July 6, 2017
Organic garden summer harvest! This is why we gardeners do it – so we can step outside our back door, pick fresh, tasty, organic vegetables and fruits, bring it inside to prepare a meal for those we love the most.
July 6, 2017
Organic garden summer harvest! This is why we gardeners do it – so we can step outside our back door, pick fresh, tasty, organic vegetables and fruits, bring it inside to prepare a meal for those we love the most.
“I have a great idea. We’re the Sherman County government. We have power. Let’s claim Azure Farms can’t control their weeds. Let’s come in and invade them with Roundup and other toxic chemicals. Let’s destroy their organic farm. We know the spraying won’t wipe out the weeds—it’ll make the situation worse. But who cares? Let’s open up ourselves to massive lawsuits. I’m sure Monsanto will give us some legal help. We can set a fantastic precedent. No organic farm is safe. No organic farmer has the right to protect his land from the government. Isn’t that a terrific idea?”
Government trespass, invasion?
So far, I have seen no coverage of this issue in Oregon newspapers. Why not? Also, I find nothing on the Sherman County, Oregon, government website about a massive spraying program.
A local government is going to decimate a huge organic farm with herbicide?
Azure Farms, a 2000-acre organic farm in Oregon, states it is under threat from the local Sherman County government. Why? Because Sherman County officials are re-interpreting a law concerning the “control of noxious weeds,” so it means “eradication.”
These weeds can be controlled on an organic farm, but the only way they can be eliminated (according to conventional “science”) is by spraying. And that means Roundup and other toxic chemicals. That would decimate the organic nature of the farm. That would decertify it as an organic farm.
Further, according to Azure, Sherman County plans to put a lien on the farm, forcing it to pay for the spraying.
The deadline for expressing opposition is May 22. A better deadline is May 17.
Here is the complete press release from Azure Farms and the ways to register your concern:
Azure Farms is a working, certified organic farm located in Moro, central Oregon, in Sherman County. It has been certified organic for about 18 years. The farm produces almost all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for Azure Standard.
Sherman County is changing the interpretation of its statutory code from controlling noxious weeds to eradicating noxious weeds. These weeds include Morning Glory, Canada Thistle, and Whitetop, all of which have been on the farm for many years, but that only toxic chemicals will eradicate.
Organic farming methods – at least as far as we know today – can only control noxious weeds—it is very difficult to eradicate them.
Sherman County may be issuing a Court Order on May 22, 2017 to quarantine Azure Farms and possibly to spray the whole farm with poisonous herbicides, contaminating them with Milestone, Escort and Roundup herbicides.
This will destroy all the efforts Azure Farms has made for years to produce the very cleanest and healthiest food humanly possible. About 2,000 organic acres would be impacted; that is about 1.5 times the size of the city center of Philadelphia that is about to be sprayed with noxious, toxic, polluting herbicides.
The county would then put a lien on the farm to pay for the expense of the labor and chemicals used.
Contact Sherman County Court before May 17 when the next court discussion will be held.
1. Via email at email@example.com or
2. Call Lauren at 541-565-3416.
Show Sherman County that people care about their food NOT containing toxic chemicals.
Overwhelm the Sherman County representatives with your voices!
—end of Azure Farms statement—
Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor to jonathanturley.org, has been covering this story. He reached out and obtained a devastating letter from agricultural scientist, Charles Benbrook. Benbrook has his critics within the conventional pesticide and GMO research community. Here is Smith’s piece and Dr. Benbrook’s letter:
Yesterday I fielded an article concerning a rather distressing mandate by an Oregon county weed control agency seeking to force the application of hazardous herbicides onto a 2,000 acre organic farm owned by Azure Farms. Sherman County Oregon maintains this scorched earth policy is necessary to abate, or more specifically “eradicate”, weeds listed by state statute as noxious.
Now, the scientific community is responding to this overreaching government action by acting in the interests of health and responsible environmental stewardship through advocacy in the hopes that officials in Sherman County will reconsider their mandate.
Dr. Charles Benbrook is a highly credentialed research professor and expert serving on several boards of directors for agribusiness and natural resources organizations. Having read news of Sherman County’s actions, he penned an authoritative response I believe will make informative reading for those concerned by present and future implications in the forced use of herbicides under the rubric of noxious weed eradication, and the damage to organic farming generally arising from such mandates.
Charles Benbrook has a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. He currently is a Visiting Professor at Newcastle University in the UK…
He was a Research Professor at Washington State University from 2012-2015, and served as the Chief Scientist of The Organic Center from 2006-2012. He was the Executive Director of the Board on Agriculture in the National Academy of Sciences from 1984-1990. He was the staff director of the Subcommittee on Department [USDA] Operations, Research, and Foreign Agriculture of the House Committee on Agriculture (1981-1983). He worked as an agricultural and natural resources policy expert in the Council for Environmental Quality in the last 1.5 years of the Carter Administration. He began Benbrook Consulting Services (BCS) in 1990, and continues to carry out projects with a wide range of clients via BCS
He coauthors an informative website Hygeia-Analytics.com.
