Archives

Monthly Archive for: ‘January, 2018’
How to Make the 5 Basic Sauces

No, the French didn’t invent the 5 basic sauces, known as “Mother Sauces”.

The Romans started using sauces around 200 AD to mask the flavor of spoiled meat.  Obviously those sauces were strong and heavy.

For the last couple of hundred years the French have dominated sauce creations.  They have what are known as the five foundation sauces or the base sauces for everything else.  They are bechamel, mayonnaise, veloute, brune  and the blonde sauce.

Today’s modern savory sauces are Bechamel (white sauce), veloute (blond sauce), Brown (demi-glace or Espagnole sauce), hollandaise (butter sauce) and tomato (red sauce).

Many, many savory sauces can be made from the base of these 5 sauces.  Over time I will give you the recipes for many of those but today I’ll start with the 5 basic savory sauces which will also be posted in a “sauce” category under recipes.

1.  Bechamel is just a white sauce made from butter, flour and milk, seasoned with salt and nutmeg.  The following recipe is courtesy of Mario Batali

 

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

2.  veloute (blond sauce) is similar to a white sauce in that you start with a roux mixture (equal parts of butter and flour), but the difference is that the blond sauce is finished with chicken stock instead of milk.

 

Ingredients

Directions

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

3. Brown Sauce is a very complex rich sauce when made correctly.

Ingredients

  • 1 veal shank
  • 2 veal knuckle bones
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, cut in half
  • 1 garlic bulb, cut in half
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in chunks
  • carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart beef broth, low sodium
  • Bouquet Garni, (thyme, parsley, bay leavespeppercorns

Directions

Place the veal shank and knucklebones in a roasting pan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 45 minutes. When the veal pieces are brown, brush them with 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and season again. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and return the pan to the oven for 15 more minutes. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Saute the mirepoix (diced carrots, celery and onions) vegetables and thyme in the butter to coat then stir in the remaining tomato paste and continue cooking until the vegetables are caramelized. Pour in the red wine to deglaze, stir. Transfer the browned bones to the stockpot. Whisk in the water and broth. Add the bouquet garni and bring the sauce to a boil. Simmer gently for about 3 hours, skimming periodically. Strain the sauce through cheesecloth or a chinois to remove the bones and vegetable solids. Continue to cook for 1 hour more, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until the sauce is reduced to 2 cups and nicely thickened. Taste for strength and seasoning. May whisk in a pat of softened butter to finish the sauce.

Serve with meats or poultry.

4. Hollandaise sauce is a butter based sauce flavored with lemon.  Hollandaise can be difficult to make (or easy to break) but the following is a very easy method I’ve been using for years with good results.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs yolk only
  • 1 c butter
  • 8 ts lemon juice
  • 1/2 t hot pepper sauce Tabasco
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 Ts white wine vinegar

Directions

for Hollandaise Sauce

* Place the egg yolks in the food blender or food processor and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper and then blend thoroughly until the yolks lighten in color.
* Heat the lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a small pan until it just simmers.
* Turn the blender on again and slowly add the hot liquid in a steady stream. Turn the blender off.
* Using the same pan, melt the butter over a gentle heat until it just starts to foam.
* Turn the blender on again and trickle in the melted butter, a little at a time.
* Turn the blender off and scrape the sides of the blender clean with a spatula before giving it one last blitz to incorporate everything.

5. Tomato or Red Sauce is obviously a tomato based sauce. There are infinite variations you can accomplish from this.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
  • Salt

Directions

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

 

That’s it for the basic sauces Fat Farmers.  Enjoy making different variations and let me know what you did. – jughandle

The Basic Rules of Food Combining

Yes, there are a few basic rules of food combining.  If you think about it, eating the proper foods together makes a lot of sense.  Protein and starches are digested differently in the body so you wouldn’t want to eat them together because proteins produce acid and starches produce alkaline in the stomach, counteracting each other causing your food to rot in your stomach producing gas.

