au pied leve
My Journey from Arizona to France


Max Espinasse
In a nearby calanque... I'm counting on our 17-year-old, Max, to bring home more "fruits of the sea"... because I sure don't trust some of the fruits they're selling us at the supermarket! Read on, in today's story column. (Photos in today's post are by Jean-Marc)

nourrir (noo-reer)

    : to feed, to nourish

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read this vocab list: Download MP3 or Wav file

Et ce n'est pas en mangeant trois feuilles de laitue que tu vas te nourrir!
And it's not by eating a few lettuce leaves that you're going to nourish yourself.

se nourrir = to feed oneself
nourrir des espérances
 = to cherish hopes
nourrir au sein = to breastfeed
une conversation nourrie = a lively conversation 
mal nourri = ill-nourished
bien nourri = well-fed
nourrir une rancune = to nurse a grudge


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Seated at the dining room table, a basket of nuts separating us, Jean-Marc and I were having one of those highly animated arguments that arise when one spouse's neurosis butts heads with the other spouse's neurosis.

Him: Tu ne veux pas entendre la verité.
Me: Ha! You mean the truth according to you

Him: Hmph!
Me: Hmph!

When there seemed to be no resolution in sight—so red were our faces, so steaming were our ears—one of us did a remarkably sensible thing... by dipping his hand back into the hat of sujets à aborder, or "stuff we need to talk about", and drawing another ticket!

His defensive tone gone, my husband's voice remained firm:

Et ce n'est pas en mangeant trois feuilles de laitue que tu vas te nourrir!

I listened to my husband's French and, translating his words, I was hit by their deeper meaning: 

"And it isn't by eating a few lettuce leaves that you're going to feed yourself!"

This remark wasn't some sort of idiomatic low-blow. Jean-Marc literally meant what he said, and his concerned tone sent a steel ball spiraling towards my mur de défense

There was a tightening sensation in my throat, which felt as though someone were squeezing it. Tears pushed up from out of nowhere.  The more the tightening, the more tears were extracted until my face was streaming with them.


"Do you ever cry openly?" A loved one once asked, while helping me with relationship issues. I considered her question. Capable of spontaneous tears when suprised by an image of vulnerability (a defenseless human or animal), I don't often have the same tear-ejecting response when confronted with my own helplessness. Maybe that's because I'm not always aware of it.

This time my husband's words hit the emotional release button. I sat facing him, silently dissolving into a puddle of larmes

Jean-Marc was right. I haven't been eating lately—not after discovering that even the French have let genetically modified organisms into the marketplace! What had been a gradual awakening to the reality of the food industry... has rapidly become a full-out phobia in which every carrot is suspect and every grape sits taunting me from the produce aisle and every package of chèvre bleats, "You sure this goat hasn't grazed on pesticides?" And forget about meat when the cows are eating the animals that are eating the chemically altered corn!

Afraid even of endives, I've been madly sowing seeds in the potager, but the vegetables growing there aren't yet mature; this has me impatiently picking the beet's leaves and other leafy beginnings—when all the crickets don't beat me to them.

For the kids and Jean-Marc, I buy organic fruit, arsenic-free rice, and charcuterie labelled SANS OGM. I quit buying Chocopops and replaced Nutella with a biologique version.. All dishes are made from scratch but the more I research food news the more it becomes complicated to come up with "safe" meals and I'm beginning to feel overwhelmed.


Back at the confrontation table, Jean-Marc tries to be encouraging. "You can eat some of this baguette," he offers, pointing to the two loaves, just beyond the basket of nuts.

But there are pesticides in that fresh-baked baguette. Didn't he watch the film?!... And besides, the carbohydrates in bread break down into sugars... and sugar feeds cancer! 

Mon dieu! What's got into me? Food safety is enough to drive you crazy. Looking down at that basket of noix that separates me and my husband, suddenly those nuts are looking more than organic... they are looking like a good warning of what can happen when you get carried away with fear.