I reached out to Dr. Benbrook and received permission to reprint his letter in the hope that with more attention, including that from the scientific community, we can arrive at a reasonable solution to the county’s concerns. Here is Dr. Benbrook’s letter:…
Sherman County Commissioners
Sherman County, Oregon
Sherman Country Weed District Supervisor
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Dear Ms. Hernandez el al:
I live in Wallowa County. I learned today of the recent, dramatic change in the Sherman County noxious weed control program and the plan to forcibly spray a 2,000-acre organic farm in the county.
Over a long career, I have studied herbicide use and efficacy, public and private weed control efforts, the linkages between herbicide use and the emergence and spread of resistant weeds, and the public health and environmental impacts of herbicide use and other weed management strategies.
I served for six years, along with fellow Oregonian Barry Bushue, past-president of the Oregon Farm Bureau, on the USDA’s AC 21 Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Committee. Issues arising from herbicide use were a frequent topic of discussion during our Committee’s deliberations.
I have published multiple scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals on glyphosate, its human health risks, and the impact of genetically engineered crops on overall herbicide use and the spread of resistant weeds. In a separate email, I will forward you copies of my published research relevant to the use of herbicides, and glyphosate in particular.
The notion that Sherman County can eradicate noxious weeds by blanket herbicide spraying is deeply misguided. I cannot imagine a single, reputable university weed scientist in the State supporting the idea that an herbicide-based noxious weed eradication program would work (i.e., eradicate the target weeds) in Oregon, or any other state. To hear another opinion from one of the State’s most widely known and respected weed scientists, I urge the County to consult with Dr. Carol Mallory-Smith, Oregon State University.
I also doubt any corporate official working for Monsanto, the manufacturer of glyphosate (Roundup), would agree or endorse the notion that any long-established weed in Sherman County, noxious or otherwise, could be eradicated via blanket spraying with Roundup, or for that matter any combination of herbicides.
Before proceeding with any county-mandated herbicide use justified by the goal of eradication, I urge the County to seek concurrence from the herbicide manufacturer that they believe use of their product will likely eradicate your named, target, noxious weeds.
Given that almost no one with experience in weed management believes that any long-established weed, noxious or otherwise, can be eradicated with herbicides, one wonders why the County has adopted such a draconian change in its noxious weed control program. I can think of two plausible motivations – a desire by companies and individuals involved in noxious weed control activities, via selling or applying herbicides, to increase business volume and profits; or, an effort to reduce or eliminate acreage in the Country that is certified organic.
Weeds are classified as noxious when they prone to spread, are difficult to control, and pose a public health or economic threat to citizens, public lands, and/or farming and ranching operations. Ironically, by far the fastest growing and mostly economically damaging noxious weeds in the U.S. are both noxious and spreading because they have developed resistance to commonly applied herbicides, and especially glyphosate.
There is near-universal agreement in the weed science community nationwide, and surely as well in the PNW, that over-reliance on glyphosate (Roundup) over the last two decades has created multiple, new noxious weeds posing serious economic, environmental, and public health threats.
In fact, over 120 million acres of cultivated cropland in the U.S. is now infested with one or more glyphosate-resistant weed (for details, see http://cehn-healthykids.org/herbicide-use/resistant-weeds/.
The majority of glyphosate-resistant weeds are in the Southeast and Midwest, where routine, year-after-year planting of Roundup Ready crops has led to heavy and continuous selection pressure on weed populations, pressure that over three-to-six years typically leads to the evolution of genetically resistant weed phenotypes, that can then take off, spreading across tens of millions of acres in just a few years.
Ask any farmer in Georgia, or Iowa, or Arkansas whether they would call “noxious” the glyphosate-resistant kochia, Palmer amaranth, Johnson grass, marestail, or any of a dozen other glyphosate-resistant weeds in their fields.
It is virtually certain that an herbicide-based attempt to eradicate noxious weeds in Sherman County would fail. It would also be extremely costly, and would pose hard-to-predict collateral damage on non-target plants from drift, and on human health and the environment. But even worse, it would also, almost certainly, accelerate the emergence and spread of a host of weeds resistant to the herbicides used in the program.
This would, in turn, leave the county, and the county’s farmers with not just their existing suite of noxious weeds to deal with, but a new generation of them resistant to glyphosate, or whatever other herbicides are widely used.
Sherman County’s proposal, while perhaps well meaning, will simply push the herbicide use-resistant weed treadmill into high gear. Just as farmers in other parts of the county have learned over the last 20 years, excessive reliance on glyphosate, or herbicides over-all, accomplishes only one thing reliably – it accelerates the emergence and spread of resistant weeds, requiring applications of more, and often more toxic herbicides, and so on before some one, or something breaks this vicious cycle.
I urge you to take into account two other consequences if the County pursues this deeply flawed strategy. Certified organic food products grown and processed in Oregon, and distributed by Oregon-based companies like Azure and the Organically Grown Company, are highly regarded throughout the U.S. for exceptional quality, consistency, and value.
