Friday, December 08, 2006

Another Answer to Childhood -- and Adult -- Obesity

When kids start turning up with sky-high cholesterol readings at the age of 5, you know there is something wrong with the way we eat.

Obesity among adults -- and children -- is now epidemic.

No one disputes that.

The question is what to do about it.

There are all kinds of theories, but the real place to look is at not only the quantity but the quality of the food we eat.

The fact is, unless a human being is able to derive adequate nutritional value from what is consumed, one or more problems is sure to follow -- obesity chief among them, because if our bodies know that there are not enough of the essential nutrients in the food we have already eaten, we will start to crave more. And that sets off a vicious cycle.

We start compensating for the poor quality of what we eat, by trying to eat more, and add supplements and vitamins to "fill in the gaps." But that's not working.

We need to return to a better quality of food to start with. And that means organic.

People who eat organic foods, tend to eat less because they are satisfied with the great taste, and because they actually ARE getting most of the nutrients they need from their food sources.

If a person could only switch to organic sources for one or two major foods each week that would be a great start. Once you feel and see the difference, you won't be so tempted to return to processed and "junk" foods.

It's time to upgrade not just how much we eat, but WHAT! And these days? It's really easy to do.

This holiday, turn to organic foods to help fight off the mountains of sweets, fats, fast foods, and other temptations. Take a bag of cut up veggies or a fresh apple with you for healthy snacks; it will make a world of difference in your energy levels, and in helping you avoid making terrible food choices during the frantic holiday season.

Yours for extraordinary dining -- for everyone,
Eat healthy -- and well!

Organic Wal-Mart Food? Is That Real?

According to a recent OCA (Organic Consumers Association) report, "Wal-Mart is being investigated for falsely advertising conventional products as "organic." The Cornucopia Institute has discovered that a number of Wal-Mart stores are defrauding consumers by labeling products as organic that were grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. A formal legal complaint has been filed with the USDA asking the agency to investigate allegations of illegal "organic" food distribution by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc."

Now, I was pretty sure that WalMart didn't have consumers in mind when they made the decision to offer organic food in their grocery aisle. After all, their pattern is to obtain products from third-world countries where the labor and manufacturing costs are cheap.

So the question always was about how they are going to be able to purchase food products that meet tough USA standards, when the corresponding countries where they will be getting the products do not have, in many cases, any standards at all.

Now we know the answer. They never intended to -- they just hoped they wouldn't get caught.

So how stupid is that? You'd think they could at least wait until people got used to being able to buy organic food at WalMart before trying the old bait-and-switch number on us.

Personally, I doubted that WalMart was EVER going to be able to purchase true organic food -- from anyone anywhere, because in order to do so, they would have to change their buying practices.

Funny thing about being "green" -- it's pretty easy to tell when it's turned "brown". And I think you know what I'm talking about here!

People don't like being thought stupid -- and that is exactly what the consumer will feel when they learn that WalMart has been trying to cheat them by selling food labeled organic that isn't organic at all.

We vote with our dollars.

Now we know where NOT to shop for great organic foods.

What's that old commercial saying? "It's not NICE to fool Mother Nature!" Well, it sure isn't nice to try to fool consumers, either. I think WalMart may pay a hefty price for that -- in loss of consumer confidence. (They probably don't care about the fines. . . )

Yours for extraordinary dining -- for everyone,

Find great organic gourmet foods -- but NOT at WalMart!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Making Sense of Organic Foods

Just for fun, I signed up for Google Alerts on the topic of Organic Food, to see what's out there and what people are talking about online when it comes to my favorite topic: great organic gourmet food.

Seems like it's a hot topic -- with many opinions, and not a whole lot of fact.

Which may be one reason the whole thing is so confusing to so many people -- and why organic food enthusiasts, along with folks who just want to know what is healthy and what is not -- are sometimes tearing their hair out in frustration.

You've got mislabeling, misleading, and just plain lack of solid facts that are making it tough to find out the truth.

And I'll tell you what happens when people are confused -- they do NOTHING!

They default to their habits, and they do whatever is easiest in the moment.

Which is not a good thing for eating better foods, and a terrible thing for the organic food industry -- but it may just be exactly what the multinational corporations have in mind for Big Agribiz.

In the view of Big Business, why would it be a good thing if consumers stopped buying their products on the grocery shelves, in favor of home-cooked, locally grown food?

Of course now there are commercially prepared foods that are labeled organic -- a lot of vegetarian stuff that tastes decent (finally) -- and even more organically grown meats and produce.

But is that the best we can do?

I think not.

The real answer for many of our current health problems in the so-called developed countries, is to return to a more natural way of growing, preparing and eating our food. And in most cases that means a return to locally and organically grown foods.

Yes, we will still need to turn to a range of products at the grocers, but there are many steps we can each take to eat better and to live more sustainably in the process.

It starts with the choices you make every day, and in the way you think about what you are doing.

