Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Food Labeling, more confusion for the added price


What a strange set of circumstances that surround food labeling for supermarkets.

On one hand it is very important for consumers to know where their food is coming from, on the other hand, not a lot of the new regulations for food labeling make much sense.

As an example, combined foods such as peas and carrots don't have to be labeled, nor do salad mixes of lettuce varieties, or turkey versus chicken parts...

What the article isn't clear at all about is the labeling of organic products that aren't really certified organic.

You tell us what you think, if you can make sense of all this!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We can save our economy by going green

Want to save our economy?

Buy stock.

Support companies that are doing sustainable, green and socially responsible products and services, (or at least companies that you believe will be heading in that direction), and purchase some equity stake in them.

If we all do our part to invest in American businesses, where we in fact own shares and are committed to the long-term prospects of these growing concerns, then we can turn this economy around.

The markets will ebb and flow, but being steadfast in our vision of believing in American ingenuity, creativity and hard work, our shared participation is what's necessary at this time to bring about real change.

Our greatest strength is our ability to come together in times of crisis, to roll up our collective sleeves to make the difference that needs to be made.

In WWII our country was called to a greater cause of working toward a shared goal of victory. Now our time has come again to be called upon to see our way through to brighter days.

Our suggestion is therefore to invest in America. Purchase stocks in good companies employing American workers that are building clean technologies for future generations to come.

The green revolution is upon us and we must stand up to lead the world in every facet of this exciting and promising new era!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Woman loses half her body weight going raw


Angela Stokes has a lovely story to share about making the shift in her life away from processed foods and meat.

Battling an under-active thyroid condition that increased her body fat to over 300 pounds, Angela discovered a raw food cookbook on a trip to a greenhouse in Iceland and it changed her life forever.

Now Angela weighs 138 pounds, is happier, healthier and devotes herself to sharing her experiences with others in her same situation.

Most important quote from this article: "I recommend people start out being at least 50 percent raw and go from there," advises Stokes. "Maybe it ends up at some point you are completely raw, maybe not. As long as the majority of the stuff or at least 50 percent is fresh raw food ... then you're tipping the balance in your favor."

Our perspective is a healthy balance for a healthy life, especially for those in our audience who find raw diets too extreme. Take it slow, introduce your body and your mind to several vegetarian, vegan and raw recipes a week, deciding your comfort level as you go.

Nice to see a positive story in the news today at least!

The opportunities in a down-turn

There's no doubt about it, we're living in strange historical times.

One would think that the lessons learned from nearly 80 years ago would be like pillars to our modern financial system, and that such kinds of nearly catastrophic scenarios could ever beseech us again.

For the majority of us not on Wall Street, or involved in major mergers, or folding banking institutions, there seems to be a cloud of shock that's taken hold - unsure what exactly the end result will be, waiting on some virtual edge of our seats as we tune in to the latest media sound bytes, we hold still as if not to jinx things further.

Silently we watch and ponder, taking stock of what we cherish and feel good about, that no man nor man-made construct can take from us.

In these times our greatest allies are our loved ones. Our friends, family and close acquaintances who like bridges to dotted islands of their own anxiety and fears, are connected together with us to the greater thread of hopefulness shared.

Tomorrow the sun will rise and no exchange or market place can dictate otherwise. The seasons will come and go and the balance of all good lessons learned shall be put in their tidy places, leaving room for only right now and what will be.

It is our time to find the positive and proactive path through the darkness. Our mantra ought to be: No home should be empty when there are homeless in the world, and no home should be emptied putting families out into the streets. Thus there is no solution to a financial crisis when those most in need are not attended to, passed over for those more powerful.

Ours is the opportunity to project a new way from the ruins of the old, such that we can redefine the system to be in service to people, not just the burden of never-ending structures of debt built upon our heads.

We are the mirror and the reflection of a culture that has had good intentions, but has lost its way. Perhaps now we can finally begin to see through to a brighter day, when all we work for helps to shape a better world for generations to come.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Warm Fig Salad at Stanford Inn by the Sea

Watch on YouTube

In this segment from Organic Living TV with the Hippy Gourmet, we visit the pristine Mendocino Coast of California at the Stanford Inn by the Sea! On their sprawling property is lush organic gardens, Lamas, access to to both the Mendocino river and Pacific Ocean, and of course the world class Ravens Restaurant which is a vegetarian (and in the evening vegan) only gourmet dining experience.

