By Ari Sexner
I have found it difficult sometimes to explain the health benefits of using a cold-press juicer over a centrifugal juicer without any hard evidence. Truth be told, eating two pounds of produce raw and fresh from the farm would be the best way, but definitely not the easiest or most practical. Nutrients start to break down immediately, like a countdown that starts right when the produce is harvested. The biggest factor in juicing, however, is between centrifugal and cold-press, how much of a difference does this make in the nutritional content?
To answer the question above, we decided to use a certified lab to test three produce varieties that are major staples in the juicing industry. We chose one vitamin in each produce variety to test, picking the vitamin that the vegetable is a major source of. For the equipment, we used a typical centrifugal commercial juicer and compared the same product on a cold press juicer. To keep everything as consistent as possible we juiced all the test samples with the same batch of produce at the same time. Although there are many variables that could affect the results, we did the tests identically, with the only difference being the extraction process with the different juicers.
Produce Varieties and Nutrients
We tested for the following:
Carrot Juice – Vitamin A
Beet Juice – Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Kale – Vitamin C
For the juice equipment, we used:
Cold-Press – Goodnature Countertop CT7 with Robot Coupe Blixer 6v for grinding
Centrifugal – Nutrifaster N450
Carrots are a great source of many vitamins but are highest in Vitamin A. Here are the results, the vitamin content for Vitamin A in the cold press juice was 15% higher, with 10,000 IU/100g vs 8,500 IU/100g:
Beets are extremely high in Vitamin B9-Folate. Folic acid and vitamin folate are almost identical in nature, the main difference is folate is naturally forming and water soluble where folic acid is synthetic. For this test, Cold press came in 16.2% higher with 31 mcg/100g vs 26 mcg/100g:
Kale is loaded with lots of different vitamins and minerals, it was between Vitamin A or Vitamin C, since we already tested Vitamin A with the carrots we decided to go with Vitamin C. The test results came back 13.1% higher in the cold press, with 23 mg/100 vs 20 mcg/100g:
Author: Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips, adapted from Farro Salad with Pomegranate, Goat Cheese and Walnuts from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen
Recipe type: Side Dish, Dinner
- 2 c butternut squash, in approx. ½ in. cubes
- 1 T olive oil
- ½ t kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 c uncooked quinoa
- 2 c vegetable stock/broth
- 1 Pomegranate, seeds only
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T olive oil
- 2 t chopped fresh sage
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Optional: ¼ to ½ c crumbled goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray.
- Toss the squash with the olive oil and salt, and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Roast for about 20 minutes, or until tender, tossing after 10 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa according to the package directions, substituting stock/broth for water
- In a bowl, combine the squash, quinoa, and remaining ingredients.
- If desired, serve with goat cheese sprinkled on top.
It amazes me by the amount of food we consume.. and waste each year. With all of the food insecurities in this world, you would think the last thing our species would consider doing is throwing good, whole food away.
For the past decade or so, many organizations and companies that are in favor of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, pushed that such would be at the forefront of ending hunger on a global scale. One of their biggest reasons they use is that traditional conventional farming cannot yield what GMO farm factories produce.
Today, that excuse is no longer valid thanks to the new methods of organic farming the green community has created. Forward Thinking created a solar-powered floating farm that uses aquaponics to grow 20 tons of vegetables. Organic farmers living in the city figured a way to do vertical farming so that organic food can be grown in urban areas. Finally, Japan has created the world’s largest indoor farm, one that produces over 100 times more food than conventional farms.
With such advancements in organic farming, organic food should be at the forefront of ending world hunger. However, there is one issue that is preventing that and it is the disposal of six billion pounds of food. The reason is because said food is “ugly.”
Check out this video and think twice before throwing that ugly potato away!
For as long as I can remember I have heard the words “balance is key”. But I never truly understood the value of that mantra until I became, well, unbalanced. Work, Friends, School, Family.. how can one person, with one brain, handle all of these relationships? Oh, yea and I have to be in there somewhere. The occasional yoga class, or meditation session will only get you so far. Truly finding the balance and the connection with ourselves is what pushes us to be more in tuned with what is happening NOW.. and not so much worry about what will happen five minutes, a day or a week from NOW. Being in the present is a lesson to be learned and I personally think we never stop learning about. Check out these steps to help you regain mental stability, physical balance, and all together complete clarity.
