Archive for the ‘Organic news’ Category

Got a gut feeling that you should be taking probiotics? You’re right.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

10 Reasons Why Probiotics Should Be in Your Diet

Probiotics. Gut bacteria. Gut flora. Microbiome. These are all buzz words circulating about in the media, in magazines and on social channels. But what do they all mean? Are probiotics good for you? If so, why?

If the thought of ingesting bacteria turns you off, you’re not alone. In a world of good bacteria and bad bacteria, probiotics are the good guys. The superheroes. The health ninjas. Probiotics are a live culture of beneficial bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms in the intestines.  They help out most in our digestive system and GI tract where large amounts are found in the intestine and colon. And while they are created naturally by our bodies, they can also be found in certain foods and supplements.  In fact, probiotics have a myriad of health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.

That’s why Uncle Matt’s decided to add GanedenBC30®, a proven, patented probiotic of “good bacteria” strain, Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086, into our Organic Orange Turmeric and Reduced-Calorie Organic Orange-Coconut juices.  We also included GanedenBC30 in our new Fruit Infused Probiotic Waters. Just one 8 oz. serving delivers a powerful probiotic punch of 1 billion CFUs (colony forming units). When consumed daily, our probiotics help  increase protein and amino acid absorption and support digestive and immune health that can become compromised by many factors including travel, poor diet and lack of sleep. These conditions can decrease the levels of good bacteria found in the gut –– where over 70% of your immune cells reside. What’s more, roughly 95% of your serotonin (the feel good or ‘happy’ hormone) is stored in your gut as well.

Besides supporting digestive health, probiotics are a powerhouse of other health benefits. Check out the top 10 reasons we think a probiotic prescription is a must for anyone:

#1 RENEW THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Healthy bacteria help increase the function and effectiveness of our immune system.  One study showed a 50% increase in immune function after two weeks of probiotic supplementation (British Journal of Nutrition).

#2   REDUCE CHOLESTEROL LEVELS

By as much as 33% when taken orally! (World Health Organization)

#3 REPLENISH A HEALTHY GUT

Beneficial bacteria reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel.  Probiotics help ensure this delicate balance is maintained.

#4 RESTORE DIGESTIVE HEALTH

Probiotics have been shown to help ease the symptoms of IBS, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating and more.

 #5 RECHARGE POSITIVE EMOTIONS

Two particular strains of probiotics –– lactobacillus helveticus and bifidobacterium –– improved “levels of psychological distress, including measures of depression, anger, anxiety, and problem-solving.” (British Journal of Nutrition, March 2011).

#6 RESIST INFECTION

Following 12 weeks of lactobacillus rhomnosus probiotic supplementation, a 34% reduction in upper respiratory infections was reported (British Journal of Nutrition)

#7 RESURFACE YOUR SKIN

Recent research confirms that gut health and skin health are closely related. An anti-inflammatory balance in the gut will help fight the severity of skin-related issues, like acne and rosacea.

#8 RETRACT ANTIBIOTIC-RELATED DIARRHEA

Can’t get around being on an antibiotic? At least now you can minimize its side effects as probiotics reduced antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 64%. (Cachrone Databases of Systematic Reviews, 2013).

#9 RECYCLE YOUR HORMONES

Beneficial flora metabolize and recycle hormones, including estrogen, thyroid hormones, and phytoestrogens from food sources, which can help offset symptoms of menopause, PMS and perimenopause.  In this way, they help maintain proper hormonal balance, and may protect bone and breast health as well (Source: womentowomen.com, Marcelle Pick, Ob/Gyn.)

 #10 REINFORCE/REALIGN VAGINAL BALANCE

Supplementing probiotics helps protect against a number of vaginal infections in females. Friendly bacteria (especially of the Lactobacillus genus) produce natural disinfectants that help maintain an optimal pH and a healthy balance of beneficial microorganisms in the vagina by excluding harmful bacteria and other pathogens. (lifeextension.com)

From the EWG: Study Links Childhood Cancer and In-Home Pesticide Use

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

WASHINGTON – A new study by Harvard researchers provides disturbing evidence that children’s exposure to household insecticides is linked to higher risks of childhood leukemia and lymphoma, the most common cancers in children. The analysis also found an association between use of outdoor herbicides to lawns and gardens and higher risks of leukemia.

“It is very troubling, albeit not surprising, to see additional scientific evidence linking pesticide use to childhood cancer,” said Ken Cook, EWG president and co-founder. “The findings confirm parents’ worst fears that they could be unknowingly exposing their children to harmful chemicals that can lead to serious, even life-threatening, illnesses.”

