Getting Real

Do you want to live your life with energy and vitality? Learn what real food is and how to easily incorporate it into your every day life! Because our lives are busier than ever, processed, packaged and generally unwholesome foods lacking any nutritional value dominate our diet because of the convenience factor. If you are tired, have digestion problems or other chronic health issues and want to feel better, it's time to stop eating out of packages, stop eating food filled with chemicals and other non food ingredients and start eating fresh, real food. I am a REAL MOM living in the REAL WORLD trying to feed my family REAL FOOD. It isn't always easy, but it is very possible. I hope to help you learn what real food is and then how to make real food a part of your every day life.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Talking To Your Children About The Tragedy In Newtown: Advice from Dr. Jessica Levitt

Friday night after all our children were tucked safely into bed, my closest friends began texting each other.   The question we all asked was, "How do I help my children understand something that I myself can not even understand?"  None of us wanted to have to tell our children about the unspeakable, horrific tragedy that unfolded two towns away from us.  All of us feeling sick, having spent the day shedding tears for the innocent lives lost and the nightmare their families were now having to endure.  Yet, we all understood that we had no choice.  Difficult conversations needed to be had, innocence was going to be taken from our children and there was nothing we could do about it.  Fortunately, we had an expert among us.  Dr. Jessica Mass Levitt,  who I am blessed to have in my life for 25 years, began sending us the advice we were all looking for.  Jessica knows other parents need this guidance as well.  Please see below for what began as texts to friends and transformed into essential information for all parents to read.  Thank you Jessica.      

Jessica Mass Levitt, PhD 
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Clinical Psychologist
Children, Adolescents & Adults

Talking to Kids about the Newtown School Shooting 
Advice for Parents of Young Children
It is difficult to think about talking to our children while we are still trying to come to terms with our own shock, sadness, fear, and anger about the shootings in Newtown. However, it's important to talk with kids, even those as young as pre-­‐school or kindergarten age, about what happened and make sure that we are available to help them cope and feel safe.
Why is it important to say something? It’s natural to want to protect young children from hearing about what happened, and you may think that if you don’t bring it up, they won’t hear about it. But, there is no way to shield them completely from hearing about it. By not telling them, you may be inadvertently sending a message that there is something to be scared about and they should not approach you. By telling them yourself, you will make them feel safer, let them know that adults are in control, and make them feel comfortable talking to you about it. You also give them a good foundation for dealing with whatever information they hear later. If they hear it from another source before you talk with them, it is important to find out what they heard and correct any misinformation. By talking to your kids, you can provide reassurance, be a role model for tolerating the emotions and uncertainty following this tragedy, and make sure that you open the lines of communication for the future.
What should you say? It’s hard to know what to say to your kids about what happened. The goal is to give them some idea of what has happened or find out what they know about it already. You do not want to scare them or impress upon them the significance of the event. You want to provide a sense of safety and security. You do not want to make your children feel like they need to take care of you. So, stay calm and matter of fact when you talk to them. Keep the conversation casual. Some talking points are listed below to try to help you frame the conversation. Remember, most kids will be able to handle this news, and you can make it easier by being involved and supporting them during this difficult time.
Talking Points:
  • Give the facts: Something bad happened to some kids in a school near us. And kids got hurt.
  • Everyone is very upset and sad, including us. People are talking about this on TV and everywhere (school, restaurants,
    stores, places of worship, etc.). You might hear adults or other kids saying stuff about it.
  • But, even if you hear people talking about it, it's over now. They caught the bad guy and he can't hurt anyone anymore.
  • Clarify: This was not your school. Your school is safe. You don't know anyone there. If you do know families from the
    Newtown school, you should talk with your kids about who was there, if they are safe, and what happened.
  • Reassure: The President of the United States, the police, and all the adults in your life are doing everything they can to
    keep you and your school safe so that nothing like this can ever happen again.
  • Many kids in Newtown were safe because of heroic teachers and police.
  • Talk about what to do in an emergency, like a fire drill. Emphasize that it is important for kids to listen to teachers and
    police in emergencies.
  • Suggest things kids can do to help: make cards for affected families, write letter to president about keeping schools safe,
  • Let kids ask questions, and answer honestly and simply. Don't lie!! Don't give more information or details than
    necessary. Keep it age appropriate and in line with what your kids can understand.
  • Tell kids that you love them and will always protect them. Encourage them to talk with you about this and tell you what
    they hear. Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Get on with the day, keep things normal. Spend time together. Be understanding and supportive if children are more
    clingy, emotional, or difficult in the short term.
  • Be a role model: Show kids how to be brave and stay strong.

    Jessica Mass Levitt, PhD
    1088 Black Rock Turnpike Fairfield, CT 06825 
    646-382-3120 • 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

It's time to rally!  Join GMO Free CT to let your voice be heard, Wednesday, December 12th at noon in Hartford.  We have a right to know what is in our food.  It is as simple as that.  No corporation should be able to hide the truth from us in order to protect their profits.  The opposition to GMO labeling does not want us to know GMOs are in our food because they realize knowledge is power.  They do not want us to have the power to choose what we put in our own bodies because if we knew that GMOs were in our food, we would not choose to buy it.  Don't you want to be able to make that choice for yourself?

