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RoundUp in our lunch?? …and a delicious (RoundUp free) Mac n Cheese recipe!!

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When I was a young mom I tried as best as I could to feed my kids the way I thought I was supposed to. Where did I learn the rules? From TV commercials of course. Also magazine ads, billboards and grocery store flyers and fast food promotions.

My kids ate packaged macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, frozen chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs, snacked on Cheerios that I carried around in a Cheerios-shaped container. They drank apple juice not pop or “Sunny Delight” – my mom had warned us about added sugar beverages when I was a kid and that stuck with me. I was doing everything just right…so I thought.

Fast forward 20-some years….

Of course I know that Timbits aren’t health food, but not too long ago, I found myself digging into that familiar cardboard box for “just one”. and then “one more”. “okay last two”.
Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution. We love our Timmys, our Roll Up the Rim. We even name our youngest athletes “Timbits”.

And what about Cheerios? I buy them, you buy them. We feed them to our toddlers. We make Nuts and Bolts with them.
“A family favourite for over 70 years, Cheerios are made with 100 percent natural whole grain oats. Its wholesome goodness is perfect for toddlers, adults and everyone in between.”
They tell us that it’s tradition, its wholesome (what does that even mean?) and that its “PERFECT”.

Kraft Dinner is a staple in the North American diet. I LOVED this when I was growing up. My brother liked it runny and I liked it sticky, so we would fight over who got to make it…and then we would drown it in ketchup….
I ate it whenI was pregnant and I fed it to my toddlers (sticky of course).
Their tagline today reads “Real Moms Serve Real Cheese”. What the what? Immediately you are meant to assume that to be a “real mom” then you must serve their product. (Incidentally, my kids are all intolerant of dairy, so I rarely serve real cheese…but they still call me “Mom”.)

Why am I ranting about this? This is important stuff – please don’t stop reading…..

Recently the Environmental Defence released a study where they tested popular foods in the market. A whopping 80% of the foods tested positive for presence of Glyphosate.

GLYPHOSATE: a main chemical found in RoundUp (a routinely used weed killer). Glyphosate shuts down photosynthesis in growing plants, essentially starving the plant of food.

So what? It’s a weed killer – we don’t like weeds, and if it can increase production of crops, thats great, right? Feed the world and all that…?

Well, crops have to be Genetically Modified to survive the spray (“RoundUp Ready”) or they will die along with the weeds. Using Genetically Modified (RoundUp Ready) crops means that the crops can be sprayed again and again .

Are you ready for the kicker?

In 2015, the World Health Organization has declared Glyphosate a “PROBABLE CARCINOGEN”. (Carcinogen = CAUSES CANCER!!)

That’s just Glyphosate – Don’t even get me started on the unknown effects of consuming food that has been Genetically Modified…

What can we do?
Become informed. – Knowledge is power.
Choose Organic and Non GMO foods more often.
Eat a diet rich in WHOLE FOODS – ie using single ingredient foods, fewer packaged frozen and boxed meals.
Demand Action. Our Government needs to review The Pesticide Act.

Do not get me wrong: I LOVE FARMERS. I grew up in Chatham-Kent – prime farming country. Many of my family members and friends still farm. You will be hard pressed to find people who work as hard and deserve more respect than famers. They feed us after all.
This is messy business and goes much deeper than a farmers’ choice to spray his field. We have to respect the choices that were made, but we must also respect our own health, and that of our land.

Read the report here.

Recipe disclaimer: This is one of my favourite comfort foods. Look for organic, non-GMO cheese and pasta. It is quick to throw together, can be made ahead of time, frozen, reheated – there aren’t usually leftovers. Recipe is taken from Fine Cooking magazine.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese from Fine Cooking

For the casserole:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 12 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 9 black peppercorns
  • 4-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 6 cups (1 lb.) finely shredded sharp Cheddar

For the topping:

  • 1-1/4 cups coarse breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to 375°F and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the elbows; cook until just tender following the package’s directions and drain well.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, onion, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns; cook over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 min., stirring constantly. (This is a Roux.)
  • Slowly whisk the milk into the roux until thoroughly combined. Raise the heat to medium high; whisk constantly until the mixture boils. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Lower the heat and continue simmering for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Strain the sauce into a large bowl, removing the onion, herbs, and peppercorns. Add 2 tsp. salt, the pepper, nutmeg, and shredded cheese, stirring until the cheese is just melted.
  • Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce and pour the mixture into the baking dish. Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and spread them over the casserole. Bake until sizzling and lightly browned on top (cover with foil if the top browns too quickly), about 40 minutes.
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