• Health/ Organic produce

    Why now is the time to support Organic Farming.

    organic farming

    The Food Industry and major Supermarkets work hard to promote “cheap” convenient food while at the same time hiding intensive farming practises, poor treatment of animals and the effect on our health and the environment. I found out a few facts recently which had a big impact on me and made me research further, coming to the conclusion that we need to take more responsibility for what we eat and why now is the time to support Organic Farming. 

    BBC TWO screened a series called ‘New York: America’s Busiest City’ where they investigated how the City worked to clear rubbish, feed everyone and house people. It was a fascinating program giving us a glance of what has to happen ‘behind the scenes’ to make a City of this size function. One episode focused on Food and included a visit to a Beef farm where the intensively reared cattle were fed hay and grain and then fattened up for market with the addition of waste processed food like sweets, biscuits, gummy bears, and chocolate. I found this quite horrifying as it couldn’t be any more healthy for cattle than it is for us but then they are slaughtered at about 30 months –  they don’t get any long-term effect whereas we might!

    I know that there has been a lot of emphasis on Grass Fed beef recently but it took this program to make me realise that it was not just about feeding grain and pelleted food. There are two links to articles here….

     

    Some cattle eat grass, some eat corn and others have more of a sweet tooth they satisfy by chowing down on … into the same materials it would the starch in the corn they are fed.” It is not just candy, either. “Cattle are well equipped to utilize … via Feeding Your Cattle’s Sweet Tooth with Alternative Feeds Like Candy Can Help Improve Bottomlines

     

    chocolate, fruit loops and a whole list of candies. Fattening up the cattle thanks to a large percentage of sugar content and no real nutritional value, the disease-riddled cattle end up fetching a larger price for farm owners. The fruit loops-fed cattle … via Cattle Now Being Fed Cookies and Candies Instead of Real FoodGrazing Cow

    Public Domain from pixabay

    This article explains how the diet drastically changes the fat content in beef to being more anti-inflammatory Omega -3 fats in grass fed beef and containing more unhealthy Omega-6 fats when fed on junk food.

    Grass-fed beef is certainly more expensive, but is it better for you? If so, just how much better? via Grass-Fed Beef: Is It Worth The Extra Money? – BuiltLean

     

    Then with Trade agreements like TTIP in the news we hear of chickens being washed in chlorine after slaughter because they were reared in such confined, overcrowded,  dirty conditions  that they had to clean them up prior to packaging. We hear about huge multinational companies controlling seed purchases that relies on their toxic chemicals to get high yield, of more GMO crops entering our food chain.

    Therefore, if we care about our health and the health of our farming we need to be more aware of the source of our food and what it has been contaminated with.

    Should we also be annoyed when we are deliberately lied to or mislead by the Food Industry or Supermarkets? Tesco, Lidl and Aldi have all been guilty of this by labeling foods to have come from various ‘Farms’ with English sounding names that are not real Farms at all. In the case of Tesco’s the ‘Farm’ labels replaced the cheap ‘Everyday Value’ labels that were previously often ignored due to people thinking they must be poorer quality.

    It is time to start prioritising our values over price so that we can have an impact on animal welfare, the nutritional quality of the food we produce and the impact on our environment. UK farming  produces about 62% of the food we eat. Therefore 38% probably travels to us from anywhere in the rest of the world at great cost. At the present time we still waste a tremendous amount of food but that is now being highlighted and addressed by the Supermarkets and by organisations like FareShare who have 20 regional centres across the UK and are able to redistribute food to the people who need it most www.fareshare.org.uk

    Why now is the time to support Organic farming-especially in the UK

    At present we pay £6bn a year into the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) but our farmers only get about £3bn back and so are effectively subsidising their competitors. Once we leave the EU we need that money to be distributed fairly and proportionate to the value of the produce not the quantity. We also need to pay a fair price. A litre of milk costs the Farmer about 30p to produce so why do Supermarkets only want to pay them about 23p?  Retail organic food producers are doing very good business by connecting with their local communities both here and in the USA and giving us superior produce with much less packaging or plastic!

    organic veg

    This month I have added to my Free Range Meat delivery with local organic food, vegetables and eggs, ordered a weekly organic veg box and bought seeds ready to grow beans, beets, chard and herbs in pots in the Spring. It has only cost me a small percentage more but we have been eating really well and everything is tasty and lasts longer.

    organic veg

    Another good link below from Compassion in World Farming.