Plus, export demand is growing rapidly across several Pacific Rim nations for high-value, certified organic foods and wine from Oregon. Triggering a high-profile fight over government-mandated herbicide spraying on certified organic fields in Sherman County will come as a shock to many people, who are under the impression that all Oregonians, farmers and consumers alike, are committed to a vibrant, growing, and profitable organic food industry.
Does Sherman County really want to erode this halo benefiting the marketing of not just organic products, but all food and beverages from Oregon?
Second, if Sherman County is serious about weed eradication, it will have to mandate widespread spraying countywide, and not just on organic farms, and not just for one year. The public reaction will be swift, strong, and build in ferocity. It will likely lead to civil actions of the sort that can trigger substantial, unforeseen costs and consequences. I am surely not the only citizen of the State that recalls the tragic events last year in Malheur County.
Plus, I guarantee you that the County, the herbicide applicators, and the manufacturers of the herbicides applied, under force of law on organic or other farms, will face a torrent of litigation seeking compensatory damages for loss of reputation, health risks, and the loss of premium markets and prices.
I have followed litigation of this sort for decades, and have served as an expert witness in several herbicide-related cases. While it is obviously premature to start contemplating the precise legal theories and statutes that will form the crux of future litigation, the County should develop a realistic estimate of the legal costs likely to arise in the wake of this strategy, if acted upon, so that the County Commissioners can alert the public upfront regarding how they will raise the funds needed to deal with the costs of near-inevitable litigation.
—end of Dr. Benbrook’s letter—
Yesterday, Sunday, I emailed the Sherman County government asking them whether they really intend to pursue this lunatic program. If and when I receive an answer, I’ll post it.
I also emailed Azure Farms, asking why they believe there is no coverage of this issue in Oregon newspapers. If I get an answer, I’ll post that, too.
Ordinarily, local papers will print a stories about contentious issues, however one-sided they may be. In this case, I find nothing.
Is it possible the threat of herbicide spraying has been overstated? Why would Azure issue a release claiming the spraying is imminent if it weren’t true? Why would Azure risk getting into a wrangle with the County government if the threat weren’t real? Why isn’t there any mention of the spraying program on the Sherman County website? Does the County actually think they can keep their intentions under wraps?
“I have a great idea. Let’s claim Azure Farms can’t control their weeds. Let’s come in and invade them with Roundup and other toxic chemicals. Let’s destroy their organic farm. We know the spraying won’t wipe out the weeds—it’ll make the situation worse. But who cares? Let’s open up ourselves to massive lawsuits. I’m sure Monsanto will give us some legal help. We can set a fantastic precedent. No organic farm is safe. No organic farmer has the right to protect his land from the government. Isn’t that a terrific idea?”
Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.
March 12, 2017
Good news for all local farmers! The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey reveals that there are now 24,650 certified organic operations in the U.S. This is a 13 percent increase from 2016 and the highest growth rate we’ve seen since 2008. The number of local, organic farms has been steadily increasing — albeit haphazardly — since 2002. However, it is only this year where a steady and distinctive rise is seen. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition wrote on their website that “organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing sectors…for farmers across the country, strong demand for organic food translates into new and growing market opportunities.”
USDA organic certification provides farms or processing facilities the right and access to sell, label, and represent their products as organic in the United States. It is of particular importance for farms across rural America, where local industries contribute much to the area’s economic growth. As consumer demand for organic products grows, so too do sales. The USDA reported that there was approximately $43 billion in U.S. sales of organic products in 2015. Local farmers have said that being certified as organic by the USDA allows them to receive premium prices for their products.
The USDA ends their report quite succinctly; offering no justification as to why the rise is suddenly so sharp or relevant. Regardless, the growth is being lauded by many health advocates who believe in integrating into a cleaner, greener, and more organic lifestyle. The perils of pesticide-laden food, toxic tap water, and similar environmental concerns make it more necessary for people to be diligent about what they eat, what they do, and most importantly, how they live. Opting for organic food is an advantageous choice not only for your own personal health, but for the planet as well. There are several other reasons to choose organic foods, as listed on Prevention.com:
One other benefit of organic local farming is that it protects the environment. The foundation of all local farming is one of eco-sustenance. Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmlands healthy. Moreover, the natural ecosystem, wherein natural flora and animal life is allowed to thrive, is balanced.
While there are no official forecasts on the trend, it is hoped that more local farms going organic will be seen spreading across our nation. Follow more news about organics at Organics.news.
May 7, 2017
April 26, 2017
April 13, 2017
It wasn’t too long ago that organic food was considered to be a luxury. Its high prices made it something that only the most devout health nuts and those with deeper pockets were willing to shell out for. Now, however, organic food is quickly becoming a necessity for those who want a long and healthy life. The price difference between organic and non-organic is not as pronounced as it once was as the supply increases, and more and more people are finding the higher price tag a very small price to pay to avoid eating chemical pesticide-laden food.
