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7
JUN

Frozen Produce May Contain Same Health Benefits as Fresh

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Food Politics,Health Foods,Nutrition at 4:17 pm | By: Joe Palinsky

  • Despite the rise in popularity of buying fresh fruit and vegetables, experts believe frozen produce is just as healthy
  • Obsession with fresh produce has led to a dramatic spike in food waste

When asked to choose between fresh or frozen produce these days, the average consumer is likely to opt for fresh. While some might even believe fresh produce is “obviously” better than frozen, the theory may not actually hold up to scrutiny, NPR suggests. Despite cultural beliefs, there is very little scientific evidence to suggest that frozen fruits and veggies are less nutritious than their fresh counterparts. In fact, fixation on fresh produce has led to an increase in food waste in recent years.

“About 43 percent of all food waste occurs in consumers’ homes,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, advocate of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a 2017 interview with the Washington Post. “It’s the largest single contributor to food waste, and much of that will be fresh product.”

While most people buy fresh produce thinking it will be consumed in a timely manner, evidence suggests otherwise (1). Most fresh produce has a short shelf life and the average consumer tends to buy more than needed in a single trip. Worse still, fear of “imperfections” with fruit and veggies has lead to perfectly-fine items being left to rot on the shelves (2).

Consumers who recognize their own wasteful tendencies might hesitate to switch to frozen due to the current cultural climate of “fresh is better.” In truth, most frozen produce options contain an appropriate dose of vitamins and nutrients (3).

The best way to judge frozen purchases is by looking at the ingredients. Frozen products that contain exclusively produce will boast much more nutritional value than options containing processed seasonings or sauces (4). Additionally, frozen produce prepared through blanching methods should be avoided, as this might reduce the nutritional quality of the product.

Fresh produce might be all the rage, but there is little evidence to suggest frozen produce isn’t just as good. Consumers who want the health benefits of fresh produce without the fear of it going to waste in a crisper drawer may find frozen options offer a practical and efficient choice.




7
MAR

4 Reasons To Go Vegan (Not Related To Diet)

Filed Under: Diet & Weight Loss,Food Politics,Health Foods at 11:02 am | By: Guest Blogger

When you want to get on a healthier path in life, focusing on what you eat can be a wonderful place to begin. Even though you probably spend a lot of time thinking about what to eat and how to best prepare it for your health, specific food groups tend to contain more negative elements than others. The choice to go vegan, for example, is usually made when a person no longer wishes to consume animal meat or byproducts. Whether you’re making this change for your health or for a moral reason, it can be useful to take a look at what benefits come with the decision.

If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to a vegan lifestyle and need just a teensy bit more encouragement, then now is the time to learn all about the benefits. Changing your eating habits can take time and patience but dedicating your time to the effort has a way of yielding some useful results for your future.

1.) Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Each year, more than a million people are diagnosed with a form of diabetes. While genetics and other factors are involved, more often than not it is a person’s diet that encourages the development of this condition. Studies published in recent years have linked specific fats found in animal products to type 2 diabetes. According to these reports, those who were less likely to include animal fats in their meals were also far less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. These same studies also suggest vegans have a higher sensitivity to insulin.

Plant-based proteins are fantastic substitutes for animal fats. The nutrients found in non-meat options like tofu and seitan have been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. Additional research in this area also suggests those living with diabetes are able to positively alter how much medication they require on a daily basis by making the switch to a plant-based diet.

2.) Strengthen the Heart

While diabetes can be a serious concern for many, it pales in comparison to stats released about cardiovascular disease. Each year, more people die around the world from heart-related conditions than anything else. These numbers can be frightening and countless people across the globe have begun initiatives to keep their hearts happy and healthy. A great way to achieve this goal is by considering a vegan diet. Switching to a diet comprised mainly of plants and grains has been shown to greatly reduce a person’s chance to developing high blood pressure.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure levels can help to decrease the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, or other debilitating cardiovascular condition. For your heart to truly reap the benefits of going vegan, you want to focus on ingesting the right plants. Add hearty helpings of asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and any kind of leafy green to your daily routine and you are likely to provide your body with the nutrients it requires to keep the heart strong.

