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Another Reason to Eat Organic

Another Reason to Eat Organic



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A study found that higher exposure to pesticides is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes

Just when you thought science was saying organic food has no nutritional value, another study from the University of Granada has found a direct correlation between exposure to pesticides and the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.

Published in the journal Environmental Research, researchers found that people who had higher concentrations of DDE (which is the main metabolite in pesticide DDT) also were more likely to develop diabetes — four times as likely, in fact.

Furthermore, higher exposure to a compound in the pesticide Lindano (beta-Hexachlorocyclohexane) was also linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Results took into consideration the age, gender, and body mass index of 386 adults surveyed. The findings, however, could help explain body fat's link with type 2 diabetes. Researcher Juan Pedro Arrebola notes that "human adipose tissue (commonly known as 'fat')... can store potentially harmful substances, such as persistent organic pollutants (COPs)."

The direct effect of pesticides on type 2 diabetes is still unknown, although researchers suggest that these compounds can affect the metabolism of sugars. Still, it might be another reason to splurge on organic food. A study from Stanford University found that 38 percent of non-organic food had pesticide residue, compared to 7 percent of organic produce.


4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic

T he organic food industry is a booming business, and with the recent sale of natural-foods giant Whole Foods to Amazon, it&rsquos expected to grow even larger in the near future. While some consumers buy organic because they believe it’s better for the environment, even more do so for health-related reasons, according to one 2016 survey.

What, exactly, are the health benefits of going organic? That depends on who you ask and which studies you consult. But if you do choose to buy organic foods, here are some science-backed bonuses you&rsquore likely to get in return.


Can Eating Organic Food Lower Your Cancer Risk?

In a study, those who ate more organic produce, dairy, meat and other products had 25 percent fewer cancer diagnoses over all, especially lymphoma and breast cancer.

People who buy organic food are usually convinced it’s better for their health, and they’re willing to pay dearly for it. But until now, evidence of the benefits of eating organic has been lacking.

Now a new French study that followed 70,000 adults, most of them women, for five years has reported that the most frequent consumers of organic food had 25 percent fewer cancers over all t han those who never ate organic. Those who ate the most organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and other foods had a particularly steep drop in the incidence of lymphomas, and a significant reduction in postmenopausal breast cancers.

The magnitude of protection surprised the study authors. “We did expect to find a reduction, but the extent of the reduction is quite important,” said Julia Baudry, the study’s lead author and a researcher with the Center of Research in Epidemiology and Statistics Sorbonne Paris Cité of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. She noted the study does not prove an organic diet causes a reduction in cancers, but strongly suggests “that an organic-based diet could contribute to reducing cancer risk."

The study, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, was paid for entirely by public and government funds.

Nutrition experts from Harvard who wrote a commentary accompanying the study expressed caution, however, criticizing the researchers’ failure to test pesticide residue levels in participants in order to validate exposure levels. They called for more long-term government-funded studies to confirm the results.

“From a practical point of view, the results are still preliminary, and not sufficient to change dietary recommendations about cancer prevention,” said Dr. Frank B. Hu, one of the authors of the commentary and the chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He said it was more important for Americans to simply eat more fruits and vegetables, whether the produce is organic or not, if they want to prevent cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends consuming a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of refined grains and limited amounts of red meat, processed meat and added sugars.

Dr. Hu called for government bodies like the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture to fund research to evaluate the effects of an organic diet, saying there is “strong enough scientific rationale, and a high need from the public health point of view.”

The only other large study that has asked participants about organic food consumption with reference to cancer was a large British study from 2014. While it found a significantly lower risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among women who said they usually or always ate organic food, it also found a higher rate of breast cancers in the organic consumers — and no overall reduction in cancer risk.

The authors of that study, known as the Million Women study, said at the time that wealthier, more educated women in the study, who were more likely to purchase organic food, also had risk factors that increase the likelihood of having breast cancer, such as having fewer children and higher alcohol consumption.

The organic food market has been growing in recent years, both in Europe and the United States. Sales of organic food increased to $45.2 billion last year in the United States, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2018 survey.

For food to be certified organic by the Department of Agriculture, produce must be grown without the use of most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and may not contain genetically modified organisms. Meat must be produced by raising animals fed organic food without the use of hormones or antibiotics. Such items now represent 5.5 percent of all food sold in retail outlets, according to the organic trade group.

A representative of the Alliance for Food and Farming, a group that seeks to allay public concerns about pesticides, said consumers should not worry about cancer risks from consuming conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables. “Decades of peer-reviewed nutritional studies largely conducted using conventionally grown produce have shown that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents diseases, like cancer, and leads to a longer life,” its executive director, Teresa Thorne, said in an emailed statement.

For the study, researchers recruited 68,946 volunteers who were 44, on average, when the study began. The vast majority, 78 percent, were women.

Participants provided detailed information about how frequently they consumed 16 different types of organic foods. The researchers asked about a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, dairy and soy products, meat, fish and eggs, as well as grains and legumes, bread and cereals, flour, oils and condiments, wine, coffee and teas, biscuits and chocolate and sugar, and even dietary supplements. Study volunteers provided three 24-hour records of their intake, including portion sizes, over a two-week period.

The information was far more detailed than that provided by participants in the British Million Women study, who responded to only a single question about how often they ate organic.

Participants in the French study also provided information about their general health status, their occupation, education, income and other details, like whether they smoked. Since people who eat organic food tend to be health-conscious and may benefit from other healthful behaviors, and also tend to have higher incomes and more years of education than those who don’t eat organic, the researchers made adjustments to account for differences in these characteristics, as well as such factors as physical activity, smoking, use of alcohol, a family history of cancer and weight.

