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Tags: Animal Welfare, Antibiotics, antioxidants, Environment, Environmental Impact, Essential Minerals, Farm-Fresh, Farmers' Markets, Fatty Acids, Free-Range, Grass-Fed, Grass-Fed Dairy, Grass-Fed Meat, Local, Nutrient Dense Foods, Omega 3 Fats, Organic, Pastured Eggs, Pesticide Free, Pesticides, Toxic, Toxic Load, Toxins
Only crazy people buy organic, right?
When I first saw a person filling their cart with overpriced, organic produce at the health food store, I thought they were crazy. Years later, that crazy person and I became friends and I became the crazy person filling my cart with organic produce. So what changed in my understanding between then and now that made me want to spend my hard earned money on organics?
Reasons to choose organic
Why, when studies have shown that organic and conventional foods have similar levels of of nutrients, would I be willing to dish out the extra dough? The reasons are many. Below is a brief look at some of the reasons to choose organic over conventionally produced foods:
- studies have shown that organic produce contains considerably more antioxidants
- organically grown foods better maintain the integrity of the soil and the diversity of microorganisms. These microorganism maintain the soils healthy ecosystem and make nutrients in the soil bio-available to the plants, making healthy more diseases resistant plants. The plants then pass the nutrients on to us when we eat them. Conventional practices destroy this ecosystem.
- Pesticides are used in the production of conventional fruit, vegetables, wheat, corn, grain products and livestock feed.
- Pesticides bio-accumulate up the food chain in animal products such as dairy, eggs, meat and fish.
- Pesticides have toxic effects on the body linked to cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive issues and damage to unborn children.
- Pesticides are antibiotic in nature and disrupt our gut microbiome, leading to inflammation and physical and mental ailments.
- Conventional agricultural practices can cause toxic run off from fields, contaminating water ways and wildlife.
- According to the Environmental Working Group, conventional produce most heavily laden with pesticides include: strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, nectarines, celery, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. But it is the potato that boasts most pesticides by weight than any other produce.
- Illegal pesticide residues are three times as likely to be found in imported produce. Notice where your produce is coming from.
Do we always need to choose organic?
Other options are available to us other than just having to buy everything certified organic. Some of these options include:
- harvest wild edibles
- grow your own garden
- buy from a local farmers’ market where produce may not be officially organic but comes from a local “pesticide free” or “no spray” farm.
- wash all your produce thoroughly in a sink of water and hydrogen peroxide to pull pesticides and pathogens off the surface. (Note this is only a surface treatment.)
- Peel produce to reduce surface contamination (although much of a fruit or vegetables nutrients and antioxidants are in the peel).
- Vary your intake of different produce and sources.
- When buying conventionally produced fruits an vegetables, stick to the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen including: avocados, [non-GMO] sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, [non-GMO papayas], kiwis, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. Of these, avocados were the cleanest.
Tags: antioxidants, Certified Organic, Clean Fifteen, Conventional Agriculture, Dirty Dozen, Ecosystem, Environment, Environmental Working Group, Farmers' Markets, Fruit, Gardening, Local, Microbiome, Organic, Pesticide Free, Pesticides, Soil Microorganisms, Vegetables, Wild Edibles
Eating locally and with the seasons will ensure you’re getting the highest nutrient content in your foods. Growing your own foods or shopping at a local farmers’ market are great ways to eat with the seasons. Eating locally and with the seasons also attunes your body to the seasons and the climate in which you are living. In cold weather it makes more sense to eat heavier, warming, building foods. This is the time of year that warm soups and stews are satisfying. In the warmer weather eating lighter, cooling, cleansing foods are the natural choice.
Often times in the winter especially, certified organic foods travel farther than non-certified organic and conventional produce. Eating foods produced as close to home as possible is the best choice as foods lose their nutritional value the longer they spend in shipping and storage. The term for someone trying to eat as local and in season as they can is “locavore“. Local, in season foods are fresher, save money, and are better for the environment. What to look for in the winter months at your local farmers’ market, health food store or locally owned grocery store:
Winter Squash, Carrots, Potatoes, Onions, Garlic, Apples, Beets and Turnips, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Pears, Hardy Herbs, Kale, Leeks, Parsnips, Rutabagas.