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Does an apple a day still keep the doctor away?

 

The expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was first recorded in the 1860’s.
The reasoning behind the expression derived from thefact that apples are rich in minerals and vitamins, meaning apples are good for your immune system. However, is the expression still valid? Studies show that nutrition levels found in fruit and vegetables have been declining mainly due to soil depletion.

 

Mass agriculture allows for easy and efficient farming and processing of produce.  By continuously re-using the same soil and using intensive farming methods to grow our produce, our soil has shown positive for signs of mineral depletion. Less minerals in the soil means that fruit and vegetables grown from our earth are likely to have much less nutrients.    

 

 

A study from Donald Davis , previously a renowned biochemist, conducted a study testing mineral and vitamin levels of multiple varieties of fruits and vegetables to find that there was on average a 41% drop in Iron levels, and a 12% decline in Calcium (1950-1999).  Additionally, there was also depletions in levels of copper, zinc, potassium and vitamin C. Studies show that the worlds capacity to produce food is estimated to decrease by 30% within the next 20-50 years.

Thomas (2000) tested nutrition levels of 27 types of vegetables between 1940 and 1991. Thomas results showed that the largest decrease in mineral content was copper (76%) and Zinc (59%). If nutrition levels continue to degrade at this rate, more food would be required to help the population maintain properly nourished. 

 

Putting the data into perspective, today we would have to eat an average of 8 oranges to have the same levels of vitamin A of an orange our grandparents might have eaten during 1950. Also, if the research from these studies is accurate, In just under 400 years all of the worlds habitable surface will not be able provide the essentials needed to grow food. So, does an apply a day really keep the doctor away or should we be recommending the daily consumption of eight apples instead of just one? To be continued…

 

References

  1. Global Opportunity Network. (2016). Soil Depletion. [online] Available at: http://www.globalopportunitynetwork.org/report-2017/soil-depletion/ [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].
  2. Scientific American. (2017). Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?. [online] Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/ [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].
  3. Torres, M. (2015). Fruits and Vegetables Reaching an Alarming State of Nutrient Depletion. [online] Waking Times. Available at: http://www.wakingtimes.com/2015/10/22/fruits-and-vegetables-reaching-an-alarming-state-of-nutrient-depletion/ [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].
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O’ Nutrients, Nutrients! What art thou? Part 1

Macronutrients

Carbohydrates: Caloric value: 4 kilocalories per gram

Almost all body cells use carbohydrates as an energy source, especially the brain covers its energy consumption with them.

The sugar which is used most often for energy production is glucose.
Glucose is for your body roughly what fuel is for your car, it is absolutely vital for ‘running and moving your car’. The carbohydrates found in your food first have to be metabolized into glucose though. This process of breaking down long chains of carbs into smaller ones already starts in your mouth – but the final metabolizing into glucose happens in your stomach and intestines via the help of enzymes.

If the cells don’t need the available glucose at the moment, muscles and the liver transform it into glycogen, which is a long-chained carbohydrate used for energy storage. If necessary, glycogen can be transformed back to glucose. Besides the function of providing energy, carbohydrates also are essential for the human digestive system in form of fiber, long-chained carbohydrates which are indigestible but promote action of the bowels (peristalsis) and make transportation of intestinal contents easier. Furthermore, carbohydrates make up a part of the extracellular matrix which fills up the space between the various somatic cells (i.e. cells of the human body), and also appears in large amounts within bones, cartilages and conjunctive tissues. Additionally, carbohydrates play a role with the regulation of the water- and electrolyte balance, as well as fat metabolism.

 

Proteins: Caloric value: 4 kilocalories per gram

Proteins are macro-molecules which play an essential role for muscle growth in the human body. Other functions of proteins are to transport fats through the bloodstream, stabilizing the physiological pH and the osmotic balance, producing antibodies to fight infections, and acting as bio catalysators to speed up chemical processes of the metabolism. Furthermore, proteins make up parts of hemoglobin, stomach acid, enzymes and vitamins which are relevant for many chemical reactions within the body. Proteins like cyclin regulate the cell division and others control certain genes, however, arguably one of the most important functions of proteins is making up the tissue which gives organs and tissues such as collagen, conjunctive tissue, and callus their elasticity.

