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Natural Health

HEALTHIER CHOICES WITH FOOD

This blog is a natural progression for me.

If you want to make the change for products healthier for your skin and body, then the next logical step, is to make what you put inside your body healthier too.

We became vegetarian by choice years ago.

I know that isn’t for everyone.

Even so, looking out for ways to incorporate a healthier way of eating is a must for us.

Through reading a load of websites, you start to realise just how many issues there are with food.

Also the problems involved with the plastic covering and containers which is on so many foods today.

This article in the GUARDIAN. USA gives a clear understanding of the issues on your health and that of your family, with the Toxic plastics and products used to cover our food.

Since finding out about the effects of plastic coverings , I have been looking into different ways of protecting foods in the fridge. I recently found some great glass containers with a bamboo top, which is great , at least I can see what has been put in there easily .

Also available are the covers made with cloth and Beeswax, which are available to purchase like these or you can also make them yourself.

There is a different video on making Beeswax wraps on this link here

If you are on a budget, which quite frankly most people are having to watch their budget these days, the vegetables which are at a lower price usually seem to be packaged in plastic bags or covered in a clingfilm.

How long they have been in that stuff, goodness knows.

I know its easy just to pick up a bag of salad for instance, but often the writing on the side of the package says it is ready to eat. But it has been in the bag an age, and then they say it is ready to eat without washing it? Yuk!

It is difficult to find some of these salads greens being sold without being in a mixed bag. I guess the best answer if you have the time and some space is to grow your own. Or maybe you are lucky enough to have a great market near you .

In our little town we have a local producers market twice a week which is great. In the summer we travelled to a town about 40 minutes away, and found an amazing food market which is available every Saturday, with a huge choice of vegetable, fruit and cheeses etc , I really didn’t know where to look first. The cost of Organic vegetables were much more reasonably priced too.

green leafed plant
Photo by Anna Guerrero on Pexels.com

MY FAILED ATTEMPT AT GROWING PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI

We did give that a try one year ,with a purple sprouting broccoli.

I was so excited, I love the vegetable, we planted it outside, and we tended it everyday. Then came the white butterflies, I didn’t realise the plant was so susceptible to them. I kept picking off the eggs, trying not to spray them with anything.

We were due to go on holiday and had a friend looking after the house and dogs, plus watering the plants.

We bought in the pots to a conservatory side room . When we came back we found no plants left, and a ton of butterflies flying around the room!

I have to admit not trying to grow this again as yet.

PESTICIDES/ORGANIC 

Avoiding these is hard going at times. The cost of Organic vegetables and fruit can be really expensive.

Again, even with pesticides the differences allowed between different countries is huge.

Here in France they have now said that they are not allowed to spread any pesticides within 20 meters of a house from Jan 2020. I guess we will see what happens on that one. They have also said they are reducing the use of Roundup in the near future.

abundance agriculture bananas batch
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.co

PESTICIDES

This seems to be increasing in usage everywhere!

When you start looking into what they use on the fields, and then which foods they call the dirty dozen, due to the amount of Pesticides being used on them.It is very worrying.

The USDA have a Pesticides program which you can check up each year to see which foods are considered the “Dirty Dozen” for the year. This list is one based on the USA. EWG is also an American Site.

EWG’S DIRTY DOZEN FOR 2019

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Just reading this article on how much Pesticides were found on Kale in the US is shocking. If you click on the Link it will give the lists in full.

HOW TO REMOVE WHAT PESTICIDES YOU CAN AT HOME

We have seen a few ways of removing as much of the Pesticides as you can, if the cost is too much or the availability of the produce is not Organic.

GOODNET.ORG have 5 easy ways of removing as much Pesticides as you can.

In our home we normally use the Bicarbonate Soda method , which does give you some peace of mind. As I said it isn’t always possible to buy Organic.

THE BETTER INDIA.COM have a similar list but also have a homemade solution to make for a quick fix. This is on the link too, but seems to be a mix of Lemon juice, vinegar and water.

A STORY ABOUT THE PESTICIDE USE ON A BEAUTIFUL FRENCH ISLAND

I came across an article on the BBC the other day .

I suppose the story caught my attention in two ways, first was just how polluted these crops of bananas, which have been sprayed for two decades, and the effect it was having on the population of these Paradise Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe .

Leaving these beautiful islands with a pollution problem.

We have met friends here in France who have been born on these Islands. It just shows how much product can be used on a fruit like a banana.

I had seen an article some time back , talking about the chemicals used. Since then we have been buying Organic Bananas, which I have to say, is not too much more in cost. What we have found though, is that the Organic ones,do not seem to go bad as quickly, and taste better too. We were throwing loads of bananas away from spoilage before.

THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER covered a story about Roundup being used on crops which are used to make popular cereals, often eaten by children.

EWG.ORG also have coverage of this story. They also have a video explaining Glyphosate which is the chemical in Roundup. They also give a clear chart of the cereals in question and their brand names.

GMO FOOD

I cant say that after first hearing about this, I have thought it sounded great.

I can understand why they have done this to a degree, but messing around with nature , I have always thought down the road what will be the consequences of this action.

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY go into the Pros and Cons of GMO .

After I was reading another blog this morning concerning some of the problems in labelling in the States and Canada, this was on the GMO information that is offered on your food labels. The fight to have this information for the public to see has been an ongoing struggle. The gentleman I was reading about was Rob Herring, who has made the film “The need to GROW” He was saying that in the States they are bringing out a label called B.E Bio-Engineered, which is going to be harder for people to understand as G.M.O is known everywhere.  ROB Herring says that over 90% of corn, soy,cotton,canola and sugar beets are now GMO in the States. I find that scary!

This the link for the preview of this film.

ORGANIC FOOD

I have found a fantastic article on EWG concerning Organic foods well worth a read. It clearly makes a case for eating Organic food, and gives clear research on what types of chemicals are allowed on both Organic and non-organic food.

IN OUR COUNTRYSIDE

We live in the countryside here in France.

One of my favourite plants is when the farmer grows Sunflowers for the seeds.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The difference between the farmers here is chalk and cheese. Some of them are more forward thinking and are either Organic or spray their fields with organic matter, namely poo!

Others we look at in disbelief where they cover the aftermath of  the harvested field in a poison to kill the weeds.

At first we were just looking at the colours of yellow, red and orange not understanding just what we were looking at.

It looked quite pretty, are they flowers????

But no, it was the poisons being used, then you see them just till the whole field over , mixing up the poison into the soil.

Then they  go and add a fertiliser and replant.

How they don’t believe that the poison isn’t still in that field, being absorbed into what ever they are planting. I just don’t understand.

Unfortunately it is what they have been taught to do. And they seem to stick to the same routine.

Hopefully things are changing, we have seen more Organic produce becoming more popular here in France since we arrived. There are more controls with the local producers too.

THE MICROBIOME 

This seems to be a hot topic at the moment. I totally buy into this, but I have noticed that the media and certain soap manufacturers have cottoned on too!

It is something else that they can advertise. Though in the case of the soap brand, it is focused on the skin.

I  have read quite a few website which have videos explaining the benefits of a healthy gut lining. I am no expert, but I wanted to share some of the information that we have come across.

The BBC SCIENCE FOCUS has 15 tips to boast your gut Microbiome.

This is certainly something that is going to be more popular in our diets from now on. The effect of a healthy gut in all our lives in a must for less problems in our health.

One of the foods that is suppose to aid a healthy microbiome is fermented foods. I guess most of us eat yogurt at some point, but I am finding it harder to find find ones that contain the live cultures.

I came across this site by Emillie who write about how to ferment foods on her website FERMENTING FOR FOODIES .COM

She has some great ideas, which are clearly written and make me want to hit the kitchen.

I had tried Sauerkraut, but it was so long ago now. I must admit to not being keen on the one I tried, but the jar variety is often so different from your homemade.

I recently came across an article on the NEW SCIENTIST which are suggesting by eating tiny Nutrient particles , it could be better for you than health supplements.

They suggest that there are around 2 billion people in the world whose diet is not what it could be. It is a really interesting look into other ways that could help our health and well being. Instead of just popping a pill.

CULTURES FOR HEALTH.COM 

This website have a ton of videos on how to make a whole range of fermenting foods.

A great idea all in one place.

If you are like me, it is a lot easier to watch a video than try and do it on your own.

Kale seems to be a wonder food at the moment too, we see it being suggested as good for your gut health. Our daughter is not too keen on many vegetable, but she will eat a whole plate of Kale Chips. Though one of the issues with buying Kale is the amount of pesticides that can be used.

KALE CHIPS 

green plant
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

These are so easy to make, after washing the kale,( dry the leaves too or you will end up just steaming them)then the leaves, minus the thick stalks, can be torn up into bite sized pieces and placed spread out on a baking tray. Place in the oven at around 175 c ,can take 10-15 mins depending on your oven.

The trick with these is to keep an eye on them as they can catch and go too brown, I move them around to make sure all the leaf is cooked then just take them out and serve. We found some beautiful purple Kale in our local outdoor market too.