Chef de Cuisine Gunner Thompson takes us on a tour of the gardens before showing us how to prepare a delightful Warm Fig Salad!


You can buy a full version of this episode on DVD available on Amazon.com.
This episode includes 3 recipes: Warm Fig Salad, Sobe with Corn Masa and Tomatilla Salsa, and Orange Spice Cake. Plus a feature on the Stanford Inn Buy Now

For more information, please visit Stanford Inn by the Sea

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Candidate Cookies from Max & Benny's Bakery

We recently met the proprietors of Max and Benny's Restaurant, Deli and Bakery, who have a line of candidate cookies they're selling from their www.MaxandBennys.com website.

People can choose between the Obama, Biden, McCain or Palin cookies, and they even offer one that's shaped like a pig wearing lipstick. No metaphoric comments on weather or not biting into the Palin one seemed a bit empty, or nibbling on the McCain version as a bit stale, because they were all really well made.

Just a little light hearted fun a few weeks away from the general election!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

12-year old innovates solar cell technology


Like we've been saying all along, the best hope for our future lies in the fresh minds and perspectives of the next generation.

Leave it to a 12-year old in Oregon to come up with the idea to harness both visible and ultra-violet light, using carbon Nanotubes to help capture and focus the highest energy possible coming from the sun!

"William Yuan is a seventh grader in Oregon whose project, titled "A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV Light," may change the energy industry and make solar energy far easier to harness and distribute. At the heart of Yuan's project is a special solar cell that can harness both visible and ultraviolet light."

William won a $25,000 scholarship for his school project and is currently looking for solar panel technology partners to help him implement his concept into products that will most certainly put our country at the forefront of solar power.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

CNN reports 'Chilly economy' has folks cooking at home more


The article suggests that people are cooking and eating at home a lot more to try to save money, but that their kitchens aren't fully equipped with proper utensils or cookbooks...

Well do we have a cookbook for you and your family!

"The Hippy Gourmet's Quick and Simple Cookbook for Healthy Eating" (Hachette USA) is available wherever books are sold and is not only loaded with over 150 healthy and delicious recipes of all kinds, but the book is a wonderful resource for finding local, organic sources for ingredients, as well as tips for saving money while leading a more sustainable (and much happier) lifestyle!

To go with the 'Chilly' economic environment, here's a fantastic "Veggie Chili" recipe (from "Hippy Gourmet's Quick and Simple Cookbook for Healthy Eating"). This is a recipe that can be enjoyed for the week ahead and is extremely cost-effective as a lunch item, for dinner, or snacking...enjoy!

Serves 8-10 (all ingredients ought to be Organic)
2/3 cup dried pinto beans
2/3 cup dried black beans
2/3 cup dried kidney beans
2/3 cup dried red beans
1 tbspn Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped, divided
1 green bell pepper, chopped divided
1 red bell pepper, chopped, divided
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped, divided
3 carrots, cut into chunks
3 stalks celery, chopped (including leaves)
2 tblspns ground cumin
1 tblspn dried oregano
1/2 tspn on black pepper
1 tblspn paprika
1/4 tspn cayenne pepper
15 ounces of plum tomatoes (fresh, or canned)
1 1/4 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas) (or canned)

Soak the beans (except the garbanzos) overnight or for about 8 hours. The water should cover the beans with about 2 inches on top. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add half the onion, half the peppers, and half the garlic. Cook until softened.

Add the soaked beans (except the garbanzos) including their soaking liquid. Cook until softened. The cooking time will depend upon the age of your beans; expect an hour or more. Add water if appears to be running low. In another pot, mix the rest of the vegetables with the spices. Break up the tomatoes as you add them along with their juices, to the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour. Add a bit of water if the mixture dries out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike relief efforts


Now that the storm has passed and the devastation is apparent from Texas to Ohio, we have to pull together and do what we can, as we can to help our neighbors!