A look at the current trends in the seed market illustrates this growing demand perfectly. A new report by Global Market Insights, Inc. predicts that the size of the organic seed market will reach $5.4 billion by the year 2024. Shifting consumer preferences toward natural food and increased awareness about its health benefits are pushing the demand for organic seeds to new heights.
It’s not just the health benefits that are driving people to go completely organic, however. Eschewing pesticides can help preserve agricultural biodiversity and even prevent social injustices against farmers in some countries. In addition, organic food simply tastes better. People who have eaten fruits and vegetables just as nature intended them find them to be far more flavorful than their non-organic counterparts.
The report singles out a few countries in particular as driving the growth in organic seed sales: The U.S., Germany, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India. The organic seed market for crops in the U.S. alone was worth in excess of $460 million in 2015, while many European countries are seeing advanced farming technology and supply chain improvements that are supporting organic product growth. An increase in disposable income in some of these areas is also helping to fuel the demand.
Another factor that is helping spur this growth of organic seed sales, according to the report, is the implementation of more supportive governmental regulations that encourage farming without chemicals. For example, in the U.S., a new plan was recently unveiled that allows farmers to sell their products under the “Transitional” label while undergoing the costly and time-consuming transition to fully organic. Many have been reluctant to make the switch in the past because of the prospect of massive lost revenue during the transitional years.
When it comes to types of organic seeds, vegetables will account for more than $1.8 billion of the sales growth by 2024 thanks to their higher nutritional value, antioxidant properties and ease of digestion. Fruits and nuts are projected to grow by 13 percent during this time period, thanks in part to an increase in public and private investments in research into natural plant breeding.
This news is not surprising given the recent revelation by the Organic Trade Association that 82.3 percent of American homes had organic items in their kitchens last year, which was a 3.4 percent rise over the year before. This vast survey of more than 100,000 homes shows just how widespread the demand for healthier choices is becoming. In fact, the demand is growing so rapidly that farmers are struggling to keep up with it.
It’s not just farmers who are getting in on the act; consumers are also gravitating toward organic seeds, whether it’s organic chia seeds to sprinkle on their morning oatmeal or organic basil seeds for their home gardens. With word spreading about the World Health Organization labeling the popular pesticide glyphosate a “probable carcinogen” despite the best efforts of manufacturer Monsanto to portray the chemical in a flattering (yet false) light, people are simply unwilling to take their chances with these foods. It won’t be surprising if the 82.3 percent of households that had organic food in 2016 inches a lot closer to 100 percent as the organic seed industry’s explosive growth continues.
April 2, 2017
If you were buying organic food ten years ago, more than one acquaintance probably rolled their eyes at you and said you were being taken advantage of by a savvy marketing ploy. Over time, however, attitudes have started to shift as more people become aware of the impact that fruit and vegetables grown with pesticides can have on your health as well as the environment. Now, many of those same skeptics who once gave you a hard time about your choices are stocking their own pantries with organic food.
According to a Nielsen survey, the vast majority of American households – 82.3 percent, to be exact – had organic items in their refrigerators and pantries in 2016. This marks a 3.4 percent rise over 2015’s figures.
They reached their conclusions after studying 100,000 households in every state except Hawaii and Alaska. The biggest jump was seen in North Dakota, where 14.2 percent more households are buying organic than a year ago, while Rhode Island noted a rise of 12.3 percent. Other states to note big jumps included Wyoming, which is up 10.8 percent, and South Dakota, which noted a 10 percent rise.
While sales figures for the American organic market from 2016 are not yet available, the total amount of organic food sales noted in 2015 was $43.3 billion, which was 11 percent higher than 2014, according to a press release from the Organic Trade Association. This far outperformed the overall food market during the year, which only grew by 3 percent. The fresh beverage subcategory was the fastest growing, noting a 33.5 percent rise, while dairy noted an increase of more than 10 percent.
The rise is even more dramatic when long-term figures are considered. For example, spending on organic food has jumped by 72 percent since 2008. (RELATED: Follow more news on organics at Organics.news.)
Farmers are struggling to meet the growing demand for organic food as they scramble to earn organic certification for their fields, a process that can take upward of three years. Experts have referred to the situation as a “gold rush mentality.” Right now, more farmers in the country than ever before have earned organic certification, signifying that their crops do not contain chemical fertilizers or pesticides. While organic crops have risen by 11 percent over the last two years to cover in excess of 4 million acres of American farmland, it is still not enough to meet the demand. In fact, our country imports organically-grown grain to feed the cows that produce organic milk because not enough is grown domestically. This has led some people to grow their own fruits and vegetables for peace of mind.
A new plan for classifying organic products was recently approved by the USDA, and it is expected to inspire more farmers to get on board. Even though organic food can command a much higher price tag, the process of transitioning places it out of reach for many farmers.
Farmers must discontinue the use of fertilizer and chemical pesticides for three years, and during that period, they often lose a lot of money. Under the new plan, farmers undergoing the transition could label their products as “transitional,” which would enable them to charge a slightly higher price for their goods and recoup some of the expenses associated with the process.