Friday, October 19, 2012


A lot is being written about GMOs right now.  I could spend every day, all day responding to the propaganda articles being put out there by the opposition to GMO Labeling.  However, I know my energy is better spent educating others about GMOs and fighting for GMO labeling.  However, yesterday in the Wall Street Journal there was an Op Ed piece, Biotechnology on the Ballot, that I just could not ignore.  I submitted the below response to the Wall Street Journal.  They would not print my response in it's entirety and requested that I shorten it to 270 words or less as a Letter to the Editor.  I have submitted an extremely watered down, less effective version of what you can read below.  Whether it gets printed or not is yet to be seen.  But, I needed to share my response with all of you.  Not to mention, I find it infuriating that Alex Berezow, a pathetic excuse for a scientist, is granted the privilege of having his full opinion printed for all the world to see, but I do not get that privilege as I am "just a mom" fighting the good fight.  

For anyone who thinks I do not have a right to know what is in my food, THIS IS FOR YOU!  

I am writing in response to the October 18th Op Ed piece "Biotechnology on the Ballot" by Alex Berezow, the editor of RealClearScience.  I am a concerned mother of three children, a former New York City Prosecutor, and a Certified Holistic Health Counselor.  I am currently leading the group, GMO Free CT, an organization dedicated to GMO education and also advocating for a GMO Labeling bill in Connecticut.   

Given my background, it will come as no surprise that I found Berezow’s Op Ed piece very frustrating. Even if everything Berezow said in his OP Ed piece was true, which it is NOT, it still does not take away from the fact that I deserve the right to know if the food I am eating and feeding my family is derived from seeds that have been grown on this earth for thousands upon thousands of years or derived from products that have been genetically engineered in a science lab .  For Berezow to draw a comparison between eating the naturally occurring bacteria in the soil with consuming the bacterial genes being inserted into the DNA of GMO seeds is absurd and lacks scientific credibility.  What we should be focusing on is the fact that GMOs have NEVER been proven safe.  To the contrary, a recent study out of France, which received very little attention in the US but showed up on covers of magazines and newspapers throughout Europe, showed rats that ate GMOs for two years developed massive tumors, had multiple organ failure and early death.  Why has the burden been shifted onto people like me to try and prove that GMOs are dangerous?  Why is the burden not on our government and the industry making GMOs to prove they are safe?  Typically, you would need long term safety studies before any new drug or food additive is released to the public, but GMOs were granted "generally recognized as safe" or "GRAS" status without following the required protocols or meeting any of the stated requirements. Anyone who looks at what the requirements are to be designated GRAS will notice that GMOs did not meet these requirements.  The FDA's own scientists warned their superiors that GMOs needed further testing before being released into the food supply, but these warning were completely ignored. Where are the long term feeding studies conducted by the United States Government?  Where are the studies from the FDA that prove to me GMOs are safe for my three young children to consume?  The answer is there are none.  It is clear that our federal government has abandoned the citizens of this country, the very people who put them in office, and has instead chosen to support the interests of the industries that fund their political campaigns.  

I am not in anyway opposed to scientific advancement and believe science has its place, it is even possible that the technology behind GMOs could be perfected at some point in the future, maybe, after decades of long term testing, GMOs could even be proven safe.  But, right now, despite being fed to the American public for twenty years, there is no proof they are safe.  In fact, there is a lot of proof that they are making us sick.  Think about the health of the American public since 1996, which is when GMOs were introduced.  The modern diseases of today, such as diabetes, autism, allergies, gastrointestinal diseases and cancer to name a few, have all increased at alarming rates since 1996.  What Berezow's Op Ed did not point out, is that the vast majority of GMOs today were engineered to either produce their own pesticide or resist herbicide (i.e., roundup) - which means that the same companies producing the GMO seeds sell you roundup to be sprayed in copious amounts on the crops.  Unfortunately for the GMO companies, their technology is backfiring.  The weeds are now becoming resistant to roundup as well, which is creating a need for stronger, more dangerous herbicides such as 2-4D, which was the main component in Agent Orange.  In addition, the worms and bugs that the crops were supposed to kill with the pesticide their engineered cells were producing, are now resistant to the pesticides.  You cannot mess with Mother Nature and we are now creating super weeds, super bugs and super worms.  

The GMOs on the market right now are not drought resistant, are not feeding hungry populations, and are not producing a higher yield than traditional crops.  GMOs are only feeding overfed, under nourished, fat Americans.  GMOs are not in the food in Europe, in Asia or in Africa.  They are grown here and eaten here.  If GMOs are so great, then the companies should be proud to label the products as such.  Instead, when labels are required (as they are overseas in 60+ countries), the companies remove GMOs from those products.  That is the elephant in the room that no one is naming because the opposition is frightened that labeling in America will be the end of the GMO industry and they (being the biotech industry) will lose a lot of money.

Leaders from around the country are currently uniting to form the Coalition of States For Mandatory GMO Labeling.  The fight to label GMOs and have a right to know what is in our food is far from over.  California has the chance to make history and pave the way for all the other states to pass similar GMO labeling laws.  I am begging the citizens of California to vote YES on Prop 37 and be the voice of the people.  Do not allow the industry to mislead you with lies and convince you to vote in favor of their interests rather than your own.  

Monday, September 3, 2012


From Left: Zofia Hausman (Documentary Film Maker of the Agtivist), Representative Richard Roy (the original sponsor of the GMO Labeling Bill in CT), Ellen McCormick, Tara Cook-Littman, Beth Beisel, Diana Reeves,Whitney Riggs, and Cathie Iaccarino

Below is an open letter written to Mrs. Obama with a plea for help from the women leading the activist movement here in CT and beyond.  We have all heard Mrs. Obama talk about the importance of eating a healthy diet, but not once have we ever heard her speak about GMOs.  A healthy diet that is filled with GMOs is not a healthy diet at all.  PLEASE, Mrs. Obama, talk to your husband and ask him to label GMOs.  We have a right to know what is in our food and be able to choose whether or not to feed our families GMOs.  


