Archive for category Organic Food & Gardening
Monday, July 30, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] Sometimes we Americans can be a little stubborn, a little too prideful or provincial when it comes to change. But slowly, surely, Americans are finally “getting it” when it comes to natural and organic foods, and we’re buying more of them.
New consumer research shows that while some grocery spending has fallen in recent months, shoppers are increasing their spending on organic meat and poultry has increased for the first time in years.
The report, called “2012 Power of Meat,” is the seventh annual study of consumption trends conducted by the American Meat Institute, Food Marketing Institute and Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Packaging Division. The report explores consumer perceptions and buying habits, attitudes and behaviors regarding fresh meat and poultry.
Cooking habits improving; sales are up
For this year, the industry groups surveyed 1,340 people in November 2011. A number of topics were explored, including consumption and purchasing patterns, nutrition, marketing techniques, consumer interest in organic and natural meat, packaging and labeling.
Among the group’s findings, Americans are buying fewer groceries as a way to reduce overall spending. The annual study found that of the shoppers who spent less for groceries last year, 45 percent reduced spending by just buying fewer items. That is nearly the same as the share of people who reduced their spending by using coupons, lists and buying private-label products.
Also, the report found natural and organic meat and poultry purchases increased for the first time in many years. In fact, natural and organic poultry markets managed to attract new customers after several years of flat sales. The report said 24 percent of shoppers said they bought natural and/or organic meat and poultry in the three months preceding the study, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year.
Consumers are also improving their cooking habits. The report said consumers were frying less food and slow-cooking more (which, by the way, is also a calorie reducer). Over the past half-decade, the trend of frying less has steadily increased; there has been a 22 percent decline in frying as a way to prepare meals. Meanwhile, the use of slow cookers/crock pots and ovens in meal preparation has spiked 12 percent over the same time frame.
by: Anthony Gucciardi
July 29, 2012
It doesn’t have to be painful to improve your health, nor does it have to take a lot of time. While we could discuss the specifics of optimum health for what would amount to hours upon hours of reading, there are a few core techniques that you can utilize right now to dramatically transform your health — each of which can easily be done in under 10 minutes. Perhaps even more appealing than the time factor is the additional factoid that each of these methods are extremely simple and virtually anyone can utilize them.
If you really adhere to these 4 super simple concepts, you will be ahead of about 98% of the United States (or most any other developed nation) when it comes to living a natural health lifestyle. Here are 4 ways to radically transform and improve your health and wellness in under 10 minutes:
1. Drink the Right Kind of Water
It’s no secret that drinking tap water is a recipe for disease thanks to harsh chemicals and heavy metals, but what are the alternatives? You may be under the impression that super cheap and low quality filtration systems (think Brita counter top filters) are the answer. Ultimately, these plastic system (which may even contain BPA) do not filter most heavy metals or chemicals. And what about bottled water? Well, it turns out that bottled water is simply expensive tap water thanks to an extensive report into the industry.
Instead of wasting time and money on poor quality alternative to tap water, you have a few options:
- Purchase an atmospheric water generator such as the machines created by the Ecoloblue company (no incentive was given for this recommendation or any other within this article).
- Retrieve fresh and real spring water from near your home with glass gallon jugs which can be found via the website Find a Spring.
- Obtain a high quality reverse osmosis water filtration device and add minerals or Himalayan sea salt back into the water after it passes through the filter.
Each of these options are highly effective, and the Find a Spring option is entirely free. Therefore, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be drinking the right kind of water. Even if you don’t want to drive a short distance away from a spring, a reverse osmosis filter can be purchased for a relatively low price. When it comes to seriously feeling better each day and conquering disease, the value of the product ultimately becomes more apparent. All in all, this simple change will take all of 5 seconds to act upon. It takes even less than 5 seconds to type in your zip code on the spring locator site and decide to change your water habits for life.
2. Add Lemon to Your Water Each Morning
It really doesn’t get any easier than this. Now that you’ve secured a proper water source, it’s time to utilize it. Start your morning each day by squeezing either one half or a full lemon into a glass of warm water, placing a slice into the glass itself after you’re done squeezing.
Tied to both fat loss and stress relief, water with lemon is even used in ancient Yogic and Ayurvedic medicine to cleanse the digestive system. In other words, you can improve your digestion naturally throughout the day by using this simple practice.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
But did you know that an increasing amount of our “organic” food may be coming from China (which immediately throws into question the organic labeling)? That could include some of your favorites from Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, which brands itself as the nation’s organic foods leader.
