what is important about eating locally and organically grown?

 

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So as we work on overall health, eating has to play a HUGE part!  What foods we eat, where they come from and how they are grown contribute to not only our personal health but the health of our water supply, environment and economy.

For all kinds of reasons we are being called to eat locally, organically and sustainably grown veggies, fruits and meats. What difference does it make?

Michael Pollan, unarguably one of the great food experts of our time, answers some questions:

About buying organic for health::  On produce, some items, when grown conventionally, have more pesticide residue than others, so when buying these, it pays to buy organic. According to the Environmental Working Group, the “dirty dozen” most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale/collars.

The “clean 15″ are onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms. So if you’ve only got a little money to devote to organic, buy the organic apples and skip the organic onions.

But do keep in mind that it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables regardless of how they’re grown.

In meat, organic is very expensive, and doesn’t necessary ensure that the animals didn’t live on feedlot. I look for grass fed for beef instead, milk and butter, too.

Egg carton labels are confusing- what are the best eggs to buy?

Look for at least “cage-free,” (most other laying hens are raised in crowded cages) and ideally “pastured” eggs, which come from chickens that have actually been out on grass. This makes for happier, healthier hens and tastier, more nutritious eggs.

How buying local and organically grown helps keep our water clean

Buying local and organic prevents millions of pounds of toxic chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers from being used.  It saves millions of gallons of petroleum needed to produce these chemicals and transport the produce thousands of miles across the country.  The toxic chemicals and fertilizers run off into streams, rivers and ultimately the ocean polluting along the way.

The world’s clean water supply is at dangerously low levels and getting worse.  According to Water.org:  currently, only 1 in 10 worldwide has access to clean drinking water and every 90 seconds a child dies from a water related disease.

In America, this has been brought to our conscious by the recent and tragic issues in Flint, Michigan and droughts along the western part of the country.  We can do our part to protect our clean water supply – we can’t do without it!

 

 

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It allows us to eat fresher, closer to the source and what is currently in season.

In Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, (which I highly recommend to you if you haven’t read it), he details the many reasons this is more critical than we think.  The fuel consumption from transportation of produce, the toxic chemicals used for fertilizer and pesticides poisoning our water supply, our food and creating diseases, eating foods that are potentially months removed from the date picked and supporting large scale food producers who squeeze out the smaller farmers all lead to the rally of eating locally grown produce and meats.

 

 

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The cookbook, Simply in Season, is a great resource for recipes along seasonal lines.  The picture above is the recipe “Roasted Winter Vegetables” from the Winter Section.

 

 

 

 

ROASTED WINTER VEGETABLES

  • 6-8 cups of assorted winter vegetables available, cut into 1 inch pieces (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, beets or winter squash)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried or 3 tablespoons fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano
  • toss ingredients
  • spread in single layer on greased baking pan and roast for 30-45 minutes at 350F.
  • stir occasionally and season with salt and pepper

I used white potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, beets, turnips and carrots.  This was my first time using and even trying rutabaga, so I wasn’t really sure but this was quite tasty.

Many grocery stores are now carrying local produce and meats, which is a terrific new trend.  You can also find them at Farmer’s Markets and many local farmers are listed on-line, are close by and you could even visit, buying items there.

I encourage you to try and make this a priority in your health quest!

Happy eating!

 

 

 

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