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French vocabulary

Tu ne veux pas entendre la verité = you don't want to hear the truth
sujets à aborder = subjects to address
Et ce n'est pas en mangeant trois feuilles de laitue que tu vas te nourrir! = And it's not by eating a few lettuce leaves that you're going to nourish yourself 
le mur de défense = wall of defence
une larme = a tear
la chèvre = goat
la charcuterie = processed meats
biologique = organic 
la noix = walnut 


  Max Espinasse
At this rate it's going to take a while to nourrir our family. Come on, Max, get back in there and catch Mom a giant daurade!

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The worry over the food is more harmful than the OMGs in it. Eat sensibly, but don't let it become an obsession. Hugs.


Life is too short to spend it worrying all the time. Don't spoil those wonderful family moments which are spent around cooking and eating together.
I just wish your vegetables will grow fast... but winter is coming, so leave all that for the moment and enjoy a good bouillabaise!!

Avec toute mon amitié,


Karen Elizabeth

It's good that you are educating yourself about this. A lot of people in the U.S. could use your insight instead of blindly buying products and produce that may end up being harmful. Fortunately, the U.S. doesn't eat a lot of produce! (Haha!) It's important to remember to make the right decisions and to control what you can control (one of my favorite quotes from Andre Agassi).

Marilyn Wheless

It is a real conundrum. Our air, water and food are all laced with chemicals. When you figure out how to get around them, I will eat my hat!

Mim   (Richmond, VA)

I so connect with your frustration. I became a vegetarian 33 years ago after reading Food for People Not for Profit, and learned about what was going into the feed giving to cows, etc. In recent times, I've belonged to a CSA, getting my produce during our growing season (May through mid-Nov. from an organic farm. I read labels, I buy cosmetics with a good rating on EWG skin safety data base, all in the name of trying to eat healthy and be safe. My children, now adults, are of the same mind set, however, we do go out to eat in restaurants and other people's homes, knowing we can't ever be totally safe, Marilyn Wheless is right on. We do the best we can, make good choices about what we eat and put on our skin, as much as we are able. Don't let it drive you crazy though. Enjoy life.

Marika Ujvari

I didn't think you would have worries about food where you live. Are there any safe places in the world any more, where clean, natural, healthy food source can be found???

Jacqueline  Satterlee

Mon premier mail de vous: Très bien écrit et un plaisir à lire :-) It's good to be aware but Betty (above) is right "The worry over the food is more harmful than the OMGs in it. Eat sensibly, but don't let it become an obsession. "
Bisous, Jackie


You are quite right - do not get carried away by fear and feelings of being overwhelmed in trying to feed your family "safe" healthy meals - you are doing the best you can and that is perfectly satisfactory! forget all the phobias, just enjoy every day, appreciate your lovely family and especially enjoy that part of the world that you are privileged to live in.

Pat Cargill

Chere Kristin, you are living in the emotional rollercoaster of a major life change, The Big Move. The fixation on food safety is not without merit-yes, an important consideration- but perhaps your emotional fragility now has a lot to do with it. Time tempers these major life changes, but in the meantime, manger bien, dear one. I think I hear Julia Childs saying "Bon appetit!" love,

Bruce in northwest Connecticut

I make it a point to ignore the extremes on either side, both the alarmists and the status quo-ers. There's plenty of safe ground in the middle.


yes, when you said the US had genetically modified food, and the French didn't, I tried to recall what I'd read on the subject. . . . the French have similar issues. None of us are safe under the control of any government regulations.

Amy Kortuem

Oh, I know Kristin. Several years ago, I read a book called "Skinny Bitch" and it blew my circuitry. It wasn't anything I hadn't heard before, but I read it all in one day while lying in bed with a fever.

It changed my life. I didn't eat anything other than tomatoes my Dad had raised for days and days and days. I wandered the grocery store - even the organic aisle - for hours and then left with an empty cart.