WJLA, the ABC News affiliate in Washington, D.C., reported recently that the “leading food retailer selling the image that local and organic is better for the environment and better for you,” but that may not be the product consumers are getting.
At more than 175 stores nationwide, Whole Foods promotes a homegrown concept, but, according to WJLA’s investigation, many of the supermarket chain’s goods are marked “Product of China.”
What’s wrong with that? Well; for one, importing food from China is anathema to Whole Foods’ concept of “locally grown” and “organic.” For another, China’s agricultural development regulations are nowhere near as stringent as they are in the U.S. And finally, despite Whole Foods’ assurances to the contrary, how is a consumer – or the company, for that matter – to know whether all of its Chinese-grown products are indeed pesticide-free?
Produces identified by the WJLA investigation marked as a “Product of China” included spinach, sugar snap peas and, ironically enough, a “California Blend” of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower – all under Whole Foods’ “365 Organic” brand label. (Editor’s note: Since the initial March 2012 investigative report by WJLA, Whole Food’s “California Blend” of vegetables are now being grown again in the U.S.)
by: Kelsey Coy
July 24, 2012
For the eighth year in a row, the Environmental Watch Group (EWG) has published an updated ‘shopper’s guide’ based on a comprehensive analysis of government pesticide testing data of 45 different fruit and vegetables. The guide includes the ‘dirty dozen:’ the twelve foods most commonly contaminated with pesticides, as well as the ‘clean fifteen:’ the fifteen least contaminated foods. This year the dirty dozen also includes a ‘plus’ category, warning about two foods containing particularly concerning organophospates, insecticides that are known reproductive and neurotoxins. The use of organophosphates have been significantly reduced in the past decade, but is yet to be banned, and this year, a number of crops still tested positive. The journal Environmental Health Perspectives contains 25 articles published in the past week analyzing and discussing the dangers or organophosphates in our food supply.
Also new this year, researchers investigated the pesticide content of 190 samples of baby food, with rather alarming results.
As the EWG simply and frankly reminds us, ‘Pesticides are toxic by design. They are created expressly to kill living organisms — insects, plants, and fungi that are considered “pests.” Many pesticides pose health dangers to people. These risks have been established by independent research scientists and physicians across the world.” The U.S. and international government agencies have linked pesticides to health problems spanning brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormonal disruption and skin, eye and lung irritation. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under pressure from The American Crop Protection Association, largely representative of the pesticide industry, has failed to apply adequate protective measures in regulating our food supply. One might well ask whether it is wiser to protect a country’s crops or its population.
The Dirty Dozen
Without further ado, the dirty dozen:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Blueberries (domestic)
Plus 2 more to add to the dirty dozen:
- Green beans
- Kale/Collard Greens
Going into a little more detail for the dirty dozen, 100 percent of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticides, as well as 98% of apples and 96% of plums. Grapes had 15 pesticides in a single sample, while blueberries and strawberries each had 13. As an entire category, grape samples contained 64 different pesticides; bell peppers had 88 different residues, cucumbers 81 and lettuce 78.
The Clean Fifteen
And the clean fifteen:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet Potatoes
Highlights of the clean fifteen include pineapples, in which fewer than 10% of samples contained pesticides, mangoes and kiwis, both of which were completely free of pesticides more than 75% of the time, and watermelon and domestic cantaloupe over 60% of the time. Among vegetables, no samples of sweet corn and onions had more than one pesticide and more than 90% of cabbage, asparagus, sweet peas, eggplant and sweet potato samples contained no more than one pesticide.
One additional concern to consider: sweet corn, although it may contain less pesticide residues, is quite commonly genetically modified in the U.S. While genetically modified organisms (GMO) are banned or significantly restricted in Australia, Japan and throughout the European Union, the industry is still at large in the U.S., and no labeling is required by the federal government. For this reason, it is recommended that sweet corn consumption also be limited to organic.
