How To Say No To GMO

Look for this label on your foods to ensure they're GMO free

Look for this label on your foods to ensure they’re GMO free

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you have probably heard of the term “genetically modified organisms,” more commonly known as GMOs. GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material has been modified in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This often results in a product that does not naturally occur in nature, but does offer great sales on the shelves.

Most of the food products today are GMO products. Unless you buy organic and read every label, you most likely are purchasing and consuming a non-natural product.

Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In fact, more than 60 countries around the world have placed significant restrictions on the production and sales of GMOs. In the United States, however, the government has approved GMOs based on the research conducted by the same corporations that created the studies and profit from their sales.

Most GMOs aren’t even labeled, furthering the risk of consumption by the majority of our population. In the U.S., GMOs are in as much as 80% of conventional processed foods. Check out this list for the current crops at risk of GMOs.

While our grocery stores are ridden with GMO products, here are some ways to shop smart and avoid those unnatural products:

  1. Buy Organic. Certified organic products cannot include an GMO ingredients. You can be doubly sure if the product also has a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal on it. Check out the USDA’s website to learn more about the organic standards.
  2. Look for NonGMO Product Seals. The products with these seals are independently verified to be in compliance with North America’s only third party standard for GMO avoidance. The Non-GMO Project is committed to providing consumer with clearly labeled Non-GMO choices, so you can be sure of the product you are purchasing.
  3. Avoid atrisk ingredients. The 8 GM food crops are Corn, Soybeans, Canola, Cottonseed, Sugar Beets, Hawaiian Papaya, and a small amount of zucchini and Yellow Squash. If a non-organic product made in North America lists sugar as an ingredient (not pure cane sugar) then it is probably a combination of sugar from sugar cane and GM sugar beets. Also for dairy, look for labels stating N rBGH, rBST, or artificial hormones.

Consuming a GMO product every once in a while will probably not hurt you. But to keep yourself healthy and happy, always be cautious and aware of what you are consuming. For more tips on how to purchase non-GMO, check out this shopping guide.

Do-It-Yourself Hummus Recipe

In light of last week’s Sabra Hummus Recall, many of you may be reconsidering purchasing the company’s hummus, or trying to find a new brand of hummus you like just as well.

But instead of buying this week’s supply of hummus, you could try making some yourself.

Making your own hummus is typically cheaper, you can make whatever flavors you desire, and you won’t have to worry about possible Listeria contaminations.

Here are some simple ways to create your own flavorful hummus:

The basic recipe for any good hummus is:

Mix together in a blender or food processor:

-1 15-oz can of chickpeas

-1 clove garlic

-¼ cup olive oil

-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

-2 tablespoons tahini seeds/sauce

-1 teaspoon ground cumin

-salt,

-¼ paprika

voila, you’re ready to dip!

Now try adding your own flare to the hummus by adding things such as avocado, red peppers, jalapenos, black beans, garlic, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, flavorful herbs and more!

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Hummus is one of the easiest things to make, and to fix.

And remember, what you dip with is just as important as the dip itself. Some of my personal favorite ways to eat hummus is with carrots, cherry tomatoes, blue corn tortilla chips, peppers, or of course, a spoon.

For more recipes and DIY hummus ideas, check out these posts.

Happy snacking!

Local Ithaca group saves over 500 dogs from euthanization


After taking one glance at the wagging tail and permanently happy face, you never would have guessed that Bart, the fluffy golden-brown Pekingese, was once a homeless and abused dog in Tennessee about to be euthanized at a local dog shelter.

Bart is just one of the over 500 dogs that the local organization, Cayuga Dog Rescue has helped save.

Cayuga Dog Rescue was founded in 2005 by Susan Wiser, a dog enthusiast on a mission to improve the lives of abandoned dogs and find them a safe and happy home with residences in and around the Ithaca and Syracuse areas.

“We started Cayuga Dog Rescue back in 2005 to fill a need. There are a phenomenal amount of dogs who get euthanized every year simply because of overcrowding in shelters,” said Wiser.

