Posts Tagged 'farming'



Soy – good or bad?

We’ve all been told of the health benefits of soy and have been encouraged to eat it.  Soy, the magical little bean that would solve so many of our health issues. Lately we have been told that soy is not the health panacea that we once thought.  So, what gives, where is the truth? Soy in the forms that we eat most often is a highly processed food possessing all the inherent problems that come along with foods that have been processed. Soy contains compounds that once thought to be helpful have been shown to be harmful to health in a processed form. We have covered processed foods and why they are not beneficial, so let’s look at soy and it’s nutrients and anti-nutrients.

Soy products contain phytic acid, also called phytates. This organic acid is present in the bran or hulls of all seeds and legumes, but none have the high level of phytates that soybeans do. These acids block the body’s uptake of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc.  Soybeans also contain potent enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors block uptake of trypsin and other enzymes that the body needs for protein digestion. Normal cooking does not deactivate these harmful “anti-nutrients,” that can cause serious gastric distress, reduce protein digestion and can lead to chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.  Beyond these, soybeans also contain hemagglutinin, a clot promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. These clustered blood cells are unable to properly absorb oxygen for distribution to the body’s tissues, and cannot help in maintaining good cardiac health. Hemagglutinin and trypsin inhibitors are both “growth depressant” substances. Although the act of fermenting soybeans does deactivate both trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinin, precipitation and cooking do not. Even though these enzyme inhibitors are reduced in levels within precipitated soy products like tofu, they are not altogether eliminated.  Isoflavanones are the best known of chemicals in soy, and they can is some ways be useful to certain subsets of the population at later stages of life. They are however very damaging to younger people in that they alter hormonal balance and restrict brain development in infants.

It is also interesting to note that 85% of the United States soy crops are genetically modified and it is amazing that there is still no FDA required safety tests for genetically modified foods.  One study in rats who were fed soy and genetically modified soy showed that 8x the number of rats fed genetically modified soy died during the test as opposed to the control group.   Do you know where the soy you consume comes from?

In Asian cultures they tend to eat soy that is fermented (miso, tempeh,natto) and do not, amazingly enough, eat more soy than the United States.  Fermented soy is most likely it’s only saving grace because the fermenting process virtually eliminates all the bad nutritional aspects mentioned.

Bottom line… soy, like all food, is best in its natural, true form.  For most foods that would also mean raw.  However, soy has traditionally only been used in fermented form.  So eat close to nature, whole, raw and live, except soy which should only be considered in quantity after fermintation with live cultures.

honeybees – why should we care that they are dying?

There is actually terminology for it – CCD Colony Collapse Disorder. Something is killing the honeybees around the world.  In the past, beekeepers annually lost between 5 and 10% of their colonies.  In 2007 that number rose to over 13% and last year to over 35%. Everybody immediately thinks of honey when they think of bees, and of course that is important.  However, the real effect is that honeybees are a major and primary pollinator of many food crops. A few of the crops affected are nuts especially almonds, fruits like apples, and many vegetables a full third of the entire us food supply counts on honeybees. No one is sure exactly what is causing this but many ideas make sense and its probably some combination of them that is actually at fault.

Certainly pesticides could do it and in fact it is well known that nicotine based products have an especially damaging effect. These products, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin (primarily from Bayer) are known to have fatal effects on honeybees and other pollinators. Imidacloprid and Clothianidin are bad chemicals all the way around and have a multitude of damaging effects to our environment. Also, this chemical is sold to farmers and to the general population for home use and Continue reading ‘honeybees – why should we care that they are dying?’

Great Article From New York Times on Organic and Locally Grown Foods

This is a great article that really highlights the delimmas we face and the hope there is to change the way the vast majority of people thinks about food and how our food is produced.  

Published: March 21, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif.

AS tens of thousands of people recently strolled among booths of the nation’s largest organic and natural foods show here, munching on fair-trade chocolate and sipping organic wine, a few dozen pioneers of the industry sneaked off to an out-of-the-way conference room.

Although unit sales of organic food have leveled off and even declined lately, versus a year earlier, the mood among those crowded into the conference room was upbeat as they awaited a private screening of a documentary called “Food Inc.” — a withering critique of agribusiness and industrially produced food.   

Story here.

Obamas to Plant Vegetable Garden at White House

 

Published: March 19, 2009
WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets — the president does not like them — but arugula will make the cut.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef, left, and Dale Haney, the White House gardener, at the site of the new vegetable garden on the South Lawn.  Read the rest of the store here.

the toxicity of food

Back during WWI and WWII the American government promoted “Victory Gardens” to reduce the pressure on public food supply.  The gardens were also considered a “morale booster” by enabling the citizen to feel empowered by contributing to the war effort.  This movement even found its way to Eleanor Roosevelt and the White House grounds.  Today, we are not so far from needing the same types of benefits harvested from gardening way back then.  Not only are there many concerns over the viability of nutrients and the toxicity of the food supply that winds up on the dinner table of families across the nation, but there is a benefit financially and there is also the great benefit of the physical activity.  Victory Gardens – what a great concept!

Let’s talk about food and why growing your own is so great and why buying from super stores is not. Toxicity – there is no way to know what kinds and the quantity of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and artificial preservatives that are used to get that “fresh looking” piece of broccoli to your table.  If the broccoli were wilting, inevitably it would not be purchased for consumption so the corporations take measures.  The extent to which the measures are taken to get foods across the country and to your table before it loses its freshness is a game the big corporation’s play.  In order to win that game and have you buy their product, they rely on chemicals to treat the foods.  Broccoli covered with chemicals = the ingestion of free radicals = cancer, sickness, diseases, ailments…the list goes on and on.  The human body is incapable of ridding itself of the chemicals ingested. If you grow your own food you have the option to not treat it with chemicals and to pick it when it is fresh and deliver it directly to your kitchen for preparation.  Broccoli = broccoli and all its nutrients, chemical free! Continue reading ‘the toxicity of food’

The Dirt on Dirt

The soil that we depend on to plant our crops and sustain life through plant growth and oxygen production is being quickly destroyed.  Soil degradation may be one of the most important issues facing our world in the coming years.  By the year 2030 estimates show the population exceeding 8.3 billion, that is of concern when we are already experiencing food shortages in the current year.  At the least shortages cause significant price increases, in worst case scenarios food shortages can incite riots like they already have in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  The UN estimates that to support 8.3 billion people farmers will have to produce 30% more grain than they do today.  Unfortunately, as we demand more from our soil and “improve” farming techniques, we are accelerating the process of degradation of our soil.  The major factors contributing to our loss of soil are erosion, compaction, and pollution.  People are choosing to buy organic food in ever expanding amounts because study after study shows that the nutrient content is better and the chemical residues of conventionally grown food can be damaging to health.  Sustainable organic techniques can and do produce equal and even better yields while supplying more nutritious food.

Big Picture

The biggest study ever done on soil integrity came from the ISRIC – World Soil Information in 1991 and stated that we had degraded 7.5 million square miles of land and that we are rapidly degrading a land mass the size of the United States and Canada combined.  In the developing world, water and wind erosion are rapidly causing desertification. Continue reading ‘The Dirt on Dirt’


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