“This study should remind us once again that we must protect our kids by curtailing our use of these toxic chemicals in and outside of the home,” Cook added.

The results from a meta-analysis, to be published in the journal Pediatrics in October, combined 16 studies reporting children’s exposure to pesticides used in and around the home. As the authors noted, children are more vulnerable to harmful pesticides because their bodies and immune systems are still developing. The researchers added that infants and toddlers are at especially high risk of exposure because they often play on pesticide-treated lawns or on carpets or floors where pesticide residues accumulate, and then put their hands and fingers in their mouths.

“Parents should consider the danger of pesticides in terms of the lethal toxicity of any products and the proximity to where your children play, eat, rest and sleep,” said Dr. Alex Lu, a Harvard Chan School of Public Health associate professor and senior author of the study. “This is also true for schools, playgrounds and sports fields.”

Lu added, “There is no justification for using chemical pesticides to maintain buildings, play areas or sport fields. There are plenty of non-chemical based treatments that will serve the purpose.”

EWG advises parents to stop using lawn and garden care, and to use indoor pesticides only as a last resort. See Healthy Child Healthy World’s greener tips on how to control indoor pests and how to protect your pets from fleas and ticks.

Another major source of children’s exposure to pesticides is food. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables often carry multiple pesticide residues even after they have been washed, and in some cases, peeled. That’s why EWG updates its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ every year in order to help shoppers figure out which are the “dirtiest,” or most contaminated, and which are the “cleanest,” or least contaminated. The guide encourages shoppers to opt for organic versions of the “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables.

As Lu explains in this video, switching to an organic diet can significantly lower a child’s exposure to pesticides.

The American Academy of Pediatrics cites EWG’s Shopper’s Guide as a reliable resource for parents looking to reduce their children’s exposures.

Source: EWG.org

7 tips for eating organic on a budget

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

A recent study by the Organic Trade Association found eight in 10 parents in the US report they purchase organic products at least some times and an growing number are making this choice because of their desire to provide healthy food options for their kids. But how can you afford financially to make the same choices for your whole family? If you want to shop organic foods without breaking the bank, here are 7 ways you can go organic without going over your budget.

1. Buy food items in their raw, unprocessed form. While there are many processed organic products available on the market, purchasing processed organic products is the most expensive way to buy organic. If you have the financial means, go ahead. For everyone else, it is about getting back to basics and buying staple foods in their minimally processed form and turning them into other food through the means of your own cooking, brewing and baking.

2. Cook from scratch. Not only frugal, but healthier for you. Cooking at home means that you know exactly what is going into your food and you avoid the unknown additives, preservatives, and origins of mixed foods.

3. Compare prices between fresh and frozen, dried and canned varieties of organic foods. They may be less expensive than fresh, yet equally delicious when prepared correctly.

4. Only buy what you need for the week. For example, if don’t be stuck buying a whole five-pound bag of organic potatoes if you won’t use them. So, plan another meal that will use the remainder of the bag.

5. Use coupons! Although they are harder to come by, there are organic-based coupons available online. Take time to email your favorite companies too, for the opportunity to receive coupons by mail. And, sign up for our Juicy News newsletter online, where we give frequent coupons to our fans.

6. Plan, plan, plan. Did we say plan? Make a menu prior to shopping. Plan meals that will include meat every other day, versus having it in every single dish. That saves you money, and is good for your health.

7. Buy in bulk. Organic options can be found at Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club and buy in bulk. You can purchase many organic grains (including brown and wild rice and whole oats), pastas, flours, dried fruits, and nuts in the bulk sections of stores for far less. Organic brown rice in bulk is about 99 cents per pound.

Organic food is often more expensive, but when it comes to the staples of your diet, organics are a worthwhile investment, with payoffs that might surprise you. The benefits influence your health today—and long-term.

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Feed Your Family Organic

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

1.    More Nutritious
 
In an organic farm plan, the soil is managed by sustainable practices that nourish the soil, which in turn, results in more nutrient-dense crops. Multiple studies show the nutritional content in organically-grown fruits, vegetables, and grains is higher versus their conventionally-grown counterparts. And when it comes to dairy, did you know organic milk can contain about 2x the levels of heart-healthy Omega-3 fats compared to conventional milk?

2.    Supports the Farmer and the Farm
 
According to The Organic Center, about 25,800 square miles of degraded soils would be converted to rich, highly productive crop land if consumers were choosing at least one organic product out of every 10 food items purchased.  Every year, American tax dollars subsidize billions of dollars for a farm bill that heavily favors conventional agribusiness. By supporting organic farmers and their farms, you are making an investment in the farmers who care about our ecosystem and the sustainability of the soil for future generations.

