Lou Bendrick

Lou Bendrick is a former contributor to the High Country News Writers on the Range syndication service whose freelance work now appears in various publications.

Not-so-hot chocolate

In a tasting of seven eco-cocoas, only one hits the mark

You're stressed, and it's cold out there. Time to relax over hot chocolate. Let's mull the available eco-cocoas, and pick out one sure to melt away holiday stress!


Choosy tasters stick to Skippy-like organic peanut butters

Some of the scary problems with peanut butter can be avoided by buying organic. But do any of them taste as good as the bad stuff? Lou Bendrick assembles a panel to find out. Find out which one will drive your taste buds nuts.

E tofu, Brutus?

A recently converted vegetarian tells which meatless dogs cut the mustard

Do vegetarians have to trade that smoky, juicy hot-dog flavor from our childhood ballgames for rubbery, ersatz wieners? A brand new herbivore fearlessly fires up the grill to find out.

Pretty 'n' pink

Taste-testing the best green rosés

(Jason Houston photos) When a certain Grist editor who shall remain nameless, suggested I do an organic rosé tasting, I was eager to comply. The weather has been getting warmer, and I had fond memories of a hiking trip in southern France that involved a familial decision to consume crisp, refreshing rosés in lieu of sports drinks. Plus, after my recent organic milk tasting (which generated lots of hate mail in shouty ALL CAPS), a wine tasting sounded as light and fun as pink wine itself. But there are more serious, compelling reasons to drink organic wines: conventional grapes may …

Udder chaos

A taste test of greener milks

Full Circle’s ultra-pasteurized offering, versus small-farm Blue Hill’s raw milk: Which mooved tasters the most?(Photos by Jason Houston) Putting aside for a moment the dietary arguments against drinking cow’s milk — we’re not calves, it’s liquid meat, it’s snot-producing, so hard to digest, etc. — conventional milk deserves vilification for many reasons. Conventional dairy’s ethically repulsive and planet-reaming process involves more or less torturing cows to lactate year-round; pumping their ailing, grain-fed bodies with hormones and antibiotics right up until they become hamburger; butchering their anemic offspring for scallopine and pet food; and, last but not least, polluting our own …

Limp Biscuits

Eco dog treats confound canines and humans alike

Everyone’s a critic: one of our panelists gropes for a sniff of biscuit.Photo: Jason Houston I’ve got a bone to pick with conventional dog biscuits. Like commercial dog food, they are made with un-green or even potentially dangerous ingredients. Surely, they’re unworthy of a companion who greets your return from the mailbox with nothing less than rapture. But are the spendy, natural and/or organic versions worth the price of reducing Rover’s carbon pawprint? Will your dog eat them, or even prefer them to cheap, commercial Milk-Bones? Our esteemed critics are ready for their treats. Photo: Jason HoustonTo find out, I …

We just wanna French in the morning

Tasting five organic French roasts leads to buzzkill

Photos: Jason Houston To say that I love coffee is a big, fat lie. I need coffee in a chemically dependent way. Its effect upon me is essentially the reverse of those faces-of-meth photos. There are two things that can really screw up a good coffee buzz (OK, three if you count skim milk). First is the fact that conventionally grown coffee is an environmental bummer. To quote Umbra Fisk, “Conventional coffee production involves chemicals, deforestation, and mistreated workers and dead birds.” So to avoid songbird blood on your hands first thing in the morning, buy coffee with organic, fair …

Checkout line

Pom-Pom club: Just how ‘Wonderful’ are pomegranates?

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries.  ————— Dear Checkout Line, For months now, I can’t seem to walk through my local natural-food market without smacking into a vast display of pomegranates — and I usually put one in my cart. Not that long ago, the fruit with the deep-red seeds would show up in the market in a tiny pile, and just for a short time in October. What gives? Did someone put in a giant monocrop of them somewhere in California? Are they …

Canned goods--and bads

How to make healthy, safe food-bank donations 

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night. ————— Time to green the canned-food drive.From the Grist Twitter feed: Looking for healthy safe nonperishable foods to donate to food banks. Ideas?  – Janieo  
  Dear Janieo,  Thanks so much for this question. I must admit that sometimes I feel like I’m fiddling while Rome burns — prattling on about the merits of artisan chocolate while people go hungry. To understand the issue of hunger better, I contacted …

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