Organic Cigarettes: Saving your American Spirit, One Puff at a Time!

The Santa Fe Tobacco Co., manufacturer of American Spirit, has come out with a new line of cigarettes featuring organic tobacco, advertising their product as a ‘healthier’ alternative to regular blend cigarettes. What exactly is meant by healthy here?

American Spirit Organic Light Blend
American Spirit Organic Light Blend

Cigarette smokers unite! Now American Spirit cigarettes are not only additive free, but use organic tobacco! Sure, smoking cigarettes isn’t a health choice, but if you are already addicted, why not support environmental sustainability?

I was at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, CA this weekend, and I saw enough hipsters smoking these things to know they are catching on like wild fire. Apparently, hippies, hipsters, bohemians, junkies, and your average smoker are hopping onto this organic tobacco trend. Just think, at least in these cigarettes there’s no rat poison, cyanide, OR pesticides!

According to the guys over at Sante Fe Tobacco Co. the new American Spirit line has contracted with many small independent organic farms to produce hundreds of thousands of pounds of organic tobacco per year. As larger companies partner up with small organic farms, the opportunities for small farms in other business endeavours are exponentially increased!

Looking over the company’s website, I was particularly impressed with the amount of background info they give on the process and overall purpose of organic farming. Check it out here.

I suppose it seems pretty hypocritical to author a health-focused website and then write a press-release for cigarettes, but you know what? I am not one to judge people for their addictions (we’ve all got somethin’) so if you are having a stressful day at work and are in need of a good lung blackening, at least smoke for a good cause!

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Mad Cow’s Disease and the Capitalist Agenda

Canada, as one of our largest import countries for cattle, allows American corporations to pay less for cattle of relatively the same quality as the average American heifer….the difference? Feed regulations for Canadian cattle are much more lenient and have been statistically shown to have high amounts of contaminants that cause Mad Cow’s Disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy)

Eat With Caution
Eat With Caution

 

Although Cattle are naturally herbivores, capitalist demands create the motivation to get these animals as fat as possible in the shortest amount of time. How is this done? By putting scrap beef and bone particles (also known as prohibited material) into their feed. That’s right, the North American cow is not only being forced into a carnivorous lifestyle, but they are also CANABALIZING THEIR BRETHEREN! And when cows eat other cows, they get mad (well, biologically speaking), and sick, yet for some reason we are still eating this stuff

The implementation of a “Feed Ban” limits corporations’ use of animal proteins in cattle feed, however the level  of regulation for these feed bans is sub par. In 1997, Canada passed a Feed Ban law, limiting the amount of animal proteins in feed, however the Enhanced Feed Ban law (which would prohibit ANY use of animal protein in feed) is having a hard time getting through the legislation process.

According to an article from The Cattle Network:

The current U.S. feed ban – which is weaker than the feed ban initially implemented in Canada and found to be insufficient to halt the spread of Canada’s level of BSE infectivity – is likewise inadequate to prevent the amplification and spread of BSE that USDA has forecast to be continually introduced into the U.S. from Canadian cattle.”

How many people have to get sick before these self-interested corporations shape up their act? Allowing high-risk cattle to be imported from Canada and subsequently distributed to consumers is downright irresponsible. I don’t eat red meat, so I don’t really face this issue, but this is just another example of why you must always be cautious of what you eat.

Just because it has a USDA grade A stamp on it, does not mean it is free of disease-causing pathogens. and on TOP of all this, even though we KNOW that much of our high-risk meat is coming in from Canada, our import of Canadian cattle increased 7.31% since last year! Despite all it knows about the imminent danger of this situation, the FDA is still delaying the pass of an Enhanced Feed Ban in America. Why? Money matters I might infer…..

 

The primary goal should be lowering the risk of Mad Cow’s Disease, because nothing costs more than a law suit. If you’re going to be a big shot businessman, best start thinking like one eh?

 

 

 

Food Inc: Robert Kenner’s Eye-Opening Documentary

Food Inc., directed by filmmaker Robert Kenner, is a truly astonishing documentary about the hidden truths of the food industry, and how these big businesses shield American consumers from the ugly inedible face of the foods we have come to love.

Browsing through the New York Times, I came across an article mentioned that this documentary. Interested to see a new food politics documentary, I went and looked up the trailer on YouTube…which I have conveniently embedded for your viewing pleasure:

The documentary has not been released yet, but for those of you readers in the Orange County/LA area, there will be a screening of Food Inc. at the Newport Beach Film Festival between April 30th and May 7th. To find another screening near you, please visit http://www.takepart.com/foodinc/screenings.php

I strongly recommend checking this one out. I’ll be at the Newport Beach Film Festival eagerly waiting to see it.

Healthy Chocolate Chips, A Sunspired Sweet!

Shopping at the supermarket can sometimes be a dangerous endeavour. Weaving in an out of isles chock full of obesifyingly delicious and tempting treats. I may, however, have found the cure to  my intense calorific cravings: Sunspire Natural Chocolates.

Sunspire Chocolate Chips
Sunspire Chocolate Chips

Sunspire chocolates are all organic and grain sweetened.

-“Michelle, did you just say grain sweetened?”

