Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Author Interview: Elizabeth Henderson-Sharing The Harvest, A Citizen's Guide To Community Supported Agriculture

I had the opportunity to do an e-mail interview with Elizabeth Henderson, author of Sharing the Harvest, A Citizen's Guide To Community Service Agriculture.
Elizabeth started one of the first CSAs in 1988 and has been an organic farmer for 25 years.

Celeste: What are the health benefits of eating organic produce?

Elizabeth: There are clear health benefits to eating organically grown foods. Recent studies show that organic foods are much less likely to contain residues of chemical pesticides and are denser in essential vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidents. Interested readers can find the research studies on the Organic Center website – www.organiccenter.org.

The food from local, family-scale organic farms is fresher, richer in nutrients, and grown with greater care than the industrialized organic food shipped from California or elsewhere that appears in supermarkets. Knowing your farmer is the best way to assure the safety of your food.

Celeste: If a consumer can afford a limited number of organic items, what fruits and veggies should they start with?

The fruits and veggies with the highest level of chemical residues are peaches, strawberries, potatoes, lettuce, and spinach.

Celeste: How is the consumer helping the environment when buying organic?

Elizabeth: One’s own health is very important, but many people also want to contribute to reducing the likelihood of severe climate change. Eating organic:
  • Uses less energy.
  • Is good for the health of the planet.
  • Organic farms use 30 to 60% less energy than conventional farms.
  • By using cover crops and composting, organic farmers stock carbon in the soil, which helps to reduce the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
  • Buying from local farms cuts out the huge energy expenses for transporting food from distant places.
  • And when you buy directly from farms at farmers' markets, farm stands or through community supported agriculture, you cut out the middlemen and spend less money on your food.

Celeste: Do organic farmers use botanical pestides? Chemical residues on soil and crops? How about sodium nitrate?

Organic farmers sometimes use botanical pesticides, but these break down very quickly and have not been found to leave residues on the food. Organic food is not guaranteed to be free of all chemical residues since these are so pervasive in our environment that even mothers’ milk has residues. But organic farmers do not make things worse by using synthetic, toxic materials in growing food. Sodium nitrate is allowed in limited amounts in organic production. Personally, I have never used any in 27 years of organic farming.

Celeste: What are some important things a person needs to consider when choosing a CSA?

Elizabeth: Every CSA is different! You should select the CSA that offers what you are looking for. Some CSAs give you the opportunity to participate in growing the food or helping with distribution. Others simply deliver the food to a convenient place near where you live. Every CSA provides information about how your food is grown, shares recipes and gives you the chance to connect with a special piece of the earth and to share the risks and benefits with farmers whom you get to know.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Five Reasons To Eat Raw Foods

Author: Diana Walker

The raw food diet is a diet based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed. The eating of meat or fish raw is not something that the majority of raw foodies advocate.

It is a scientific fact that heating food above 116 degrees Fahrenheit is believed to destroy enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of food. Once the enzymes are dead then your organs have to work harder and they become overworked and for many they no longer function as they should. Cooking is also thought to diminish the nutritional value and life of food, often rendering the food toxic to your body. I don't advocate a complete raw food diet, but I do recommend incorporating 50% or more raw foods into your lifestyle.

There is no denying that there are many reasons why one should incorporate more raw foods in their diet. Here are 5 possible benefits when eating a raw food diet, or at least incorporating more raw foods in your diet.

1. Lowers Free Radicals and formation of Disease

The reversal or elimination of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer can be accomplished through a raw food diet. When food is cooked it creates free radicals; a major cause of cancer. When you lower the number of free radicals in your cells, you lower your risk of cancer. A diet that is mostly raw eliminates the need for over cooking foods which in turns lowers the creation of free radicals in the body.

2. Saves Money

When you eat raw foods you save money. This is because when you eat raw your body is getting more of the necessary nutrients than it needs so there is no need for all the supplements and vitamins that those who eat more cooked food tend to consume. Also with raw food you eliminate many of the pots, pans, and appliances needed for cooking because you prepare it as opposed to cooking it. Another way you save money is because a diet that is high in raw foods eliminates many of the illnesses that are caused by over cooked foods so you are not bothered with many medical expenses.