Now it comes down to doing the absolute best I can the majority of the time. The neurosis will ease up for you, I promise. You'll end up thankful for the knowledge and you'll make some important changes, but it will all even out.

Best wishes!

Clare Jones

Try to relax and enjoy food! There's been a lot of research recently showing there is no difference in the health properties of organic and non-organic foods. Even if that's only partly true, it's worth reflecting on. If you are providing home-cooked meals for your family with plenty of fruit and vegetables, then that's fantastic! If you can sometimes grow your own, then that's brilliant! Worrying about it will only make you ill. A little of what you fancy does you good. I'm sure the French would agree!
Bisous, Clare.

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

His concern over you, and your concern over what foods to buy now, spilled over as tears. Very real and very sweet all at once.

Are OGM foods labelled as such? Then avoid them. Here in the US, today, one of the ballot issues to be decided in California is whether to label those foods as such. It is such a huge battle, asking for a label! Depending how the vote goes today, it might mean a change in the rest of the nation. Fighting Monsanto, that is a big fight.

White bread, you really think it is that bad for you? I have come to prefer whole grain bread and even odd things, like bread made with rice flour and ground pecans, in place of wheat. But some white bread now and then cannot be that bad for you, can it?

All a matter of balancing, I guess.

But the strains of your big move must be part of all this. And your children growing so much! As if you are settling into a new phase and need some aspect of which you still have control. That is what creeps out of the story, way hidden.

You have J-M on your side, already concerned for you.

And you are learning how to have those big discussions in a new and better way.

Great post!

Mary L. Holden

Just PRETEND it's all very, very good food and that nothing harmful will touch you or harm you! This sounds and looks so flip on the screen, but the alternative is harsh--and harsh is where you are at right now. Move up a square on the lovely chessboard of life and play.
(I write from having once been a breathatarian myself. It is better to consume and allow your alimentary canal to do its job than it is to just depend on your lung power.) You will work it all out, my friend!

Pat Cargill

Well said, Bruce in Northwest Connecticut! Oh, and would someone please pass the butter...!

Betty Tuininga

I so empathize with your feelings about GMO's and the worry about food safety, particularly with a family. I am a vegan with severe food allergies...wheat in I must eat gluten-free. I found that this includes even GF corn and oats products. Because this allergy has manifested itself in recent years I often wonder if it has to do with the introduction of GMO's. I did suspect there is a serious reason why Canada has banned Monsanto!

But there are good healthy choices and you at least are the type of conscientious consumer, (wife and mom) that you will make the best choices possible. Note to Jean-Marc: In defense of Kristin's behavior...Its not obsessing,it is love and concern for her family. It is something we mothers do!


Hi kristin, I know how hard it is. For the last 25 years I have dutifully read every label of packaged food and rejected anything with preservatives or nonorganic foods when I can buy organic. I have not touched artificial sweeteners or knowingly consumed high fructose corn syrup. But we still must nourish our bodies. Today in California we are voting on labeling GMO's...I pray that the measure passes it will be the first such law enacted in the US. For the most part French (and European) food is much safer than US foods. Yes, you must be careful with foods that easily turn to sugar, but the most important element to life is to seek balance. Some carbs, some meats, some fish and lots of vegetables--organic if possible.
Above all seek balance and life does seem to seek the good and the whole. Besides, you must not let your beautiful Jacki see your struggles with food. (Been there, done that, overcome that)
Sending love,


Several years ago a young college student, concerned with nutrition, suggested that I scrape my carrots instead of peeling them because the most nutrients were on the outside. My concern then as well as now is that I don't grow these vegetables and by removing the outer layer I am hopefully removing most of the pesticides. Living in a farming community I learned a lot about how to grow vegetables, composting, good and bad pesticides, and how to cooking foods for the best nutritional results. I am surprised at how things change and why they change, and then go back to the way they were.

