Posts tagged ‘organic’

Fig Tree Cafe & Bakery

One of my favorite things in the world includes supporting local eateries. While I’m not a fan of “bucket lists,” IF I had one, eating at local joints very often would definitely be on there!

The Fig Tree Cafe & Bakery is a ray of sunshine along the 291 Hwy strip in Lee’s Summit. I was delighted to hear that my hometown had a new venue that touted local, mostly organic menu options. And my first visit for breakfast did not disappoint!

Located in the spot held by popular pizza place Minsky’s for several years, this local foods restaurant is worth a visit! I’ve personally had their vegetarian omelet and grilled chicken salad (separate visits), and will say that their hummus and reuben sandwich looked quite yummy as well! Their wait staff is friendly, food is fresh, and organic coffee is hot. And, it’s all at a very reasonable price.

If you’re in or near the Lee’s Summit area, I encourage you to give this new eatery a try and keep these local, fresh, organic places in business!

Fig Tree Cafe & Bakery
817 NE Rice Road
Lees Summit, MO

October 5, 2010 at 10:38 pm Leave a comment

You Say Tomato

Thanks to some of my great friends and former co-workers, I’ve had the pleasure of eating at this cute little shop two times in the past two weeks. Nestled in a neighborhood a few blocks from Crown Center and Children’s Mercy, You Say Tomato is definitely one of those “Cheers” type places for the healthy eater. It’s quaint, emo, and a neighborhood place that’s located in what was originally a grocery store. Their 1930s art deco decorations definitely take you back, and you get the feel that your immediate heartfelt feelings are not the only ones when you notice that many other professionals make it their lunch spot of choice.

While they don’t boast that all of their food is necessarily “organic” or “local” for that matter, it’s definitely still a place I will vouch for. Each meal is freshly prepared with wholesome ingredients. So far I’ve had the roasted turkey sandwich (came with real pieces of turkey like Thanksgiving leftovers – not deli meat) and the four-cheese grilled cheese. My lunch mates have ordered salads and a mushroom pastry meals. All that I’ve tried has been delish and well… wholesome. They are also known for their breakfast dishes and coffee shop.

I appreciate the ambiance of the place. They sell organic juices and yogurt in a cooler near the checkout line, and have a small grocery section off to the side full of organic and all-natural treats. They’re a very unique shop – you can buy a stick of butter and shop in the grocery section while drinking a coffee and waiting for bread to bake. They’re pretty eco-friendly too as each person gets a real cup and fills their own water from an old-fashioned ceramic water spout. I also hear they don’t have a microwave.

It’s fun to find little locally owned shops in KC that are trying to do food the right way again. If you ever venture over to the Crown Center area for breakfast, lunch or coffee, I highly recommend finding this place!

You Say Tomato
2801 Holmes
Kansas City, MO 64109

7 a.m.- 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday
8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday

February 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm Leave a comment

A Safe Apple A Day…

should really keep the doctor away – or at least hold him off if you’re like me.

Here’s my second recommendation for those of you interested in eating safer, healthier foods but have NO IDEA where to start. My first step was using the company Fresh Connect. My second step is knowing the “Dirty Dozen” and choosing to buy the organic version of these fruits & veggies.

The Environmental Working Group has made a list of the “Dirty Dozen” produce items that contain the highest levels of chemical and pesticide residues. Remember, the key is to start small, and this is one easy way to do that. Make a decision to start buying an organic version of ONE of these at first, and then break yourself in. You don’t jump into a cold pool all at once, you start by testing the water with your toe. So, do the same with switching to safer foods. Test the waters here, and choose a few of these to try. I’m not saying the organic version will necessarily taste different, but recognize how you feel afterward – both physically and mentally. If you’re like me, you will slowly work your way up to buying the organic version of almost all of these and find a way to make it work with your budget. It’s worth it.


Your body will be digesting foods it recognizes and not be distracted by processing strange chemicals that have been sprayed on the food. Your insides will stay focused on fighting disease, burning fat and keeping balanced hormones rather than going haywire because of a foreign chemical intruder. As a 26-year-old colon cancer survivor, this has become a priority for me as I can’t afford to have my body not focused on fighting off my naturally-causing genetic deficiencies because it’s preoccupied with Round Up on the peaches. I’m not saying this will keep my cancer away, but it sure won’t hurt that effort either. Whether you’re in my boat or not – do this for yourself and for your future health. I don’t think eating safe foods is something you’ll ever regret.

