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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I am asked all the time by my clients and friends whether they should be taking supplements, and if so, which ones.  A few years ago my answer would have absolutely been, NO.  I used to think everyone should get all their vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from their food and other natural sources.  But, unfortunately, the more I learned, the more I realized just how depleted our food supply actually is in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  When I think about it, this makes sense.  How can food that is shipped 1/2 way around the world, kept in storage facilities for days on end, and then sits on the supermarket shelf for another few days have the optimum amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that my body needs?  How can the soil that we have abused for so many years with herbicides and pesticides still grow vegetables with the same minerals that used to be in our soil?  The answer is, it can not.

Now, I want to make it very clear that the first source to give your body what it needs SHOULD be the food you eat, however, to supplement what your food is lacking, I now recommend turning to carefully selected supplementation.  Knowing which supplements to take can be an overwhelming task.  The best advice I can give you is to find a company that makes supplements you can trust.  There are some great companies out there.  In this blog, I want to highlight one such company that a good friend of mine, Jennifer Kall DelAngelo, works with.   It is called AGELOC by Nu skin.  I will admit, I am one of the most skeptical people when it comes to supplements.  But, what I love about this company is that it actually has a scientific way to prove that your supplements are working.  They use a Biophotonic scanner that tells you if your antioxidant levels are high or low.  For more information on this scanner you can see a clip from the Dr. Oz show by clicking this link.

The cost to be scanned is $10 and all the money raised from these scans is donated by Jenn, to an organization called Nourish The Children  I did an event a couple of months ago on the importance of juicing and how juicing boosts your antioxidant levels.  I had the scanner at this event and in a room of 25 people, I had the highest antioxidant level, a fact I am quite proud of, but I share this not to brag, but rather to illustrate that the scanner works!  All my friends who live a healthy lifestyle also score high.  In addition, everyone I know who uses the supplements from Nu Skin have high antioxidant levels and I must say, they all look healthy, vibrant, and young!  One such person is Ian Ziering from 90210.  To my excitement, I met him in person about a month ago, and he was looking good!  I had no idea he is almost 50, in all honesty, he looks like he is in his early 30s.  If you are like me and you grew up with 90210, you understand why it was so exciting to meet Ian in person.  There are a few opportunities for you to meet him this week in Fairfield and at the same time have your antioxidant level tested.  See below for all the information.  I strongly encourage everyone to know what their antioxidant level is.  Knowledge is power, and to know your antioxidant level will allow you to adjust your diet accordingly, and also figure out which supplements are best for you.  Nu Skin has a few supplements that they guarantee will raise your antioxidant level in 60 days or they will refund 100% of your money.  Ask my friend Jenn about lifepak, g3 juice and others.  If you mention my blog she will give you a 35% discount on everything you order.      

For more information call Jenn DelAngelo at 203-610-0015 or e-mail at
Meet Ian Ziering and have your antioxidant levels tested . . .

Thursday, March 1st 12:00 - 1:00
Catch A Healthy Habit
39 Unquowa Road, Fairfield

Friday, March 2nd 3:00 - 4:30
Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Dr. Bradley Weinstein
2228 Black Rock Turnpike
Fairfield, CT

Monday, February 27, 2012

Photograph from the day in Hartford - PLEASE SUPPORT GMO LABELING!

This was a picture taken after testifying in Hartford last week.  Included in the photo:  Senator John McKinney, Tara and kids, Representative Tony Hwang, Glen Colello from Catch a Healthy Habit, Representative Fred Camillo, Analiese Paik from the Fairfield Green Food Guide and her kids, and Representative T. R. Rowe.  It was truly a day I will never forget.

Please support CT HB 5117, which would require GMO labeling and tell your state representatives and state senators you want to know what you are eating.  Ask them to require that all GMO foods be labeled.
To find out who your representatives are and to get their contact information go to

To learn more about GMOs from the country's leading spokesperson on the dangers of GMOs, JEFFREY SMITH, please attend one of these events:

(1) FUNDRAISER FOR JEFFREY SMITH AND THE INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE TECHNOLOGY - Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 PM at 70 Sanford Street, Fairfield.  Event is free, donations will be accepted.  This event is limited to 30 attendees, only a few spots remain.  Please send me an e-mail at ASAP if you are interested in attending.

(2) NEWS CONFERENCE AND INFORMATIONAL FORUM WITH REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD ROY, HOUSE CHAIRMAN OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE, AND JEFFREY SMITH -  Friday, March 2nd at 11:30 AM at the State Capitol building in Hartford, room 310.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.  This forum and news conference was moved to a larger room because of the tremendous turnout last week at the Environmental Committee hearing!