Fats: Caloric value: 9 kilocalories per gram

Main function of fats is to provide energy, this can happen right after metabolizing if after consumption or used as an energy reserve for bad times. Dietary fats are made up of glycerin and fatty acids, which are divided into saturated fatty acids (unhealthy; promote cardiovascular diseases and slow down the metabolism) and unsaturated fatty acids (healthy; lower LDL cholesterol level, increase HDL cholesterol level, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help with inflammation). Another distinction among fats is between essential and non-essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids basically just mean that they have to be consumed with your food whereas non-essential fatty acids can be produced by your body if the necessary amino acids are available. Furthermore, the human body can only absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K with the help of fats.

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Announcement: Information about healthy food can often seem very boring and lame but at Farmed Today, we try to keep things hot and very interesting. For that reason, we’ve got the very sexy sexpert Mandy Ronda to tell us all about the link between food and sexuality. As you may have know, your food habits has effects on your sex drive.
This webinar is going to be sizzling hot! We’ll be interviewing Mandy and talk about various topics such as which fingerfood and aphrodisiacs are a must to stimulate sensual atmospheres. Get your ticket for the webinar here.

 

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What the Health?! – Chapter 2: Why do people say meat is unhealthy?

What the health?!

An appropriate question raised by Kip Anderson, the director of the critically acclaimed and mostly from the media  ignored 2014 documentary ‘Cowspiracy’. In his 2014 documentary, Kip dealt with the environmental impact of our current food system. After his research, he named the meat and dairy agriculture and diet as the main destructive factors. ‘In what the health’, Kip now takes a look at the destructive consequences this animal-based lifestyle has on our own bodies.

 

Chapter 2: Why do people say meat is unhealthy?

‘When we eat these kind of dead-meat bacteria-toxins, within minutes, you get this burst of inflammation within your system. Such that you basically paralyze your arteries. You get this stiffening of the arteries, their inability to relax normally,’ Dr. Michael Greger states in the 2017 documentary ‘What the health’.

This statements sounds so harshly different from the usual health advice repeated to all of us at every opportunity: Eat a little bit of everything, but all in moderation. But is that really the truth? Well, true is that if you watch most documentaries concerning diet, they end up giving us the same advice as above: Eat mostly vegetables with a side of some kind of meat. So, it is certainly surprising hearing Dr. Greger claim something so vastly different. We are not dealing with unhealthy eating habits that will cause some damage decades down the road. No, we are talking about damages right then when we are eating, within minutes.
Let’s have a look at the topic of dioxin exposure when eating meat first then. Roughly 93% of your average dioxin exposure in humans is caused by animal products. 14 years of breathing the exhaust of cars is comparable to one single cow eating grass in one single day. Men don’t have any ways to get rid of their dioxin within their bodies while women have two ways: giving birth and breast feeding. It stands to question whether these two ways of getting rid of dioxin in your body are even desirable.

Another point often not deeply enough covered enough is the administration of drugs to live stocks. The Center for Food Safety in America states that at least 450 drugs are legal to be administered to animals either alone or in combination. However, very few of them are beneficial to consumer health. Sadly, drug companies don’t have our best interests in mind when they sell their drugs to be used on animals, such as cows, pigs, and chicken. As a matter of fact, the US pharmaceutical industry is selling 80% percent of their antibiotics to animal agriculture. To put this into perspective, antibiotics, antimicrobials, ractopamines (a feed additive to promote leanness in animals raised for their meat), and hormones are found in our meat. Ironically, only the impact of these drugs on the animals is studied, not the impact on humans who eat these drugged-up animals. Aren’t we also to some level what we eat?

The figurative cherry on top of this drug-infused cake is that information on the impact on humans and the environment are handled as company secrets and get blackened-out in reports. The public is supposed to stay in the dark about the risks to their health and planet.

I want to end this blog this week with leaving you some thoughts to ponder. The food you eat determines the bacteria in your gut. So, if you eat a lot of vegetables, you will have many gut bacteria which can metabolize plant macro- and micro-nutrients, and the same obviously goes for meat and meat-metabolizing bacteria. Your gut truly is a cosmos of living organisms which are essential for your digestion and well-being. Unfortunately though, the carnitine found in animal flesh is metabolized to trimethylaminoxid which drives cholesterol into the artery walls and leads to plaque building, and ultimately to cardiovascular diseases.

 

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Vegan?! How do you get your protein?

 Vegan?! How do you get your protein?

