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Real Organic: Project Organic

The Real Organic Project
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Do you think the USDA should allow corporate industrial farming to diminish the definition and standards of the USDA Organic label? Do you think there should be different labels for different types of food production? How do you make an educated decision about what is organic and what is not organic if they lower the standards are not transparent? Do you think corporate industrial farms should be able to hide behind true organic farmers? As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

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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Organic Integrity

What do you think about the standards of these organic growers? Would you rather a farmer grow your food or an industrial corporate complex? If you could set your own standards for Organic Growing, what would they be? 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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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

cooked vegetables shidonna raven garden and cook

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.