Among baby food, green beans and pears were especially disturbing: almost 10% of green beans contained the organophosphate methamidiphos in amounts that could easily increase risk for brain and nervous system damage in infants consuming a four-ounce serving of green beans on a regular basis. 92% of pear samples tested positive for at least one pesticide and over a quarter of samples contained five or more, including iprodione, categorized by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen, and not registered for use on pears. In fact, the presence of iprodione in pears of any kind constitutes a violation of FDA regulations and the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
While there is no question that Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, it’s worth taking an extra step to make sure that produce is delivering the nutrition it’s supposed to, and nothing it’s not. Pause for a moment. Want some neurotoxins with that salad? I didn’t think so.
Friday, July 20, 2012
By: S. D. Wells
[NaturalNews] Ever notice when you meet someone who eats mainly organic, who works out often, is financially stable and always in that “sharing” mode, that no matter what happens around them, they stay in that “gear,” that energetic and positive attitude just stays illuminated and seems to levitate over the negativity? Some people just seem to reach their potential every day, in almost every way. If you haven’t noticed this, start paying attention, because they’re out there, and they are loving life. There is also a reason many people never reach their potential in life, never finalizing that idea that would have made them wealthy, and they’re just kind of “getting by,” not really applying themselves or making the most of their opportunities and gifts. (http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/exercise.html/)
Believe it or not, a fairly rigid diet of organic food, drinks, herbs, vitamins, minerals, Dead Sea salts and natural spring water enables human beings to reach their ultimate HEALTH POTENTIAL and use more than 15 percent of their BRAIN each day. (http://skeptics.stackexchange.com)
Most people who do not consume these foods, supplements and spring water daily often use the same excuse when confronted with the organic choice: “It’s too expensive.” This is simply NOT TRUE. Organic food is only more expensive when you shop at stores which either cater to processed food lovers or high endorganic/health supply stores. Many mid-size grocers like Trader Joes and local farmer’s markets are quite reasonable, and even Whole Foods offers many organic items at the same prices you would find the “bad” foods at if shopping the big chain grocers like Farm Fresh, Food Lion and Kroger.
Embrace reality and change your habits
Once you come to grips with the fact that organic food is affordable, you have to pull in the reigns on your SALT AND SUGAR habit. Don’t panic! Your taste buds will return to normal after you come off the high fructose corn syrup and the monosodium glutamate. Once you quit the deep fat fried habit and the super-salted meat and French fries, you’ll start tasting the true flavors of vegetables and fruits again, and realize exactly what it is you’re missing.
When you consume organic foods, your body and brain function at maximum capacity. Your body is not struggling to digest and filter out toxins, gluten, hormones, antibiotics, fluoride, bleach (white rice, white bread, white flour, white sugar, white pasta), artificial sweeteners, radioactive fish, genetically modified corn and soy, and the list goes on.
When you consume organic foods, your cells aren’t being strangled by preservatives like sodium benzoate, BHA, BHT, and your water isn’t polluted with BPA (bisphenol-A).
When you cut out processed foods and synthetic food agents from your daily intake, your energy doesn’t tap out five to ten minutes into a workout, or a jog. You last 30 minutes, an hour, and eventually longer!
When you stop buying foods and products that cause cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and arthritis, you STOP DONATING MONEY TO DISEASE, and you begin the repair and refortification of your own system. You stop wasting money going to the doctor for colds, flues, viruses, bacterial infections, allergies, bronchitis, cavities, heart disease, headaches, fibromyalgia, irritable bowels, colon polyps, prostate problems, breast cancer check-ups.
July 18, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Eleven prominent law professors and fourteen renowned organic, Biodynamic®, food safety and consumer non-profit organizations have filed separate briefs with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit arguing farmers have the right to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement by agricultural giant Monsanto.
The brief by the law professors and the brief by the non-profit organizations were filed in support of the seventy-five family farmers, seed businesses, and agricultural organizations representing over 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms that last year brought a protective legal action seeking a ruling that Monsanto could never sue them for patent infringement if they became contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed. The case was dismissed by the district court in February and that dismissal is now pending review by the Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs recently filed their opening appeal brief with the appeals court.
“Monsanto continues to claim that Plaintiffs’ concerns about being accused of patent infringement after being contaminated by Monsanto’s transgenic seed are unsubstantiated and unjustified,” said attorney Dan Ravicher of the not-for-profit legal services organization Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), which represents the plaintiffs in the suit against Monsanto known as Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v Monsanto. “But now two impeccable groups have joined with plaintiffs in explaining to the Court of Appeals how real and legitimate their concerns really are, especially since Monsanto continues to refuse to simply promise never to sue contaminated farmers for patent infringement.”