Cayuga Dog Rescue relies on a group of dedicated volunteers to ensure that all dogs find safe and healthy homes.

“The process of finding and rescuing these dogs is fairly simple”, said Megan Adams, a volunteer who has been working with Cayuga Dog Rescue since last October.

“The hard part is training and convincing these dogs that they are now in a safe environment,” said Adams.

Wiser has a contact in Tennessee and Kentucky who rescues these dogs from high kill shelters and takes care of them until Wiser herself can either go pick up the dogs or arrange for them to be driven up to Ithaca.

Wiser also takes in local homeless dogs from the streets, or any dogs that the shelters in Ithaca do not have space for.

After the dogs arrive in Ithaca, the volunteers of Cayuga Dog Rescue take in these abused dogs, feed them, provide medical care, properly train them and work on any fears that they may have had in their previous life so they are ready for a family environment.

“Once the dogs receive all of the best care and love that we can give them we start looking for homes for them,” said Adams.

Judy Veley adopted her pup Sandy, an abandoned mutt found in Tennessee, at the end of February.

“Our previous dog had recently passed away and we weren’t looking for a new pet just yet. But one day I was checking out the Cayuga Dog Rescue website and stumbled upon a picture of Sandy,” said Veley. “I didn’t know if my partner or I were ready for a new member of the family just yet, but we had to give it a shot after seeing her picture.”

Veley contacted Cayuga Dog Rescue about Sandy, and the interview process quickly began.

All potential adopters must go through a structured interview process with members of the organization. Once this process is complete the dogs are brought over to the potential home and introduced to their surroundings and any other animals occupying the house.

If both parties react positively then paperwork is set in place and soon a family is welcoming a happy and cuddly addition to their home.

“For dogs in high kill shelters we are saving their lives and providing them with forever-homes. For the local dogs that don’t have any place to go we are providing that for them so they don’t have to live on the streets,” said Wiser.

Cayuga Dog Rescue is expanding their organization and opening their doors to as many dogs as possible.

“To be able to take in and help nurse these dogs back to the state they were once in is a great transformation to be a part of,” said Adams.

For more information on Cayuga Dog Rescue and how to adopt, check out their website!

why hot yoga is the hot new fitness trend

Yoga has long been hailed as a great exercise used to reduce stress, relax your muscles, and get in touch with your heart chakra…ommm.

Yoga classes have always promoted a healthy mind and body, and there are so many different classes you can choose to take. Lately, Bikram yoga has become the new trend in this yoga craze. But what exactly makes practicing a sequence of 26 specific yoga poses in a room set to 105 degrees with 40% humidity so appealing?

Here are some advantages of participating in Bikram yoga compared to a regular yoga session.

  1. Bikram is a very effective muscle conditioner. The muscles of those practicing Bikram have been trained to become more efficient in oxygen absorption and heat circulation, which ultimately results in better muscle endurance during a workout. The sequence of the poses in Bikram has been made to build the muscle’s strength. As an added bonus, because muscle conditioning is directly linked to the amount of calories burned during exercise, Bikram promotes a more efficient calorie burning session
  2. The Added Challenge. There is something to say for taking a 90-minute class in an extremely high temperature environment. While you can get many of the benefits from Bikram in a regular yoga class, working through your pains and stretches in a heated room really adds a surprising level of intensity.
  3. More Intense Aerobic Exercise. The heat and the humidity of the room create a much higher oxygen demand from the body. Studies show that in regular yoga practice lung expansion ranges from 35%-40%, but in Bikram the lungs will typically expand to 50% of their capacity. The heart will need to pump more blood, and your lungs will need to work harder in Bikram. This causes a much higher intensity level of aerobic exercise than regular yoga.

While Bikram yoga has a lot of great health benefits, regular yoga can be just as effective. If you want to try Bikram yoga for the first time be sure to stay properly hydrated and always, always, always bring a towel!