December 21, 2010
Not too long ago, if you wanted to find a decent selection of organic products, you had to go to a specialty health food store. Now you can find organic produce, meats, dairy products and more at almost any grocery store. There is no question that organic foods have increased in popularity in recent years, but many people still have questions about these products. Perhaps the most common question is, are organic foods really better than regular foods?
This question has been debated a lot in recent years, with some people heavily promoting organic foods, while others claim they are no better than the regular foods you eat. Both sides have some evidence to support their opinion, but some of this evidence is a little misleading. The first important thing to note about this debate is nobody is saying that organic foods are less healthy or in any way inferior to regular foods. The people defending regular foods are just trying to say they have no additional benefits.
The main evidence against the need for organic foods comes from nutrient comparisons that have been made between organic and regular foods. Lab tests have found that organic foods may not contain significantly more nutrients than other foods and defenders of regular foods have taken this to mean that organic foods are not any better or healthier than other foods. If the amount of nutrients in a food was the only thing that mattered, then this would be a compelling argument against the need for organic foods, but the amount of nutrients is just one component of food.
Probably the best quality of organic foods has nothing to do with how many nutrients they have, but rather what they don’t have. Regular foods often have undesirable things added to them during their growing and/or processing phases. For example, fruits and vegetables are often treated with pesticides or other unhealthy substances. Foods can contain pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or worse, and this information will not be shown anywhere on the food label. However, organic products have to follow strict regulations, which include not using unhealthy substances like pesticides at any point from start to finished product.
By not having these unhealthy ingredients, organic foods are unquestionably healthier than their regular counterparts, even if the foods have the same amount of nutrients. Basically every food has some things that are good for you and some things that are bad for you and products that have a lot of healthy features with few unhealthy ones are the healthiest foods and vice versa. Therefore, even if a food has a decent amount of nutrients, it can still be unhealthy if it also contains a lot of things that are bad for you.
For example, cold water salmon is incredibly healthy, because it contains quality protein and high levels of EPA and DHA, which are the healthiest Omega-3 fats. However, if you take salmon and deep fry it, you end up adding unhealthy substances, which lowers the overall healthiness of the food. While this has nothing to do with whether or not the food is organic, you can make the analogy that the organic food is the original salmon and the regular food is what you get after frying it.
To be fair, the difference in healthiness between an organic and regular food is not as big as the difference between fresh and fried salmon, but the analogy is accurate in the sense that both regular foods and fried salmon have a higher amount of ingredients that are bad for your health. Unfortunately, it is very hard to determine the actual impact on your health, because the extra substances found in traditional products may not visibly affect your body until years or even decades down the road. This makes it difficult to figure out the true benefit you get from eating organic foods.
Another issue is that the benefits of eating organic foods vary from product to product and some regular foods are not much different than their organic counterpart, while there is a big difference between others. The problem is you have no way of knowing how the regular foods are made, so you will not know what unhealthy substances they contain. One of the reasons people like to buy organic is because they don’t have to worry about all the unknown extras that might be in their food.
There is one more benefit to organic foods that is not talked about as much, which is that organic foods typically have more taste than traditional foods, especially when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables. Regular produce can taste almost like a watered down version of organic produce and this is certainly something people take into account when deciding whether or not to buy organic foods.
While it is not possible to say exactly how much better organic foods are than regular ones, it is hard to argue that they are not at least somewhat healthier than traditional foods. If they did not cost more than other foods, there probably would not be any interest in this issue, because everyone would choose to eat organic products. Of course, they do cost more, so the question at the heart of the matter is whether or not organic foods are worth the extra cost, but that is an issue for another time.
Ross Harrison, CSCS, NSCA-CPT is a certified personal trainer, strength and conditioning specialist, nutritional consultant, and has a BA in psychology from Grinnell College. He takes a holistic approach to health and fitness and teaches people how to lose weight, get in shape, and improve their quality of life with exercise and nutrition. If you want to find out more about his services or contact him for any reason, please visit http://precisionhealth-fitness.com/.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ross_Harrison
December 11, 2010
You have probably heard a lot of people talking about the health benefits that come with eating raw organic foods. You may have wondered what implications come with a diet of organic foods. A table full of raw beef and oysters does not appeal to most people, but there is more to it than that. An organic foods diet means that you are required to eat the food in its natural unprocessed state. Organic foods may already be included in your diet, if you eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
The processing and cooking of the foods strip them of a lot of vital nutrients. A lot of people say that cooking vegetables leaches out the vitamins and it can also destroy the important enzymes that they contain. Packaged foods available in every grocery store, that have been processed in some way to help you benefit from an easy package meal, have a very low nutritional value and they are not very good for your body because they are hard to metabolize.
Earth gives us natural foods. If you consume them as such, in their raw state, it becomes a lot easier for the body to process them. Raw foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Everything you do costs energy. The energy levels of your body are given by enzymes. These things are not the most popular topics of discussion, but they are very important for your body. Think about how tired you feel after serving a big meal of cooked foods. This happens because you use your body enzymes to process these foods instead of using them for other activities of your daily life. By consuming raw organic foods that contain their own enzymes helpful for digestion, you preserve your energy for doing the things you like, instead of wasting that energy for digesting food you just ate.
People that follow a raw food diet consume up to 75% of raw foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and other foods in their natural form. Preparing raw foods involves several processes. One of these is juicing. Many people turn the fruits and vegetables into juices. Just by drinking fresh juice in the morning you can benefit from a health boost. Another way of preparing raw foods is by using a dehydrator. The moisture is taken out of the fruits and vegetables so they are good for long time storage. The dehydrator uses hot air to remove the moisture from the foods, but the temperatures it operates under has to be below 1160 F, so that all the enzymes in the food are stored and not destroyed.
