Category Archives: Standards

The Ever Present Threat of GMOs and the Future of Clean Food

At Native Sun we wholeheartedly believe in the importance of clean, pure food. We strive to provide our customers with the highest quality organic and natural products free of the unwanted additives, chemicals, and fillers that contaminate the products lining the shelves of mainstream American supermarkets. While we believe in the importance of eating organic and avoiding ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners/colors, nitrates, and antibiotics, one of the most important issues facing the organic and natural foods industry remains the prevalence and continued risk of contamination from Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs.

At Native Sun we support the efforts of the Non-GMO project and will soon add their “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal to the products on our shelves. For Native Sun, our support of the Non-GMO project only reinforces our commitment to clean food while providing our customers with additional assurance. We pride ourselves on setting the industry standard, not adopting the industry standard, and for the last decade Native Sun has rigorously researched and scrutinized each and every product on our store shelves. In order for their products to end up in our stores, companies must respond and verify that they operate in accordance with our “GMO letter” which openly questions the quality of the raw materials involved in production as well as each company’s stance on GMOs in general.

We refuse to compromise our standards in an effort to capitalize on industry trends or appease the mass market. If you shop our stores, do so with confidence, understanding that we are continually working to bring you the cleanest products available. GMOs represent the fundamental antagonist to pure foods, jeopardizing the integrity of the food we eat as well as the natural food industry itself. Genetic drift, poorly regulated industry standards, and dishonest manufacturers dirty the lens that magnifies the natural food industry’s every move. Biotech companies anxiously await a fatal misstep that will reveal the supposed hypocrisy of the health food industry that seeks to remedy the ills threatening the future of clean food, not deceive its customer base. Those who manufacture, purchase, and plant GMO seed and produce GMO products fail to understand that they are ruining the food supply we work so diligently to protect.

Ultimately, we are fighting against GMOs to maintain the future integrity of our food supply. If we don’t make an effort to combat GMOs, clean food will become a thing of the past.

Florida Winn-Dixie, Publix recall ground beef for possible E. coli

In response to possible E.coli contamination, Winn-Dixie and Publix supermarkets in Florida pulled some store brand ground beef from their shelves. At this time, no illnesses have been reported. For the full story, click here.

Note: At Native Sun, we purchase meat from privately owned and operated cattle ranch Cowboy Meats. Nestled in the heart of Glen St. Mary’s, Florida, Cowboy Meats relies on rotational grazing, allowing cattle to forage freely while supplementing their diets with fresh alfalfa grass hay. We have worked to develop a relationship with both the farmers and the slaughterhouse to ensure the quality of the ranch and slaughterhouse conditions as well as that of the meat we provide to our customers. Each week, Brad, our meat and seafood manager places an order with Cowboy Meats, literally ordering an entire cow before processing the beef into the cuts needed to satisfy customer demand. The ground beef packaged under the Cowboy Meats brand comes from a single cow, providing a clean, safe alternative to feed lot ground beef, which often comes from multiple cows and increases the risk of spreading bacteria and disease. If you’re keen on ground beef, stop by either Native Sun location and make the switch to local, grass fed beef!

Cooking with Oil!

Cooking with gas is one thing. Cooking with oil is another. With so many different oils lining the shelves of supermarkets across the country, experimenting with cooking oils couldn’t be easier. However, for most of us, the proliferation of oils has actually complicated our culinary endeavors. With concerns about cooking temperatures and fat content, it’s often easier to reach for the familiar olive and canola instead of exploring the rich possibilities of walnut, sesame, coconut, or even avocado oil. At Native Sun, we encourage you to add some flavor to your favorite meals, just be sure and choose the right oil for the job in order to prevent damaging the integrity of the oil.

What do you mean damage the oil?

Well, when oil turns to smoke, “it releases carcinogens into the air and free radicals within the oil” that destroy the nutritional value of the oil itself (Spectrum 2011). The term “smoke point” (easy to remember) refers to the temperature at which specific oils literally go up in smoke. For a detailed list of oils and their respective smoke points, click here and follow the link to the Spectrum Organic Kitchen Guide!

And what’s all this talk about refined and unrefined?

Refined oils typically exhibit a more neutral flavor and can be used at a higher temperature. In contrast, unrefined oils have a richer color and more robust flavor while retaining more of their natural nutritional properties (Spectrum 2011).

