Archive for the ‘Organics’ Category

2017: Clean vs Dirty Dozen Food (whether to buy Organic)

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Free-range chicken farm

By Catherine Haug, March 13, 2017 (Photo, right, from Cornucopia (5)

Cat’s food-shopping tips:

  • Produce: If you can afford Organic, it is highly recommended you choose Certified Organic or Organically-grown. If your budget is limited, see the Clean Dozen and Dirty Dozen food lists, below.
  • Red meats: Pasture/grass raised and finished, locally-raised livestock provide the most healthful meats; see also my posting Why ‘Pasture-Raised’ trumps ‘Organic’.
  • Poultry meats: Your best choice locally raised poultry, provided they have access to the outdoors; and not just a small door to the outdoors, but a door you can use, too. Chickens eat not only seeds but also insects, grubs and worms, and they need the sun for the sunshine vitamin, just like we do.
  • Eggs: Your best choice is eggs from poultry raised in similar way as for ‘poultry meats’ above.
  • Dairy: Buying from a local farmer (who keeps his/her dairy livestock in pasture) is highly recommended. Organic commercial milk is ultra-pasteurized and, in my opinion, ultra-damaged. See my article on Cat’s Kitchen: Raw Milk: A Real, Natural & Perfect Food, which has a discussion about the problems with ultra-pasteurized milk. If drinking raw milk is not for you, choose simply ‘pasteurized’ milk (HTST) from a local dairy, such as Kalispell Kreamery here in the Flathead Valley. See Food Safety & Pasteurization on The EssentiaList for a description of the various pasteurization types.
  • Cheese: This is a dairy food but I give it its own bullet because we have a great source of raw-milk cheeses in Montana: Lifeline brand, from Victor MT. There are also local brands that use simply-pasteurized milk to make their cheeses, such as Flathead Lake Cheese (2) in Polson, and Amaltheia Dairy (3) in Belgrade.
  • Avoid processed foods, even if they say ‘organic’ on the label, because unless they are Certified Organic, they will contain up to 15% non-organic ingredients most of which are GMO. See my posting: Natural vs Organic Labeling for more.

Buying Organic can be expensive, so if your food budget is limited, read on. (more…)

A healthy – and healthful – garden/landscape

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Veggie Landscape Garden

By Catherine Haug, Jan 21, 2017 (photo, right, from Mercola (2))

I am viewing the online docu-series: The Truth About Cancer, by Ty Bollinger, and I’m picking up on a few of garden/landscape tips that yield healthy plants and a healthier you when you eat them.

One of the things I’ve learned from this series is that cancer cells have more insulin receptors (that initiate take-up of sugar from the blood) than normal cells, and that cancer cells get their energy (life) from only two sources: sugar and glutamine (amino acid). So if you want to protect yourself from cancer or slow tumor growth, avoid sugar.

However, that doesn’t mean to avoid whole-food sources of sugar such as fruits and vegetables, because in whole-food form, the sugar is part of a larger matrix of fiber, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals that protect you. (Caveat #1: fruit juices don’t provide this protection because the matrix is broken, so eat your fruits whole; caveat #2: those fruits and veggies should be organically grown for maximum benefit).

But I digress. The purpose of this posting is to collect gardening and landscaping tips. I will update this posting as I learn more. (more…)

2015 Dirty Dozen (pesticide-laden fruits, veggies) and Clean 15

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
Apples at Market

Apples at Market

By Catherine Haug, April 13, 2016; updated April 27 to add the Clean 15 (image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published it’s annual “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists based on tests on over 7,000 samples (non-Organic) around the country during 2014. Dirty Dozen are fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue, and Clean 15 are those with the lowest levels; the tests do not include seeds and grains, just fresh produce. (1,2) Compare this with  2013 “Dirty Dozen” – Foods best as Organic published in 2013.

They also added a new category: Dirty Dozen Plus, which may not have had high levels of pesticides, but those they found were particularly toxic. (1,2)

Note that these tests are on non-organic produce. To avoid the toxic pesticides, always choose Organic when you can. (more…)

Bacterial contamination of produce, including Organic

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015


By Catherine Haug, August 21, 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikipedia)

The lifestyle blog, Take Part, featured an article today titled Your Organic Spinach Could Be More Dangerous Than Meat, by Willy Blackmore (1). At issue is contamination of vegetable crops, both Organic and conventional, primarily by contaminated animal waste (primarily from CAFOs – Confinement Animal Feeding Operations) leaching into ground water.

A classic example was a 39-state recall of E. coli-contaminated spinach a few years back, that was caused by animal waste from a nearby CAFO leaching into groundwater regularly used to water the crops. Similar recalls have involved listeria and other pathogens.

Data from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) indicate food-borne illness is far more likely from produce, than for poultry, seafood, red meat, eggs or dairy (2).

What is the solution to this problem? (more…)

Avoiding toxic plastic and other endocrine disruptors

Saturday, June 6th, 2015
BPA-Free Plastics

BPA-Free Plastics

By Catherine Haug, June 2015 (photo, right, from NPR (1))

Mercola (2) has an article about toxic chemicals (not just plastics), most of which are endocrine disruptors. That means that they either mimic the action of hormones from our endocrine system, or they block the cells’  binding sites for our natural hormones so they cannot do their job. It appears that the majority of these toxins affect the sex hormones, resulting in early puberty in boys and girls; low testosterone in mature males, and birth defects. Some also affect our digestive system.

See also my posts:

Read on for a listing of the 12 most common endocrine disruptors, and how to avoid them. (more…)

Would you eat this chicken?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
Caged, stressed laying hens

Caged, stressed laying hens

by Catherine Haug, May 13, 2015 (Photo, right, from WSPA (5)

Includes: 1. Would you eat this chicken? 2. What about eggs?

Would you eat this chicken? If you buy chicken from your favorite supermarket, discount grocery chain, or most of the fast food chains around the country, you already are (eating this chicken).

NOTE: a popular brand in the Flathead is Foster Farms, which has several farms in Washington State. This brand utilizes the CAFO method (Confinement Animal Feeding Operation) as described in this posting. See also The EssentiiaList: Foster Farms chicken and salmonella outbreak (Oct 2013 posting).