Category Archives: organic


Greensbury Market – A Review

Greensbury Mkt

I write and talk frequently about eating cleanly, well-sourced foods.  From pesticide-free, non-gmo produce to pastured eggs, grass-fed dairy, and more.  For a number of people it’s not always that easy to source clean meats.  Grocery stores don’t always carry what you want, it may be organic but it’s not grass-fed, or it’s grass-finished not fully grass-fed, or it’s not pastured.  There may not be easy access to a local farmer who is raising sustainable animal products.  For whatever reason there are times when your only way to source what you want is to purchase it online.

I’ve recently discovered a new source for clean meats, all sourced from providers who follow sustainable practices, Greensbury Market.  I was fortunate enough to be able to try some of their organic, sustainably raised beef.   I had holiday houseguests and decided to have a tasting party for them, serving the steak and hamburgers from Greensbury Market.    While we had delicious vegetables, a lovely fermented cabbage and cucumber dish, and a salad, the focus of the meal, of course, was on the meat. I asked my guests for honest feedback and here’s what they shared:

“I’m not a big meat eater, but I would definitely eat this again.”

“This is really tender meat.”

“Delicious!  Great burger.”

“This tastes better than the steak we usually eat.”

I agree, I found it to be very tender and quite delicious.  I also liked that the meat was very lean.  A quality best found in pastured beef since the cows are not fattened up by feeding them food they can’t digest well.

Usually I try to avoid “work talk” at the dinner table but this time I was able to share with my guests why it’s so important to choose clean meats.  Grass-fed beef in particular has less saturated fat, more omega-3 (yes you can get it from beef, not just from fish), and a higher level of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that is beneficial for avoiding cancer (those with higher CLA appear to have less incidence of breast, colorectal, and stomach cancers), reducing cardiovascular risk, blood pressure, and high cholesterol and triglycerides.

According to Greensbury Market they source all their meats from small farmers who are environmentally proactive, practice sustainable agriculture, and are focused on animal welfare.  Additionally, their meat comes from animals that are not given synthetic hormones or antibiotics.

They offer beef, chicken, pork, and seafood, all sustainably sourced.  Having tasted it I can say that their beef is delicious.  I am a fan of their stated agricultural focus, especially that the animals are humanely raised.   If you’re looking for a good source for clean, humanely raised, pastured, grass-fed meats, I’d encourage you to check out Greensbury Market.

 

 

 

*disclosure

What’s In Your Beef

People often wonder about the higher cost of organic, grass-fed, pastured beef.  It is, admittedly quite a bit more expensive than the conventional version at the grocery store.  The difference however is quite significant.  After all, it’s not just what you’re eating, but what what you eat ate.  I know, that’s confusing, go back and read it again.

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Choosing Organic

Many people have started to make a switch to include more organic foods into their diet.  This choice is often motivated not only by health concerns due to pesticide, antibiotic, and other exposures, but also due to environmental concerns.  According to the Institute for Responsible Technology soybeans are one of the most highly contaminated genetically modified crops in the country.  This contamination is supposed to make them resistant to roundup; meaning they are then heavily sprayed with pesticides which contaminates the soil and then those who eat the resulting soybeans.  InfoNewt has produced this infographic to highlight some of the reasons to consider making the switch to include more organic foods in your nutritional plan.

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On My Mind Monday 10.8.12

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition, and holistic health.  Here’s what’s on my mind.

MSG Wastewater As Fertilizer – I was stunned recently when I read that the wastewater from MSG production could be used as a fertilizer for corn.  Knowing how bad MSG is for human consumption it is startling to realize that it may be creeping into our diet in other ways.  I have as yet been unable to determine if it is allowable for use on organic corn.

Eat Fish Low In Mercury for Heart Health – We all know we’re supposed to eat more fish.  It’s good for our heart, it’s good for overall health.  But fish, especially some of the larger fish like shark, king mackerel, and swordfish, tend to be high in mercury which we need to avoid.  Check out the Food and Water Watch Seafood Guide for tips about making healthier seafood choices.

