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Nutrients and Organic

Organic Foods and Nutrition
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

The more one learns about Organic Foods, the more one learns how to be a better consumer of foods and organic foods in particular. How has this changed your food buying habits? How do you feel about the nutritional value of Organic Foods vs. ‘Conventional’ Foods. Reports are put out by many sources from scientific to farmer. The scientists as you might have guess see no problem with “conventional foods” non organic foods as they supply the world with GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the additives that we see in foods. Do you think food should be a scientific lab process or a biological process? Share your comments with the community by sharing them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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How to buy food

vitamin d sun shidonna raven garden and cook

The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman has been essential to us in understanding how to buy food. It also helped us understand what our food should look, how it should be produced, processed and labeled. It also left us with concerns regarding transparency in the food industry and how our foods are labeled. In this day in age where scientists seem to be making more contributions to food production and processing than farmers, Eliot’s book reminds us that the growth, not production, of food is a biological process that begins in the soil not a scientific process that begins in a lab. When we look at many of our foods and the additives as well as preservatives in them, we can see there is a reason to be concerned about the things we are knowingly or unknowingly consuming. Eliot’s book is the beginning of understanding and knowledge of food and how science has taken food production away from this biological process.

To understand how to buy food appropriately we must first begin by reading our food labels and asking questions regarding the foods we buy. How were they grown and processed? Where do they come from? How far do they come? Coleman helps us understand what organically grown food means, looks like and how it is processed. It was one of our most helpful reads and can be found below. Where do you buy your foods? Are they organic? Are they locally grown? Share your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Food Additives & the FDA

Food Additives & the FDA
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

An interesting point to note is that farmers typically grow food in the ground while scientists often create “food” in laboratories. Food products that you find on the shelf can include “foods” created in a science lab rather than on a farm or garden naturally. During this Organic journey it has been important to know how the food that ends up on our table is produced. The interesting thing about food production is how transparent it is not when you are looking at your food and their labels in the grocery store. What is also interesting are the standards of the government agencies that regulate the food industry and the many loop holes around these regulating bodies. Do you think companies who manufacture food additives in labs should determine whether a food is safe for consumption or not? Would you rather eat food manufactured in a lab or grown on a farm? Would you rather eat food produced by a scientist or by a farmer? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Kids & Organic Food

When to buy Organic Food for your Child
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

How important do you think proper nutrition is to the development of children? How susceptible do you think children are to chemicals found on non organic foods? If you do not already eat Organic, how can you make the switch for you and your family? Write down 3 things you can do today to begin making the switch to Organic. Help someone else make the switch by sharing your list (email us) As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Food & Science

Food and Science
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Is it okay to eat foods that have GMO (genetically modified food), pesticides and irradiation if we do not know the health effects? Should we be test subjects without knowing? Should food be a matter of science or biology? Eliot Coleman believes food should be more a function of biology. Do you think health producers should be responsible for any health problems you have if you get sick from foods they said were okay to eat? Is producing ‘more’ food more important than your health? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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GMO OMG

OMG GMO
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Do you know what is in your food? What do you think the FDA’s role should be in disclosure about the food you eat? What else is in the food you eat? Can you pronounce everything in your food? Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Organic Consumer

Organic Consumer
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

For one, Organic Consumers are health conscious. The Pew Research Center (Science & Society) reported that “Americans’ appetite for organic foods has grown steadily over the past few decades. According to the Economic Research Service, retail sales of organic foods more than doubled from 1994 to 2014 with a steady uptick of about 10% annual growth in retail sales over the past several years. Almost surely, a driver of this trend is people’s health concerns. Most Americans believe organic produce is better for one’s health than conventionally grown produce. Whether the science lines up behind this belief is less clear. Organic farming typically eliminates the use of conventional pesticides and fertilizers and, as a result, organic fruits, vegetables and grains have substantially lower levels of pesticides. At least one recent meta-analysis, reviewing the results of more than 340 studies, found that on average, organic foods also have higher levels of antioxidants. But having more antioxidants is not sufficient for foods to be more nutritious and there is considerable scientific debate over whether organic foods provide a nutritional boost when compared with eating conventionally grown foods.”

Organic Consumers are also very passionate and purposeful. Just visit the Organic Consumers Association and you will find a host of resources and information about being active, organized and engaged regarding your food production and food offerings. A view of this site will reveal that Organic Consumers are not only organized, the statistics that state Organic Consumers are growing in numbers are substantiated by the existence of organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association.

Why buy organic?

Most Organic Consumers have a list, short or long, of why they buy organic and the benefits of consuming organic. Share your list with us! The Balance compiled a list of their own as well:

  • Organic food is healthy and safe
  • Organic food builds strong future generations
  • Organic food keeps our water clean
  • Organic food help protect animals
  • Organic food results in less soil erosion
  • Organic food conserves fossil fuels
  • Organic food taste good
  • Organic food is becoming more affordable

Go to The Balance to learn more about their list and why these 8 reasons made their list

How to buy Organic?