The Dirty Dozen

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Imported grapes
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

Here are some places in the KC area that I go to buy organic produce. (ahem – come on Walmart, get with it!)

  • Fresh Connect
  • Nature’s Pantry (great place, little pricey, but still awesome)
  • Hy-Vee (fresh produce isn’t in the Health Market specifically, it’s with the regular produce. Frozen is with the Health Market stuff though.)
  • Target (smaller selection, but it’s there nonetheless)
  • Whole Foods (for my Overland Park readers)
  • Farmers Markets. Here’s a link Farmer’s Markets in the KC Area. Don’t forget about Lee’s Summit’s market who isn’t on the list yet! Also remember that even if the market doesn’t say it’s an “Organic Market,” there will be plenty of vendors there with organic produce.
  • Jason’s Deli. I know it’s not a market, but if you’re hungry for a safe salad, this is the place to go. These guys have a ton of organic produce on their salad bar.

Did I miss any here? Write in and let me know if I need to add to the list!

Source of the Dirty Dozen: An Unhealthy Truth by Robin O’Brien, page 274

January 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm 3 comments

Fresh Connect

I’ve had a few requests to start blogging some additional info about the organic/local food movement and steps to take if you’re new to the whole idea but want to slowly break into it.

One of the first, and easiest, steps I took after deciding that I wanted to eat “safer” foods was to sign up with Fresh Connect.

This is mainly for Kansas City-area residents so if you’re an out of town reader, I apologize. I’d encourage you to look around in your area for a food co-op, as many metropolitan cities have these. Also, a great way to get plugged into this movement is to become a Farmer’s Market shopper in a few months.

But for my KC readers, Fresh Connect has helped me effortlessly start eating healthier, safer foods. A “to-your-door” delivery service, they deliver fresh produce and meat to your home as often as you choose. You select the quantity and frequency and leave the rest up to them. It not only saves you time if you have a busy schedule like ours, but it makes you eat healthier because you’re stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies instead of prepacked junk found at the store. We’ve also enjoyed the variety of foods we’ve branched out to eat. Foods like cabbage, beets, squash, buffalo meat, among others have made their way onto our menu and we’re enjoying this nice change!

For our two-person family, we’re set up on a rotation to get a fruit & vegetable combo delivery two times/month. We also receive a delivery of meat the first week of each month. They have many options for food and deliveries that will fit any budget. We’ve chosen to devote around $100/month toward this food delivery. It’s cut down on our grocery spending too, as we now just pick up a few of the additional items every few weeks that help us prepare meals and lunches.

I know this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re serious about eating more local, safe food this is a great first step.

Check it out at

** Mention that I referred you, and we’ll both receive $5 off of a delivery!

January 22, 2010 at 10:11 pm 1 comment

The Dairy Dilemma – Part 2

Sorry, folks! I am a triple-blog liar! But finally we have The Dairy Dilemma – Part 2.
(In case you are wondering, my bro’s colonoscopy was clean and clear! Yay for him!)

As I mentioned in The Dairy Dilemma – Part 1, dairy can be hard on the semi-colon’s sytem … and most people’s systems these days. I gave some tips that I’ve learned that have worked for me, and hopefully they’ll help you digest the yummy dairy goodness if you too cannot live without it.

The topic needed a second day because I’ve recently learned things about dairy that have made me very concerned! Once I decided I’d stick with dairy and learn how and what to eat, I became aware of an even bigger problem that affects all of us, not just semi-colons.

Mike’s aunt & uncle sent me a book this past summer called “An Unhealthy Truth” by Robin O’Brien. I dove into it a few months ago and came out as a wide-eyed and concerned consumer regarding what is in our food. In the book, O’Brien uncovers corruption between the FDA and many major food and pesticide corporations who are using genetically modified, synthetic or hormone-treated crops or livestock to make big bucks. I’m typically one who sits back to see if an issue is all “hype” or not – but when I learned that many other countries around world have banned the use of such products and hormones, I started to sense a problem. And for me, I was especially concerned with our dairy.

