Why Eat Organic?

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EAT ORGANIC: Why non-GMO doesn’t go nearly far enough

by Kim Vidya, RHN, HOL

Walking through your average health food store today, you will see the old food paradigm creeping back onto the shelves. Row and rows of cartoonish boxes and bottles with colourful labels that claim to be “health foods” abound, but are not really that different from the products found in mainstream supermarkets. One of the most concerning aspects of this trend is the emergence of “non-GMO” as a brand/meme that competes with “certified organic” in the minds of consumers. But once one understands the issue, there really is no choice at all. Eating organic is the only way to go if you care about your health and everything else that lives.

When food is organic, it automatically means that it cannot be genetically modified, so why has the “non-GMO” label emerged at all? It sure seems like the non-GMO brand protects a whole lot of Monsanto’s agri- business. They get to keep selling chemical fertilizers, nerve-agent pesticides, fungicides, and devastating herbicides to the tune of billions of annual sales. Consumers have been duped into thinking that their non- GMO groceries somehow represent a progressive choice, as if they were organic-like. But as we shall see, there can be no compromises when it comes to eating organic.

Roundup® the Glyphosate!

Monsanto’s Roundup® is a glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) originally designed to clean boilers. In 1974, it was approved for use to kill weeds for agriculture. The World Health Organization’s Agency for Research on Cancer recently declared it to be “probably carcinogenic”, but the list of health problems associated with GBHs is far greater than just cancer.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), reveals how glyphosate wrecks human health. According to Dr. Seneff, glyphosate is possibly "the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies,” including but not limited to: autism, bowel diseases, obesity, allergies, cardiovascular disease, depression, infertility, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and many more. Glyphosate does this by stripping your body of minerals (remember it began as a boiler cleaner), and causing systemic toxicity. It also disrupts intestinal flora, preferentially killing healthy bacteria (such as acidophilus) and allowing pathogens to overgrow.

GBHs are used extensively on most farm fields, and are sprayed on virtually all GMO and non-GMO grains right before harvesting, making eliminating glyphosate the number one reason for eating organic. Cooking oils are one of the highest concentrations of glyphosate. ONLY ORGANIC FOOD IS GLYPHOSATE-FREE. JUST EATING “NON-GMO” DOESN’T CUT IT.

GO for NO GMO!

Genetically-modified organisms represent one of the bigger ecological concerns of our era. But health food store products that say “non-GMO, all-natural” isolate only one aspect of being organic (and definitely NOT “all-natural”.) ORGANIC ALWAYS MEANS NON-GMO. So when you say organic, you are saying non-GMO. No need to say both.

Healthy soil, healthy food, healthy world, healthy you.

Non-organic crops often use varying amounts of chemical fertilizers. These chemicals imbalance the soil, and produce veggies that might look nice but lack the underlying minerals found in organic produce. Organic produce costs more to grow and purchase, but has a much higher nutritional value. Organic farms such as Moondance or Cookstown Greens have extensive soil enrichment procedures that provide full spectrums of minerals and trace elements to your food. Chew less, feed your body more: ORGANIC PRODUCE CAN HAVE UP TO 2-3 TIMES THE VITAMIN/MINERAL CONTENT.

Agent Orange or Green?

Pesticides used extensively on non-organic crops were originally designed as nerve agents and used as military weapons of war. Should we really accept this being on our food? Our tolerance level for nerve agents on our food should be absolute zero. EATING ORGANIC MEANS EATING PESTICIDE-FREE.

What about the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen?

These two lists focus only on pesticide levels on produce, and as such they are as incomplete as non-GMO. The idea with the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen list was to highlight products that have more or less pesticide residue (sometimes after pressure washing), in an attempt to help consumers make better choices as to which produce they should buy organic or never eat. On the surface this seems like a noble effort, but when you consider the fine print, not so much.

Take for instance the inclusion on the Clean Fifteen list of frozen sweet corn, where it has appeared for several years. Corn gets sprayed with tons of chemical fertilizers, plus glyphosates at harvest time, and until recently was also sprayed extensively with neonicotinoids, an insecticide that has now been banned by multiple environmental protection agencies due to massive die-offs in local bee populations. How can the use of this chemical have been allowed, and the corn produced with it listed on the Clean Fifteen, with the resulting environmental damage? Because the criteria is overly simple with the Clean Fifteen list - it only focuses on pesticides, and if there are small enough residues of the chemical when the consumer goes to eat it, then it passes this narrow test of “safety”. So you can buy a veggie off the Clean Fifteen list that was dosed with chemical fertilizers, contains high levels of deadly glyphosate residue, and was sprayed multiple times with a chemical linked to massive bee deaths. That doesn’t sound very clean to me. The problem is with singularity of focus, i.e. pesticides, instead of

the holistic perspective, which considers the “whole” instead of myopically focusing on just one part.