Read our article “Certified Organic” to learn more about how organic food is labeled and produced. Essentially there are 2 categories of organic. Those who are exempt from being certified and those who must be certified in order to bear the USDA Certified label. The USDA has a strict certification process, which oversees the certification of the products that carry its seal. How you feel about these standards is another thing. We have found them to be fairly sound thus far. The labels that make organic clams can do so, but are also regulated by the USDA and can be fined for not following Organic Regulations. These labels cannot carry the USDA seal but can label their products as organic and must follow the USDA regulations to do so.

Fore more facts about Organic Consumers visit the Provisioner Online. How has this helped you as an Organic Consumer? How will you shop differently now? What did you learn about your food labels? Why do you buy organic? What did you learn about other Organic Consumers? As always you are the best part of what we do. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. Thank you for taking this journey with us.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Certified Organic

USDA – what does Organic mean

As we continue our organic journey perhaps what is most important is to understand what does organic mean. The USDA National Organic Program – Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Marketing Service 7CPR Part 205 National Organic Program Final Rule defines Organic Production as a system that is managed to respond to site specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological and mechanical process that fosters cycling of resources that promotes ecological balance and conserves biodiversity. The Oxford Dictionary defines Organic as “(of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides or other artificial agents.  

Now that we have a better understanding of what Organic really is, how does one become certified organic? First and foremost the USDA is the go to source in the U.S. for organic certifications and perhaps even organic standards. They have a plethora of information and resources for becoming certified and organic resources in general. So we went to the USDA website for more information and clarity about the topic.

There are essentially 2 types of organic producers: the one that must be certified in order to make organic claims and the producer that is exempt from having to be certified in order to make certification claims. Both must follow regulations and standards in order to make claims of being organic and both can be fined for not following the standards and regulations set forth by the USDA. The distinction between the 2 organic producers is that those producers grossing over $5,000 in annual sales from organic products are required to be certified and once certified can use the USDA certification seal. On the other hand, those producers grossing less than $5,000 in annual sales from organic products are exempt from being certified and may not use the USDA certification seal. However, they may elect to become certified if they choose. Exempt companies can make organic claims but should detail in the ingredients which ingredients are organic and which are not.

How to Become Certified Organic

Certifiers are responsible for making sure that USDA organic products meet all organic standards. There are five basic steps to organic certification:

  1. The farm or business adopts organic practices, selects a USDA-accredited certifying agent, and submits an application and fees to the certifying agent.
  2. The certifying agent reviews the application to verify that practices comply with USDA organic regulations.
  3. An inspector conducts an on-site inspection of the applicant’s operation.
  4. The certifying agent reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant complies with the USDA organic regulations.
  5. The certifying agent issues organic certificate.

To maintain organic certification, your certified organic farm or business will go through an annual review and inspection process.

Is There a Transition Period?

Yes. Any land used to produce raw organic commodities must not have had prohibited substances applied to it for the past three years. Until the full 36-month transition period is met, you may not:

  • Sell, label, or represent the product as “organic”
  • Use the USDA organic or certifying agent’s seal

USDA provides technical and financial assistance during the transition period through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Or, access a variety of funding options, conservation programs, and other programs and services for the organic sector on the USDA Organic Portal.

Again the USDA website is rich with resources and information about Organic Production. Here are a few resources that stood out to us if you are interested in becoming certified organic or interested in how your food is certified and labeled Organic:

  1. The Road to Organic Certification
  2. What is Organic Certification
  3. Organic System Plan
  4. Organic System Plan Template

What did you learn about your food labels? How does this change what you know about Organic products? How does this change how you consume products? What does this information mean to your health and the health of your family? What are 3 things you can begin to do this week to change your diet and consequently improve your health? How will this change your relationship with your doctors and the medicine you consume? How are we connected to nature at large? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Raw vs. Cooked

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While the plants grow in the garden, most of us are simply wondering when we can eat the fruits of all this labor, which brings us right to the point of eating, preparing and cooking. Some people claim that eating food raw is more beneficial to one’s health. The facts simply do not bear this out. What the facts do support is that both raw and cooked foods are both beneficial to one’s diet. In my journey I have discovered other foods more beneficial than others to my body’s particular needs. Our guess is that you might find the same is true for you: one size or food does not fit all. So, we went to healthline.com for some more details.

Cooking May Destroy Enzymes in Food

When you consume a food, digestive enzymes in your body help break it down into molecules that can be absorbed. Enzymes are heat sensitive and deactivate easily when exposed to high temperatures. In fact, nearly all enzymes are deactivated at temperatures over 117°F. However, the human body produces the enzymes necessary to digest food. And the body absorbs and re-secretes some enzymes, making it unlikely that digesting food will lead to an enzyme deficiency.