SMOOTHIES FOR HEALTH

clear glass bottle filled with broccoli shake
Photo by Alisha Mishra on Pexels.com

I have been listening to quite a few on line discussions on the health of your gut. One person that I have seen often is Kris Carr , she has a book on Amazon called Crazy Sexy Juice with more than a 100 different recipes for healthy smoothies. 

You can also find some of her recipes on KRIS CARR.COM 

FOOD REVOLUTION .ORG also have an anti stress smoothie recipe.

Which is a much nicer way of getting help than popping a pill.

I absolutely love this Organisation. They are so full of helpful advice and good links to a whole number of helpful tips on keeping healthy.

NATURAL FLAVOURS & FOOD ADDITIVES

Again the FOOD REVOLUTION have come up with a shocking insight into what Natural Flavours actually mean. This is a link to Federal Regulations in the USA . I sometimes think it would be easier just to take a list with you of actually all the codes mean, I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember all of them. Again there seems to be a huge difference to what is allowed in the States to what is allowed here in Europe. HUNGRY FOR CHANGE have a list of the top 10 Food Additives to avoid , suggesting there are over 300 additives in today’s food.

MPH PROGRAMS LIST have an even more detailed list of 50 Jaw Droppingly Toxic Food Ingredients & Artificial food additives

Again I find it very shocking the differences allowed, depending in what country you live in.

The controls over what is acceptable is crazy.

Why is it allowed in some countries, to use these chemicals and list them as a natural flavouring?

I hate the fact that some countries are allowed to not even list the difference between an artificial one and some derived from a natural source.

THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY UK give their take on Additives.

VERY WELL FIT.COM also have an article explaining just what the term “natural flavouring”means and why they are called a food additive.

NOOCH

This product which is really called Nutritional Yeast , but Nooch for short, is our new favourite product. I can not believe it took us so long to find it! It has a ” Cheesy”, nutty flavour . Can be added to recipes instead of cheese, or just sprinkled on pasta or jacket potatoes. It is great for Vegans and Vegetarians. Our daughter would just eat it out of the bag! It can be purchased with the added B12 which is necessary to add to a vegan and Vegetarian diet.

Medical News Today also go into the benefits of using this in your diet. Suggesting it also helps with your Immune system . It is not the same as Brewers Yeast.

I also wanted to add this video about making a cheese using Nooch and Cashew nuts as it is sometimes hard to find a solution to getting a healthier cheese.

HONEY

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Well you would think that this would be a simple choice! But of course not! This was information was initially given to me by our neighbour here in France who keeps a number of Bees and is a producer of Honey in our area and on the internet.

Apparently there is number of additives being put into some honeys .Anything from Sugar to additives. EURACTIV have an article called Honeygate.

I am not sure how wide spread this problem is, according to our neighbour and this article it is very widespread here in Europe. With China importing around 50% of the Honey to the UK and Europe.

MYBEELINE has advice on how to see if what you are buying is real,fake or Adulterated honey. There is a lot of money to be made in profits on selling honey which is made up of added sugars and starch which are just a couple of the additives used. They give 11 examples of some very simple tests you can do to see if the honey you are buying is pure.

I know that buying from your local producer can be a little more expensive, but the difference in taste and the properties that it gives you , out weighs the cost. I feel we use less each serving as the taste is more intense. The health benefits to using Pure honey are totally worth it.

PASTILI.COM give the difference to using Raw Honey and just regular honey. Natural Honey has no artificial additives and processing. Regular processed honey “additives, pasteurising, filtering or other processing ` are allowed” ( from Link)

Our neighbour said that raw natural honey can be used for different ailments. He sells honey from different flowers and each have their own unique flavour and property. The colour difference in these honeys are so different. Some are quite dark and almost caramel in colour.

Photo by Anton Atanasov on Pexels.com

Looking at some of the articles posted for the USA it seems that the same problem exists with some of the honey on sale there. There is more information on THE HONEYBEE CONSERVANCY. naming their article Funny Honey.

When you think of the costs of some of these honeys on sale on your supermarket shelves, what are you actually paying for? and how good is this for your health? or are you just eating mostly a sugar base.

The fear I have with all this is the population of Bees are becoming less each year, and most countries are importing to cover the demand for a product which is on the increase.

The Pesticides being used in farming and in our gardens is not helping the Bees at all. We can’t survive without them. The problem has become very urgent. Even if we each did our little bit to make our gardens attractive to them, and not use chemicals to make our gardens perfect. This article by Greenpeace is very relevant.

My children were watching a TV program where the bees who were living in a city had been going into Anti- freeze and the honey was blue! Another very unusual colour was a reddish one, the Bees in this case had been going into Jam that had been stored.

This totally different Blue Honey was reported by MNN where the bees have been going into the blue from an M&M factory!