Dear First Lady Michelle Obama,

We applaud your efforts to feed your family organically and to change the way Americans eat for the better, but we have yet to hear you address the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  We are writing to ask for your help.  We are leaders in an organization in Connecticut called GMO Free CT, a group of individuals educating the public about GMOs and advocating for our right to know what is in our food.   We are certain that you are aware that our food supply is being taken over by GMOs and that the children of this country are paying the price. 

As women ranging in age from 20 to 60 plus, we find ourselves bound together by common purpose and by the overwhelming urgency to secure a safe food supply for generations to come.  Right now over 90% of the processed foods on our grocery store shelves contain GMO ingredients.  Corn, Canola, Soy, Sugar, and Cottonseed along with the hundreds of derivatives made from these 5 crops, have been modified to include genes from other, unrelated species.   These GMOs have been granted “GRAS” status (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA and therefore have NEVER been tested for safety through long term feeding studies. Current research is raising significant health concerns as scientific studies are linking genetically engineered foods to an increase in food allergies, autism, autoimmune diseases, cancer, organ damage, infertility and inflammatory bowel diseases, all of which, are on the rise and increasing medical costs in this country.   GMO labeling is mandated in over 50 countries around the world, yet here in America, supposedly one of the most progressive countries in the world, we are still shopping completely blind.  Currently, voters in California have the opportunity to support mandatory GMO labeling by voting in favor of Proposition 37.   As mothers, aunts, grandmothers and sisters, we deserve to have the right to choose whether or not to feed our families GMOs.  

During his last campaign, your husband pledged to require labeling of GMOs. Instead, he hired a former Monsanto executive (Monsanto being the company that stands to benefit the most from the proliferation of GMOs), Michael Taylor, as his food safety czar. Mrs. Obama, we need your help. We need a strong, caring and intelligent mother like you to stand up for the welfare and safety of America’s children.  Over one million Americans signed a petition to the FDA asking for GMO labeling, fifty five US Senators signed a letter to the FDA asking for GMO labeling, professional polls show that 95% of Americans want GMOs labeled, and 19 states, including CT, are introducing GMO labeling legislation.  The FDA refuses to act. We need you to stand up for democracy and for freedom of choice. Please talk to your husband on behalf of your children, our children and America’s children. Ask him to make good on his campaign promise to label GMOs. California’s ballot initiative to label GMOs needs the support of the Obama family. Please speak out in support of GMO labeling so that America’s families can have the ability to choose clean, unadulterated food.

Thank you very much for your personal attention and reply to this letter.  We can be reached at  We would very much like to visit with you to discuss this very urgent matter.  It is a complicated issue and we are aware of the political implications as well.  We would like to hear back from you directly.  The health and safety of our families, future generations and our fragile environment are at stake.

Beth Beisel
Tara Cook-Littman
Cathie Iaccarino
Ellen McCormick
Diana Reeves
Whitney Riggs
Elaine Titus   

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Diana Reeves, Founder GMO Free USA
After the Connecticut GMO labeling bill was killed this past May at the end of the legislative session, there were a lot of angry people.  Within hours of the demise of the bill, the lead activists in CT were brainstorming about how to turn things around and how to turn a frustrating, bad situation into something positive and productive.  One of those activists was Diana Reeves, the founder of GMO Free USA and someone I feel extremely privileged to call my friend.  Diana immediately had a very clear vision and had a deep sense that GMO Free USA could have a major impact.  Diana's concept became a reality very quickly.  She wanted a group of at least 5000 people on Facebook and/or yahoo to join together with the common purpose of selecting one company at a time to boycott and start a phone, e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter campaign to demand that these companies remove GMOs from their products.  GMO Free USA is now a powerful group with thousands of like-minded, passionate individuals wanting to make a difference and let their collective voices be heard.    

On July 23rd, GMO Free USA kicked off their first campaign against Kelloggs.  Thousands of people have been bombarding Kelloggs with phone calls, e-mails, tweets and Facebook posts.  I personally spoke with a customer service representative who listened carefully and took notes on our entire conversation.  Kelloggs has sent a response to some members of GMO Free USA with the following content: 

"Thank you for contacting us about biotechnology ingredients. We truly appreciate your opinion and are grateful that you have taken the time to express your concerns. 

Almost all domesticated animals and crop plants have been genetically modified over thousands of years by human selection and cross and/or selective-breeding. This new method differs in that it is the direct manipulation of an organism's genes. In traditional breeding the organism's genes are manipulated indirectly. GMOS are viewed with concern because of public debate over the safety of the products and the fear that GMO foods represent a type of "biological" pollution. The battle has been particularly intense in Europe, where GMOS have been banned since 1998

We value the opinion of consumers such as you who are passionate and interested about the foods you buy. We want you to know that we hear you and, like you, want only the best ingredients to go into our products. It's important that we capture your viewpoint so that we can share it with our team in helping to gauge public opinion about biotechnology. 

We take seriously the trust placed in us to provide healthy, nutritious, and safe food. We will continue to evaluate our ingredients, suppliers and product formulas to provide the best products possible.


