Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Organic Gardening for Beginners

If you enjoyed Monday's article on growing your own food, we thought we'd continue the theme today by sharing some more tips on getting started with organic gardening. If this strikes your fancy, be sure to check out our Sustainable Gardening blog for ongoing info on this subject.

If you decide to grow herbs and vegetables in your own garden, then you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have not sprayed poisonous pesticides anywhere near them. You can eat your own home grown food without worrying about what has been done to it.

English: The aromatic herb garden, with exampl...
The aromatic herb garden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In fact, herbs are some of the easiest things to grow, so we strongly recommend growing some herbs when you are starting out with gardening if you're a beginner. You can either put them in a sunny spot in the garden, or have them in containers outside, or even on the windowsill indoors. Most herbs are small enough for this, and you will not need to grow large quantities because you will only use a little in cooking. It is so rewarding to be able to taste your own home grown organic herbs in the delicious dishes that you prepare in your kitchen!

So what is the first thing to do when starting your own organic garden? You will need to prepare a small garden plot. You can do this by hand digging, with the use of a machine, or use the no-dig method. If the land that you are working with is overgrown and has never been used for a garden before, you will probably need to hire a machine. Otherwise, start small by digging a manageable area. Or, if you would like to try gardening without digging, try the lasagna gardening method. This is pretty easy for beginners, and you can use it in areas that have never been gardened before.

Then you can start planting. Be sure to choose correct plants for the season. Whatever time of year it is, in most areas you can find something that can be planted right now. Choose plants whose colors or fruits you will enjoy, and don't plant them too close together.

If you have just moved to a house that already has a garden, the first thing that you should do is try to identify all the plants that are there already. You can draw a plan of your garden and write down all of the names. If you have a wireless internet connection, the easiest way to identify the plants is probably to take your laptop into the garden and call up some pictures of popular garden plants and weeds. Then you can pull out anything that is obviously a weed.

IMGP0854 - vege garden
(Photo credit: RaeAllen)
The first year in your new garden, you may want to wait and see what comes up. Don't start pulling leaves as soon as you see a weed, but wait until it is large enough that you can be sure what it is. If the land has been cultivated before, there may be some valuable self-seeding annuals that will surprise you!

Of course, if you simply avoid using chemical pesticides and fertilizers then technically your garden will not be organic. For that, you would need to use organic seeds too. These are available from many online suppliers. But if you can't find them, don't worry about it too much - most of what matters is what is in your soil, and what you put in the garden yourself which the plants will absorb.

Gardening is a wonderful activity that keeps you fit, makes your home more beautiful and brings an aspect of your life into harmony with nature. Gardening for beginners the organic way can be one of the most rewarding hobbies that you could imagine.

And if you're wondering about growing other foods yourself, besides vegetables and herbs in the garden, be sure to check back next week when we're going to discuss raising your own chickens!
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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Simplest Way to Go Organic: Grow Your Own

Whether you’re on a budget, aren’t sure of the authenticity of local organics or both, the surest and cheapest way to get good organic food is by growing your own.  And growing your own can be as simple or as involved as you want.

If you’re a first-time gardener, the trick is not to overwhelm yourself. Keep your garden relatively small, but leave room for expansion when you’re ready. A family of 4 can start with about 200 square feet (approximately 50 square feet per person) and have a great supply of produce. But if you don’t want to start that big, don’t. Do what you’d like and what you can.

Green common beans on the plant.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you don't have a lot of space, containers work well. Root vegetables may not be possible but some people report great success in growing potatoes in compost bags or buckets. Other traditional container fare includes tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots, peppers, strawberries, blueberries and herbs.

If you are growing directly in the ground, there are a couple of things to consider.  First, is the amount of sunlight. The second is soil quality.

For sunlight, you should find a space that gets full sun. That’s about 8 hours of sun each day. Some items may need a little less sun, but 8 hours will help you grow a large variety of crops.

