Study Shows that Organic Foods are No More Nutritious than Non-Organic Foods

Organic food has often been touted as being superior to conventional foods, which have been extensively modified through the spray of pesticides and being genetically modified in laboratories. Despite costing more, more people are beginning to spend more on organic produce, dairy and meat for their perceived superior health benefits. However, those perceptions are now being challenged after a study concluded that organic food is no more nutritious than normal foods.

The study was conducted at Stanford University where the nutritional content of organic fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and nuts were tested and compared with their conventional counterparts. The results showed that in terms of nutritional content, the organic foods were no better than the normal ones.

Does this mean that consumers are throwing their money away by buying organic? Not quite; while organic and conventional foods may be equal in terms of vitamins and nutrition, organic options are free of fertilizers and synthetic pesticides as well as artificial hormones and antibiotics. Organic farms are also required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow their livestock to graze freely in pastures instead of keeping them cooped up in cramped cages and stables.

The study did, however, conclude that most organic foods do have a slightly higher concentration of phosphorus. Organic chicken and milk also had slightly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. Furthermore, conventional produce and fruits did show higher traces of residue from pesticides. In addition, organic meat and poultry were less likely to contain traces of bacteria that were resistant to antibiotics.

The verdict is still out there on the validity of organic foods and whether it is really worth the extra cost. That is something the consumers have to decide for themselves. The study, however, does give shoppers something to think about when they make their next trip to the grocery store.

Politicians Seek to Legalize Production of Hemp

Hemp has long been praised for its high fiber content. It is commonly found in food, supplements and even used as a natural agent for killing weeds. Its uses are many, and an amendment has now been included to the 2012 Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act that will legalize the manufacture of hemp. This could potentially be a huge revenue wagon for American farmers.

Ron Wyden, an Oregon democrat senator, proposed the amendment to the bill, stating that it would allow farmers to grow hemp on their own land rather than having to import it from other countries.

A study done in the state of Kentucky found that farmers could earn as much as $605 for every acre of hemp produced. Currently, farmers only rake in about $200 in profit for an acre of corn after the cost of production has been factored in.

The legalization of hemp farming would also mean jobs for thousands of out-of-work Americans, according to Eric Steenstra, who runs the advocacy organization Vote Hemp.

The bill has yet to pass and is already seeing some stern opposition from conservative politicians who believe that it contains too many conditions and attachments that have no relation to farming and agriculture. If democrats and republicans cannot come to an agreement over the final draft of the bill, then it will most likely sit and die in the house.

Hemp is currently classified in the same category as marijuana, which makes its production on U.S. farmlands illegal. Gil Kerlikowski, the drug czar appointed by President Obama, described hemp as a “control substance.” The comments sent pro-hemp advocates in an uproar.

While hemp does contain small traces of Tetrahydrocannabinal, a substance that is also found in marijuana, the amount is almost negligible. So far, 17 other states are also in the process of getting industrial hemp legalized.

Broccoli Linked to Reduction of Breast Cancer

As a child, you may have had those moments when your parents would not excuse you from the dinner table until you cleared all the vegetables off your plate. While vegetables are not exactly the best tasting foods, they are jam packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Nutritionists are now recommending that people consume one to two serving of vegetables at every meal.

Of course, not all vegetables are created equal. Some veggies are more nutrient-dense than others. Broccoli, for instance, has often been hailed as the “king of vegetables” due to its high nutritional content.

A research conducted in China showed that broccoli may have additional benefits for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The study shows that women who regularly consumed broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables were 62 percent less likely to succumb to breast cancer and up to 35 percent less likely to have the cancer reoccur. Aside from broccoli, the report showed that other vegetables, such as turnip greens, green cabbage and cauliflower were also consumed as a part of a regular diet.

Previous research done in China, Sweden and the U.S. hinted that normal consumption of such greens can reduce the risk of the cancer developing. However, the current study is the first to show that it can also have a positive effect post diagnosis.

A separate study done by Vanderbilt University also shows a link between consumption of cruciferous vegetables and a reduced risk of heart disease. The results were the same regardless of external factors, such as the consumption of meat, daily exercise and use of vitamin supplements.

Studies like these have long validated the health benefits of having some form of greens on your dinner plate. It does appear that part of the key to longevity lies within fresh vegetables. Even if it feels like a chore to eat your veggies, it’s good for you, so eat up whether you like it or not.

