Nicobella Organics Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Shake & the Importance of Fair Trade and NON GMO Purchases8
I want to talk today about the importance of supporting companies that not only produce healthy products made with organic whole foods, but who also employ ethical Fair-Trade, NON GMO business practices, and are not owned by the giant food companies. I post a lot about this on my facebook page, but it occurred to me that I had not really discussed it here on the blog.
After the devastating corrupt defeat of Prop 37 in California, the law that would have required transparent food labelling of genetically modified ingredients, I am even more determined to raise awareness about prudent purchasing decisions. We want to enjoy wonderful products, but we also want to be responsible stewards of the planet, by spending our dollars with companies that use organic foods, pay fair prices for their raw ingredients, support local community iniatitives, use recycled and responsible packaging, and are independently owned, or owned by companies embracing sustainable business practices. We have a voice, and we can vote with our wallets, because every purchase really does matter...
During the holiday season when we collectively spend the most money, one of the most popular gifts is chocolates. Instead of supporting a chocolate company that uses toxic GM ingredients and refined sugars, does not pay fair prices for their cocoa, and robs honest farmers of their livelihood, choose "ethical chocolates."
My personal choice for this year is Nicobella Organics Fair Trade Vegan Truffles. I swear these little morsels of heaven are like "vegan crack!" One bite and you will be hooked with a delicious blend of sweet and salty. After posting Matthew Kenney and Meredith Baird's Raw Truffles yesterday, I thought I would offer a delicious healthy alternative for those of you truffle lovers who are not inclined to make your own this holiday season.
I am extremely particular about the companies I support and endorse, and Nicobella Organics ticks all of the boxes for me. I am having a love affair with this little family owned company. Under the direction of the fabulous Nichole Dandrea, this company operates with inspiring integrity. Not only are her products of superior quality, but their sustainable business practices are stellar.
Nicobella uses organic and natural ingredients with no flavourings, additives, processed sugars or sugar alcohols, and contains no added oils or soy lecithin. The Truffles contain Fair Trade Theo Chocolate, which is Fair for Life, assuring fair market prices to cacao farmers, and their Munch is made with Kallari Chocolate, a community-owned co-op in Ecuador. Furthermore, their packaging is FSC (Forrest Stewardship Council) certified, sourced from sustainably-managed forests, and the munch bags are made with rice paper.
Nicobella Truffles have a base of 70% fair-trade chocolate, with a blend of cold pressed oat milk and coconut oil. If you are strictly gluten free, there are options for you too! I like the Gluten Free, Nut Free, Sunflower Butter Banana Truffles, which I used in this recipe to make it nut free for my niece. But some other delectable flavours include: Blueberry Almond, Ginger Green Tea, Pumpkin Chai, Pure Cocoa Bliss, Walnut Flaxseed Crunch, and Holiday Spice. Or try the Mama Munch, Maple Nut Munch, Coco-Nut Munch, and Omega Munch. YUMMO! These chocolates ROCK. I honestly can't rave enough about them, and I am giving them to EVERYONE this Christmas!
I wanted to share this SUPER EASY smoothie recipe as a way to use leftover holiday chocolates to create a healthy decadent treat. I don't know about you, but I am always given TONS of chocolates for Christmas. This is also a nut-free alternative to many of my smoothies that contain nuts. I used soy milk (which you also need to make sure is NON GMO), but you can use rice milk or hemp milk. Feel free to use any other vegan milk in this recipe too, if you don't have an allergy to nuts. You can whip this up in seconds using ingredients in your freezer and pantry. I have left this deliberately basic, as I wanted the truffles to shine. Otherwise, it's just sacreligious to blend truffles! LOL! But feel free to add in chili, coconut, cinnamon etc to make this more interesting. I LOVE this shake juuust the way it is.
Sometimes...simple really is best.
On another note, I have received several emails asking about my support of Way Better Snacks, seeking clarification about whether conventional non organic corn can be GMO FREE. This answer is YES. Rest assured, that if I endorse anything I have researched it's authenticity and safety thoroughly. You CAN get NON GMO Corn that is not 100% Organic, and is can be safe if it is NON GMO Verified.