(3) CT NOFA'S 30TH ANNUAL WINTER CONFERENCE - Jeffrey Smith is the keynote speaker. Please see CT Nofa's website for more information.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I arrived in Hartford at the Connecticut State Capitol building around 9:30 this morning with two of my children by my side.  I went up there to testify at the Environmental House Committee Hearing on a Bill to require GMO labeling.  Even though the hearing did not commence until 11:00, because this was my first time attending this type of hearing I did not realize I actually needed to arrive much earlier than 9:30 to sign up to testify and get ahead of all the Lobbyists and other "old timers" who knew the drill way better than I did and secured early spots for themselves.  A huge thank you to Representative Tony Hwang, who acted as our host while we were there, arranging for a tour of the State Capitol and setting us up in his lovely office with Sponge Bob Square Pants to keep my children from melting down.  Waiting it out all day until 4:00 for my turn to testify was a true symbol of just how important this GMO Labeling legislation is to me and quite frankly should be for you too.  Today was an amazing experience, it felt empowering to feel that I actually have a voice in this country when all too often we feel helpless and silenced.  I encourage all of you to learn about GMOs and let your voice be heard too.  Contact your representatives, they truly do want to hear from us.  There are some great opportunities to learn about GMOs coming up next week.  Jeffrey Smith, the country's leading spokesperson on the dangers of GMOs, is attending an event in Fairfield next Thursday, Mar 1st at 7:00.  Please contact me for more information.  I am of course always happy to answer any questions you may have about GMOs.  I have included my testimony from today below.

CT House Environmental Committee Hearing February 22, 2012

My name is Tara Cook-Littman and I am first and foremost a mother of three young children.  I am also a former New York City Prosecutor and most recently received my certification as a Holistic Health Counselor from the Integrative Institute for Nutrition based in New York.  I am currently the chair elect to a PTA Council Committee in Fairfield, CT called Fuel For Learning Partnership which, through educational programming and policy work, is informing the public on health issues and is working on improving the quality of food served through the Fairfield School Lunch Program to our children.  I also currently have a blog called Tara Cook Littman Real Food For Real Life, where I am encouraging people to get back to basics, stop eating their food out of boxes and eat fresh, real food.  

I was inspired to become a health counselor after I overcame my own health issues through changes in my diet.  I took personal responsibility for my health by ensuring that I knew what I was eating.  I learned that there were certain foods I needed to avoid to help me feel better.  At the same time I was dealing with my health issues, my son developed an allergy to all nuts at the age of six.  Being able to read labels on the food we were eating became my most powerful tool in protecting myself, my son and the rest of my family.   For the most part, labeling was very clear.  I avoided anything with wheat and gluten for myself, and anything that contained nuts for my son.   Having clear labels on our food literally became a lifesaver. 

I am not standing before you asking that genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, be banned. Rather, I simply ask that you support CT HB 5117 and require that foods containing GMOs be labeled.  While there may be disagreement as to whether GMOs are dangerous,  from my perspective, the lack of FDA testing on the effects of GMOs, the requirement in Europe that all GMOs be labeled, the scientific evidence that has been collected thus far and my own personal experience in feeling better once I stopped eating GMOs was sufficient for me to decide that I did not want my family eating GMOs.   Also, as part of my health counseling, I am educating my clients on how to avoid GMOs and teaching classes and workshops that include this same information.

The problem is that for those who decide to avoid GMOs it is actually quite complicated to do so because of the lack of labeling.  The best ways to avoid GMOs are by eating all organic foods or by not eating any processed food because over 80% of all processed foods contain GMOs.   However, neither of these options is particularly practical when looking at the current American diet and lifestyle, nor is organic food an option for everyone.  The next best way to avoid GMOs is to avoid any food with corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar.  I challenge all of you to go to the supermarket and find packaged food without any of those ingredients.  Identifying GMOs in food becomes even more difficult because GMOs hide in our food with over 100 aliases including lecithin, glucose, corn syrup, caramel color, starch, xanthum gum, maltodextrin, tofu, vitamin E, gluten, protein and so on.  

As you can see, it can be extremely difficult to identify GMOs and trying to educate someone on avoiding them can easily dominate an entire session with one of my private clients and can take over the question and answer period at my seminars.  And, even once I have educated my clients and audiences I speak to, it still remains very challenging for them to successfully identify all foods that contain GMOs.  Why should we as the consumer need an advanced degree in identifying GMOs?  It should be simple.  The only way for it to be simple is to have the foods clearly labeled.     