Buying Organic Herbs

Organic herbs can be a great compliment to chicken, pasta and variety of other meals. Even if you just want to use them as ornaments around your home, you can do so to give your house a nice aroma. Many people love organic herbs because they are are not treated with pesticides, chemicals or other preservatives. When you purchase organic herbs online, you have a massive selection. These herbs can be used with cooking, aromatherapy or even for medicinal purposes. Here is an overview of how to buy organic herbs online.

Buy your herbs from a trusted online distributor like Starwest Botanicals. Starwest is one of the best online resources for buying your herbs online. They offer over one hundred and thirty varieties of spices and herbs from trusted organic farms. Starwest also gives users recipes and therapeutic information for all of the spices or herbs purchased.

Buy your order in bulk. Buying online is great way to save money, but having to wait on your spices is different than being able to go out to a local shop and purchase herbs when you are out. If you buy orders in bulk, you could qualify for free shipping.

If you don’t want to go through the online route, find local co-ops or go to your local farmer’s market to find organic her bs. Local co-ops will work with farmers in your area to bring you the best organic herbs. Although these herbs may be a little pricier, the convenience of buying them locally might be what you’re looking for. Co-ops and local farmers could also give you a discount on buying in bulk.

Once you have your herbs, it’s best to store them properly. If you are buying bulk, you will need to keep the herbs and spices fresh through the seasons. One of the best ways to do this is by wrapping the herbs in loose plastic and storing them in the refrigerator. Allow the herbs to breath. If the herbs cannot breath, the moisture inside the plastic could cause them to mold.

Buying organic herbs online is a great way to save a little bit of money on your herbs. If you are going to buy your spices from an online outlet, you want to make sure that it’s a trusted site. Buying locally supports your local farmers can even give yo u a big discount on bulk items. Buying in bulk is the best way to keep your house stocked, but you need to store the herbs and spices properly to keep your investment. Follow these guidelines and you will never be without organic herbs.

Is My Food Actually Organic? How Can I Tell?

Consumers are starting to realize the effects of eating processed food over time. Because of this, organic food has become a pretty hot topic. If you buy organic food, you might be wondering if the produce you are buying is actually organic. Distinguishing organic food from processed or hormone driven food can be a daunting task if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Here is a guide on how to tell if your food is actually organic.

Look over the packaging for your food. There should be a certification on the labels that tell you the food is actually organic. Although this is the most obvious ways to check, many people buy food without looking over the packaging.

Buy local. Local foods from farms are more likely to actually be organic. Small farms do not have the means to inject their foods with hormones or process them. Local fruit stands and the farmer’s market are some of the best places to find fresh organic food.

Research companies that you are buying food from. There are a lot of watchdog groups on the Internet that want to expose companies that are falsely selling organic foods. If you are concerned about the food you are buying, research the companies that are selling it to make sure you are getting exactly what you pay for.

Avoid food packages that use the word “natural” on the labels. This is a way for food companies to entice the organic food buyer into purchasing their products. “Natural” is not organic. This is commonly used with companies that mass-produce food. Although these foods will not have preservatives in them, they could have other toxins.

Look at the ingredients list on the food packaging. If you find that the foods have any kind of dye in them, you can bet that they are not organic. Organic foods do not use dyes or other preservatives to give them their color. Avoid these foods, as they are not organic.

Living a healthy lifestyle is essential for a long life. If you are worried that your food is not organic, you can take a proactive approach by following these guidelines. Remember to look over the packaging and check for any certifications. Always buy from a local vendor and research any companies you are not familiar with. Avoid the “Natural” stamp and peruse the ingredients list on your foods. If you still aren’t sure, ask your local grocer if they know of foods that are truly organic.

Buy Organic Food On A Budget

Eating organic food is often thought to be more expensive, but it’s actually possible to enjoy the wonders of organic food on a budget as long as you know where to shop. I’ve been buying organic for over a year now and I’m happy to say that I’ve actually lowered my grocery bill. My entire family is healthier and there is more fresh food in the house – which makes all the meals taste even better, too.

I discovered farmer’s markets not that long ago. I had always heard of them but never bothered to actually go to them. Low and behold, there is a ton of organic vegetables there that have been locally grown. Depending on the area of the market, there are also eggs and some great jams to take advantage of, too. These are much cheaper than what you’d buy in a grocery store because there is little to no overhead of being at the market.