With all the major financial bail outs to the big banks, socializing the losses across the board from government to big business, frankly we can only rely on ourselves and the goodness that's in our hearts to help those in our community who are suffering and in greater need at this critical time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with every single person who is wondering where home is right now, trying to figure out how to feed their families and how to have hope for any kind of future after all of this destruction.

Please visit the www.RedCross.org and either donate, or volunteer your time - every positive action in the right direction can turn the world toward better times for so many less fortunate out there.

Glass over Plastic

The news coming out today that hard plastic bottles and containers containing Bisphenol A (BPA) that is harmful if ingested, shouldn't be too much of a surprise to people.

Parents with infants and small children and older folks with certain heart ailments are the most at risk, and there are some key pointers in the research that indicate a potential additional risk for diabetes as well, if a certain amount of this BPA substance gets into the system.

Here's the key:
Buy glass bottles and containers.
Only microwave (when you have to) using glass and no plastic wrap or lids (substitute glass lids to avoid splashing)
Don't wash plastic items in hot water in the dishwasher, or use powerful soaps on hard plastic containers
Purchase a water purifier/filter system for your home and office and use metal or glass transport containers
Also a good idea not to put plastic items in the mouth like pen caps, or hard plastic toys for kids

Overall, it's time to return to a simpler time in our kitchens and homes where the purity of glass and non-toxic materials prevails.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ann Cooper, leading the way for healthy school lunches!


We are so honored to have the opportunity to visit with Ann Cooper, one of the greatest culinary voices in bringing healthy meals to schools!

In this segment from Organic Living with the Hippy Gourmet we meet up with Ann at the Berkeley Public School cafeteria kitchen, at 5:30 in the morning on an average school day, where she has already been there for over an hour preparing fresh meals for thousands of kids.

Simply put, Ann Cooper is an absolute saint who has gone toe-to-toe with the giant processed food companies that provide packaged school lunches, throwing them out of the school system and replacing them with hand-made, organic and locally produced ingredients!

The removal of processed foods and high-fructose corn syrup has already paid off for the urban Berkeley School system, with improved grades, improved behavior and attendance, decreased A.D.D. and A.D.H.D, and the reduction of cases of Type 2 diabetes! Most of all, the kids really love the food and flock to the salad bars that are loaded with local and regional fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ann Cooper is on a mission, and when you get her book "LunchLessons" (www.LunchLessons.org) you will understand that what she's doing in Berkeley, California is in fact transferable to any and all schools around the country and world.

Ann wakes up at 3:30am each and every day of the week and starts preparing breakfasts for the less fortunate children in the community who can't otherwise afford a healthy breakfast. Ann is simultaneously overseeing and participating in the preparation of the lunch menu, feeding 17 large cafeterias and thousands of school children and faculty. Off to afternoon meetings and her regular stop at the local farmer's market where Ann actually buys the bulk of her organic produce for the school kids, she returns to the kitchen to prepare afternoon snacks and light dinners again for those children who's only meal each day are what they get at school.

On top of all of this, Ann Cooper creates seasonal menus for the children to take home to their parents in the form of calendars. The meal plans map out what will be offered each day for school lunches depending on the season and available ingredients. Ann also teaches children from K-12 how to plant, grow and cultivate their own food in school gardens, as well as cooking and nutrition classes. If all of that isn't enough, Ann Cooper travels often to Washington to push for greater legislation in budgeting for healthy nutrition in public schools.

If there could be a Nobel Prize for visionary chefs who are making a difference for a better world, then Ann Cooper certainly gets our vote for this!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Almond growers suing USDA

Read the article

American almond growers are going nuts over the USDA rule that forces them to chemically pasteurize their almonds, eliminating the growers ability to produce organic and/or raw almonds.

The lawsuit was filed because California almond growers are losing substantial business to foreign growers who don't have the same restrictions on pasteurizing their almonds.

"This ruling is a financial disaster and has closed a major customer group that we have built up over the years," said one plaintiff, Dan Hyman, an almond grower and owner of D&S Ranches in Selma, Calif. The AP article continues..."Hyman contended his customers are being denied "a healthy whole natural raw food that they have eaten with confidence, enjoyment and benefit for decades."

