There is no denying it, buying the “right” foods can be complicated, and with all of the mixed messages out there about good nutrition it can be down right confusing, frustrating, and discouraging. Navigating the grocery store, supermarket, or farmers market can go from being a fun way to dream up food ideas for the week to a guilt ridden chore, and that makes me sad! I have five food questions that I keep in the back of my mind when I go shopping that steer me towards certain foods and away from others and they have nothing to do with calories. These questions steer me towards real food that is good for my body, the environment, the economy, and my conscience. I hope they help you pick foods that you believe in and I am providing links to my favorite companies (no, I am not a affiliate of these companies and I do not get paid to write about them; I simply want to share products, companies, and resources that I love and use). So here you go! Part 1 of my 5 Food Questions series:
How was this raised, grown, or made?
I always check to see how a product was made whether it be meat, vegetables, grains, dairy, oil, etc... There is a huge difference in health benefits of meat that is organic and raised on pasture and animals that are commercially raised. Meat that is commercially produced is full of artificial hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, and is much more likely to be contaminated with bacteria; not to mention the conditions are VERY cruel. Conventional feed lot animals are also fed a diet that is made up of genetically modified soy, corn, and grains which are not natural foods for the animals and thus cause a lot of digestive distress, disease, abnormal growth, and infections in the animals Animals that are raised on pasture and eat grass and other foods that are a part of their natural diet cause the animals milk and meat to contain much higher levels of anti-inflammatory Omega 3 Fatty Acids, click here for a full article on this subject. Look for beef that is organic and 100% grass fed and grass finished, poultry that is organic and pasture raised, bison that is grass fed and grass finished, wild fish that is not on the Montery Bay's do not eat list, and organic pastured pork. I understand that meat that is raised this way is more expensive and really it should be. Cheap meat is very damaging to our bodies, the environment, and is abusive to the animals. Eat less and choose better quality whenever you possibly can.
Vegetables and fruit that are certified organic are grown without most commercial pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful chemicals and studies have shown that the nutritional content of organic produce is higher than conventional produce, click here for an abstract summary on pub med on this subject. There is also evidence that when conventional crops are sprayed with powerful chemicals such as the very popular Round- Up (glyphosate), many of the minerals and vitamins are bound by it and is therefore unavailable to be used by our body. To read more about Round Up and how it is a powerful toxin, chelator, and antibiotic please click here. Remember, your produce is only as good as the soil and water it is grown with.
Commercial dairy is produced by keeping dairy cows pregnant, pumping them full of hormones, and the animals are often fed genetically modified alfalfa, soy, and other grains which is not their natural diet which makes them sick which requires them to need constant antibiotics. If you choose to eat dairy, please choose organic dairy from animals that eat grass and are raised humanely.
How our food was raised, grown, or made effects it’s nutritional value and its flavor. Shopping at farmer’s markets and small shops makes it easy to find out information about the food, just ask the farmer/rancher/maker! Here are some helpful links to some companies I really like as well as resources to help you find local farmers markets.
Vegetables and Fruit-http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/human-health-benefits-eating-organic-foods-5174.html
Look at the food you are going to be putting into your body with a detective's eye and ask yourself how did this get to my plate?
I will be posting Part 2, Where Did This Food Come From? next. Keep an eye out for it!