Securing Your Best Food Sources
by Paul W. Rossi, Chief Science Officer, Nu-Gen Nutrition, Inc.
It may seem that shopping at Whole Foods or buying organic food somewhere else, such as at Walmart, is the one of the best things you can do for your health, but you can be deceived.
ONE EXAMPLE: MILK
Some stores sell certified organic milk, but it is pasteurized (heated to a high temperature). You should not drink milk unless it is in raw form. Store-bought organic milk is NOT raw milk; it is still pasteurized, and is associated with many health problems associated with regular pasteurized milk, regardless of its organic certification.
Raw milk naturally contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Without these friendly bacteria, pasteurized milk is more susceptible to contamination. Not only does pasteurization kill the friendly bacteria, it also greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk. Pasteurized milk has up to a 66 percent loss of vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin C loss usually exceeds 50 percent. Heat affects water soluble vitamins and can make them 38 percent to 80 percent less effective. Vitamins B6 and B12 are completely destroyed during pasteurization. Pasteurization also destroys beneficial enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Pasteurization destroys lipase (an enzyme that breaks down fat), which impairs fat metabolism and the ability to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins A and D. Take all of that away and health problems result.
If you drink milk, make sure you read this link: www.realmilk.com/rawmilkoverview.html
If this type of information (and acting upon it) seems too much for you to worry about, have someone else help you with it. But read this, and understand why this is critical information. If you want the best quality food available, and you don't want to be deceived, you must know what is going on today. There are real and disturbing problems of industrial agriculture, genetically modified foods, processed foods, artificial ingredients, etc. There is also another problem: Organic food has now become a profitable market, and large companies are selling “organic” food (other than pasteurized milk) which is inferior. So the term “organic,” when used to describe farming or food, does not mean that a superior method or product is involved. We use the phrase “chemical-free sustainable” to describe the best farming and food. We feel that this phrase is necessary because of some of the questionable practices which are allowed under the “certified organic” label.
These practices include:
- The use of irrigation water from aqueducts which are directly contaminated by neighboring conventional farms.
- The use of land which has been intensively chemically farmed for many decades.
- A period of only three years to build up the intensively chemically-treated and depleted soil in order to be qualified as an organic farm.
- Washing produce with chlorinated water, letting it absorb this water, and bagging it.
- The use of recycled byproducts from other industries that might otherwise go to waste: pelletized feather meal, pelletized chicken manure, fish slurry, and pelletized bat and seabird guano. And there is no guarantee that these recycled byproducts do not come from a conventional farm or with a toxic chemical load within them.
- Overcrowded animal conditions: There often is no difference between the “certified organic” animal's existence and a convention animal, whether beef, chicken, or pork. Because organic standards have been diluted so much, “certified organic” animals are often raised in overcrowded confinement on a factory farm. The only difference is that they are fed “certified organic feed.”
DO YOU NEED CHEMICAL-FREE SUSTAINABLY PRODUCED FOOD?
At all times the cells in the human body are doing many things: creating energy, building tissues, communicating with other cells, digesting food, pumping blood, generating movement, transporting nutrients and oxygen, synthesizing hormones and neurotransmitters, eliminating toxins and waste material and protecting and defending our bodies from unfriendly bacteria, viruses and mutant cells. With a little more perspective on the importance of supporting these incredible cells we can say that the overwhelming majority of that support comes from food.
Both chemical-free sustainable farming and organic farming differ from conventional farming in the methods used to grow crops. Conventional farmers apply chemical fertilizers to the soil to grow their crops. Chem-free sustainable and organic farming feed and build soil with natural fertilizer. Conventional farming uses insecticides to get rid of insects and disease. Chem-free sustainable and organic farming use natural methods such as insect predators and barriers for this purpose. Conventional farming controls weed growth by applying synthetic herbicides. Chem-free sustainable and organic farming use crop rotation, tillage, hand weeding, cover crops and mulches to control weeds.
Let’s look deeper into conventional fertilizers, which contain sewage sludge. (Yes, this is legal!) Sewage sludge, or “biosolids” began being “recycled” into food crops after (ironically) it was realized that dumping them into rivers, lakes and bays was an environmental disaster; so human waste and waste from everyday products is being used to fertilize your food. Every time a paintbrush gets rinsed, an old bottle of medications flushed, or solvents are hosed off a factory floor, it ends up in the sewage system, so this “fertilizer” contains over 100 synthetic organic compounds, including phthalates, toluene, and chlorobenzene, dioxins, and heavy metals.