    Food and Human Health; Food Sense; Food sense 20/03/2012. … Philip Lymbery, CEO, Compassion in World Farming. Share this page. Tags. food; intensive agriculture; via Food Sense | Compassion in World Farming

    Happy Shopping…..

  • Health/ Organic produce/ Sizzling Minerals/ Toxin free products

    Natural Skincare for over 40’s

    Natural Skincare

    Research of toxin free hair and skin care products has led me to a new regime of Natural Skin Care for the over 40’s that is based on various  oils and products to stimulate the collagen that starts to be lost around this age. A detour from my normal Posts but it is all about nourishment, inside and out.

    I am not going to list all the toxins that can be found in even expensive skin and hair care products other than to say that many are petrochemical in origin, some have been shown to be cancer causing and whatever you put on your skin can be absorbed into your body. Although I am talking about over 40’s skin care here I would urge everyone to look at the ingredients contained in babies and children’s products and reduce the exposure of your children and grandchildren to toxins as much as possible because they will be exposed to many more toxins than previous generations. Read More

  • Health/ Healthy Food/ Nutritional Medicine/ Organic produce/ Toxin free products

    Dramatically Different Dietary Advice

    Natural fresh healthy food

    Brazil has been making the headlines with their new guidelines for the nations Nutrition. The advice from the Government is dramatically different dietary advice to any other Governments  in that they tell people to ignore advertisements as that is just marketing and not sound nutritional information. They also emphasise the social aspects of eating and that cooking and eating together is a large part of our humanity and development of our culture and civilisation. They encourage people to shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods, to eat produce locally grown and in season and whenever possible to buy organic, ecological based foods from the producers. If you would like to read their guidelines in more detail then Brazil’s 10 Steps to a Healthy diet can be seen here.

    Their four food categories are also very different and are as follows:-

    1. Natural or minimally processed foods – freshly made dishes and meals over ultra processed foods and drinks. These should form the bulk of the daily diet.
    2. Oils, fats, salt and sugar – the guide states that as long as these are used in moderation in preparing healthy food without making them nutritionally unbalanced.  This is probably the only area that I feel needs some clarifying for a healthy diet. I personally always stress that it is important to avoid processed fats and oils and to concentrate on healthier fats like butter, coconut oil and olive oil, to buy Celtic sea salt rather than processed salt and to avoid sugar as much as possible in favour of natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
    3. Processed foods – include foods like bread, cheeses, cured meats and pickles and these can be eaten in moderation.
    4. Ultra-processed foods – to be avoided or kept to an absolute minimum.

    So this guide is advocating a return to eating freshly prepared, home cooked meals and passing on the traditions of cooking and eating as a family as opposed to grabbing fast food on the go or ordering Pizza. It is great to see a Government taking this strong stance that goes way beyond normal Governmental dietary advice and against the massive Food Production Companies.

    How do we get back to eating this way?

    There are degrees of how much you might need to change depending on how you shop and eat now but the rules for change are the same – Read More

  • Health/ Inflammation/ Nutrition and Cancer/ Organic produce

    STRAWBERRIES – Wow facts!

    Strawberries have been traditionally connected to the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament since 1877 and here in the UK Wimbledon is synonymous with Sunshine, Strawberries and Fizz!

    So here are some Strawberry Wow facts!

    • 28,000 kilos of strawberries were consumed over the two weeks of Wimbledon 2014
    • Strawberries can be grown in varied climates from Sweden to Africa
    • it takes approx 30 days to go from flower to ripe fruit
    • they are low calorie (unless you add sugar and cream!)
    • they contain good fibre
    • more Vitamin C than blackberries or oranges
    • they contain Folate at about 25 mcg per serving
    • also Beta-carotene that is converted into Vitamin A
    • they should also contain the minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium if grown on good soil, as the Wimbledon Strawberries which all come from LEAF (Linked Environment And Farming) Farms in Kent.

     Health Benefits of Strawberries

    1. The seeds are woody, insoluble fibre that is good for gut health. Unusually the seeds are exposed on the outside with a strand of fibre that runs to the middle of the fruit. These fibres have been shown to bind to toxins and cancer cells and aid removal from the body. see BeatCancer.org
    2. They contain phytochemicals that can help decrease blood pressure and be protective against heart disease
    3. They have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and are thought to be good for kidneys/bladder

    Specific Benefits of Strawberries on Cancer Read More

  • Environmental/ Health/ Healthy Food/ Mineral Depletion/ Nutrition and Cancer/ Organic produce/ Toxin free products

    Does ‘Organic’ mean Healthy?