Jonathan W.
Consumer Specialist
Consumer Affairs"   

This is what I would like to say to Kelloggs:  

"Dear Consumer Affairs Specialist, 
Thank you for being so respectful in your response, but get GMOs out of your food NOW.  Our campaign will not stop until you do.  If you are serious about providing "healthy, nutritious, and safe food" as you say, then you would begin removing GMOs from your products immediately.  The debate over GMOs goes way beyond the fear that GMO foods represent a type of 'biological' pollution" as you say, but rather that GMOs are slowly poisoning the America people and are causing a whole host of diseases and health problems such as immunological disorders, gastrointestinal disease, infertility, and cancer to name a few.  The FDA, who is supposedly protecting the American people, has allowed GMOs into the food supply without any proof that GMOs are safe, yet Kelloggs allows GMOs into your food despite your statement that you "take seriously the trust placed" in Kelloggs. Well, I am sorry to inform you that Kelloggs no longer has my trust.  Kelloggs has the chance to be a leader and gain back the trust of the America people.   Remove GMOs from all your products just like you have done in Europe and announce to the world that Kelloggs cares about the well-being of the American people. 

Tara Cook-Littman
Protective Mom of Three Children" 

Diana Reeves is feeling great about how the Kelloggs campaign is going and had this to say: "The Kellogg's campaign is going well. We have been sending a steady stream of emails to Kellogg's executives all week long, as well as filling Kellogg's facebook pages with posts and making phone calls. The campaign will continue until Kellogg's responds to our request that they make all of their products GMO free, as they do in countries that require labeling." 

Diana also shared the exciting news that she will be hosting a new internet TV show called GMO Free TV.  Diana is going to invite Kellogg's to appear on the pilot of GMO Free TV, but she "fully expects that they will decline the invite and decline to comment."

If you have not already joined GMO Free USA please JOIN NOW.  Also, please join the Kelloggs campaign and start telling Kelloggs to get GMOS out of their food NOW!  Sending an e-mail or posting on Facebook will only take a minute. You can also SIGN the petition telling Kelloggs to go GMO free.  GMO Free USA needs your support. Things will never change unless we use our voices and let them be heard.  Jeffrey Smith, the country's leading spokesperson on the dangers of GMOs calls this the Tipping Point, we in GMO Free USA can create that tipping point.  GMO Free USA has 7000 members right now and is growing by the second, but the truth is, we should stand millions strong against the industry that is destroying everything in it's path.

Thank YOU Diana for bringing all of us together and for your vision and perseverance to make things happen!  

Thursday, July 26, 2012


If you ask anyone where they learned about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), the majority of people will tell you Jeffrey Smith taught them.  Anyone who did not learn about GMOs directly from Jeffrey in all likelihood learned about GMOs from someone like me, a disciple of Jeffrey Smith.  Jeffrey is the best selling author of two books on GMOs, "Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette".  Both books are a must read if you want to educate yourself on GMOs.  Jeffrey is also the Executive Director of the instititute For Responsible Technology, the country's leading organization educating the world about GMOs.  Jeffrey will be in CT on August 8th for three very important events.  You are invited and encouraged to join him at all three events.

(1) Jeffrey Smith addresses the special GMO Labeling Task force - At 10:00 AM at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Jeffrey Smith of the Institute For Responsible Technology, will address the task force and answer their questions about GMOs.   It is very important for our legislators to see that their constituents care about our right to know.  

(2) Jeffrey Smith Strategic Planning Session - Immediately following the task force meeting, Jeffrey will be meeting with GMO Free CT, ALL OF US, to help us plan and strategize for the future of the GMO Free movement and labeling efforts in CT.  

(3) Fundraiser at the Greenwich Audubon - That evening at 7:30 PM, the Greenwich Audubon will be hosting a fundraiser for Jeffrey Smith.  It should be a fantastic evening with food provided by NON GMO vendors from around CT.  We are expecting Senator Richard Blumenthal to be in attendance.  In addition, the documentary film maker, Zofia Hausman, will be in attendance at all three events that day.  We are thrilled to have Zofia joining us in CT!  The event is $75 per person and while I realize this can be cost prohibitive for many people, I ask that you please keep in mind that the work Jeffrey and his organization are doing is critical.  They can not continue to do their work without funding.  For more information and to RSVP click HERE  

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I want to come into your home right now, throw out everything, and replace it with all the items listed below.  I have performed several "pantry makeovers" and, every time, I leave with a sense of accomplishment.  You know that you have thought about cleaning out your own pantry and starting all over again.  But, something stops you, maybe it's the guilt of throwing food away or maybe it is just simple laziness.  Whatever may be holding you back, it's time to throw that in the garbage along with all the crap sitting on those shelves.  Just open up those cabinets, get the garbage bags out, and start dumping.  Don't tell yourself you will wait until everything gets eaten and then you just won't replace the items.  We all know that is the lie we tell ourselves but then nothing ever changes.  Carpe diem, seize the day, begin your path toward health and wellness today!  Goodbye overly processed, health damaging foods and hello to a healthier you.  Below you will find a list of some wonderful items to get you started and to keep in your pantry.  Items that may be less familiar to you are followed by a brief description.  Watch for more recipes in the near future that include these items.

BRAGGS LIQUID AMINO ACIDS - A wonderful flavor enhancer for salad dressings, marinades, and also is a great replacement for soy sauce.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR - The best vinegar to use in salad dressings.
NUTRITIONAL YEAST - A rich source of vitamins and a tasty topping for vegetables or popcorn.
HONEY - Must be raw and local is best.
ASSORTED DRIED HERBS - Basil, Cumin, Thyme, Cinnamon, Ginger, Rosemary, Mint, Turmeric, Paprika, and Pepper.
KELP FLAKES - A good source of iodine and can be sprinkled on your vegetables or salads for a little extra flavor.