Even after these adjustments, the most frequent consumers of organic food had 76 percent fewer lymphomas, with 86 percent fewer non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, and a 34 percent reduction in breast cancers that develop after menopause.

The reductions in lymphomas may not be all that surprising. Epidemiological studies have consistently found a higher incidence of some lymphomas among people like farmers and farm workers who are exposed to certain pesticides through their work.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified two pesticides commonly used in farming — malathion and diazinon, as well as the herbicide glyphosate — as probable human carcinogens, and linked all three to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

One reason an organic diet may reduce breast cancer risk is because many pesticides are endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen function, and hormones play a causal role in breast cancer.


Share All sharing options for: Six Recipes That Got Us Through Another Week

It’s week trazillion-and-fifteen of pandemic cooking, and you’ve hit a rut. Nay, a trench. You’ve done all the things one can do to a bean, and while the digital cook-o-sphere is loaded with ideas, there are just too many of them. You scroll a few blogs, flip through some cookbooks, and give up. Beany Thursday strikes again.

We’ve been there. We are there. But help is here. To sort through the noise of TikTok tortilla wraps and feta pastas, Eater has compiled a handful of the recipes — from blogs, magazines, publications, and cookbooks — that put the pep back in our pans this week and that we hope will do the same for you. These are the dishes that Eater editors from across the country actually made recently, and we’re passing along any firsthand tips, hacks, or dietary substitutions that, hey, worked for us. Here, then, are this week’s must-try recipes from Eater’s very-much-average but highly enthusiastic home cooks.

May 15, 2021

Asparagus and Brie Puff Pastry with Thyme Honey

Tieghan Gerard, Half-Baked Harvest

My oldest sister sent me this Half-Baked Harvest recipe three times ahead of Mother’s Day — when another sister and I would be making brunch for our family. I was happy to oblige since I could tell from photos that this is just the kind of recipe that would appear involved and a “wow” to my beloved family, but be incredibly easy for me to put together. As ever, this HBH recipe was straightforward and quick, and I followed it word-for-word with two exceptions: I skipped the red pepper flakes since my mom and abuela are anti-spice and didn’t care to melt the honey, butter, and thyme in a saucepan for the pastry glaze — opting instead for a bowl in the microwave. Sure enough, my family immediately raved about the buttery, flaky pastry and its gooey brie and roasted asparagus filling. I’d suggest going for thin sprigs and overdoing it on the egg wash it’s also a must that these be served right out of the oven. I’ve already been asked to make these again for Father’s Day brunch. — Patty Diez, Eater project manager

Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Danielle Oron, NYT Cooking

Cookies really have become my go-to baking project this year. Last week’s were this salted tahini chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I chose partially for myself, and partially to give away to two friends (sharing is caring and baking is caring). I ended up using much more tahini than the recipe called for because I wanted to finish off the jar I had. I like to think that it caused the cookie to be more cake-like, which I was into. At the last minute, I decided to throw in peanut butter chips as a pantry-clearing move. The resulting combination of tahini, peanut butter, and chocolate plus the slight flaky salt was on-point. I liked that the recipe required an overnight chill, which gave me reason to prep the dough ahead of time. — Nadia Chaudhury, Eater Austin editor

Cured Egg Yolks atop Cacio e Pepe

Christopher Kostow, Bon Appétit and Gimme Some Oven

The inspiration for this combo began on a Friday night after making tequila sours. Not wanting to waste the fancy farmers market egg yolks I had leftover after making the beverage, I decided to try out this surprisingly easy Bon Appétit recipe for cured egg yolks. After four days, the semi-firm, salty yolks were cured and dried. (Instead of drying them out in the oven, I actually wrapped mine in a cheese cloth and hung them from a cabinet for a few days like in this video.) I decided the best thing to add them to would be Gimme Some Oven’s cacio e pepe recipe. For the pasta, I ended up using perciatelli noodles, which seemed larger than our local grocery store’s bucatini and therefore more effective for holding onto all of that cheesy sauce and grated cured egg yolk. In the end, the yolk added an additional layer of soft texture (think finely grated gruyere) and loads of umami. — Terri Ciccone, Eater audience development manager

Croquembouche

Claire Saffitz, Vice Munchies

As for many, baking got me through the pandemic. I learned how to make all kinds of pastries, breads, and desserts, and upped my game on a few baking techniques I already had in my back pocket. At some point, I realized that I had all the skills to tackle a multilayered, over-the-top baking project — nay, extravaganza: the very special-occasion croquembouche. For Mother’s Day, my brother suggested that we try baking something together to present to our mom, a gift that she would appreciate because it meant we had worked together. Claire Saffitz’s croquembouche, which she explains in great detail in not one but two very helpful videos, was the move. I made the puffs and creme patisserie in advance, but on assembly day, it was all me and Shane. Not burning yourself with the caramel is a feat, as is the assembly, but I had the baking skills and Shane had the organizational skills to actually pull it off. I dipped while Shane constructed the ’bouche, and in the end, we were both stunned by how structurally sound and extremely delicious it was. (Our mom was also very impressed.)

