Archive for the ‘Odds + Edds’ Category

Top Ten Ways to Fight Back Against the Sugar Stupids

I read an article recently on that reminded me why I got involved in gardening to being with; I wanted to make sure my daughter grew up with an appreciation and love for fruits and vegetables.

Developing good eating habits chokes out the craving for and likelihood you will consume processed and unhealthy foods.

The article was entitled Sugar Makes You Stupid, But Omega-3s Will Smarten You Back Up, and was well written by Alice G. Walton, the contributor on all things healthy and medical.

I was not surprised to learn that processed foods were bad for me, or that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) can make me dumb, and you shouldn’t be either.  Our bodies were never designed to consume soft drinks and chocolate bars and while the impacts of poor eating habits don’t materialize overnight, they are tremendous.

The only thing I felt the article was missing was a listing of foods that were high in Omega-3s, so here you go.  The top ten Omega-3 rich foods to help you combat the sugar-dumb-dumbs.

  1. Flaxseed oil Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 12059mg
  2. Seeds, flaxseed Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 8543mg
  3. Fish oil, salmon Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 7828mg
  4. Seeds, chia seeds, dried Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 7164mg
  5. Agutuk, fish with shortening (Alaskan ice cream) (Alaska Native) Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 6851mg
  6. Oil, bearded seal (Oogruk) (Alaska Native) Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 6353mg
  7. Fish oil, menhaden Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 6236mg
  8. Fish, caviar, black and red, granular Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 5388mg
  9. Fish oil, sardine Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 5341mg
  10. Fish oil, cod liver Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 4375mg

Want to grow some Omega-3 rich foods in your garden?  Here’s a list of common vegetables you grow right at home, each with at least 1000mg of Omega-3 fatty acids!

  1. Chinese Broccoli Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 2346mg
  2. Spinach Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 2183mg
  3. Arugula Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1360mg
  4. Romaine Lettuce Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1329mg
  5. Butterhead (boston or bibb) Lettuce Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1277mg
  6. Green Peppers Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1213mg
  7. Red Peppers Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1165mg
  8. Broccoli raw [Broccoli rabe, Rapini] Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1027mg
  9. Squash, zucchini Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1009mg
  10. Yellow Onions Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 1000mg

Eat, drink and be merry,
The At Home Organic


The Almighty Push Mower

Almost every Saturday between May and October someone will update their Facebook or Twitter account about how they were woken up to the sound of a gas or electric lawn mower when they should have still been sleeping.

We’ve been there, so we know how frustrating it is to have your rest cut short by some inconsiderate neighbour or lawn services company as they power up their mower right beneath your window.  Inconsiderate because of how early in the morning it is, but equally inconsiderate to the environment, especially now that environmentally friendly, equally effective, and silent alternatives exist.

When push mowers first hit the market, they were heavy, hard to maneuver and didn’t provide the same results you could get with your gas or electric mower.  This was especially true if you had an uneven or bumpy lawn.

Well good news everyone, push mowers have come a long way.
So if you’re ready to fight back, send a not-so-subtle message to your neighbour that they should consider a NaturCut mower by sending them a copy of this link.  (If you prefer the non confrontational approach you can always print a copy and leave it anonymously on their doorstep).

These mowers are affordable, light-weight, work well on smooth and uneven lawns alike and best of all; make virtually no noise at all.  They also come with a 2 year warranty (and if you or your neighbour places an order before June 20th, you’ll get a free Grass Catcher – a $35 value).

So make nice with your neighbour, and make nice with your lawn.