For soil quality, you are looking for a pH of about 5.8 – 6.8 and you can buy an inexpensive testing kit at a garden store. You can increase pH, or correct acidity, by adding limestone. To decrease pH, or to correct alkalinity, use elemental limestone. Also, ensure that you have plenty of organic material in your soil and add leaves and compost to help. (See our sustainable gardening blog for some more tips on soil pH.)

If your soil isn't quite right, you can make raised beds and surround them with bricks or stone to contain the nutrient rich and balanced soil.

English: Young Calabrese broccoli plants with ...
Young Calabrese broccoli plants. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When you’re ready to start planting, consider planting some plant starts, instead of seeds. They may be a little more difficult to find organically, but for first time growers, they’re much easier to work with.

Make sure to water your plants regularly. Seeds should be watered daily. New plants should be watered every 2-3 days. On particularly hot days, you may need to do more. You can even collect rain water for your plants by using rain barrels or creating your own from garbage pails.

Organic herbicides don't work that well. Instead, take the time to pull weeds, ensuring you grab the weeds fully by their roots or they will continue to grow. Weeding regularly will keep them from maturing and becoming it makes your whole job quicker and easier.

As you go through your gardening journey, keep a record. Write down dates things are planted, how they are treated and progress. Take weather and other conditions into consideration. It will allow you figure out what worked well and help you improve your gardening techniques, year after year.

You may not feel like a green thumb now, but keep at it. It’s so worth it.

Visit for more info on growing your own organic and sustainable garden. And be sure to check out our Sustainable Gardening blog for all kinds of gardening tips, tricks, ideas, videos, and helpful resources!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Video - The Raw Milk Debate

This is a great little video which explains why pasteurization of milk began, and how raw milk became looked at as "bad." He also explains why bacteria in raw milk became more dangerous, and how it can be controlled with proper treatment of animals who are raised in a humane, safe, healthy environment. Organic, raw milk from grass-fed cows has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, so why all the hoopla now?

Check out this video to learn more if you've ever wondered why we can't legally buy raw milk in most states anymore....

One Farmers Perspective on the Raw Milk Debate
Mike Guebert, a local small scale integrated livestock farmer who sells raw milk from his farm direct to the public shares his perspective on the safety and benefits of raw unpasteurized milk. According to data from the Center For Disease Control, th...

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Organic Milk vs. Regular Milk - What's the Difference?

If you’ve done any research into organic milk, you’ll find many articles claiming that there is very little difference in the quality of the product when compared to regular or conventionally-produced milk. This research is based on the study of the end product, but in order to make an informed decision, you need to investigate the way milk is produced.

You may have also seen dairy labels that say “rBGH-Free” or “rBST-Free” and immediately below, you’ll inevitably see the disclaimer, “No significant difference has been shown between milk from rBGH [or rBST] treated and untreated cows.”

English: Trader Joe's organic milk label
Trader Joe's organic milk label (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This disclaimer a result of a lawsuit Monsanto (remember them?) brought against Maine’s Oakhurst Dairy. In the lawsuit, Monsanto objected to the use of the statements “rBGH-Free” or “rBST-Free” because it implied that these things were undesirable.

See, Monsanto created this synthetic hormone that basically forces cows to produce more milk and for longer periods of time, and they wanted to protect it. (The hormone is actually banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and a number of European countries.) Thank goodness, public pressure has also pressured some retailers not to sell milk made with the hormone.

These hormones do cause the cows to produce more milk, but they cause a number of problems for cows, including a higher rate of mastitis, which is an inflammation/infection of the udder, often caused when milk supply is not fully expressed. To help prevent mastitis and the resulting pus that gets in the milk supply (yes, I said pus - in your milk - how gross is that?!), cows are given a large amount of antibiotics, adding even more foreign substances to our milk.

Then when milk is ready to be processed for human consumption, it goes through pasteurization. Milk is pasteurized to kill potentially harmful bacteria that are introduced to the milk directly, like from a less than sanitary collection process.

