Archive | 2013

Navigating GMO Food

The word GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) has become mainstream, which is great news for health advocates looking to ban or label modified food ingredients. But even label reading junkies like myself get schooled with GMO ingredients. A recent example of this was me trying to buy a pack of cinnamon quickly in the local supermarket. Cinnamon is one of those spices where the only ingredient should be cinnamon . . . right? Well the first package I grabbed told a different story and still has me scratching my head with why cottonseed and soy oil need to be added to cinnamon. Needless to say I purchased another brand  that only listed cinnamon as the sole ingredient but it proves the point that until GMO labelling is done properly in North America, consumers are left with the big task of checking ingredients on every packaged item that goes into the shopping cart. And how is this managed if you shop for food items like spices in bulk?


The journey to avoid GMOs is one you’ve probably started. If not, here is why green living experts or green consumers want to have them labeled and eventually banned from Canada.  And whether you agree that GMO food is good/bad to ingest – experts worry that it will soon be a problem of choice because widespread use of GMOs becomes a contamination issue for organic or conventional food. And for the consumers that love organics and clean food – this is pretty scary.

Why am I on a journey to avoid GMOs? I simply don’t trust where GMO seed originated.  The company that created weed killer Roundup to act as a time saver for farmers, then created a seed that could withstand the effects of Roundup. In a nutshell – this is what GMO food is grown from: seeds that are to withstand direct application of herbicide and to produce an insecticide. But it’s been proven that these seeds are not high yielding, have horrible effects on insects and the environment, and we can only guess without enough scientific data what the effects have been on human health.

How are we going to navigate the food isles to avoid GMO ingredients? Think positively – you are able to make new friends! Your local famers and grocery store managers are about to become your BFF. Also understand that this journey will cost more. But North America spends the least amount of their total earning % on food compared to anywhere else in the world. We have shopped for so long based on cost and saving a few dollars. When you pay for quality – you will get clean food.

7 Tips for Avoiding GMOs:

–       Take baby steps. If you overhaul your enter kitchen overnight, the stress will be too much. Start in your pantry and work your way towards the fridge. Chances are the food inside your fridge is much healthier than dry stock, convenience items.

–       The next time you go into a traditional grocery store, only shop the perimeter. The foods with the highest number of GMO ingredients are in the isles.  By shopping the outside you concentrate on ‘real food’.

–       If you are looking for a cob of corn to be the poster child for GMOs you need to realize that GMO corn is actually hidden as corn ingredients inside processed food.

–       Limit processed foods. But if you are a busy parent and need some convenience, you’ll need to read ingredients. Look for any ingredients listed with soy, corn, refined sugar, and canola oil.

–       Be thankful that our BC farmers are dedicated to high farming standards. Visit your local famers markets and talk to them about pesticides and GMOs. You’ll find your favourites and enjoy shaking hands with the hand that feeds you.

–       Remember that some food sources for GMOs are invisible, without an ingredient list. Meat is a great example of this. Ask your local butcher what your meat is actually fed. GMO grain and corn is a possibility with cattle, chicken, or pork feed. Sourcing grass-fed meat might be a long-term goal for your family.

–       Look for the Non-GMO Project label. This is verification that the product you are purchasing is GMO-free. Most organic food is also free of GMOs.

Keep smiling through this process to get back to clean food. It will take work, but the benefits for a family are wonderful! Children grow up connected to their food source and the entire family will enjoy learning the term ‘farm to plate’ and loving the journey.



Beeswax Leaf Garland

The weather for the month of October has been stunning on the West Coast. If you walk down the street, through a trail or park, you might be lucky enough to feel a falling leaf against your face. If only we could bottle up the beauty of Fall leaves as they turn all the different shades of orange, red, yellow, and more. But you can! Leaves and other beautiful bits of nature like acorns can be preserved for years with beeswax.  So before all the leaves have fallen and composted back into the earth, collect a few of your favourite and create tabletop confetti or a garland of leaves to hang in your window. The smell of beeswax drifting through your home and lingering on the coated leaves is another wonderful bonus to this craft.

leaf_post dip-new

Step 1: Collect leaves. My kids liked the look of alternating different leaf types and colours on the banner they created. I like the look of the same type of leaf, different sizes and colours.

Step 2: Buy a brick of beeswax and create a double broiler to melt the beeswax. I used a frying pan with a little pot that is now dedicated to only beeswax for the interior broiler.

leaf_double broiler-new


Step 3: Once the beeswax is melted, grab a leaf by the stem and fully submerge into the melted beeswax. Have newspaper nearby to transfer the leaves onto to dry. You’ll be amazed how only one coat works and how fast the beeswax dries! I wouldn’t let kids help with this step. I burned my finger tips a couple of times during the leaf dipping process.

leaf_dipping in pot-new2


Step 4: Let leaves dry and decide if you want to leave them for Autumn tabletop confetti or if you’d like to string them into a garland. We did two methods. My kids decided to tie leaves onto hemp string. This was very quick and super easy. I think coloured yarn would look amazing too. We just tied the string around each leaf stem until we had enough leaves for our window treatment.

leaf_kitchen window-new

Step 5: The other method of stringing our beeswax leaves was sewing them with needle and thread. This is a great idea if you have lots of the same types of leaves to hang. You thread the string through the base of the leaf stem. If you think the garland is going to be heavy with a large number of leaves, use a more study material like fishing line to thread through with a needle.

leaf show thread-new


leaf threaded on mirror-new


I love crafting with nature. It’s free, right outside your front door, and you know the compost is ready when it’s time to say goodbye to these decorations.