The following are the basic rules of food pairing or combining you should follow to have a smooth digestive system – jughandle

This comes from an article found at http://www.trustedhands.com/content/fcbeg.pdf

Basic Rules

  1.  Do not eat proteins and starches together. That’s right – no more meat sandwiches. Your body requires an acid base to digest proteins and an alkaline base to digest starches. Proteins and starches combine well with green, leafy vegetables and non-starchy vegetables, but they do not combine well with each other.
  2.  Generally fruits should be eaten alone or with other fruits. If fruits seem too sweet, then eat a handful of nuts (80% fruit, 20% nuts). Fruits digest so quickly that by the time they reach your stomach, they are already partially digested. If they are combined with other foods, they will rot and ferment.
  3. Melons digest faster than any other food. Therefore, you should never eat melons with any other food including other fruits. Always eat melons on their own.
  4. Do not mix acid and/or sub-acid fruits with sweet fruits at the same meal. Acid fruits, such as grapefruits, pineapple, and strawberries, can be mixed with sub-acid fruits, such as apples, grapes, and peaches, but neither of these categories can be mixed with sweet fruits, such as bananas, dates, or raisins.
  5. Eat only four to six different fruits or vegetables at one meal.
  6. Fats and oils combine with everything (except fruits) but should be used in limited amounts because while they won’t inhibit digestion, they will slow it down.
  7. Wait the following lengths of time between meals that don’t combine:

a. Two hours after eating fruit.

b. Three hours after eating starches.

c. Four hours after eating proteins.

How to Fix it if you Screw Up

· If you eat PROTEIN and STARCH during the same meal, eat some legumes.

· If you eat NUTS, eat an acid fruit with them.

· If you still eat DAIRY, make sure to eat an acid fruit.

· If you overloaded on PASTA, eat an apple the next morning.

· If you’ve eaten too much PROTEIN, eat papaya the next morning.

· If you’ve, eaten too much SUGAR, eat grapes the next morning.

· If you’ve eaten too much SALT, eat watermelon the next morning.

Conclusions

Eat Proteins like nuts, seeds, soybeans, lentils, meats, fish, milk and eggs and cheese with vegetables such as green beans, cucumber, sprouts, artichokes, mushrooms, lettuce asparagus, beets, turnips, spinach, onions and others but avoid eating Proteins with Starchy carbohydrates like carrots, parsnips, corn, brown rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and others.  Vegetables go well with both proteins and carbohydrate starches, but avoid eating proteins and starchy carbs at the same meal.

Different foods take different lengths of time to digest in the body.  It only makes sense to keep your meal simple, limiting the number of different foods eating at one sitting to no more than 4 or 5.

– jughandle

The Cost of Health Care
photo by John Underwood 1970

Then

As some of you know, before “Obama Care”, health insurance, I was one of the roughly 50 million Americans without health insurance.  I got that way through a long path of being self-employed while having cancer twice.  After monthly insurance payments reached $2000 and excluded cancer, I became what is commonly know in the trade as “self-insured”.

Right.  

Until “Obama Care” I had to beg health providers for “discounts” off of their published “cash” prices.  Prices that are most times 5 or 10 times higher than what insurance companies or medicare/medicaid pay for the same service.  After all it is a capitalistic society and I am but one person competing against the thousands of customers the insurance companies represent.

A quick example: 17 years ago I fractured my femur head resulting in avascular necrosis, or bone death, of my left hip.  My doctor told me I needed a total hip replacement  that he would charge me $6,000.00 for. I gave him a down payment of $3000.  I said “fine” and scheduled the procedure, taking all the classes and pre-op tests.  

Finally the day before the surgery I was told to go to the hospital to sign some papers.  The hospital person told me everything was ready and all they needed was a check from me for $30,000.  I said that I needed to work out a payment plan to which she replied “we don’t do that kind of thing”.  I canceled the procedure.  