When you choose ALL-ORGANIC, ALL THE TIME, without compromise, you are supporting a world where there there are no more disastrous mad science food adventures, perhaps causing irreversible harm to our eco-systems.

Small is Beautiful - Tending A Tiny Garden

There are many more reasons to choose an all-organic diet. Organic farms are much smaller, often family-based businesses. The higher prices for organic produce allow farmers to make a better living selling organic, despite smaller production volumes. Generational wisdom of organic farming practices can be enhanced and preserved, so that future populations will be able to receive and protect this knowledge.

What Frankenfood comes next?

Who knows what the chemists and mad doctors will come up with next to mess with our healthy food supply for the sake of profits? What new thing will they spray on our food, where the negative impact is only felt a decade or more later? What is the long-term environmental impact? ALWAYS EAT AN ALL-ORGANIC DIET and you no longer have to worry about the answers to these questions. 


Organic Is Not A Luxury, It's a Necessity


Organic Is Not A Luxury, It's a Necessity

Many people know we are a healthy restaurant that serves delicious and exceptionally high quality menu options; many also aren't aware of the full scope of exactly how far we go to protect ourselves, and our community from the harmful effects of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, genetically modified organisms (GMO), sewage sludge, and the list goes on... 

Glyphosate should be at the top of that list. Glyphosate, (aka Roundup from Monsanto) is a highly destructive chemical used most often in conventional farming practices. The use of Glyphosate is often lost in the umbrella of Monstanto's other warped farming practices namely genetic modification of plant species such as corn and soy. 

Although there are several reasons to Eat Organic, Glyphosate is a worthy reason all on its own to adhere to a strictly organic diet. As well, the clothes we wear, the cleaning products we use, and skin care/make up products all play a part in reducing exposure to harmful chemicals finding their way into our blood stream via skin, digestion, and air. 

The best way to minimize glyphosate exposure is to adhere strictly to a completely organic diet. In their formative, brilliant 2016 study, Anthony Samsel, PHD, and Stephanie Seneff, PHD, have discovered that glyphosate in Roundup has devastating effects in the human body.

"Glyphosate alters and destroys collagen of the basement membrane and extracellular matrix which surrounds each cell. This leads to the destruction of every gland, organ and tissue." 

Click the link below to learn more...

Kim Vidya, RHN, HOL 



2-Year Anniversary OPEN HOUSE Celebration!

This past weekend we enjoyed the talents of many local musicians, healers, and health professionals as we shared our beautiful yoga-wellness centre and restaurant with over 80 members of our community! We served delicious samples (most of which were far more than samples!) that consisted of: vegan poutine, egyptian lentil soup, smoked mushroom sliders, vegan chilli, warm apple crisp, and juice samples. We also offered a selection of organic wines and kombucha from our elixir bar. 

This as a gift to you for sharing this past 2 years with us, and helping us to grow into a beautiful centre filled with conscious happy vibrations. We are thankful!

-Kim Vidya


Our fantastic staff (clockwise around) Kim and Susan, Henry, Kitty, Jessika, Annie, Desiree, and Brianna, Matthew, Kody, and Nicole. Also not pictured: Andrew, Tanya, Marie, Tammy, and Lisa! Thank you so much for all that you do. We are thankful. 


Our wonderful clients and friends! Thank you for joining us on our very special day! 



Did you know that we are much more than a restaurant!?

Vidya's Veggie Gourmet Restaurant began in 2008 as a small yoga studio and wellness centre in Newmarket Ontario offer yoga classes, infrared sauna, and nutritional consultations. From there, Kim Vidya moved her studio to the south end of Barrie, on Bryne drive for 3 years, and then moved to our current location in Thornton Ontario in 2013. It was this location that inspired the restaurant and the overnight retreat centre that houses up to 12 people in dormitory style rooms. At the new location Vidya's restaurant and wellness centre offers a plethora of services, events, live musicians, seminars, overnight retreats, bed and breakfast, and so much more.

To learn more, visit: and click on our EVENTS page for details on our exciting upcoming events!

The Vidya Centre is seeking practitioners of all kinds to join our talented team. At present we are seeking a talented and friendly RMT to join our team! 




Nepal Fundraiser - A Tremendous Success!