Organic cheese can also be a part of a raw food diet. The process used for obtaining organic cheese does not involve temperatures higher than 1160 F, so it fits in the category of raw foods. The government keeps the organic farms under strict supervision, so you don’t have to worry about quality or scams if you purchase products from them. The cows from which the milk is harvested for the organic cheese cannot be treated with any antibiotics or other medicine in case of illnesses. In case they must be treated, they are removed from that farm. This guarantees that the organic cheese or other foods you purchase from that farm are 100% organic.
The amount of raw foods included in your diet should be around 75% (ar at least 50%), but you should not start eating immediately this amount of raw foods. Instead you should increase the quantities gradually. As a precautionary note, if you plan to have any major changes in your diet, you should consult your doctor. Even though raw foods are the base for a healthier life, some of them may conflict with certain medication, so this is the best thing you should do in order to avoid unpleasant situations. Due to the detoxifying effect raw foods have, some people may experience mild headaches and nausea, but only temporary.
December 11, 2010
Christmas is traditionally the time for celebration and gift giving. Unfortunately it also means waste, waste, waste.
So how can you make sure that your bin is not overflowing with packaging and wrapping when the festivities are over?
1. Buy gifts that are needed.
Stop before you buy that cute looking snowman with the glitter base and festive musical song. It might be fun but only for one day of the year before it’s put away in the loft and forgotten about. Plus it’s probably made from plastic and shipped from overseas.
2. Food can be a great gift.
But again make sure that it is sustainable and package free. Hampers may look impressive but think about how much they’ll appreciate a handmade gift of homemade jams, chutneys or sweets. Get creative and use natural packaging like moss and reusable bowls or baskets that can be used to house plants.
3. Green gifts.
Holly bears the crown from Trees for Cities
Speaking of plants, why not give a gift that is not just for Christmas. Fruit trees, herbs and vegetables are thoughtful and most importantly green. You can also make someone else’s Christmas by donating a tree.
4. Charity starts at home.
If you really cannot think of a present for the person who has everything then why not be generous and give to charity. You can help make someone else’s life better. Have a look at Present Aid, NSPCC, Cancer Research or Trees for Cities for inspiration.
5. Eat only what you need.
Buy an organic Farmaround food bag
It’s very easy to get carried away with the Christmas food shop but remember that the shops are only closed for one day. Start planning now and ask friends and family if they are coming over. Buy enough food for a couple of days and shop locally for organic food and drink, farmers markets are great for Christmas food. Steer clear of unnecessary packing and think about what meals can be made with left over’s. Think soups and hearty stews or vegetables that can be mashed and all frozen for another day.
6. Compost and recycle
Send food waste to the bottom of the garden, and give some worms a Christmas treat. And make sure that any packaging you do get is reused or placed in your recycling bin. Find out what else can be recycled by checking out RecycleNow.
7. Recycle gifts.
Children get the most presents and end up with huge amounts of toys and games. Charity shops have great ranges of unwanted toys and most children will not know the difference. Or perhaps you’re still hanging on to some from your childhood? Pass them down to someone who will play with them and love them all over again.
8. Wrapping & Cards.
Buy a box of Santa Christmas greetings cards
Buy recycled paper and cards or get creative with old wrapping (we saw you carefully removing the sticky tape last year!) or try wrapping in homemade paper or using cloth (tea towels are great wrapped with string or ribbon). Get the kids painting disused cardboard boxes for a cute and personal touch. Get knitting and make stockings, hats or scarves that can be wrapped around several presents
9. Make them last!
If you do buy a present make sure it will last and be reused again and again. Think heirlooms and choose organic, Fairtrade, FSC or sustainable items that do not exploit others. Help make everyone’s Christmas a happy one.
December 6, 2010
Best recipes, ethical food and organic food has become the buzz words in many instances and scenarios where the two words are used to get the attention of people who are interested in healthy eating. Many of these references to organic/ethical food may have you wondering just what truly organic food is and how it fits in to your lifestyle to help provide your family with healthy eating choices. One fact is certain, deciding on organic food means that your choices are made from high quality food that is marketed and produced in a safe way that people can trust. Gaining access to organic foods is one of the best ways to start on the path to healthy eating.
Whether you are responsible for preparing meals for an entire family or just yourself, the choice to eat health means taking the time to learn exactly what constitutes a nutritious eating regimen that is also not boring. One of the quickest ways to lose sight of the importance of eating right is to find yourself bored with your food choices. One way to recognize ethical food is to learn to read labels. The traffic light labelling system includes green dot items. These items are placed on foods that have no more than 3 grams of fat and have low salt, high fibre and are low in saturated fats.
It is important to understand that organic foods are grown under some of the best growing condition but may not always be in the green dot category. The amber dot represents medium levels of fat, salt, fibre and saturated fat. And just as the red light in traffic signals indicates you should stop, foods tagged with a red dot are high in sugars, salts and fat. Such foods should only be had as a treat on occasion and in moderation.
To achieve healthy eating with organic foods, your diet should contain plenty of vegetables and fruit, bread, rice, potatoes and pastas. Milk and dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, beans and non-dairy sources are essential and a small amount of high fat or high sugar beverages and foods can be tempered in but are not absolutely necessary. With the right healthy balance of organic foods from these groups, many health risks such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and bowel disorders can be reduced or eliminated entirely. In avoiding giving up entirely foods you enjoy the most, you can enjoy these healthy organic food choices and create an overall balance that promotes healthy eating regularly.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jamie_Francis