But one of the worst things about the pasteurization process, which most people don't realize, is that it kills the nutritional value in milk and instead of just getting rid of harmful bacteria; it also gets rid of beneficial bacteria. The sad thing is many minerals and vitamins are added in after the pasteurization process when they were already found in the milk naturally, but removed by processing. Add to that, pasteurization has been linked to allergies, poor digestion of milk products and even heart disease. (See extensive research by the Weston A. Price Foundation for more on this.)

So does organic milk solve these problems?

Well, it’s really not that simple, so let’s walk through it.

Cows that produce organic milk are grass fed, rather than fed unnatural grains like their conventional counterparts. That’s a good start. They are also hormone and antibiotic free, so that’s another check in the column for organic. The cows are a lot healthier, which means fewer bacteria in the milk, much lower rates of infection, more nutrients in the milk, etc. The problem is, a lot organic milk is also pasteurized, killing nutrients and making it harder to digest, as we just discussed regarding conventional milk above.

A bottle of green-top (raw, unpasturised) milk...
A bottle of green-top (raw, unpasturised) milk". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Your best bet really is to purchase raw organic milk, if you can find it. Raw milk contains more minerals and vitamins than pasteurized milk. It also has 20 amino acids and contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria, which makes it much easier on the digestion, and more easily tolerated - sometimes even those with long-term milk allergies can drink raw milk with no ill effects. It can be expensive, but it’s milk in its natural form and provides the most health benefits. The problem is it isn’t available everywhere, and is actually only permitted for sale by law in 28 states, so it’s not always easy to find. Herd shares are becoming more popular in other states, as they allow you to own part of a share in a cow (or cows) - including their milk production. For sources of raw milk in your area, visit the Weston A. Price Foundation website:

But when you can’t find raw milk or if it’s cost-prohibitive, you may want to consider what you’re putting in your body when you consume regular milk. Going organic doesn't solve all the problems, but if it's all you can find, it's definitely a start.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Weird-Looking Heirloom Vegetables: Why They’re So Important

If you’ve ever been to a farmer’s market, no doubt you’ve come across vegetables labeled as “heirloom.”  Heirloom is such an elegant word and it refers to something valuable passed down from generation to generation.

Heirloom tomatoes are a popular choice for gar...
Heirloom tomatoes are a popular choice for sustainable and organic gardeners. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But if heirloom vegetables are so valuable, why do they look so darned weird?

Simply put, heirloom vegetables are a specific variety vegetable that has been grown for many years and is open–pollinated. This is in contrast to hybrid and GM (genetically modified) vegetables. Heirlooms themselves are not necessarily organic, but when you grow them using organic techniques, they most definitely are.

Because they aren’t modified or cross-pollinated to produce new desirable traits, they may not look as pretty as the produce we’ve come to expect at the grocery store. But the good news is they are usually quite delicious - often much tastier than anything you could get at the grocery store! They are also often selected for their ability to withstand extreme weather and produce high yields.

To understand this a bit better, we need to look at 3 types of vegetables, or more specifically, 3 types of seeds. This information will help you in deciding what type of produce to buy and it will be highly useful if you are trying to grow your own produce as well.

- Heirloom Seeds: These are seed varieties that have been cultivated for many years, passed down from generation to generation, having fairly predictable results from crop to crop. There is no agreed upon age required for these seeds, but some suggest 50 years, while others say it should be 100. A lot of people agree upon a date of pre-1945 because that marks the end of World War 2 when growers started hybrid experimentation.

- Hybrid Seeds: Hybrids sometimes occur naturally, and other times intentionally to acquire specific characteristics, and hybrid seeds often produce high yields. It’s the cross-breeding of two species to produce a new plant. Hybrids can produce great results, but are problematic when home growers or small farmers want to use the seeds from their hybrid crop to create new crops. Seeds from a second generation hybrid plant simply do not produce predictable results. Thus, hybrid seeds are usually purchased again for each planting.