Consumers are making their preference clear. As people become increasingly health-conscious, more and more farmers can see the future of the agriculture industry, and conventionally grown produce is not part of it. The health risks of food grown with pesticides are downright scary, and people are no longer willing to spend money on these foods or put them in their bodies.
March 20, 2017
Ideally, food is your “medicine.” It’s certainly one of the best preventive strategy I can think of, and getting more raw organic foods and healthy fats in your diet are key considerations.
However, while any type of whole food is better than none, some choices can give you more bang for your buck than others.1
For example, while lettuce is a staple in most people’s homes, even if they don’t eat a whole lot of vegetables in general, and many may even spend the extra money on organic lettuce, there are far more cost-effective ways to get higher quality nutrients into your diet.
Below are 17 of my personal favorites in no particular order, with some added cost-saving and nutrition-boosting tips thrown in along the way.
Research suggests eating clean fish like salmon, sardines or anchovies once or twice a week may increase your lifespan by more than two years and reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 35 percent.2
However, the devil’s in the details, and when it comes to salmon, it’s quite crucial to buy the right kind.
What you’re looking for is wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Steer clear of all farmed and genetically engineered varieties.3 Virtually all salmon marked “Atlantic salmon” comes from fish farms, and researchers have shown farmed salmon may be one of the most toxic foods in the world.
Levels of healthy omega-3 fats are also reduced by about 50 percent in farmed salmon compared to wild salmon, due to the use of grain and legume feed.
Canned salmon labeled “Alaskan Salmon” is a cost-effective way to buy salmon, as it is far cheaper than whole salmon steaks. If you’re not a fan of salmon, you can get many of the same health benefits by eating anchovies or sardines, ideally canned in water rather than olive oil, as inferior grades of olive oil are typically used.
In addition to being an excellent source of healthy fats, avocados also have other unique health benefits, including enhancing your body’s absorption of nutrients and inhibiting production of an inflammatory compound produced when you eat beef.4
Avocados are one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally-grown, so you don’t need to spend the extra money for organic ones. Their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides.
Another cost-saving measure is to keep them refrigerated. If you buy unripe avocado in bulk when they’re on sale, storing them in the fridge will significantly slow down the ripening process and save a bundle.
Simply place however many you want to use within the next day or two on the counter, and they’ll rapidly ripen.
As a result, you need to eat far less, in terms of amount, compared to a mature plant. Sprouts may be harvested within just a few days or a week of growth, while microgreens10 are typically harvested after two to three weeks, when they’ve reached a height of about 2 inches.
Essential fatty acids heighten and the protein quality of several vegetables improves when sprouted. Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than their full-grown counterparts, and help protect against chemical carcinogens.11 Watercress may be the most nutrient-dense of all.12,13
Sprouts and microgreens are easy and inexpensive to grow at home. They’re a particularly excellent choice during winter months, when outdoor gardening is limited or ruled out.
Another major benefit is that you don’t have to cook them. A simple way to dramatically improve your nutrition is to swap out lettuce for sprouts and/or microgreens in your salad, or on burgers, sandwiches or tacos.
Even a few grams of microgreens per day can “entirely satisfy” the recommended daily intake of vitamins C, E and K.14
Research shows this cruciferous veggie may reduce your risk for many common diseases, including arthritis, cancer, heart disease and more.
When you eat broccoli, you’re getting dozens of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health, including fiber, the anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane15,16,17,18 and glucoraphanin,19,20 anti-inflammatory and free radical quenching phenolic compounds21,22,23 and immune-boosting diindolylmethane (DIM).24,25
Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.26 Sulforaphane also helps raise testosterone levels, inhibits the retention of body fat, helps detox carcinogens27 and helps protect your muscles against exercise-induced damage.28
Ideally, choose raw broccoli, as frozen broccoli has diminished ability to produce sulforaphane. The enzyme myrosinase,29 which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, is quickly destroyed during the blanching process.30
When using raw broccoli, steaming it for three to four minutes will optimize the sulforaphane content. Do not go past five minutes. If you want to boil your broccoli, blanch it in boiling water for no more than 20 to 30 seconds, then immerse it in cold water to stop the cooking process.
The sulforaphane content can be further optimized by eating it with mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula and/or cole slaw.33
Research has also revealed that the stronger the flavor of the onion, the better its cancer-fighting potential. In one analysis,38,39 shallots, Western yellow and pungent yellow onions were the most effective against liver cancer. The latter two were also particularly effective against colon cancer.
Onions also contain compounds known to protect against cardiovascular disease and neurological dysfunction or decline. They also help prevent obesity and diabetes, in part by inhibiting certain enzymes in your digestive tract, and by supporting healthy blood sugar control.
Antioxidants are most concentrated in the outer layers of the onion, so peel off only the outermost paper-like layer. Overpeeling can reduce important antioxidants and chemoprotective compounds by as much as 75 percent.40
On the upside, the anti-cancer compound quercetin does not degrade when cooked over low heat. Store whole, dry bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air movement to maximize shelf life.