This past Friday, May 22nd close to 100 artists, musicians, and many compassionate members of our community rallied together for the people of Nepal, recently ravaged by earthquakes. Vidya's Veggie Gourmet is proud to have been a part of such an incredibly heart warming evening. Thank you to all who came out to share your light. To donate, please contact Vanessa at the link below.

A note from Vanessa Robertson, coordinator of the event:

"OVERWHELMED with gratitude for an incredibly successful Nepal Relief Fundraiser event last night "Sangha helping Sangha", "Community helping Community".

"Vidya's Veggie Gourmet restaurant was packed with love and support with friends from all of my life circles...And SOOO many friends who couldn't physically attend donated online or bought "virtual" tickets to support us. I am RIDICULOUSLY giddy to announce that we have raised $9534 so far!!.....We still have some items that didn't sell in the auction so I will post shortly with a "Second Chance" auction for those that couldn't attend and it's not too late to still donate online."

"The biggest thank you, from my heart to all of my friends, near and far who contributed to this success. "

The talented John Weston, Myrelle Byrd, and Guest Guitarist

Vanessa Robertson and Kim Vidya

Vanessa Robertson and Kim Vidya



Vidya's First Sunday Movie Night A Great Success!

Thank you to all who came out to enjoy the Disney movie "Bearss"! Thanks to Mary and volunteers from Bear Creek Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary for coming out to share experiences with raising and caring for the bears at their sanctuary! Together we raised over $200 for the sanctuary, and enjoyed a lovely evening together. We hope to see you again soon for our next Movie night on Sunday April 26th! (most movie nights will fall on the last Sunday of the month, but see website EVENTS page for updates)



Bed & Breakfast/Retreat

We are very excited to announce the grand opening of our 3rd floor bedrooms for special events, overnight retreats, and weekend bed and breakfast guests!

When we are not running a yoga/wellness retreat our centre is open for you to spend the night or weekend. Come and enjoy the ambiance and charm of this ancient building, delicious food, yoga/pilates/nia classes, massage, infrared sauna, consultations, quaint old town, and exceptional service ....anytime!

Vidya Centre includes: 

• 4 bedrooms to sleep 10 guests total (1 single room for a couple includes own shower and sink) 1 bedroom with 2 beds and sink. 2 other rooms with 3 twin beds each, to share a washroom and shower. (extra washrooms and shower on 2nd floor)

• Infrared Detox Sauna

• Massage Therapist / Nutritionist / Body Worker 

• Organic, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Restaurant 

• 2 Yoga Studios

• Conference/Seminar room with large screen TV, high end sound system, and heated floors

• Outdoor patio and gardens 

• Walking trails nearby

More pictures of our beautiful wellness retreat centre here.

Please contact Kim Vidya for an estimate on your upcoming event, or to make a reservation.



GE Foods & Health - Dinner and Speaker Friday November 14th

Northern Organics and Vidya's Veggie Gourmet are excited to have the opportunity to bring a national speakers’ tour on the topic of genetically engineered foods and the impact on your health to Barrie.  

Dr. Thierry Vrain, a retired soil biologist and genetic engineer who after a 30-year career with Agriculture Canada now speaks against GE technology, and Mr. Tony Mitra, podcaster, videographer, internationally active citizen journalist and food security activist. 

The goal of the evening is to talk about what we can do to increase the awareness about genetically engineered foods and how we can work together to get them off of our dinner table. 

This is an Invitation Only exclusive engagement and includes a delicious 3 course meal.

Tickets are $50 per person and are on sale now and seating is limited!!

Dinner Tickets can be purchased at

Unable to attend, yet would like to help support this event? We are taking donations to help fund the speakers’ tour which they are donating their time to do. Donations can be made at the same link as above. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Questions? Email Here



Former Owner from 1950's Visits Vidya's

In late August of this year we hosted the Lucescu family who at one time back in the 50's owned the Queen's Hotel.  It was a trip down memory lane for them, and quite an experience for all of us at Vidya's to host them and hear their stories.
A letter from Melodie:
"I just wanted to thank you for staying open for us for dinner yesterday. It was certainly a trip down memory lane for all of us to be with our mother at the hotel again and to show all of our own kids one of the places that holds so many wonderful memories for us. We were all so excited, telling our stories as we walked from room to room. It was such a nice way to end our family reunion week.

We met your wonderful wife too. She was so kind, helpful, knowledgeable, and obviously passionate about your business. It is such a terrific concept! It was great talking to her. Everyone there was so kind, welcoming, and happy. They made us feel "at home" from the moment we walked in the door. 

So, thanks again from all of us. We wish you and Kim all the best for many years to come, both personally and with your amazing wellness business. 