ORGANIC GRAPESEED OIL - Grapeseed oil replaces your genetically engineered (GMO) oils such as soybean, corn, canola and vegetable oil.  Unlike olive oil, grape seed oil can be heated at high temperatures and is good for sautéing, roasting, or baking.
COCONUT OIL - A wonderful oil to use for baking and also for stir frys.
COCONUT MILK - A very tasty addition to sautéed vegetables
REDUCED SODIUM VEGETABLE STOCK - Rather than using abundant amounts of oil or butter when cooking on a stove top, add vegetable stock for flavor and to reduce the amount of oil.
RICE, ALMOND, OR HEMP MILK - Replaces milk and is very useful for smoothies and baking.
MIRIN - A Japanese rice wine that is excellent to add to dressings and sauces and also to sautéed vegetables.
NORI - Nori makes for a great crunchy snack on its own or wrap it with some vegetables inside like cucumber, avocado, and peppers and you have a fast vegetable sushi roll.
KOMBU - A Japanese sea vegetable that should be added when cooking beans and grains for aiding in the digestibility of the grains or beans and also adds minerals to the food.
ORGANIC RAW CACAO - Cacao is chocolate in it's natural state.  In the winter, warm some cacao with honey and rice milk and you have a delicious and nutritious hot chocolate.
ORGANIC APPLE SAUCE - Very useful in baking.  Buy apple sauce with NO sugar added.  

RAW SESAME TAHINI - Tahini is great when added to salad dressings, stir frys, and hummus.
RAW ALMOND BUTTER - I can eat this by the spoonful.
QUINOA - Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is gaining popularity.  It makes for a great side dish or main dish.  It cooks easily like rice with 1 cup of quinoa to two cups of water.  Quinoa is also Gluten and wheat free.
BROWN RICE PASTA or QUINOA PASTA- We all want pasta once in a while and I highly recommend you try these options as a healthier alternative to regular white or even whole wheat pasta.
CHIA SEEDS - A superfood, chia seeds are high in vitamins and minerals, protein, omega 3's, and fiber.  Add chia seeds to your yogurt and smoothies.
HEMP SEEDS - A delicious add on to salads.
GOJI BERRIES - Goji berries are a wonderful replacement for cranberries in a salad or are delicious on their own as a snack.
BLACK BEANS (dry or canned)
GARBANZO BEANS (dry or canned)
LENTILS (dry or canned)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Are you one of those people who can sit quietly on the floor, palms to the ceiling, with your eyes closed and ohm your way to peace and serenity?  If you are, I am envious as I am not one of those people . . . yet.  Quiet meditation is certainly something to work toward, but for now, I am still that person at the end of yoga class when everyone else sprawls out on their back for 5 minutes of relaxation during Shavasana who jumps up and heads out the door for my next activity or errand.

Does this make me a bad person or mean that I do not live a conscious life?  I say absolutely not.  If you can quietly meditate, then by all means continue what you are doing.  But, if you are more like me, find ways in your every day life to raise your level of consciousness and allow your inner most, sacred thoughts to surface.  A few months ago I attended a joint talk by Kris Carr, author of "Crazy, Sexy Diet" and Gabrielle Bernstein, author of "Spirit Junky".  You can guess who is the yogi and who is the health nut.  Of course I related to Kris Carr, who shares much of the same beliefs about food as I do.  Someone in the audience asked Kris Carr if she meditates like Gabrielle Bernstein.  Bernstein answered for Carr and said that Carr "meditates during her every day activities".  Of all the things these two amazing ladies talked about that night, this simple statement is what resonated with me the most.

I may not spend 20 minutes or even 5 minutes a day in quiet solitude alone with my thoughts in a meditative pose, but throughout the day I am raising my level of consciousness and living my life with purpose.  It is in my every day activities that I am able to invoke a feeling of connection to myself, to those around me and to my actions.  I am by no means saying that every moment of my life is filled with meaning and purpose, I am human after all, and certainly have many moments of craziness where I completely lose all sense of where I am or what I am doing.  But, what I am saying is that I meditate during many of my daily activities.   When I am running outside, I let my mind drift where it wants to and allow thoughts and ideas to flow freely.  I write most of my blog pieces in my mind, including this one, while running because that is when I find inspiration and think most clearly.  When I am cooking dinner for my family, I am aware of every ingredient that goes into that food, I pay attention to the smells in my kitchen, and I pour all my love and care into the dishes my family will eat.  When I am sitting on the couch with my children reading them a book and cuddling, I am conscious of the love and peace I feel at that moment.

Those who practice one form or another of traditional meditation may be thinking I have no clue what meditation is truly about.  But, when you are mindful of the activities you are engaging in and how they make you feel, I believe that is a form of mediation that everyone can practice all day long.  What daily activities can you participate in with a new level consciousness and intent?  

Monday, May 14, 2012


My Dinner Plate - Frittata With Crispy Kale

I do most of my shopping at Double L Market in Westport, CT.  I prefer not to shop in big supermarkets for a number of reasons, and because of Double L Market, I don't have to!  At Double L I know I am assured of getting quality food that is always easily traceable to it's source.  I love to walk into Double L and ask the owners, Lloyd and Michael, what they have in that I must have.  While Michael is usually busy doing a great deal of the behind the scenes work, Lloyd shows me around and passionately tells me stories of where the food came from.  His enthusiasm is contagious.  Imagine a store that can actually tell me where the food they sell is sourced from.

For dinner one night last week I chose a dozen mint green colored eggs from a local provider in Woodbridge, CT where having chickens and collecting their eggs is more of a hobby than a business.   I also purchased a container of local goat cheese, kale from Lloyd's brother's farm, and of course had to buy the ramps, which are wild leeks and can only be found seasonally.  As I am checking out Lloyd patiently listens to me venting about the latest news on GMOs and the efforts to get them labeled.  He always seems interested no matter how many times he has heard me complain about our government and how wrong it is that Americans are shopping blind.  At least I'm not shopping blind at Double L.  If you are local and have not been there yet, go now.  Double L has a loyal following and you can see why, once you start shopping there you won't go back to the big supermarket.

