Friday, September 10, 2010

Chew with caution

I've had some more interest in the food stuff so I thought it required a second post. 

First off, I would like to recommend a second documentary on the subject, "The Future of Food." This was released in 2004 so it is already almost out of date (which makes it even more frightening to imagine what's happened to our food in 6 years). 

Now let's talk about the dirty subject. Genetically engineered foods are already a part of our daily diets. This should alarm anyone who eats food in America since no one really knows the long term effects of this on the human body AND the government does not currently require labeling of these products. Today, genetically engineered corn, canola, soybeans, and cotton are grown and distributed in the U.S. According to the Center for Food Safety, " Currently, up to 45 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as is 85 percent of soybeans. It has been estimated that 70-75 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves--from soda to soup, crackers to condiments--contain genetically engineered ingredients."

YIKES. What the heck is going into our bodies? Nothing good, that's for sure. There are virtually no added benefits to the consumer (AKA eater) to GE foods and A LOT of negative effects and even more unknowns. It's super freaky that not only is our food being sprayed externally with chemicals, but being manipulated in unnatural ways on a molecular level. Not how God created it or how our bodies were meant to process it, that's fo sho.

So what does this mean for us, the unsuspecting ignorant, but hungry consumers? We need to use local food sources or grow our own as much as possible. 

So here's some tips I've come across and things I am trying to incorporate to make this work for us. Don't freak out if this seems out of reach for you right now. You can't just flip a switch one day and eat 100% clean and healthy food. The unhealthy food system surrounding us is too dominating. Set some realistic goals for making a change so you can establish lasting healthy habits over time. The long-term goal of course is to know what your eating beyond calories and carbs and have direct access to clean, natural foods. 

1. If you are going to try and grow some things yourself, start small. Find a few plants and/or seeds of items you like to eat in abundance. I have found a few organic non-GMO seed resources online, but currently have no experience with any. (Once I do, I'll let you know how it goes...)

(Burpee seems a little sketchball so I am not recommending them right now. )

2. Don't have a clue how/ when to grow plants?  There's a million trillion resources online to tell you how to plant, when to plant, what to plant, and where to plant. It's everything but an automated hand moving the dirt for you. Find a planting calendar that coordinates with your location and get to work!

3. If you're buying produce from an outside source, buy what's in season from a local supplier. "Why bother with this?" you ask. "The grocery store is 1/2 a mile from my house and the cashier knows my name." By buying local products you:

• eliminate the environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles
• your food dollar goes directly to the farmer
• your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables

Check out these maps and such to know what food is in season when:

4. This is simple, but read labels - and not just the calories or fat! Although the government does not fully regulate all the products and substances put in food, let's not ignore what they do tell us! It's so easy to just throw something in the cart and not realize every ingredient is an unpronounceable GE product. Some of it's tasty I know, but let's pay attention a little. :)

5. If you are going to buy non-organic produce, buy items where you don't eat the skin such as bananas,  onions, avocado, etc. Most chemicals and pesticides added after germination remain on the skin. Here's a list of the Top 20 fruits and veggies with the MOST pesticides and the LEAST. This should help you determine which items should always be organic if you can manage it. 

20 foods with the most pesticides:
  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Grapes (Imported)
  10. Spinach
  11. Lettuce
  12. Potatoes
  13. Carrots
  14. Green Beans
  15. Hot Peppers
  16. Cucumbers
  17. Raspberries
  18. Plums
  19. Grapes (Domestic)
  20. Oranges

20 foods with the LEAST pesticides 
  1. Onion
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet corn (Frozen)
  4. Pineapples
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet peas (Frozen)
  8. Kiwi
  9. Bananas
  10. Cabbage
  11. Broccoli
  12. Papaya
  13. Blueberries
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Winter Squash
  16. Watermelon
  17. Sweet potatoes
  18. Tomatoes
  19. Honeydew melon
  20. Cantaloupe

6. If you can't afford the additional expense of organic all the time, make sure you thoroughly wash your produce with natural veggie cleaner. I have used Fit (sold at WholeFoods and other retailers). All produce should be washed, but especially non-organics. 

7. For cost savings, start or join a local buying club. A buying club is a way a group of people can combine their buying power to save money on local, healthy foods. 

Check out these lists to see if there is one (or a CSA) near you: United Buying Clubs or  CSA

8. Mostly, my advice is to just pay attention to what you buy and what you eat. Apples aren't suppose to be shiny and strawberries aren't suppose to be the size of your fist. Bread isn't suppose to last a month or worse, get better over time! Food comes from the ground and is perfect in it's natural state, made uniquely and intentionally to break down in a certain way in our bodies. 

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