Monday, February 20, 2012


First of all, I want to thank you all for reading my blog and giving me such wonderful feedback.  Nothing makes me happier than to know so many of you are now drinking green juice, cooking at home, and trying to avoid GMOs!!!

How has the cooking been going?   Were you able to make any recipes from my blog "Real Dinners - Week 1"?    For those who haven't read my blog from January 29th about shopping and cooking, I included it at the end of these recipes to help you make the time in your life for home cooked meals.  Just like "Real Dinners - Week 1",  I wrote up a master shopping list for those of you that need some help with meal planning.   Simply take that shopping list to the market and you will have everything you need for 5 healthful dinners.

Before you jump into the recipes, listed below are the ten things you should know about the way I cook.
(1) I am never afraid to experiment with ingredients or amounts.  Don't feel you need to follow each recipe exactly as written, I certainly do not.
(2) I cook mostly vegetarian meals.  In my real life, vegetables are the main dish.  I personally do not eat chicken, beef or pork and only eat fish occasionally when I know the source.  So, the majority of these recipes are vegetarian.  In addition, I use organic dairy sparingly and it is optional in most of the dishes I prepare.  I am not suggesting that you all run out and become vegans or vegetarians tomorrow, but what I am suggesting is that Americans eat too much animal protein.  We are not meant to eat animal protein every day.  If you are concerned you won't get enough protein without your meat, stop worrying, I assure you that you will get enough protein.  This is clearly a topic for another blog, but wanted to make you aware that Vegetables take center stage in these recipes.  I cook my family fish or chicken once a week, so 1 out 5 of these recipes will include chicken or fish.  If you feel you need more animal protein at your meals, then at least consider making it a side dish to go along with these vegetarian recipes rather than the main dish.  
(3) I do not use any nuts in my recipes.  There are two reasons for this.  First of all, my son is allergic to all nuts so obviously nuts do not make it into my house.  Secondly, unless nuts are first soaked and then dehydrated, they can be difficult to digest.
(4) These recipes feed 4-5 people and have leftovers, so adjust accordingly depending on how many people you are cooking for.
(5) You will use leftovers later in the week for your meals.  I will make notes when to set aside some of the food for a future meal.   I also use leftovers for lunch.
(6) Many of the recipes are Tara originals or recipes I tweaked from somewhere else.  I will make note when I get the recipe from some other source.
(8) I use ORGANIC whenever possible for everything.
(9) I eat gluten and wheat free so the majority of the recipes are wheat and gluten free.  Even if you do not have a problem with wheat or gluten, trust me, we could all use a little less wheat and gluten in our lives.
(10) Remember I am just a REAL person cooking in REAL life so if you have any questions about the recipes or it looks like I left something out, please reach out to me and I will answer any questions.

1 polenta roll
1 bag of pasta - your choice (brown rice pasta suggested)
2 cups of brown rice
1 cup of dried white beans or 1 can of white beans
4 cups of Quinoa
5 chicken Breasts bone in (organic, pasture raised if possible)
1 dozen eggs
16 oz container of feta cheese
1 cup of raw sunflower seeds
1 cup of cranberries
2 bunches of kale
2 oranges
6 lemons
fresh chives
2 heads of cauliflower
2 heads of broccoli
2 Heads of Romaine Lettuce
1 bag or container of arugula
1 bunch of grapes
package of already peeled garlic cloves
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 avocados
7 large yellow onions
5 portobello mushrooms
2 zucchini
3 packages pre cut butternut squash
3 bags of frozen chopped spinach
1 bag of shredded carrots
1 container of assorted tomatoes
18 cups of vegetable stock
Kelp flakes (can be found in the asian section at Whole Foods)
apple cider vinegar
cold pressed virgin olive oil
Braggs Amino Acids (can be found near the Asian section in your store)
Dijon Mustard
creme fraiche
1 container of rice milk
raw honey
kombu (a sea vegetable that is found in the Asian section in your store)
dried italian spices
garlic powder
dried thyme
fresh or dried dill


MONDAY - Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry, Quinoa, and Kale Salad

Cranberry, Quinoa, Kale Salad   * 1 cup of the quinoa is for Thursdays dinner
3 cups of quinoa
1 bunch of kale
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup cranberries

Boil 4 cups of water and add the quinoa.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.  While the quinoa is cooking, remove leaves of kale from stem and rip into tiny pieces.  It is very important that the kale is torn into bite sized pieces and massaged, otherwise the raw kale can be difficult to chew.  Put the kale at the bottom of a bowl and pour the hot quinoa directly onto the kale which will slightly wilt the kale.  Add the cranberries and sunflower seeds and mix together.