Start with something small, and build on that. For instance, several years ago I made the choice not to eat beef unless it was raised naturally and organically. That made a huge impact on my health (including a surprise benefit in my cholesterol levels), and now I have also started to turn more and more to other organic proteins rather than commercially prepared foods of any kind.

See, the thing that we all miss when we look at how "expensive" it is to buy organic foods, is the hidden price tag: our health.

Let me ask you a question: "Would you like to pay 50 cents more today, or $50K in ten years to heal what happened to your body as a result of what you put into it?"

That is a choice. I hope more and more people opt for a healthy, organic choice. It's the conscious thing to do -- and your body will be grateful, too.

You have to eat anyway -- why not switch to organic? It tastes so-o-o-o-o-o good, and it's so good for you!

Yours for extraordinary dining -- for everyone,

Find great organic gourmet foods -- and gifts --here

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Get Organic Foods Delivered to Your Door

If you don't feel like going out to a store or restaurant, but still want great organic foods, what's the next best thing?

Yes, you could thaw out a frozen (organic, of course) meal and cook it.

Or, you could order your organic food delivered to your door!

There is an abundance of sources for having your organic food delivered at home. On our web site, we will maintain a list of them, and add more to the blog as we discover new ones.

For starters (I was going to say, for a taste of what's in store. . . but that was too bad a pun!) -- here is one of my personal favorites, Dines Farms -- a local farmer whose stop is a must at our farmers market.

Last weekend was Dines Farms last appearance at the farmers market for the season -- but not to worry, because now you can order directly from them to have your organic meats delivered to your home.

In case you don't already know this, Dines makes award-winning frankfurters. I tried them for the first time this summer and honestly, I have never eaten a better hot dog anywhere. No wonder they won the "Top Hot Dog in NY State" award!!

But hot dogs are just one delicious item Dines Farms offers. There's much more!

They have:

-- Organic Chicken and chicken products (breasts, thighs, eggs)
-- Organic Pork and pork products (smoked bacon, pork loin chops, pork roast)
-- Organic Beef and beef products (steaks, ground beef, hot dogs)
-- All natural chicken sausage

Dines Farms is a family owned and operated farm. Their meats are all-natural, pasture-raised, no antibiotics, no hormones and no chemicals of any kind. All animals are raised on pastures that have not had pesticides on them in over 20 years.

And folks, when you eat meat that has been raised this way, you can TELL the difference, not only in taste, but in how you feel afterwards. There is absolutely no comparison to meat raised the "modern" way.

I've tried just about everything Dines Farms offers except the duck. All of it has been exceptional in every way.

Treat yourself to some extraordinary organic meals this winter, delivered to your door. Try Dines Farms and see what you've been missing! But save some for me -- I haven't ordered my Christmas turkeys yet!

Yours for extraordinary dining,

Learn how to get more organic foods delivered to your door

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Organic Farmer in Congress!

Jon Tester, an organic farmer from Montana, will be joining the ranks of U.S. Senators in January, thanks in part to the national Democratic sweep reflecting a hunger (oh, pardon the pun there. . . ) for change in the way things are done in our country.

Tester says, in his thank-you message to supporters, "The message sent by Montanans in this election is clear: it is time to get to work. Time to make government work again for ordinary Montanans. Time to fix health care. Time to achieve energy independence. Time to find a plan to end the crisis in Iraq and bring our troops home. Time to restore the Montana values of honesty and integrity to the United States Senate. And time to end destructive party politics and work together for real solutions and real change in Montana and this great nation."

So we can see why he wants to be there.

It will certainly be interesting -- and refreshing -- to have someone "on the inside" who knows the real scoop, helping to shape our country's food policies.

This is a hopeful (and momentous) sign, for those of us who care about sustainability and great organic food -- and for everyone. This is the first time an organic farmer will walk the halls of power in our land. Hallelujah -- and thank you, Montana, for giving us one of your best :-)

Go get 'em, Jon -- you have an "army" of devoted foodies and organic food enthusiasts out here eagerly waiting to see how you will move forward with some progressive changes at last.


Yours for extraordinary dining -- for everyone,

Send your loved ones an organic gourmet gift basket this holiday season!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Organic turkeys and corporate turkeys

Next week it will be "turkey day" in the USA. Folks will gather with family and friends, to reflect upon what in life is good, and to offer thanks for all those gifts, usually around a table (or two) groaning with food.

Turkey is one of the traditional foods that is served for this (and other) holiday meals and celebrations. It's nutritious, delicious, and good for you.

The only problem with it? We all usually eat too much!

Maybe we could all step back from the table a moment or two this holiday, to remember those who do not have enough to eat -- and to find ways to help. There really is enough for everyone -- if we would all just share a bit.

If you do plan to cook this holiday season, and wonderwhere to find great organic turkeys and organic poultry, we've got some sources for you here.