“All protein is made by plants!”, Dr. Milton Mills states in the 2017 documentary ‘What the Health!?’: “Only plants have the ability to actually take nitrogen from the air, break those molecules apart, incorporate that nitrogen into amino acids, and then make protein.” -> Any protein you get from an animal is simply recycled plant protein!

5 quick facts about plant-protein:

  1. Humans need 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
  2. Protein deficiency in Europe and America is, basically, unheard of.
  3. Pretty much all plant foods have protein. As well as some of the nine essential amino acids. (Quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chia and hempseed even boost all nine amino acids.)
  4. Animal protein comes with ‘gifts’ such as saturated fats, cholesterol, natural and added hormones, and antibiotics.
  5. Plant protein comes with gifts such as antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

 

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Food 101: How to properly store fruits and vegetables

Food 101: How to properly store fruits and vegetables

Who doesn’t know this situation? You were feeling good, telling yourself to start living healthier from now on, so you go out there buying enough fruits and vegetables to at least last you a week. Buying in bulk is cheaper, right? But then it happens, after only 2-4 days some of your fruits and vegetables turned bad. But how can this happen? Turns out there is a rather simple explanation for it.  When certain fruits and vegetables are stored together, they cause early spoilage. This is because when fruits and vegetables approach maturity, ethylene is released. Ethylene promotes the ripening of fruits which can cause premature ripening in some foods, while in others it can actually cause damage. So, in order to reduce spoilage of your produce, make sure not to store ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables with those that are sensitive to it.

Check out this chart below to see what fruits and vegetables should NOT be stored together…

 

Ethylene-Producing FruitsEthylene-Sensitive Vegetables
AppleArugula
ApricotAsparagus
Asian pearBeans
AtemoyaBelgian endive
AvocadoBok choy
BananaBroccoflower
ChantaloupeBroccoli
CherimoyaBrussel sprouts
Crenshaw melonCabbage
Custard appleCactus leaves
DurianCarrot
FeijoaCauliflower
FigCelery
GuavaChard
Honeydew melonChayote squash
JackfruitChicory
KiwifruitChili pepper
Mamey sapoteChinese cabbage
MangoCollards
MangosteenCucumber
NectarineEggplant
Passion fruitEndive
PeachEscarole
PearGreen onion
Persian melonGreen tomato
PlumKailon
PruneKale
QuinceKiwano
PapayaLeek
PlantainLettuce
RambutanLongbean
SapoteMint
SoursopMushrooms
Okra
Parsnips
Potato
Snow peas
Spinach
Summer squash
Sweet pea
Turnip greens
Tomatillo
Watercress
Watermelon

This information was provided by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

If you want to dig deeper and learn more about your fruits and vegetables, check out the links below:

http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/Commodity_Resources/Fact_Sheets/

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fruit-nutrition-database

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/vegetable-nutrition-database

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What the Health – Chapter 1: Diabetes

What the health?!

An appropriate question/exclamation raised by Kip Anderson, the director of the critically acclaimed and mostly from the media ignored 2014 documentary ‘Cowspiracy’. In his 2014 documentary, Kip dealt with the environmental impact of our current food system. After his research, he named the meat and dairy agriculture and diet as the main destructive factors. ‘In what the health’, Kip now takes a look at the destructive consequences this animal-based lifestyle has on our own bodies.

 

Chapter 1 – Diabetes

Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food

– Hippocrates –

 

Worldwide roughly 315 million people suffer from diabetes. It is therefore no big stretch to talk about a diabetes epidemic. In the US, 1 out of 3 dollars of the Medicare budget is spent on diabetes, and 1 out of every 10 dollars of the total healthcare budget.

Governments and the media blame sugar and the lack of exercise as the leading causes of diabetes but diabetes researcher Dr. Neal Barnard thinks differently. He argues that diabetes is caused by a diet that builds up amounts of fat in the blood (such as an animal-based diet). Muscle cells build up tiny particles of fat which hinder sugar from getting into the cells and this consequently leads to a sugar build up in the blood. Dr. Barnard thus doesn’t see the causation of diabetes in the natural occurring sugars but in the fat build-up around the muscles which causes insulin resistance.

The EPIC study Prof. Nick Wareham of the Cambridge University confirms this. The study showed carbohydrates consumption is inversely related to diabetes -> more carbs, less diabetes. However, meat consumption has been shown to be strongly correlated to diabetes. One serving of processed meat a day increases risk of developing diabetes by 51%.