3.    USDA Certification
 
Consider it a “Peace of Mind” seal of approval. Wherever you find the “USDA Organic” seal, you know that food was grown and raised by farmers who never use synthetic pesticides, GMOs, growth hormones or antibiotics.  The USDA Organic seal also guarantees no artificial colors or flavors, no artificial preservatives, no irradiated ingredients and no GMOs.  Further, to obtain the seal, organic farms have to be free from prohibited substances for at least 3 years and must pass yearly inspections.

4.    No GMOs
 
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are prohibited in organic production.  Besides concerns over forever contaminating our food supply’s gene pool and the now documented negative long-term effects on human and environmental health, GMOs have dramatically increased herbicide use.  Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant,” which means they’re designed to survive applications of Roundup herbicide. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides and consuming residual traces of herbicide are linked with infertility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
 
5.    No Antibiotics or Hormones
 
Antibiotics, drugs and growth hormones are directly passed into meat and dairy products. According to Prevention Magazine, roughly 70% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are fed to animals for nontherapeutic reasons, while sex and growth hormones are injected into cattle to artificially increase the amount of meat and milk the cattle produce without requiring extra feed. These practices are strictly prohibited in organic farming, thus eliminating the negative  potential health consequences.

6.    Reduces Pollution and Saves Energy
 
Did you know that 2.9 billion barrels of imported oil would be eliminated each year if 1 in 10 purchased food products were organic? What’s more, organic farms have 30% less greenhouse gas emissions than their conventional couterparts! That’s some serious energy saved. There are also residual effects of synthetic agricultural chemicals contaminating our land and infiltrating our water supplies remain unanswered.  Sadly, an estimated 1% of applied pesticides reach the target pests, while the remaining 99% is absorbed by the surrounding environment, according to Cornell entomologist David Pimentel.  Conversely, organic farming practices require the responsible management of the soil while encouraging biodiversity.

7.    No Biosolids
 
Sewage sludge, also referred to as biosolids, are not permitted in certified organic foods. Biosolids contain heavy metals, toxins, steroids, and questionable substances that can pose a threat to your health. Possible health risks from substances in biosolids include kidney damage, adverse effects to the immune system, hormone disruption, and even cancer. (Source: Mamavation)

8.    Tastes Better
 
If you think organic tastes better, there’s actually scientific data to back up your taste buds. According to Richard C. Theuer, Ph.D, the more intense flavors in organic fruits and vegetables probably stem form two factors: somewhat higher levels of antioxidants, and somewhat lower crop yields.  Yield levels, and the availability of nitrogen to crops, can affect both nutritional and taste quality.  Organic food is harvested when it’s ripe, rather than gassed with ethylene to quickly ripen it, allowing for natural flavor development.

9.    No Persistent Pesticides
 
Organic farmers don’t uses persistent pesticides such as glyphosate and organophosphate pesticides. The negative effects of residual glyphosate traces found in GM foods has been linked to cancer, autism, allergies and a host of other health-related problems.  In lieu of these synthetic chemicals, organic farmers use natural methods to keep pests off of their crops. Some methods organic farmers employ are sophisticated crop rotation to disrupt the pest’s environment, introducing soil organisms and insects that benefit the crops, and traps or barriers.  
10. Preserves the Environment and Ecosystems
 
Organic farming is about farming in harmony with nature.  Organic farming encourages the coexistence of beneficial insects, wildlife, frogs, birds and soil organisms within its farm plans.   The cultivation of healthy soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, while chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem.
 
 
 

Eco-Friendly Easter Celebration

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Eco-Friendly Easter1. Locally sourced eggs
If you choose to celebrate with real eggs, support your local farmer and buy eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Or buy organic eggs. Eggs from pasture-raised hens or organic fed hens are healthier for you, containing more vitamin A, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids, according a report conducted by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. Alternatives to Easter eggs
There are many alternatives to using real eggs for Easter celebrations; for instance, the White House traditionally uses decorated wooden eggs for its annual Easter Egg Roll. There are also plastic Easter eggs that are compostable, and ceramic Easter eggs that are dyeable!

3. Blown eggs
Blown eggs are another reusable dyeable option. Blown eggs are made of real eggs whose yolks and whites have been removed. Here is a tutorial. The leftover yolks and whites can then be used for baking, scrambled eggs, or other cooking projects.