Spinach is also rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin K1 (good for your veins and arteries), magnesium and folate, the latter of which is important for short-term memory and helps lower your risk for heart disease and cancer by slowing down wear and tear on your DNA. It also contains more potassium than banana.
One caveat and contraindication: If you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, spinach is on the list of foods to strictly avoid, as it is high in oxalate. Also keep in mind that boiling the spinach will leach valuable nutrients like vitamin C into the water. After 10 minutes of boiling, three-quarters of the phytonutrients in spinach will be lost, so you’re better off eating it raw, or lightly steamed or sautéed.
Coconut oil provides a mix of medium-chain fats, including C6, C8, C10 and C12 fats, the latter of which (lauric acid), is most well-known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
The shorter-chained MCTs, on the other hand, are more readily converted into ketones, which are an excellent mitochondrial fuel. Ketones also help suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin, and coconut oil has been shown to aid weight loss and improve your HDL to LDL cholesterol balance.41
My new book, “Fat for Fuel,” explains many of the health benefits associated with a diet high in healthy fats, including coconut oil. Indeed, the ketogenic diet, featuring low net carb and high fat intake, has been shown to be beneficial for many chronic health conditions, including cancer, and can significantly improve your chances of weight loss.
One way to save money on coconut oil is to buy it by the gallon. Big box stores like Costco also tend to have better prices on such bulk items. Unlike other healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil is very resistant to oxidation that occurs once you open the jar or apply heat, so buying in bulk is not a major concern.
Cabbage tends to be inexpensive, and you can supercharge its health benefits by fermenting it, thereby also significantly extending its shelf life. The fermenting process produces copious quantities of beneficial microbes that are extremely important for your health, as they help balance your intestinal flora and boost your immunity.
These beneficial bacteria can even help to normalize your weight, and play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, depression and other mood disorders.
Free-range or pastured eggs are a relatively inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients, especially protein and fat. A single egg contains nine essential amino acids, high quality protein, lutein and zeaxanthin for your eyes, choline for your brain, nervous- and cardiovascular systems, and naturally-occurring B12.
Ideally, you’ll want to eat your eggs as close to raw as possible, such as soft-boiled or poached. Scrambled or fried eggs are the worst, as this oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have kidney damage, you may want to discard the egg white. If you chose to use the egg white, avoid eating it raw unless it’s in combination with the yolk. Eating only egg white could potentially lead to biotin deficiency.
Besides superior nutrition, pastured chickens are much healthier than factory farmed chickens and therefore have a far lower risk of producing eggs infected with salmonella. To find a free-range pasture farm in your local area, check out www.eatwild.com or www.localharvest.org.
Keep in mind that eggs sold as “cage-free” does not mean the chickens were raised under ideal conditions. They’re not raised in cages, but they may still not have access to the outdoors. So, there are still significant differences between “cage-free” and “free range” or “pastured” eggs. To identify better commercial producers and brands, see the Cornucopia Institute’s egg report and scorecard, which ranks 136 egg producers according to 28 organic criteria.
Berries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that impart a host of health advantages. Importantly, their antioxidant power helps keep free radicals in check and fights inflammation. Some of the most important antioxidants in berries are anthocyanins, flavonols, ellagic acid and resveratrol, which studies say help protect your cells and fight off disease.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries are known as some of the world’s best dietary sources of bioactive compounds associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, neurodegeneration, diabetes, inflammation and cancer. One way to prevent waste — as berries can get moldy within days if you don’t eat them — is to buy frozen berries and simply thaw what you need. Frozen berries also tend to be less expensive pound-for-pound compared to fresh berries.
If you need vitamin C, which helps support immune function, look no further than the kiwi. One medium-sized fruit provides 117 percent of your daily recommended intake. They’re also a good source of fiber, vitamins E and K, potassium and antioxidants that help ward off chronic disease. Interestingly, kiwis have also been shown to help lower blood pressure.42
Acerola cherries are far better but they are not available commercially and need to be grown in subtropical environments. They are less than 10 percent the size of a kiwi and have more vitamin C. I have two trees that supply me with 50 to 75 or more cherries a day for about 8 months out of the year, which supplies me with many grams of a complete vitamin C matrix.
While most commercial yogurts are little more than glorified desserts loaded with sugar, yogurt and kefir made from cultured raw, organic grassfed milk are a real superfood, providing an array of healthy bacteria that support optimal health, along with high-quality protein, calcium, B vitamins and even cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
If you want to know which commercial yogurts are healthy and which are not, refer to The Cornucopia Institute’s Yogurt Report. Their investigation found many products being sold as yogurt do not even meet the standards for real yogurt. The report also includes a comparative cost analysis of commercial yogurt brands.
The good news is many organic yogurts are actually less expensive, on a price-per-ounce basis, than conventional, heavily processed yogurts (although some of the organic brands of yogurt actually contained some of the highest amounts of sugar). Your absolute best bet — and also your least expensive — is to make your own kefir or yogurt using organic grassfed milk. It’s a simple process requiring nothing more than the milk, some starter granules and a few mason jars.