Orange Vinagarette
2 oranges
1 lemon
2 tablespoons of honey
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

Combine the juice of two oranges, the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of honey, the olive oil and the apple cider vinegar.  Mix together and pour over the quinoa dish.

Butternut Squash Soup
3 packages of Butternut Squash
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
12 cups of vegetable stock
fresh chives
creme fraiche (optional)

Lightly coat a soup pot with olive oil and add the chopped garlic cloves and onion.  Cook at a medium temperature until onions are translucent and the garlic has softened.  Add the butternut squash and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer and cover for 20 - 30 minutes.  Remove soup from stove and let cool.  Once soup has cooled blend soup with a cuisinart or with a hand held immersion blender.  The soup should have a smooth consistency.  Serve with a drop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of chives.

TUESDAY- Pasta Primavera and Vegan Ceasar Salad

Pasta Primavera
1 bag of pasta
3 portobello mushrooms
2 heads of broccoli
1 bag of frozen chopped spinach
1 onion
2 zucchini
6 garlic cloves
1 bag of shredded carrots
1 container of assorted tomatoes
olive oil to taste
4 cups of vegetable stock

Lightly cook the pasta in water until it is al dente and put to the side.  Lightly coat a pan with olive oil and cook the garlic cloves and onion on medium heat until they are softened.  Add all the vegetables and the vegetable stock.  Cover with a pot lid if possible (the pan does not need to be completely covered, you can also use tin foil).  Simmer the vegetables until they are cooked.  The vegetables should still be firm.  This should only take about 5 minutes.  Add the pasta to the vegetables.  Let the pasta and vegetables sit for a few minutes so the pasta soaks up the flavor of the vegetable stock.  Lightly drizzle olive to taste.

Vegan Ceasar salad        *1/2 the salad dressing is for Wednesday night
3/4 cup dijon mustard
two lemons
1/2 cup Braggs Amino Acid
1/2 cup olive oil
1 head of romaine lettuce
Kelp flakes
1 avocado

Combine the mustard, braggs amino acid, and olive oil.  Mix well and add the juice of two lemons.  Chop the romaine lettuce and coat with dressing.  Chop the avocado and add to salad.  Sprinkle the salad with a liberal amount of Kelp flakes.  

WEDNESDAY- White Bean Polenta Coins with Sauteed Vegetables and Vegan Ceasar Salad

White Bean Polenta Coins with Sauteed Vegetables

1 roll of polenta
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
10 cloves of garlic
2 portobello mushrooms
1 lemon
1 cup of uncooked white beans or 1 can white beans
1/4 cup olive oil + drizzle for pan
1/4 cup rice milk
1 piece of kombu

Slice the polenta roll.  Each slice should be approximately 1/2 inch.  Lay the sliced polenta flat on a baking sheet and put aside.  Wrap the garlic in tin foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until garlic is soft.  Coat a saute pan with olive oil and add the sliced onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, orange pepper, and 2 portobello mushrooms.  Cook on a medium heat until the vegetables are slightly softened but al dente, this should take about 10 minutes.  If you are using dried white beans boil 2 cups of water and add the beans, cook on a simmer until the beans are soft, approximately 45 minutes.  If the beans have not been soaked you will need more water.  It is ideal to soak your beans in water the night before you will be cooking them.  If cooking dried beans, it is better to have too much water and then drain the beans once they are cooked.  For additional nutrients and minerals, add a piece of kombu (a sea vegetable found in the asian section of your grocery.)  Place your beans in a food processor and add the 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of rice milk, and roasted garlic.  Blend until smooth.  Place a spoonful of the white bean puree on each slice of polenta.  Pour the vegetable mixture over the polenta coins and bake the dish for 15 minutes at 350.

Vegan Ceasar salad        Follow the directions from Tuesday night 
3/4 cup dijon mustard
two lemons
1/2 cup Braggs Amino Acid
1/2 cup olive oil
1 head of romaine lettuce
Kelp flakes
1 avocado

THURSDAY- Spinach Feta Pie with Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Spinach Feta Pie   * Two of the onions are for the rice on Friday night
2 - 16 oz bags of frozen chopped spinach
4 onions
2 cloves of garlic
12 eggs
16 oz container of feta cheese
2 tablespoons of fresh or dried dill
Olive oil
2 cups of vegetable stock

Pre heat the oven to 425.  Finely chop the garlic and onions.  Lightly coat a saute pan with olive oil and saute the chopped onions and chopped garlic on medium heat until soft.  Add the vegetable stock and let simmer until all the vegetable stock has been absorbed or cooked off.  Let the frozen spinach defrost in a bowl.  Add the cooked garlic and onions to the spinach and mix.  In a separate bowl mix the eggs and then combine with spinach.  Add the feta cheese and dill.  Mix everything together and then pour into a baking dish.  Bake on 425 for 40 minutes or until the top of the spinach pie is browned.  This can be served cold or warm and even makes a great breakfast.  