3. Saves Time

Raw foods take very little preparation so you spend less time in the kitchen. Most raw food meals that even your children can help in the preparation and some can do the preparation alone.

4. Normalizes Body Weight

Consuming raw foods will help you achieve your ideal body weight. With raw foods you won't feel fat and if you are too thin, you will actually start to look healthier. And a huge plus is that you won't have to worry about counting calories.

5. More Energy

An excellent benefit of raw food is that most people feel more energy. With raw foods your metabolic rate is higher and you feel like actually doing something. Cooked foods load your body down making it feel tired and you are not as active as you would like to be.

Overall raw food consumption is a great way to create a body that is healthy and looks great inside and out. If you are thinking of adopting a raw food idea make it an aim to have a diet that is 50% to 75% raw.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/nutrition-articles/five-reasons-to-eat-raw-foods-809709.html

About the Author:Are cravings for sugar, salt, junk food, sodas, and coffee running your life? Are you tired and foggy-brained? Need more energy, more mental clarity, less cravings for sugar? Diana Walker, Sunrider Leader, Cravings Coach and CEO of Diana’s Healthy Lifestyleshttp://www.diana2.com provides natural, safe options for creating vibrant health. Free education at http://www.thecravingscoach.com

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Are You GMO Savvy? You Need To Be

Author: Susan J. Wojcik

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) are as usual a hot topic in the natural food and natural medicine world. But what are GMO's and why should the general population be concerned about them?

GMO is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology techniques. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides, drought tolerance, pest resistance, ect. For this reason, GMO's have gained popularity in the farming community. The down side is the effects that GMO's have on the human population and other organisms.

The dangers associated with eating GM foods are increased allergenicity, increased toxins, carcinogens, the formation of new diseases, antibiotic-resistant diseases and nutritional problems. Food allergies are on the rise, soy allergies in particular have sky rocketed by 50% in the UK after GM soy was introduced there.

Milk from rBGH-treated cows contains an increased amount of the hormone IGF-1, which is one of the highest risk factors associated with breast and prostate cancer.

One would believe that before GM foods were FDA approved, several research studies would have proven GM foods to be safe. Unfortunately, the only feeding study done with humans showed that GMOs survived inside the stomach of the people eating GMO food. No follow-up studies were done.

Various feeding studies in animals have resulted in potentially pre-cancerous cell growth, damaged immune systems, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, partial atrophy or increased density of the liver, odd shaped cell nuclei and other unexplained anomalies, false pregnancies and higher death rates.

Soy, cotton, canola, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, zucchini and yellow squash are currently commercialized GM crops in the US. Other GM products include: dairy from cows injected with rbGH, food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®), meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed.

I urge all of you to really take a look at what you are eating. 60-70% of the food in the US contains GM ingredients and the FDA currently does not require it to be labled as GMO (although President Obama did make a campaign promise that he would change this). Print out the "Non-GMO Shopping Guide" and do what to can avoid these genetically modified foods.

References: http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/Home/index.cfm

Lakeshore Wellness Center: Naturopathic Holistic Medicine and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/nutrition-articles/are-you-gmo-savvy-you-need-to-be-894447.html

About the Author:
Susan J. Wojcik is a Naturopathic physician and board certified acupuncturist in private practice at Lakeshore Wellness Center in Chicago, Illinois.

She has been practicing Naturopathic and Integrative medicine at Foothills Neurology in Phoenix, Arizona since 2002 and has only recently settled down in Chicago to begin her own private practice. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. She is also affiliated with such organizations as the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians (ILANP), the Naturopathic Academy of Therapeutic Injections (NATI), the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and the Homéopathe International (HI).

The modalities employed in her Naturopathic practice include: clinical nutrition, homeopathy, functional medicine, botanical medicine and traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.