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Is High-fructose Corn Syrup Mad Science? – Jughandle’s Fat Farm

High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Aka: HFCS.  Is the Devil, Right?

I’m a huge opponent of high-fructose corn syrup otherwise known as HFCS.  That said, I will do my best to remain neutral and explain why.  This topic is not black and white.  There are many shades of gray.

A Little Chemistry

Our body uses glucose and Fructose (monosaccharides) as its energy sources and both are “simple sugars”.  The most important monosaccharide is glucose because it is already at the state where the body’s enzymes can initiate metabolism and doesn’t need to be processed further.  Most other more complex sugars and carbohydrates need to be processed in order to be turned into glucose by the body.  Glucose is also our “blood” sugar.  The body’s pancreas produces insulin in response to elevated levels of glucose in the blood as well as the energy regulating hormone leptin. Not so with fructose.

Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables.  It is also added to foods and beverages to sweeten them.  The problem lies in the metabolic pathway fructose has in the body.  Fructose is not the preferred energy source for muscles or the brain as is glucose and tends to be treated more like fat in the body than sugar.  Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver and is more fat-producing than glucose.  More importantly, fructose does not cause insulin to be released or leptin to be produced.

Because Fructose isn’t the body’s primary energy source it builds up in the body and is stored in the liver as triglycerides (fat) while the body’s insulin response is only to the glucose.

chemistry

Chemistry

The History Of HFCS vs Sucrose

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a fructose-glucose liquid alternative sweetener to sucrose (table sugar), and was first introduced to the food and beverage industry for mass use in the 1970s.  HFCS is not meaningfully different in composition or metabolism from other fructose-glucose sweeteners like sucrose, honey, and fruit juice concentrates.

Sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose.  There are basically two types of commonly used HFCS, HFCS-42 and HFCS-55.  42 is only 42% fructose and 55 is 55% fructose.

Food formulators quickly moved to HFCS as a replacement for sucrose, and its use grew between the mid-1970s and mid-1990s. Its sweetness is comparable with that of sucrose, it has improved stability and functionality, and is much easier to use because it is already a liquid.

Even though the use of HFCS today is roughly equal to sucrose use in the United States, the world’s preferred sweetener is sucrose: greater than 90% of the  sweetener used worldwide is sucrose.

Table Sugar

Sucrose

The Good

HFCS is less expensive to produce than sucrose.  Sucrose comes from countries that are somewhat unstable and the basic crop price can fluctuate wildly.  When sugarcane is processed into sucrose it is a solid gradual that must be dissolved in water to the proper concentration before it can be used.  HFCS is produced as a liquid, ready to use and is more easily transported.

Even though the product is called High-Fructose corn syrup, it has only slightly more (55%) or slightly less (42%) fructose than does sucrose which has 50% fructose.  The Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to change the name simply to “corn sugar”.  So far they have been denied.

The Bad And Ugly

I’m not going to hit you with a bunch of numbers.  All I need to say is that obesity in America is at an all time high.

Why

As I see it there are many reasons why, pick a few of these.

  • Food is easier to get
  • It is “cool” to over eat, there are even eating contests
  • Serving sizes are much larger
  • Everything has sugar or sweetener in it
  • Prepared or fast-food is now more common and easy to get when time is short
  • There are many more places to get food than ever before
  • Deserts, candy and sweet foods that were once considered a treat are now readily available at any time.
  • There are many more “snack” foods flooding the market
  • School children are NOT required to exercise for the most part
  • TV and Computers have taken over play time where playing outside and physical games once dominated
  • The general public is not sufficiently educated as related to nutrition and diet

Conclusions and Recommendations from the Farm

For the first time in modern history the average life expectancy has dropped in the US.  The reasons given mostly revolved around obesity and heart disease.  

My research has lead me to conclude that high-fructose corn syrup is no worse for us than ordinary table sugar.   The problem is that we are consuming many times the sugar than is healthy.

The chart above shows that in 1822, the average American ate the amount of sugar found in one of today’s 12-ounce sodas every 5 days. Now, we eat that much every 7 hours.  We are now eating roughly 100 pounds of sugar apiece each year.