In the following 20 years since that date, I have lost the ability to perform my work properly, have been in constant daily pain, have gained 100 lbs and have been called a burden on society. 

Believe me, I have had it relatively easy.  I am still alive.  Many, many people aren’t as lucky.

The system is broken and I hope to hell that the Obama plan can fix it, but I don’t see how.  Can’t get blood out of a turnip.

Update: Flash forward to 2018. I was able to get an affordable insurance policy for my family that did not penalize me for preexisting conditions.  Yes I even paid for it.  After 2 hip replacements, a knee replacement, my gallbladder removed and 8 emergency kidney stone procedures (all life threatening), I am once again a fully functioning member of society. I do glow in the dark however, having had 42 CT scans to-date. But I am No longer a burden on society. I can work again.

Please read the article below to better understand just how screwed up the medical system still is.  It does not fit in our system. – jughandle   

Anatomy of the World’s Most Insane Health Care Billing System

By Morgan Housel 
May 14, 2013 

A few years ago, I went to the doctor for a simple procedure. I had high-deductible health insurance and would be paying for the procedure out of pocket.

Before heading in I asked the receptionist what I thought was a simple question: “How much is this going to cost?”

She had no idea. And she had no way to check. She looked at me like it was an unreasonable question. A manager contacted a third-party billing agency to get me a quote, which ended up being nothing close to what I actually paid in the end.

Economic models assume participants have perfect information. In reality, they often have no information whatsoever.

I thought this was a glaring example of how screwy health care pricing is. But I had no idea.

Source: WikiMedia, Mouzi.

A permanent pacemaker implant at Pennsylvania’s Phoenixville Hospital is billed at $211,534. Four hours away at Unitown Hospital, the same procedure costs $19,747, or 91% less. 163 hospitals across the country charge at least $100,000 for a pacemaker, while 46 charge less than $30,000.

The official bill rate to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey is $99,690. At Lake Whitney Hospital in Texas, it’s $3,134, or 97% less. Thirty-five hospitals bill an average of more than $50,000 to treat COPD, while 161 bill less than $7,500.

A kidney and urinary tract infection faces a $132,569 bill at Crozer Chester Medical Center in Pennsylvania, but $6,224 at Wyoming County Community Hospital.

Those are just a few examples I pulled out of a massive database released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week. The group spilled the beans on what 3,000 hospitals charge for 100 of the most common medical procedures. It then compares those “chargemaster” prices to what Medicare actually paid for the treatments, based on hospital-specific estimates of the treatment’s cost, including administrative overhead.

The database — which contains nearly 1 million data points and crashed my computer three times — has two screaming-in-your-face takeaways.

The first is the difference between bill rates among hospitals. It’s just huge. At least a dozen treatments I looked up have a difference between the high-cost and low-cost provider of more than ten-fold, and several treatments will cost more than 20 times as much depending on what hospital you’re in.

The report doesn’t contain perhaps the most important metric — outcomes and quality of procedures performed. Teaching hospitals and hospitals that receive an influx of seriously ill patient transfers from other hospitals will also have higher-than-average costs.

But even looking at average prices by state shows massive discrepancies. In California, the average hospital charges $101,844 to treat respiratory infections. In Maryland, hospitals bill an average of $18,144, or 82% less, for respiratory infections. New Jersey hospitals bill an average for $72,084 for “simple pneumonia.” Massachusetts hospitals charge an average of $20,722 for the same condition.

The second takeaway is that the gap between what hospitals charge for procedures and what Medicare actually pays for those procedures is off the charts. Of the 100 procedures tracked in the database, the average difference between “average charges” and “average payments” is — I’m not making this up — 72%.

Go back to my pacemaker example above. Phoenixville Hospital may charge $211,534 for a pacemaker implant, but Medicare pays the hospital $17,835 for the procedure. Unitown Hospital bills $19,747 for the treatment, and is reimbursed $15,281. What starts out as a five-fold price discrepancy shrinks to a 14% difference in the end.