Some Water-Soluble Vitamins Are Lost in the Cooking Process

Some nutrients are easily deactivated or can leach out of food during the cooking process. Water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, are particularly susceptible to being lost during cooking.

In fact, boiling vegetables may reduce the content of water-soluble vitamins by as much as 50–60% . Boiling results in the greatest loss of nutrients, while other cooking methods more effectively preserve the nutrient content of food. Steaming, roasting and stir-frying are some of the best methods of cooking vegetables when it comes to retaining nutrients. Also, the length of time that a food is exposed to heat affects its nutrient content. The longer a food is cooked, the greater the loss of nutrients.

Cooked Food May Be Easier to Chew and Digest

Chewing is an important first step in the digestive process. The act of chewing breaks down large pieces of food into small particles that can be digested. It requires significantly more energy and effort to properly chew raw foods than cooked ones.

The process of cooking food breaks down some of its fibers and plant cell walls, making it easier for the body to digest and absorb the nutrients. Properly cooking grains and legumes not only improves their digestibility, but it also reduces the number of anti-nutrients they contain. Anti-nutrients are compounds that inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in plant foods. The digestibility of a food is important because your body can only receive a food’s health benefits if it’s able to absorb the nutrients.

Cooking Increases the Antioxidant Capacity of Some Vegetables

Studies have shown that cooking vegetables increases the availability of antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein. Antioxidants are important because they protect the body from harmful molecules called free radicals. A diet rich in antioxidants is associated with a lower risk of chronic disease.

Cooking Kills off Harmful Bacteria and Microorganisms

It’s better to eat certain foods cooked, as raw versions may contain harmful bacteria. Cooking food (at temperatures over 140°F, for most foods) effectively kills bacteria that may cause food-borne illness. On the contrary, fruits and vegetables are generally safe to consume raw, as long as they have not been contaminated. Spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and raw sprouts are some of the fruits and vegetables most frequently contaminated by bacteria. Raw meat, fish, eggs and dairy often contain bacteria that can make you sick.

Foods That Are Healthier Raw

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Foods That Are Healthier Cooked

  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Legumes
  • Meat, fish and poultry

We found that our research dispelled many myths we held. What did you learn? Are you a cook or a chef, what’s your opinion? Did you discover anything new or surprising in this article? How can what you learned improve the way you cook and prepare food and consequently your health? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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When will Corona End?

In just the last few months the United States was hit hard and fast with a mired of COVID 19 challenges. It seemed to bring the world to a stop. There are still several questions as to how we will emerge from this pandemic. One thing almost everyone can agree on is that business will not be business as usual. We are sure to see several changes come out of this. 

Perhaps the most striking thing I have learned about the corona virus is that it has been around for sometime. We have heard several reports of corona virus cases in the poultry industry and the SBA has refocused some of its support to cover the agricultural industry as a part of the CARES Act. Corona viruses are not new to livestock nor poultry producers either, reports a Texas A&M AgriLife veterinary epidemiologist. Organic or not diseased food is an important and vital concern for the consumer.

In fact the CDC noted that corona viruses common to humans typically cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness similar to the common cold. Most people are likely to have had one or more of these viruses during their life time. What is different about COVID 19 is that it is a new strand or novel corona virus. As we all know this strand of corona virus (COVID 19) was first detected in Wuhan City of Hubei Providence of China.

The interesting fact about China and corona viruses is that wild life have been known to carry strands of the corona virus that can mutate, adapt and spill over into other species like human begins. Bats along with other wild life have been known to carry strands of the corona virus and are sold in live markets in China. While much is still under investigation and to be known about corona viruses, what we currently know is that domestic animals and live stock are not known to carry strands of the corona virus that spill over into human beings. Wild animals, however, do have such strands that can spill over to human beings. In fact wild civets are the sources of the corona virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Civets are commonly found in southeast Asia. SARS, as you remember, was first reported around 2002 – 2003.

One notable difference in domestic animals is the camel. Domedary camels have been known to pass corona virus (MERS-COV) to humans. However, neither domestic animals nor livestock are known to pass corona viruses to humans. The respiratory and gastrointestinal systems of animals are typically affected by corona viruses as reported by Feedstuffs. So, we have been dealing with corona viruses for a long time. Should you have any questions regarding animals and livestock consult your veterinary. 

Naturally, we are just as concerned as you are regarding Corona. While the medical community may know a lot about corona viruses this virus is a new strand and it took the whole world by storm. We are waiting by cautiously, as are most, for more and up to date information. Our leaders feel confident enough that we have slowed the spread of COVID 19 to begin opening back up. However, this deadly virus is remains in our midst. We encourage you to err on the side of caution and to make informed decisions regarding your food consumption. There is, admittedly, a lot for the medical community to learn about COVID 19 as well as the community at large. What concerns do you have about COVID 19? What information can you share with the community? How has COVID 19 changed things for you? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.