The Nutrition Behind Eating Garden to Table

Canned fruits and veggies are out! Farm to table is in. Growing your own garden is one of the most health conscious choices you can make.

Growing up, my family always bought their produce from the local grocery store. However, my grandmother did tend to a small garden in her backyard and I can remember how incredibly different her tomatoes were than the store bought variety. Not just how they looked, but how much better they tasted.

With GMOs, pesticides, and more plaguing our produce these days, I’ve taken the task of putting vegetables on my plate into my own hands. Aside from looking and tasting a whole lot better, there are a variety of benefits to reap from the Garden to Table , or Farm to Table, movement.

More Variety

I never realized it before, but every time I went to the store I bought the exact same vegetables. My garden has introduced me to a wide variety of veggies I had never tasted before, as well as new variations of some of my favorites.

Instead of buying nothing but beefsteak tomatoes, white onions, and portobello mushrooms, I can enjoy enjoy varieties like chanterelle mushrooms and roma tomatoes. Plus, I can plant all sorts of squashes, broccoli, and even beets in the Fall. It certainly spices up my meals.

More Nutritious

My garden has also introduced me to heirloom vegetables. The way mega corporations have grown vegetables over the years has lead to a decrease in their nutrient content. Heirlooms, on the other hand, have been passed down by private owners for generations, making them immune the flaws in modern day veggies and thus making them more nutritious.

Using different gardening methods like cover crops and integrated pest management to promote the health of my soil also give my plants a nutrient boost. It also feels good to eat healthy.

Ripe and Ready

Who hasn’t bought a vegetable from the store and had to wait until it was ripe, only to find that a few days later that it was brown. Commercial growers pick their crops early to give them a longer shelf life, which makes good sense for a supermarket, however, not always the most convenient at home. When you can pick your produce from your backyard, it’s available when you need it and nothing goes unused. Not to mention, nothing compares to picking fresh tomato or basil to use as an ingredient when cooking a meal.

 

Chemical Free

Research has shown the side effects GMOs and pesticides can have on our health. Since I know what I’m putting in the ground and how I care for it until the day I pick it, and the only shelf life I need to worry about is the time it takes to get a vegetable from my garden to my table, I know that what I’m eating is at its best and free from harmful pesticides.This makes a garden grown at home a save haven from the likes of carcinogens and toxins.

Choosing to grow my own produce has brought a variety of benefits to my dinner table and the health of my family. If you’re property doesn’t have the proper space for a garden, consider container gardens on your deck, indoor herbal gardens, or shop a local Farmer’s Market for fresh produce. What do you like the most about the Garden to Table/Farm to Table movement? Have you noticed any other benefits that I forgot to mention?

Making the Switch: Why Eating Organic Makes Sense

Grocery stores all over the country are swapping out their inventory for organic foods. Here’s why you should make the switch too.

The organic label has become incredibly popular over the last few years but navigating labels and health claims are still confusing to many consumers, myself included. What do all these labels mean, and is organic food actually better for our health and well-being? How are we supposed to know if the items we buy are actually GMO and pesticide free?

If, like me, you’ve ever wondered what the true benefits behind switching to organic foods are, then this article should help.

 

What Does the Organic Label Really Mean?

When you see that “Organic” label, it refers to the way an agricultural product was grown and processed. Here in the states, that means absolutely no synthetic pesticides, genetic modification, petroleum based fertilizer, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers. I’ll give you a moment to let that last one sink in.

When it comes to livestock, whether they are raised for consumption or for their eggs/milk, organic means they have access to the outdoors and have only eaten organic feed. It also means they haven’t been pumped full of antibiotics, growth hormones, and haven’t eaten other animal by-products. A lot of this food has been used as a natural home remedy, but if treated with a lot of chemics they certainly became more dangerous than healthy for you. Let’s focus on why do we really need organic food!

What Are the Benefits?

Aside from not eating vegetables that grew in sewer-sludge, an organic diet offers a lot of benefits to both our mental and physical health.