Your statement, "Sugar feeds cancer" jumped out at me and if that is driving your fears check out the Adkins diet or any low carb diet. There are "good sugars" as well as bad sugars and these diets tell you both. But, most healthy women need 1800 to 2000 calories a day. Your life keeps you physically active so this should not present a weight problem for you.

As far as pesticides are concerned, remember that thousands of people eat foods with pesticides and never get cancer. Ask your doctor just how much you could consume in a baguette. I think you will be surprised.

I have lost three very dear people to different cancers and stress seems to have been the common trigger. So maybe less worry about what you are eating may be the best solution.

Love and prayers to you.


I too have been obsessing over the unnaturalness of foods. A walk through the grocers has me seeing sulfates instead of wines and chemicals instead of food- hormones instead of chicken---the list is endless. A friend has proposed making a website where everyone can list the good foods instead of focusing on the bad. Bonne chance with your journey- but do not fear living in the process! I love your blog!


I would underscore Sharon's comment! Stress is much more of a problem than any particular nutrient or carcinogen - look at the folks around you in France who smoke and have lived to an old age.
I would add a word of caution, looking at that smiling face full of pride at catching the fish, and warn not to convey any sense of it not being good enough an offering - whether it's size or whatever. What an absolutely delightful picture you presented us of youth and adventure and joy and sense of accomplishment.

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

This is an issue that many of us worry about but are also overwhelmed with seeking a resolution. In the States, time and money have control over how much we can obsess over which food we choose. It takes more effort to buy the healthiest, it costs more, and it takes more time to prepare everything from scratch. I've concluded that life is too short to worry all the time about it, so I try to make organic choices when feasible. The best that I could do for myself is give up packaged food, stop eating fast food, and reduce my sugar beaucoup. Easier said than done, but at least I know that's one way to get healthier.


Dear Kristin, When concern turns into obsession, sometimes we need to step back. Not eating will end up causing more problems. I will pray that you can find a balance and learn to enjoy the food you are preparing for your family. Sending hugs.

Jen McClory

Oh, my! Looking into the food system can feel like a black hole, that will suck you in and never let you go. I have found the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 helpful in deciding what are the foods that I should always try for organic and what ones are ok to buy the conventional version. In the US at least organics aren't OGM.

Progress, not perfection! The human body is very good at cleaning out things that are toxic to it; so do your best, and trust your body to work for you.


Kristin,what did you eat growing up? And you are alive and well. Your enemy has been the sun, and there is no life without the sun, so protect yourself when outside, and relax relax relax.


Hi Kristin,

I have your book sitting on my kitchen table, it arrived Saturday and I am enjoying reading it to the are inspiring me to get back to learning the language with your lovely lessons....

Perhaps more importantly, you are educating me about living in France, and the quality of food is very important to me. Thank you for a very helpful post and best of luck with your potager!!!!Backyard gardening solves numerous problems, tho not all!! And it is hard to change a lifestyle...

Kristine, Dallas

Life is short~ let go, let flow, let God! :)

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

Some of the comments above seem a bit naive regarding GMO foods. But others are seeming paranoid! I do think we have to find a middle ground but there should be no GMO's in our food without testing. I always use France as an example of no GMO in their food and now you tell me it's allowed! Alors!! What to do? Eat as much fresh food, organically grown if possible, if you can and avoid refined foods. My California daughter has been telling me for years to "shop the perimeter" of the grocery store. All the "junk food" is usually in the middle!! Or at the check out lanes. And as for eating what we did as kids, as we are fine, well we aren't the kids of today who are inundated with High Fructose Corn syrup, and all the other additives. Even Kristin, who is my daughter's age, has mostly eaten good food but the grand children are my concern. Let's do all we can for labeling GMO foods and demand more testing.


