Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. Gluten is called a storage protein because it is found in the seed of the plant and stores nutrients. Since gluten can removed from wheat easily, it is widely used as a source of protein or thickening agent in prepared foods.
Fair Trade is a social consumer movement that helps farmers and producers in developing countries. Fair Trade goods are certified by Fair Trade USA (or FLO in Europe) to meet standards of fair pay, sustainability and development, in order to benefit disadvantaged farmers. Consumers of Fair Trade certified products know that they are contributing to the social and economic development of people through their purchases.
The goal of the traditional business model known as "free trade" is to maximize profit for shareholders. In a supply chain, the goal of a business may be at odds with both suppliers and consumers. As a result, in developing nations, farmers who are already living marginally are driven out of work by unfair business practices. In some cases, child laborers are forced to work long hours under harsh or dangerous conditions. In the 1990s both Nike and Wal-Mart faced scandals when it was discovered some of their products were made by children in sweatshops.
Social consumerism (also known as ethical purchasing or ethical consumerism) is not a new phenomenon. In America, in the early 1800s, the Free Produce Society fought slavery through an economic boycott of slave-made goods. At the same time in Britain, the Rochdale Pioneers started the first consumer-based cooperative and opened the first co-op shop. Consumers want to know that their purchases are ethical, and that they make a difference in the world.
Fair Trade helps farmers and communities in many ways. Fair Trade guarantees fair minimum prices for producers. It encourages sustainable, organic farming practices. And Fair Trade returns a premium to the farming community itself, via farming cooperatives, for improvements.
The ten principles of Fair Trade, as described by the World Fair Trade Organization, are:
- Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
- Transparency and accountability
- Fair trading practices
- Payment of a fair price
- Ensuring no child labor and forced labor
- Commitment to non-discrimination, gender equity and freedom of association
- Ensuring good working conditions
- Providing capacity building
- Promoting fair trade
- Respect for the environment (maximize use of local, sustainable raw materials)
When consumers see the Fair Trade Certified mark, they know their purchases go directly to help farmers and communities in developing nations. Beyond simple ethical goals, Fair Trade certification creates sustainability, high-quality goods, stabilizes the market with fair prices, and reduces shortages. Fair Trade is an excellent way consumers can affect the global marketplace through their day-to-day purchases.
Companies like Spicely® Organic Spices, Starbucks and Nestle are taking initiative by offering Fair Trade Certified products. Look for the Fair Trade Certified and Global Fair Trade logos on all your purchases. For more information, visit Fair Trade USA's website at http://www.fairtradeusa.org.
Diet and Health
Diet and nutrition are closely linked to health. Poor nutrition can lead to chronic health problems due to vitamin deficiency. A healthy diet is important for lowering health risks like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
On Wednesday (9/13/2011), the San Jose Mercury News published an article citing the results of U.S. census statistics in 2010. The census reports that joblessness pushed the poverty rate 2.6% higher, driving it to 15.1%. The spike in poverty is the fourth consecutive annual increase and highest poverty rate since 1993. In California the number is even higher: 16.3 percent of Californians live in poverty.
Also on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that SAT reading scores for graduating seniors reached the lowest point in nearly four decades. According to the SAT Pressroom, just 43% of 2011 college-bound seniors met the SAT College And Career Readiness Benchmark, which measures the college and career readiness of students and helps educators evaluate the effectiveness of academic programs.
The recession of 2008-2009 is officially over, but joblessness remains high, leading pundits to question whether a jobless recovery will lead to a greater burden on the middle class. Stanford's Center Of Poverty And Inequality has more information.
Fortunately there is a silver lining to the harsh economic news. People are giving more to help those in need. According to Charity Navigator charitable giving increased by 3% ($10 billion) in 2010, with the majority of donations (75%) coming from individuals.
At Spicely® Organic Spices we recognize the importance of helping people in need. Please join us in our campaigns to assist the Alameda County Community Food Bank and UNICEF in Somalia. We'll also be developing ways you can help your community through social involvement.
I just love Spicely's Organic Spices. It's so hard to decide what to buy because they all sound so delicious! All of the spices I have received have been extremely high quality and smell out of this world.
I cannot get over the spice blends. All of them are the perfect combinations of different flavors to really enhance any dish. I also seriously love their organic extracts. They are so pure and they smell & taste like real food. My favorite extract is the Organic Orange. I just love the citrus smell and it adds the perfect hint of flavor to my food.
I know when I choose Spicely's products that my recipes will come out jam packed with real flavor not that artificial stuff. Thank you for being a company that cares not only for the consumer but for giving back to the world as well!
Thanks guys and good luck with everything. Be sure to send us photos of your new recipes! Visit Josh & Ashley's World for delicious, healthful recipes with Spicely® Organic Spices.
We're pleased to announce a food drive benefitting local hungry families. Spicely® is running a benefit through Food Day, October 24th 2011, on our website (http://www.spicely.com). Proceeds from the benefit will help Alameda County Community Food Bank. ACCFB operates a network of over 275 community organizations. Thanks to Mike Altfest for his assistance!
Despite the generosity of millions of Americans who have supported the people in need, the need for food assistance has never been greater. According to the USDA's annual study measuring food security in the United States, the number of Americans living in food insecure homes topped 50 million in 2009. Perhaps most alarming, of this total, approximately one in three people in America who is at hunger risk is a child (17.2 million).
Please join us in fighting hunger. Use coupon code 5050-ACCFB when you check out of our online store. You'll receive a 25% discount. And Spicely will donate a 25% voucher to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. For more details, visit http://www.spicely.com/5050-charity-promo.
(Spicely Organic Spices is pleased to have Cybele Pascal, food allergen cookbook author, introduce our new blog.)
"Sugar and spice and everything nice" is a one of the most familiar rhymes of childhood. Good food is the embodiment of joy. And whether it’s sweet or savory, spices are an essential part of that experience.
But until I discovered Spicely Organics on the shelves of my local Whole Foods market, spices were a minefield for me. I never knew where they were sourced from, what kind of facility they were being manufactured in, and if they potentially bore the risk of cross contamination with allergenic ingredients. You see, I’m the mother of a food allergic family. I’m also an allergen-free cookbook author, and TV host. So finding spices that are free of the risk of cross contamination is of the utmost importance. That little ditty "Sugar and Spice and everything nice" was written long before food allergies had exploded into a major public health crisis ... before people had to ask, "was this cinnamon manufactured in a plant alongside peanuts?" 1 in 17 kids under the age of 3 has a food allergy in the US. 1 in 24 adults. That’s a staggering number, and it continues to rise at an alarming rate. If you suffer from a life threatening food allergy, even a trace amount of the allergen you are allergic to can set off a severe allergic reaction. This left me in a state of despair as I combed the labels of vanilla extract, and ground ginger, looking for clues about how the lovely aromatic ingredient had come to my local shelves, and whether it was safe.