Here’s a cartoon that I find amusing about this issue (with thanks to The Deconstructionist Zone):

Differences in taste sensitivity – According to this article obese children and adolescents have less taste sensitivity which can lead to obesity.  This is the exact opposite of other research which shows that those who have more or highly sensitive tastebuds, supertasters, can be obese.  While this is confusing it does show that how we taste can have an effect on our ability to enjoy our food and ultimately on our weight.  But enjoyment of food is, and should be, about more than just taste.  Learning to enjoy the smell, the setting, the textures, the experience of our food is important.  Learning to eat mindfully is a habit we should cultivate.

Berries can slow cognitive decline – Apparently eating between one half to one cup of berries per week over an extended period of time (up to 2.5 years in the study) appear to have a positive effect.  This is believed to be attributable to the anthocyanins.  Whatever the reason, it’s delicious and easy to do.  Just be sure to choose organic blueberries and strawberries whenever possible to avoid pesticides.

What I’m Reading:

The Winky-Eyed Jesus and Other Undescribables – Scott Wayland’s entertaining description of his cross country human-powered recumbent bicycle journey across the United States.

Organic Or Conventional?

The news headlines are once again blaring headlines about no significant nutritional difference between conventional and organic produce.  At a base level that appears to be true.  Foods grown in similar soil will have similar nutritional benefits.  The plants are only able to get so much out of the soil.

However, and this is not disputed in the new but certainly seems to be minimized, the chemical residues are higher for conventionally grown produce.  This is because in order for food to be considered organic there is a standard which prohibits the use of a vast array of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  That chemical burden on your body can be considerable.  This alone makes it worth purchasing organic, especially for the “dirty dozen,” those fruits and vegetables most likely to be highly contaminated by pesticide residue.

There was a modest mention made of the fact that organic produce appears to be higher in antioxidants.  Since antioxidant value was not considered as part of the overall nutritional value of the food this appears to have been discarded as a strong reason to purchase organic.  There are, however, a growing number of studies which show that antioxidant value is highly beneficial for the body, especially when it comes to a wide number of diseases and health conditions.

Another important fact to consider, which the articles don’t discuss, is that organic produce is not allowed to be genetically modified.  Given the number of genetically modified crops (and the growing number under application for approval) it makes sense to purchase organic in order to avoid that in your food.

And a final thought on this issue, which the articles tend to gloss over, is that meat and dairy products from organically fed animals (meaning the animals are not allowed to be given added hormones, antibiotics, and are not allowed to be fed genetically modified or pesticide laden foods) do have significant differences.  Organic animal production means the animals are not allowed to be given added hormones, antibiotics, and are not fed genetically modified or pesticide laden foods.  The antibiotic issue is an important one for animal products.  When we eat continual low level antibiotics it is bad for our overall health and can encourage bacteria to become anti-biotic resistant.

Organic dairy products are measurably higher in protein and beneficial fatty acids.  Eggs also have a better fatty acid profile.  Studies show that organic meat is lower in fat and has a better overall fatty acid profile making it a healthier choice for consumption than conventionally raised animals and animal products.

Ultimately the choice of what to eat and how to spend your grocery dollars is up to you.  But before you make those choices make sure you have all the facts, not just a scaled down “no nutritional difference” newsbyte.

On My Mind Monday 7.09.12

news | photo: mconnors

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition and holistic health.  Here’s what’s on my mind.

How can a big gulp look so small? – Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban has raised all kinds of backlash across the system.  The biggest misconception put forth is that we “know” how much we are consuming.  Manufacturers keep trotting forth this phrase each time they feel threatened to limited by any type of legislation that may impact their ability to peddle their product.  Frequently it’s the least healthy manufacturers who complain the loudest.  So now another study has been done that once again proves that our brains don’t do geometry very well.  We are not accurately able to gauge how much we are consuming, instead cueing off the size of the container.  This study, to my mind, confirms a study previously done with bottomless bowls of soup.  We do indeed eat with our eyes, frequently over-eating because we rely on visual cues.