    Does ‘Organic’ mean healthy? A good question as some people may see the word Organic on a product and assume that it is automatically a healthy choice when this may not be the case.  If you are looking to buy natural produce like meat, vegetables or fruit then to buy Organic is preferable for reasons I will discuss below but is organic sugar healthy or organic soy?

    This was highlighted for me this week when I read about a Lawsuit in the USA against an Organic Infant Formula that carries the USDA Organic logo because of 26 ingredients that the prosecutors claim should not be in Organic food. The USDA Organic seal means that at least 95% of the ingredients need to be organic. The list of ingredients on the Infant Formula are Water, Organic nonfat milk, Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Sugar, Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Organic Soy Oil, Organic Coconut Oil and then less than 0.5% of the remaining ingredients that may not all be desirable but mainly are made up of Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids necessary for human health and brain development. I admit that if Breastfeeding is not an option it is difficult to know what formula would be best for your baby but it is necessary to look beyond the ‘Organic’ label and research what you feel would be best for your baby. I would not want to feed mine Maltodetrin because it is a highly processed grain starch with a glycemic index of 130 (as opposed to sugar at 65), Soy oil as soy bean allergy is one of the more common food allergies as well as acting as a hormone disruptor, also babies should not be fed Non-fat milk as they need the the milk fat and cholesterol and the fat soluble vitamins that it contains.

    For more information on choosing good infant formula click here.

    Processed foods labelled Organic are still frequently highly processed and may contain high levels of sugar, highly processed grains or hydrogenated fats that are definitely not healthy. I would encouraged you to read even more labels on food! Do not assume that anything from face cream to energy bars are good for you just because they are ‘Organic’. On the other hand I believe it is important to buy Organic fresh produce as much as you possibly can.

    Why you should eat Organic and support Organic farming for the good of your health and for the good of Planet Earth.

    dreamstime_s_6304437

    Farming has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Soils have become devoid of nutrients and life and crops are grown continuously for high yield with the addition of artificial fertilisers that frequently contain only 3 minerals NPK, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides the use of hybridised crops or GMO, genetically modified crops.

    Healthy soil is a living entity containing earthworms, centipedes, beetles, microbes, a good complement of the 90+ minerals, air and moisture. Researchers are increasing recognising that the health of our own human microbiome in our gut is essential to good health our health is dependant on the quality of the plants we eat and the optimization of the soil microbiome. It is the soil we need to feed and nurture not just the plants.

    DSCN2774-001

    Organic Farming develops healthy soil by rotating crops, using compost, manure and green crops such as clover that are ploughed back in and have the benefit of reducing soil erosion from wind and rain and nutrient loss by secreting sugars and enzymes back into the soil.

    • Organic Farming standards differ worldwide but generally feature practices that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity with Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilisers not allowed.
    • Organically approved pesticides may be used under certain limited conditions.
    • A study in 2014 showed that Organically grown crops contained 17% higher polyphenols (antioxidants that work in the body to enhance health and to reduce inflammation in complex ways) 69% higher Flavanones (which have an effect in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurogenative diseases like Alzheimer’s and improving bone health).
    • Pesticide residue was found in 7% of Organic samples and 38% in non-organic samples. 4x the amount.
    • Organic meat production requires that animals should only be fed certified organic food with no animal by-products, not given hormones and that antibiotics are only used when necessary.
    • Organic chicken has higher levels of healthy Omega3 fatty acids.

    Demand for Organic products has been growing and is up by more than 170% since 2002 and is currently growing by 15-20% a year and yet you will probably be surprised to learn that only 3.8% in the UK and 3.9% of land overall in Europe is Organically farmed. Land generally has to be farmed with Organic methods for at least three years before it can be classified as Organic. In the last year there has been a Worldwide awareness and outcry against the use of chemicals and pesticides that have been shown to impact our health.

    You might like to watch this Glyphosate Is Spreading Like A Cancer Across the U.S.

    So will you make more effort

    to Buy Organic?

    Grow your own?

    Visit Farmers Markets?

    Protest against the use of dangerous chemicals in our food chain?

    Just demand better, healthier food?

    I really hope so for our health and the health of our beautiful planet.