The croquembouche is an exciting presentation dessert, worth your time if you’re looking for some pizzazz at a post-pandemic gathering or an edible gift for a loved one. Saffitz’s recipe explains everything in great detail, which makes it feel less intimidating, but if you have someone who can do the whole thing with you, it’ll be twice as good. — Dayna Evans, Eater Philly editor

Littleneck Clams in the Style of Escargot

Mary-Frances Heck, Food & Wine

I moved to a new apartment in March, but I’m still unearthing moving box gems like three-year-old food magazines. I flipped through a 2019 Food & Wine pile and found a fortuitous recipe for littleneck clams cooked in the style of escargot — fortuitous because it was Monday and my boyfriend and I had clams from the Friday farmers market in our fridge. The recipe encourages using an old Italian trick to literally purge the clams of sand that might be trapped within them, which involves giving them an ice bath as you prep the buttery, shalloty, parsley-flecked mixture that goes into the clam shells once they open in the oven. We didn’t have an escargot dish, so just used our old faithful Han Solo Le Creuset roasting pan (it works fine). Once the clams opened in our screaming-hot oven, we stuffed in little orbs of the escargot-ish mixture: butter, dry white wine (we used sauvignon blanc we had on hand), minced garlic, and shallots (we subbed in shallot-shaped yellow onions from the farmers market), salt, pepper, flat-leaf parsley. You broil that for a few minutes and get plump, lightly browned clams and slightly caramelized butter-broth that you could drink out a flute glass, but probably shouldn’t. — Nicole Adlman, cities manager

Asparagus, goat cheese, and lemon pasta

Smitten Kitchen

I love when recipes can be boiled down to one simple, convenient premise. The premise of this recipe is: Turn a log of goat cheese into a pasta sauce — which is exactly what I wanted to do because I thought it would liven up the pasta and peas I was planning to make for my baby and then eat for lunch over the next couple days. Because I was making this to share with my baby and wasn’t willing to pick up any groceries specifically for it, I ended up making several tweaks: I used frozen peas instead of fresh asparagus I didn’t use any salt I used Banza (pasta made from chickpea flour) and to be extra sure the goat cheese didn’t get at all clumpy, I blitzed it through my food processor with olive oil before warming it up in the pot. My 11-month-old loved this dinner I really enjoyed it the next day as a cold pasta salad, too. — Hillary Dixler Canavan, Eater restaurant editor


Another Reason to Love Organic Tomatoes

Bigger isn&rsquot necessarily better&mdashat least when it comes to tomatoes. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, organic tomatoes are smaller than conventionally-grown tomatoes. But what they lack in size they make up for in nutrients: Organic tomatoes are packed with more vitamins and minerals than their conventionally-grown counterparts .

Researchers from the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil evaluated both organic and conventional tomatoes (from 30 different plants each) at three different stages of maturity: immature, mature, and at harvesting stage. In the final state, they discovered that organic tomatoes contain 55 percent more vitamin C and 139 percent more phenolic content&mdashcompounds that may help fight disease. Exactly why this might be the case is unclear. &ldquoConventional farmers use fertilizer and synthetic pesticides and herbicides, whereas organic farmers often rotate the crops, manage the weeds, and use environmentally-generated compounds,&rdquo says Lisa Young, PhD, RD, CDN, a nutritionist who was not involved in the study. All of these factors might affect the nutritional outcome of the crops, Young says.

The findings are a great excuse to load up on organic tomatoes the next time you hit the grocery store. Here are plenty of great recipes that&rsquoll help you put them to good use:


Organic Food vs Non Organic Food: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

But why are these chemicals harmful, and in what way? Well, for example, the pesticides and fungicides which are sprayed heavily upon our crops are specifically designed to kill living organisms. Really then, they should not be used on our previously pristine lands, they should not be in contact with our foods, and they should definitely not be fed to our unknowing children. If you are not yet convinced that you should just stop right now and change your diet, then please read on. (Although, before you continue, take a moment to ask yourself why the guy spraying our crops would need all of that protection?)

What is Organic Food?

According to thefreedictionary.com, the word ‘organic’ means:

  1. Of, marked by, or involving the use of fertilizers or pesticides that are strictly of animal or vegetable origin.
  2. Raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals.
  3. Simple, healthful, and close to nature.

By definition then, organic is a more natural method of cultivating and processing agricultural products. Indeed, there are strict guidelines in place to ensure the integrity of organic produce and any perspective supplier must undergo a stringent and ongoing series of inspections before their produce can be certified organic. These include full searches of facilities, fields, and data records, as well as intermittent soil sampling, water testing, and many other tests as demanded by each participating country. In the United States, for example, organic production must always be free from all synthetic chemicals that are not on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. This includes synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics and food additives. Furthermore, a certified organic product must also have been produced without genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge. Conversely, this of course means that a non-organic product may actually contain traces of all of these things.

The Short History of Non-Organic Agriculture

While there are a vast variety of standards when it comes to the government and control of organic farming, all of the processes have one important thing in common – organic crops must be cultivated without the use of synthetic chemicals. This is actually how it always used to be, right up until the industrial ‘advancements’ of the mid-1940s. This, is farming in its most traditional and natural form, and from a time when our food tasted exactly as mother nature intended it to. The good old days as many a grandparent might say. The thing is, that during those early days of industrial farming, the main priority for farmers wasn’t to produce good quality food, it was simply to meet the needs of the ever growing population. It was this need which tempted many farmers to turn to developments from within the synthetic/agrochemical industry. Although in fairness to them, they were yet to witness the effects of the new agrochemicals.

Fast forward to the 1960s …

Now those same farmers are starting to notice the effects of synthetic farming. These include excessive soil erosion, unnecessary deaths to the local wildlife and insect community, and extensive amounts of pollution as found in local rivers and rivers. But, you see, by this point it was too late for most farmers to go back to the older methods. They were, after all, slower than the newer methods, and a lot of farmers now had extended loans, or exuberant mortgages to pay. Reduction of their productive capacity was just not an option for them. Besides, it wasn’t as if people were being affected or anything, right? There were just a few (for ‘few’ read thousands of) animals dying here and there.

