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Naturally Peaceful

Your DIY Guide to Changing Times

Good Food Basics

I think we all hope that our food comes from clean, natural sources, like the idyllic, traditional farm scenes we see on so many food labels .... picturesque family farms with a sensible mix of fields and pastureland, livestock and crops.

Unfortunately, a great deal of our food comes from factory farms that confine animals in crowded, unhealthy and inhumane conditions.

 

Much of our grains, fruits and vegetables come from industrial-size farms which rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Many staples, such as corn, sugar and soybeans are genetically modified.

Short of knowing the farmers who grow your food, buying and preparing certified organic foods is really the only way to ensure that what you're eating is safe and healthy. Unfortunately not all of us can afford the typically higher price tag on organics.

                                      

                                                       Going Organic Without Going Broke

* Join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. These are farms that sell shares of their harvest to near-by residents, typically for around $300 to $600 per year. In return, members get a weekly assortment of the farm's produce. Find your closet CSA at localharvest.org

* Shop at farmers markets. Here you can meet the farmers and ask them about pesticide use and other practices. Some farmers don't use pesticides but haven't gone to the expense of obtaining official organic certification. Find a nearby farmers market at  localharvest.org

* Visit pick-your-own organic farms during the growing season and freeze or otherwise store foods for use later in the year.

* Grow your own. A garden is a great way to get in touch with the origins of our food and instill a sense of thankfulness for all the bounty the earth provides.

    "To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves." Gandhi

                                                                   

* Buy frozen organic fruits and vegetables - but check the country of origin. A lot of frozen produce, organic or otherwise, is grown in Mexico, Ecuador, China, and elsewhere. Not only is it difficult to verify organic standards overseas, shipping consumes fossil fuels and generates green house gases.

* Buy organic versions of the fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. As a general rule, these include soft-sided fruits and leafy greens. 

                    - from the National Geographic book "Green Guide Families" 

                                                 

* Buy in bulk  -  it's cheaper, conserves resources, and cuts down on mountains of packaging waste.

* Buy whole, unprocessed foods that are low on the food chain. It takes way more energy to raise cattle and pigs, than grain, beans and produce."Producing a pound of beef requires 30 times more water than producing a pound of wheat, and 200 times more than a pound of potatoes. Producing one calorie of animal protein uses 10 times as much fossil fuel as producing a calorie of vegetable protein. And the EPA reports that animal waste from U.S. factory farms pollutes American waterways more than all other industrial sources combined."  ("The Case Against Meat"  emagazine.com )

      Eating more vegetarian meals has a profound effect on the planet.

 Here's a list compiled by the Environmental Working Group showing the 15 fruits & vegetables least likely to be contaminated with pesticides:

Onions                        Sweet Corn Pineapples   Avocados   Asparagus     Sweet Peas  Papayas     Eggplant  Cantaloupe    Kiwi           Cabbage Honeydew melon  Cauliflower  Broccoli Mushrooms

Here are the 12 fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated by pesticides:                

Apples                Celery        Strawberries  Kale/Collards Peaches         Spinach     Nectarines   Tomatoes   Pears            Grapes    Potatoes                     Cherries                 

check out:               * Michael Pollan                    "In Defense of Food"  urges us to return to eating simple, traditional, real foods.

"Food Rules: An Eater's Manual"   "Eating doesn't have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings a welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food."           http://michaelpollan.com/

Frances Moore Lappe - Her first book, "Diet for a Small Planet", is considered the blueprint for eating with a small carbon footprint since long before the term was coined.

"Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in." smallplanet.org/ 

"Fast Food Nation" ... a close-up look at what's really in that fast food meal.* Eric Schlosser

 

Reducing your meat intake is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment. Methane emissions from grazing, is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.