Several years back, I was where you are now. Yes, one can make oneself crazy with all of this. And one can't ALWAYS control what one eats. I recoommend the book Traditional Nutrition by Sally Fallon-which shows how much our diets have changed in the past 100 years-we don't eat anything like our grandparents! I am lucky to live in the Seattle area, home to the biggest natural food co-op in the country, Puget Consumer's Co-op. They put their products where their beliefs are and I highly recommend perusing their website. I will close with this-eating is an experience, as well as a necessity. So, sometimes, even when you don't know WHAT you are eating, you are eating it in a bon vivant atmosphere, with good vibes and people you love, and that, perhaps, means the most of all.

Karen from Phoenix

It is good to read what is out there to keep informed, but you can go crazy trying to control what you can buy. Try your best to get the best possible foods available in your area. That is all you can do. Not eating will creating another whole problem. All these books that have the answer and documentaries that have the answer never really do. Growing our own vegetables is great but if you can't try your best. Most of all relax because the stress you put on yourself is worst that the foods your are eating!!


Gayle Markow

As usual, I love your honesty and your courageous strength to write about a challenge that is coming up for you -- in this case, how to avoid contaminated and altered foods, (Montsanto is spending a fortune here in California to convince voters that it is not in their interest to know whether or not their food has been altered) and how this affects your sense of well-being and, of course your sense of responsibility toward yourself, Jean Marc, and your children. You are courageous and doing our online community a service when you offer your own true emotions and challenges of communication with your husband. I see this as a strength of yours. And not something we, your readers, have to worry about, and counsel you that you need to be stronger and relax more and not worry. That's BS. Everyone has challenges. You are strong (as you are) and generous to share your vulnerabilities in the process of change, as well as your "conquests". Your writing about real life and your understanding that it is all about change shows wisdom and compassion and patience (even a kind of patience with your own impatience) at every turn. Good on ya' Kristin.


Why do you trust that "les fruits de mer" are not also tainted?

Kaaren Scanio

We are turning fear into a god and it, not food, good or bed too much or too little, will consume us if we allow it. Eat normally and logically. Obsessive behavior is a killer. More people are living longer, healthier lives now than ever before and the abundance of food is a major reason. In third world countries people would give anything for the food you are rejecting.

Diane Heinecke

Ne t'inquiete pas, mon amie. De bonnes nouvelles de l'Academie Americaine des Pediatres! Et les recherches ont corrobore celles de l'Universite Stanford. Voir l'article:


The media is the one to question right now. Who is controlling what is being written? Studies and safety limits? Everyone has different levels of tolerance and genetic tendancies that are not addressed in general studies. I hold onto the studies done by the French scientists showing that gmo corn has damaging effects to the digestive track. thank you France!
Locally grown, know your farm and organic seem to make the best sense to me. But most importanat is the stress we put ourselves though with fear. Health is in our attitudes and how we embrace life. Fear is what 'they' want us to feel and react to - and the media is our worst culprit. Find the good and wholesome and eat with that idea, Blessing what we prepare. Peace! Ayurveda a 5000 year old health system supports the body, food as medicine.

Patty Austin in Bethesda, MD

The good book says ...
everything in moderation...
in both the old and new testament
don't know where, but it is there...
then we do the best we can, no?
xxoo -patty

Pennie Vandenbroek

Thank you, Kristin, for connecting us to the documentary about GMO's. I hadn't been paying much attention to that particular aspect of healthy living. I read many books about nutrition over forty years ago and changed many of my eating habits as a result. I realize food and exercise are only part of healthy living. Gradually, I've come to see the truth in these words, "Man does not live by bread alone. . ." I am 64, don't take any vitamins or meds, and am trying to grow older gracefully, thankful to God for many blessings each day. I appreciate your openness, and all the people that comment as well. We love living in south western Ontario where many healthy foods are grown.

Karen Whitcome (in warm and rainy Towson, Md)

Humans messing with nature is frightening. It can have positive outcomes but it sure is scary. My advise is to live life to the fullest but with a little bit of informed caution. Many have lived long, happy lives on worse food items.