And thereafter …

Well, the disturbing effects of synthetic farming became even more apparent in the following decades, and soon they were being more closely felt by the human population. In fact, the closer you were to a farm or to a farm worker, the more likely you were to have a damaged nervous system, to develop instabilities in your immune system, to contract a new breed of cancer, and/or to give birth to a baby with defects. And don’t think that just because I’m writing in the past tense and using the word ‘were’ that those effects were an issue but are not any more. Believe me, they are still a great concern to an even greater many.

The Current Opinion of Science

For one thing, science, and more specifically scientific tests tell us that amongst the farming community in particular threats for certain illnesses and diseases, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, soft tissue sarcoma, and certain forms of cancer, including skin, brain, and prostate are much higher than the norm. These are the findings of a research project started in 1993 by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Environmental Protection Agency. These agencies were joined in 2000 by the The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and together they have tested the effects of agro-chemicals on nearly 90,000 farm and nursery workers.

Added to this are the findings of more research which was undertaken in 1993, this time by the National Academy of Sciences. They issued a report in which they claimed that, because of their physiological immaturity, their diet, and exercise habits, our children are particularly at risk from the toxic effects of pesticides. They further claimed that government standards which should be protecting them were not nearly stringent enough, and that the pesticide residue found on our foods was at much too high a level to be considered safe for their consumption.

Admittedly, however, and even in the face of such strong evidence, there are still some scientists who would argue that the residue which remains on our food is of no harm to us at all. Furthermore they would argue that there are many naturally occurring toxins, which are potentially more damaging than the pesticide residue. They might also go on to tell you about many studies which have demonstrated that consumption of all phytochemical-rich produce, whether organically farmed or not, will actually help to protect you from many illnesses and diseases, including those various cancers. Indeed, even some scientists who don’t agree with the use of pesticides might still agree that it is better to eat fruit and vegetables that have been farmed using non-organic methods than to not eat them at all.

But that, of course, would be their advice for today. If today was the 1960s then their advice might well be different, and then, no doubt, again during the decades in-between. Who knows then what might be their advice in future decades, or indeed the results of their own tests when carried out over a much longer period of time?

The Immediate Future of Organic Food

Organic farming is, in all senses, experiencing a growth spurt once more and, since it was hailed as a potential niche market, the organic industry is fast becoming a lucrative business sector. Even the largest companies are currently invested in ongoing organic ventures, and this means that at present the market demand for organic body care essentials, textiles, cleaning agents, and food for both human and animal consumption is also rising significantly.

And yet while the demand for organic products continues to grow, their consumption is still nowhere near as widespread as that of non-organically produced products. This ensures, as with all things that are a little harder to come by, that prices remain higher in comparison. Let us hope then that the current cultural trend for organics is also a long lasting one. And if it is, then our farmers and our leaders, be they in fashion, business, or government, will continue to offer their full weight and support and maybe one day the organic industry will hold the market share.

Just Good Enough vs Far, Far Better

Even if, so far, you still think that non-organic food is probably safe enough and probably good enough then perhaps you’ll at least concede that organic food is still far, far better. Better as such that consuming organic produce is definitely still the best way to limit our unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals – you can actually reduce your chemical exposure by 90% if you ‘go organic’. Better as such that eating organic produce is definitely still the best way to taste our food as nature intended it to be. Better as such that the world’s top chefs are already going out of their way to source the most organic and natural produce that they can possibly find. But also, better as such for its superior nutritional content. You see, not only is your organic produce more natural, and not only does your organic produce taste like the mythical food that your grandparents used to tell you about, but it’s also proven to be far, far better for you. And that’s true whether you consider non-organic food to be good enough or not.

During his famous 12 year study (1960-1972), Professor Werner Schuphan noted this nutritional superiority that organic produce has over non-organic produce. And, among other things, he found:

  1. Almost universally organic produce has a far higher mineral and trace mineral content than non-organic produce. The only exception to this being sodium.
  2. Organic produce contains far more iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium than conventional crops (other studies of this type have shown that organic foods have 2 to 10 times the mineral content of conventional foods).
  3. Organic crops had a dry weight (after dehydration) of 69-96% more than conventional crops – which demonstrates a much higher food-value content.
  4. Organic produce was far higher in vitamins than non-organic. For example, he found that organic spinach contained 64-78% more vitamin C and organic savoy cabbage contained 76-91% more vitamin C than their non-organic counterparts.

Much later, in 1993, Bob Smith, a laboratory analyst who worked extensively with trace minerals, began his own experiments. For two years he visited stores in Chicago and purchased 4 to 15 samples of both organic and non-organic produce. He brought these samples back to his laboratory and tested them for trace elements. His conclusions were as follows:

  1. Organically grown wheat had 2 times more calcium, 4 times more magnesium, 5 times more manganese, and 13 times more selenium than the non-organic wheat.
  2. Organically grown corn had 20 times more calcium and manganese, and 2 to 5 times more copper, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc than the non-organic corn.
  3. Organically grown potatoes had 2 or more times the boron, selenium, silicon, strontium, and sulfur, and 60% more zinc than non-organic potatoes.
  4. Organically grown pears had between 2 and 3 times more chromium, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, silicon, and zinc than non-organic pears.

Overall, Bob Smith found that the trace mineral content of organically grown food exceeded that of non-organically grown food for 20 out of the 22 beneficial minerals he tested for!

The point is that many of us settle for ‘just enough’ when we actually deserve ‘far, far better’. In this case, even if our non-organic produce is safe enough and good enough it still won’t give us the extra benefits that organic food will. The extra energy and vitality, the increased stamina and brain power, that far, far better feeling of just feeling more alive.

But that feeling costs a lot more I hear you say …

No, it doesn’t. The thing is that although organic food may currently be more expensive to buy than non-organic, organic food is actually much better value for money. This is because the superior nutritional content means that you don’t need to eat so much of it to feel full. It’s a much better version of full as well remember. And then ironically, of course, if we all start to realize this then our demand for organic produce will also cause prices to fall significantly. Thus, organic food will end up being far, far better all round.

