Archive | March, 2012

Athletes and organic food

30 Mar

I don’t have any brothers.

Therefore, when I came to school and started living with guys and eating meals with them I was astonished at the sheer volume of food these fellas could consume. A few of my guy friends also play sports for the university, and their caloric intake nearly doubles mine on certain days. One day I was curious and asked a buddy of mine on the football team, “What do you normally eat for breakfast?”

“Well,” he began, as he looked up trying to recall all the items he had, “Usually an omelet, english muffins, peanut butter, sometimes a waffle and I usually always get homefries.”

Needless to say I was shocked.

Then I got to thinking, if these student athletes move into apartments, and are responsible for buying their own food, how are they possibly going to be able to afford buying sustainably produced food, which is typically more expensive, when they consume so much more than the average person?

So I did a little research, and I found a a few alternatives for athletes that consume a lot of food to still eat sustainably:

• Eat a range of different foods. Increasing your variety will help minimize the exposure to one specific pesticide.

• Rinse fruits and veggies thoroughly under water.

• Peel fruits and some veggies. But be aware that by doing this you could be removing some key nutrients.

• Remove the tops and outer portions of leafy vegetables — that is where a lot of chemicals are concentrated.

• Buy organic versions of the foods you eat most often.

For more information about the information I cited in this post, click the link below. Also be sure to stop by my “Resource” section of this blog to take a look at all the other articles I’ve cited in my posts.

www.foodnews.org

Community Supported Agriculture

30 Mar

Community Supported Agriculture, also known as “CSAs” are what I believe to become the “new” wave of how a lot of people get their food.

Seriously.

We’ve had some great weather up here in New Hampshire lately, and it has made me reminiscent of those summer months where fruits and veggies are just ripe for the picking. It then got me thinking about how great CSAs are to not only the community, and local economy, but the consumer’s wallet as well.

In lei mans terms, a CSA essentially is farmers and members of the community working together. And in exchange for a lump sum of cash in the beginning of a season from the consumer, is the promise and delivery of fruits, veggies, meat, etc. throughout the season (weekly, biweekly etc.) from the farmer.

In his article “Food with A Farmer’s Face,” in Geographical Review, Steven Schnell notes, “CSA (are) a fundamental rethinking of the relationship among food, economics, and community…it is an approach for a greater degree of ecological sustainability and an attempt to partly disengage from the global supermarket and reestablish important local agricultural economies.”

What’s wonderful about these CSA programs is that they are often readily available in many communities if just a little bit of research is done.

Many companies are now also partnering up with CSAs and offering memberships to employees for discounted prices.

Pricing is often flexible too. Certain plans allow for a certain amount of products, and often are negotiable for the needs of the consumer.

Here are some benefits of becoming a member of a CSA:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Local products
  • Reduction of carbon emissions due to locality
  • Handing your hard earned dollar directly to the person who is benefiting from it
  • Supporting fellow community members
  • Becoming a part of an organization
  • Boosting your local economy
  • Creating a means of living for a farmer and their family
  • Experiencing a variety of products that the farmer produces
  • Circulating money throughout your community

Don’t have a CSA in your hometown? Make one! Call around to local farms and see if they are willing to partner up and create one.

Tasty, local, environmentally friendly, and nutritious?…Sounds like the makings of delicious dinner to me!

For more information about the article I cited in this post, and more information about CSAs, check out the link below. Also be sure to stop by my resources page to see all the other articles I post about.

localharvest.org

Schnell, Steven. Food With a Farmer’s Face: Community-Supported Agriculture in the United States. Geographical Review 97(4): 550-564.

 

Coupons: not just for the extreme.

22 Mar

We’ve all seen that episode on TV. That episode covering the life of the woman who has three shopping carts worth of groceries, a couple of plastic baggies stretched tight and bursting with coupons, who checks out and ends up only spending $12.99 on $500.00 worth of groceries.

As admirable as that feat is, that’s not exactly the advice I’m giving when I say to use coupons.

Coupons are often overlooked and thought to “take too long,” or that people “don’t have time to sit down and cut out all the coupons from the Sunday newspaper.”

But what is great about our world today is that we now have many mediums of technology that allow us to by-pass those tedious steps.

And so many coupons and discounts are available to save the consumer money, if they just read that darn fine print.

Many companies also have a rewards program, and you often times can enter in a code that is on the packaging on to their website and receive benefits from that as well.

Great coupon tools and websites are:

  • thelivingsocial.com
  • thekrazycouponlady.com
  • couponmom.com
  • coupons.com
  • couponsuzy.com

Finding a brand that is healthy and affordable really is the ideal situation. To make sure that situation comes to fruition (no pun intended) be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the fine print on organic food product labels for they often times have rewards programs available for their consumers.

Best of luck!

For more information on the topics I discussed in this post, check out the link below. Also, take a look at my “Resources” section.

Organic Consumers Association

Knowledge is power!: Natural vs. Organic Food

21 Mar

Last week I was in Anaheim, California, not at Disneyland, but an amusement park all in and of itself for foodies like me. I was working for Stonyfield at the annual Natural Products Expo West convention. The Anaheim convention center, where it all took place, is truly incredible, and quite easily one of the biggest buildings I’ve ever been in.

Thousands of companies of all shapes and sizes flew in for the event. Food companies, beauty companies, cleaning supply companies, pet product companies and everything in between came out to show and sell their products to buyers.

Working at an organic company, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be organic and also how easy it is for the consumer to get misguided in a market with so many similar terms.

One of the biggest terms people grapple with is the difference between “organic” and “natural.”

Janet Chrazan writes in her article, in Food and Foodways, of her experience of interviewing people at a farmers market their own definition of what they thought “organic” was. She concluded, “Among shoppers at the farmers market, the concept of ‘organic’ is poorly understood except by a small minority of committed food and farming advocates. Most people I talk with do not understand the process of organic growing, nor do they understand what organic means as a regulatory mechanism.”

Stonyfield breaks down the definition of organic on their website like this: “When you see ‘organic’ on a product label or packaging, you can be assured that that organic product was made without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics or artificial growth hormones.”

They also caution that, besides meat, “‘natural’ doesn’t have a set, strictly defined or regulated definition,” so really anything can be considered natural.

Bottom line is, when staring down the aisles of the grocery store, you can be assured of what you’re getting with organic, whereas natural, you really are taking your chances.

For more information on the article I cited, see below. Also take a look at my “Resources” section.

The American Omnivore’s Dilemma: Who Constructs “Organic” Food?