They even go further in their claims that carbohydrates cannot make you fat in and of themselves:
-> Carbs are stored as glycogen in the liver or are directly burned as calories whereas animal fat is directly stored as fat
-> Carbs cannot be turned into fat unless one has such a high calorie intake that the excess calories cannot be stored as glycogen or burnt right away anymore
-> Sugar in itself is therefore not the main problem (although it has no nutrients and basically is just excess calories). It doesn’t cause inflammation right away as well as doesn’t form plaques in your vessels.

 

The talk about sugar takes the talk away from the real problem which is meat, dairy, eggs, and poultry.

This information has been sourced from the ‘What the health’ documentary and from its website: http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/facts/

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What No One Tells You About: Fermented Foods

 

With the beginning of global gastronomy one of the biggest challenges was to have a large variety of fruits, vegetables and meats available throughout the whole year. As refrigerators have not been invented yet, humanity used preservation methods such as pickling or fermenting of produce in order to make them storable. The introduction of these techniques did not only make it possible to have different kind of seasonal ingredients available throughout the whole year, but also brought new flavor profiles and tasteful produce combinations to the market. Although fermentation has existed since thousands of years and fermented products are available throughout the entire globe, the 21th century brings fermentation back into the spotlight.

 

Fermentation opens the gates for an endless amount of new food production methods and flavors. While world-known fermented dishes such as sauerkraut, kimchi, fish sauce and miso have already gained global status as beloved foods, the market for fermented foods is currently the fasted growing sector, which amounted to $130 billion revenue for the functional food industry in 2015. Looking at the future outlook, the market is even estimated to grow by 7% each year due to new product innovations, higher individual spending power and more health conscious people.

 

But how is fermentation connected to health? Fermentation is the process of adding bacteria towards foods. Our digestion system accommodates many good bacteria and enzymes, which are responsible for our digestion and immune system. Eating fermented foods will feed these bacteria and therefore boost their growth. According to L. D’Agrosa, fermented foods therefore improve digestion, boost the immune system and help to get lean. Tempeh for example is made from naturally fermented soybeans and contains a large amount of probiotics- good bacteria that will help the human body digest and refuel.

 

According to Amanda Hamilton, the director of nutrition at Rhythm Health, peoples’ flavor preferences are already shifting and fermented foods are on the rise. Rhythm Health is focusing on kefir waters as part of their offerings, providing customers with lactose-free, fermented probiotic yoghurts and drinks. The company is focusing on combining healthy foods with tasteful and new flavors. Their kefir waters are blends, based on coconut milk, fruit juices and kefir cultures, mixing new combinations such as sauerkraut and coconut. Although these combinations are very uncommon, Rhythm Health wants to convince their customers through amazing taste and unique combinations.

 

I personally have gotten in contact with a lot of fermented foods within the
recent year, ranging from tempeh to yoghurt labeled with ‘live & active cultures’. Out of interest, I started doing my own kefir water. This does not only have health-benefits, but constantly allows me to try new flavors and combinations of ingredients.

Have you tried fermented foods yet? Or even make them yourselves? Let me know in the comments below! =)

-Written by an Unknown Foodie

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The 3rd Plate – A food revolution Vol. 2

Why establishing a 3rd plate?

So let’s continue where we left of and talk about the reasons for establishing a 3rd plate- eating habit.

The main drivers for aiming for a 3rd plate cuisine are the reduction of meat-proteins on our plates alongside an education for the diners themselves during their experience.

The reduction of meat is based on current insights, revealing that our current food and agricultural system is the main driver for climate change, rainforest destruction and species extinction: According to a report, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2006, raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than the emissions of the transportation sector. This implies that the meat and dairy industry produces more emissions than all cars, trucks, trains, boats and planes combined. ‘The UN reports that livestock does not only play a major role in global warming, but it is also the leading cause of resource consumption and environmental degradation, destroying the planet today’, (K. Anderson, 2014).

The transportation- and energy-sector have been receiving public attention due to their CO2-emissions, which are related to as a cause of global warming. When looking at the agricultural sector however, it becomes evident that raising livestock, specifically cattle produces 65% of the worlds Nitrous Oxide emissions, a gas with a 296-times higher potential to cause global warming in comparison to CO2.