Quinoa and Arugula Salad
1 container of arugula
1 bunch of grapes
1 lemon
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of quinoa

Place the arugula in a salad bowl.  Cut the grapes in half and add to the arugula.  Mix in the quinoa and add the olive oil.  Zest the lemon into the salad and also squeeze the juice of the lemon over the arugula.

FRIDAY - Baked Chicken with Smashed Cauliflower and Kale Brown rice 

Baked Chicken
5 bone-in chicken breasts
garlic powder
dried thyme
1 lemon

Pre heat the oven to 425.  Place the chicken in a baking dish.  Sprinkle liberal amounts of garlic powder, paprika, and thyme on the chicken.  Slice the lemon into 5 thin slices and place a piece of lemon on each piece of chicken.  Bake in the oven at 425 for 1/2 hour.

Smashed Cauliflower
2 heads of cauliflower
2 cups rice milk
10 cloves of roasted garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Pre heat oven to 425.  Place 10 garlic cloves in tinfoil and add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Close up the tinfoil around the garlic and olive oil.  Place in oven and roast on 425 for 25 minutes or until garlic is softened.  Cut the stems off of the cauliflower and steam the cauliflower until soft, this should take about 10 minutes.  Place the cauliflower in a cuisinart, add the 2 cups of rice milk and the roasted garlic cloves plus the oil the garlic roasted in.  Blend ingredients until it is a smooth, mashed potato like consistency.

Kale and Brown Rice

2 onions
2 cups of brown rice
4 cups of water
1 bunch of Kale
1 piece of kombu

Boil 4 cups of water.  Add the rice, reduce to a simmer and cover for 45 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Add the kombu to the rice while cooking for extra nutrients and minerals.  Finely chop the kale and place it in a bowl.  Once the rice is cooked, pour the hot rice over the kale to wilt it.  Mix the greens and rice together.  Add the sauteed onions from Thursday night or saute two onions and add them to the mixture.


Just like you schedule a meeting or a Dr. appointment, schedule your shopping time.  That's right, take out your little smart phone and schedule when you plan to do your main shopping trip for the week and when you will do your fill in shopping.  I recommend Sundays for your main shopping trip because for most people, Sundays have a little more flexibility than other days and that way you set yourself up for a successful week of cooking.  When you go shopping, bring your list.  Trust me, you won't remember everything.  Without your list, you know you will spend more time trying to remember what it is you are supposed to buy, and then you will forget something anyway and have to make a second trip to the store.  I have made this mistake many times and it is so frustrating.  Once you schedule your shopping trip, stick to it.


Preparation is the key.  Organize yourself, look at what your days look like, and schedule when you plan to cook.  Don't keep waiting for a free moment because that free moment will never come.  That's the thing about real life, it gets busy.  Everyone's days look different.  We come in all different variations.  Whether you are single, married, have children, don't have children, work full time out of the house, work full time in the house, or work part time, your days are full.  Let's not be judgemental as to whose day is busier, rather, let's find encouragement in knowing that no matter what path you are on right now, everyone in today's society is overtaxed and doesn't seem to have enough time in the day.  Regardless of what your typical day looks like, take the time to analyze your own day and figure out when you can squeeze in the cooking.

For instance, I do most of my cooking on Sunday afternoons and evenings, and during the week between 2:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon.  I enjoy cooking and preparing on Sunday because it gets me out of having to watch football :).  I choose the 1 hour window between 2:00 and 3:00 during the week because at that point I have finished my morning workout, my meetings, my clients and any additional food shopping I needed to do.  2:00 is also right after I pick up my pre-schooler but right before I pick up my two elementary school kids.  I know that between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 there will be absolutely no cooking going on in my house.  Instead I am chauffeuring the kids to their activities, helping them with their homework (which no one tells you is actually the parents' homework), bathing the kids, and trying to keep myself sane.  If I did not take the time to reflect on my days and schedule that cooking time, 6:00 would arrive with no dinner prepared and I would immediately pick up the phone and order in pizza.    