Written By: Jovanka Ciares
Let’s face it, we all slip up now and then. We all struggle to keep balance between work, life, and health – it’s as if we have to choose between an enjoyable life and a healthy one.
Maybe it’s negative thinking, maybe it’s overeating or an addiction to sugar, maybe you travel all the time for work, or maybe you’re just dying for a good night’s sleep — we all have at least one area of our health that we’d like to improve. Whatever it is, it sits perpetually on your mental to-do list, just slightly out of reach.
You hope and wish and dream of having a different body, more energy, or a happier life. But, the actions you take don’t always line up with those dreams. You try and you fail. And then you feel frustrated and deflated (again).
There’s an obvious disconnect…but what is it?
As a health expert and co-creator of the #MindBodyMethod, I’ve helped thousands of private clients identify this exact disconnect in their lives:
You have all the information that you need to make permanent change, but you also have core subconscious beliefs that are holding you back.
Every time we think a thought, feel an emotion, or take an action, we activate certain neural pathways in the brain. Every time we think that thought, or feel that emotion or take that action again it makes the neural pathway stronger and thicker and deeper. Eventually weak pathways can go from being like a thin piece of string to a sixteen lane highway that is deeply embedded in the neural network of our brain.
For example, when you learn to drive a car, it’s a very conscious effort at first. You’re checking all the mirrors, breaking too hard, trying to remember all of the rules as you navigate around town. But, after a few months, the pattern becomes so embedded in the brain that driving becomes subconscious. In other words, it becomes automatic. It becomes a program that runs in the background while we talk to people who are in the car with us or even daydream or sing along with the radio.
This is the same process that turns a few late night binging sessions into an eating disorder, or a number of stressful days at work into a nail biting habit, or a traumatic event gone unchecked that balloons into full-fledged insomnia, and the list goes on and on.
These programs running silently in the background are the source of the choices we make that create our lives.
The good news is that our subconscious habits and beliefs can be observed when we deepen our awareness. A key component of the #MindBodyMethod for lasting change is based on the fact that when we relax deeply and feel safe we can transform our subconscious minds to work for us, rather than against us.
In order to solve the disconnect between what you want for yourself and the actions you take to create your life, you need healthy subconscious programming and it can’t come from knowledge alone.
You need more than information to make lasting change in your life.
For example, most people think reading a book about their problem will solve the issue, but 9 times out of 10 simply acquiring new knowledge is like taking a handful of seeds, (knowledge), throwing them on top of a field full of weeds, (bad habits), and somehow hoping the seeds will take root.
The trick is to complement conscious knowledge with subconscious programming to create changes that stick — for the long haul.
Let me explain.
Let’s say you want to grow a beautiful garden. What do you do first?
1. Remove the weeds to make space to plant your seeds
2. Plant new seeds by choosing the seeds you want to plant and place them in the right position in your garden
3. Water these new seeds constantly so that your seeds grow and flourish into beautiful flowers or plants.
Well, it’s the exact same process for the human body and mind to experience growth and what it needs to flourish.
1. Remove the weeds by becoming aware of the bad stuff that’s in your head and remove it so you give space for new thoughts and habits to be formed
2. Plant new seeds by choosing which thoughts and habits you want to nurture, and allow your mind to absorb these
3. Water the seeds by constantly reinforcing these new thoughts and habits so that they become a reality in your life, allowing you to experience flourishing health.
By getting to the root (your core beliefs that determine your thoughts and actions) you can undo the negative programming that has led you to struggle in the past and by carefully weeding out the bad thoughts and cultivating positive, supportive thoughts, we build the neural networks of brain in alignment with our goals.
Dr. Mercola writes up some pretty interesting articles. Some that I just feel the need to share with you. With todays health food craze, which I am excited to say is getting better and better, there are a lot of fads being thrown around and a tribute as being healthy options. Well, it appears that it doesn’t just come down to choosing the right type of food, but choosing foods that are produced in ethical and healthy ways.
