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Archive for the ‘food safety’ Category

Gut Health, Part I: Benefits & Health Implications

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Research has finally begun to recognize the vital importance of a healthy gut. Imbalances in gut flora have been scientifically linked to a range of health issues, impacting everything from mood and inflammation to pain and weight gain. In particular, correlations have been found between gut health and the following:

Eating Disorders – Research has uncovered a very strong link between disordered eating behaviors and gut health, specifically the presence of a certain protein made by intestinal bacteria. The presence of this protein leads to an unfavorable reaction between antibodies and satiety hormones, impacting the regulation of “feeding, energy regulation and anxiety.” Yet another reason why a healthy microbiome, i.e. balanced gut health, is vital to your health and wellness, both physically and mentally. One major way to promote and improve gut health is by consuming more probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods to feed the good gut bacteria.

Mood & Cognition – Gut health has been linked with everything from Autism and ADD/ADHD to symptoms of depression, anxiety, brain fog, even memory issues. A healthy gut is necessary for your body to properly digest and process nutrients, including playing a major role in the processing and functioning of neurotransmitter activity, including serotonin levels which are responsible for mood.

Willpower & Cravings – Do you ever feel like sometime you have excellent “willpower” to abstain from eating unhealthy foods, whereas other times you feel out of control with cravings? Your gut health plays a vital role in this.

Immune System Functioning – Over 75% of your immune system is housed within your digestive system. When you take antibiotics or use antibacterial products you are killing the good bacteria, creating a breeding ground for the bad bacteria to take over. When properly balanced, there are trillions and trillions of good bacteria keeping you healthy. When you disturb this balance, you put yourself at risk for digestive problems, poor immune system functioning, and a range of other issues.

If you are having health issues, consider the state of your gut flora. Stay tuned for our next blog article which will outline ways that you can promote gut health and improve functioning.

Health & Nutrition: The Importance of Starting Young

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Children listen more than we even realize. They listen, learn, and model their behavior after the adults in their lives. This is doubly true for eating habits. Their childhood provides the building blocks for a lifetime of nutrition. The child who grows up eating grass-fed meats and dairy, organic vegetables, fermented foods, the child who eats real food, is going to grow up vastly different than the child who grows up eating processed food, GMO food, pesticide and antibiotic-ridden food. Besides the obvious nutritional benefits, a child who grows up eating grass-fed and organic will learn the importance of making healthy choices. They will also know where their food is coming from.

Most children nowadays can’t identify a cauliflower. Processed snacks are the norm, low-fat being one of the few standards of “health” that people abide by – which inevitably leads to more health problems and weight gain thanks to the increased sugar and chemicals. Never mind that the body actually needs fat to function properly, and that by choosing fats from healthy sources, i.e. grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, grass-fed butter and ghee, coconut oil, and the like. The last half century had it wrong, and the faulty research is finally being overturned. How do we keep this going? How do we push back against the obesity epidemic, diabetes epidemic, rising cancer rates, mood disorders, autoimmune disorders? By educating our children and arming them for a different kind of future, a return to the ancestral diet, to vibrant health and wellness, to locally owned, produced, harvested and farmed foods and goods.

A client of mine shared with me a story of her son, how he had been having arguments with people over health. He argued with his teacher over the merits of low fat “foods” which he knew were ridden were sugar and chemicals. He argued with another adult citing conventional grains, particularly wheat, as unhealthy. He was reported as having turned down sports drinks because of food coloring. He voiced a preference for pastured eggs. His favorite drink is the drinkable yogurt that he gets at his Mom’s FarmFreshDirect2U.com pick-ups every other week.

Your children are listening. You are impacting their choices and habits – even when they are not with you. They are sharing information – this is especially meaningful, for our children are our future. If we are not teaching them the importance of grass-fed and organic foods, of health and nutrition, of traditional sustainable food sources, of supporting local farmers and business owners, what will that mean for our future? More processed foods and GMOs, more obesity and cancers and diabetes epidemics. Ingrain healthy habits and arm them with knowledge for a better future – their own, and our culture at large.

Food for thought as you enjoy this week’s farm order with your family.