3.) Kidney Troubles

Switching to plant-based proteins can also help your kidneys. Though meat or animal byproducts are not directly linked to failing kidneys, there are a number of studies suggesting plant proteins can help to strengthen these organs. Nutrients like potassium are primarily found in plants like beets, bananas, spinach leaves, and chard. Potassium is incredibly helpful for detoxing the kidneys and keeping them functioning at their best. Unfortunately, many people who primarily eat meat do not focus enough on ingesting plants containing the right nutrients.

If you want to go vegan, then you need to make sure you do it in a sensible way. Dropping meat and cheese from your daily routine without replacing the nutritional intake can be a very dangerous choice. Before you make any drastic shifts in your diet, be sure to sit down and look over what nutrients your body needs to obtain through fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains.

4.) Potential Cancer Prevention

Those who eat vegan might also be less likely to develop certain cancers. Though cancer can develop from a number of different conditions, a lack of proper plant-based nutrients can be a huge factor. According to specific studies, those who ingest a healthy dose of fruits and veggies each day are far less likely to develop certain types of cancer than those who do not eat produce regularly. Increasing the level of soy in your diet while decreasing how many animal proteins you eat can also help to lower the odds of developing breast cancer.

Switching to a vegan diet requires a little bit of thought. Though it can be healthier, you also want to make sure you are giving your body the correct daily nutrients. Do a bit more research on your own and see if this shift is the right call to make for a healthier future.

 

Article written by Joe Palinsky

Joe Palinsky is a full-time writer and theater professional in Philadelphia. He predominantly works with ensemble-based Found Theater Company, where his writing has been featured in numerous productions. Though primarily a ghostwriter, his work has been published in the now-defunct Spirit News and as a guest on Found Theater’s blog.




6
FEB

Get Grass-fed, NOW!

Filed Under: Food Politics,Green Living,Nutrition at 6:16 pm | By: Jessica Justh
grassfedThe label “grass-fed” refers to cows who have grazed in pasture year-round rather than being fed a processed diet (usually consisting of corn) for much of their lives. Grass feeding greatly improves the quality of the cow’s milk and helps it maintain more of its naturally ocurring omega-3 fats, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Fatty Acids

The amount of CLA found in the milk derived from 100% grass-fed cows is typically two to five times greater than milk found in conventionally-fed cows. CLA is a type of fat that has various health benefits, including immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass, improved blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, reduced risk of heart attack, and maintenance of lean body mass. According to recent studies, grass-fed cow’s milk contains 75 milligrams of CLA from an eight-ounce serving. 

Omega-3

The omega-3 fat content derived from grass-fed cow’s milk is dependent on the variety of forage crops accessible to the animal. This omega-3 content also varies with the age, breed and health of the cow. For instance, you can get anywhere from 50-150 milligrams of omega-3s (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA) in 8 ounces of grass-fed cow’s milk.

 

Fat Composition

The overall fat composition of grass-fed milk is not what you may think. In eight ounces of whole grass-fed cow’s milk there are eight grams of total fat. About two grams (25%) of this comes from monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic acid. This omega-9 fatty acid is the primary fatty acid found in olive oil. Replacing this fatty acid with other fats can lead to lowered blood and cholesterol levels. About four and a half grams (or 56%) come from saturated fat – a type of fat that is thought to have unwanted ramifications. However, the type of saturated fat in 100% grass-fed cow’s milk does not fall into the “bad” fat category. About six to seven percent of this saturated fat is “short-chain” and functions as a probiotic that supports friendly bacteria in the GI tract.