Steven Brill, a journalist who wrote an eye-opening cover story for TIME earlier this year exposing discrepancies in health-care bill prices that paved the way for the data’s release,wrote last week:

The hospital lobby, led by the American Hospital Association, is going to howl that publication of these “chargemaster” prices is unfair. Only a minority of patients are actually asked to pay those amounts, it will argue. Insurance companies, which cover the majority of patients, receive huge discounts off the list prices, though they pay substantially more than Medicare does.

True, but that doesn’t settle the matter. It actually highlights some of the deepest problems. Those “minority of patients” are no small group; they’re the estimated 48 million Americans without health insurance. For medical providers to say that “chargemaster” prices don’t reflect the true cost of care is to admit that some of the most financially vulnerable Americans may be being billed absurdly inflated prices. It’s ironic, but some of the greatest benefits to having health insurance isn’t necessarily the insurance coverage, but the price-negotiating power that insurance companies strike with care providers.

Imagine a banana in a supermarket. It costs $1 for those paying with Visa, $3 for those paying with MasterCard, and $32 for those paying with cash. You can’t sign up for Visa until you’re 65, and you can only get a MasterCard if you have a nice employer or a decent income. Worse, customers have no idea that such price discrepancy exists. They don’t even know how much they’ll pay for the banana until long after they’ve eaten it.

That would be absurd. No one would put up with it.

But it’s how our health care system works.

 

The health care industry is changing fast. If you want to learn more about the upcoming changes, check out our new special free report, “Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare.” Just click here to read more.

How to Test Your pH

Snake Oil

When talking about pH my biggest concern in discussing this topic is to be taken seriously.  When a health method isn’t totally embraced by the traditional health community, it seems as though the snake oil salesmen display an inordinate number of cure-all methods and substances you can take to cure everything from gout to cancer.

As with most things you should stay toward the middle of the road.  Don’t believe anyone who says they can cure you over night.  Most of our problems took a long, long time to develop and will take almost as long to fix.  There are no silver bullets, just rational science.

Why Test Your pH?

pH is an indicator that our body chemistry is either good or bad.  If your pH is out of range for a long period of time, changes in our blood, organs and skin will take place to compensate for an acidic condition.  These changes aren’t good and can be dealt with before real damage is done.  An acidic pH level is an indicator that something is out of balance.  Make corrections.  Don’t ignore the “engine warning” light.

phtestigenstrips

Now to Test Your pH

My Urologist is trying to bring my very acid urine pH from a 5.0 to some where close to 7.0.  He has me on 45 mg of  Potassium Citrate three times a day.  Because your pH changes throughout the day it is important to test it several times during the day, maybe once a week or so.

Urine – Test your second pee of the day by placing the test strip in the urine stream for a few seconds.  You test the second pee (before coffee) because the first pee from storing it overnight will be more acidic.  The kidney’s job is to remove acid from the system.  Wait 10-15 seconds or what ever your brand of test strips recommends and compare the color to the chart provided in the test kit.  Write down this number and time and do it again 2 – 3 more times during the day.  Remember to test either before eating a meal or 2 hours after a meal for most accurate results.

Saliva – First thing in the morning, either flush your mouth with your own saliva and spit or rinse with water and wait 30 mins before testing.  Wet the strip with your saliva and check against the chart as with your urine.  Write the number and time down.  As with the urine, test 2-3 more times during the day.

You can average the numbers then chart them over time to see what difference changes in your diet can make.

ph - ion

 

The Chart

Remember that the pH chart with your kit is like an earthquake chart, it is logarithmic which means each step, ie; 4.5 to 5.5 is ten times the previous.

phi-01001-3_1_

Which Strips?

You can find test strips in most pharmacies and health food stores or you can find them on line.  On my blog page there is a tab for “Company Store” which houses links to products I use and recommend on a daily basis.  I research these products to find the lowest prices and I don’t profit from you purchasing from my page.