- GMO Seeds: Then we have the GMO seeds that are the intentionally genetically modified to produce very specific results. It’s the actual transfer of DNA from one organism (not necessarily other plants) to another to get those results. There are a number of debatable issues in regard to GMO ranging from ethics to ecology to economy.

English: Different potato varieties. – The pot...
Different potato varieties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the purposes of my posts here, we all need to be aware that GMOs threaten the existence of organic crops through cross-pollination. Add to that, when large GMO producers like Monsanto hold patents on their seeds, they readily bully and sue smaller farmers when their GMO seed has been found to cross-pollinate with the crops of these smaller farms. Many of these farms simply cannot afford to fight these legal battles and are forced to either shut down or comply with buying their seeds from the GMO producers.

Earlier in 2012 a lawsuit including nearly 300,000 American farmers was launched against Monstanto and its practices, but the suit has been denied. The lawyers representing the farmers issued an appeal in July to take Monstanto back to court. Where this goes, is unknown, but it makes the protection of heirloom seeds even more important.

So the next time you see that gnarled carrot or oddly shaped, strangely colored tomato at the farmer’s market, consider giving it a home. This is the type of produce we need to support if we want to sustain organic cultivation. And your taste buds will likely be pleasantly surprised by it's unique, rich depth of flavor!

Related Posts:
Hybrid vs. Open-Pollinated Seeds
Sustainable Gardening: Finding Non-Hybrid Seeds
Seed Diversity Graphic

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Video - Book Review: The Unhealthy Truth

This video reviews a popular book about eating organically. It details why it's so important to eat organic foods these days - much more so than 20 - or even 10 - years ago, and the book will also go into many of the changes in our food supply which make it so unhealthy for us. "Industrial foods" have become the norm, and we are seeing the results in the declining health of our population. Follow one mother's journey to discover the cause of her child's allergies and health issues, in this well-researched and highly informational book.

The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother's Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America's Food Supply-- and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself is available on as well as many other bookstores.

Eating Well and Organic Living! The Unhealthy Truth Review
Get The Book! : "The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother's Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America's Food Supply-- and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself " My Thoughts on eating well and organic living! Also insight into a g...


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is It Really Organic and What Does That Mean Anyway?

Before you go out and buy a bunch of organic foods blindly, let’s really sit down and talk about what organic means.

According to Wikipedia organic foods are “Foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.”

Labeling for products that meet the USDA-NOP s...
Labeling for products that meet the USDA-NOP standards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So organic food leaves out the things I talked about a couple of posts back. Organic foods are void of pesticides and fertilizers. They aren’t irradiated or processed chemically - all important stuff.

However, the word “organic” is not a legal term in the United States, so sometimes it seems quite meaningless. In the United States, the legal term for organic food is “Certified Organic.” Food can be certified by the USDA when it meets certain conditions set out by the National Organic Program (NOP)  ( (Other countries have their own labeling and certification specifications.)

Certified Organic produce must be grown using organic methods without chemical pesticides, genetically modified ingredients or petroleum or sewage-based fertilizers. It also can’t be processed with irradiation or contain prohibitive preservatives.

Certified Organic livestock must not be given antibiotics or growth hormones. They also need to have access to the outdoors.

When it comes to processed Certified Organic foods, 95% of the ingredients must be grown organically to contain the seal. But if a label says it is “made with organic ingredients,” it only needs to be made of 70-95% organic ingredients.

Food that bears this certification seal is generally thought to provide the consumer protection, but it’s not without its critics. Critics are concerned that the regulations deal with the way the food is grown, but offer no guarantee of the quality of the product. There are also reports that the certification standards are lacking and that includes a 2010 report from the Inspector General (

So what does this all mean for the consumer?

English: Ironic location Organic Farm Foods ne...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Products, especially non-food items, can be labeled as organic, but don’t necessarily meet the appropriate guidelines. Non-food products are not subject to the Certified Organic standards.

2. The guidelines may not be enforced properly, causing some foods to be labeled as Certified Organic when they really shouldn’t be.