Maybe, you could just omit major high-risk GMO foods from your regular diet and loosen the controls on the rest of your food (trying to stick to organic when possible). That keeps a better balance, don't you think?

From a Whole Foods website:
With regard to our North American food supply, approximately 93% of soy, 88% of field corn, 94% cotton, and over 90% of canola seed and sugar beets planted in the U.S. (2012 data) are genetically engineered.According to the Non-GMO Project, the following are considered High-Risk Crops (in commercial production; ingredients derived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project Verified products (as of December 2011):

Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

More information on other high-risk foods, monitored crops and common ingredients derived from GMO risk crops can be found on their website,

Jackie in Natick, MA

Kristin, take a nice deep breath and relax. I think I'm speaking to myself as well! My very wise mother died at the age of 93 and the motto she lived by was "everything in moderation". She ate well, allowed herself treats, but always in moderation. I am pretty obsessed with reading labels, not buying anything with corn syrup, saturated oils, or any GMO food, etc. We buy from local farmers whenever possible at our weekly market in town and we buy organic and/or grass fed meat and poultry at Whole Foods. We have learned that when we are eating at other people's homes we eat and enjoy what they have prepared. I'm trying my best to adhere to my mom's voice in my head of "everything in moderation" (including dark chocolate!).


Chère Kristin,

I get where you are coming from! Food has been a huge concern for me, especially since my own bout with breast cancer at 29. (And I am a firm believer that exposure of some kind is to credit for it.) Food has become the only medication that I can rely on now with treatment well past me. The EWG's annual list has been helpful. I have since had two babies and had to formula-feed them as that was the only option. Even the organic formula had detectable melamine levels in it from the containers! I try to console myself by saying that they will eat well once they are done with it. All I can do is try my best. But one thing to keep in mind is this: change is in the air. Just look at your readers' comments. This is an issue that matters, and I believe that we will be able to effect change!


joie in carmel,ca

Moderation. The stress that you are building up over this is far more harmful than 95% of the food your family eats. You cannot control every bite you take and litteraly those few leaves of lettuce that J-M talks about will be your demise as you know they don't supply near the amount or norrir that is required to sustain a body. You know the foods you should stay away from. I buy organic and do what I can but try to be reasonable. That GMO corn the cow the meat affected by it? I don't think most of it passed out as waste? I think so. In animals I would be more concerned of them being given hormones.We do the best with what we are given. How sweet the concern of Jean-Marc, and the fish that Max got.....well, that will not feed the family. Plus, then we could get on to how much mercury might be in the fish. In order to eat we must eat. Another way to look at things: One hundred years ago we ate basically organic on everything and our life span was far less than it is today. And this is not all just because of medical advances.
I am fortunate to live in a place very similar to where you now live. Two years ago I decided to try to eat all foods that come from a hundred mile radius of where I live. Probably the only 4 things I have made exception to are coffee, bananas, the occasional French or Italian cheeses and my wine. I can get good local hard cheese and goat cheese(all orgainic).....but a Brie de Meaux . I can get excellent local wine too, but my favorites are a bit pricey.
Put this all out of your head now, head to the boutique, buy yourself a pretty blouse and pack for that cruise. I am thinking it could not come at a better time.

carole Hayden

You are being an excellent model of anorexia for your daughter and son. Get a whole foods cookbook and forget the problems and be healthy.

Elaine Wilson

Today in California, Proposition 37 is a vote to LABEL ALL GMO FRANKENFOOD. Monsanto, have put Millions to defeat it. I voted for it, of course. I thought that the EU including France BANS ALL GMO adulterated food? These crazies are on a campaign to OWN ALL THE SEEDS IN THE WORLD. FARMERS IN INDIA ARE KILLING THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO BUY THESE HORRIBLE SEEDS AND MAY NOT USE NON-CONTAMINATED SEEDS(NORMAL SEEDS!!)THE COMPANIES NOW OWN THE FARMERS IN INDIA $$$

Devra Long

I firmly believe that stress is worse than any pesticide; eat well,sleep well; exercise (yoga!)laugh a lot and give lots of hugs!!