Our Daily Bread – a slightly modified take of the work they’ve published in their book Hungry Planet: What The World Eats, Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio have an exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston.  It shows a wide variety of people with the food that they plan to eat for that day.  The variety and circumstances are startling.  It gives one definitely pause for thought.  I hope the exhibit is very successful and even more that it will travel around the country, perhaps making it’s way to a museum in Houston so that I can go see it.

Food Companies Concerned About Sustainability – As more consumers become more educated, more companies are beginning to listen.  Realizing that they need to be aware of and involved in this issue as well if they want to sell their products.  As always I propose we start with whole foods, but I do believe that sustainable practices across all parts of the food spectrum are important.

Nutrition Education on Wheels – This looks like an interesting concept.  Using a food truck and providing recipe cards and cooking demonstrations people are getting some ideas for how to use the food they get to make healthy, nutritious meals.  This is an idea that I think could be expanded greatly all across the country.  It seems to me that it would not only help people to eat healthier, but also to help avoid food waste as people often don’t use what they don’t know how to use and it sits until it becomes inedible.  I hope to see more food trucks like this.

EU Organic Label Now Mandatory – Well this just proves that it can be done.  It can’t come to our shores fast enough in my opinion.  I even like the symbol they chose.

I use a LOT of onions in my house.  I’ve tried to grow there but here in my hot, piney woods garden they have not done well.  Out of two onion sets I got one reasonable size onion, yes, one onion.  The others all seemed to melt and disappear into the garden.  I’m still not sure how that happens but I’ve decided that, for now, growing onions is not for me. I continue to use them as they are flavorful and a great, healthy way to punch up your recipes but, for now, I’m still buying instead of growing them.  As a good source of vitamin C onions also provide a lot of phytonutrients.  They are considered to be beneficial for heart health and are also anti-inflammatory.  Using them can be a challenge however as chopping a spherical object into nice tidy dices or even slices isn’t always easy.  Learning the proper way to chop onions is a handy skill.  Here’s a great video demonstrating how to do it.

 

disclaimer: cmp.ly/5

Organic Beef Giveaway

Rocky Mountain Organic Meats

When I teach classes helping folks learn how to make good healthy choices for their diet, organic is at the top of the list.  While I certainly understand that many of us cannot afford to eat 100% organic (I know I can’t) there are ways to make sure that you are making the best possible choices.  Organic dairy and organic meat are at the very top of my list.

Organic standards are defined by the USDA and require certification to ensure that producers are meeting the standards set forth in the National Organic Program.  Organically raised animals are not given any hormones, antibiotics, medications to encourage growth, or genetically modified feed.  They are also allowed access to the outdoors on pesticide free grasslands and not placed into Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO).

When it comes to dairy and beef products grass-fed is the best.  Why?  The biggest reason is that cows are not meant to eat corn.  They are ruminant animals and will be healthier if they are allowed to graze.  Their healthier lives in turn create a healthier product.  Beef from grass-fed cows has been scientifically proven to be better for you.  A study published in the April 2010 Nutrition Journal shared the results of three decades of research comparing grain-fed and grass-fed cattle.  The grass-fed cattle produced beef that was higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids, higher vitamin A content and lower overall fat.     Grain-fed beef tended to have higher cholesterol elevating myristic and palmitic fatty acids.  Clearly, if you are going to eat beef you want the organic, grass-fed variety.

See those cows in that pretty picture up there?  They live in Heart Mountain, WY where they are being watched over by my new friend Rod at Rocky Mountain Organic Meats.  He’s generously offering up 10 pounds of his finest grass-fed organic ground beef, for FREE!  It’s an $85 value which includes shipping; all you have to do is join in the contest.  How do you join?  It’s easy:

1.  Subscribe to the email feed for this blog (if you are already subscribed say so in the comments)
2.  Become a Fan of RockyMtnCuts or GrainsAndMore on Facebook (if you already are say so in the comments)
3.  Follow Rocky Mountain Organic Meats or GrainsAndMore on Twitter (if you already do say so in the comments)
4.  Mention or link to this giveaway on your blog or twitter feed (leave a comment to let me know where)

One entry allowed per method.  That gives you seven chances to win.  Contest is open until October 25, 2010, 12:00 p.m. CST.

