Posts Tagged ‘health’

Greenwashing?????

Below is an article from Triplepundit.com, its long but definitely worth a glance. The article mentions Nature Valley Trail Mix Bars….guess I have for a snack today…. Nature Valley Trail Mix Bars. It pays to be an informed consumer.

 

 

What does “natural” mean? The nature of this notoriously vague label is once again reaching the courts, this time in a lawsuit filed by two Californian women against General Mills. The plaintiffs claim, according to the New York Times, that General Mills has deceptively marketed its NatureValley products as natural when they contain highly processed ingredients, and therefore the company is liable for false advertising and anticompetitiveness.

This case is the latest in a number of lawsuits that have been filed lately against General Mills, accusing the company of using deceptive advertising for its products. In addition to the legal questions, this series of lawsuits brings other questions to mind – for example, does the label under debate violate the company’s commitment to ethics and intregity? And what does it mean for a company that prides itself on being responsible, or as its CEO puts it: “our approach to global responsibility is straightforward. It’s all about living our values – one of which is “We do the right thing, all the time.”?

This case is also important because it helps once again to bring to the public attention the debate around the “natural” label. Currently there are no legal requirements or restrictions for using the label “natural” on foods, and it can be a meaningless marketing term, but consumers nevertheless tend to value it. For some reason, as some surveys show, they even value it more than they value “organic” labels. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that the “natural” label became so popular?

In the current lawsuit (which, according to Marc Gunther hasn’t even been filed yet), the plaintiffs explain, they bought Nature Valley’s products because they believed they were all-natural and therefore healthier, only to find out later that “they contain non-natural, highly processed ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), high maltose corn syrup (HMCS), and maltodextrin and ricemaltodextrin (together, Maltodextrin).”

What gave them the impression that the products they bought were all-natural? The packages of the products, the plaintiffs explain. For example, “on the front and back of both Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars’ boxes, the phrase “100% Natural” appears immediately beneath the NatureValley logo. The back of the Chewy Trail Mix Dark Chocolate & Nut Granola Bars’ box states: “100% Natural. 100% Delicious.” Given this type of language, they were expecting to buy all-natural snacks, not ones that contain HFCS, HMCS, and Maltodextrin.

As mentioned, this is not the first lawsuit against General Mills with this sort of allegations. Last October, Annie Lam of California filed a lawsuit against General Mills, claiming it is incorrectly describing the ingredients of its fruit snacks, citing strawberry-flavored Fruit Roll-Ups that contain “pears from concentrate,” but no strawberries. Lam also said, according to Reuters, that the packaging “was likely to deceive consumers into believing the snacks are healthful and natural, rather than a combination of artificial, non-fruit ingredients.” In May U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti in San Francisco allowed Lam’s lawsuit to go forward, noting that reasonable consumers might be misled by packaging that claimed the snacks are “made with real fruit,” and would not read the fine print.

According to AdWeek, that was the second lawsuit General Mills has faced for its Fruit Snacks. On June 2011, a woman sued the company for $5 million for misleading consumers about the health and nutrition qualities of Fruit Roll-Ups. The case was voluntarily dismissed a month later by the plaintiff, who decided not to pursue the case.

Another consumer lawsuit against General Mills was filed by Minneapolis law firm Zimmerman Reed, accusing the company of violating the FDA’s standard of identity for yogurt and knowingly mislabeling its Yoplait greek yogurt  because it includes milk protein concentrate (MPC), which isn’t listed by the FDA as an ingredient acceptable for use in yogurt. The use of MPC makes Yoplait Greek yogurt “neither Greek yogurt, nor yogurt,” the suit claimed.

All of these examples are from the last year, but it seems like General Mills had to face these issues even before that. AdWeek, for example, reported that in  2009, the FDA forced the company to discontinue misleading cholesterol and cancer-prevention claims on its Cheerios packaging.

So what do you think? Is this a frivolous lawsuit or should General Mills pay for “false” advertising?

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Meatless Monday

Infographic: Vegetarianism

Source: Powered-by-Produce.com

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Meatless Monday

 

Here is an introduction to Meatless Monday for our newest Running Eagles (Welcome to LIFE) and a refresher for our loyal readers.

When it comes to food, I don’t have much discipline! If  I want to eat a steak, Im going to eat a steak. My strong southern roots have made meat a big part of my diet. But my lack of discipline is not restricted to meat…I live by the motto “everything in moderation” so diets that prohibit certain items just don’t work for me. For example…I’m not a huge fan of chocolate but sometimes I need a Snickers fix. I don’t have to have a king sized candy bar…the snack size will suffice…but I just have to have it.

On that note I have great respect for people who choose (what some may consider alternative) eating habits. Vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians have all chosen to eliminate certain items from their diet for various reasons. But ultimately studies show that eliminating or reducing the intake of meat from your diet has healthy implications for your body and the planet.

Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet.