Almost all of the ingredients used in the Way Better Snacks tortilla chips ARE organic, such as the stone ground BLUE Corn, Organic Sprouted Flax Seeds, Organic Sprouted Quinoa, Organic Sprouted Daikon Radish Seeds, Organic Sprouted Black Beans, Organic Sprouted Chia Seeds and so forth. The Yellow Corn they use IS Non GMO but is NOT 100% Organic. Here's why I don't have a problem with this.
Bio-invasion has become such a huge issue because of the increased proliferation of GMOs over the last 15 years, that there is a huge contamination risk to all NON GMO crops -- conventional and organic. Yes, organic products have a much lower risk of contamination than conventional products. However, Way Better Snacks is certified by the Non-GMO Project, the only third party verifier of non-GMO food and products in North America. This organization requires rigorous testing and action thresholds to give consumers reassurance that the most strict GMO avoidance practices possible have been followed for both organic and conventional products. The National Organic Program does not do this, which means that in some ways, the corn that Way Better Snacks uses could be safer than some organic corn!
Conventionally grown corn CAN be safe, and NON GMO if it is verified. I am normally a real stickler for ALL ORGANIC. But all of the Way Better ingredients are so clean and sprouted, that the small amount of ingredients that are not completely organic don't bother me. As long as they are NON GMO. Way Better Snacks purchases GMO FREE corn that has been verified by the Non-GMO Project's strict standards. In order for the products to carry this seal, they must be in full compliance with all conditions including: ongoing product testing, rigorous traceability and segregation practices to ensure ingredient integrity through to the finished product, and an annual audit and onsite inspections. You can learn more about this at the NON GMO Project, and be sure to download your free copy of GMO MYTHS AND TRUTHS.
Way Better Snacks are still the healthiest, best tasting corn chips I have found on the market. This company operates with honesty and integrity, their product is SAFE, and the flavours ROCK! I mostly enjoy the Unbeatable Blues Chips that ARE made with Organic Blue Corn. Be VERY careful about the corn chips you buy. So, many of them contain genetically modified ingredients.
Genetically modified crops are promoted as:
- being safe to eat and more nutritious than naturally bred crops
- strictly regulated for safety
- wonderful for increasing crop yields and feeding the world's growing population
- capable of reducing pesticide use and solving problems caused by climate change
- reducing energy usage
- and all kinds of other far reaching claims
However, a large body of scientific evidence is proving these claims to be false.
GM foods are:
- laboratory-made, using technology that is totally different from natural farming methods
- have been shown in some studies to be toxic, allergenic, and less nutritious than their natural counterparts
- do not reduce pesticide use but actually increase it
- do not increase crop yield potential
- create problems for farmers including toxic weeds that adversely affect soil quality, disrupt ecosystems and reduce biodiversity
- offer no viable solutions to climate change requiring just as much energy as natural plants
- and most importantly, have just NOT been tested thoroughly enough to adequately determine long term safety
Whilst the jury is still out on GM foods, I feel like there is no need to take risks with GM crops when natural, conventional, and organic foods are readily available. But, at the end of the day, your purchasing decisions are your choice, and you need to support products that you feel comfortable feeding your family. Everybody's yard stick is different. But for my money, it is going to Fair-Trade, Organic companies like Way Better Snacks and Nicobella.
I won't touch anything that is not Organic or NON GMO Verified.
Disclosure: Way Better Snacks compensates me as a brand ambassador. However, I have been a fan of their products since I tried them in early 2012, and my opinions are my own.
Nicobella Organics Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Truffle Shake & the Importance of Fair Trade and NON GMO Purchases
- 1 ½ cups soy milk, rice milk or hemp milk (or any other vegan milk if desired)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (add ice if using fresh fruit)
- 1 or 2 Nicobella Organics Nut Free Sunflower Banana Truffles or other chocolate truffle
- 2 pitted dates or more to taste
- pinch red chilli flakes or ground cinnamon (optional)
- Place all the ingredients in your Vitamix and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- Makes one 16-ounce glass.
Piggy Cooking Tips
the best way to clean your blender
After blending up something sticky, gooey or smelly, just place a few drops of soap in the carriage with some warm water and blend on high until all of the congealed food slips away from the blades and sides. Then repeat this process. Then rinse with water and presto! Clean carriage.
If you have smells or stains repeat this process with some bicarbonate of soda or lemon juice and water.
Check out the video on A No Hassle Way To Clean Your Blender that I did as part of the Chow Tips Series.