Ramp and Goat Cheese Fritatta  
1 dozen eggs
1 bunch of ramps
4 oz of goat cheese
butter or grape seed oil to coat the pan

Pre heat your oven to 350.  Use a 12" pan that can go from your cook top to your oven.  Chop up the stems and leaves of the ramps.  Coat your pan and lightly sauté the ramps on low heat until the leaves are wilted.  Beat your eggs and pour them over the ramps.  Cook eggs for one minute and ensure that the ramps are evenly distributed.  You do not want to cook your eggs through on the cook top.  Crumble the goat cheese on top of the fritatta and place in the oven for the eggs to finish cooking for approximately 10 minutes.  Slice and serve warm, cold, or room temperature.

Crispy Kale
2 bunches of kale
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
celtic sea salt to taste
1/4 cup of olive oil

Remove leaves from stem, coat with the olive oil and add the nutritional yeast and salt, toss together.  If you have a dehydrator, place the kale on the dehydrator sheets, set the dehydrator to 115 and allow the dehydrator to do the work for approximately 3 hours.  If you do not have a dehydrator, place the kale on a baking sheet and set your oven to the lowest temperature possible and bake until the kale is crispy.      

Saturday, May 5, 2012


If not us then who? If not now then when?

I always hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in case you haven't heard, the mandatory GMO labeling bill in CT was chewed up and spit back out by Governor Malloy and his attorneys in a closed door meeting on Friday.  The information was sent to myself and Analiese Paik, my partner in crime and co-founder of Right to Know CT, in an e-mail from a source deep within the administration with the simple words, "It appears that after meeting with the Governor, section 2 will need to be removed."  I had a terrible sinking feeling because I knew immediately what that meant.  Section 2 was the heart of the bill, the section that called for mandatory labeling of all products produced with the process of genetic engineering.  But, in hopes that the glass of wine I just finished over dinner was getting to my head, I quickly pulled up the bill on my iPhone hoping I was mistaken.  As I scrolled down to Section 2, I looked at my husband and said, "The Governor just killed the bill."  The Governor and his lawyers left the bill meaningless and without life.  In an official statement from Right to Know CT by Analiese Paik it was clear that "Right to Know CT will no longer endorse or support HB 5117, An Act Concerning Genetically Engineered Foods. Rep. Richard Roy is our hero and we supported his bill by advocating for its passage through our grassroots campaign. But it no longer reflects his intent to mandate the labeling of GE foods and we feel compelled to register our discontent by withdrawing our support for the bill."

GMOS as described by a child on his sign, Genetically Modified Out of Style Foods
Many people have asked me how I'm feeling about how all of this played out.  As you can imagine, after dedicating 99% of my time to the advocacy efforts for our right to know what is in our food, I was initially quite devastated.  I thought of all those hours I spent away from my children, all the time I spent sitting at my computer, and all the nights I chose not to go out with my friends because I needed to be working on the campaign.  But, after shedding some tears and expressing a lot of anger,  I, along with my fellow advocates came out on the other side feeling more passionate than ever before.  Not to sound melodramatic, but I am fighting for my children's future and the future of every child out there.  It may seem like we lost this battle, but in reality, what happened in CT has only strengthened our troops.  They don't realize it yet, but they woke a sleeping bear, or to quote Analiese, "They kicked the hornets nest."

Defend your constituents
Our government is choosing to put the interests of the monstrous biotech industry in front of the rights of the American people.  The reason given for removing Sec. 2 from the bill - it would violate the constitution and put CT at risk for being sued.   The biotech industry claims they have a constitutional commercial right to stay silent and not label foods as genetically engineered and our government is buying into this propoganda (i.e BS) and allowing the industry to trump our right to know.  Top attorneys from around the  United States who specialize in this area of the law made it very clear that states can mandate the labeling of products produced with the process of genetic engineering as long as the labeling law is reasonably related to legitimate state interests, such as health, economic considerations, protecting the environment, and giving the CT consumer the right to know what is in their food.

The citizens of fifty other countries are afforded the right to know what is in their food, yet here in America, we need to play detective to figure out what foods contain GMOs.  I simply want the right to know what is in our food so I can make the choice to feed GMOs to my family or not.  Without clear labeling, this choice is not ours to make.  I am disillusioned right now, and am uncertain whether we will ever get labeling laws passed in this country.  If CT couldn't make it happen with 90% of consumers calling for GMO labeling, a majority of the legislature poised to vote in favor of the bill, and an advocacy campaign that raised the level of GMO awareness to levels never seen before in this state, then I'm not sure where or when it will happen.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for CA in the fall.  But, in the meantime we need a plan.

I am calling on all of you to make the decision today that you will no longer support the industry behind GMOs.  The BEST way to do that is to STOP buying GMOs.  If not for the cause, at least stop eating GMOs because you care about your health and the health of your family.  Go to and familiarize yourself with how to avoid GMOs.  Watch out for corn, canola, soy, sugar beets, and cotton seed.  Some quick tips on avoiding GMOs include: (1) Avoid processed foods (2) Buy organic, (3) Look for the Non GMO project verified label (4) Avoid vegetable, corn and soy oil (5) Keep a list of all the aliases that GMOs hide under with you when you shop.  We have the power to make a difference with our own actions and by redirecting where we spend our money.  Join Jeffrey Smith's tipping point at  It only took Europe three months to reach their tipping point from the time the public became aware of the dangers associated with GMOs, it's taking us too long.  The European people were able to kick GMOs out of their food supply and now manufacturers such as Kraft, Nestle, and McDonalds use GMOs in America but NOT in Europe.