Watch Out for These “Healthy” Foods
By Dr. Mercola
Vegetables and fruits are among the healthiest foods you can eat, but they’re also foods that are commonly contaminated with pesticides.
According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 75 percent of the U.S. population has detectable levels of organophosphate pesticides in their urine, and unless you’re a farmer, your diet is one of the most likely routes of exposure.1
Eating organic is one of the best ways to lower your overall pesticide burden. In one recent study, those who “often or always” ate organic had about 65 percent lower levels of pesticide residues compared to those who ate the least amount of organic produce.2
Eating an all-organic diet is the ideal – but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Not everyone has access to organic foods or the resources necessary to buy them (organic foods aren’t always more expensive than conventionally grown foods, but they tend to cost about 20 percent to 100 percent more3).
If you can’t go all organic, picking and choosing carefully, and opting for organic versions of heavily contaminated foods and conventional versions of “cleaner” food items, is the next best strategy.
Why It’s Important to Minimize Your Pesticide Exposure
The U.S. uses about 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides each year,4 and it’s not uncommon for your apple or strawberries to contain two different pesticides, or more.
While in the U.S. tolerance levels are set that determine upper allowable limits for individual pesticides, there is no legal limit on the number of different pesticides allowed on food.
The effects of these chemical cocktails are unknown, but concern is warranted, especially since adults and children alike are exposed to low doses for a lifetime. Nick Mole of the Pesticide Action Network U.K. (PAN U.K.) told The Telegraph:5
“Around 60 percent of fruit and vegetables contain pesticide residue … Eating an apple isn’t going to kill you … obviously, but it’s the long-term effects of low doses that we don’t know about.
Foods with traces of more than one pesticide are potentially the biggest concern, says Mole, who suggests anyone considering switching to organic should prioritize these.”
The CHAMACOS Study is among those showing that very small amounts of pesticides may be harmful, in this case to kids’ brains. It followed hundreds of pregnant women living in Salinas Valley, California, an agricultural mecca that has had up to a half-million pounds of organophosphates sprayed in the region per year.
The children were followed through age 12 to assess what impact the pesticides had on their development.6 It turns out the impact was quite dramatic, and mothers’ exposure to organophosphates during pregnancy was associated with:7
- Shorter duration of pregnancy
- Poorer neonatal reflexes
- Lower IQ and poorer cognitive functioning in children
- Increased risk of attention problems in children
Brenda Eskenazi, chief investigator of the CHAMACOS study, also noted that the effects of combined chemical exposures need further attention:8
“The other thing we don’t know about is the combined effect of exposures …Throughout the course of a day, people may eat several different types of produce, each of which may bear traces of one or more pesticides.
They encounter other types of chemicals as well — from antibacterials in soaps, to plasticizers in foodware, to flame retardants in the furniture … By day’s end, you’ve got a combination of chemicals and an unknown level of risk.”
Pesticide Contamination: The Worst Offenders and Least Contaminated
The “worst” list below is based on data compiled by the U.K.’s Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (Prif).9 It shows the foods that most commonly contain more than one pesticide residue in the U.K..
- Lemons and limes
- Pre-packed salads
- Spring greens
The “best” list, below shows foods that are least likely to contain more than one pesticide residue. These are among the safest to purchase conventionally grown in the U.K.:
- Swede (rutabaga)
- Sweet potato
Four More Foods You Should Try to Buy Organic
The Prif data also revealed four other foods that are often contaminated:
Nearly two-thirds of non-organic bread tested by Prif between 2000 and 2013 contained at least one pesticide residue, including glyphosate. That alone is reason to look for organic versions of these grain products (although, ideally, you’re not eating much of them anyway).
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and may be at least partially to blame for rising rates of numerous chronic diseases in Westernized societies, according to research published in Entropy.10
Authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant, the report argues that glyphosate residues “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.”
In a study published in 2013, researchers also concluded that glyphosate is a xenoestrogen that is functionally similar to estradiol, the most potent human estrogen, and concentrations in the parts-per-trillion range had carcinogenic effects.11
In early 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is the research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), also determined glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen” (Class 2A), based on “limited evidence” showing that the popular weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in humans, along with “convincing evidence” it can also cause cancer in animals.