 

Cows are not meant to eat a grain diet. Their digestive system, the rumen, is designed to eat grass, break down cellulose and turn it into protein. When you take a cow off pasture it creates a domino effect of problems. As author and activist Michael Pollan explains, “You start giving (cows) antibiotics, because as soon as you give them corn, you’ve disturbed their digestion, and they’re apt to get sick, so you then have to give them drugs. Then we then go down this path of technological fixes.” As you can see, it’s process that unfolds in direct contrast to what nature had intended. But as we’ve learned, educated consumers have the power to choose. When you consume grass-fed dairy products, you’re not only improving your health but your supporting the health and well-being of the those animals too – a classic win-win situation.

 




17
OCT

The Hidden Dangers of GMOs

Filed Under: Announcements & News,Environment,Food Politics at 8:00 am | By: Jessica Justh
GMO_DangersMany of the US’s most harvested crops, including corn, soy, sugar beets and cotton, contain DNA that was manipulated in labs to resist drought, disease and insect infestation. However, these potentially dangerous genes can be transferred to DNA found in bacteria living inside of us. Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning.

GMOs are bad for the environment. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. In return, farmers have to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. As if that weren’t bad enough, herbicides like Roundup reduce biodiversity and can harm insects, birds and other animals.

GMOs are affecting our health. The number of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses has increased from 7% to 13% over the past nine years – a figure that doesn’t even account for the increase in food allergies, autism, and reproductive and digestive issues that afflict more and more of us each year. Many medical groups including the American Public Health Association and American Nurse Association condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone due to the fact that milk from treated cows contain insulin growth factor 1, which has been shown to cause cancer.

GMOs will not feed the world. Contrary to Big Agriculture’s argument, the agricultural methods behind GMOs do not result in higher yields. A report authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments with The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.”

GMOs are present in over 70% of supermarket foods. Protect yourself and protect your family by doing the research and making smart choices. This handy guide will help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs.


14
OCT

Forget the Franken-Candy for Halloween

Filed Under: Food Politics,Nutrition at 8:00 am | By: Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND & Lead Wellness Advisor
halloween

 

 

Boo! Didn’t mean to scare you, but now that summer is over Halloween isn’t too far away.  The temperatures are dropping and pumpkins are popping up everywhere. This Halloween don’t be just the coolest house in the neighborhood, be the healthiest. LuckyVitamin has a great selection of candy made with organic, non-GMO ingredients to help you stand out from the rest of the houses on the block.

Many of the candy ingredients on the market are made with artificial dyes, food coloring agents, artificial flavors and other ingredients that can throw off your children’s nervous system. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one of these ingredients, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, is no longer “generally recognized as safe” and should eventually be phased out of the production of food. A great health benefit to our all-natural sweet treats is that they do not contain hydrogenated oils.

Chocolate is a staple of Halloween. LuckyVitamin carries top selling delicious treats like Chocolove Mini Organic Chocolate Bars that come in flavors like Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, Orange Peel, and Toffee Almond.  Another delectable treat you will find is the Lara Bar Jocalat Chocolate Mint Bar. This yummy bar is non-GMO, organic, and free of artificial calories, dairy, gluten, and preservatives.

Are you worried about not having Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in your candy bucket this fall? Don’t worry; LuckyVitamin has you covered with Justin’s Nut Butter Peanut Butter Cups. Not only is this enjoyable candy organic, it is also free of dairy and gluten.  Now it wouldn’t be Halloween without M&M’s; however, a tasty and healthier alternative is SunSpire Sun Drop Original Chocolate Candies.  These candies are organic, vegetarian, and free of preservatives, trans fat, and artificial flavors. On top of all that they are also a quality fare trade product.

Other great alternatives to satisfying that sweet tooth with include Yummy Earth Root beer candy drops, Surf Sweets All Natural Gummy Bears , Yummy Earth’s Organic Gummy Bears and All Natural Lollipops. This Halloween don’t be frightened by the candy on you super market shelves; shop LuckyVitamin for all natural and organic candy to hand out to those witches, goblins, princesses and super heroes.