Swapping grain-fed beef from concentrated animal feeding operations for organic grassfed beef is well worth the added price, as you get higher quality nutrients and less exposure to antibiotics and pathogenic bacteria. As for organ meat, it is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds vital to your health, many of which Americans are deficient in.
Liver is particularly packed with nutrients. In fact, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food, including choline, B vitamins, bioavailable iron, vitamin D and CoQ10.
You can save money by buying directly from a farmer and then freezing the meat. To ensure you’re getting the highest quality possible, look for the American Grassfed Association’s certification. Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.
Butter, when made from grassfed cows, is rich in CLA, known to help fight cancer and diabetes. Butter is also a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A and other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K2) that are often lacking in the modern industrial diet, plus trace minerals such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).
About 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which your body uses right away for quick energy. Real butter also contains Wulzen Factor, a hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in your body is put into your bones rather than your joints and other tissues. The Wulzen factor is present only in raw butter and cream; it is destroyed by pasteurization.
Here, you again have the option of making your own butter from raw grassfed milk. You may also find unpasteurized grassfed butter at your local farm or farmers market. The next best is pasteurized butter from grassfed cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter common in supermarkets.
Even the latter two are healthier choices by orders of magnitude than margarines or spreads. Just beware of “Monsanto Butter,” meaning butter that comes from cows fed almost entirely genetically engineered grains. This includes Land O’Lakes and Alta Dena.
A number of different mushrooms — including shiitake, maitake and reishi — are known for their immune-boosting powers. In fact, some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and this is one reason why they’re so beneficial for both preventing and treating cancer. Long-chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha- and beta-glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms‘ beneficial effect on your immune system.
They’re also rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, selenium, calcium, minerals and antioxidants, including some that are unique to mushrooms. One such antioxidant is ergothioneine, which scientists are now beginning to recognize as a “master antioxidant.”
When it comes to mushrooms, make sure they’re organic, as mushrooms tend to absorb and concentrate toxins from soil, air and water. Growing your own is an excellent option, but avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what you’re picking. Some mushrooms are guaranteed lethal and have no known antidote.
The nutritional density of kale is virtually unparalleled among green leafy vegetables, boasting all essential amino acids and nine non-essential ones. One-half cup of raw kale provides 100 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, 340 percent of your vitamin K and 67 percent of your vitamin C. It’s also loaded with both lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for good eyesight. Gram-for-gram, kale even contains more calcium than milk.
Like many other superfoods on this list, kale contains potent chemoprotective agents, including the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol — which has been shown to aid DNA cell repair and slow the growth of cancer cells — and sulforaphane. Its anti-inflammatory capabilities have also been shown to help prevent and even reverse arthritis, heart disease and several autoimmune diseases.
Whey protein, a byproduct of milk and cheese, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:
|Helping your insulin work more effectively, which helps maintain your blood sugar level after a meal||Promoting healthy insulin secretion, which is imperative for optimal health|
|Helping to promote your optimal intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals needed for your overall wellness||Helping you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine|
|Supporting your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulins||Maintaining blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range|
Whey protein concentrate (not to be confused with the far inferior whey protein isolate) is an ideal choice as it’s a rich source of amino acids.
It’s also the best food for maximizing your glutathione levels as it provides all the raw materials for glutathione production (cysteine, glycine and glutamate). Glutathione is your body’s most powerful antioxidant and has even been called “the master antioxidant.” It is a tripeptide found inside every single cell in your body. When shopping for a whey protein, be sure to look for a product that is:
March 2, 2017
Fast food has an undeniable appeal, despite its unhealthy reputation – it’s convenient, cheap and satisfying, making it attractive on several levels. On the other hand, fast food products are notoriously packed with unhealthy ingredients: highly-processed mystery meats, GMO products, pesticide-laden produce and more.
But is it possible to offer a classic fast food menu consisting of burgers, fries and shakes, etc. using all-natural, organic ingredients – and without having to charge exorbitant prices?
Benjamin Brittsan and his wife Nicolette are betting on the concept by opening the nation’s first certified-organic drive-thru burger chain, called Nic’s Organic Fast Food.
The first restaurant will open in the Rolling Meadows suburb of Chicago this February, with plans to open 50 more Chicago-area locations before launching the chain nationwide – if all goes according to plan.
Nic’s first location is a refurbished Pizza Hut that will seat 60 people indoors in addition to its drive-thru. The restaurant features a mascot named Nic the Organic Farmer – a muscular, life-sized super-hero figure in overalls who is ready to “take back fast food from the clutches of pesticides.”
Brittsan stresses that his products are truly certified organic and not merely labeled as such.
From the Chicago Eater:
“The restaurant’s products have been certified organic by Quality Assurance International… Certification means the foods are free of pesticides and other chemicals. The certification is something that comes with standards and isn’t an empty buzz phrase like ‘all natural,’ said Benjamin Brittsan.”