Why Monday? Well Monday is the beginning of the work week, the day when individuals settle back into a weekly routine. You also have a scheduled recurring reminder to start your week off on a nutritious note. In my case, I can do one day a week. You have to start somewhere, right?

So each Monday A Sustainable Life will offer meat-free recipes, reviews, nutrition and health news. I’ll also chronicle my journey towards healthier eating habits. So please join me for Meatless Mondays. Send your comments and favorite recipes to help others in their quest towards wellness.

Source: Meatless Monday.com

Throwback Tuesday

Since the blog site was down yesterday I didn’t get to publish my Meatless Monday post…so here it is on Throwback Tuesday 🙂

Surviving the holidays with family and friends can be a task for anyone, especially if your eating habits are non-traditional. The author of Choosing Raw  offers tips to help vegetarians and vegans alike, survive the holiday season.

1)      For the main meal (aka Turkey Day), bring a dish that suits your habits, be they vegetarian, vegan, generally health conscious, or raw. Make sure it’s a dish that’s palatable and appealing, and make enough for the table. Never assume that people won’t want to try it; if it’s good, they will! Share the dish with enthusiasm, and cross your fingers that your folks like it. If they do, you may just find them clamoring for more healthy options next year.

2)      Plan ahead. Thanksgiving isn’t just aboutTurkey time; oftentimes, it means a weekend of travel and staying with relatives, or simply hours spent away from home. Make sure to bring snacks that suit you in addition to your contribution to the main meal. I never make day trips or overnights without Larabars or Pure bars, apples or bananas, a bag of baby carrots, an avocado or two, bottled juices and coconut water, and some homemade raw trail mix.

3)      If you’ll be staying with relatives who don’t eat the way you do for the weekend, never ever hesitate to call ahead and make grocery requests. This may sound pushy, but it’s not; most of the time, non-vegans (or non-healthy eaters) are nervous about having a vegan or vegetarian in the house, and they’re actually hoping that someone will tell them what to have on hand and what to make. You’ll save your host dollars of wasted grocery money and needless stress if you very politely say, “Hey, by the way, I’m not sure if you know/remember, but I’m a vegan. I don’t want you to stress about feeding me! If you don’t mind factoring me into the grocery shopping, I’d be really happy to split the cost. And I could give you just a few things to have around that I love eating.”

Or, simply make a grocery trip on your way to the destination in question, and show up with tons of food that you can enjoy and share with the fam.

4)      Know your limits. All of us have dietary preferences that are non-negotiable, and ones that aren’t. Holidays are a good time to familiarize yourself with the difference. I know some people who eat mostly vegan, but are willing to make concessions if a side dish has a touch of butter or cream; I know vegetarians who eat a tiny slice of turkey on turkey day. I have mixed feelings about these concessions, but I’ll admit that I have a few of my own. I always bring an all raw dish to parties and holiday meals, but if there’s a cooked vegan dish (especially one that a family or friend made with me in mind), I’ll certainly give it a try. Best case scenario? It’s tasty and healthy. Worst? I give the person who made it some joy by tasting. As long as it’s vegan, I can live with the fact that it’s not raw. I’m also happy to throw food combining to the wind, if necessary, as long as what I eat is vegan and not too difficult to digest.

5)      If you’re dining out, plan ahead! Most restaurants will be packed to the gills and not happy about making unforeseen substitutions on turkey day. Make sure to call the restaurant at least a week in advance if you know you’ll want something that’s not on the Thanksgiving pre-fixe menu. Request something simple, like a plate of whichever veggies the chef already plans on serving, along with a small salad and a baked yam. Be firm, but try to work with the restaurant manager to find a hassle free option.

I have one final tip, and it is by far the most crucial:

Bring a good attitude to the table.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about raw and vegan dining at holidays or with family, it’s this: don’t arrive on the defensive. If you come to the dinner table tense, self-protective, and ready for an argument, you can be sure that an argument will find you. It won’t take long for family members—especially those that are wary of veganism in the first place—to sniff out your unease and challenge you. Yes, this is immature, and yes, they should refrain, but mark my words: it will happen. And when it does, you’re likely to become argumentative, self-righteous, or hurt.

The solution? Show up with an open mind. Regardless of whom you’re eating with and what their habits are, try to abandon any pre-conceived certainty that you’ll be called upon to defend your eating habits. Instead, assume that you’re going to enjoy a harmonious meal. Think to yourself: I love my lifestyle. I respect it. And anyone who sees how happy it makes me is going to respect it, too. Instead of preparing all sorts of retorts to snide comments—or worse, arming yourself with health statistics and studies to rattle off to anyone who challenges you—prepare enthusiastic and friendly comments. Some of my favorites:

“Why vegan? Well, compassion plays a big part. But I really love how wonderful and healthy eating vegan and raw makes me feel!”

“Oh, I know it sounds limiting, but it’s not! There are so many great things you can make with vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits. I love being in my kitchen.”

“Miss things? No, not really! I’m so focused on how much I love plant based foods that I never think about some of the things I used to enjoy.”

