Archive for January, 2017

Is Organic Food Just One of Many Healthy Food Trends?

Organic foods are one of a number of healthy food trends that is developing into a longer term commitment to healthier farming practices, and healthier food. It is not only that organic food is healthier to eat; it is also healthier for the environment. Other food trends include SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, environmental) and 100 mile (buying from local growers) foods.

Do you know where your food comes from? Are the asparagus you buy in November coming from a local farmer, or are they being flown in from around the world? What does it cost in energy and environmental impact to get the food from the farm to your table? Do you know the environmental impact of eating red meat? It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef.

Large scale food production – often accomplished through genetically engineered foods – is supported by manufacturers because they can earn more money from more production; and is supported by governments who want to ensure that their citizens have access to food (the premise is that unhealthy food is better than no food). There are more than 6 billion humans in the world, many of whom do not have enough food to eat. But what is the cost to the planet of producing on a mass scale?

Genetic modification, chemicals, pesticides, and intensive farming are just some of the techniques used to increase food production. And those techniques have negative impacts on the environment: from changing the genetic make-up of food, to contamination of land and water, to overworking land. Those food production techniques also result in food with less nutritional value.

Organic food advantages include healthier nutrients in the food and better treatment of the land, water and air. However organic food critics are concerned that the higher cost of producing organic fruits, vegetables, grains and meats results in a limited ability to produce on a mass scale.

Is organic food production sustainable?

Some say that only production of genetically modified foods can supply the demand of our growing global population. Organic food has been getting more attention in the media, in stores, in markets and in homes because more and more people are starting to recognize the importance of lessening our impact on the planet.

One way of doing so is to eat locally grown organic food. We have all begun to experience the effect of a warming climate; weather patterns are changing and intensifying. It is time to take action. After growth and harvesting, the average environmental footprint of non-organic food is 11 per cent for transportation, 46 per cent for production and processing, and 25 per cent for food preparation (storing in fridge, washing, cutting, preparing, and cooking).

The goal is to reduce the transportation, production, processing and even food preparation outputs: if food is grown locally and purchased locally transportation will be reduced; organic foods use less processing and because preservatives are not used, organic products are purchased on an as-used basis (no long shelf life for fresh organic vegetables, fruits, meats and grains).

Eating foods that are grown locally is better for the planet: a reduction of food miles – the distance that food travels from farm to warehouse to store to your fridge and then the dinner table – will help to reduce the carbon footprint of our consumption. (Note: the carbon footprint is a measurement of the impact our activities have on the environment; in this specific instance, it is a measure of the fossil fuels used to grow, harvest, store, ship, and sell food.) Support local organic farmers and make organic more than just one of many healthy food trends; make it a long lasting food decision.

Clay Bakers – Ancient Crock Pots

Civilizations from long past have used clay bakers and clay stoneware top cook and prepare food for peasants and royalty alike. The clay has a natural ability to lock in the natural juices and literally steam the meal; no oils and no extra fat. As the clay is a porous material it will soak in the juices of the food and release them throughout the cooking process so you will not have to open and baste, although you can if you so desire. Traditionally the pots were filled with the meal and placed directly in the fire or stone oven for cooking.

Today they are used in any type of oven, or if you choose, they can be placed directly on the fire or in a grill for a more traditional method. Any method you decide upon will produce fantastic meals that are lower in fat than if it was prepared without a clay baker. It should be noted that clay bakers are also referred to as clay pots and hot pots depending upon your location in the world. The use of clay pots simplifies the cooking process as well. Think of it as an all in one cooking method similar to a roast. The entire meal may be prepared in a single piece of cookware.

The clay releases heat very slowly which provides even heating much like a convection oven; the clay bakers also circulate heat due to the innate nature of stone cookware. With the return to healthy eating in society, clay bakers have seen a rise in their sales and production. There are a few downsides to clay bakers. Once hot they are very sensitive to temperature; applying a cold cloth or placing the hot clay baker on a cold counter could cause cracking. A clay baker should always be placed in a cold oven to avoid the extreme heat change in a pre-heated oven. While they are simple and easy to clean, no harsh cleansers or metal scrubbing pads should be used. Only nylon pads and mildly warm water and soap should be used after the clay baker has cooled down.

Daniel Kraus has worked in the food service industry for over 15 years as a manager, bartender and server captain in four and five star restaurants from St. Louis to Nashville.

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Healthy Eating For the Whole Family

The biggest obstacle families have to face is getting used to actually doing this. Many family members have after school or evening events that make cooking a healthy meal seem a waste of time. It’s not. It’s the better route to go than giving in to the convenience of disposable food. Dinner time can always be adjusted accordingly to account for the various events that keep you running around.

So, how, as the family cook, do you get started getting into the habit of cooking wisely for your family?