So How Can I Reduce My Chemical Consumption?

Bob Smith also found that organic foods had much lower quantities of toxic trace elements, such as aluminum, lead, and mercury. But, if you’re still not ready for that just yet then I suppose that the good (ish) news for you is that not all non-organic produce is synthetically created equally. The alphabetized chart below shows the average pesticide content of certain foods, and with a quick scan you will see that just by cutting out spinach, strawberries, and celery you will be avoiding the foods which hold onto the largest amount of pesticide residue. Unfortunately, however, you will probably just make up for it all by eating more of other things instead. You really are best then to just switch them out for organic.

2. What if you don’t have organic food around?

Not everybody is a farmer or a gardener and, since demand hasn’t peaked quite yet, not everybody can buy organic so readily. Okay then, I hear you, so here are some easy and effective ways to reduce your chemical consumption. And bear in mind as you read them please that even if you don’t believe in non-organic food pollution and the dangerous risks that these chemicals pose to your health, there is definitely no down side to ridding your food of the residue.

  1. Wash your fruits like you wash your hands. “Use soap, Jimmy!” Mom and Dad were right: just running your mitts or your munchies under tap water does little to remove oily grime. Agricultural pesticides do not come off in water anyway. If they did, farmers would have to apply them after each and every rainfall, or even after a heavy dew. That would be labor-intensive and extremely expensive. This is why petrochemical companies, for example, make pesticides with chemical “stickers” that are insoluble in water. These stickers bind the pesticides to the crops regardless of the weather. Therefore, before we can do anything we need to make our own ‘De-pesticider’ (see below).

TIP: How To Make Your Own ‘De-pesticider’:

– Take 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of baking soda OR vinegar (my favorite is

apple cider vinegar from Bragg’s), and 1 cup (250ml) of water.

– Put the mixture in a spray-topped bottle.

– Spray the fruit or vegetables, leave to sit for 5–10 minutes, then rinse well.

For particularly waxy fruit or vegetables, try this mixture:

– Take 1 cup (250ml) of water, ½ a cup (115ml) of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and a

dash of grapefruit seed extract.

– Spray this onto the produce and leave for an hour before rinsing and eating.

Discard the outer layers. Eat only the inner layers of any non-organic produce that you won’t be cooking. These will be things like lettuce and other salad vegetables (including onions). Assume that the outside layer of any fruit or vegetable will have absorbed most of the pesticides (though some will have also have been absorbed from the soil), and wash/peel or discard these outer layers whenever you can. Remember that this ‘shell’ is actually natures way of protecting the produce from harm. And while you’re at it, always remember to wash your hands well again after throwing away the peel, otherwise you might just be transferring pesticides (as well as bacteria) to the already peeled fruit or vegetables.

Juice it. As most of the pesticide residue stays with the fiber (pulp) of the fruit or vegetables, juicing, amongst it’s many other advantages is a great way to discard the bad parts of the outer layers while still benefiting from the good.

The Benefits of Eating Organic Include (but are not limited to):

  • Not produced using harmful chemicals. The chemicals sprayed on our crops are specifically designed to kill living organisms.
  • Production is highly regulated. Any perspective supplier must undergo a stringent and ongoing series of inspections before their produce can be ‘certified organic.’
  • Better tasting food. Just like our grandparents and the world’s top chefs keep telling us.
  • Better for the environment. Non-organic farming causes excessive soil erosion, unnecessary deaths to the local wildlife and insect community, and extensive amounts of pollution as found in local rivers and rivers. Organic food production maintains the proper ecological balance.
  • Safer for our farmer workers. Organic farming, without the use of pesticides, reduces the risk of contracting a large amount of chemical associated illnesses and diseases.
  • Better protection to our children. Because of their physiological immaturity, their diet, and exercise habits, our children are particularly at risk from the toxic effects of pesticides.
  • Better quality nutrients. Organic produce has a far higher mineral and trace mineral content than almost all non-organic produce.
  • Higher mineral content. In fact 2-10 times the mineral content according to some studies.
  • Higher vitamin content. For example, organic spinach contains 64-78% more vitamin C and organic savoy cabbage contains 76-91% more vitamin C than their non-organic counterparts.
  • Higher trace mineral content. For example, organically grown potatoes have 2 or more times the boron, selenium, silicon, strontium, and sulphur, and 60% more zinc than non-organic potatoes.
  • Better value for money. Because of the extra nutritional value it takes less food to fill you up.
  • Less toxic trace elements. Elements such as aluminum, lead, and mercury.

Whether you take my word for it or not, and whether or not you believe that non-organic food is dangerous or at the very least not so beneficial to us, you must agree that we really don’t know what the results of future testing will throw at us. What we do know, however, is that many times in our past we have learned too late about the dangerous effects of chemicals which we had initially thought were safe enough or good enough. With this in mind then, and with your own health, as well of that of our world and your children at stake, would not the best protection from potential harm be to simply not to place ourselves in its way. Isn’t that what the guy in the picture is thinking?

Just buy organic food. Because, after all, you really do reap what you sow.

FOR FURTHER READING ABOUT HOW TO LIVE A CHEMICAL-FREE LIFE, I RECOMMEND:

    Dworkin, S and Dworkin, F. (1974) The Apartment Gardener. New York: SignetFritsch, A. and The Center for Science in the Public Interest (1977) 99 Ways to a Simple Lifestyle. New York: Anchor-Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-12493-7 Library of Congress 76-54756

Issac, K and Gold, S ed (1987) Eating Clean 2: Overcoming Food Hazards. Washington, D.C.: Center for Study of Responsive Law. ISBN 0-936758-21-X. Library of Congress 87-73555

Kulvinskas, Viktoras (1975) Survival into the 21st Century. Wethersfield, CT: Omangod Press.