Eat, drink and be merry,
The At Home Organic

Composter Dos and Don’ts

Our swanky new composter

Image by binarydreams via Flickr

Our clients, friends and family often ask us, what can I put in my composter? Well here’s a quick list to help you out, starting with what you can put in it:

  • Organic materials:
    • for sure: this includes all types of food and drink, tea bags, coffee filters, flowers and plants (leaves, grass clippings)
    • with caution: corn cobs, pine needles (take a long time to decompose), milk (in small amounts), soap scraps (Ivory and Dove only)
    • avoid: raw meat scraps, bones and carnivore manure (unless you can heat your composter up to a very high temperature and cook out any bacteria)
  • Paper materials:
    • Paper napkins/towels, post-it notes, shredded newspaper , kleenex tissues, unpaid bills (this is my favourite!), movie tickets stubs, shredded cereal boxes, grocery receipts and greeting card envelopes.  Remember to shred paper/cardboard before adding to your composter
  • Other Miscellaneous:
    • Who knew? Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks), old leather gardening gloves. straw, leather wallets, lint from clothes dryer, fingernail and toenail clippings, wooden toothpicks, pencil shavings, wool socks, leather watch bands, vacuum cleaner bag contents, dead bees and flies and urine (it’s sterile, really)
  • Do compost as often or as seldom as you like
  • Do put your composter in the sun for at least part of the day (the sun helps cook down what’s inside)
  • Do roll your composter to help mix the contents if you can
  • Don’t compost only organic materials or only paper materials.  A good compost includes a good mix of both.

We use two large recycled olive barrels for our composters.  They’re light weight and easy to roll (mix) and blend into our foliage.  But if you’re looking for a more commerical style composter we’re happy to tell you we’re in the process of sourcing a composter supplier.  Check our site soon for details on which composters you can choose from. 

If you live in Toronto we invite you take the Free Me From the Green Bin Challenge where you try to compost everything for a full month thereby eliminating the need for your green bin.  Your garbage man will thank you.

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

Is Your Produce Genetically Modified?

These apples have PLU stickers with the number...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever stopped to wonder what those stickers on all the fruits and veggies you buy mean?
Until recently I assumed it was the simply a PLU (product look up number) so the cashier can quickly scan the produce.

Turns out there’s a whole lot more info in those tiny little stickers. And understanding what to look for can mean the difference between healthy organic fruits and veggies and genetically modified junk! Here’s what you need to know about

  1. What is it?
    While most of us can tell an apple from an orange, identifying the variety of fruit or vegetable in your hands can be a little trickier.  With nearly 2,000 varities out there it’s sometimes helpful to know you’re holding a Fuji Apple versus a Pink Lady.  The sticker will often list the variety of fruit or vegetable so you don’t have to guess.
  2. Where is your food from? 
    The sticker will usually tell you where the produce is from. If the produce is Canadian or American it will list the country or the province/state. If from outside North America it will simply list the country. Knowing where your food is from not only helps you support local agriculture but helps you pick from fresher options when produce is in season.
  3. How is your food grown? 
    How your produce is grown is displayed right on the sticker as well.  The 4 or 5 digit code will tell you if the food you’re about to eat is grown conventionally (i.e. with chemicals or fertilizers) organically, or genetically modified (how did this make it past the FDA anyway).  Here’s how to read the label:
    • 4 – digits codes: ranging from 3000 to 4961, represent your average run-of-the-mill conventionally grown food.  These are not organic or have not been certified organic (some small farms may not have the capacity or capital to get certified but may in fact grown chemical and pesticide free food)
    • 5 – digit codes beginning with 9:  This sequence is reserved for organically grown produce.  For example a banana may carry PLU4011, whereas an organically grown banana of the same variety would be labelled PLU 94011. Where ever possible, this is what I look for when filling my grocery basket
    • 5 – digit codes beginning with 8:  This sequence represent food that has been genetically modified or genetically engineered.  In other words, it’s a lab experiment.  I avoid these at pretty much all costs.

If you’re interested in what PLU stands for which fruits and veggies there’s a handy resource at

If you’d rather take back control of the fruits and veggies you eat may we be so bold as to suggest growing your own? Our backyard harvest is sticker free.

Was this post helpful? Will it help you the next time you go to the market?

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

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