Obesity Trends

Another great visual fact sheet from weightloss.org outlining many factors relating to the ‘spread’ of weight gain in the US. Though speaking specifically of our Southern neighbours, we aren’t too far off the mark…

What do seeds really look like?


We have just returned from the 31st annual Guelph Organics Expo held at the University of Guelph campus, and their theme this year was called ‘Seeds of Cooperation’. Our purpose for going was to in fact buy seeds for our mini-indoor greenhouse, so it was ironic that seeds were the focus of this year’s event. We bought a few varieties of spinach, lettuce, and mini heirloom tomatoes – to keep it simple until we can move some of our plants outside in the Spring. In case you haven’t noticed, we are living in a metropolis area, which means the only ‘land’ we have rests six floors up in a pot.

This gave me inspiration for a series of posts I hope to put together in the coming weeks, including indoor/balcony/city gardening, GMO seed and the risk associated with them for farmers and the public, as well on updates on our attempts at being ‘farmers’ (… just as a side note, although I am passionate about food, and read about it to near excessive ends, my thumb is far from being green…)

But for this post, I wanted to show the different types of seeds we purchased. I was really surprised how different looking  similar varieties were! Using a trusty quarter for scale, I hope you find the differences amazing too (especially the spinach!)

This first set are from Urban Harvest Garden Alternatives who produce open-pollinated, organic seed. 

Peacevine Cherry Tomato (lycopersicon lycopersicum).. selected solely on the name..

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Italian Large Leaf Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

This next batch is from The Cottage Gardener. This company is also dedicated to preserving and producing organic, heirloom seed.

Long Standing Bloomsdale Spinach (est. 1925)

Galilee Spinach

Strawberry Spinach – centuries old, originated in Europe, actually produces a strawberry-like edible red fruit!

Heriloom Romaine Lettuce Mix

Any finally, we were given a packet of Marconi Bush Beans from Greta’s Organic Gardens and USC Canada and their Seeds of Survival campaign which promotes the importance of saving seed and its connections to global betterment and food security/ food sovereignty. This is my area of interest and I will be posting soon on just exactly what this means, hows its different from ‘food security’ and how we can all take part!

Happy planting!


Low Sodium Ketchup | “Healthy Alternatives” aren’t as they seem


As childhood fans of true Heinz ketchup, the new low sodium alternative caught our eye. Intrigued, and always looking to lower our salt intake, we bought it without much hesitation.  So long as it was Heinz its bound to be good, and with 50% less salt everybody wins…right?

Just before using it, we noticed that it wasn’t Ketchup any more.  What we had left the store with was a “Ketchup style sauce”.  This is a usual ploy by companies trying to sell a product as something that its not.  When you see a bottle that looks like Ketchup, by the makers of Ketchup, with all the same branding as Ketchup, you would think that you got Ketchup.

The taste was the unfortunate part.  This stuff tastes like a “Ketchup style sauce”.  We were less than thrilled.  Yeah, yeah, I can hear you saying “Well with half the salt of course it won’t taste good”, but this isn’t always the case.  Besides, if it tasted like low salt ketchup that would be fine.  But it doesn’t.  The taste is completely changed, and it doesn’t taste like Heinz, or even a no name ketchup.  What it tastes like is a ketchup style sauce.

Now I know that you would think that the poor taste would be the worst part.  Not for us.  The worst was when we finally looked at the ingredients list.  Usually the first thing we do when picking up a new product, we finally compared the “Low Sodium” knock-off to the real thing and found out that the one we bought had very different ingredients (namely potassium chloride and the infamous “flavours”).  Basically what we ended up with was something that although looked the same (just healthier) turned out to taste badly and have added ingredients that we weren’t expecting.

Moral of the story, keep a watchful eye over things that appear to be “healthy alternatives”.  Many foods that are marketed towards those living “healthy active lifestyles” have additives such as soy protein.  Unless you are watching the ingredients label, you probably wouldn’t expect cereals, granola bars etc. to be loaded with soy.  Especially when food such as “Vector” tout themselves as “meal replacements”.  Its important to keep your eyes off the marketing ploys and onto the nutrition and ingredients list to make sure you make good decisions.  We learnt our lesson, and we’re hoping others follow suit.