How much glyphosate is in your food? In the U.S., no one knows because the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not test for it.
Which Foods Are Most Contaminated in the U.S.?
The worst offenders above are based on U.K. data, which is somewhat different from data collected in the U.S. Animal products, like meats, butter, milk, and eggs, are actually the most important to buy organic no matter where you live, since animal products tend to bioaccumulate toxins from their pesticide-laced feed, concentrating them to far higher concentrations than are typically present in vegetables.
Unlike conventional fruits and vegetables, where peeling and washing can sometimes reduce the amounts of these toxins, the pesticides and drugs that these animals get exposed to during their lives can become incorporated into their very tissues, especially their fat. So if you’re on a budget, choose organic animal foods first.
Consumer Reports analyzed 12 years of data from the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program to determine the risk categories (from very low to very high) for different types of produce. Because children are especially vulnerable to the effects of environmental chemicals, including pesticides, they based the risk assessment on a 3.5-year-old child.
They recommended buying organic for any produce that came back in the medium or higher risk categories, which left the following foods as examples of those you should always try to buy organic.
Peaches Carrots Strawberries Green Beans Sweet Bell Peppers Hot Peppers Tangerines Nectarines Cranberries Sweet Potatoes
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also ranks fruits and vegetables for their “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists, which combine six different measures of contamination to come up with a composite score for each type of produce. The results are as follows:12
EWG’s 2015 Dirty Dozen (Buy These Organic)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas (imported)
Bonus: Hot Peppers and Kale/Collard greens
EWG’s 2015 Clean 15 (OK to Buy These Conventional)
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Sweet potatoes
A Bonus to Eating Organic: More Nutritious Foods
It’s not only a lack of pesticides that makes organic foods preferable. They also have on average 48 percent lower levels of cadmium, a toxic metal and a known carcinogen — a clear bonus, if you ask me.13 They also will be free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and tend to be healthier overall.
One key nutritional difference between conventional and organics is their antioxidant content. According to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, organic fruits and vegetables can contain anywhere from 18 to 69 percent moreantioxidants than conventionally grown varieties.14
Study co-author Charles Benbrook notes that one reason you’re advised to eat more fruits and vegetables is in fact to get more antioxidants into your diet. “And if organic produce provides more of them, we think that’s a big deal,” he says.15 I couldn’t agree more.
Keep in mind, also, that some locally grown foods may be grown according to organic standards (or close to them) without receiving the organic certification (a process that can be cost prohibitive for some small farms). Shopping for produce locally is the best way to get fresh, nutrient-rich foods, and the added bonus is you can ask the farmer directly how the food is grown (with or without the use of synthetic pesticides, for instance).
In order to be certified organic, a food must be grown without the use of most synthetic pesticides. However, certain natural pesticides, and a few synthetic ones, are allowed, even in organic farming.
Alternatively, you can try growing some of your own produce using organic methods right in your own backyard. And finally, if you know you have been exposed to pesticides, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may help your body break down pesticides. So including fermented foods like kimchi in your diet may also be a wise ongoing strategy to help detox the pesticides that do enter your body.
By Simon Worrall, National Geographic
There are now only 39 days to go until the world’s nations convene in Paris for the United Nations Climate Summit. Six years ago, talks in Copenhagen ended in chaos. Is there any reason to suppose Paris will deliver anything more than well-padded expense accounts for delegates and hot air on the issues?
In his new book, Atmosphere of Hope: Searching For Solutions To The Climate Change Crisis, best-selling Australian author Tim Flannery counsels cautious optimism by showing how the millions of small actions taken by individuals are driving down oil consumption and points out how new “Third Way” carbon-capture technologies promise to reduce emissions and create massive economic opportunities.
Speaking from a café in Melbourne, he explains how the plastic housing on his cell phone is reducing climate change; why geo-engineering is a disastrous idea; and how he is inspired by the desire to leave a better world for his three children.
We can already proclaim it a success at least as far as the unconditional pledges that have been made in the run up to the summit. They are now sufficient to get us off the worst-case scenario trajectory of the last decade, when emissions were at the worst extent imaginable.