Holiday Eating: Tips to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues & Weight Gain

Monday, September 19th, 2016

As summer gives way to fall, the holiday season begins gleaming from just around the corner. Shelves are filled with holiday lights and trees, gifts and goodies. The holidays mean so much in so many different ways, family, togetherness, tradition, gratitude and giving – and let’s be honest – over-indulgence. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, days are filled with holiday gift baskets and gift exchanges while nights ring with the toasting of cheers, coupled with decadent holiday treats.

Many people find that they end up suffering from post-holiday blues (and weight gain!), a sort of emotional drop after the celebratory craze of Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, and the like. What most people don’t consider is why they end up feeling this way. In fact, the post-holiday letdown seems to be offhandedly attributed to perceived social or cultural elements. What most fail to consider is that it is in fact the huge spike in indulgent eating and drinking from the end of November to the beginning of January.

High sugar, wheat, and alcohol, food coloring from red and green everything, and even more sugar – this is the true culprit for the post-holiday blues – and of course, weight gain.

Here are some tips to help you avoid, minimize, or at least bounce back from the holidays:

  • DO make moderation your friend. DON’T make November to January a free for all.
  • DO choose a few key days or events to allow yourself to indulge, i.e. actual holidays and holiday parties. Keep your in between eating extra healthy and SATIATING with grass-fed butter, meats, and eggs, organic greens, and fermented foods.
  • DO keep your gut health in check. Sugar, wheat, alcohol and processed foods wreak havoc on the gut, which in turn wreaks havoc on neurotransmitter functioning, which leads to cravings, brain fog, moodiness, irritability, and digestive complaints. Increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods like kombucha tea, grass-fed kefir, fermented sauerkraut and kimchi. Grass-fed bone broth is also highly beneficial to gut health and the digestive tract.
  • DO skip low-fat, high sugar, processed foods as much as possible – and opt for high quality fats such as grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, grass-fed meats and coconut oil. Not only will they keep you satiated but they will help manage potential blood sugar spikes from all the sugar and alcohol. Enjoy a bullet coffee or some grass-fed butter on butternut squash before heading out to your next holiday event. By going in with a high quality fat in your stomach you won’t be as tempted to high tail it to the dessert table – especially if your gut health is in check.
  • DO consume extra probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids after indulging. They will help repair some of the damage done and can help get you back on track so that one bad meal doesn’t turn into weeks of over-indulgence.
  • DO ask people to bring non-dessert items and/or non-traditional foods to holiday gatherings. Pinterest has so many cute, festive ideas using healthy foods. Enjoy a nice warm seasonal butternut squash soup or sweet potatoes with grass-fed butter. Make a holiday scene out of organic fruits and vegetables. Make a pumpkin yogurt dip using raw honey and grass-fed yogurt.

What tips or tricks do you use to get through the holidays without excess weight gain or post-holiday blues? Send us your suggestions!

Pastured Eggs Vs. Free-Range Eggs Vs. Factory Farmed Eggs

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Eggs – one of the most economical, nutrient-rich foods to nourish your family – provided they are pastured. Pastured eggs are rich in vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E, and both cholesterol and saturated fat – which are GOOD for you, despite 50-60 year old “science” was decades of research have been refuting. (That’s right, the cholesterol and saturated fat in pastured eggs are GOOD for you – so skip the egg white and enjoy!!)

Now, here’s the thing. When you go to the grocery store, you are faced with countless options. Regular, factory farmed eggs, vegetarian eggs, flaxseed/omega eggs, free range eggs. Therein lies the problems:

  • Not one of these is PASTURE RAISED.
  • Chickens are NOT vegetarians.
  • Most of these are fed GMO soy, corn, grain, etc.
  • Free range is NOT the same as Pasture Raised.
  • Chickens need to be outside to get vitamin D from the sun.

Factory chickens are crowded in cages, with little to no room to move or even turn around. They are fed GMO feed, pumped with antibiotics to contain the frequent outbreaks of salmonella, and live a miserable existence, providing sub-par eggs with only a fraction of the nutrients their pasture raised counterparts have.

Free range eggs means the chickens are giving access to the outdoors – this time tends to be minimal, if at all. They too are overcrowded into large, windowless sheds, handled by factory workers in clean room suits because of their high susceptibility to disease – because of their living conditions, and since they are not given antibiotics. That is what free range, big organic chicken farms really look like.