When are your free moments?  Maybe you work full time and can't imagine starting to cook when you arrive home.  If that is you, preparing in advance becomes even more important.  Maybe the only time you have to cook is over the weekend and so you prepare everything in advance and freeze certain things.  You can also consider cooking or preparing in the morning.  Chop all the vegetables you need first thing in the morning so they are all ready for later in the day.  Only you can figure out when to make time, but I believe that saying there is no time for cooking is just not true.  There is always time for the things we make a priority in our life.  Make cooking a priority for you and your loved ones.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


First of all, I want to thank you all for reading my blog and giving me such wonderful feedback.  Nothing makes me happier than to know so many of you are now drinking green juice, cooking at home, and trying to avoid GMOs!!!  You all motivate me to want to write more.  Look for "Real Dinners - Week 2" later this week.  

I want you all to know about an exciting opportunity to learn about GMOs directly from Jeffrey Smith, who is the leading advocate in this country working tirelessly to require GMO labeling on our food.  Jeffrey is coming to Fairfield to speak with a very small group of people.  He is amazing and doing such important work.  The event is free and there will be some delicious food and drinks.  Jeffrey will be speaking about GMOs, the dangers, and what we can do to protect our families, and even if you read my blog last week, "GMOs are Not Real Food", it is no replacement for hearing this man speak.  I saw him last year and was blown away.   

While the event is free, and the most important reason for coming to this event is to be educated, Jeffrey's organization is hoping to raise funds to help them in their important work.  For more information on the organization see  

The hope is that after hearing Jeffrey speak, everyone at the event will feel moved to make a donation in an amount that they are comfortable with.  

On Friday, March 2nd, I will be accompanying Jeffrey to Hartford where he will speak with Connecticut legislators about a GMO labeling law which was filed today.  Go to this link to view the bill.  
We have a right to know what is in our food.  In Europe manufacturers are required to label foods that contain GMOs.  Kraft doesn't use GMOs in Europe, but right here in America they still use GMOs because they are not required to label the food as having GMOs.  Manufacturers and companies think with their wallets, and if they are required to label foods with GMOs, GMOs will start to disappear from our food because people will not want to buy GMO products (which would become easily identifiable).  This is similar to what happened with trans fats.  Once trans fats had to be labeled, many food companies stopped using trans fats all together.  This could happen with GMOs as well if GMO labeling was required by law.  

Space is very limited.  Don't miss this incredible opportunity to become informed and also to help out a crucial organization.  If you are interested in attending this event, please e-mail Glen Colello from Catch A Healthy Habit at ASAP.
Where: 70 Sanford Street
When: Thursday, March 1st at 7:00

Monday, February 6, 2012


Some of you may have heard some chatter recently about GMOs, but I am guessing most of you are asking yourselves right now, "what the hell are GMOs?"  When I first learned about GMOs a few years ago, my initial reaction was a mixture of fear and anger.  You should expect a similar reaction, especially if this is the first you are really hearing of GMOs.  It is my hope that this blog, and all my blogs for that matter, will help you make educated decisions about the food you eat.  No matter what you decide in terms of eating GMOs or not eating GMOs, you should at least have all the necessary information.  So, please read on!

First of all, GMOs are NOT real food.  GMOs are genetically modified organisms that are produced by taking the genes from one species (i.e. animals, plants, bacteria or viruses) and literally forcing those genes into the DNA of a food crop or an animal to introduce a new trait.  Does that even sound like food to you?  Sounds more like science fiction to me.  GMOs were created by biotech companies in order to make a lot of money.  But, the last time I checked there were no biotech companies necessary when growing vegetables or raising an animal, right?  That used to be the responsibility of farmers alone.  So how did biotech companies get involved in our food?  It's a really long story.  You can read that story in the fantastic book "Seeds of Deception" by Jeffrey Smith.  But essentially, GMOs are the result of what happened when biotech companies got greedy, the government neglected to regulate and protect Americans (I use the word neglected very loosely as this was a purposeful oversight), and the American people were taken advantage of.  I assure you this will not be the last you hear from me about GMOs, however, most importantly I want you to read this post and have an understanding of the follow things:  (1) What are GMOs;  (2) What are some the health risks associated with eating GMOs; and (3) How to avoid GMOs.  The following information will help you in your every day life to avoid GMOs.      

There are currently five widespread GM Food Crops on the market: (1) Soy; (2) Corn; (3) Canola; (4) Cotton; and (5) Sugar Beets.  GMOs have been engineered to be either herbicide resistant, pesticide producing, or both.  Many dairy farms in the United states are also injecting the cows with a genetically engineered hormone called rbGH or rbST.    