Winner is kindly requested to share a picture and recipe made with the prize for posting back here on the blog.

Good luck!

P.S.  Want to stay in touch with Rod?  You can sign up for his newsletter and get the latest and greatest from Rocky Mountain.

Legal mumbo-jumbo (sorry, boring but necessary):


This giveaway is strictly meant to be entertainment, no express guarantees are provided here (although I’m sure Rod wants you to be a very satisfied customer).
The product is coming directly from Rocky Mountain Organic Meats, therefore Grains&More assumes no responsibility for shipping or product.
Odds of winning depend on the number of entries.
Any taxes are the responsibility of the winner.
Grains&More did not receive any financial compensation for this offer.

Food, Inc

This movie looks as if it will provide an interesting view of modern food production. Unfortunately it’s not showing in my area. Looks like it’s playing in Houston, hopefully there are a lot of opportunities for folks all over the country to see it.

Go to the official site to see if it’s playing near you.

You can also go to the Whole Foods Blog to read their take on the movie and their food process.

I believe this is an important issue. Our processed food and the way we eat is making most of us sick. It’s not healthy for us, our kids or our future. We need to care more about what we eat and make a choice to eat for health.

Kids Care Too

A recent article that I found on the slowfoodusa.org website caught my attention. According to the article a number of fourth grade students tried to protest the food that they were being served in the school cafeteria and hold a boycott. Administrators found out about this and asked the parents to help squash the boycott so it never happened. This makes me sad for a number of reasons, chief among them is that if fourth graders know that they are not being fed healthy food shouldn’t they have the right to protest? These kids are 10 years old. If they can figure it out why can’t the administration? Another is my belief that this initiative was squashed because the school makes money off the lunch program. They would rather take the profits and disregard the health of their student body than to serve nutritious food at a potentially lower profit.  Another upsetting factor is the thought that public officials do not see the correlation between poor nutrition and potential future health problems.  

There are examples of college students pushing to take back their cafeterias through programs such as Farm to College.  At Yale University in New Haven, CT Alice Waters helped to develop the Sustainable Food Project when her daughter began to attend the university. The food that is served through that program typically “goes first” showing the college students really do care about what is on their plate.   Many people, myself included, are not surprised that college students care.  This is, however, the first time I’ve heard of elementary school children being this aware and this willing to take on the system.
As I wrote in a previous post it is important to provide decent, healthy meals to our students but corporations and lobbyists keep getting in the way.  That’s not stopping these fourth graders.  Not allowed to have their boycott they have turned their efforts to a letter writing campaign and petition.  I wish I lived in Madison, WI; I would sign the petition.

Organic Gardening

It’s beginning to take off.  First we started with the White House Organic Garden. 

Now we have the People’s Garden.

It seems like the concept of organic gardening is “taking off.” Believe me, this is a good thing. Organically grown food has no pesticide residue because pesticides aren’t used. Organic farming methods produce lower levels of pollution and conserve soil and water resources. Organic fruits and vegetables have more nutrients because the soil isn’t depleted by use of chemical fertilizers. In my book these are all compelling reasons why organic needs to become the norm rather than the exception.

In one of the classes that I teach I tell people about the benefits of buying organic. I understand that for a lot of people it’s a difficult decision and one that involves your wallet. One resource that I encourage them (and you) to take advantage of is the Environmental Working Group’s Shopping Guide to Pesticides which tells you which are the 12 biggest pesticide laden fruits and vegetables and which are least likely to be affected. This printable guide can help you make better decisions at the grocery store.

Of course big agribusiness isn’t too thrilled about public organic gardening but then again I wouldn’t expect them to be. I do, however, expect this trend to continue; it’s better for all of us, for the environment and for future generations.

Be well.