  • Fewer Pesticides: that means fewer toxins that lead to things like birth defects, weaker immune systems, and cancer.
  • Fresh Food: without preservatives, the food has to hit the shelf and your plate faster. Organic food is often made on local farms near the market. This also supports small business and the local community.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Local, organic farms reduce pollution, conserve water, and consume less energy than their mega-corporation counterparts. This is not only better for the land but also a healthier environment for surrounding animals and people.
  • Nutrient Rich: Studies show that organic foods provide our bodies with more nutrients than mass produced meats and vegetables do. A healthier diet means a healthier you!
  • Non-Chemical Animals: Eliminating antibiotics and growth hormones reduces the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains while keeping this hormone altering substances out of your diet. Not feeding cows animal byproducts also reduces the risk of mad cow disease.
  • GMO Free: Genetic modification alters the chemical makeup of plants, causing them to grow larger and become more pest resistant. However, studies on animals have shown them to damage internal organs, thicken the digestive tract, and slow brain growth. Pumping our bodies full of chemicals isn’t good any way you look at it.

Anti-cancer, anti-toxic chemicals, and beneficial for the environment?! It’s almost like this was the way food was meant to be grown! Now that you know the benefits of making the switch, are you more likely to buy organic produce?

The Benefits of a Vegetarian Lifestyle

Ever wondered what the science behind eating a plant-based diet looks like? Here are the top benefits a vegetarian diet has to offer.

Why should anyone go vegetarian? I mean, people need to eat meat, right? Do the benefits actually outweigh missing out on a perfectly cooked filet mignon?

It might seem like a common sense diet to some, but there still seems to be a mass of confusion around why anyone would strike meat from their diet. So, let’s clear the air! Here are the scientific facts proving that a plant-based diet is the only diet anyone should be eating.

Down With Disease

By removing saturated animal fats and cholesterol-laden meats from their diets, vegetarians are less likely to develop any form of cardiovascular disease. The CDC estimates that 610,000 people die from heart disease each year, accounting 1 in every 4 deaths.

Eating a diet high in red and processed meats has also been linked to multiple forms of cancer including, prostate, colon, gastric, and breast cancer. These meats can have up to as many carcinogens as five cigarettes, not to mention an excessive amount of hormones and steroids from the animals’ diets.

Goodbye, Cold

I used to get a cold each and every Fall, which made enjoying one of the best seasons out of the year incredibly difficult. Going veggie meant eating more fresh fruits and vegetables than I ever had before. This leads to an increased amount of antioxidants in my diet, effectively pumping up my immune system to keep it fighting off infections better than ever before.

Tired of Being Tired?

Eating all of the saturated fats associated with meat causes them to build up within your bloodstream. This stops muscles from getting proper amounts of oxygen, which makes anyone as sluggish as a Monday morning. Switching to leafy greens not only eliminates the fat, but adds energy boosting carbohydrates (the complex kind) that have ended my 2pm slump at work.

Toxins Kill

I used to think plants were the culprit of pesticides found in our diet, but it turns out that 95% of those toxins actually come from meat. That doesn’t include the hormones, carcinogens, heavy metals, and other chemicals these animals are pumped full of. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure people aren’t supposed to eat toxic chemicals.

Animal Friendly

I always pictured a farm like you might see in the commercials, one with lots of open space and plenty of room for the animals to graze freely until it came time for the farmer slaughter them. Yeah, that place doesn’t exist. American “farms” keep animals shoulder to shoulder, wading in their own waste, ridden with disease and open sores, only to kill them in some of the most torturous ways imaginable.

If you need proof, look into independent documentaries like The Sustainability Secret or What the Health. If everyone in the U.S. cut one meaty meal out every week, 1.4 billion of these animals could be saved from their disgusting, inhumane conditions.

Just Do It

If you had told me I would stop eating meat altogether just a few years ago, I would’ve scoffed in your face. No bacon cheeseburgers, pepperoni pizza, or a perfectly cooked steak? I couldn’t have comprehended life without them!

However, after just a few months of changing my diet I started to feel healthier than I ever had before. Plus, I know I’m doing my part to end animal cruelty and the disgusting practices of the meat industry in out nation.

GREEN LIVING

The standard Lorem Ipsum passage, used since the 1500s

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”
Section 1.10.32 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum”, written by Cicero in 45 BC

“Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem eum fugiat quo voluptas nulla pariatur?”
1914 translation by H. Rackham

“But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?”
Section 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum”, written by Cicero in 45 BC

“At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio cumque nihil impedit quo minus id quod maxime placeat facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat.”

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.