This provides direct evidence that the market has spoken, and it's saying we demand healthy, nutritional ingredients - without radiation, or chemical pasteurization. People who shop do know the difference and are in fact shying away from almonds that are not organic, or are treated in some way that most certainly effects nutritional value.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Cell phones connecting to your groceries


Yet another great story of sustainability coming from our friends across the pond in England...
Here's a piece from the BBC about a group that is working to embed a computer chip into packaged foods, enabling consumers to read from their cell phones exactly how environmentally sustainable the ingredient actually is.

"The guides would help consumers navigate their way through the ethical and ecological decisions about what they eat, the proponents argue."

What a concept eh? Using the latest mobile technologies to put the power of purchasing local, low foot-print products right in the hands of customers.

If 'information is power,' and 'we are what we eat,' then this is certainly the shortest distance between how and what we reach for to feed our families in healthier ways!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

United Nations menu suggestions


In this news item from BBC, we learn that the head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri is recommending that we all consider eating less meat protein.

Essentially the science behind this is that 18% of the worlds global warming gases are produced in animal meat raising, mostly attributed to methane gas from animal waste, as well as reduction of forests to grow feed and grass lands for animals. This is compared to 13% for all the worlds transportation contributions to global warming.

The meaningful philosophy turned into practice here would see a dramatic menu change for the appetite of the planet, away from animal protein and more for healthier vegetarian, vegan and fruit diets.

We know already that it takes more energy in calories to feed and provide water to cattle, then what cattle return to us in the form of food protein. Rather than just growing vegetables, fruits and grains for people to consume directly in other words.

Therefore, the power is in each of our own hands to use our grocery store and restaurant menu decision making to do our part for a better environment.

The suggestion by the U.N. is for people to at least begin this thought and action process toward eating more vegetables than meat at least.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The science of being happy


After you read through all of the statistical significance, weigh in the double blind studies and calculate the differences between the happiness level of twins...

You begin to realize what millions of simple people around the world already understand without any of this scientific research, which is that happiness is not a destination but a journey.

We cut to the chase of this article posted above from the Los Angeles Times Health section, to give you the following quote:

"In the future, more people will understand the nature of happiness and its process," Baker says. "They will understand that they have to take an active role if they want it."

Happiness is directly related to 'community service' and to giving back without desire or need for acknowledgment. To be happy is to pursue things that are graspable, have benefit to others and give meaning to who we are and why we're placed on this planet.

Although we're pleased that science is catching up with the understanding of the sages, there's also a big part of ourselves and the universe that frankly isn't quantifiable...like enjoying a delicious, healthy meal with friends and family for instance, after preparing that meal over time with a group of loved ones - statistics doesn't know how to chop veggies, nor does math know what it is to feel sitting down at that table reconnecting with people at the heart level.

"It's not what you think, it's not what you feel, it's what you do," says our Executive Producer James Ehrlich. Being happy exists moment by moment and is measured by our positive actions and contributions to our community and world.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Powering small towns from local food scraps


This is yet another great example of forward thinking local governments who are tackling the issue of over flowing landfills, by redirecting food scraps from restaurants, hotels and homes into what's called 'anaerobic digestion.' The scraps are processed into large tanks that extract the solids from the gas, using the clean combustible gas to power turbines that run 100% of the plant's power needs, as well as giving back power and heating energy to the local towns nearby.

One of the greatest aspects of this story is how it's teaching people how much food they waste each and every day, and by living within the bounds of basic sustainable thinking and practice, people are able to make better choices for how much they buy, prepare and consume each week.

The other tremendous benefit of course is back to the farmers, who utilize the solid left-overs from the process to till back into the soil as fertilizer.

This is what we call full-circle sustainability and we absolutely salute our brothers and sisters in Ludlow, Shropshire, UK.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hippy Gourmet at Slow Food Nation!


In this segment from Organic Living TV with the Hippy Gourmet, we take a wondrous tour of the Slow Food Nation conference in our backyard here in San Francisco, California. Slow Food is an international organization dedicated to local, sustainable, organic, fair-trade ingredients and to the artisan providers and chefs who bring it all to life!
To learn more, please visit

Peace, Love and Organics,
Your Hippy Gourmet family