O’Brien explains, “Most of the nation’s leading dairy processors use milk from cows treated with the bovine growth hormone in at least some of it’s products… ” (p. 109) Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST or rBGH)  is a chemical given to cows to make them “step up milk production.” And while this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, it’s adverse effects on cows can make you wonder. O’Brien’s book says that:

“The product seems to be hazardous to the cows. The package itself warns of such bovine problems as increases in ‘cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus,’ ‘decreases in gestation length and birth-weight of calves,’ and ‘increased risk of clinical mastitis’ ‘(a painful type of udder infection that causes cows to pump out bacteria and pus along with milk requiring treatment with antibiotics and other meds that can end up in the milk.” (p. 99)

Sorry to gross you out, but those simple truths made me very concerned. I am an individual with some sort of cancer-causing gene mutation, and so to hear that the majority of the food I’ve been eating is from genetically-modified, hormone-enhanced and possibly antiobiotic-laced cows or crops worries me. Especially when it’s pointed out that:

“90-percent of breast cancers being diagnosed today are being triggered by factors in our environment.” (p.102).

“IFG-1 has also been implicated in prostate and colon cancer.” (IGF-1 is a hormone that can be found in milk, and is found in rBGH milk up to 10 times more than the levels of natural milk, and possibly even twentyfold according to more recent studies.” “It’s been known for years that the particular hormone is linked with cancers (because of its effects) on the endocrine sysem,’ says Dr. Pompilio.(p. 102-103)

“According to CNN and a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, milk allergy is now the most common food allergy in the United States, having risen to the number one position in the last ten years.”(p. 100)

After reading the research and studies, I was ready to change. But the nail in the coffin for me was O’Brien’s statement about what the FDA is requiring, which to me, is so sickening because of the corruption and greed:

“If a dairy wanted to highlight the fact that its milk had NOT been made with rBGH (you know, for those of us who might have an interest in avoiding this potentially carcionogenic hormone), the FDA recommended it to also state on the label that there was no difference between the genetically altered hormone that Monsanto had developed (company manufacturing the rBGH) and the regular old bovine growth hormone that already occured in nature.” (p. 104)

And when I went to Kansas City’s beloved Shatto milk’s website. I saw that to be true – there was a small disclaimer on their homepage that although they were rBGH-free, there has been no proven difference. What a load of crap. Because of lawsuits that have favored the rBGH-making Monsanto, local dairies priding themselves for not using artificial growth hormones now have to tip-toe around just to share their story and safety with consumers.

So friends, here we are. I was overwhelmed after I read this. Mainly because 1) This is all that I’ve consumed my entire life. We didn’t know! 2) I cannot afford to go all-organic, and 3) This is too big for me!

But as I began to do some research and finish O’Brien’s book, I learned it was possible to do something! And while it’s not wise to jump in the cold pool all at once, baby steps into the water will help make the swim much easier. Here’s what I’ve done so far, and what I’d encourage you in if you’re concerned now too.

1. Read the book. It gave great advice about adopting an 80/20 policy so you don’t kill yourself over being totally hormone-free or organic. This has helped me tremendously, as I still buy regular butter and feel comfortable in restaurants and other’s homes. Dairy is just one of the foods she tackles too… read the book for the full scoop on many of our beloved brands.

2. I began researching safe brands in my area. O’Brien lists several safe brands and stores, but not many are close to me in the KC Metro area. For you who are local to KC, here are some brands that can be found in the area that are safe and rBGH-free. I’m sure this is not a comprehensive list. If you have any to add, leave a comment and let me know!

  • Any Organic Products (to be labeled organic they have to be rBGH-free by definition). Hy-Vee, Target, Wal-Mart and many other stores are carrying organic lines of dairy, and some (like Hy-Vee) even have their own organic store brand.
  • Wal-Mart’s “Great Value” milk (milk only, not cheese or other products at this time)
  • Yoplait yogurt (sneakers, they started making rBGH-free this past August but are keeping it on the down-low.)
  • Kraft’s  2% brand of cheese (only one at this time)
  • Shatto Milk Company (milk can be found at Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, Nature’s Pantry)
  • Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
  • Starbucks’ milk – as a company they vow to not use rBGH milk (or preservatives in their cookies for that matter.)
  • Chipotle – their food is hormone-free
  • I believe I read that Cabot cheese is going rBGH-free due to consumer demand.

3. I told somebody. It all starts with passing along the info. If you’re concerned too – tell somebody. Maybe together we can turn this around and one day be a country in-line with Europe, Australia, Russia and even Africa and demand that our country can prioritize making dairy (and other foods for that matter) safe over profitable. I just wonder how many more of us will have to lose colons, breasts, lungs, prostates and other vital organs to cancer to get this point across. Even if the dairy dilemma didn’t cause it … it’s certainly not helping it.

November 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm 3 comments

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