While energy-emissions are expected to increase by 40% towards 2040, emissions from agriculture are expected to rise by alarmingly 80% towards 2050, mostly due to an expected rise in meat and dairy consumption.

According to environmental specialists at the World Bank group, animal agriculture is overall responsible for 51% of human-caused climate change, 91% of Amazon destruction, a leading cause of ocean dead zones, habitat destructions and species extinctions (K. Anderson, 2014).

Meat-eaters don’t like to hear it:

Taking the facts above into consideration it becomes evident, why companies and chefs want to educate their diners about the advantages of changing from a 1st to a 3rd plate cuisine: To feed one person on a plant-based diet for one year requires only 1/6th of an acre of land. To feed the same person on a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy requires already three times as much land while a meat-diet requires up to 18 times the amount of land being used. All three of these diets are calculated to feed a person with adequate calories, including nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This is because 37.000 lbs of vegetables can be grown on the same amount of land where 375 lbs of meat can be produced. A vegan diet in comparison to an omnivore diet produces only ½ as much CO2, uses 1/11th the amount of fossil fuels, 1/13th the amount of water and 1/18th the amount of land. A vegan diet saves 1100 gallons of water, 45 lbs. of grain, 30sq of forested land, 10lbs of CO2 and 1 animal’s life.

Should we all go vegan?

Demosthenes Maratos admits, that following a vegan diet is the most powerful thing someone can do for the environment (K. Anderson, 2014).

– Written by an Unknown Foodie

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The 3rd Plate – A food revolution Vol. 1

The third plate – A food revolution!

When I was asked to bring my opinion about the future of cuisine on paper, I became very exited. Not only is the future of cuisine a topic that caught my personal interest, but also is it a topic that concerns the entire human race, as everybody has to eat. In my opinion, the future of cuisine will be strongly linked to agricultural sustainability.

In order to enable a sustainable cuisine, I believe that it will be essential to switch the focus of cuisine from the 1st to the 3rd plate. I share this opinion with Dan Barber, a pioneer in the food industry.

The Third Plate

The 1st plate describes the traditional American diet, where a meat-protein is the center of the dish, counting for the most calories, while vegetables and grains are only minor side- dishes that don’t account for a large share of calories. It is typically for consumers of 1st plate cuisines to not be very interested about origin and source of the ingredients within their dishes. While the second plate still places the focus on a meat-protein source with vegetables and grains as minor side-dishes, consumers of this cuisine display an increased interest in the origin and source of their dishes. What was called a regular steak with fries within the 1st plate cuisine is now an angus-beef steak from New Zealand, served with Pont Neuf fries. The third plate however implicates a radical change. The meat-protein is no longer the center, the so-called ‘star’, of the dish, but has been degraded to be functioning as a side-dish while the main ingredient is based on a vegetable, grain or legume. In addition to the different distribution of nutritional share between carbohydrates, proteins and fats, consumers of the 3rd plate are also very interested about not only the source and origin of the products, but also the preparation techniques of the different ingredients. As the 3rd plate is also aiming for the highest form of sustainability in regards to agricultural farming and production, it is based on seasonal and where possible also local ingredients. This implicates, that the future of cuisine will not focus on providing a wide array of different products throughout the entire year, but connect eating with the current season, resulting in a smaller offer of different available ingredients, however, providing high-qualitative ingredients. Simply put, quantity will be replaced by quality, whereas quality is being defined as seasonal, non-gmo products with a low-carbon footprint that have been farmed organically (Dan Barber, 2014).

Blue Hill Farm & Restaurant

A good example of 3rd plate dining restaurants is Blue Hill in New York. In Blue Hill, Head Chef Dan Barber is focused on providing his guests with local and seasonal ingredients that have been produced under most sustainable conditions. Therefore, Mr. Barber aims to educate his consumers alongside their dining experience, serving alternative proteins, vegetables and grains as star of the plate and meat-proteins as side-dishes (See picture above, which is taken in the Blue Hill restaurant).

Sustainable is the way to go

While the most healthy food in regular grocery stores is very expensive, the real non chemical true vegetables are at a lower rate at Farmed Today. Going back to your summer plans, a healthy diet is good and one without a drop of any chemicals is great! As someone that is concerned about their health, you might want to keep yourself updated here.

 

-written by an Unknown Foodie