At the moment, we’re heading for four degrees [in global] warming by the end of the century. Hopefully, the Paris meeting will see us heading more towards three degrees. That is still far too much, but far better than four. There have been 20 years of annual meetings with no decisions made on a global agreement. But it looks like we’ll get one in Paris, which could be the beginning of a new era in dealing with climate change.
Your book opens with a sport I love. What do Rod Laver and tennis have to do with climate change?
The Australian Open in Melbourne is one of the great events on the tennis calendar. Last year, an unprecedented heat wavesettled over Melbourne spiking temperatures three days running in the Rod Laver Arena above 40 degrees centigrade (104 F) We had 1,000 spectators and several players treated for heat stress. Eventually play had to be cancelled because conditions were so dangerous.
The news outlets were reluctant to cover it as a climate change story. I wrote a story for the BBC in London and they called me back to say, “Unless you can tell us definitively that climate change has caused this, we’re not interested in running the story.” But since then it has become clear that climate change was, indeed, a decisive factor.
In 2011, the tiny mountain nation of Bhutan announced a lofty goal: make the country’s agricultural system 100 percent organic by the year 2020. If it succeeded, it would be the first country in the world to achieve the feat.
Bhutan — nestled in the Himalayas between India and China — only has about 700,000 people living within its borders, and most are farmers. It’s a majority Buddhist kingdom, and its culture reflects several key tenets of that religion — sustainable development, conservation of the environment, preservation of the culture, and good governance.
In many ways, Bhutan’s size and Buddhist culture makes it the perfect testing ground for transitioning to a completely organic agricultural system. But would such a shift ever be possible for a larger country, like the United States?
“For a country like Bhutan, there are some things that are a lot easier, because they are a smaller country,” Kristine Nichols, chief scientist at the Rodale Institute, a nonprofit that supports research into organic farming, told ThinkProgress. “When you’re looking at a country like the U.S., if we were to go 100 percent organic, more than likely it isn’t going to be an instantaneous process. It’s going to be a transition process.”
Sowing the seeds of organic agriculture in Bhutan
Bhutan is currently still in the middle of that transition process, though the small country had a few things already working in its favor even before 2011. Bhutan is the only country in the world that rejects gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of progress. Since 1971, the country has instead relied on a measurement known as gross domestic happiness — a benchmark that seeks to quantify the happiness and health of the entire country.
“When we say happiness, it’s not just happiness of humans. It’s happiness of the soil, happiness of the animals, happiness of all sentient beings,” Appachanda Thimmaiah, Bhutan’s agricultural adviser from 2008 to 2013 and associate professor of sustainable living at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, told ThinkProgress. “Organic farming was very much part of the gross national happiness. You cannot think about applying chemical fertilizers and pesticides and say that your country is happy.”
That’s a cultural philosophy, Thimmaiah said, that he doesn’t see present in the United States.
“Here, we use the word ‘dirt’ for the ‘soil,’ from a very young age,” he said. “That gets ingrained in the mind, and as the child grows up, the child thinks soil is dirty, so what’s the problem in applying pesticide?”
Beginning in 2008, Thimmaiah worked with the Bhutanese government to help the country begin its transition to 100 percent organic agriculture, a partnership that culminated in the development of a National Organic Policy. A crucial part of implementing Bhutan’s NOP, Thimmaiah said, was expanding the educational resources for farmers — beginning with something as simple as redefining the idea of “organic agriculture.”
“I used a term called low-cost agriculture; I didn’t use the word organic agriculture,” Thimmaiah said. “I told them that our main purpose should be to reduce the cost of production.”
For Bhutan, with its mountainous topography, Thimmaiah was confident that organic agriculture, when done correctly, would be more cost-effective than the transportation costs associated with shipping chemical fertilizer throughout the country. Thimmaiah also worked to help farmers understand organic agriculture as being complementary to the local resources — and even waste products — of Bhutan.
That meant everything from teaching farmers how to produce their own pollinated heirloom seeds to reusing animal waste for manure. Many Bhutanese farmers, for instance, used to keep their livestock outside, tied to trees or in pastures. Thimmaiah encouraged them to build sheds with concrete floors that could help collect the livestock’s waste and urine, which could then be used to help fertilize the crops.