For more information and frequently asked questions about cooking oils, visit Spectrum Organics website!

At Native Sun we stock a plethora of cooking oils in addition to canola and olive.

Almond Oil, Refined: Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats with a pure, clean flavor.

Apricot Kernel Oil, Refined: Apricot kernels contain a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat. This oil is best suited for high heat applications like sautéing, frying and all-purpose cooking.

Avocado Oil, Refined: A great oil for high heat cooking, loaded with monounsaturated fats, that works perfectly for sautéing, frying and all-purpose cooking.

Click here for a recipe!

Grape seed Oil, Refined: A light oil with a neutral taste that works well for high heat cooking.

Peanut Oil, Unrefined: Adds a rich peanut flavor to any sauté or stir-fry.

Safflower Oil, Unrefined: Light, neutral-flavored oil that demonstrates great versatility in the kitchen. Also available in a refined, high heat version that uses organic safflower.

Sesame Oil, Refined & Unrefined: Great for stir-frying. Also available in a “toasted” variety that adds incredible depth to an already flavorful oil.

High Heat Sunflower Oil, Refined, Organic: As noted by Spectrum Organic, high heat sunflower oil is “higher in monounsaturated fat and lower in both saturated and polyunsaturated fats than regular sunflower oil, meaning it’s good for your heart and pure heaven for high heat cooking,” making it both a versatile and health friendly cooking oil.

Walnut Oil, Refined: Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, walnut oil works well when used at medium high heat or simply drizzled over salads or fine cheeses!

(Note: All oil descriptions courtesy of Spectrum Organics)

We hope that you decide to give some of these healthy oils a try in some of your favorite recipes! If you already use one of the above oils, submit your recipes to the comments section! We look forward to hearing from you!

References:

Organics, Spectrum. “Cooking Oils.” Spectrum Healthy Organic, Artisan, and

Omega-3 Supplement Oils. 2011. Web. 20 May 2011.

http://www.spectrumorganics.com/.

Tomorrow @ Native Sun Mandarin: Third Annual Charity Dog Wash to Benefit Local Homeless Pets!

To benefit our charity of the month, First Coast No More Homeless Pets, we will host our third annual Charity Dog Wash, Tomorrow, May 21st from 10AM to 2PM in the “barking lot” of our Mandarin store. As noted by Native Sun Owner, Aaron Gottlieb, “This is our third year working with FCNMHP as Native Sun GreenApples Charity of Month. It is a cause our customers feel very passionate about and we’re happy to help. Over the past two years we’ve collected over $2000 in donations for FCNMHP and we hope this year’s event can be just as successful!”

FCNMHP is a local, non-profit dedicated to eliminating the killing of dogs and cats in the Jacksonville community through low-cost spay and neuter programs, vaccinations, micro-chipping, flea and heart worm preventatives and a variety of tests.

All dogs are welcome. Donations can be made in cash or check. Native Sun asks that owners please stay with their pets while they are being groomed.

Chemical Bug Spray Repels More Than Just Bugs!

As summer approaches, we venture outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. Along with the lazy, sun drenched afternoons spent lounging on deserted beaches (hey, we can pretend, right?), comes a swarm of insects and other pests ready to turn your summer dreams into a bug-bitten nightmare. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbeque or settling in around a smoldering campfire, selecting a bug repellent to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and other pests remains an important part of enjoying outdoor activities.

However, as we coat ourselves in glossy layers of foul-smelling repellants formulated to protect us from unwanted pests, we must consider the equally harmful ingredients found in many insect repellent products. Dripping with DEET and other chemicals, mainstream bug sprays may actually be as damaging to our bodies and the environment as they are to insects.

We don’t want to make this post any longer than it has to be, but Let’s take a look at DEET, one of the more nefarious ingredients found in many insect repellants:

DEET:

Known offenses:

Registered pesticide (US EPA 2007).

Often used in rubber and plastic cements as well as paint removers (EHANS 2003).

Caused the impairment of Central Nervous system function in rats given normal human dosage as documented by a Duke University Study (EHANS 2003).

Possible Offenses:

Memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors, and shortness of breath in humans after heavy exposure or prolonged use (Quantum Health).

Increases in toxicity when used in conjunction with other chemicals often found in bug repellents (EHANS 2003).