Lasky, M. S. (1977) The Complete Junk Food Book. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-036501-6 and ISBN 0-07-036502-4 paperback. Library of Congress 77-9367

Wigmore, A. (1964) Why Suffer? NY: Hemisphere Press.

Wigmore, Ann (1982) Recipes for Longer Life. Garden City Park, NY: Avery.


4 Reasons To Eat Organic Beef Tallow And How To Do It

For countless years people have valued the stable, nutrient-rich fats which came from the animals they raised. Even until recently, beef tallow was the chosen fat in the Western food industry (fast-food restaurant chains included) for high-heat frying and cooking due to its legendary stability and delicious flavor.

Following untruthful yet damning information from the U.S. government around the 1970s, however, tallow and other vegetable fats rapidly attained an unfair stigma. The vegetable oil industry swooped in, promising a ban from supposedly unhealthy saturated fats but in truth bringing in a far more dangerous era of trans fats. Unsurprisingly, heart disease and cardiovascular conditions skyrocketed, despite the western world turning its back on saturated fat.

Even though the original report alleged that saturated fat was harmful to our health, scientific evidence continued to suggest otherwise. As the irrefutable evidence in support of saturated fat began to pile up, governments around the world slowly began to change their stance on the matter. While the U.S. government has taken back much of its hatred of animal fats and other oils containing large amounts of saturated fat, the long-standing stigma has become so ingrained in the American psyche that most people still can’t bring themselves to recognize just how important it is for their health.

Well, folks, it’s time to erase the dietary mistakes of the last 40 years and bring something which is overwhelming good back into our lives. Saturated fats, when they are sourced from happy, healthy, free-range animals, provide a vast array of vital nutrients, energy and body-supporting compounds. Perhaps more importantly, they do not make you fat!

Beef tallow can be one of the healthiest and most versatile cooking oils you have in your kitchen, provided you source it from the right animals. Your beef tallow should come from grass-fed, organic, humanely-raised cows, and should be minimally processed. If you get your hands on some quality tallow, here’s some of the wonderful things it can bring into your life.

Compared to other fats and cooking oils, beef tallow is amazingly cheap. Due to the unwarranted fear that tallow and other animal fats still elicit in most people, it’s in low demand, and what tallow you can get your hands on is always cost effective. In some cases, it’s even free! While back in the day butchers would have recognized the value of tallow and priced it accordingly, today’s meat dealers are either throwing the stuff away or selling it for pennies. Head down the right butcher and they’ll probably be happy to give you a big tub of the stuff for free! Just make sure you only use the tallow from organic, grass-fed cows, as many of the toxins can be transferred to the fat otherwise.

2. It’s a great source of saturated fat

There would have been a time when a heading like that might have sent people running for the hills, but that time is happily over! Beef tallow is one of the best sources of healthy saturated fats , which provide an excellent energy source for the human body. While our bodies can run on both glucose (sugar) and fat, they function far more efficiently on fat… and the best kind is saturated.

Many of the most common diseases plaguing Americans today, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, are caused by an over-abundance of dietary sugars and a lack of nutrients. Sugar breeds addiction, causing people to become more and more reliant on sweet foods and therefore more and more unhealthy. Getting plenty of saturated fat from sources like tallow helps to break that addiction, triggering satiety hormones, providing bucketloads of nutrients and forcing your body to function more efficiently.

It might not be much to look at, but beef tallow is dynamite when it comes to keeping the ravages of cancer at bay. Research conducted by the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy at UC Davis indicated that beef tallow prohibited the development of metastatic breast tumors. The study found that mice fed conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in conjunction with beef tallow had fewer metastatic breast tumors than another group which was fed a vegetable fat blend.

Scientists from the study concluded that the fatty acids in the beef tallow “may increase the efficacy of dietary CLA in reducing mammary tumorigenesis.” In short, the saturated fat in beef tallow enabled the mice to more efficiently break down and utilize essential nutrients, giving them an advantage over the growth of cancerous tumors.

4. It’s great for your skin

Historically, beef tallow was used as a key ingredient in skincare concoctions and recipes. In fact, many companies continue to use it in their high-cost beauty products today, although they’d be hard pressed to admit it! Much of the skin-nurturing benefits of tallow are owed to its surprising similarity to our own skin cells, with both beef tallow and our skin containing 50 to 55 percent saturated fat content. This means that a lot of the nutrients contained in beef tallow head straight to your skin, helping to maintain skin integrity, tone and elasticity.

In addition, tallow is chock full antioxidants and nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K. It also contains palmitoleic acid, which has anti-microbial properties, and conjugated linoleic acid, which is super anti-inflammatory and helps prevent certain cancers, including those of the skin. For this reason, tallow is one of the most powerful skin-nurturing products in the world. And the best part? It’s completely natural!

How to use beef tallow

First, you need to find a good place to get your beef tallow. Certain butchers pride themselves on stocking good quality, organic, grass-fed beef, so they’re often a good place to ask whether they’re willing to sell (or give!) you some tallow. If you can’t track down any good butchers, join a good farm cooperative — these are a great way to get meat and other farm products straight from the source, and they’re usually composed of farms which only use sustainable farming methods. Check out this article for more information on farm cooperatives.

If none of that works out and you can’t source some good quality tallow, simply save any grass-fed beef fat you don’t eat and use it to make your own. The following video walks you through the steps of making tallow from suet.