Truly pastured eggs are from local farmers who keep their chickens outdoors, allowing them to eat their natural diet of bugs and worms (that’s how they get their PROTEIN), while roaming around in the sunshine soaking up vitamins and nutrients. Compared to factory farmed eggs, truly pastured eggs have been found to be significantly richer in vitamins and nutrients, including:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 to 13 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • · 3 times more vitamin E
  • 5 times more vitamin D
  • · 7 times more beta carotene
  • · 50% more folic acid
  • · 70% more vitamin B12
  • · 10% less fat
  • · 34% less cholesterol

Concerned about costs? Consider this: you would have to eat 5 factory farmed eggs to get the same amount of vitamin D from 1 pastured egg. 1 pastured egg provides you with infinitely more nutrients. What’s more, besides being more flavorful and delicious, many people have found that pastured eggs are more filling, meaning it only takes 1-2 pastured eggs to fill them up as opposed to 2-4+ factory eggs – likely because of the nutrient content. In the long run you may actually save money!!

Each farm we source our food from was handpicked from Steve Moreau, the creator of FarmFreshDirect2U.com. What’s more, he regularly visits the farms himself – ensuring peace of mind for each of us that our food is being properly, safely, and humanely sourced. He hosts a yearly gathering where you the customer can go visit the farm, and see the chickens, pigs, and other animals roaming freely about the rich, green landscape – free from the antibiotics, pesticides, GMOs, overcrowding, GMO grain and corn feed, and other issues rampant in the factory farming industry.

Farmfreshdirect2u.com is about  a return to tradition – sustainable and traditional farming, ancestral and traditional nutrition, and the relationships of olden days where our grandparents knew exactly where their food was coming from – and the local farmers providing it.

The Devastating Truth about Sugar

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Sugar has been linked to a host of health issues and side effects, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Poor Concentration
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood Swings
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Digestive Disturbances
  • Crying Spells
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation

Overconsumption of sugar also diverts and/or depletes your body of vital nutrients, including mood-enhancing B vitamins, chromium which is responsible for stabilizing blood sugar, and magnesium, which many people are deficient in and causes a host of health issues ranging from chronic pain and poor sleep to depression, low energy, and muscle cramps.

What’s more, eating bread, pasta, and other processed carbohydrates has the same effect on the body; two slices of wheat bread raise your blood sugar as much as a candy bar.

Sugar feeds disease, impairs brain functions, and is devastating to your health. Sugar impacts your health in countless ways, including:

Gut Health – Fructose feeds the pathogens in your gut, which enables them to overtake your good gut bacteria.

Mental Health – Sugar suppresses activity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a key growth hormone in your brain. Critically low levels of BDNF have been associated with depression, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders

Appetite/Satiation – Sugar and grains contribute to insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and impairments in signaling, which can interfere with appetite suppression and satiation cues as well as mental health

Brain Function – artificial sweeteners and artificial food ingredients, particularly aspartame or amino sweet, have been found to cause depressions, panic attacks, anxiety, and other negative side effects to brain function and mood. Artificial coloring has been linked with attention problems, poor impulse control, and mood issues as well.

Blood Sugar fluctuations affect neurotransmitters, especially in people who consume low amounts of protein. Studies have shown that children consuming sugary snacks after a carbohydrate-rich meal became hyperactive, restless, and moody. However, their reactions were much less severe when sugary snacks were given after a high-protein meal.

Mood & Energy – Research has repeatedly linked sugar consumption with mood swings, depression, and low energy. It has been found that dopamine and serotonin levels are released as part of the “sugar rush” you get when consuming high amounts of sugar, causing you to feel happier, and even calm – at first. However, this is followed by a crash in mood as the receptor sites slow down production to regulate endorphin levels. This sugar crash is typically felt as fatigue/lethargy and depressed mood. In fact, it has been found that people who drink 4 or more cans of soda or fruit punch a day are 30-40% more likely to suffer from depression than people who did not consume sugary drinks. Furthermore, diets high in processed foods were 58% more likely to suffer from depression, while people who consume more “whole foods,” i.e. fish, fruits, vegetables, etc. had a 26% lower risk of depression.

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The verdict? If you suffer from mood swings, low energy, cravings, or other sugar-related side effects, cut out the likely culprits: sugar, wheat and processed foods. Eat more whole foods, and whenever possible opt for nutrient-rich, hormone free, GMO free, pesticide free, chemical free, i.e. grass-fed, pastured, and organic.