Below is a list of green FAQ’s. If you have a question relating to this and you’d like to ask Chef Jen, click here to submit your question.

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Green FAQ's

How can I avoid genetically modified foods?

There are 4 easy ways you can begin to sort through the maze and it begins with educating yourself.  When you know this is happening you can then look at the food you are consuming with a different perspective.

  1. Buy Organic – by definition a product can not be labeled organic and be genetically modified.
  2. Read labels - many packaged foods will say non GMO on the label
  3. Know your farmer – buy locally from local farmers using sustainable and organic methods
  4. Look at the produce label in the grocery store – 5 digit numbers beginning with 9 are organic; 4 digit numbers are conventional and 5 digits beginning with 8 indicates genetic modification!

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What is “Sustainable” and what does it mean in relationship to food and food choices?

Sustainable is a term applied to the practice of farming using principles of ecology and the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It is “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific practices that preserve the land and are lasting over time.  Sustainable practices are designed to meet our need for food while making efficient use of resources.  It integrates natural cycles of growing and utilizing plants that are harmonious to each other.  For example onions may be planted between kale and green plants to act as an insect repellent and mitigate the use of insecticides.  Natural fertilizers may be used and crops will be rotated and the ground rested to preserve the soil and it’s nutrients.  Sustainable practices have long term positive consequences for the environment and the farmers as well.

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How does eating organic, and sustainably impact the environment?

The statistics are riveting!

By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture.

Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled. Whereas human sources of CO2 amount to just 3% of natural emissions, human sources produce one and a half times as much methane as all natural sources. In fact, the effect of our methane emissions may be compounded as methane-induced warming in turn stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands—the primary natural source of methane.

With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet’s human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority. Methane is produced by a number of sources, including coal mining and landfills—but the number one source worldwide is animal agriculture. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating. About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane, the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous. An additional 15% of animal agricultural methane emissions are released from the massive “lagoons” used to store untreated farm animal waste, and already a target of environmentalists’ for their role as the number one source of water pollution in the U.S.

The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian (or, strictly speaking, vegan), , , we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.”

If you are going to consume animal products then it’s important to know the source of those products and choose ones that are humanely raised, free range and grass fed.

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What foods/plants have been genetically modified?

There are thought to be over 30,000 foods that have been genetically modified and there are many references on the internet to these.  Some of the more common ones to know about are:

  • Potatoes Atlantic and Russet
  • Canola Oil
  • Cotton
  • Rice
  • Canadian Honey
  • Soybeans
  • Sugar Cane
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn, Sweet Corn
  • Hawaiian Papaya
  • Yellow crook neck squash
  • Radicchio
  • Chicory
  • Cotton Seed Oil
  • Tobacco
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Sugar beets
  • Vegetable Oils

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What is GMO (genetically modified organism)

This taken directly from the following website:

http://www.saynotogmos.org/10reasons_need.pdf

“Genetic modification is a crude and imprecise way of incorporating foreign genetic material (e.g. from viruses, bacteria) into crops, with unpredictable consequences. The resulting GM foods have undergone little rigorous and no long- term safety testing, but animal feeding tests have shown worrying health effects. . . Only one study has been published on the direct effects on humans of eating a GM food. . .  It found unexpected effects on gut bacteria, but was never followed up. . .

It is claimed that Americans have eaten GM foods for years with no ill effects. But these foods are unlabeled in the US and no one has monitored the consequences. With other novel foods like trans fats, it has taken decades to realize that they have caused millions of premature deaths.

“We are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.” — Dr Suzanne Wuerthele, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicologist”

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What is Beyond Organic?

Many farmers use organic and sustainable practices but do not go through the trouble and expense to get the official classification of organic.  In effect they are organic but they do not have the credential.  These farmers are dedicated to sustainable practices and do not use toxic chemicals in their growing process.  Think of beyond organic as your neighbor who cares about the environment, uses sustainable practices, grows food and shares it with you.

 

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What is Organic?

According to Wikipedia, “Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, eco-systems and people. It relies on ecological processes biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved..”  Organic is sustainable and more.  There is a  significant regulatory process involved with labeling food as organic.  It’s expensive and it takes a lot of time.

 

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Why Farm to Table?

Alice Waters was one of the leaders of this movement with an expressed preference for the freshest ingredients and a focus of educating customers about the link between farmers, farm communities, ancient food-production practices, and the food we eat.

Farm-to-table restaurants and caterers often buy their produce directly from local farmers. Sometimes the restaurants and farms are owned and operated by the same people. The farm-to-table movement has arisen concurrently with changes in the public attitude about food safety and freshness, food seasonality, and the economics of small farms.

It has also grown out of the desire to reduce the high carbon footprint impact of transporting food hundreds to thousands of miles.  Food that is produced locally is better for us because the systemic enzymes are still alive, and it’s not irradiated, or transported long distances to get to the end user.

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What is Farm to Table?

Farm-to-table also refers to a movement that’s aligned with the idea of producing food locally and making that food available to local consumers. It’s linked to the the local food movement, and can be associated with beyond organic and organic farming, sustainable food and community supported agriculture.

 

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What is Jennifer’s Kitchens’ bottom line?

The bottom line! I care about our environment, the quality of the food I prepare and eat, and the quality of the food I prepare and serve to my catering clients.  My preference is to work with farm to table fresh, organic, and sustainable ingredients.  That way the food’s clean, simple, and you know that you are getting food that’s highly nutritional too!

To Your Health!

Chef Jen

The Queen of Clean Cuisine

 

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What is a Carbon Footprint?

Nature.org defines it in this way: “Inevitably, in going about our daily lives — commuting, sheltering our families, eating — each of us contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Yet, there are many things each of us, as individuals, can do to reduce our carbon emissions. The choices we make in our homes, our travel, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away all influence our carbon footprint and can help ensure a stable climate for future generations.”

You can measure your carbon footprint here:

http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/

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What is the SAD Diet?

The SAD diet is the Standard American Diet.  Over the years the American Diet has gone from a Farm to Table Standard where the foods you ate were grown locally to a diet that supports convenience rather than nutrition.  As a result the incidence of chronic disease is on the rise.  Some of the elements of a SAD Diet are:

  • High levels of unhealthy fats, low levels of fiber, high levels of sugar, low levels of fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables.
  • The meats, poultry and dairy products in the SAD diet have high hormone levels, growth hormone is often a factor to make them grow faster, and the animals have been given antibiotics.
  • The SAD diet contains many elements that are chemically enhanced with additives including those for color and flavor as well as synthetic nutrients, and artificial flavors.  The highly processed foods are devoid of real nutritional value especially systemic enzymes.
  • The SAD gives quick short term energy and creates acidity in the body robbing the body of the essential nutrients it needs to operate at optimal health.
  • The SAD diet has become a diet of convenience, ease, fast preparation, appearance, aroma, and taste.  Nutrition is not a priority.  Portions have grown over the years as well and that has contributed to obesity.  As of 2011 statistics indicate that 50% of Americans are overweight including one in five children.

In cultures and countries where the people eat the opposite of the SAD; with healthy fats, grass fed free range meats, wild caught fish, lots of complex carbohydrates, fresh vegetables and fruits and high levels of fiber the incidence of heart disease and cancer is significantly lower.

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