Looking forward to seeing you again, soon. 
With best regards,
Melodie (and the Lucescu family)

By the way, my grandmother and uncle who owned the hotel were Corinne (Cartier) Bonneville and her brother, Bernard Cartier. I believe they  owned it in the 50's and 60's. My grandmother also lived there and operated the hotel.



Harkin' Back to a Man of the People

For those who have asked us about our delicious organic potato wedges, and how they came to be called Harkin's Wedges, we present here the story of Mr. Neil Harkin, who most certainly frequented the old Queen's Hotel in the 1800s, as Hwy. 27 was the main route from Collingwood to Toronto, and all by horse and buggy, of course.

Mr. Harkin symbolizes the spirit of perseverance and the indomitable will to overcome adversity. He arrived from Ireland on a ship stricken by disease, which killed two-thirds of its inhabitants, representing hundreds of people buried at sea. Fleeing poverty and famine in Ireland, the trip overseas must have felt like a journey of the damned for those onboard. Nearly escaping death himself, Neil Harkin would go on to become one of the most successful and loved men of Simcoe County. He was rich in love and family and friends, and he served his community staunchly and helped bring civilization to this neck of the woods. We present below the obituary from 1902, from the Stayner Sun, the year of Neil Harkin's passing.


Neil Harkin, Ex-Reeve of Sunnidale Township

Neil Harkin, Ex-Reeve of Sunnidale Township

Death of Neil Harkin, Esq.

One of the Oldest and Best Known Residents of North Simcoe Passes away, in his 74th year

Neil Harkin, Esq., J.P. died at his home at Corn Hill on Wednesday, Sept 24th, 1902. By reason of his long residence here and the active interest he took in public affairs, Mr. Harkin was known all over Simcoe County, and not only will his familiar figure be missed from the streets of Stayner, but many former residents of Nottawasaga and Sunnidale will learn with regret of his death.

Mr. Harkin was 73 years of age and his health had been poor for the past few years, but he was confined to his bed only two days before his death. He was in town the Saturday previous.

The funeral left his late residence, Corn Hill, on Saturday, Sept 27th, to St. Patrick's Church, Stayner, where high Mass was celebrated by Rov. Father Jeffcott, who delivred an excellent sermon, suitable to the occasion. The music of the choir was appreciated. Mrs. Hargraves leader and organist, sang Lead Kindly Light and Nearer my God to Thee. The pal-bearers were the deceased's six granddsons, Thomas, Joseph and Justin Guilfoyle, Joseph and Leo Harkin, and Alfred Shauacy. Interment was made at the R.C. cemetery, Nottawasaga, where the remains were laid in the family plot.

Neil Harkin was born in 1829 in the county of Mayo, Ireland, and sailed from there to Canada in 1847 by the ship Wolfe Villa, of Ardrosson, Scotland. Of the 750 passengers on board, 500 died during the voyage and their bodies were cast into the sea, among them being Mr. Harkin's mother and one brother. On arriving at Quarantine the Wolfe Villa cast anchor among other plague stricken ships from sone of which death had claimed every human being, passengers and crew. There Mr. Harkin lost two brothers and lay sick himself for weeks before he was able to proceed to the interior. He first settled on the first concession of the township of Nottawasaga, where he lived until 1865, and then removed to his last place of residence, the wet half of Lot 3 Concession 5, Sunnidale. At that time there was an unbroken forest for miles around, but Mr. H., though commencing with little or nother beyond the talents, physical and mental, with which he was endowed, used these so well as to secure the blessing of comfortable home, a title of 500 acres of land, 300 being cleared and improved, and an enviable reputation in private and public life. He was one the the first Township Councellors and contined to be a municipal representative for many years, being reeve in 1869. He was made J.P. in 1876. In 1879, he recieved the unanimous nomination of the Reform convention as candidate for election to the Ontario Legislature but sickness in his family led him to decline. He was of the staunchest type of Reformer in politics and was one of the first readers of The Toronto Globe. He was President of the Reform Association of the riding for 20 years and License Commissioner for Centre Simcoe for 28 years. in 1852, he married Mary, daughter of Mr. Patrick Dunn, of Vespra. They reared a family of eleven children, James and John dead; P.J. and Mrs. O'Keefe, Buffalo; Mrs. Shanacy, Tornoto; M.C. Harkin, merchant, Stayner; Mrs. J. Guilfoyle and Andrew, Corn Hill; Neil, Sarah and Agnes at home. Mr. Harkin's wife predeceased him seventeen years, she having died Sept 23rd 1885."

Source: Stayner Sun

learn more about Neil Harkin at