4. Homemade egg decorating
There are many methods to make homemade egg dyes, using vinegar and spices, fruits, and vegetables. Check out these instructions from Real Simple Magazine!

5. Prevent food waste
If you hard boil fresh eggs before you dye them, the prospect of eating all of those hard boiled eggs may be daunting, but throwing them out is wasteful. Turn the eggs into a delicious dish: here are some great ideas!

6. Avoid plastic Easter grass
Cellophane Easter grass, often found in Easter baskets, cannot go into the recycling bin. If you already have Easter grass, reuse it. If you were going to buy some for Easter baskets, try replacing it with shredded newspaper or tissue paper.

7. Give children stuffed toys instead of live Easter bunnies and chicks
Dyed Easter chicks are a perennially controversial topic: chicks are dyed while in the egg or sprayed shortly after hatching. The food coloring used to dye the chicks is non-toxic, but the real concern is what happens to the chicks after the dye wears off. Chicks are sold as seasonally-themed pets, most of whom are discarded or neglected after they molt and lose their artificially colored feathers.

Rabbits are also common Easter gifts: just as with chickens, rabbits are often neglected, surrendered to animal rescues, or released into the wild when the novelty wears off. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends giving children stuffed or chocolate bunnies instead of live animals, as rabbits can live seven to ten years on average and are a serious commitment.

8. Make a locally sourced Easter meal
If it’s your tradition to have an Easter meal, why not try to make as many of the dishes as you can from local food? Check Local Harvest for your nearest farmer or farmers market.

9. Visit a local farm
Take the time to bring your family to a nearby farm. Children and adults will get an up-close look at how their food gets from the farm to home. Be sure to contact the farmers ahead of time! Here’s another link to Local Harvest with helpful things to remember before your visit.

10. Instead of an Easter basket, Easter plants
Check your local nursery for seeds or seedlings and give friends and loved ones a reusable Easter gift: a homemade herb garden.

11. Give a donation to Heifer International
If giving plants is not your style, consider making a donation to Heifer International or a similar non-profit to fight poverty while providing an animal to a family in a developing nation.

12. Minimize packaging with candy and treats
Choose Easter treats with less packaging to cut down on the amount of waste generated by the holiday festivities.

13. Reuse your existing plastic eggs
If you still have a treasure trove of plastic eggs at home, there are plenty of ideas online for upcycling. From tea candle holders to a set of toy teacups to sophisticated Easter decorations, there are many great tutorials online.

Source: Huffington Post

Is Organic Really Healthier?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

According to a new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, in fact, it is! Research concludes that organic crops have higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower levels of cadmium and nitrates, and fewer pesticide residues than their non-organic counterparts.

Initiated by Britain’s Newcastle University, the study analyzed an unprecedented 343 peer-reviewed research papers documenting the nutritional benefits of organic grains, fruits, and vegetables.  It found that switching to an organic diet would provide a 20 to 40% increase in antioxidant and polyphenol consumption. That’s like eating one or two extra servings of fruits and veggies a day! Antioxidants and polyphenols are known to help prevent diseases triggered by oxidative-damage like coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.

Organic foods had roughly half the amount of cadmium as conventionally grown crops, according to the study. Cadmium is a highly toxic heavy metal contaminant that has been linked to kidney failure, bone softening, liver failure, and lung cancer.

The study concluded that conventional crops were three to four times more likely to have pesticide residue than organic crops. Pesticide exposure has been linked to birth defects, nerve damage and some cancers. Synthetic pesticides are not allowed on organic foods.

Add this study to the many reasons that make organic a worthwhile investment in your health and the health of your entire family!

Going green for Earth Day

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Going-Green-Earth

 

Earth Day comes just once a year, but it’s a good time to think about the eco-friendly changes you can make all the time. Check out these easy ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to help the environment.

1. Carry a water bottle.

About 38 billion plastic water bottles crowd landfills each year, according to environmental research group Pacific Institute. And by carrying your own reusable water bottle, you’ll not only be helping the environment — you’ll be saving money, too. In total, Americans spend $15 billion on bottled water every year.

2. Reduce your paper use.

Go paperless with your bills and accounts by managing your life online. You can make this even easier by signing up for Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that lets you manage and share all of your bills and accounts in one place online or via the top-rated iOS and Android mobile apps. Manilla provides unlimited online document storage forever, for free, which means you can view, download or print your documents whenever you need them.

3. Use grocery totes.

Save plastic and paper by using your own reusable grocery tote bags. They usually cost a dollar or less and are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative.

4. Opt for a reusable coffee mug. 

Help save the planet (and your money) by using your own reusable coffee mug for your morning Joe. Most coffee shops offer discounts when you bring your own mug — you just fill it up there and you’re on your way.