“One bite of turkey? Seriously, no thanks. I’m really enjoying my [insert name of vegan main course here]. But thanks–hope it’s good.”

I hope this helps someone have a happier, stress free holiday!

Tips for Going Vegan On A Tight Budget

When Savvy Vegetarian was posed the question “Can two people go vegan with only $299 a month?” here are the tips they gave in response……

  • Buy all your food as close as possible to it’s natural, unprocessed state. Frozen or canned veg and fruit is sometimes an exception, but go for fresh whenever possible.
  • For protein, focus on beans, lentils and split peas, with whole grains, nuts and seeds in small amounts.
  • Eat whole grains such as brown rice, barley, buckwheat, millet, oats rather than store bought breads – way cheaper and more nutritious.
  • Buy dried beans or lentils, cook them in big batches, and freeze what you don’t use for future meals. Most big grocery stores have some bulk foods, and you can also find what you need in the grocery aisles.
  • If you can afford to, and have the time, you can make your own yeast bread, pizza, pancakes, quick breads, muffins, or cookies, much cheaper and better than store bought. However, compared to a bowl of brown rice, any of those are much more expensive for the ingredients and energy used to cook them.
  • Choose fresh fruit and vegetables over prepared convenience foods. Focus on buying the lowest cost and in-season items. For example, fresh spinach is sometimes pricey, but cabbage never is. Carrots, celery, peppers, potatoes, parsley, bananas, apples, oranges are usually the most reasonably priced. Other fruit and vegetables may be low cost when it’s in season and plentiful, e.g, avocados, asparagus, grapes, mangos, strawberries, peaches.
  • Make sure you eat something green everyday, even if it’s just parsley in your soup. Also something yellow, orange or red. And something raw.
  • With an inexpensive coffee grinder, you can grind your own spices.
  • Instead of expensive veggie spreads, use vegetable oil in your baking, have a small amount of nut butter or hummus on your toast..
  • Skip soy based dairy substitutes. They’re expensive, high in calories, and loaded with ingredients nobody should eat (read labels).
  • If you can get to a farmer’s market, you might be able to find fresh local produce at reasonable prices. Sometimes not.
  • You can save significant amounts buying in bulk or stocking up on sale items, but you have to plan carefully to take advantage of it.
  • If you can find a food buying club in your area, it’s a good way to get bulk or case lot foods cheaper, and split them with others in the group.
  • Buy bulk herbs and make your own teas. There’s good nutrition in herbal teas!
  • If you can, grow some of your own food. You don’t need fancy equipment, and seeds are still relatively cheap, especially if you can get them in bulk.

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Meatless Monday Recap

 

It’s been a year since A Sustainable LIFE embraced Meatless Monday’s so lets recap….

Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet.

Why Monday? Well Monday is the beginning of the work week, the day when individuals settle back into a weekly routine. You also have a scheduled recurring reminder to start your week off on a nutritious note. In my case, I can do one day a week. You have to start somewhere, right?

When we started I had a hard time finding meatless meals but once I opened my mind and my palate to new options I began to look forward to Monday’s. Fast forward and couple of months and I became pregnant. Between cravings, heart burn and morning sickness,  Meatless Mondays or any sort of pre-arranged meals was out of the question. Now that the baby is here…she continues to play a big role in what I eat (or when/if I eat). But with proper planning I think I can once again give Meatless Monday’s a try.

So each Monday A Sustainable Life will offer meat-free recipes, reviews, nutrition and health news. I’ll also chronicle my journey towards healthier eating habits. So please join me for Meatless Mondays. Send your comments and favorite recipes to help others in their quest towards wellness.

Source: Meatless Monday.com

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Meatless Monday

Top 10 Vegetarian Countries

If you’re looking for vegetarian fare internationally, try these countries….

10. Canada–Toronto, arguably the most diverse city in the world, features vegetarian influences from various counties.  

9. Israel– Israeli eateries are often Kosher and do not sell pork or shellfish. Due to Kosher laws most food prepared in restaurants will not combine milk and meat. Vegetarian favorites here include falafel and hummus.

8.  Hong Kong –  Food found in Hong Kong is influenced by British, Chinese, Indian and some Western cultures. Health is also very big in Hong Kong, fostering vegetarianism.

7. United States– Large cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago give vegetarians lots of options, which are not as abundant in the South and Southwestern parts of the country.

6. Thailand– Many Thai dishes are served with rice or noodles, are meat-free and loaded with veggies.

5. Taiwan– Has an abundance of vegetarian treats but language barriers are often a problem for tourists.

4. United Kingdom– The UK features restaurants with an abundance of veggie options and vegetarian foods in supermarkets are often clearly labeled.

3. Vietnam– Veggie Pho noodle dishes are a must have inVietnam.

2. Malaysia– Another country influenced by many cultures,Malaysia is known for its vegetarian curry dishes.

1. India– 20-40% of the Indian population is vegetarian, that’s more than any other country in the world. Of course the veggie choices in India are plentiful and delicious.

Source: Expatify.com

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