Since you are reading my rants on the Fat Farm you are doing the best thing you can to improve your health. Educate yourself.  As always don’t believe a thing I say.  Research, trust but verify.  Put in the time and do the work.  Ask questions. – jughandle

 

CNN Obesity among all US adults reaches all-time high

Your Drinking Water

This blog, which I first posted 5 years ago, and many many others, have posted various warnings about our drinking water from our taps.  These warnings are REAL, people!  This country may have the best drinking water in the world, but that doesn’t mean it is safe to drink over years.

The sad part about re-posting this blog in 2018 is that NOTHING has changed.  It’s gotten worse if anything!

Tap Water is NOT Drinking Water

water from the tap

Tap Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tight municipal budgets as well as a lag in technology have caused water-treatment plants to stick with the old standard of using chlorine or rather, chloramine to “shock” the water we drink.  The process has worked for many years but not so much any more.  It seems that chlorine can and does react with organic matter in the water coming from the reservoir to form toxic by-products that have been linked to bladder and liver cancer.

What isn’t being removed

Most municipal water authorities, test and treat for heavy metals in the water, such as lead, mercury and such.  But did you know that some contaminants aren’t even screened, let alone removed.  Those include, but are not limited to, pharmaceutical drugs like prosac, Consumer-product chemicals such as PFOA which is the chemical used to coat clothing and nonstick pans.  BPA which is used on receipts, plastics and canned-food linings is also present in our water, and the new one, “artificial sweeteners“.   Anything we flush down the toilet has the potential to end up in our water supply.

Are you STILL drinking bottled water?

STOP!!!!!

Bottled-water

Bottled Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are, then you didn’t get the memo that 50 percent of all bottled water is supplied from the same place your tap water comes from.  Worse than that, the government water sources have to make public the contaminates they test for and which ones they remove.  Bottled water companies don’t have that requirement.  Bottled water has a shelf life too.  Bacterial can develop in those bottles and toxins from the plastic can leach into the water also.

What are we to do?

Filter your potable water.  Find a filter that fits your budget and paranoia level and USE it!  The best of what is available to us now are reverse osmosis systems.  I use one in our house, but they have expensive filters that need to be replaced every 6-12 months and other maintenance is very important to keep them working properly.

EWG’s Updated Water Filter Buying Guide – click here

reverse osmosis

Reverse Osmosis System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is a diagram of how a reverse osmosis filtration system works. The EWG deems this system, currently, the most effective.

Be safe, drink lots of filtered water – jughandle

 

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

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.

You can’t be cured over night

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.  

Out Of Range pH can induce unwanted body changes

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 acidic 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.  

Test often

Because your pH changes throughout the day it is important to test it several times during the day, maybe once a week or so.

When to test your Urine

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.

Test Before a Meal or 2 hrs After

Remember to test either before eating a meal or 2 hours after a meal for most accurate results.

Also Test Your Saliva

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.

Average Results and Chart Them

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.  

I personally use PHion Balance Diagnostic pH Test 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…
Our bodies have a number of systems which all have their own specifically preferred pH.

Expect Changes

Overall, the body’s internal chemical environment normally changes from a weak acid to a weak base within a 24-hour period. 

More Acidic In The Morning

The body is usually more acid in the morning and most base at night. These physiological changes occur on a curve during this period.

Morning Should Be Slightly Less than 7.0

The slightly acid time period early morning: pH < 7.0 is perfect for the activity of the nerves, hormones and neurotransmitters.  In this pH, the stored acidic wastes are dissolved into liquid form and then excreted from the body as wastes.

Blood pH

The bloodstream is the most sensitive system of the entire body, far more sensitive than any other.

Maintain A Slightly Alkaline pH 

Arterial and venous blood must maintain a slightly alkaline pH: arterial blood pH = 7.41 and venous blood pH = 7.36.

Acidosis And Alkalosis

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

Connective Tissue pH

A normal pH in this area 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.

Ideal 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.

Urine pH Range

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.

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

Don’t Make The Body Overwork

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.

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

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