3. Food that is organic may not actually be certified because the grower chooses not to get certified or isn’t able to get certified because they produce less than $5000 in products each year. (However, many small farmers still use organic methods to grow their produce, even if they don't choose to get certified. The best way to know this is to get to know your local farmers, and ask them! Many even offer tours or farm visits so you can see how your food is grown. Visit a local farmers market and start making connections.)

What can you do?

Given all these potential problems with organic labeling, it’s natural to wonder if it’s all worth it. The key is to read labels and be aware of word play. Stating things like “made with organic ingredients” is a typical way of making something sound good, when it may not be quite what it seems.  Above all, know where your food is coming from, buy locally and do your homework. You can find some more helpful tips on this at
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Monday, February 11, 2013

8 Ways to Eat Organic On A Budget

A lot of people tell me they love the idea of organic food and would start eating it in a heartbeat but their budgets simply don’t allow it. It’s true that organic food can cost considerably more than conventionally grown food…absolutely. The one glimmer of hope is that there has been a downward pricing trend as organic foods became more popular. And I actually posted a blog post on my own experiment with this a while back - showing that it really doesn't have to cost that much more to eat organic if you do it right. Still, the prices aren’t low enough for many people with larger families, so how can you eat organic when you’re on a budget?

Here are a few ideas you can start with:

#1. Start with one thing at a time. Going organic doesn’t mean you have to go all or nothing. Take small steps to where you want to go. I also recommend downloading the EWG (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen list that shows you the produce that is most likely to be grown with the most pesticides, so either avoid those or purchase them organically. The list includes items like cherries, bell peppers, peaches, potatoes, blueberries, spinach, celery, strawberries and more. They also keep a list of produce that is least likely be grown with as much pesticide, so you may not have to rush into organic versions of those.

You can get the list or download a mobile app here: 

stoneledge farms CSA (Community Supported Agri...
Stoneledge farms CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Local Farming Week Seventeen (Photo credit: smith_cl9)
#2. Buy from farmers markets, or join a CSA program. There are many organic options at farmer’s markets and they are often more affordable than organic fare found at regular supermarkets. You can search Google for “[your town] farmer’s market” or use to find markets in your area. CSA programs often give you a week's worth of groceries delivered right to your door, and many of them grow completely organically, and they tend to be more affordable than buying from the grocery store. Visit for more information.

#3. Cut out expensive (and unhealthy) processed foods. While processed foods may seem like a great deal because they save time and they appear to be inexpensive, they often don’t provide a lot in the way of portion size or nutritional value and can really eat up a food budget if you rely on them. Try reducing the amount of processed foods you buy and eat more nutrient dense whole foods. It’s good for the budget and good for your health.

#4. Stock up when things go on sale and then can, dry or freeze it. It’s the same money-saving concept that people have been using for years and you can apply it to organic foods as well. Invest in a food dehydrator, canning equipment and freezer-ready containers, so you can store organic foods for later eating.

#5. Make it a goal to eat a fully local and/or organic meal each week. It’s an idea borrowed from and it’s a good one. If you just try for one meal, you’ll be making a difference without a lot of cost. Plus, leftovers and extra ingredients can be stretched out to additional meals.

#6. Eat more vegetarian meals. I know might sound scary for some meat lovers, me included, but eating more meatless meals gives you so much more money in the food budget. Or if you’re not ready to do completely vegetarian, consider using smaller portions of meat in your meals. Try things like stir fries and casseroles where meat is simply an accompaniment, rather than the main focus of the meal. I've come to use meat often more as a flavoring than as a main ingredient - it really can stretch the budget, and still give you the taste of meat that you love. (For example - pea soup with a ham bone, or just a small piece of ham, or one of my favorites - red beans & rice with just a little bit of ham diced small, and a little bit of ultra-flavorful chorizo sausage and lots of spices. There are lots of great ways to include small amounts of meat in your diet without going overboard - not only is this easier on your wallet, but many studies show it's also easier on your body.)

