As some of you may recall back in October I wrote an article on the Cuban Organic Revolution. Well it seems that some folks in Venezuela also see the benefit to urban organic farming. Sure, as of yesterday it basically became a full fledged socialist/dictator run country, but at least they will be eating good food in an environmentally friendly way! Have a look at the pictures on the BBC’s website. There are a couple interesting things you may note… they control insects with some sticky nettle juice on a plate (the bugs get stuck to it) and they make their own fertilizer with casings from worm farms. Pretty neat stuff. Thanks to Shamus for sending me the link.
Although this article states that Organic foods are not necessarily healthier. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that putting pesticides, hormones and antibiotics into your body is not healthy. It used to be widely known that cigarettes were good for you, but I’m sure the people smoking them knew different…in spite of what regulatory agencies/companies said.
This editorial is written by Michael Pollen, author of "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," for The New York Times Magazine. Published: January 28, 2007
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give away the game right here at the beginning of a long essay, and I confess that I’m tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a few thousand more words. I’ll try to resist but will go ahead and add a couple more details to flesh out the advice. Like: A little meat won’t kill you, though it’s better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you’re much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That’s what I mean by the recommendation to eat “food.” Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.
Uh-oh. Things are suddenly sounding a little more complicated, aren’t they? Sorry. But that’s how it goes as soon as you try to get to the bottom of the whole vexing question of food and health. Before long, a dense cloud bank of confusion moves in. Sooner or later, everything solid you thought you knew about the links between diet and health gets blown away in the gust of the latest study.
Last winter came the news that a low-fat diet, long believed to protect against breast cancer, may do no such thing — this from the monumental, federally financed Women’s Health Initiative, which has also found no link between a low-fat diet and rates of coronary disease. The year before we learned that dietary fiber might not, as we had been confidently told, help prevent colon cancer. Just last fall two prestigious studies on omega-3 fats published at the same time presented us with strikingly different conclusions. While the Institute of Medicine stated that “it is uncertain how much these omega-3s contribute to improving health” (and they might do the opposite if you get them from mercury-contaminated fish), a Harvard study declared that simply by eating a couple of servings of fish each week (or by downing enough fish oil), you could cut your risk of dying from a heart attack by more than a third — a stunningly hopeful piece of news. It’s no wonder that omega-3 fatty acids are poised to become the oat bran of 2007, as food scientists micro-encapsulate fish oil and algae oil and blast them into such formerly all-terrestrial foods as bread and tortillas, milk and yogurt and cheese, all of which will soon, you can be sure, sprout fishy new health claims. (Remember the rule?)
When you eat organic, don’t just picture the healthy food you are putting in your body, picture the healthy ecosystems which produced that food, the workers who are safer from chemicals, the land, water, and air that is being protected, and the wildlife that is being allowed to thrive. Organic vegetables, fruits, grains, juice, dairy, eggs, and meat (and don’t forget the organic wine and beer), are grown and processed in ways that support healthy people and a healthy planet. (While you may not be able to find or afford organic options for everything you need, certain fruits and vegetables are more pesticidy than others.) For details on the meaning of organic, see the USDA Organics homepage.
2. Fair fare
Fair trade certified food ensures a proper wage and working conditions for those who harvest and handle it. But fair trade is green for the environment as well. TransFair, the only fair trade certifier in the US, has strong environmental standards built into its certification process that protect watersheds and virgin forests, help prevent erosion, promote natural soil fertility and water conservation, and prohibit GMOs and many synthetic chemicals. TransFair claims that their environmental standards are the most stringent in the industry, second only to USDA organic certification.
3. Go local
Buying seasonal, local food is a boon for the environment for a lot of reasons. Since most food travels many miles to reach your table (1,500 miles, on average), locally sourced food cuts back on the climate-change impacts of transportation. Local food also generally uses less packaging, is fresher and tastier, and comes in more varieties. It also supports small local growers and lets them get more for their produce by not having to spend so much on packing, processing, refrigeration, marketing, and shipping. The best way to track down local food is at farmers markets or through community supported agriculture (CSA), which often offer home delivery.
This article brings up an important question…is it better to purchase local conventionally grown food or organic food that has been shipped thousands of miles? Stay tuned…we’re doing a piece on this soon. Mark Oliver and agencies Friday January 26, 2007 Guardian Unlimited
Food imported to the UK by air may be denied the lucrative "organic" label under proposals being put forward today by the Soil Association.
The UK’s main organic certification body is concerned about the "food miles" involved in importing goods by air, which, environmentalists argue, contribute to global warming.
Supermarkets typically charge more for food labeled organic and many customers are increasingly favoring goods which have not been treated with pesticides and other chemicals.
Ingredients: 1 lb spaghetti or other pasta 1 14oz can black beans- drained 1 14oz can corn- drained 1 28oz can diced tomatoes- drained 1 yellow onion- finely chopped 1/2C chopped jalapeno peppers (more or less depending on preference) 2 C shredded jack cheese 2C organic lowfat milk (skim ok) 1/4C flour 1C sour cream
Preparation: Cook pasta according to directions, subtracting a minute or two of cooking time. Mix beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cheese in bowl and set aside
Make Sauce: Mix flour and 1/2 of milk in saucepan over medium heat until smooth Add remaining milk and continue cooking over medium heat until boiling (stirring constantly) Boil for one minute Stir in sour cream
Assemble Dish: Combine pasta, sauce and bean mixture in large bowl or pot stirring until well mixed Pour into 13"x9" baking dish (oiled or sprayed with cooking spray)
Bake at 350 for 1 hour Let rest 15 minutes before serving
To Organic or not to Organic…sometimes it isn’t necessary. The Environmental Working Group has come up with a handy pocket guide that has the skinny on when it’s ok to buy conventional and…when you should stick with organic. You can add this to your ‘pocket sustainable fish’ guide and pretty soon you will have a small book! :) Click on the image to get the .pdf.
By David Liu - foodconsumer.org, Jan 23, 2007 - 12:28:17 PM Eating too much of heme iron and or red meat may increase the risk of coronary heart disease in women with diabetes, according to a new study by Harvard researchers.
Those who consumed the highest amounts of heme iron were 50 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease (CHD) compared to those consumed the lowest, Lu Qi, MD, PHD from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues reported.
From the study, Lu Qi and team wanted to know how long-term consumption of red meat and dietary iron would affect coronary heart disease risk in diabetes. Prior evidence indicates that diabetes-related metabolic abnormality may worsen the adverse effects of iron overload on cardiovascular health.
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