I’ve also learned to buy what’s in season in bulk. The hard way to learn is to wait until the vegetables and fruits are out of season and then decide you want them. They’ll cost double or triple because now they have to be shipped in from other parts of the country. I buy when the produce is in season and then cube it or dice it and put them away in plastic freezer bags until I’m ready.

A few neighbors got me started on a garden. This is to most affordable way to grow anything because you just start with a few seeds and, if you take care of it, the garden can produce plenty for you all year long. I started with herbs and then slowly worked my way up to tomatoes and eggplants. This year I’m even going to start experimenting with some of the root vegetables.

Some areas of the country have CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. I pay a local farmer a few hundred dollars at the beginning of the season to help get his crop started. Then, for the next six months, I get two bags of produce with a wide variety of crop. The only money I pay is the money at the beginning of the season and then I get to feed the family beautiful fruit and vegetables for the next few months basically for free.

I’ve also learned to be more flexible. If it’s not on sale or I can’t buy avocados to make guacamole, I buy tomatoes and cilantro and make salsa. Learning to be flexible has also taught me to plan ahead and buy those avocadoes earlier in the season so that I have them when I want them.

Organic food on a budget is a possible but only if you know where to look. If you try to go organic at the grocery store, you’ll go broke. It’s all about shopping through the local avenues to get the best variety and the lowest prices.

Reefer Madness

According to a recent Gallup poll, 50% of Americans are in favor legalizing marijuana.

This is an all-time high.

Actually these numbers are up from just 36% in 2006.

There could be implications for national marijuana policy.

In 1970 just 12% of respondents thought that marijuana should be legal.

That number climbed to 28% by the late 1970s, then dipped in the 1980s, and then climbed again to 36 percent in 2006.

40% of respondents favored legalization in 2009 right before numbers spiked yet another 10%.

According to Gallup:

“Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011, with a random sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.”

Mattel’s Eco-Friendly Barbie House

This just in, Barbie is getting an eco-friendly dream house, after Mattel and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) unveiled the number one entry of the AIA Architect Barbie® Dream House™ Design Competition.

Pimped out with solar panels, operable bamboo flooring and shading, the dream house has a low-flow toilet and sink fixtures, all of which are built from locally sourced materials.

The new Barbie house will also get a 1,500-square-foot entertaining space and open kitchen, client-meeting space and even, this is my favorite, a separate library, a full-floor “inspiration room,” greenhouse on the roof, and a landscaped garden for all of Barbie’s pets.
Ting Li and Maja Paklar designed the house. They are both recent Harvard graduates.

Mattel does not have any plans to turn the blueprint into either a real mansion or a dollhouse, the experts however say that the house would sell for around $3.5 million if a life-sized version were built. Instead, Mattel will build a $1,000 donation in their names to the

Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia.

The Barbie House competition comes only one month after Barbie got dumped by Ken in a Greenpeace International campaign for raising awareness of Mattel’s packaging, supplied in part by Asia Pulp Paper; that reportedly sources materials from Indonesia’s depleting rainforest.

Ever since then, reported the Los Angeles Times, Mattel has finally agreed to halt work with its sub-supplier APP until once they have done more investigation.

Let the Dead Sea Live

The water level in the Dead Sea is dropping nearly 4 feet (1.2 meters) per year. Israel is campaigning to have the Dead Sea – the earth’s lowest point and repository of precious minerals – named one of the natural wonders of the world. And at the same time, it is in a race to stabilize what it deems “The world’s largest natural spa” so hotels on its southern end are not swamped and tourists may continue to bask and float in the lake’s therapeutic waters.

Alon Tal an Israeli researcher says that:

“In five to 10 years, (the water) would flood the hotel lobbies, no question.”

The Dead Sea is divided into a southern and northern basin, located at different elevations, largely disconnected and miles (kilometers) apart. This means the rising waters of the southern basin cannot pour into the shrinking basin in the north.

Heavy industrialization is the cause of the waters on the southern basin to rise. A few chemical companies have built evaporation pools there to extract lucrative minerals. Tons and tons of salt are left annually on the floor of these pools, causing the water to rise 8 inches (20 centimeters) per year.

Israel’s tourism and environmental protection ministers are endorsing Tal’s proposal: An intricate $2 billion plan to chip off the salt buildup on the part of the lake which is rising and send it by conveyor belt to the northern end which is shrinking.