“I think this was really key — demonstration of simple, low cost techniques that utilized the local, available resources,” he said. “If it’s about buying inputs, organic farming cannot be successful. The most important thing in organic farming is to see that all the inputs that are required are produced in the farm itself by the farmers by utilizing the locally available resources.”
Thimmaiah says that Bhutan possesses both the political will and farmer interest to succeed in its goal of transitioning to 100 percent organic agriculture by 2020, but notes that there are some existing hurdles, as the country’s population continues to shift from rural to increasingly urban. And even if the country manages to transition, it still will likely rely heavily on imported food — right now, less than 4 percent of Bhutan’s land is under cultivation, though its agricultural productivity has increased 3 percent since beginning its organic push, according to Reuters.
To Thimmaiah, it’s crucial that the government be involved in the transition and support farmers as they make the move from conventional to organic.
“It’s a responsibility of the country to help them, to regard the good work by the farmers,” he said, adding that “other countries can also emulate these things.”
What would it mean for the United States to go 100 percent organic?
If the United States wanted to transition to 100 percent organic agriculture, Nichols explained, the first steps wouldn’t be much different from the path taken in Bhutan.
“From a government standpoint as well as a private industry standpoint, there needs to be support for these transitioning farmers,” Nichols said. “Without support, it can be difficult for many farmers to survive that transition process.”
In general, organic agriculture is a system that relies on cover crops and crop rotation to ensure soil health, and stresses the reduction of external and off-farm inputs. Organic farming, as a rule, eschews genetically modified crops, and some kinds of organic farming rely more on crop diversity to combat weeds and pests than pesticides and herbicides. But there are different levels to organic agriculture — not all organic practices completely reject pesticides, for instance. Some organic farms do use pesticides, they just use ones that are derived from natural, not synthetic, sources (and sometimes, those pesticides can be more harmful than chemical ones). And organic farming doesn’t necessarily mean small-scale farming — there is still industrial organic farming, and at least one study has suggested that large-scale organic farming is more carbon-intensive than conventional farming.
Nichols explained that, at least initially, farmers transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture often see their yields decrease, though she notes that several studies have shown marginal decreases in yields over the long-term. It’s worth noting that those studies, however, tend to compare best organic farming practices — like crop rotation and crop diversity — to a type of conventional agriculture that fails to use those practices. When conventional agriculture employs those conservation practices, the Genetic Literacy Project notes, the gap between conventional yields and organic yields widens.
It’s also important to note, however, that much of the grain — especially corn and soy — grown in the United States via conventional farming isn’t intended for human consumption. The vast majority of U.S. domestic corn is used for ethanol fuel or animal feed, leaving a relatively small sliver of the total production for food.
Nichols also notes a lack of infrastructure support for farmers hoping to transition from conventional to organic agriculture — most grain elevators, for instance, are set up to process non-organic grains, meaning that farmers that grow organic could be forced to transport their product long distances for processing, a cost that could negate the economic premium that organic products tend to collect at market. Another hurdle for farmers — at least as long as organic is still the minority production method — is obtaining an organic certification, which can be prohibitively expensive for some small operations.
“There’s a lot of infrastructure things that would need to go into a large country like the United States becoming 100 percent organic,” Nichols said. “In a smaller country, where you’re closer to population centers, what you’re producing can be more directly marketed.”
John Ikerd, professor emeritus of Agricultural & Applied Economics University of Missouri Columbia, also notes that food prices would potentially increase if the United States were to switch to a 100 percent organic agricultural system — but he argues that the increase would not be insurmountable for the consumer.
“The studies that have been done on this indicate if we shifted to a sustainable system, we’d probably increase retail food prices by eight to twelve percent,” Ikerd said. But, he continued, using the majority of corn produced for either ethanol or livestock feed also raises food prices. “We’ve seen retail food prices go up more than that as a consequence of the corn ethanol program,” Ikerd explained. “When we take 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop and burn it in our cars, that takes all of that land out of producing food for either livestock or people.”