Herbicide resistant crops are able to survive a high dose of herbicides which are used to kill weeds.  You can imagine that when the crop is resistant to a particular herbicide, the farmers can spray extra herbicide to kill the surrounding weeds which means a much greater herbicide residue on the vegetable crop being grown specially for you.  One particular herbicide resistant crop is the Round Up Ready Soybean.  The company, Monsanto, engineered a Soybean that is resistant to Round Up and now currently sells the herbicide as a package with its Round Up ready soybean seed which accounts for at least 40% of the companies annual revenue.  

A small amount of Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and squash have also been genetically modified to resist a plant virus.  Previously there were GMO tomatoes and potatoes but they have been taken off the market.     

Pesticide producing crops include corn and cotton.  A gene from BT (Bacillus thurgiensis), a bacteria found in soil, was inserted into the plant's DNA which then caused the crops to literally produce their own pesticide by secreting BT toxin.  Essentially, pesticide producing crops have been engineered to release their own poison.     

Cows, like humans, produce their own hormones.  Bovine somatotropin is a hormone produced by the cow's pituitary gland.  Through technology, the hormone can now be created in labs and delivered to a dairy farm near you under the names rbGH, rbST, or artificial growth hormone.  Let it be known that the United States is the only developed country where it is legal to use these artificial growth hormones in cows that are producing dairy for human consumption.  Australia, Cananda, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand have all outlawed the use of artificial growth hormones.  Does that concern any of you?  If using artificial growth hormones is too dangerous for the citizens of all those countries, it's too dangerous for Americans as well.       

I used to believe that if I could buy it in the supermarket, it wasn't dangerous.  Afterall, the USDA and the FDA had my back.  I had faith that our government was doing extensive research and testing on everything we ate and I was certain that if something was potentially harmful to humans it would be banned.  Or so I thought . . . until I learned that there has been little to no testing done on the possible risks associated with GMOs.  There have been NO human clinical trials despite the fact that all drugs have human clinical trials.  The animal studies that have been conducted on GMOs had startling results with major impacts on the animals that were fed the GMOs.  Despite there being warning signs, GMOs have been on the market in America since 1996.  Has anyone else noticed a major decline in our health since the late 90's?  I have listed below a few of the most startling health risks associated with eating GMOs.  This is far from a complete list.  

(1) GMOS Contain Allergens And May Even Cause Food Allergies to Non GMO Foods 
GM soy found in so many foods today actually impaired the digestion in mice by reducing digestive enzymes and that may make you sensitive or even allergic to different foods.  Mice that were fed the BT-toxin found in the pesticide producing GMOs began to have immune reactions to harmless foods.  
For me, this is one of the most disturbing possible risks because everywhere we look today children are being diagnosed with nut, wheat, dairy, soy and other allergies.  Even adults, who were never allergic to foods before are all of a sudden having allergic reactions.  Why might this be happening?  GMOs may be a major contributing factor. 

(2) Reproductive Problems
In the animal studies done on rats and mice it was shown that more than half of the mother rats who were fed GM soy had babies that died within three weeks of birth.  The longer Mice were fed GM corn, the less babies they had and the smaller the the size of the babies.  After three generations of hamsters being fed GM soy, most of the hamsters were not able to have babies.   

(3) Super Weeds are being created
When weeds are systematically doused with high levels of herbicide, the weeds begin to build up a tolerance and resistance to these herbicides creating super weeds.  The biotech companies respond to super weeds by instructing farmers to spray more herbicide and by creating new, more dangerous herbicides.  

(4) Changes in DNA
One of the challenges with showing the health risks associated with GMOs is that it may take some time to fully realize the damage to our health.  For example, it was only recently that we have realized the negative impact on our health from trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, even though they have been in our food for decades.  GMOs may have a lasting impact on our DNA, and the DNA of plants and other living things.  Unfortunately, because there have been no clinical trials, we won't know for sure until more time passes, essentially we ARE the clinical trials.  

Avoiding processed foods is one of the best ways to ensure that you will not eat GMOs.  In America today at least 90% of all processed foods contain one or more GMO ingredient.  We are completely unaware of this fact because there are NO laws requiring manufacturers to label a food as a GMO.  For this reason it is very important to read the ingredient list when buying processed and packaged foods.

Best of luck to you if you are trying to find a packaged food in America without corn, soy, canola, or sugar.  It is currently believed that 91% of soy crops are GMO, 88% of canola crops are GMO, 85% of corn crops are GMO, and at least 90% of sugar beets are GMO.  See
Unless the sugar is listed as cane sugar, it is almost certain that you are eating a GMO.  