Martine Baboin

Bonjour Kristin,

Est-ce que Jean Marc a choisi le nom de son vin dont il avait glané les grappes? Merci de me tenir au courant.


Hi Kristin,

It might be easier in France than even here in Southern California to 'buy local'. That is the most recent theme for buying produce and eggs, for example, that are grown nearby and when, if you buy in a farmers' market, you can talk to the person who grew or raised what you are buying. Our local county agency makes certain that all the vendors in the farmers' markets are actually selling their own products (the concern here is that they bought thrown out produce from supermarkets and sell it as their own!), so we look for their permits hanging above the stalls. Supermarkets are most likely not selling local products. We also look for the official organic seal - something else that has been tampered with lately - but in most cases is real.

We should all avoid sugar in any form. That's certainly the culprit in most diseases. Oh, and Nutella got a very bad rap in recent months as one of the worst junk foods around. In 2 tablespoons it has 21 grams of sugar, it contained hydrogenated palm oil (trans fats!) and so much more that is not natural. Look online for recipes making chocolate nut butters from scratch for those who are addicted to Nutella. And remember, chocolate is dangerous for your dogs!!


Hi dear Kristin,
Your fears are well founded and are shared by MANY of us.
What a sad commentary of the times we live in.
The only high point in any of this is that we are able to do our research and discover what's right for ourselves and our families.
A far cry from 'the way it used to be'!!
Love, Natalia XO

Cynthia Lewis in Salisbury, Eastern Shore of Maryland

Dear Kristin,

As you can see from so many comments/letters, your readers who are concerned for you do not wish for you to be unhappy and worried. Now you might weave their advice and thoughts into a "plan of action" for yourself. I feel certain that you will make the best choice for yourself and your family. My very best wishes, Cynthia

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon

Yes on the cruise!!! Do enjoy time with your dear friend! It’ll do wonders for your health!

I can so relate to your reaction, been there while researching matters regarding my animals well-being and my own. The information at the time seemed over-whelming and it probably was. While healthy choices run the gamut, it makes sense to not allow this to bring stress upon you. No matter how good our choices if made in fear or worry, we are not doing ourselves a favor. With my propensity to worry, I prefer to keep it whole and simple and not veer too far off path, trusting my intuition and how I feel. Best wishes! Now, get packing!


.........the oceans are completely contaminated as are full of mercury......IT IS A HUGE PROBLEM..........for anyone who has become aware of the filth the corporations are contaminating the food chain with......We can only be careful, buy locally and give up the bad stuff AND the microwave.......

Susan Carter (Westminster, CA)

Moderation in all that we eat and minimizing stress are the best we can do to insure good health. we do have to eat and can no longer grow all our own food, but we can eat healthier, avoid too much sugar & fat, avoid preservatives and get lots of exercise.


You worrying about the wrong thing. GMO are not dangerous; many studies have been done, and none show any problem with GMO. You should worry about real problems, like pesticides, and not fake problems.

Christine Dashper

Hi Kristin,

I hear you, it is so complex, but if you try to take it on board all at once it will do your head in. I have been studying nutrition as part of my naturopathy degree and when I started realising all these things that you have mentioned I lost faith in our food suppliers. Having said that, I know I can get a little 'fixated' on things so I made a conscious decision to be gradual about the changes I made to where and how I obtained my food. It's not simple and with a busy life sometimes I have to get it from the supermarket but that's when the pragmatic part of me kicks in. You can only do the best you can, don't turn yourself inside out, over time you will find that you will be able to satisfy yourself that most of what you buy you will be happy with. It is a shock when you first realise how pervasive the corporations are, but bit by bit you can source good food. It sounds like you are well on the way. Take care :)

Linda in Port Townsend WA

Kristin - just a couple pennies' worth: you're right to be concerned over the food these days, but listen to your husband. Stress is the real killer and everything boils down to what you believe. Get that straight and you have a fighting chance. Be well.