Store your rendered beef tallow in the fridge when you’re not using it (it will turn hard when cooled below room temperature) and simply scoop out a healthy chunk when you’re ready to cook with it. Place it in the pan, set to low heat so that it melts and covers the pan and start cooking! It’s great for stir-frying, sautéing, roasting, grilling and just about anything you can think of which requires high heat!

Liivi Hess

Still not convinced that saturated fat is good for you? You should probably read this article then!


8 Reasons GMOs are Bad for You

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are created when a gene from one species is transferred to another, creating something that would not be found in nature.

A large percentage of domestic crops (up to 85% of soybean yields) have DNA that was tweaked in a lab, yet it is nearly impossible to know which food items contain these genetically engineered ingredients. Thankfully new mobile phone apps are making it a bit easier for the consumer to know what she is eating, but this is not enough.

GMOs are bad for your body, bad for the community, bad for farmers and bad for the environment. This is why:

  1. The health consequences of eating genetically modified organisms are largely unknown. Genetically engineered foods have not been shown to be safe to eat and may have unpredictable consequences. When trans-fats were first introduced, corporations battled to get them onto your grocery shelves – and it is only decades later that this once novel food has been proven to be extremely unhealthful. Many scientists are worried that the genetically altered foods, once consumed, may pass on their mutant genes to bacterium in the digestive system, just like the canola plants on the roadsides of North Dakota. How these new strains of bacteria may affect our body systems’ balance is anybody’s guess.
  2. Food items that contain GMOs are unlabeled in America. Why so sneaky? The European Union has banned GMOs, as have Australia, Japan, the UK and two dozen other countries that recognize that a lack of long term studies and testing may be hiding disastrous health defects.
  3. Genetic engineering reduces genetic diversity. When genes are more diverse, they are more robust this is why a pure bred dog tends to have greater health problems than the dear old mutt. Plants with reduced genetic diversity cannot handle drought, fungus invasions or insects nearly as well as natural plants, which could have dire consequences for farmers and communities dependent on GMO crops for survival.
  4. Once the mutant genes are out of the bag, there is no going back. Genetically modified organisms contaminate existing seeds with their altered material, passing on modified traits to non-target species. This creates a new strain of plant that was never intended in the laboratory. In North Dakota, recent studies show that 80% of wild canola plants tested contained at least one transgene. In Japan, a modified bacteria created a new amino acid not found in nature it was used in protein drinks and before it was recalled it cause severe mental and metabolic damage to hundreds as well as several deaths. Japan banned GMOs after this horrific experience. Monarch butterflies have also died after their favorite food, milkweed, was cross-pollinated from Bt corn which rendered it toxic to the endangered species.
  5. GMOs are not the answer for global food security. Genetically engineered crops have shown no increase in yield and no decrease in pesticide use. In many cases other farm technology has proven much more successful, and even Monsanto agrees that its genetically engineered crops yield less than conventional farming.
  6. Genetically engineered foods have not been proven to be safe, but the few studies conducted don’t look so hot. The organs of rats who ate genetically modified potatoes showed signs of chronic wasting, and female rates fed a diet of herbicide-resistant soybeans gave birth to stunted and sterile pups.
  7. Big biotech firms have very sketchy track records, but then again what would you expect from organizations who want to patent the world’s food supply? These massive biotech companies have a history of toxic contamination, deceiving the public and suing small farmers when their patented seeds blew across the fence. Biotech firms sell sterile seeds to African farmers- meaning the seeds are only good for one season, because the plants that grow up will not be able to reproduce. Farmers must buy new seeds every year instead of growing from the previous year’s yield. GMOs are not the farmers’ friend.
  8. GMOs require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These things are poisons, and should not be eaten or allowed to run off into our water supply. But they are, every day, by companies who care far more about the bottom line than they do about your health, your environment or your children’s future.

The bottom line is that genetically modified organisms have not been proven in any way to be safe, and most of the studies are actually leaning the other direction, which is why many of the world’s countries have banned these items whose DNA has been genetically engineered. In America, they aren’t even labeled, much less banned, so the majority of the populace has no idea that they are eating lab-created DNA on a daily basis.

Now you do your best defense is to purchase certified organic food, which cannot contain any GMOs, and to tell your friends and loved ones to do the same.


Five Reasons to Eat Organic Apples: Pesticides, Healthy Communities, and You

There are good reasons to eat organic and locally raised fruits and vegetables. For one, they usually taste better and are a whole lot fresher. Yet most of us can't afford to buy all our food at the farmer's market or natural foods store, and in many places, locally produced and organic foods are a struggle to find.

So if you can only buy a few organic fruits and vegetables - which should should it be? Which single piece of produce could have the greatest impact on agriculture, the environment and your family's health, all at once?

Reason #1: The average conventionally grown apple has more pesticide residue on it than any other fruit or vegetable.

According to the Environmental Working Group's analysis of USDA data, pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the more than 700 apple samples tested (yes, they were washed). And it wasn't just one pesticide either - apples from around the country, domestically grown and imported, were found to have up to 48 different kinds of pesticides on them. While less than the 69 types used on cucumbers, that's still far more than the single pesticide found in sweet corn (shucked) or the 15 on oranges (peeled).

Reason #2: We are not quite sure what some of those pesticides do to humans or the environment.

Apples are commonly sprayed with Syngenta's Paraquat, a pesticide under scrutiny for a possible link to Parkinson's disease. Additionally, apple growers in Michigan received an exemption for the last three years (and have recently applied again) for "emergency use" of the unapproved antibiotic kasugamycin. While not an antibiotic currently in use by humans, data on its affects on ground water and animal reproduction and development are not known.

Additionally, several new studies question if even allowable levels of pesticides do harm to humans, particularly organophosphates - substances the USDA reports are found on 81 percent of all conventionally grown apples.