For example, the beef used in Nic’s hamburgers is USDA-certified organic and free of chemicals, antibiotics or hormones. But the all-organic standard extends to everything on the menu at Nic’s, including the chicken nuggets (made from organic white meat), french fries and even the drinks, which include organic juices, sodas and coffees.
But don’t expect a lot of low-fat, vegan-leaning menu items at Nic’s. Sure, you can order a fresh green salad or a veggie burger, but the emphasis – as with any fast food restaurant worthy of the name – is on big, greasy beef hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries and sodas.
There’s nothing particularly healthy about the BigNic Bacon Burger – two beef patties, two slices of cheese, smoked bacon and all the trimmings – but the important thing, according to Brittsan, is what it doesn’t contain.
“The organic lifestyle doesn’t mean you’re eating any healthier in terms of the food,” he said. “What you’re benefiting from is from what’s not in the food.”
The prices at Nic’s are around the same as popular burger chains such as In-N-Out Burger or Steak ‘n Shake, with burgers at around $5 and combos for under $8.
Whether or not Nic’s can compete with the big fast food chains remains to be seen, but there does seem to be a trend towards fast food that uses fresh, natural ingredients.
Meanwhile, sales at McDonald’s and some of the other mega chains are slowing down significantly and part of the reason is that Mickey D’s and others have been so slow in cleaning up their act, in terms of using quality ingredients.
In fact, one of the headlines in today’s news concerned recent testing of chicken used in Subway products revealing that it contained less than 50 percent chicken DNA. One can only imagine what the rest of the product consisted of…
There will probably always be a market for greasy cheeseburgers, french fries and milkshakes, but it may no longer be possible to use the most questionable ingredients imaginable and expect the public to buy it – especially when restaurants like Nic’s can offer products that satisfy those fast food cravings without having to poison your body with GMOs, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
February 14, 2017
While big agricultural corporations are trying to find ways to fill their pockets with profits from pesticide-laden food, Colorado farmers are working hard to make the transition to less profitable organic farming methods to protect our health and meet the rising demand for clean, organic food.
While the need for organic food is growing fast, organic food sales still account for a relatively small share of the total U.S. food market. Since 2000, organic food sales have exhibited a yearly double-digit growth, providing opportunities for U.S. organic farmers to enter high-value markets in the United States and other countries.
According to an annual survey of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Colorado’s organic agricultural industry has more than doubled in sales in the past three years. In an email to The Denver Post, Tom Lipetzky, the director of marketing programs and strategic initiatives at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said that today’s consumers are more and more engaged in their food purchases. Not only do they want to know where their food is coming from, but they also want to know how it was produced. (RELATED: read more about clean, organic foods at Ingredients.news.)
Organic farmland in Colorado covers more than 155,000 acres, with another 70,000 acres dedicated to organic pasture- and rangeland. While the transition to organic farming methods can be expensive, time-consuming, and almost always comes with a high amount of crop loss, this isn’t stopping many farmers from making the switch.
In 1907, the Hungenberg family started a farm on 7 acres, which has now grown to 4,000 acres. With the growing organic food trend, co-owner Jordan Hungenberg said they didn’t want to be left behind, so they decided to make the switch slowly. Last year they dedicated about 62 acres of their farmland to growing carrots using organic farming methods.
While they lost more than half of their crop during their first year and had to hire more people, Hungenberg noted that all in all it was a success. They even made a little money out of the harvest, and are now planning to triple their planting of organic carrots for next season.
With the growing population of health-conscious people in mind, many farmers across Colorado see the potential long-term benefits they will get from making the switch. Becca Jablonski, an assistant professor and food systems extension economist at Colorado State University, said that farmers who sell their USDA “certified organic” produce to major supermarkets are on the right track to ensure financial success. Today’s consumers are more and more drawn to foods which bear the certified organic sticker to protect their families from the harmful effects of GMOs and pesticides. (RELATED: Stay informed about the damaging effects of pesticides at Pesticides.news.)
Tim Ferrell, owner of Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, added that he has seen the positive effect the USDA “certified organic” sticker has on food sales. While also drawn to the premium sales prices of organic food, using organic farming methods has brought him peace of mind.
“We just do not feel comfortable using fertilizers that would infiltrate the water table,” he said.
Though many farmers complain about the higher cost, research into organic farming methods that reduce the cost and crop loss are booming. According to Kaylee Armstrong of Abundant Life Organic Farms in Hotchkiss, non-chemical products that can be used are becoming more and more available. She even said that they increased the prices of their organic foods to match those of conventional growers. However, this is not a benefit all organic farmers are experiencing just yet. Therefore, special programs exist to help farmers with the costs involved in transitioning to certified organic farming methods.
Colorado’s dry climate seems to be the perfect fit to grow organic crops. There is one thing in the organic evolution, however, that troubles Kaylee Armstrong: the introduction of large food corporations to the market.
“We don’t want to see them lobbying the government to make regulations lower,” she said, which could result in a lower quality of organic food. “We’ve already seen it in the egg industry,” she said.