In the long term, Ikerd argues, organic agriculture is less costly than conventional agriculture, because the current price of conventional agriculture doesn’t include any of its detrimental effects on the environment, like dead zones and algal blooms from fertilizer runoff or carbon emissions from soil degradation.
“What makes these industrial operations more economically competitive is that they’re not paying the full environmental and social cost of what they’re doing,” Ikerd said. “When you shift to an agriculture that does not impose any of those costs on the environment or the people that work on that system, you’re going to have increased costs in the short term. In the long term, we’ll find that the organic system is less costly.”
In the end, Ikerd, Nelson, and Thimmaiah all agree that for the United States to switch to 100 percent organic agriculture, it would require a massive overhaul of our priorities, at a federal, industrial, and consumer level.
“The main thing is the mindset,” Ikerd said. “It’s a different way of thinking about what agriculture is. I tell people, being an organic farmer is a lot more like raising kids than making cars.”
Written By: BY NATASHA GEILING
The word “Karma” is as common today as the word “Organic” or “Yoga Pants”. Yet it is usually not associated with the word Nutrition. For a moment, if you would, consider it could lead to the fulfillment of your bodies dietetic wants and needs. Nutritional Karma is not simply what you put in day by day, but rather it is the accumulation of all the meals and treats you have consumed throughout your life.
Consider first the accepted definition of “Karma”.
For our purposes we’ll scrap the “future existences” part, but the rest of this definition can easily be associated with how we treat our bodies. “How does this apply to my nutrition?” is the question at hand. The answer, simply put; we are what we eat (or drink for that matter). The view of the Hindu or Buddhist (or mindful Westerner) would suggest that our consumptive actions accumulate throughout our life, leaving us with good health or bad health. Just as one might change their spiritual karma during the course of one’s life, so may they change their nutritional karma. One must simply pay attention to what goes in.
Now that we have a grasp on the concept, how do we develop positive Nutritional Karma? Here are some points to consider before you make your next meal or snack selection.
What IS your food? This is a big one. The basic ingredients of a foodstuff are the building blocks to your positive or negative Nutritional Karma. Some chemicals and additives have a lingering effect in the human body and can take a detrimental toll down the road (or around the corner if they are dangerous enough). If you are not buying local/organic/fresh and your food has a label, take the time to know exactly what has been put into that product. Be aware of what that ingredient list is really telling you.
Be mindful in the moment. Some of you have heard this phrase “be mindful” before. Perhaps in a yoga class or regarding meditation. Or maybe as a gentle reminder to avoid texting while driving. This notion’s basic purpose is to remind you to be present in the moment, and this same consideration can be made with your food. Before you eat consider why you are selecting this particular food. Are you craving it? Is it what your body needs? Does it serve you? Mindful nutritional choices will ultimately quell those sugar cravings or guilt-riddled fast-food breaks because you will begin to build up everything your body needs, while eliminating those pesky desires for what it doesn’t. Before you know it, consumptive consideration will be your second nature, and you’ll be mindfully eating without a care in the world.
Pay attention to your bodies cues. Feeling drained? Is your skin blotchy? Suffering from chronic headaches or increased irritability? Or maybe it’s the opposite; you feel upbeat. You’re energetic. Maybe mentally sharp and surging with creative impulses ? These are all cues that you’re doing something right or wrong nutritionally. Take stock of your moods, your energy levels, your sleep patters, and what you’ve been eating. Nutritional deficiencies often display themselves as physical manifestations, and over time malnutrition can have lingering, and potentially lethal, consequences.
Carbon Karma. Our carbon footprint may not be something we ingest, but it certainly plays a part in the planet’s health. When possible opt for the local options. You might be amazed at what is produced in your neighborhood’s backyard. If you are seeking something exotic be sure it’s responsibly sourced. A multitude of factors come into play where international products are concerned. Take the time to define the origin of your goods, ensuring they were not derived from any circumstance which does not coincide with your personal ideology and good energy.
Accumulating positive Nutritional Karma, and building healthy habits, means your body and your mind will be more capable and willing to work hard for you throughout your life. Giving the body what it needs means it will support you through each phase of a gratifying and meaningful life; and that is not only good for you, it’s good for the world too.