Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ 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…)

New CSA for 2017: Yellow Bay Gardens

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Yellow Bay Gardens flyer

by Catherine Haug, February 28, 2017; Updated March 2, 2017 (photo, right and below by Niko Jacobs)

A new CSA is in the works for the Bigfork/East Lake Shore area!  is adding a community supported agriculture (CSA) enterprise to their cherry and blueberry orchards. The CSA is owned by Wade and Shelli Riedesel of Yellow Bay Gardens. You may recognize the business name if you bought their blueberries at Bigfork Harvest Foods. They are located at the old Yellow Bay Store property on the East Shore of Flathead Lake (Hwy 35).

Their goal is to provide fresh, local and sustainably grown quality produce. They have added a vast garden and greenhouse for this purpose. While they are not certified Organic, they practice organic and sustainable methods to grow as naturally as possible.

Produce available for 19 weeks beginning mind-May through September.

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Roundup, Paraquat herbicides lead to liver disease and Parkinson’s

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, February 7, 2017

If you regularly eat processed foods (boxed, bagged, dried, fried, canned or frozen), or meats, dairy and eggs from livestock not raised Organically, you may have a risk for these diseases: (1)

  •  NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), which can lead to cirrhosis and increases likelihood of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes (from exposure to Roundup, (13))
  • Parkinson’s disease (from exposure to Paraquat, (2)).

This is another reason to avoid GMO foods. Read on for more. (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…)

What is a microbiome and why it is important

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Bars of Snowbunny Soap

by Catherine Haug, December 11, 2016 (Photo of handmade soap, right, by Kathy Mansfield from her ESP presentation, Making Soap at Home)

Often when I mention the microbiome in conversation, people ask me what it is. So I figure our readers might like to know more about it. It is an ecological community of microbes – microscopic species – that share climatic or environmental conditions in which they live; a sort-of mini-ecosystem. These species include bacteria, fungi and viruses. (1)

A  hot topic in health news these days is the human microbiome, which usually refers to the microbes in the gut, but all parts of our bodies each have their own microbiome, including our skin and our eyes. These communities include both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes; even the ‘bad’ or pathogenic microbes have beneficial effects for our health, when kept in balance. (1)

The important take-away is that we, as humans, would not survive without our microbiome. They provide our initial immune response, make vital enzymes, play a role in our psychological health and so much more yet to be understood. (more…)

International Monsanto Tribunal

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Frankenfood

By Catherine Haug, December 10, 2016 (Image, right, from Organic Consumers Association (6) used with permission)

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Genetically Engineered (GE) foods are very common in today’s processed food supply and have even invaded the produce section. States have tried to halt it by passing laws requiring labelling of such foods, but last July, those efforts were invalidated by a sham GMO-labelling law passed by Congress and signed by our President. This law did not specifically require text stating the product contains GMO/GE ingredients, but rather allows printing of an 800-number or QR codes for more information. (See my article Pres. Obama signed the Dark Act (faulty GMO-labeling law) for more).

In October 2016, countries around the world participated in the International Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. This “Tribunal was a show of international solidarity for a regenerative food and agriculture system — the antithesis of Monsanto’s toxic, degenerative model.” (1) The tribunal cannot impose penalties, nor is it a mock-trial, but rather a citizens tribunal, which “have a long history of bringing justice to issues where governments etagere act corruptly or fail to act.” (1) This tribunal was based on the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” adopted by the United Nations in 2011. It was “an international court of lawyers and judges  who assessed the potential criminal liability of Monsanto for damages inflicted on human health and the environment. [The tribunal’s] final verdicts can serve as foundation for future legal cases against not only Monsanto, but also Bayer, Syngenta, Dow and others.” (1)

Ronnie Cummins, International Director of the OCA and a member of the Regeneration International (5) steering committee. wrote: “Ultimately the People’s Assembly agreed that we need to not only get rid of Monsanto, but the entire degenerative system of food, farming and land use that is driving global warming, catastrophic droughts and floods, soil erosion, desertification, water shortages, mass biodiversity loss, rural poverty and war, and deteriorating public health. (4)

For more about the tribunal see references 2 – 5.
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