Community supported agriculture
(Photo credit: yksin)
#7. Pick your own. Don’t be afraid of a little manual labor. Using “you pick” opportunities allows you save a lot of money and stock up for canning, drying and freezing. You can pick a variety of fruits and vegetables. You can look for you picks in your area by visiting, but do confirm they are organic growers first.

#8. Grow your own! Often one of the easiest and most overlooked ways to eat organic foods - is to grow them yourself. Organic and sustainable gardening is more and more popular these days, and for good reason. Not only is it a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can provide the freshest and healthiest food possible - picked at the peak of ripeness and nutritional value - from your own garden! Visit our sustainable gardening blog for lots of helpful tips and articles on this at:

Every little bit helps and the better you get at picking the right foods, the more affordable it can be. And remember, the long term health benefits of eating more naturally will likely save you plenty in health costs in the long run.

Just one thing before you head out and stock up on everything…we should talk about what organic really means and we’ll do that in my next post.

Other Helpful Resources: 
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Video - Why Organic?

This video offers a comprehensive look at organic foods, what they are, how they're regulated, and why they are better for you. It's a bit detailed, but quite interesting and will give you some great information if you're "on the fence" about whether or not to choose organically grown foods.

Why Organic? with Jim Riddle
Many of us today are asking, "Why should I eat organic? Is there really such a difference?" As research into organic food and farming expands, trends are beginning to emerge validating the multiple benefits of organic - at every stage. Jim Riddle pre...

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eight Reasons Why Eating Organic is Important

Guest Post by Grace Simpson.

It seems like everyone is talking about organic foods like it’s some kind of buzz word or status symbol. I suppose for some, it might be. But for many of us, it’s a way of life that takes us back to a more natural way of living and farming. One that has been destroyed by the machine food production has become today.

Now, I don’t mean to sound like one of those doom and gloom, anti-establishment types. I don’t disparage anyone for choosing the foods that they do. Sometimes it’s an economic necessity. Other times it’s simply not having enough information about what’s really going on with our food. Sometimes it’s just apathy.

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but we have found no remedy for the worst of them all, the apathy of human beings.”
~ Helen Keller

I’m not sure what I can do about the apathetic, but for people like you who may have budgeting obstacles or are trying to find more information about what’s going into your bodies, I am here to help.

So the first natural question is…Why go organic?

Organic eating has a number of benefits and here are just a few of them:

Organic certification
Organic certification (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Organic produce is free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Even if you wash your produce, you cannot remove all these harmful chemicals that can affect your nervous system, cause cancer and more.  Also consider that conventional farming which uses harmful chemicals can contribute to the contamination of our water supply, so by supporting organic growers, you are also supporting a cleaner water supply for all.

2. While some people may not be quite as concerned, eating organic can help you avoid foods that have been irradiated. Government bodies tout the irradiation process as helpful in reducing harmful bacteria, preventing spoilage and increasing shelf life of foods. However, irradiation reduces the nutritional value of your foods and there is growing concern by researchers that the process may not be as safe as previously thought.

3. Avoidance of genetically modified foods or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). While huge biotechnology companies like Monstanto will have you believing that they are increasing the viability of crop growing, there are long-term dangers in GMOs that have caused them to be banned by much of Europe and Japan.

4. Organic livestock is fed its natural diet, rather than potentially contaminated grains, antibiotics and hormones. This is in contrast to conventionally-raised livestock that get hormones to help them grow faster and antibiotics are given en masse as a preventative measure to illness. The scary thing is that this preventative measure may be necessary given the poor hygienic conditions of the animals. Organically grown animals are raised more humanely and more naturally, eliminating the need for these potentially dangerous situations for both livestock and humans.