If you want a fresh organic turkey delivered in time for your holiday meal, visit here (and hurry -- before they run out!) ===>

Organic may cost you more than the ones you can buy in the supermarket but. . . you cannot beat the taste! It's worth it.

And, after you have ordered your poultry, you might want to reconsider shopping at WalMart from now on. As soon as they announced that they were getting into the organic food business, I knew there would be trouble -- and here it is already. Seems they are mislabeling some foods as "organic" that aren't.

Figures. I always knew WalMart wasn't really green -- they just want OUR green stuff!

Oh well -- if you REALLY want great organic gourmet foods, stick to the people who are doing it right. Visit our site for more information (and great resources -- I just found 10 more this week, and haven't even had a chance to upload them yet.)

Happy Organic Thanksgiving!

Yours for extraordinary dining -- for everyone,

Find Everything Organic Here

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is Organic Food Only For The Rich?

According to an article published in today's Grist by author and sustainable farmer Tom Philpott, yes, maybe, but it doesn't have to be that way.

I totally agree. My premise is that fresh healthy food is available -- and affordable -- for everyone, and I would like to help everyone learn how to access it, grow, cook, and eat great organic gourmet food.

Philpott says that there is a dark history behind the way our food is grown, and who has real access to the best of our food supply. His article is thought-provoking at the very least.

It's true that people at the low end of the income scale will tend to reach for cheap, available foods (which in the USA is often fast foods and drinks, loaded with trans fats, carbs, and sugar.)

But many farmers markets accept food stamps, and with a little planning and change of habits, even someone on a very low pay scale can still feed their family with healthy meals.

For one thing, a large bag of lentils will make a fabulous soup or stew that serves a large family for more than a week, and costs less than one big hamburger from a fast food joint. Add some fresh vegetables, and maybe a bone or two for extra protein and flavor, and now you're really cooking.

Of course, comparing a pot of lentil soup (that admittedly must be cooked and simmered a while) to something you can grab on the run, is not always the solution for the hard working poor. But it IS possible. And desirable.

Wonderful and simple meals can be easily produced with a minimum of effort. But the key is education.

Who will reach and teach the working poor, to seek better eating habits? Who will show them where to find the bargains they need to find, in order to make it work?

I don't have the whole answer but I'm making a start with my web site, Find Great Organic Gourmet Foods.

I advocate eating better for everyone, regardless of means. And hopefully, I will be able to provide the links and resources you need to start turning away from fast food "solutions" to get on track for healthy eating again.

Here's to a safe and delicious food supply -- for everyone!

Here's where to learn more

Friday, November 03, 2006

What caused the e-coli outbreaks? And how do we avoid more?

Right away. as soon as people started getting sick from eating "organic" spinach, big agribusiness was eagerly pointing the finger at organic growers, claiming it was the manure (that is used as fertilizer in organic and biodynamic farming) to blame.

The only problem with that is, it is not true.

In an article written October 12th by Abrahan Paulos, titled You Can Thank Big Agriculture for E-coli, it seems organically grown foods are the answer, not the problem.

"Can E. coli-free spinach be grown locally, safely, and healthy much of the year? Yes indeed, it is now being done by small and medium-sized producers in the Midwest and throughout much of the Northeast. So, what's stopping the growth? Easy. Artificial economies, subsidies, and compromises in quality in a greedy and harmful effort to produce cheaper and cheaper food" says Paulos.

I agree. Local, organic produce is the answer.

The manure that is used in biodynamic farming has been dried and processed, to clean and eliminate active bacteria cultures, while retaining the necessary nutrients (such as nitrogen and calcium) that the soil -- and plants -- need to be healthy.

The danger comes not from what is in the soil, but in how it is processed and handled after it's been picked and while it's being packaged and transported.

Soil conditions -- and chemicals -- used in agribusiness have proven to be toxic to both humans, animals and insects that are needed to help pollinate and protect the crops.

Whether or not it is a lack of understanding about biodynamic farming, or whether a deliberate attempt to discredit the organic industry, it serves no good purpose to point fingers and place blame when one is not also seeking to correct one's own conditions and causes.

Greed makes for sad outcomes -- and propaganda makes for poor policy.

Now, a lot of fresh produce can be grown in the winter months in organic, biodynamic greenhouses -- so you don't need to depend 100% on farms from warmer climates when you are looking for sources for safe greens and other vegetables.

Better yet, you could grow your own! It's not as hard as you think. When you know what has happened to youe food from seed to plate, you can relax about how safe it is -- and simply enjoy it.

And you know what? If we all stopped buying agri-food, and started to support local farmers in a big way, things would change in a hurry.

Go for the green (and healthy) stuff this winter -- look for locally grown organic produce.

Or take the leap and learn how to construct a cold frame. Try your hand at growing some green produce (think spinach, lettuce, kale, bok choy, and the like) yourself.

Enjoy your week!

Yours for extraordinary dining -- for everyone,


Find out where to get fresh local organic produce