Chosing Organic for Health

Written by Marjorie Geiser, RD

Choosing Organic for Health

We come from a society where growing organic and just growing produce and livestock for food was once one andrepparttar same. Small, family farms still grow their own food using traditional methods passed down throughrepparttar 113160 generations. As commercial farming became big-business, however, growers and farmers started to investigate methods of increasing crops and building bigger livestock in order to increase their profits. This led to increased use of pesticides and drugs to enhance yield.

In this article, we will look at what is required in order to call a product organic, how choosing organic eating and farming impactrepparttar 113161 environment and our health, discussrepparttar 113162 benefits of eating organic foods, and what research says aboutrepparttar 113163 nutritional benefits of organically-grown produce.

Calling it "Organic" In 1995,repparttar 113164 US National Organic Standards Board passedrepparttar 113165 definition of 'organic', which is a labeling term denoting products produced underrepparttar 113166 authority ofrepparttar 113167 Organic Foods Production Act. It states, "Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, and enhance ecological harmony."

The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimizerepparttar 113168 health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and people.

The philosophy of organic production of livestock is to provide conditions that meetrepparttar 113169 health needs and natural behavior ofrepparttar 113170 animal. Organic livestock must be given access torepparttar 113171 outdoors, fresh air, water, sunshine, grass and pasture, and are fed 100% organic feed. They must not be given or fed hormones, antibiotics or other animal drugs in their feed. If an animal gets sick and needs antibiotics, they cannot be considered organic. Feeding of animal parts of any kind to ruminants that, by nature, eat a vegetarian diet, is also prohibited. Thus, no animal byproducts of any sort are incorporated in organic feed at any time.

Because farmers must keep extensive records as part of their farming and handling plans in order to be certified organic, one is always able to tracerepparttar 113172 animal from birth to market ofrepparttar 113173 meat. When meat is labeled as organic, this means that 100% of that product is organic.

Although organic crops must be produced withoutrepparttar 113174 use of pesticides, it is estimated that between 10-25% of organic fruits and vegetables contain some residues of synthetic pesticides. This is because ofrepparttar 113175 influence of rain, air and polluted water sources. In order to qualify as 'organic', crops must be grown on soil free of prohibited substances for three years before harvest. Until then, they cannot be called organic. When pests get out of balance and traditional organic methods don't work for pest control, farmers can request permission to use other products that are considered low risk byrepparttar 113176 National Organic Standards Board.

The Environment According torepparttar 113177 15-year study, "Farming Systems Trial", organic soils have higher microbial content, making for healthier soils and plants. This study concluded that organically grown foods are raised in soils that have better physical structure, provide better drainage, may support higher microbial activity, and in years of drought, organic systems may possibly outperform conventional systems. So, organic growing may help feed more people in our future!

What isrepparttar 113178 cost of conventional farming, today? The above-mentioned 15 -year study showed that conventional farming uses 50% more energy than organic farming. In one report, it was estimated that only 0.1% of applied pesticides actually reachrepparttar 113179 targets, leaving most ofrepparttar 113180 pesticide, 99.9%, to impactrepparttar 113181 environment. Multiple investigations have shown that our water supplies, both in rivers and area tap waters, are showing high levels of pesticides and antibiotics used in farming practices. Water samples taken fromrepparttar 113182 Ohio River as well as area tap water contained trace amounts of penicillin, tetracycline and vancomycin.

Toxic chemicals are contaminating groundwater on every inhabited continent, endangeringrepparttar 113183 world's most valuable supplies of freshwater, according to a Worldwatch paper, Deep Trouble: The Hidden Threat of Groundwater Pollution. Calling for a systemic overhaul of manufacturing and industrial agriculture,repparttar 113184 paper notes that several water utilities in Germany now pay farmers to switch to organic operations because this costs less than removing farm chemicals from water supplies.

Review of "Fry Light, Fry Right!"

Written by Sherri Allen

Review of Fry Light, Fry Right! by Elaine Magee, MPH, R.D. Black Dog & Leventhal, September 2004 Paperback, 192 pages ISBN: 1579123910

We all love fried food. We love it forrepparttar flavor; we love it forrepparttar 113159 crunch. Unfortunately, withrepparttar 113160 rise of serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes, many of us are forced to forgo our favorite fried foods in order to avoid excess fat. Dietician and nutritionist Elaine Magee, admitted lover of all things fried, shares her approach to healthier fried food in "Fry Light, Fry Right!" This book is aimed at those who are willing to take a chance on a different way of approaching and preparing fried food.

The recipes in "Fry Light, Fry Right!" are all reduced-fat versions of traditionally fried favorites. You will be delighted to find, however, thatrepparttar 113161 fat and calories arerepparttar 113162 only things that are reduced. The dishes are full of flavor and texture. Evenrepparttar 113163 most devout fried food lover is sure to enjoy Restaurant Cheese Fries, Easy Oven Potato Chips, Oven-Baked Coconut Shrimp with Fresh Pineapple Salsa and Finger-Lickin' Good Chicken. There are even "fried light" desserts, like Spiced Apple Cider Fritters and Mexican Bunuelos.

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