Archive: Jul 2017

  1. Eat Organic, One Item at a Time.

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    You can’t save the planet on your own and Donald can’t destroy it by himself either. Regardless of diet, choosing organic should be personal priority because it is an extremely effectual choice not just for your health but that of the planet. Volvo is not going all electric just because it thinks it’s better for the planet, it’s doing it because of thousands of buying decisions has led it to believe that the future of cars is here now. Buying organically grown food—that is free of many of the harmful chemicals used in conventional farming, bursting with more nutrition, taste, and sustainable sustenance—is a direct vote for immediate health and the hopeful future of generations to come. And every small decision and dollar counts and we need make those decisions now because of tens of years of uneducated choices has put us in untenable predicament. Good news is the speed at which we process information and can act on it globally is exponentially improving. No better time than now.

    Here is a top 10 list for choosing organic:

    (written by Renee Loux from Prevention Magazine)

    1. Avoid chemicals
    Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food. More than 600 active chemicals are registered for agricultural use in America, to the tune of billions of pounds annually. The average application equates to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person every year. Many of these chemicals were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before extensive diet testing.

    The National Academy of Sciences reports that 90% of the chemicals applied to foods have not been tested for long-term health effects before being deemed “safe.” Further, the FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticide residue. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely if ever employed by the FDA.

    2. Benefit from more nutrients
    Organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine conducted a review of 41 published studies comparing the nutritional value of organically grown and conventionally grown fruits, vegetables, and grains and concluded that there are significantly more of several nutrients in organic foods crops.

    Further, the study verifies that five servings of organically grown vegetables (such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage) provide an adequate allowance of vitamin C, whereas the same number of servings of conventionally grown vegetables do not.

    On average, organically grown foods provide: 21.1% more iron (than their conventional counterparts); 27% more vitamin C; 29.3% more magnesium; 13.6% more phosphorus

    3. Enjoy better taste
    Try it! Organically grown foods generally taste better because nourished, well balanced soil produces healthy, strong plants. This is especially true with heirloom varieties, which are cultivated for taste over appearance.

    4. Avoid GMO
    Genetically engineered (GE) food and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are contaminating our food supply at an alarming rate, with repercussions beyond understanding. GMO foods do not have to be labeled in America. Because organically grown food cannot be genetically modified in any way, choosing organic is the only way to be sure that foods that have been genetically engineered stay out of your diet. (Here’s what you need to know about GMO foods.)

    5. Avoid hormones, antibiotics and drugs in animal products
    Conventional meat and dairy are the highest risk foods for contamination by harmful substances. More than 90% of the pesticides Americans consume are found in the fat and tissue of meat and dairy products.

    The EPA reports that a majority of pesticide intake comes from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products because these foods are all high on the food chain. For instance, a large fish that eats a smaller fish that eats even smaller fish accumulates all of the toxins of the chain, especially in fatty tissue. Cows, chickens, and pigs are fed animal parts, by-products, fish meal, and grains that are heavily and collectively laden with toxins and chemicals. Lower-fat animal products are less dangerous, as toxins and chemicals are accumulated and concentrated in fatty tissue.

    Antibiotics, drugs, and growth hormones are also directly passed into meat and dairy products. Tens of millions of pounds of antibiotics are used in animal feed every year. The union of concerned scientists estimates that roughly 70% of antibiotics produced in the United States are fed to animals for nontherapeutic purposes.[pagebreak]US farmers have been giving sex hormones and growth hormones to cattle to artificially increase the amount of meat and milk the cattle produce without requiring extra feed. The hormones fed to cows cannot be broken down, even at high temperatures. Therefore they remain in complete form and pass directly into the consumer’s diet when meat is eaten.

    Hormone supplementation is the biggest concern with beef, dairy products, and farmed fish. In the United States, the jury is still out. However, Europe’s scientific community agrees that there is no acceptably safe level for daily intake of any of the hormones currently used in the United States and has subsequently banned all growth hormones.

    The major concerns for US consumers include the early onset of puberty, growth of tumors, heightened cancer risks, and genetic problems. Growth hormones in milk (rBGH or rBST) are genetically modified and have been directly linked to cancer, especially in women.

    Many scientists and experts warn that rampant use of antibiotics in animal feed, like penicillin and tetracycline, will breed an epidemic that medicine has no defense against. Karim Ahmed, PhD, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that it “is perhaps one of the most serious public health problems the country faces. We’re talking about rendering many of the most important antibiotics ineffective.”

    Choosing organic animal products is unyieldingly important, especially for children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

    6. Preserve our ecosystems
    Organic farming supports eco-sustenance, or farming in harmony with nature.

    Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, and chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem. Wildlife, insects, frogs, birds, and soil organisms are able to play their roles in the tapestry of ecology, and we are able to play ours, without interference or compromise.

    7. Reduce pollution and protect water and soil
    Agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers are contaminating our environment, poisoning our precious water supplies, and destroying the value of fertile farmland. Certified organic standards do not permit the use of toxic chemicals in farming and require responsible management of healthy soil and biodiversity.