Reason #3: Farm owners and workers like to live and work in safe environments too.

Even if the pesticide residues break down and are no longer found on the apple when you purchase it, those who spray the pesticides, and their communities, are affected by the chemicals directly.

The USDA’s 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) of organic apple producers found that most farms chose organic methods because they could increase their income. But many also said they grew organic apples primarily to protect the health of their families and of the community, and because many wanted to adopt more environmentally friendly practices.

The problem with chemical use on farms is that someone has to apply them, and often communities nearby are hit with pesticide "drift." A study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) last year found:

". pesticide-related illness is an important cause of acute morbidity among migrant farm workers in California. A few categories (organophosphates and carbamates, inorganic compounds, and pyrethroids) account for over half of the cases of acute illness. Growers should be educated about alternative forms of pest control and incentives should be provided to encourage their use."

According to the USDA, in addition to the 81 percent of conventional apple orchards which spray organophosphates on apple orchards, carbamates and pyrethroids are also used nation wide (on 35% and 29% of fields, respectively). Chlorpyrifos, a chemical linked to lowered IQ and higher incidence of ADHD in children is also still sprayed on 59 percent of apple orchards in the U.S., endangering the general public and those children living in rural areas.

Reason #4: Apples are one of the country's favorite fruits - and eating more organic apples could immediately impact farming.

Not only is apple pie American, so are apples. The third most consumed fruit in the U.S. (next to oranges and grapes), apples generate $2.2 billion a year. 350,000 acres in the U.S. are dedicated to growing the fruit, and apples can be grown in all 50 states, although 60 percent of them are currently grown in Washington.

Yet organic orchards currently account for only 6 percent of apple acreage in the country, even though organic apples are one of the most popular organic fruits. Of the 21,000 acres of land in organic apple production, 16,000 are in Washington (13,000 acres) and California (3000 acres).

This means there is great opportunity for a simple change in America's eating habits to quickly impact the farming industry. If each person in the U.S. ate only a few more organic apples each month, that would translate into more opportunity for farmers to convert to organic growing methods. And because the ubiquitous apple grows in all 50 states, this means there is also opportunity to immediately increase local organic farming as well, allowing more farmers to generate income in their own communities.

Reason #5 Organic apples don't cost an arm and a leg, and are a great snack.

The cost of an organic apple can be as high as $2.99 a pound and as low as $.99. And at about 1/2 of a pound a piece - that means the most expensive organic apples you can buy would run you only $1.50 a pop. Eating five of them a month would be only $90 a year - a cost most American households can bear. (Although this is more apples than most households currently consume - a discussion for another article perhaps).

But the implications of this are huge. If only a quarter of the public switched to buying and eating organic apples, more than $7 billion a year would be generated to support local organic farming. That is a substantial chunk of change to convince more farmers to take on the costly transition to organic production.

Apples are also more filling and help you sustain energy longer than bananas, croissants or even eggs.

So what if you can't get organic apples in your supermarket? Ask for them. It is more work for grocery stores to deal with many small farms selling apples, than with large distributors. But if organic local apples are what the public demands, stores will go the distance to supply them.

An apple a day, it turns out, can do far more than just keep the doctor away.


What does organic mean?

The UK has a long history of organic farming, but is it really worth buying organic? Nutritionist Jo Lewin lays out the facts to help you make up your own mind.

What does ‘organic’ actually mean and what’s the difference between organic and non-organic fruit, vegetables and animal products?

Organic – a definition

The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that:

‘Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.

Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control’.

**Taken from DEFRA – Crown Copyright

Is organic food healthier than non-organic food? Read our expert guide to find out. You can also discover the best fruit and vegetable boxes by checking out our detailed review, whether you’re looking for organic produce or not, we found lots of great options.

Organic farming

Organic agriculture is about a way of farming that pays close attention to nature by using fewer chemicals on the land such as artificial fertilisers, which can pollute waterways. It means more wildlife and biodiversity, the absence of veterinary medicines such as antibiotics in rearing livestock and the avoidance of genetic modification. Organic farming can also offer benefits for animal welfare, as animals are required to be kept in more natural, free range conditions.

Organic labelling

For composite foods to be labelled as organic, at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants or animals. EU-wide rules require organic foods to be approved by an organic certification body, which carries out regular inspections to ensure the food meets a strict set of detailed regulations, relating to production methods and labelling.

Look for labels like the Soil Association. This is the gold standard of organic labelling. As some ingredients are not available organically, a list of non-organic food ingredients are allowed however, all artificial colourings and sweeteners are banned completely in foods labeled as organic.

Useful logos

Buying organic produce

Organic food is cheapest when bought directly from a farmer or producer, either via a box scheme, farmers market or farm shop. Buying local, organic food will often cost less than the non-organic equivalent. Unfortunately, most of us cannot access organic food directly from the producer and therefore it tends to be more expensive than the basic non-organic equivalent in the supermarkets. It does pay to shop around. Some organic products cost less than premium non-organic products. You might be pleasantly surprised.

If you are on a tight budget but would like to buy more organic food, then you could try prioritising your purchases. Items such as organic flour, milk, bread and butter can be cheaper, as can fresh seasonal produce such as salad leaves and herbs. If you do compare prices, you may actually find that many organic brands are cheaper than their conventional equivalents and are often on special offer.

There are many reasons why someone might choose organic – such as taste, health, to avoid pesticides and a concern for the environment. The organic movement does promote healthier soil and it stands to reason that in the long run, organic farming is better for overall soil quality. However, let’s not forget that the most important factor in your diet, as far as fruit and vegetables are concerned, is to eat as much and as wide a variety as possible, regardless of whether it is organic or not.

For more information on organic foods visit The Soil Association website.