Related Articles:

Preserving Fall Memories



West Coast Clothing Contest – Open to North America

I absolutely love this contest and I’m honored that these two clothing designers have lent their West Coast fashion for all Mommy Footprint readers to learn about and enter to win! You’ve heard me talk about Pina Styles before. The silk screen designs she creates are her own and they are done with so much ocean inspired love . . I’m such a huge fan. For the Fall, their most popular item is the slouchy sweatshirt with owl, anchor, and feather design. We also have Smoking Lily joining this contest and her contemporary, comfortable, chic West Coast designs are amazing. Check out the Point Grey Dress (pictured below) that joins this West Coast Clothing Contest!! Eeep – love it!

pina collage edited

Just because the artists are West Coast – this doesn’t limit you from entering. This contest is open across North America and everyone could use a little bit of the Coast to spruce up their closet for these Fall months. Please pin, post, share, and enter this contest. Let’s show that clothing made with social conscience, passion and locally crafted quality is a wonderful way to shop. When I’m wearing my current Pina Styles hoodie, I feel like I’m wearing art work and walk a little taller and I’m proud to answer the questions I always receive when wearing it.  Support these stores – you’ll be so happy to discover them!  Are you familiar with how to enter this contest? Just like, tweet, or pin via the contest box below and in a little over 1 week, I’ll announce a lucky winner. This contest is for the Mommy Footprint gals, but I’m working on a men’s fashion and children’s giveaway before Christmas. So please support this contest with entries so I can offer more features for local fashion.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





What is Wrong With A Grapple?

I’m not a frequent shopper of traditional chain grocery stores. I find there is so much ingredient reading involved because I’m not getting the local or organic options. But a really busy schedule this week has kept me buzzing to the local grocer and with every visit, my eyes spied something that just didn’t make sense. I’ll save the cinnamon that contained 2 additional GMO (genetically modified) ingredients for another article, but after I recovered from that, I spotted a 4-pack of apples called Grapples. What is a Grapple? It’s an apple that’s been infused with grape flavouring so it tastes like an apple that’s been dipped in grape juice. Below is a picture of this grape flavoured apple and the shine in the picture is the heavy duty plastic packaging.


So what is my problem with a Grapple? Do I hate the packaging? Well, yes. I don’t know how a company can think that much plastic packaging is a good idea with what we know about plastic pollution – but that’s not my biggest problem with the Grapple. Is this item GMO? No the Grapple hasn’t been genetically modified and the seed isn’t of the hybrid variety either. Besides for thinking this product is silly, I think it represents a much bigger problem and one that affects our kids. Children are growing up with an altered set of taste buds because of marketing concepts like the Grapple. Making food sweeter and artificially flavored really messes with the development of a child’s relationship with food.

Does any child really like the taste of McDonald’s food the first time they try it? No. Because we force kids to grow accustomed to salt, artificial flavours, sugar, and preservatives, it’s not wonder we complain when they refuse to eat real food. By handing them an apple that tastes like grape juice we are messing with more than mother nature but also with real food. When kids bite into an apple, they need to experience the sensation and taste of an apple. The experience of having artificially flavoured grape juice should be a separate experience.

We all know that clean food is the ticket to improved health for our family but there isn’t a suburb family that doesn’t consume junk food, artificial flavours, sugar, etc. on occasion. Let’s teach our children that these treats are ‘sometimes’ food and the clean food is ‘everyday’ and necessity food. Confusing the two, in my opinion, sets back the food movement and is confusing for kids.



Easy Eco Clothing Stain Removal

This year, back to school means really white shirts in my house. The kids wear a uniform and the common thread between my daughters and sons is they all play hard at lunch and eat drippy food at lunch. This means by Christmas, their white shirts are permanently stained and don’t look as presentable as the school would like. My goal this year is to keep the shirts clean with keeping on top of stains the day they happen.

Easiest and effective way to treat clothing stains? Keep a cup of baking soda paste (mix with water) next to a low traffic bathroom sink with an old toothbrush. Show the kids how to scoop out the paste, rub on the stain, and leave in the sink ready to wash. If you treat the stain that day, chemical detergents are not needed! And since before and after pictures are always great – here is the proof.

Dirt stains Before:

shirt pre



Dirt Stains After:

shirt post


The post stain picture was taken even before the shirt was washed. It’s just a convenient way to stay on top of clothing stains. Give it a try!



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