Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Back to the Basics of Organic Nutrition..

So I have done posts before about cutting the costs on healthy foods, I have links to healthy resources all over the home page, and I am constantly promoting a healthy lifestyle. However, as I was updated my outside reading page this morning it hit me! I have never really addressed the basics of what healthy food shopping actually entails! How silly of me! Oh well...at least I have the topic of a new post for you all...

As Stephanie Selene Anderson states in her book Put Your Money Where your Mouth is "Superior nutrition can simply be the difference between a raw salad and overcooked vegetables. It is possible to get used to and familiar with healthy foods. Begin by setting your sights on superior nutrition and it will direct your shopping cart up and down the aisles to healthier choices (Anderson 4)." OK so what exactly is Superior Nutrition? Well lets break it down...

First of all Processed foods ARE NOT Superior Nutrition. Refining removes parts of the food that will spoil from the food. Unfortunately these removals are parts that are packed with important nutrients. IN addition stripping the food of these parts requires additives to come in to play such as flavorings and preservatives. These items are often times devoid of nutrition and can often be harmful. The following are things to look for and to try to eliminate from your diet:
  • Refined and bleached grain products
  • Hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated, refined or synthetically altered oils and fats
  • Chemically fed and chemically processed meats and eggs
  • refined sugars and artificial sweeteners
  • pastuerized and homogenized dairy products
  • canned, prepared and overcooked foods
  • all foods made with chemical additives.

Fresh Foods contain:
  • Living enzymes
  • intact nutrient complexes
  • beneficial microbes and bacteria
If you can only make one nutritional change then buying fresh over processed will get you a long way.

Second There are different types of food at our disposal. Certified Organic label is the BEST type of course but let me differentiate between the different available levels the USDA provides:
  • USDA NATURAL: refers to what has been added to a food after it is harvested.
  • NATURAL: indicates the food might be entirely free of added artificial ingredients but it might have been grown using conventional methods (using pesticides, questionable livestock treatment, and genetically modified organisms or GMO's)
  • ORGANIC: Ensures that the food is at least 95% organic. "Organic foods give life to the ecology because the methods used to grown them build nutrient rich soil and respect the nature of earths dynamic life-styles (Anderson 7)."
  • CERTIFIED ORGANIC: ensures that the plant or animal was raised from the ground up and processed without toxic chemicals
Organic foods are:
  • Grown and processed w/out fertilizers
  • grown within a safe agricultural system
  • do not pollute the soil, water or life in our environments

***Remember that no labeling system is perfect and that our environment is heavily toxic so it is nearly impossible to avoid at least trace toxicity in any form of food. However, by using organic foods you are reducing the toxicity levels exponentially that are entering your body and the bodies of your loved ones.
***It is also important to learn to read labels. Just because something is labeled organic doesn't mean that it is devoid of sugar and full of nutrients. Even some sodas are labeled organic so be wary.

Third is Learning how to Shop Healthily on a Reasonable budget. here is what you should do according to Anderson:
  1. First stock up on raw fruits and vegetables. They are great snacks and the most complete source of nutrition in that form due to the lack of processing and temperature changes (cooking, freezing etc)
  2. Wild Fish: shop for higher quality, deep ocean, lower polluted waters, and avoid freshwater fish alltogether. Avoid farm raised
  3. Meat: Search for local sources, cook meat as rare as possible, or medium rare (important to get organic so that you avoid disease etc) cooked protein is denatured protein so the rawer the better if organically raised.
  4. Eggs: use a local farmer whose practices you can be sure of and whose freshness is superior
  5. Raw Dairy: Pasteurized Dairy products are dead foods. Check labels for raw milk products (Cheese, etc) and use cultured milk products like kefir, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, etc. make sure they are organic
  6. water: drink water that has been put through a cycle of reverse osmosis. De-ionization purifies the water TOO MUCH as it also strips the source of vital minerals. You can get reverse osmosis water at your local health food store inexpensively.
  7. Whole grains: when buying pasta avoid refined flour or flour with synthetic vitamins.
  8. Crude Oils and Fats: Olive Oil is the easiest to find in organic form. The best level is Cold Fresh Pressed organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. However, if you go to Whole Foods or Earth Fare or even a local health food store like Harmony Farms you can find everything from hemp seed oil to flax seed oil. Just check the cooking temperatures on these oils so that you do not denature them.
OK so that is all I have for now but if you would like to find more information on this subject please refer to the Outside Reading section of this blog and check out the nutritional information.

Before you go for the day please check out the new link I put under "General Healthy Information" entitled "Natural, Healthy Cleaning Products..." It will definitely help you get a head start on cleaning the natural way. This is so so important, especially when cleaning the conventional way actually INCREASES the toxicity of our homes!

Ta Ta for now! ;o)


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