    According to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel, it is estimated that only 0.1% of applied pesticides reach the target pests. The bulk of pesticides (99.%) is left to impact the environment.

    8. Preserve agricultural diversity
    The rampant loss of species occurring today is a major environmental concern. It is estimated that 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost in the last century. Leaning heavily on one or two varieties of a given food is a formula for devastation. For instance, consider that only a handful of varieties of potatoes dominate the current marketplace, whereas thousands of varieties were once available.

    Now, dig back to recent history’s potato famine in Ireland, where a blight knocked out the whole crop, which consisted of just a few varieties, and millions of people died of starvation. Today, most industrial farms also grow just one crop rather than an array of crops on one piece of land. Ignorance is bliss? Or amnesia is disastrous? Crop rotation is a simple and effective technique used in organic agriculture to reduce the need for pesticides and improve soil fertility.

    Most conventional food is also extremely hybridized to produce large, attractive specimens, rather than a variety of indigenous strains that are tolerant to regional conditions such as droughts and pests. Many organic farms grow an assorted range of food, taking natural elements and time-tested tradition into account. Diversity is critical to survival.

    9. Support farming directly
    Buying organic food is an investment in a cost-effective future. Commercial and conventional farming is heavily subsidized with tax dollars in America. A study at Cornell University determined the cost of a head of commercial iceberg lettuce, typically purchased at 49 cents a head, to be more than $3.00 a head when hidden costs were revealed. The study factored in the hidden costs of federal subsidies, pesticide regulation and testing, and hazardous waste and cleanup.

    Every year, American tax dollars subsidize billions of dollars for a farm bill that heavily favors commercial agribusiness. Peeling back another layer of the modern farming onion reveals a price tag that cannot be accurately measured but certainly includes other detrimental associated costs such as health problems, environmental damage, and the loss and extinction of wildlife and ecology.

    10. Keep our children and future safe
    Putting our money where our mouths are is a powerful position to take in the $1 trillion food industry market in America. Spending dollars in the organic sector is a direct vote for a sustainable future for the many generations to come.

  2. Why do we use Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil on our Green Elephant Potato Chips?

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    Potato chips are typically cooked in refined vegetable oils which for many should be worrisome. Recent studies suggest that omega-6 vegetable fats do not support a heart healthy diet and that there is a correlation between heart disease and increased intake of this omega-6 linoleic acid (see 7-year Sydney Diet Heart Study). It’s not just potato chips; the western diet is rich in processed safflower and sunflower oils which has abundance of these acids.

    Oils can be broken down into three groups:

    1. Saturated Fatty Acids – stable at high temperatures and resists oxidation. Think coconut oil and ghee. We sprinkle both on our popcorn! But moderation is the key here with these healthier fats.
    2. Monounsaturated Oils – not as stable but can withstand some heat before oxidizing. The most common type is oleic acid. Think olive and avocado oil. Good for you but better not cooked.
    3. Polyunsaturated oils – when expose to heat they tend to oxidize and can create harmful free radicals. Found mainly in vegetable oils like processed partially hydrogenated sunflower and safflower oils. Omega-6 and omega-3’s are the two of the most common polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-6’s are the bad guys.

    Studies show we are getting way more omega-6’s than we need. When not in the right proportion the oils are prone to oxidation can lead to inflammation in your body. Research show we need  to bring into balance our omega 3 and 6’s into a 1:1 relationship or less. As time progresses more and more of what we eat today is processed and has a misaligned acid ratio. Think farmed raise salmon for a second – not nearly enough 3’s and lots of 6’s. We need more 3’s (think quality fish oils) and to drop the 6’s.

    So obviously, choosing the right oils with the right balance is key when it comes to food. That is why we take what we put on our popcorn and chips so seriously. Like chips, most popcorn companies cook with either partially hydrogenated (linoleic) sunflower or safflower or a combo of the two. Its cost effective and versatile but far from ideal. For our Green Elephant potato chips, we wanted to be different. Firstly, we didn’t want to cook them in saturated fats as the oils break down when frying for longer periods and bigger amounts of cooked saturated fats are not good for the body either.  We wanted a monounsaturated fat. We looked at olive oil and avocado oil to start, but olive oil’s unique structure made it susceptible to oxidation when cooking and avocado oil didn’t taste great on the chips to be honest. What we came to was organic high oleic sunflower oil. It doesn’t have the same problems that its partially hydrogenated cousin has; it is much richer in monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and much lower in polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) and its levels of omega 6 were much lower. Although the ratio is still not close to 1:1 this oil has by far the best ratios of any oil. See chart.








    Not bad eh? Can you believe canola oil has 19mg of Omega 6 per 100g? Not going to eat that oil anymore! We think you should cook all your foods in high oleic sunflower oil. Now we know the skinny on cooking oil we are converts.

    Finally, being cold pressed (no high heat and solvents) the oil is also suitable for those on a paleo diet. Did we say organic too??? (I could write another article all about the benefits of that) so it’s also suitable for a planet first diet! The best part for a potato chip the oil has a very delicate light, mild sweet taste. Try any of our chips (and our popcorn) and see what the right oil tastes like.

© LesserEvil 2019