Thursday, July 12, 2012
By: Ben Meredith
[NaturalNews] Over 40 years ago, Michael J. Potter founded a small “whole earth” grocery store that eventually turned into a large organic foods producer and wholesaler, Eden Foods. However, last May he set out to challenge what organic food has become today. With organic food becoming more popular in today’s age, it has attracted large corporations to take part in the highly profitable niche. Unfortunately, with big money coming into the sector, it has pushed out the small players and left it up to the corporations to change the game.
Naked Juice? Owned by PepsiCo. How about Bear Naked, Wholesome & Hearty, Kashi? All three owned by the cereal giant Kellogg’s. And behind Health Valley and Spectrum Organics is Hain Celestial, previously affiliated with Heinz.
Those are just to name a few of the large corporations who have purchased most of the nation’s organic food industry. Others include Coca-Cola, Cargill, General Mills, Kraft and M&M Mars. Are locally farmed and produced ingredients coming from these giants? Regretfully not.
The industry has changed significantly since Michael Potter started his grocery store 40 years ago, and that’s exactly why he set out to speak out at a meeting to decide which ingredients should be allowed as “organic.” For instance, carrageenan, which is a seaweed-derived thickener with a controversial health record. Also on the list, synthetic inositol, manufactured using chemical processes.
A few days later, the board voted to keep carrageenan on the increasing list of non-organic ingredients which can be used in foods and products with the “certified organic” label.
“The board is stacked,” Mr. Potter says. “Either they don’t have a clue, or their interest in making money is more important than their interest in maintaining the integrity of organics.”
In fact, Potter refuses to place the certified-organic label on Eden’s product, claiming it a fraud.
“As soon as a value-added aspect was established, it didn’t take long before corporate America came knocking,” Mr. Potter says. Usually he receives an email every week with an offer to buy his company. “Companies, private equity, venture capital, even individuals,” Mr. Potter says. “The best offer I ever got came from two guys who had money from Super Glue.”
“People keep telling me that all the work we’re doing with organic farming and agriculture and processing, some of that could be deemed charitable work,” he says. “Maybe we should start a church.”
Sources for this article include
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
by Mike Adams
[NaturalNews] I’m a huge fan and customer of Green PolkaDot Box, and they’ve become my top source for acquiring organic, non-GMO and truly natural products. Just like I shop for books and electronics at Amazon.com, I now buy most of my organics at Green PolkaDot Box, and it’s saving me money every time I shop there.
I want to bring these same savings to NaturalNews readers while also making you aware of all the new brands they now carry: Garden of Life, Nature’s Path, Nutiva, Global Healing Center (Ed Group), Boku Superfood and more.
The story of Green PolkaDox Box, the online discount retailer of organic, natural and non-GMO products, is fast become a huge success. They’re saving shoppers serious money on organic products, and they’ve expanded their inventory to represent hundreds of natural and organic brands, including many of my favorites like Pangea Organics, SunWarrior, Dr. Bronner’s and many more.
by: Lisa Garber
July 9, 2012
A study conducted by the University of Barcelona confirms what many have been saying for years: organic is not only better for the environment, it’s also more nutritious. With this particular study, organic tomatoes are examined to show how organic food really is better quality than traditional.
Organic Tomatoes Outrank Traditional
For the study, researchers compared organic tomatoes and conventionally grown Daniela tomatoes. Both had 34 beneficial compounds—more than one might get from supplements—but researchers also found that the organic group had higher levels of polyphenols. These antioxidant chemical compounds are anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting, and fight diseases like cancers and chronic conditions like arthritis. Polyphenols have also been correlated with new brain cell growth.
Natural Versus Synthetic Fertilizers
Lead author of the study—which was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry—says that the reason for the variation may be in the earth itself. While conventional farmers grow tomatoes in nitrogenous fertilizers, organic tomatoes and other crops are grown without the use of these fertilizers. In the latter instance, plants activate their own defense mechanisms, thereby raising antioxidant levels. Rosa M. Lamuela, co-author of the study, explains, “The more stress plants suffer, the more polyphenols they produce.”
This isn’t Lamuela’s first exploration of the organic movement. In an earlier foray, her team confirmed that organic tomato juice and ketchup have more polyphenols than the same conventional products.