Is Your Cow Grass Fed?

Is Your Cow Grass Fed?
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison) via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison) via Compfight cc

We all know that organic dairy has become the thing to buy in health stores nationwide, but there has been a movement recently towards grass fed dairy products over just organic ones. Why is that?

Grass fed dairy comes from cows eating a natural diet of alfalfa sprouts, grass, and hay, not corn or soy feed. Grass fed cows are not treated with hormones or given any genetically modified products. Some studies have shown that grass fed dairy contains higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than traditional or even organic milk. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to protect against heart disease and even stroke, and we cannot make them naturally, so we need to get them from the foods we eat. These are a few of my favorite companies making dairy products with grass-fed dairy; give them a try and see if you can taste the difference!

 

Kerrygold Cheese and Butter, has a wide selection of good butters and cheese free of artificial flavors and sweeteners that come from entirely grass fed cows in Ireland, who graze outside for over 300 days every year!

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Maple Hill Creamery, produces the 100% grass fed milk that goes into their yogurt cups and drinkables. Their yogurts have no added thickeners, preservatives, or unnatural flavors. I met a Maple Hill Farmer at Food Fête who is committed to raising cows that eat only grass and never corn or grains.

 

Organic Valley, has a whole line of products, from milk to cheese to soy products and meat that are organic and free of hormones and pesticides. They also have exclusive grass milks, made only from cows fed grass, nothing else.

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Thanks in part to Maple Hill Creamery, a new labeling initiative is being taken on to certify grass-fed verification and traceability so you know when you buy grass fed, that’s exactly what you’re getting! So be on the lookout for labels that say “100% GrassFed”!

Who Owns That Health Food Company?

Photo Credit: ChowKaiDeng via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: ChowKaiDeng via Compfight cc

Do you have a favorite food brand that you constantly buy? We all have our go-to, tried and true brands that we stock in our cupboards and pantries. Maybe your favorite brand is a classic like Progresso breadcrumbs or Hunts tomato products. Or perhaps it’s a smaller brand like Alexia Foods or Happy Family Foods.

 

We all pick the foods we purchase based on different reasons. Some of us decide depending on the price of the food, the ingredients, the nutrient content, or even the company’s mission and values. Take natural food brands for example, they advertise their efforts to only choose natural and wholesome ingredients, maybe they’re organic or don’t contain GMOs. And who doesn’t love the idea of supporting a company that gives back to the community?

 

Maybe you pick a food brand to avoid another brand whose mission you don’t agree with? You may not purchase the major soda brand because you don’t agree with their negative health effects, so you opt for the all-natural, organic juice company instead. You may think that you’re avoiding the big soda company, but you might actually be purchasing from them anyway. That’s right, the larger food corporations own a number of these smaller natural and organic food companies. To see what we mean, take a look at the list below:

 

 

Coca-Cola Company

  • Odwalla Smoothies and Juices – listed under brands on the Coca-Cola website. Coca-Cola purchased Odwalla in 2001 in an effort to compete with rival company, PepsiCo.
  • Vitamin Water – listed under brands on the Coca-Cola website.
  • Honest Teapurchased by Coca-Cola in 2011

 

 

ConAgra Foods

  • Hunt’s Tomato Products – Hunt’s wears the label 100% natural on the majority of its products. It is listed on ConAgra’s list of brands.
  • Alexia Frozen Foods – Alexia Foods also totes the 100% natural label. They are also listed on ConAgra’s list of brands. ConAgra was sued earlier this year when customers questioned the company’s “all-natural” labeling and their use of a chemical to prevent browning in their potato products. The case settled.

 

 

General Mills

  • Cascadian Farms Organics
  • Food Should Taste Good – This company was acquired by General Mills in 2012 as an addition to it’s Natural Snack Food Business sector. The founder of Food Should Taste Good, Pete Lescoe, continues to act as the company’s creative director.
  • Larabar – Larabar is listed under General Mills’ brands on their website. A letter written by Lara, the founder of the acquisition of the company can be found here. The site also states that Larabar remains 100% committed to their values.

 

Photo Credit: Shutter Ferret via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Shutter Ferret via Compfight cc

Group Danone

  • Happy Family Brands – their site states their partnership with Group Danone earlier this year.
  • Stonyfield Yogurt – According to a press release on Dannon’s website, Group Danone acquired 40% of Stonyfield Farm in 2001, with Gary Hirshberg remaining as active CEO, chairman, and President. Group Danone currently owns Stonyfield Farm and Gary Hirshberg has since resigned as CEO, but remains an active chairman.

 

 

To put these lists in perspective, we wanted to share The Cornucopia Institute’s 2013 Organic Industry Structure chart. Their newly updated chart has grown immensely from their 2008 Organic Industry Structure chart.

 

 

Were you aware that these small companies are owned by larger food companies? Will this change your choices the next time you go to the grocery store? Tell us your thoughts below. 

Spring Pickings

Celebrate Spring with Fresh Fruits and Veggies!


CSA Box
New fruits and vegetables are coming into season. Eating local and seasonal allows you to get the freshest and most nutrient dense produce. Visit your local famer’s market to see what looks bright and crisp. Many farms offer one day opportunities to pick your produce for fun. NJ/NY residents can even pick their own produce at farms like the New WIndsor Farm in NJ. If you don’t want to pick your veggies, you can find out what is in season by searching online.  NY/NJ friends can learn more here. To truly get back to wholesome basics, start your own garden or consider joining a Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) Farm. CSA Farms are great for city dwellers with busy schedules and minimal planting space. CSA’s are located throughout Manhattan or deliver your seasonal produce weekly to your door. You can find out more about CSA’s in the Metropolitan area here and here.

What’s in season for Spring in New York?

Early Spring Fennel, Garden Peas, Parsnips, Snow Peas,Turnips

Mid Spring Asparagus, Lettuce, Radishes, Rhubarb, Spinach

Late Spring Apricots, Broccoli, Cabbage, Strawberries, Summer Squash

Here’s a nutritious kid-friendly recipe using one of my favorite Spring fruits: Whole Wheat Strawberry Pancakes

Strawberry Whole Wheat Pancakes via TasteSpotting/Adventures in Cooking
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup diced strawberries
(Serves 2)
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the oil and milk, whisking until all the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet. Fold in the strawberries. Heat frying pan over medium-low heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and cook until there are bubbles on the surface and the edges start to firm up, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is nicely browned, about 1-2 minutes. Serve with a glass of low-fat milk and extra strawberries for a delicious breakfast the whole family can enjoy! 
Recipe adapted from Savvy Eat