Be aware that GMO ingredients have aliases and they may be difficult to spot.  Some hidden GMO ingredients include; aspartame, baking soda, caramel color, corn flour, corn sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, protein, lecithin, malt, maltodextrin, sorbitol, sugar, soy sauce, soy lecithin, vitamin E, vitamin B12, and xanthum gum.  I challenge all of you to find a processed food on the market without at least one of those ingredients.  Please go to for a complete list of hidden GMO ingredients and other tips for avoiding GMOs.   

The USDA has a rule forbidding the use of GMOs in organic food products.  So, if you are buying organic, you are avoiding GMOs.  It is important to note there is a risk that the GMO crops have cross-pollinated with some of the Non GMO crops.  But, at this point there is nothing we can do about the potential risk of cross-pollination until GMO crops are no longer planted.

Always buy organic meat.  Animals raised at non organic factory farms are given GMO feed.  If GMOs are making us sick, they are making the animals sick too.  If you are going to eat animal protein, it should be from animals that were healthy.  In addition, when buying dairy please remember that the statement "made from cows not treated with rbGH or rbST" does not mean that the cows were not fed GMO corn and soy.  The dairy must be labeled organic to ensure that the cows were not fed GMOs.  Farmers producing organic dairy and raising animals for organic meat are not permitted to use GMO feed.        

If you want to be absolutely certain that your food does not contain GMOs, look for this label.  The Non-GMO Project is a non profit organization that is dedicated to ensuring that foods are clearly labeled and are also independently verified as not containing GMOs.  The Non-GMO project seal is the best way to ensure that your food does not contain any GMOs.

You may see other Non-GMO labels, but, I do not recommend taking those labels at face value.  They are not regulated and different manufacturers use assorted testing methods and have varying thresholds as to what qualifies as Non-GMO.  For instance, one manufacturer can decide that if the product contains less than .1 percent GMO then it can have their Non-GMO label, where as another manufacturer can decide that anything less than 2 percent GMO can be labeled Non-GMO.


My hope is that GMOs don't have a future.  I honestly think GMOs are a scifi thriller movie in the making.  I can already see the movie preview, 'genetically modified corn about to hit the markets but it contains genes of a bacteria that threaten to kill millions of Americans.  Their only hope is the lone USDA whistle blower who is trying to expose the danger but is in danger himself of being killed by hitmen who were hired by the company that created the seed of this corn and is about to make a stealth profit from the sale of the genetically modified corn seed'.  I hate to be the one to tell you, but this hypothetical scifi movie is actually not so far removed from reality.

Dow Chemical (a biotech company) currently has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deregulate a new GM corn that is resistant to an herbicide made from 2,4-D.  2,4-D is the chemical component that made up half of the Agent Orange chemical weapon that was sprayed on villages and crops during the Vietnam War.  2,4-D has been banned since the 1970's.  How is it even possible that a company would think it was a good idea to bring back a chemical that had such devastating affects?  If Dow is permitted to sell GM corn that is resistant to an herbicide made from 2,4-D, you can see why real life isn't so different from the hypothetical scifi thriller above.  As Americans we seem to have lost our voices along the way.  Please let your voice be heard.  Sign a petition (link below) to show you are against 2,4-D being introduced into our food supply and prevent Dow Chemical from selling GM corn that is resistent to 2,4-D.    

Remember, my approach with everything is to implement changes into your life slowly so that the changes stick and you do not overwhelm yourself.  If the prospect of completely eliminating GMOs from your diet right now feels too overwhelming, take a step back and evaluate what smaller steps you can take to begin replacing GMOs with non GMO foods.  For a start, try replacing your Tostito corn chips with an organic or NON GMO Project brand of tortilla chips.  Eliminating GMOs from your diet is possible, one change at a time.        

Thursday, February 2, 2012

REAL FOOD FOR REAL KIDS - Join me at the Fairfield Public Library, Tuesday February 7th

I am speaking at the Fairfield Public Library (main branch) this coming Tuesday, February 7 at 10 AM.  Click this link for more information.


We as parents are faced with the difficult and almost impossible task of feeding our children healthful food as well as teaching them healthy habits to last a lifetime. Parents and children are constantly bombarded with marketing that is specifically geared toward children and encourages a diet filled with fake foods that are damaging to their health. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn what real food actually is and how to help your children transition from a diet filled with fake food to a diet rich in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that will support their health. Meal time with children should be an enjoyable experience instead of one that often becomes a battle between parent and child. Learn how to avoid this struggle by implementing small changes over time.

I hope to see you there!