Bonnie L

I hope I never become one of those people that says just lie back and enjoy it because you can't do anything about it! It is going to take outrage by all of us to change the industrial food industry.

Doesn't anyone wonder about the explosion of gluten intolerance?! We have bought a well known "organic" breakfast cereal for years. We can no longer tolerate it; embarrassing, severe intestinal upset the day after! What happened to our cereal after the company was bought out by one of the largest cereal companies in the US? Are we intolerant to GMO grains, not gluten? Can grains engineered to tolerate vast amounts of pesticides be good for us?

We have become careful about what we eat. It can be done without making yourself crazy. We have a garden. We buy produce and meats from farms that we know and trust. We buy bio wines, France is on the forefront in this. This is important. We have to show these industrial food producers that we will not buy their crap!

Bonnie L

I hope I never become one of those people that says just lie back and enjoy it because you can't do anything about it! It is going to take outrage by all of us to change the industrial food industry.

Doesn't anyone wonder about the explosion of gluten intolerance?! We have bought a well known "organic" breakfast cereal for years. We can no longer tolerate it; embarrassing, severe intestinal upset the day after! What happened to our cereal after the company was bought out by one of the largest cereal companies in the US? Are we intolerant to GMO grains, not gluten? Can grains engineered to tolerate vast amounts of pesticides be good for us?

We have become careful about what we eat. It can be done without making yourself crazy. We have a garden. We buy produce and meats from farms that we know and trust. We buy bio wines, France is on the forefront in this. This is important. We have to show these industrial food producers that we will not buy their crap!


I'm with you, Kristin, on the fight against pesticides. Along with that, I'm against farm raised fish and frozen fish from Vietnam (caught in one of the world's most polluted rivers) and China.I spend a lot of time reading packaging when I shop and still miss the final line of actual origination. I bet Carol Drinkwater is a neighbor of you and she fought against spraying her olive trees quite a few years ago. You are not alone with public awareness, trust me. But, don't let this overwhelm you. Just do what is right for you and yours and enjoy. If you have time leftover, do some more for others.


You've had a brush with skin cancer -too much sun exposure on your fair complexion, I would imagine. And your mom had cancer. It is quite understandable that you are concerned, and the full consequences of our modifications of the food system are really unknown. Do the best you can with getting wholesome product that has been produced organically, and with good sanitation practices too (you don't want any kind of food poisoning). Do what you can, and certainly bring this awareness to others. But don't let this make you unable to enjoy life and your beautiful family. Do what you can and know that what you are doing does make a difference to your family and to your readers. Take care. Too much stress is not good for you either.

Nancy R. Smith ASID

Kristin--Jean-Marc needs to teach your son how to fly fish. He'll have much better luck in the sea world. My husband's license plate is: Fly-Fish----he and our son are avid fly fishermen----the only way to go!
Don't worry so much----there is a happy medium. The term "organic" is meaningless. When I was a child everything we grew/raised was organic, but we didn't know it! Decapitated our own chickens, had our beef cut, etc. You can find the same sources. NRS

Fred Lovett

In my last post about Samantha Davies I said the accident was on the 10th. It was actually on the 16th.



Kristen, I cook from scratch, eat lots of veggies and buy meat that is anti-biotic free, however, that does not mean myself and my family will not be exposed to something that is not natural. You do the best you can. Don't worry about it so much. As long as you are doing the best you can, c'est tout! Enjoy the sit down meals with your family, (something that here in the states is becoming a rarity)unfortunately time flies buy so quickly with our children, we need to enjoy every minute we can.

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