I personally use PHion Balance Diagnostic pH Test Strips.  They are available through my store for 90 strips.

Please let me know if you can find them less expensively, I will pass it along.

What Results Should we Expect?

What’s normal pH…
There are a number of body systems which all have their own specifically preferred pH. Overall, the body’s internal chemical environment normally changes from a weak acid to a weak base within a 24-hour period, usually more acid at dawn and most base at sunset. These physiolical changes occur on a sine curve during this period. The slightly acid time period early morning: pH < 7.0 is optimal for the activity of the nerves, hormones and neurotransmitters such as adrenaline. thyroxine, histamine, acetylcholine and other biogenic amines. In this pH, the acidic connective tissue substances (stored acidic wastes) are dissolved by the hyaluronidase into liquid form and thereafter excreted from the body as wastes.


Blood pH:

The bloodstream is the most critically buffered system of the entire body, far more sensitive than any other. Arterial and venous blood must maintain a slightly alkaline pH: arterial blood pH = 7.41 and venous blood pH = 7.36. Because the normal pH of arterial blood is 7.41, a person is considered to have acidosis when the pH of blood falls below this value and to have alkalosis when the pH rises above 7.41.

Figure 3. Range of Arterial pH Values

 

ACIDOSIS
pH = 1 to 7.40
NEUTRAL
pH = 7.41
ALKALOSIS
pH = 7.42 to 14.0

 

 

 

Interstitial fluids and connective tissue pH:

A normal pH in these areas is 7.34 and 7.40, a slightly more acid profile, because body cells dump as much free hydrogen (H+) as possible, buffering the blood as much as possible. However, pH in these areas can dangerously drop to concentrations of pH = 5.0.

 

Urine pH values:

In a pH balanced body. urine is slightly acid in the morning, (pH = 6.5 – 7.0) generally becoming more alkaline (pH = 7.5 – 8.0) by evening in healthy people primarily because no food or beverages are consumed while sleeping. Whereas, during the day the body buffers the pH of the food and beverages consumed by releasing electrolytes and the pH level goes up. This process allows the kidneys to begin the elimination process slowly.

Outside the range implies that cells are being burdened with caustic pH fluids within and without surroundings. Long term experience outside this range is unhealthy. However, the pH of urine can range from an extremely unhealthy low of 4.5 to a high if 8.5, which it tolerates a little easier, depending on the acid/base status of the extracellular fluids. A high pH value may indicate the body is over buffering to compensate for a physiological system that is too acidic.

 

 Range of Urine pH Values.

 

UNHEALTHY
pH < 6.0
NEUTRAL
pH = 6.5 TO 8.0
UNHEALTHY
pH > 8.5

 

 

 

Generally, when urine pH is 6.0 and below for extended periods of time, it is an indication that the body’s fluids elsewhere are too acid, and it is working overtime to rid itself of an acid medium. Thus, when urine pH is normal, then the blood pH is normal, but when the urine pH is overly acid, the body releases too many electrolytes to keep the pH level normal and maintain life. Easy to take urine buffer test strips are available to indirectly determine the safety of all body fluids, including blood.


Results may vary. These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S.A. Food and Drug Administration and this product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent disease.

What to Do?

More later – jughandle

Diets or “A diet that makes sense”

I think we’ve discussed before that weird diets don’t work. Sure, you might lose 10 or 15 lbs on the cabbage diet, then wham, a plateau and you’re stuck. That’s because your body adjusts to your new calorie intake and if it is too low your body shifts into “starvation” mode to keep you from starving to death and you lower your metabolism making you feel crappy and depressed because you aren’t losing weight. You need a diet that makes sense.