The result is that conventionally grown food (the normal food you find in a supermarket) is often tainted with chemical residues which can be harmful to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. Pesticides can have negative influences on your health besides carcinogenicity, such as disruption of your endocrine system, reproductive and developmental disruption, and immune system suppression.
ORGANIC FOOD IS A BETTER OPTION,
BUT CHEMICAL-FREE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IS BEST
One four-year long, $25 million study into organic food found that organic food is more nutritious than conventional food:
- Organic fruit and vegetables contain up to 40 percent more antioxidants.
- Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc.
- Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants.
This doesn’t even take into account the health benefits of reducing your chemical intake, thereby reducing your overall toxic load.
To be labeled “certified organic” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a food must be produced without and be free of:
- Synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fumigants
- Synthetic fertilizers and sewage sludge
- Exogenous hormones (those which are not naturally produced by the animal itself)
- Genetic modification
Certified organic produce can still be treated with natural pesticides, though in lower quantities than is the case with conventional produce. Chem-free sustainable produce is free of everything listed above as well as natural pesticides, so this is another reason why it is the best choice.
Here is a list of fruits and vegetables which should never be eaten if from a conventional source, because they are the most highly contaminated with pesticides:
peaches, cherries, apples, grapes (imported), nectarine, strawberries, pears,
kale, carrots, bell peppers, lettuce, celery, spinach, potatoes
The following foods have the lowest pesticide load when conventionally grown. Consequently, they are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume:
broccoli, eggplant, cabbage, banana,
kiwi, asparagus, sweet peas, mango,
pineapple, sweet corn, avocado, onion
DO NOT BUY GM FOODS
You have about a 75 percent chance of picking a food which contains genetically modified (GM) ingredients when you’re at the supermarket. This is because at least seven out of every ten items have been genetically modified. And currently in the U.S. there is NO LAW requiring labeling of genetically modified ingredients, so they ARE NOT labeled. You have no way of knowing that they are in the supermarket foods which have an ingredient list.
Here is just a sampling of findings associated with GM foods:
- GM peas caused lung damage in mice.
- GM potatoes may cause cancer in rats.
- GM corn is linked to liver and kidney abnormalities in rats.
- All GM foods have the potential to cause allergies.
DECEPTION IN ORGANIC LABELING—ANOTHER REASON TO GO WITH
CHEMICAL-FREE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Although the organic label has really only become widely popular in the last several years, it has already been greatly compromised. Organic foods were once truly raised naturally, on small farms with great integrity—chemical free and sustainable. Now big business has stepped in and tainted many of the principles upon which the organic label was founded.
Wal-Mart, for instance, is now the largest organic retailer in the United States. According to the Organic Consumers Association, the mega-store is:
- Selling organic milk that comes from intensive confinement factory farm dairies.
- Importing cheap organic foods and ingredients from China and Brazil.
- Posting signs in its stores that mislead people into believing that non-organic items are actually organic.
Organic food now represents a $16 billion business, with sales growing by as much as 20 percent per year. Unfortunately, the quality and meaning of “organic” is degenerating, and people are being ripped off by much of the organic food they are buying. One of the biggest rip-offs is organic milk, as previously explained. Another major deception is all of those “organic” junk foods like ice cream, crackers, cookies, pizzas and potato chips. Big business is cashing in by deceiving people into believing that they can eat cookies, ice cream and potato chips without any negative consequences because they’re “organic.” These foods are all high glycemic and, more often than not, are an unhealthy choice. For a better understanding, see Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ORGANIC LABELS
There are several different organic labels out there, but only one relates directly to foods: the USDA Organic seal. This seal is an assurance of organic quality. This is a good option, but not as good as food from a chemical-free sustainable farm. Growers and manufacturers of organic products bearing the USDA seal have to meet the strictest standards of any of the currently available “organic” labels. Remember that natural pesticides are allowed, so you must wash your unpeeled produce.