Our dedicated legislators: Representatives Susan Johnson, Kim Fawcett, Richard Roy,
Jonathan Steinberg, Fred Camillo, Brenda Kupchick, Tony Hwang, and William Wadsworth
They did not want to give us the right to know so we need to give ourselves that right.  I know it's not easy to avoid GMO's, but dealing with disease, environmental problems and economic downfall are much more difficult.  Right to Know CT will continue our work to pass labeling legislation next year along with our dedicated legislators who are feeling equally as frustrated, but in the meantime, let's work toward total consumer rejection of GMOs.  To listen to June Stoyer's radio show today with myself, Analiese Paik, and Jeffrey Smith go to  Thank you all for your ongoing support.  Stay tuned.                 

Monday, April 30, 2012


When most people think of Whole Foods the words that come to mind are - organic, sustainable, local, fresh, and quality.  Well, I have some other words to add to that list; hypocrite, schizophrenic, and identity crisis.  Whole Foods has created a niche in the market for themselves as the go to store for individuals seeking healthier, more sustainable, and local foods.  Health food fanatics, moms, and environmentalists alike, all flock to Whole Foods for their grocery needs.  But, is Whole Foods living up to their potential and their reputation?  Absolutely not.

I frequent my local Whole Foods and actually shed tears of happiness the first time I walked through their doors at the opening this past summer.  You can certainly find an abundance of organic, sustainably grown, local food.  The staff at the Fairfield Whole Foods is kind, helpful, and, for the most part, very knowledgeable.  Whole Foods gives back to our community by donating food to the homeless shelter / social service agency, Operation Hope, where I sit on the board.  In addition, Whole Foods has supported the movement for healthier foods in the Fairfield school system and has held events and promoted initiatives to support this effort.  So, let's give credit where credit is due.

With all those kind words above, you may be wondering, what's my beef with Whole Foods?  Well, it will come as no surprise that my frustration with Whole Foods evolves out of their policy toward Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  While Whole Foods claims that their store brand, 365, does not contain GMOs and they have even gotten many of their products verified as Non GMO through the Non GMO Project, Whole Foods has not taken a strong position on GMOs to say the least.  Products with GMOs can still be found throughout their store.  Their already prepared food items contain GMO corn, soy, and vegetable oils.  Whole Food's own policy on GMOs states, "Clearly labeled products enable shoppers who want to avoid foods made with GMOs to do so".  I ask you Whole Foods, if this is your policy, why are you not advocating for GMO labeling in CT and other states who are trying to clearly label packaging???

When I approached the local Whole Foods to do a GMO education event with me back in March, despite the local store being in favor of the idea, corporate Whole Foods struck down the idea and told the local Whole Foods employees to hold off on ANY non GMO education at this time.  Really?  No GMO educational events at the most critical time CT has ever seen in the fight to give consumers the right to know what is in their food?  This position is simply unacceptable.  Forget the fact that Whole Foods could probably do away with GMOs altogether in the American food supply by taking a stand and refusing to allow GMOs in their stores, but I would think it would be in Whole Food's best interest to support a bill that would give their consumers the transparency that they expect when shopping at Whole Foods.  We deserve the right to know what is in our food.  The citizens of fifty other countries, including all of Europe, Japan, China, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand all already enjoy this right because of mandatory GMO labeling laws.

The CT GMO labeling bill is running out of time.  If it is not called for a vote before May 9th, the bill will die a fast death.  Call the corporate Whole Foods regional offices in NJ and tell them to speak out publicly in favor of CT HB 5117, 201-567-2090.   Tell Whole Foods to live up to their reputation with the public and be a leader in our right to know what is in our food.    

Saturday, April 28, 2012



Currently there is a bill in front of the Connecticut legislature that would mandate GMO labeling.  This bill would give us the transparency that citizens of 50 other states, including all of Europe, Japan, Brazil, China, Australia, and New Zealand already enjoy.  We want the right to know what foods contain GMOs so that we may have the ability to choose whether or not to feed GMOs to our families.  GMOs are in 80% -90% of all the processed foods in America, yet most Americans have no idea when they are eating GMOs because of the lack of labeling.  If you are eating processed food with derivatives of soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, or sugar beets, and that food has not been certified organic or verified as Non GMO by the Non GMO Project, then you are consuming GMOs.  Through several animal studies GMOs have been linked with the following health problems:  allergies, gastrointestinal disease, pre cancerous cell growth, infertility, changes in major organs, and accelerated signs of aging.  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine urges physicians to advise their patients to eat a GMO free diet.    

If CT HB 5117, the mandatory GMO labeling bill, is not called for a vote before May 9th, the bill will die. needs YOUR help to get this bill passed.  Regardless of what state you live in,  HB 5117 will affect you! If CT can lead the way for GMO labeling legislation, other states will follow.  If this bill is defeated, it will deter other states from attempting to pass similar legislation and the Biotech industry will have yet another victory.  


# 1

Speaker of the House: 
Christopher Donovan, 

House Majority Leader:
J. Brendan Sharkey (D) 

House Republican Leader:
Lawrence F. Cafero, Jr. (R)

# 2
Tell your legislators to vote in favor of CT HB 5117, a mandatory GMO labeling bill.  Go to to send letters to CT legislators asking them to support the bill. Click on the link and it will only take minutes.

