease their cholesterol.”

Earlier this year, the doctor put his own personal choice in context in an essay that challenged critics and colleagues alike: “Wouldn’t it be a laudable goal of the American College of Cardiology to put ourselves out of business within a generation or two? We have come a long way in prevention of cardiovascular disease, but we still have a long way to go.”

Discover more here: http://nyti.ms/1wgnJgh

New Film: Nature’s Sweetest Pecans

Pecans from Drew Kimmell’s groves blossom, ripen and fall to the earth in a place where motions are gentle and timeless. Here trees bend to breezes and history, shadows circle stately trunks, while sun-frosted branches sketch patterns of shade on the cool grass.

It’s a place of purity and reflection, a cathedral of nature. “It’s very peaceful, especially when you think about those 200- to 300-year-old trees,” says Drew. “They’ve lived through the Revolution, the Depression, all of the history and they’re still standing, doing their thing. It gives you a sense of well-being.”

The majesty of these grand pecan groves is captured in One Degree’s newest film, premiering now on YouTube and our Web site. Drew’s sweet pecans may be the star of the feature, but a cast of acquisitive squirrels is vying for best supporting actor. “In a native grove the trees are wild, planted by God and the squirrels. The squirrels run around in the harvest season and dig holes and put nuts in them but they don’t always remember where they put ’em. So every year you’ve got more pecan trees coming up.”

Squirrels don’t worry about improving the efficiency of a pecan business, so Drew’s groves have a diversity that most other producers cannot match. “Eighty-five percent of the pecans grown in this country are clones,” he explains. “They take a limb off a small tree and graft it.” The rows are orderly, but the trees are uninspired carbon copies. In cloned groves, there are no high notes, low notes or grace notes. Diversity not only adds variety to the flavor, but also helps protect a grove from disease.

Native groves are self-sustaining, too, with no need for applications of fertilizer. “If you have grafted trees, you have to use zinc, you have to add nitrogen, and do this, that and the other. A native tree grows here because it’s supposed to grow here, and it knows what it needs.”

  

Another benefit of trusting nature to grow her own time-tested variety is a purer, healthier pecan. “Our northern native pecan is the same as it was hundreds of years ago — the same sweet natural flavor, untouched by pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or genetic modification,” says Drew. And the shorter growing season in Missouri results in a higher concentration of monounsaturated oil. “That’s a better oil profile than olive oil.”

  

We invite you to spend some time in the friendly town of Nevada, Missouri, sharing in the peace of the quiet pecan groves. Begin your visit with the 30-second preview below. Then enjoy the full-length video on our Web site: http://bit.ly/1yKVKXc

Recipe: Peppermint Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crispy Treats

This delicious wintry mix of peppermint and chocolate is a perfect treat for a cozy snow day while decorating the tree!

Peppermint Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crispy Treats 

3 tablespoons margarine

1 (10 ounce) package vegan marshmallows

1 1/2 teaspoons organic peppermint extract

6 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps

Directions:

Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch pan, set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt margarine over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract.

Add in the Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps and stir until well coated.

Using a spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into prepared pan. Let cool sightly before cutting into squares.

Note: best if served the same day.

Enjoy!

Film Premiere: Journey to Cinnamon Mountain

Cinnamon’s journey through the centuries, from the ancient spice of scripture to the scannable ingredient on your cereal box, is a story of trajectories.

With a subtle shift in wind direction on the day Dutch schooners ventured into open seas, the great cinnamon plantations of Ceylon and Indonesia might never have been built. Without the many relentless climbs to the peak of Indonesia’s tallest volcano by native farmers, one of the world’s purest cinnamon groves could never have been sustainably harvested. And with a single unlucky turn on a country road during a nighttime downpour in Sumatra, One Degree may never have learned of a remarkable cinnamon farmer called Tjap.

Time would have moved on, and breakfast would never have been the same.

Cinnamon’s great adventure is captured in One Degree’s newest film, premiering now on YouTube and our Web site. The video, shot on location in June, is a journey halfway around the world and skyward up the slopes of a starkly beautiful Indonesian volcano.

Tjap is the nickname of Syafrizal Nurdin, the proud Sumatran farmer who continues a family tradition of cultivating cinnamon at the upper elevations of Mt. Kerinci and in the deep-green forests below. This active volcano is mercurial, erupting as recently as 2009, and jealous to share the treasure it cloaks with incensory mists gathered beneath its peak. For generations the only real access was via a footpath that wound toward the distant cinnamon forest on 45-degree slopes. In recent years the path has been widened, allowing workers to transport the cinnamon bark on motorcycles outfitted with heavy tire chains. But the trek up and down the mountain is still so punishing that workers will often stay overnight on Mt. Kerinci to complete a harvest.

  

Tjap is the perfect steward for this land, and the ideal farmer to educate others in the region about the importance of organic cultivation and sustainability. “I learned the cinnamon business from my father,” he told us as he shared delicious fruits in his home. “Eventually I wanted to try setting up my own farmers group, and now I have many who help me peel the bark, harvest the trees and bring the cinnamon to market.”