Indeed, indeed I did. 😉 These babies don’t use refined sugar that is overprocessed and stripped of nutritional value, but by no means does this indicate a loss in taste. In fact, I actually enjoy the grain-sweetened chips more than regular chocolate. They have a deliciously rich and earthy taste that’s lacking from your typical Hershey’s.

Plus, eating this stuff isn’t going to boost your blood-glucose levels to a Kamakazi-esque demise. They are such a healthy alternative that Chef Jason Graham of world famous Cal-a-Vie spa uses them in his cookies for spa guests.

No, I am not being paid to endorse Sunspire (though this would be nice!!!!) but I just thought this product could be appreciated by more people than just me (as a pour half the bag of these chocolate chips down my throat, Gluttony? indeed.)

You can even use the chips to bake, which is nice considering my after graduation life is going to consist of living with my parents and baking copious amounts of cookies to ease the pain of unemployment. haha oh the cynicism is running hard this morning.

Anyway, the company makes more varieties of their chocolate chips including caramel, peanut butter, and even white chocolate. They have single-serving candy and chocolate bars too.

ISNT THAT EXCITING?! AREN’T YOU MOTIVATED STOP WHATEVER YOURE DOING AND RUN TO THE GROCERY STORE TO BUY SOME RIGHT NOW?!

haha. sorry folks, sometimes life is just a little too entertaining. but seriously, this stuff was a great find, check it out.

Ah, and a recipe, to leave you with something sweet: Taken from the Sunspire website.

Sunspire® Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) organic butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 2 extra-large organic eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half
  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Sunspire Chocolate Chips – Organic Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips or Grain Sweetened Chocolate Chips
  • Optional: Chopped pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts or coconut. You can also replace the butter with an 8 oz. jar of Maranatha® Macadamia Butter for a great dairy free cookie.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine in a large mixing bowl, softened butter and sugar. Cream until a silky texture appears. Add eggs and vanilla into the sugar and butter and mix thoroughly.

    In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until completely incorporated.

    Now add your favorite Sunspire Chocolate Chips and other ingredients, if you wish. Bake for 9-11 minutes on an un-greased baking sheet. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

    Enjoy!

    Fascism and Organics: What’s New at Costco?

    Costco has jumped on the bandwagon and begun to market to the organic obsessed consumer. The Kirkland Signature line has now begun to mass produce organic products ranging from milk to salad fixings…but something doesn’t seem quite right…

    Costco: Where bigger is better!!!!!!!#($&*%#)#$
    Costco: Where bigger is better!!!!!!!#($&*%#)#$

    Alright, I can’t lie, being the good American that I am, I love going to Costco every now and then and buying massive amounts of crap I don’t need. And now,  for my consumer convenience, I can go there and buy an 18 pound bag of carrots, but no need to worry folks these are organic carrots, produced by the Kirkland Signature brand…

    ….what?

    The way Costco is marketing this shift to organic produce and dairy products is by playing the “we’ll save the economy” card. “Sure organic stuff is expensive, but when Costco can cut the price in half, and sell you about 234325345 times more than you need, why wouldn’t you want to buy it?!”

    This is where it gets fishy… Costco says you can buy cheap and still be environmentally friendly.. but then how are they justifying the ridiculous packaging and preparation processes that make these organic products so cute and convenient?

    For example, in a Costco article discussing what consumers can look forward to, here is what they have to say about their organic apple line:

    • “These hearty, good-for-you, crisp apples are pre-cored and cut into wedges for the ease of eating…Equally nice is the fact that these organic apples are packed in one-cup, single serving portions.”

    Ok, I am sorry, but with all the plastic and energy they are using to package this stuff, they may as well just open a few more nuclear plants around the country and call it a day.

    Do apples really need to be pre-sliced and cored for the ease of eating?! Why don’t we just have a convientent robot we can buy that will manually move our jaws open and closed to ease chewing? and then another robot that will wiggle our throats to ease the swallowing process? Are you freaking kidding me?

    I am happy that Costco is willing to jump on the organic train (even if it is only for business purposes) but in my humble opinion this is a one step forward, two steps back plan.

    Pros:

    o Increased demand for organic products=more farms converting to organic practices. (as of now less than 10% of American farms are certified organic)

    o Allows the average American to eat a healthy organic diet at their own convenience, perhaps offering an motivation with increased availability to buy organic.

    o Lowers prices of organic products (though there is a con to this that I will address momentarily)

    o According to Costco, the organic foods are supplied by a ‘variety of regional farmers’

    Cons:

    o These organic products are still being processed in large plants (how else do you think that this stuff gets distributed all over the country by the truckload…or by the bargeload)

    o Costco will never break its fascist ways of slapping their Kirkland name on it and packaging it in a way that costs more than the product itself.

    o Plastic packaging and the machines that do so are bad for the environment.

    o Though the prices of these products are lower, how many of you can go to Costco and come out spending less than $500 dollars, “Sure honey, we definitely needed that automatic milkshake maker with a built in plasma T.V.”   (I think not)

    Therefore, If you are going to go to Costco and buy organic, good for you, but keep in mind that your buying bulk organic is not going to single-handedly solve the world’s environmental problems. It might be better for your health, but you’ll still be breathing in the pollution omitted from their processing plants…

    oh, and Here is an article I read about Costco’s new business endeavour to ‘go organic’. The language used in this article seems a little manic to me… Read it for a good laugh. Love the propaganda.