 

Most diets deprive you of something you need to be healthy. That’s why you can’t binge diet. To be healthy you need to:

 

Drink 80 to 120 oz of water per day

Yes, you can get water from coffee, tea, coke zero, etc, etc, but those other drinks add toxins and sugar that your system will need to fight to eliminate. Drink water. Actually, better yet, drink water with lemon in it. As much lemon as you want, just no sugar. Lemon in your water helps to neutralize your pH because even though lemon juice is acidic it is processed by the body making it a base.

Eat a diverse, well balanced diet 

We’ve heard that line all our lives, but what does that mean?  It means that you should have a protein at every meal.  Eat different proteins, mix it up.  Eat beef or pork for breakfast, chicken for lunch or fish for diner.  Don’t stop there.  Try new stuff.  Eat lots of vegetables.  All colors of vegetables.

Lots of fruit too.  Try eating vegetables or fruit for snacks.  You can almost eat a much as you can hold.  But its important to lower your desire to stuff your self to the gills.  You do that by not eating sugar or carbohydrates high on the GI scale.

Remember, sugar begets more sugar.  Yes, you do need carbs, but make sure they are complex carbohydrates, allowing your body to convert them to energy over a longer time, using more of the energy instead of storing it as fat.  That brings up the “f” word, Fat.  Don’t fear fat.  Eat natural butter, not margarine.  Eat lean meat but don’t worry about that too much.  Eat and use olive oil in cooking and salad dressings.  You get the drift.  We’ll talk more about it as time goes by.

Exercise when you can

Do what you can to exercise.  Take the stairs, walk the dog, etc. Exercise not only burns calories but also raises your metabolism making your body burn more calories even at rest.

Eat healthy foods

Most importantly, when you put something into your body, make sure it’s good for you.  Read the label, if you don’t know what the ingredient is don’t eat it.  Try to make your own food.  Don’t eat out as much.  If you eat packaged or processed food, don’t eat anything that has more than 5 ingredients on the label.

If you drink alcohol

Try to reduce your intake and drink more red wine than any thing else.  If you normally have a drink or two a night, don’t drink on Wednesdays for a couple of months.  You’ll be surprised at the difference.

It used to be thought that alcohol was treated by the body as a carbohydrate.  It isn’t.  When you take a drink, your body gives priority to metabolizing the alcohol first.  So alcohol is really treated like a fat in the body.

“This is because alcohol is oxidised by the body in preference to fat, thus ‘saving’ fat for storage. Therefore, alcohol affects the diet in the same way as an increase in the percentage of fat eaten. This is something to remember in your weight loss quest.” – BYC

 

In Conclusion

So, if you do all five of the things above and you still aren’t losing weight, the only thing left is portion control.  You are now healthy, just not at your ideal weight because of the stored calories in your past.

You only have one option:

1. eat fewer calories than you burn

But you can do that in two ways:

1. eat less

2. exercise more

Here at the Fat Farm we consider these suggestions as a diet that makes sense and recommend tracking your caloric intake at SparkPeople.com

Their online tracking method will tell you the number of calories you need and even calculate the nutrition for you. If you are diabetic they will track your glucose readings among other things.  Ask me how I use it to keep my recipes and normally eaten (grouped) foods charted.

 

Later – Jughandle

What Constitutes Organic food

What Constitutes Organic food and what foods are best eaten that way

Yesterday I posted more reasons to buy and eat organic, but I didn’t explain what organic is and which foods benefit us most to be eaten that way.

Simply, organic farmers don’t use synthetic chemicals to fertilize or synthetic pesticides to control weeds or bugs.  They use mulch as a weed barrier and natural methods to stop pests.  But of course its never that simple.

The department of agriculture says that only products can be labeled 100 per cent organic if they are completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.  If the tag says only “organic” it must be at least 95 percent organic.  To confuse us more “Made with organic ingredients” are products containing at least  70 percent organic ingredients, but the official organic seal can’t be used on those products.  The USDA not only has strict standards for organic farming, it also inspects organic farms to assure their standards are being met.