  

We invite you to spend some time in Sumatra, delighting in the easy hospitality as you explore the remote cinnamon groves. Begin your visit with the 30-second preview below. Then enjoy the full-length video on our Web site: http://bit.ly/1pVme6q

Chefs Declare GMO Independence

Celebrity chefs are increasingly stepping out of their accustomed roles to take on forces they believe are endangering the purity of the food supply and the health of consumers. The ultimate achievement for these chefs is no longer a third Michelin star or even reality television stardom, but rather the chance to make an impact in the arena of public debate — to educate, to persuade and to lead by example.

Among this new breed is chef Bradford Heap, owner of Colorado’s legendary Salt the Bistro and Colterra restaurants. This past spring he and a group of his Boulder-area colleagues pledged to make their restaurants wholly GMO-free.

The move was easier said than done. Murky supply chains sometimes made finding the true source of ingredients nearly impossible. Key substitutions forced price increases on the menu. And GMO ingredients were seemingly everywhere. Many sugar-sweetened drinks, for example, use genetically modified sugar beets.

“The way that the biotech companies go about creating and selling these seeds, controlling the market and promoting pesticide use, creating super-weeds and more pesticides, contributing to bee colony collapse disorder … I don’t want to support that with my restaurants,” he told Organic Connections magazine.

According to the chef: “Coca-Cola has been replaced by Boylan’s all natural, cane sugar-sweetened sodas. Oils used are organic sunflower oil for frying, rice bran for sautéing, and extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and for finishing. All sauces and condiments are now made in-house. [And both restaurants] only buy from ranchers who not only use humane practices and no antibiotics, but also refuse to finish their beef and lamb on GMO corn.”

The chef relies heavily on local suppliers to keep his ingredients pure. The partnerships he has forged get plenty of hands-on attention — literally. The chef and his staff pitch in to cultivate the crops that will ultimately appear on Salt the Bistro and Colterra plates.

As his company noted in a recent news release: “This year, he and Full Circle Farms farmer/owner Dave Asbury set up a special partnership: Chef Heap loaned Asbury $15,000, of which $10,000 will be repaid interest-free after the profits from harvest are in, and the rest is being repaid in trade to have Asbury custom grow organic produce for Colterra and Salt at a 10-acre plot called the Soul Patch. Salt and Colterra’s staff are ‘strongly encouraged’ to help harvest Salt Patch produce, giving them a personal connection to the food they serve, and in exchange for every 4 hours of harvest work, they receive a 30-lb bushel of produce to take home.”

The chef explained to Organic Connections that his new role has been enlightening, as well as incredibly rewarding: “There’s a deep humility to farming, to be physically out there; it’s tough. When you put a seed in the ground and nurture it, grow it, and see it to the table, that makes me feel successful. It’s so much bigger than ‘me.’ Growing foods and doing my part to raise awareness around GMOs gives me a greater purpose than just being a successful chef with several restaurants.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1pGXEWT

Recipe: Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Sprouted Whole Wheat Crust

Thanksgiving never seems complete without pumpkin pie. That has always been my favorite part of a Thanksgiving feast. We tend to make a lot of pumpkin pies over the holidays so we don’t have to limit our relishing just to Thanksgiving.

This pie is so simple and quick to make, and with all the excitement of friends and family over, who wants to be laboring in the kitchen all day? It’s creamy, delicious, and the perfect blend of pumpkin and spices makes it hard not to have more than one piece, even when stuffed from a Thanksgiving feast!

From all of us at One Degree Organics, wishing you a very happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie With Sprouted Whole Wheat Crust

Pie Crust:

2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Whole Wheat or Sprouted Spelt Flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup cold water

Filling:

2 15-oz. cans organic pumpkin puree

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup vegan milk (coconut or almond)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a pie pan, set aside.

Crust:

To make the crust, whisk together the sprouted flour and salt. Add the oil and water and mix using your hands or a spatula. Be careful not to over-mix which will make the dough stiff.

Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the pie crust onto parchment or wax paper.

To transfer the crust to the pie pan, gently flip the parchment or wax paper over on top of the pie pan and slowly pull away the parchment while forming the crust into the pie pan. Trim the edges of the pie crust off and create desired edge design.

Note: Any leftover pie crust makes great crackers. Just form into a ball and roll out again on a baking sheet, slice into desired shapes and bake for approx. 7-10 minutes. For a little treat, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar once the pie crust is rolled out, before slicing into crackers.

Filling:

To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust, bake for 45-55 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is set and a few cracks have formed on top.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing.

Top with some coconut whipped cream and the perfect Thanksgiving dessert is achieved!

Enjoy!