Native Sun Verdict: Regardless of the arguments for or against DEET, I would prefer to enjoy my outdoor endeavors without the possibility of losing basic motor functions controlled by my central nervous system after coating myself in bug spray (Canoeing is hard enough without battling pesticide induced memory loss or shortness of breath. Who knew paddling was so hard? And why can’t I remember where our campsite was?). When there are plenty of natural bug repellents available, not using DEET seems like a no-brainer.

So you’ve decided to go natural. Now what?

At Native Sun we have several ready-made bug repellants free of DEET, Parabins, GMOs, synthetic chemicals and fragrance oils:

All Terrain Herbal Armor Spray $9.49 (4oz)

Badger Anti-Bug Spray $11.39 (4oz)

Botanical Solutions Biteguard Jr. $11.89 (4oz)

Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent $6.89 (4oz)

Jade & Pearl Beat It Spray $11.39 (4oz) / $14.99 (8oz)

Jason Quit Buggin Me Lotion $3.79 (3oz)

Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme $8.39 (4oz)

Still not satisfied? We have a great selection of essential oils that can turn the tide in the fight against biting insects! The following oils are recognized for their natural bug repelling abilities:

Note: Some essential oils can irritate the skin. Make sure to follow label precautions and dilute oils accordingly.

Citronella $3.89 (.5oz)

Eucalyptus $5.39 (.5oz)

Lavender $9.97 (.5oz)

Lemon $5.39 (.5oz)

Peppermint  $7.79 (.5oz)

Rosemary $5.49 (.5oz)

Directions: Add 1 ounce of essential oil to 10 ounces of witch hazel, vodka, or a carrier oil (Example: olive oil). Shake. Repel Bugs!

FREE Lecture on Anti-Aging Tuesday May 17th @ 8pm

Sally Byrd will be at Native Sun Natural Foods Market’s Baymeadows location at 11030 Baymeadows Road on Tuesday, May 17 at 8pm to give a FREE lecture “Collagen’s Role in Anti-Aging.”

A fibrous structural protein that occurs naturally in bones, connective tissues, and skin, collagen protects joints, ligaments, and tendons while aiding in the renewal of all cells within the body. As we age, the collagen in our bodies begins to break down, aging our cells, reducing the elasticity of the skin, and creating wrinkles. Join us as we explore the potential benefits of collagen supplementation, learning how collagen can help rejuvenate the skin and redefine the aging process!

Sally Byrd is a board certified and registered traditional naturo-path and author who currently works as the Director of Sales, Education and Formulation for Dr. Venessa’s Formulas™.

Seating is limited & reservations are required by calling 904-260-6950.

$100 Question: What’s Your Favorite Way To Enjoy Organic Milk?

You may never eat ten pies in ten minutes, but that doesn’t make organic milk any less refreshing! Tell us your favorite way to enjoy organic milk! Do you prefer it with cereal, cookies, spaghetti, or straight from the carton?

Tell us your favorite way to enjoy organic milk & you’ll be entered to win a $100 Native Sun Gift Card! To be eligible to win, you must first subscribe to the Native Sun blog by clicking here, then leave your answer to this month’s question in the comment section on our blog page. ONE winner will be picked at random on May 27th. Good luck!

*Stock up on Organic Valley Milk at our everyday low price of $2.99 per ½ Gallon*

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO ANN! CHECK YOUR EMAIL FOR PRIZE DETAILS! BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEXT MONTH’S $100 QUESTION!

Don’t Miss Our Grass-fed BBQ!

Saunter on over to either Native Sun location tomorrow, April 30th, between 11AM and 3PM for a local, grass-fed BBQ with Cowboy Meats of Glen St. Mary, Florida. We’re looking forward to a great turnout and even better food!

In addition, from 2PM to 5PM at the Baymeadows store, we invite you to kick up your boots and relax as we provide free beer samples from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company*!

*Must be 21 or older to participate in beer tasting portion of event.

What works for you?

When Native Sun opened in 1996, owners Aaron and Erica envisioned themselves as “health educators,” determined to improve their own lives as well as the lives of their customers. For Aaron and Erica, improving their quality of life meant taking control of their food supply, demanding the highest quality organic foods free of GMOs and other harmful additives. Building a reputation based on their thorough research and uncompromising standards, Native Sun grew, becoming a trusted purveyor of both organic foods and knowledge. In response to customer concerns about the considerable environmental impact of running a business, Native Sun embraced opportunities to reduce waste and become more environmentally friendly. With the introduction of plant-sourced, biodegradable plastic bags, the development of a ride share program, and numerous expansions and constructions according to stringent environmentalist guidelines, Native Sun as a whole reduced its ecological footprint.