5. Eat local foods.

Eating locally produced foods, like fruits and vegetables, improves your health and helps the fight against global warming. Do some research online to find farmer’s markets in your area.

6. Take public transit.

Experts estimate that the more than 130 million cars in the United States produce an ecological footprint that’s larger than the size of Texas. Reducing how much you drive can help reduce it. If you live in a city that offers a convenient and reliable public transportation system, use it!

7. Recycle.

Recycling saves energy, reduces pollution, conserves natural resources and has numerous economical benefits.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com

Growing a Healthy Generation! 50 Students Help Expand Local Organic Community Garden

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

CLERMONT, FL — Fifty students from four area Lake County middle and high schools spent their Monday morning pulling weeds, spreading compost, and building and prepping 26 grow boxes during an expansion of South Lake Hospital’s organic community garden, located on the hospital campus in Clermont, Florida.

As a co-sponsor of the garden, Uncle Matt’s Organic has been an integral part of the community project since its launch in early 2013. Uncle Matt’s provides education to members of the community who want to learn about organic gardening.

This year, area schools became involved in the project, sending their agriculture students and FFA (Future Farmers of America] members to participate by preparing the gardens for fall vegetable season. Participating schools included all three area high schools: East Ridge, Lake Minneola, and South Lake as well Clermont Middle School.

“The organic community garden is a great community service project for the students to get involved in and apply the skills they are learning in the classroom,” says Chris Eck, agri-science educator and FFA advisor at East Ridge High School. “It’s neat that this garden is organic because our school garden is not. By planting the boxes here, it shows the students a whole different side of vegetable gardening. It’s an easy transition into the classroom to educate them on what organic is and why it’s important.”

Sarah Eck, agriculture teacher at South Lake agrees. “Right now, my students are learning what makes food organic or not,” she says. “We’re excited about working in the organic garden because it provides an opportunity to learn that there are certain things that we can and cannot do to keep it organic.”

East Ridge students have already started fall vegetable seedlings in the classroom, including squash, zucchini, cucumber and okra, to plant at the community garden and farm it organically. The school’s agriculture department plans on sending students over twice a week to check their garden grow box for weeds and plant health.

Besides Uncle Matt’s, who provided organic juices for the students as they worked, other area businesses also donated supplies and materials, including West Orange Lumber, Home Depot, Simon Seed, Austin Outdoors and Papa Lynn’s Organic Farm. These companies provided everything from lumber to seeds and gardening gloves for the students to use.

“Part of the mission of both South Lake Hospital and Uncle Matt’s Organic is teaching people how to stay healthy and well,” says Susan McLean, board member of both Uncle Matt’s Organic and South Lake Hospital. “One way to stay well includes eating food that is locally grown, organic and nutrient dense.  Through this project, not only do we accomplish all three, but we’re teaching the next generation the value of organic and importance of sustainability.”

The garden’s fall planting kickoff will be held this Thursday, September 26, at 5:30 p.m. at the garden located on the hospital campus.

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Another Reason to Eat Organic

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Just when you thought science was saying organic food has no nutritional value, another study from the University of Granada has found a direct correlation between exposure to pesticides and the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.

Published in the Journal of Environmental Research, researchers found that people who had higher concentrations of DDE (which is the main metabolite in pesticide DDT) also were more likely to develop diabetes – four times as likely, in fact.

Furthermore, higher exposure to a compound in the pesticide Lindano (beta-Hexachlorocyclohexane) was also linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Results took into consideration the age, gender, and body mass index of 386 adults surveyed. The findings, however, could help explain body fat’s link with type 2 diabetes. Researcher Juan Pedro Arrebola notes that “human adipose tissue (commonly known as ‘fat’)… can store potentially harmful substances, such as persistent organic pollutants (COPs).”

The direct effect of pesticides on type 2 diabetes is still unknown, although researchers suggest that these compounds can affect the metabolism of sugars. Still, it might be another reason to splurge on organic food. A study from Stanford University found that 38 percent of non-organic food had pesticide residue, compared to 7 percent of organic produce.

Source: Organic.org

How can we feed the world—today and tomorrow?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The biggest players in the food industry—from pesticide pushers to fertilizer makers to food processors and manufacturers—spend billions of dollars every year not selling food, but selling the idea that we need their products to feed the world. But, do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world?

Can sustainably grown food deliver the quantity and quality we need—today and in the future? This Food MythBusters film takes on these questions in under seven minutes.

From foodmyths.org: