(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2014) On Thanksgiving, thank you for being a part of Beyond Pesticides and sharing and contributing to the vision necessary to protect the web and fragility of life. We believe that there is no time like Thanksgiving to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting the health of the environment and all that inhabit it.
In this context, we at Beyond Pesticides are thankful for the energy, spirt, and vision of the people and organizations we work with. It confirms our belief that we will achieve the changes necessary to protect children, workers, pets, the environment, and the public at-large. Together, we affirm the right to (i) clean air, water, and land in our communities, (ii) toxic-free landscapes that are achieved cost-effectively without hazardous synthetic materials, (iii) safe places with reduced chemical threats where children grow up, and (iv) a healthy ecology where pollinators âbees, butterflies, and birds and the natural worldâ can flourish.
Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to eat, drink and be thankful for the bounty of the organic harvest. Unfortunately, there are a host of pesticides, genetically engineered materials, and others in conventional Thanksgiving foods that not only impact human health, but threaten the environment. Read below for some easy tips and suggestions for a healthful Thanksgiving day feast.
Organic, free-range, and local turkeys
The turkey is the symbol of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. However, turkeys are often fed grains treated with pesticides, medicated with antibiotics, and engorged with steroids and hormones. Additionally, turkeys are often fed an inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, which is used to promote growth and for pigmentation. In order to avoid all these, your best bet is to invest in an organic free-range turkey (pictured right), which is free of hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Want to forgo the turkey altogether? Be sure to choose an organic meatless option.
Avoid Genetically Engineered Food: Go Organic
There are additionally, a number of Thanksgiving products that probably contain genetically-engineered (GE) ingredients (although the formulations are often considered proprietary trade secrets). According to GMO Inside, some common GE foods used during Thanksgiving include: Campbellâs Tomato Soup, Wesson Canola Oil, Bruceâs Yams, Hershey Milk Chocolate, Pepperidge Farm Crackers, Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing, Rice-a-Roni chicken flavored rice, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, and Kraftâs Stove Top Stuffing.
Thankfully, the majority of these products can easily be substituted with organic counterparts. Canned yams for instance often contain GE ingredients, but can be replaced by fresh organic yams. Another staple like Pepperidge Farm Crackers can be substituted for organic crackers like Maryâs Gone Crackers or Natureâs Pathway Crackers. Consider substituting GE cranberry sauce with home-made jellies made with organic cranberries and fair trade sugar. Organic jellied cranberries, such as Tree of Life or Grown Right, are fast alternatives. Finally, pre-made stuffing, like Kraftâs Stove Top stuffing, should be replaced with your own home-made stuffing or organic stuffing mix from Arrowhead. Simply Organic has tons of organic recipes posted to their website if you need more ideas.
Cleaning with Non-Toxics
An easy way to improve the health of your Thanksgiving guests and the environment is to use non-toxic or least-toxic cleaning materials. Mixing baking soda and water can quickly take out carpet stains, while vinegar can be applied to newspaper and used to clean your windows. If you donât have time to make these at home, simply shop in the non-toxic aisle of the grocery store can significantly decrease exposure to toxics like triclosan, which is known to disrupt reproduction and development.
Outside of pesticide exposure, a responsible Thanksgiving should include a range of waste-cutting measures. Planning your meals for the number of guests will reduce food waste. Instead of covering your table with plastic or disposable centerpieces, decorate lightly with potted plants. When waste cannot be eliminated, make sure to recycle your plastic bottles and cans and compost if possible.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks in a way that eliminates exposure to toxic chemicals in food, supports environmental and public health through least-toxic materials, and reduces consumer wastes.
Beyond Pesticides advocates through its Eating with a Conscience for consumers to choose organic because of the environmental and health benefits to consumers, workers, and rural families. The Eating with a Conscience database, based on legal tolerances (or allowable residues on food commodities), describes a chemical-intensive food production system that enables toxic pesticide use both domestically and internationally, and provides a look at the toxic chemicals allowed in the production of the food we eat and the environmental and public health effects resulting from their use. For more information on the benefits of organic agriculture, see Beyond Pesticidesâ Organic Food program page.
We are so thankful for all of our members and supporters. Please help us continue our work to support healthy, organic living by contributing to Beyond Pesticides.
Best wishes for a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving
Source: Living Green Mag
Photo Source: Really Natural
All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.