Surviving the 60-Day Sugar Diet

A decade ago, film producer Morgan Spurlock lived the dream of many young American gourmands by dining exclusively at McDonald’s for a month. After 90 paper-wrapped meals, and dozens of entreaties to “super size” each purchase, he gained 25 pounds and a distressing insight into the nation’s health and medical future.

Spurlock also reported developing liver dysfunction and even depression, the latter wholly unrelated to discovering one of the iron laws of fast-food physics: namely, that an Egg McMuffin will shrink over time in inverse proportion to its price.

The suddenly rotund investigator took his message to the big screen with his landmark movie, “Super Size Me.” The film ended all speculation that a steady McDonald’s diet might be healthy for a breathing individual, the McDLT notwithstanding. It also shamed the company into dropping the “super size” option from its menu.

Now an Australian filmmaker has added new depth to the Spurlock genre of alimentary cinema by living on 40 teaspoons of sugar a day for 60 days, and chronicling the result in “That Sugar Film.”

Surprisingly, documentarian Damon Gameau didn’t spend two months gorging on cakes, donuts and pies, but instead got most of the sugar in his diet from so-called healthy sources such as yogurt, fruit juice and cereal. And his overall sugar intake wasn’t much higher than that of the average teenager in developed countries.

Like Spurlock, by the end of the experiment Gameau was morose, listless and beginning to see symptoms of liver disease.

According to a report by Fox News, “Gameau said his sugar-laden diet left him feeling hungry, no matter how much he ate. … [He] told News.com.au that the experiment’s findings don’t suggest a need to completely cut sugar — but rather a need for more awareness about how much sugar has been added to perceptibly healthy food.

“‘Sugar’s now in 80 percent of the processed food we’re eating,’ he said. ‘If we can remove that, that’s the first step towards making a change.’”

He especially hopes his message will reach parents who think that crowding their children’s plates or lunch boxes with “natural sugar” foods guarantees a healthy diet. These parents, he says, “are led to believe they are doing the right and healthy thing for their children. They are making an effort yet are horribly let down by the lack of integrity in marketing and packaging strategies.”

In the end, Big Sugar will be a far more formidable adversary than the Big Mac, mostly because there are many types of sugars and so many manufacturers spoon-feeding them to North American consumers. But for real change to begin, it often takes a Morgan Spurlock or a Damon Gameau, who in the great American revolutionary tradition are willing to put on the line their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — and their livers.

See more here: www.thatsugarfilm.com

Recipe: Sprouted Spelt Cardamom Orange Crumb Cake

Winter is the season of baking — the smell of chocolate, spices, nuts, and citrus fills kitchens and gives the home a cozy holiday feel.

This moist cake satisfies any sweet craving and the cardamom and orange give it such a delicate flavor. Perfect for any holiday table or weekend treat.

Sprouted Spelt Cardamom Orange Crumb Cake

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
4 tablespoons margarine

Cake:
2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cardamom
2/3 cup raw cane sugar
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
8 tablespoons margarine, melted
1 cup vegan milk (almond, coconut, soy)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 9” round baking pan or pie pan.

To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and toss together to blend well. Add the margarine and, using your fingers, mix together until incorporated and crumbs are formed. Set the crumb mixture aside.

To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, sugar and orange zest.

Put the remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk them to blend.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and gently stir — don’t over-mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with a thick, even layer of the crumbs.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

New Ultra-Transparent Sprouted Flours: From Ancient to Gluten-Free!

A picture is worth a thousand words, the familiar saying goes. With One Degree’s new line of ultra-transparent flours, the picture you see on each package is worth dozens of unforgettable muffins, loaves, scones, tarts, pies — and much more.

That’s because each picture is a simple portrait of the actual farmer who grew the grains within — and your guarantee that you’re baking with pure, healthy, genuine ingredients. Never before has a flour been so transparent, so deliciously candid.

One Degree farmers are proud to stand behind their harvests. They’re fully accountable, never anonymous. And yet, the photo on the package is just one aspect of an extraordinary new dimension in transparency we’ve pioneered. Scan the QR code under each photo and see the farmer talk about his or her crops, dreams and philosophy of farming in a custom video. Plus, discover source details of each ingredient used to make the flour, down to the very last grain.

Beyond transparency, our new product line offers a remarkable range of flours to fire every great culinary imagination: Two ancient grains, khorasan and spelt. A unique heritage grain, Red Fife wheat. And two gluten-free flour varieties, rice and corn.

All seven flours feature whole grains that retain 100% of the bran and germ. Each grain is grown veganically, in soil enriched by plants and crop rotation only, and without chemicals or other dangerous substances. Later, our non-hybridized and Non-GMO Project Verified grains are sprouted to simplify plant compounds. The raw flour is then milled at low temperatures to preserve nutrients.

With corn, rye, whole wheat, brown rice, spelt, khorasan and Red Fife flours, One Degree is setting the table for an incredible revolution in taste and transparency.

Explore the full range of key benefits here: http://bit.ly/1oZBS02