# 3 
Governor Shumlin of Vermont has already succumbed to the pressures of Monsanto and is refusing to support Vermont's GMO labeling bill, we CAN NOT allow this to happen in CT.  E-mail and call Governor Malloy in CT and tell him to support our right to know and support CT HB 5117.  Tell Governor Malloy that CT is not alone, the country stands behind Connecticut's efforts to mandate GMO labeling.  

Governor Malloy (click contact link to send e-mail)

# 4

# 5
For more information go to

# 6

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


From Left: Beth Beisel, Representative Brian Becker, Representative Bill Wadsworth, Tara Cook-Littman

Below you will find a passionate, heartfelt, brilliantly written essay by my good friend Beth Beisel.  On February 22nd I showed up in Hartford to offer testimony in support of the GMO labeling bill.  This being the first time I ever testified at something like this, naturally, I was a little nervous.  But, I had the universe on my side that day because standing right in front of me was Beth, who immediately calmed my nerves with her kindness and positive energy.  We introduced ourselves to each other and I immediately felt a connection.  Clearly synchronicity at work,  Beth and I knew we would be working together going forward.  Two weeks ago Beth and I did a successful talk at the Farmington Library.  After Beth read my vacation blog a couple of days ago, she was reminded about this essay she wrote when reflecting about her dinner out with her son.  I asked her if I could share it with all of you because it is a very powerful piece.  Enjoy!    

A registered dietitian/ non-GMO activist/ loving mother describes a dinner out, with her son.

“Mom, when are we going to go out for Hibachi?  You promised me 9 months ago.”

Well, life has been busy and hectic, but he did have a point and I did have guilt.  It seemed like tonight would be perfect; just my 10 year old son and me.  My two daughters and husband were away for the weekend.

I called a new hibachi restaurant in town to make reservations.  I asked the manager if I could bring my own oils, because we avoid soy.  His response was “we don’t use soy oil, we use vegetable oil”… (mix of genetically modified oils: soy, corn, canola, cottonseed – but most of you already know that).  Anyway, he said they would accommodate my own condiments.

When we got there, I took my bottles out of the back seat and my son said, “oh mom, no…please!”  Again, I would be an embarrassment to him.  I explained that the manager had already told me that it was ok. (The look of distress on his face didn’t change.)

We went in and sat down.  There was another couple sitting at our grill.  The woman’s eyes widened and she said, “you bring your own condiments?”  I tried to play it down for my son’s sake, but wanted to answer her the way I usually do – with a passionate explanation about genetically modified poisons, etc.  Instead, I told her the olive oil I brought was not extra virgin, and the flavor was so mild it shouldn’t change the flavor of the food too much; in case she got some of ours mixed in on the grill.  Luckily she was accommodating.  My son looked a little sad, and asked me if we could just this once eat the regular stuff like everyone else. (I guess last night’s dinner discussion about the GMO-fed rat’s testicals, that were shriveled up like raisins, didn’t have as much of an impact as I had intended.)  I told him someday he would look back and be proud that he had a mother who had convictions and was an activist fighting protect the health of her family and friends.

On the chef’s prep tray, I could see a bowl full of yellow fat.  He asked me about my oils and I said yes, I would prefer it if he used them, but that his butter would be fine. He said, “That’s margarine”.  “Oh, that’s not fine”, I said.  But I wanted to say, “You mean partially hydrogenated, genetically modified, heavily pesticided plastic???”  (At this point, I wanted to run across the street to the grocery store and buy some butter, but I couldn’t leave my little boy alone.  Only last week, when my family was out to breakfast and ordered pancakes, did I leave the restaurant to buy some real maple syrup – so they wouldn’t pour high fructose corn syrup all over their pancakes.) 

The chef began to prep the grill and realized it wasn’t hot yet.  He apologized, and left us, so the grill could heat up.  A few minutes later, he came back with a conciliatory bowl full of edemome – roasted SOYBEANS.  My son’s mouth was watering.  He was starving.  He had just run around the basketball court for an hour and he was looking forward to a fun dinner out with his mom.  How could I not let him eat those things?  As I watched him pull the beans out of the ROUND-UP laden pods with his teeth, I closed my eyes and uttered this prayer:  “Dear God, please don’t let this evening out with my baby cause him infertility, development of some horrific allergy or gluten sensitivity, brain, pancreatic, or colon cancer, or any other problems we might not know about yet. And God?  I really don’t want to get sick either, especially while my children are still so young.  I love my life with them and want to continue raising them with strength and good health.  Also God, my beloved husband is in Pennsylvania with our two daughters.  Can you please make sure no one is feeding them genetically modified foods?  Thank you so much.”

“Are you ok mom”?  I told him I was fine, just saying grace.   Once the exciting part, the grilling/show got started, I tried to relax for his sake.  (The sake the chef squirted into my mouth helped, and so did the fact that we caught the chopped pieces of (?GMO?) zucchini he tossed into our mouths.) I wondered about all the spicy sauces he put on everything, and hoped the ginger and garlic would somehow offset the harmful effects of the other stuff we were eating.

The rest of the night went well.  We paid and went home.  He still lets me cuddle with him before bed.  I try to take advantage of it, knowing it will end all too soon.  I uttered more prayers, asking God to protect my family from evil people like our current “food safety” czar, and held him until he went to sleep.  I left his room and sighed, knowing that tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow he would be at some friend’s house or a school function, and some kind, unknowing person would share something with him – something that I would never let into my house.  I sighed again, knowing that all I can do is my best; that the rest is out of my control.  Then I took a deep breath and turned on my computer to the webinar I had missed – the one IRT is promoting on becoming a non-GMO speaker.  This is a fight I will not lose.

By Beth Beisel