5. Organic growing contributes to improved soil quality. A lot of people don’t realize it, but our soils are so depleted that we no longer get the nutrients we did from our foods a few decades ago. In order to obtain the certified organic label from the USDA, soil must be free of prohibited chemicals for three years and the increased soil quality is a necessary goal for organic farmers. (To learn more about a variety of soil studies, check out )

6. Organic farming is more wildlife friendly. From animals to plant species, a more natural ecology is supported through organic methods. There are many studies supporting this including a study from the University of Oxford that found that there is increased biodiversity on organically farmed land.

English: eco symbol used to promote organic, l...
Eco symbol used to promote organic, locally grown food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
7. Buying organic allows you to support your local economy and farmers. This is good for you because you get fresher (and therefore more nutritious and tasty) foods, and it also reduces the pollution that results from food transport. (Here's a short video on why to eat local.)

There are so many reasons to go organic and this post touches on just a few of them. But here’s the most immediate one that just about everyone can really appreciate.

8. Organic foods simply taste better. This is real food, free of all unnecessary human interventions and inventions. It’s nature’s perfection and once you try it, you probably won’t want to go back to your other options. 

Of course, this still leaves the issue of cost and how organic food can seem unaffordable to many families today. Well, that is exactly what we’ll be talking about in my next post....

Related Resources:
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Going Organic - Introducing Our Guest Post Series

I'm sure you've noticed the organic movement has really taken off over the past few years. Obviously we're big on the organic thing, as it's an integral part of avoiding and reducing toxins in your environment and in your body. So this month we're doing a little series on going organic, which I think you'll really enjoy.

The National Organic Program administers the O...
The National Organic Program administers the Organic Seal to products that meet the requirements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you’ve ever thought about going organic, you’ve probably had a few questions on your mind. What does organic really mean? How can it benefit you? And can it really be done on a budget? Well, I’ve enlisted a special guest to help shed some light on the topic for you this month, and her name is Grace Simpson. She’s very educated about organic food and the organic lifestyle in general, and is great at helping people get started with a more natural way of eating. Her philosophy is right in line with ours, so we're happy to have her!

Here is a brief intro to the series from Grace - I’ll let her introduce herself…

Hi, I’m Grace. I’ve been studying organic living since the USDA introduced national standards in 2002 and my family has been eating fully organic since about 2006. This subject means a lot to me because I want my family to have the healthiest meals possible.  A few other related subjects that I feel are important are our nation’s health, our wildlife and the sustainability of food production.

Even though certified organics have been around for a decade, I know there are still a lot of questions surrounding organic food. That’s why I am so happy to be here to talk about many of those concerns people have.

Here’s what you can expect in the next few posts:

- Why eating organic is important…to you and the world around you.
- How to introduce organics, even if you’re on a budget.
- What does organic really mean and are you really eating organic?
- We’ll also discuss issues surrounding meats and produce in more detail.
- Being your own source of organic foods.
- Do you need supplements?
We’re going to cover a lot, but remember, as you start consider the organic lifestyle; you don’t have to do this all at once. Just take it one step at a time adding healthier options slowly and keeping this great earth of ours in harmony.

Be sure to stay tuned for more in this series coming later this week!

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Video - Why Green Tea Is Healthy

This short video explains some of the health benefits of green tea, and what makes it so good for you. Other types of tea have similar benefits, but green tea is less processed than many other teas (except for white tea), so it has less caffeine, but more antioxidants. (For more info, see Monday's post on the health benefits of green tea.)

Also, when it comes to caffeine, an interesting tidbit that isn't mentioned here is that green tea contains a compound that actually mitigates caffeine's effect on the brain, which is why you feel alert after drinking green tea, but usually not "wired" like you would feel after drinking coffee. This means you don't get the spike and "crash" like you would with coffee or other drinks that contain caffeine.

Green tea truly does work well with the body for most people, and offers many great benefits that are hard to find elsewhere. If you're a coffee addict, try switching one cup per day with green tea instead, and gradually you may be able to break your coffee addiction and replace it with a much healthier beverage.

Healing Quest: Nutrition Tip - Green Tea The health benefits of green tea are explored.

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