The following are the 5 steps to Organic certification.- click here

Characteristics of Organic Farms:

Organic vegetable farms minimize the kind and amount of fertilizers and pesticides used to produce a crop as their overall goal. Emphasis is placed on long term planning based on information regarding crop pest life cycles, soil conditioning, extensive evaluation of ecological relationships, field conditions, and, options for management of these variables in a given field or on a given farm. According to the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, there are three basic characteristics that define an organic farm:

1. – Soil conditioning is maintained through the heavy use of composted and naturally occurring plant and animal material incorporated into the soil profile; green manure and cover crops, and, crop rotation.

2. – Soil fertility is depended upon the continuing activity of minor organisms such as earthworms and bacteria to digest organic matter and convert it to compounds available to plants.

3. – Pest control is advanced by “healthy” soil, plant resistance, selective and limited use of pesticides that poise little or no adverse effect to the soil, crop, environment and human health.

Beware of the top 10 foods most likely to retain the most pesticides- always buy organic

  1.  Strawberries
  2.  Bell peppers
  3.  Spinach
  4.  Cherries
  5.  Peaches
  6.  Foreign-grown cantaloupe
  7. Celery
  8.  Apples
  9.  Apricots
  10.  Green Beans

The following are safer because they don’t absorb much pesticide or are normally peeled before eating.  These aren’t necessary to be bought organic yet.

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Bananas
  4. Broccoli
  5. Cabbage
  6. Kiwi
  7. Mango
  8. Onions
  9. Papaya
  10. Pineapple

Organic Beef

To raise cattle organically the farmer must meet the health conditions and natural behavior of the animal in nature.  What the heck does that mean.  I call BS on that.  Many of these animals have been domestically raised for hundreds of years.  So this is a fine line but….

Organic livestock must be given access to the outdoors, frest air, water, sunshine, grass and pasture and must be fed 100 percent organic feed.  Any shelter provided must be designed to allow the animal comfort and the opportunity to exercise.  Darn, I’d like to live organically too.  Organic practices prohibit feeding animal parts of any kind to animals that by nature eat a vegetarian diet.  Yes, that is done in feed lots to increase the protein to the animal.  In fact that is what is believed to have caused “mad cow disease”.

To top that “national organic standards require oversight of production and handling systems.  Production and handling operations must undergo onsite inspections and have farm or operating plans in place in order to be certified organic.  The standards also specify feed requirements, including what is and is not allowed.

Organic production requires that livestock cannot be fed plastic pellets for roughage, or formulas containing urea or manure.  They cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones.  For an animal to be raised for organic beef its mother must have been fed organic feed for at least the last third of gestation.”

If you’d like specific information go to http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/NOP/standards/prodhandreg.html

Conclusions and recommendations

When I started this blog I was extremely open minded about “normal” eating practices.  Knowledge is sometimes dangerous or at least expensive.  I can’t help but to completely recommend eating organic vegetables and beef.  Actually it seems that we’d be stupid not to. – jughandle

Organic foods – The 20 Best Organic Foods

Why Organic Matters

Organic foods.  Walk into an average grocery store and you face a choice—47,000 choices of products, actually. And their labels advertise terms such as low fat, high fiber, free range, and organic. Some matter, some don’t. But those labels aren’t even the most confusing part:

Many scientists say organic is more nutritious than conventionally grown food, while others say it’s not. The back and forth is enough to make us “eat what’s available when we’re hungry and try not to think too much about it because it’s all so disheartening and confusing,” writes Maria Rodale in her book, Organic Manifesto.

Sadly, not buying organic food is a mistake that you can no longer afford to make. According to more and more studies, eating organic foods can help you build more muscle and burn more fat, not to mention protect the environment from harmful pesticides and increase your chances of siring healthy offspring (sons in particular). Here are 20 top organic foods to get you started. Add them to your grocery list to upgrade your diet, strengthen your body, and help heal the planet.

via organic foods | The 20 Best Organic Foods | MensHealth.com.

123