by Guest Blogger DEB MARSDEN
What’s your definition of fresh? Picked that day? Yesterday? How do you know what fresh means when you go to, say, Whole Foods, Walmart or Stop & Shop? Where do they get their “organic” food from? Is it from China, Peru, California or is it coming from the state you live in? What are the “organic” practices in other countries? Who’s watching across the pond and what standards do they follow? We should all be aware of where and how our food is grown.
My definition of fresh and local food is simple: fresh is walking out to your back yard and grabbing a few veggies or herbs from the garden, eggs from your chickens, and berries from your bushes. The advent of the “Eat Local” and “Farm to Table” movements have been made popular by celebrity chefs and social media and have forced big agriculture and big box stores to jump on the bandwagon or be left behind. This only makes things blurry when box stores claim their food is fresh and local!
I’m not sure how these stores get away with using the terms “fresh” and “local” together. The system they use to move food takes time. When the food reaches your home, it’s been around awhile, this means it has lost a lot of it’s nutritional value, which, in my view, is more important than being certified organic. Big supermarkets are moving large quantities of product all over the state and sometimes the country. They store in warehouses and they ship to different stores, from there the store employees place it on the shelves and you come in and buy it. So fresh doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Fresh to them may be 3-4 days old or longer. At the end of the day how do you really know?
Fresh without the fuss…and knowing its always fresh, always local
Connecticut Farm Fresh Express (CTFFE) has been gathering local and fresh foods for 10 years and delivering it to doors of homes, stores and restaurants all over the state. I began this business with the desire to help our local farmers remain viable and sustainable. We remain motivated by this desire by offering another avenue to distribute their products. CTFFE chooses our farmers and vendors with a lot of care. We search for farmers that look to have nutrient-dense soil – no need to be “certified organic” as long as they follow organic growing methods. The livestock farms need to provide an area for free-range, open space for grazing and the animals need to be able to roam around and not be kept in a small pen without the ability to access pastures if they want.
Is our FRESH your FRESH? We hope so!
At CTFFE, we know it’s hard for working couples and parents to get to a grocery store let alone a farm or farmers market. Pea Pod has a thriving home delivery business for big agriculture food companies. So we decided to bring the farmers market to your door all year long. We publish what products farmers and vendors will have available for us and we in turn make it available on our online store. Items change weekly and with the seasons. Once a week we send our team out to those farms and bring fresh food back to our facility in East Haddam, where we gather and package orders for delivery the following day.
The benefits of eating local are myriad: fresh, environmentally sound, healthy, supports local economies, tastes better, and it’s the right thing to do!
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The Case Against Sugar
by Gary Taubes
I just finished reading Gary Taubes’ latest book, The Case Against Sugar, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in food and health. In his book, Taubes makes the case that sugar has been mistakenly exonerated as the main cause of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and most of the other modern-day health epidemics. Therefore, we need to re-assess our consumption of sugar.
According to Taubes, from the late 1920s onwards, the Sugar Association and the International Sugar Research Foundation spent tremendous amounts of money on research to promote the two critical and increasingly disputed ideas. The first is fat was the main cause of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. As he writes, “Fat consumption may have increased in the United States since the early twentieth century, according to USDA statistics, but the reported increase was not nearly as dramatic or as certain as it had been for sugar in the 1850s” (p.154) Another mistaken premise was that a calorie is a calorie. The second idea is particularly troublesome because it assumes that all foods are created the same. They are not. For instance, a fruit will have more vitamins, minerals and fiber and will be more nourishing than a food with equivalent calories containing only sugar. But a calorie of sugar is not the same as a calorie coming from a whole food.
Taubes then highlights how sugar is most likely the main culprit in our modern day epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases such as heart disease, gout, cancer and Alzheimer’s. As Taubes writes, “The fact that many of the Western diseases in Burkitt and Trowell’s list, these chronic disorders that associate with Western diets and lifestyles, are also diseases that associate with obesity and diabetes puts the focus, in turn, on insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome as a mechanism or at least a critical precursor. And if insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are ultimately caused by the sugars we consume, then so are, to some extent, all these other disease as well.” (P.236-237)
Taubes’ book is an eye-opener and forces us to consider how little sugar we can be eating rather than how much. It also highlights the importance of demanding transparency in the food industry so that we are presented with scientific research that wasn’t funded by an industry desperate to maintain its hold on consumers.
March for Science
If you are interested in food and health, then you are by definition interested in science. Scientific research enables us to learn more about foods impact our health in both positive and negative ways, and how our bodies are affected by the foods we eat. Scientific research is also critical in finding solutions for modern-day health epidemics. Therefore, I urge you to attend the March for Science on April 22, 2017. According to organizers, “The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.” For more information, check out: www.marchforscience.com