The first thing would be to sit down with your family, if possible, and discuss what kind of meals they would enjoy. Find out from your spouse and your children what they like, what they don’t like, what they would like to try, and some of the favorite foods they may have eaten at a friend’s house. Include all types of food in the discussion, from soup to salad to main course and desert.

Once you have a list to start with, ask your family to help you plan the meals for the week. Suggest healthy alternatives to unhealthy ones, such as sugar free pudding for desert instead of chocolate cake. Make sure you serve a variety of meats, grains and vegetables so that your family members will not get bored of the same things. Pay attention to portion sizes so that each family member gets the recommended daily allowance suggested by nutrition experts.

Make sure you also take into consideration any special needs of your family. If you have a diabetic, be aware of what they are allowed to have. It is a misconception that diabetics must stay away from all sugar. In actuality, some sugar is still needed to maintain the body. Once again, focus on the portion sizes. A diabetic or someone on a low cholesterol diet, counting carbohydrates or with other dietary needs, can still enjoy the same meal that everyone else is eating.

If at all possible, shop once a week. Bring your meal plan with you and buy only what you feel you need. Do not impulse buy as that will make it more difficult to encourage healthy eating in your already hectic world. Buy healthy snacks, such as fruit and vegetables and plain popcorn. Purchase beverages that are healthy as well or make your own at home. Encourage your family to drink plenty of water.

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Healthy Eating For Improved Memory

Your body is not the only thing that requires proper nutrients to perform well. When you do not eat right, your brain is not going to respond correctly, very much like your body. People are more likely to choose a healthy diet for their pet or choose the best additives for their car than they will for themselves.

The brain depends on the same nutrients the rest of your body does and if you are subsisting on an unhealthy diet, your body and brain will both slow down. This is generally a slow process; in fact, many do not notice the change until they are elderly and then the blame goes to your age.

Memory fades as the brain ages and loses the ability to help itself. Oxidation and inflammation, which kill the brain cells, are more able to attack. When you want a productive and healthy life, you must tune your mind and body so they are both running at peak functionality.

To start you need to get plenty of rest, approximately seven hours per night as well as monitor your blood pressure and get a moderate amount of exercise. Of course, if you smoke stop! Implement a diet that is rich in body and mind enhancing nutrients. You can take supplements, however the best option is to get your vitamins and minerals from natural foods. The results are better and last longer.

Plants can teach us a valuable lesson; they produce antioxidants in order to protect themselves from pollution, disease and harmful toxins in the environment. Foods you ingest should include the same, things rich in antioxidants such as apples, plums, grapes, oranges. Cranberries and blueberries are particularly high in antioxidants, they are great for memory.

If you want vegetables high in antioxidants, you should choose leafy green foods such as broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts and kale. You will also find red bell peppers, beets, garlic and onions a great choice. Others that are good but not quite as high as these are turnip greens, chard and collard greens.

The body also needs Omega 3 fatty acids, which you find in tuna, herring, salmon, sardines and mackerel. Vitamin B is another important supplement, which is found in seafood, dairy products, spinach, carrots, eggs, seeds and nuts.

There are spices, which are great at protecting your memory and keeping you healthy. They will help improve your motor skills and strengthen your brains communication and regeneration skills. Prevent memory loss with cur cumin, which is found in curry and ginger. If you need to calm the nerves and improve circulation while improving, your memory rosemary is an excellent choice, dry or fresh.

If you love coffee, recent studies will have you jumping for joy. In moderation, caffeinated coffee stimulates brainwave activity and protects you from memory loss. These results were more pronounced in women than in men however. Therefore, you see, when you maintain your mind and body with a healthy balanced diet you can excel today and protect your body for tomorrow.

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Choosing a Chicken Coop Design

There are so many chicken coop designs out there to choose from. It’s a difficult decision on which one to follow through with. For the foundation of the chickens’ health is determined on how the designs and all other aspects are brought together.

There are many things to consider before starting out on your chicken coop designs.

1. Location

Location can determine how much sun light the coop and the chickens will get. A very amount will ensure you have healthy chickens and their ability to lay eggs. Also, how well both the coop and chickens are protected from harsher weather. I’m not a big fan of cold weather and neither are chickens.

2. Predators

What kind of predators in your area like chickens for food? Raccoons, red fox, red-tailed hawk, skunk, mountain lion, fisher cat, mites, and coyotes are all predators who like chickens for a meal and i’m sure you have a tleast one of these in your area. The construction of your coop needs to be designed to keep all these types out.

3. Amount of land

I think the aspect most people over look is the amount of land required for the chickens to live and roam in a healthy environment. As far as the coop is concerned you should allow 9 square feet per bird.

These are just the tip of the ice berg on things to consider before choosing. In the end if you choose your design plans right, the chickens will reward you with healty eggs.