LOCAL FOOD: START YOUR FOOD SOURCING LOCALLY
Find local farmers' markets and use Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. This locally grown food is fresher since it does not have to be transported many miles to get to you. This improves both its nutritional value and its taste. During the approximately three weeks it takes for a fruit or vegetable, whether organic or conventional, to reach the plate of the consumer, around half of its nutritional value will have disappeared.
The following list contains resources to obtain wholesome food that supports not only you but also the environment:
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
A national listing of farmers' markets
Weston A. Price Foundation
The goal of the Weston A. Price Foundation is to restore nutrient-dense traditional foods to the human diet through education, research, and activism. In order to achieve their goal, the foundation supports accurate nutrition instruction, organic and biodynamic farming, pasture feeding of livestock, and community-supported farms.
This website will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, etc.
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals
The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
The FoodRoutes Find Good Food map can help you connect with local farmers. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSA's, and markets near you.
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
CISA is dedicated to sustainable agriculture and promoting the products of small farms.
KNOW WHERE YOUR FARM IS LOCATED—CERTIFIED ORGANIC OR NOT
“Certified organic” vegetables in many areas of California are still almost all watered by the Colorado River. These vegetables were all found to contain jet fuel, which is in the water that irrigates them. Irrigation water also goes from one farm to the next through the aqueduct system. If a conventional farm is not far from an organic farm, its contaminants can enter the aqueduct system used to irrigate the next farm, whether the next farm is “certified organic” or not, so any pollutants from conventional argiculture are passed right on to the “certified organic farm.” The water is so polluted that even if the vegetables are labeled organic their quality cannot live up to the label. Plus the soils that they are growing in have been used for conventional farming for so long (chem-farmed for 50 years) that they are extremely depleted. This depletion cannot be undone in the three years that a “certified organic” farm has to rebuild the soil. It is not possible to achieve a degree of soil fertility that amounts to anything, and the nutrition of the produce which is grown in that soil is far from optimal. This is “industrial organic,” and it is not much better than conventional.
LOCAL CHEMICAL-FREE SUSTAINABLE FARMERS: YOUR BEST CHOICE
In many states, land used for organic farming need only go for a three-year period without any chemical pesticides or applied herbicides before its produce is eligible to be labeled “certified organic.” This completely overlooks the fact that some pesticides linger in the environment for a longer time than provided for. Also, “organic soil” can be located adjacent to land that is heavily sprayed with chemicals, and thus be subject to aerial drift as well as water runoff. And remember that certified organic farmers are allowed to use natural pesticides which are comparable in their toxicity to some synthetic pesticides, although their use is much less frequent in organic farming than in conventional agriculture.
The best way to get the best uncontaminated and nutritionally optimal food is to start a relationship with local farmers who farm with chemical-free sustainable methods. You can do this, someone in your family could do this, or you could have someone do this for you. Using the sources listed above, you or they can find these farmers. You want to make sure they raise animals on the farm: cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, etc., because of the benefits the animals provide to maintenance of soil fertility and sustainability. This type of farm is a recycling center. There is nothing better for soil fertility than composted manure. Note that these farmers may not be certified as organic simply because the process of certification is very expensive. They are still your best source, since they use no chemicals, have excellent soil fertility, have no neighboring farms contaminating their farm, and run excellent sustainable farms.
Ask them to give you a tour of the farm and ask them some questions:
- How long have they been farming?
- How long have they not used chemicals on their land?
- Do they have any neighbors using chemicals?
- What methods do they use to ensure soil fertility?
- What type of rotation system do they use for their crops—and animals?
- Can they show you the extent of the land on which their free-range cattle and chicken roam?
- Can they show you their compost piles and tell you what they put in them, and show how this is utilized in gardens?
- What pest problems do they typically encounter on their farm, and what natural methods do they use to provide control?
A trustworthy and knowledgeable farmer will answer every one of these questions and be very open to showing you every aspect of how he does things. He will educate you on the importance of maintaining soil fertility, and what this involves. He should rotate or combine crops and livestock, with the resulting manure performing the important function of replenishing soil fertility. As a knowledgeable and concerned consumer, you should consider such farmers your best sources for your food and optimal nutrition. The effort to find them rewards you with the highest quality foundation for the long-term health of you and your loved ones.