However, there are flaws in trying to do everything, and while we strive to implement progressive, environmentally friendly methods and materials into our business, we recognize that our strength remains our ability to select the finest organic products without jeopardizing our standards or the health of our customers. Even as we work diligently to ensure the quality of the products on our store shelves, legislation passes through our Nation’s governing bodies that endangers not only organics, but also the entirety of our food supply. With the failure to pass the “Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act,” which would require that all products containing genetically engineered materials be labeled accordingly, GMOs continue to run rampant, polluting the food found in mainstream groceries across the country (Crenshaw 2011). Unfortunately, those with the power to enact change in legislation concerning the integrity of our food supply eat blindly from the hands of the FDA, believing, like Congressman Ander Crenshaw, thatGenetically engineered foods, as well as traditional hybrid foods, must meet the rigorous provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,” and “that the genetically engineered foods that have been introduced thus far are as safe as other traditional foods” while providing canned responses to legitimate inquiries (Crenshaw 2011).

Powerless against the forces of nature that will spread GMO seed and contaminate crops, organic foods are at once vulnerable and unprotected. We want our customers to stand beside us in the fight for clean food. We should not expect everyone on the planet to purchase a hybrid car or abstain from indulging in the electronic euphoria of the latest and greatest cell phones, televisions, and other gadgets. Nor can we expect that everyone will turn off the lights when they leave a room or only shop organic. Nonetheless, our own awareness might be the only universal solution capable of solving the environmental problems threatening our planet.

Thus, on Earth Day, Native Sun asks that you recognize what works for you and build off of your drive and enthusiasm for that particular activity or habit. Forget trying to do it all. Recycle, ride your bike to work, buy a reusable water bottle or grocery bag, but recognize the importance even these seemingly small changes can have in terms of reducing stress on the environment and your body. Let others learn from the choices you make. Let them ask questions and formulate their own opinions. Generate the awareness that can change the planet. Forcing sustainable practices and environmentalism on others only invites trouble and frustration. If we truly seek to address the ills of our planet, we must accept and appreciate the contributions that each of us make regardless of their scope. While it may sound overly simple and naïve, if we make a conscious effort to implement a feasible change in our own lives, the outcome could transform the world we live in.

Again, at Native Sun we understand that our strength lies in our ability, and continued desire, to provide our customers with the highest quality organic products available. This desire fuels our Earth Day “Give Me Organic” campaign in which we will be offering a storewide discount to all of our customers*. If we fail to deliver the best available organic goods, does it really matter how environmentally friendly our stores are?

*Some restrictions apply. See store for details.

Reference:

Crenshaw, Ander. “Response to GMO Concern.” Letter to Aaron Gottlieb. 15 Apr. 2011. Jacksonville, Florida.

Got the Post-Earth Day Blues?

Before we know it, Earth Day will have come and gone. Avoid the post-Earth Day blues and take comfort in remembering that at Native Sun, everyday is Earth Day. We expect our customers to demand the highest quality organic foods at the best possible prices, which is why this month GMO stands for “Give Me Organic!” That being said, we invite you to join us this Saturday (The day after Earth Day), April 23rd 2011 for 10% Off Day! Stop by either location to enjoy 10% OFF all regular priced items*!

Please Note: In order to participate in 10% Off Day, you must be a registered My Card user.

No My Card?

No problem! Just hurry over to customer service; registration is fast, free, and easy, plus, your new My Card can be used the same day as the event!

*Some Restrictions Do Apply: Additional 10% will not be applied to items already discounted on “My Card” and Monthly Sale. As a result of Native Sun’s Everyday Low Pricing, the following items will be excluded from any additional discounts:

All Beer and Wine

Eden Organics: All Canned Bean Products

Food For Life: Ezekiel Bread: Sesame and Plain

Organic Valley: Milk, Eggs, & Orange Juice

Penta: Water 16.9oz

Rudi’s Bread: Country White, Honey Wheat, 100% Whole Wheat, Cracked Wheat, & MultiGrain Oat

Silk: Soy Milk: Plain & Vanilla (32 & 64 oz sizes)

Zephyrhills: Water (Gallon size)