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A resolution for a healthier life style
Going organic is a good way to begin


Anna May Kinney


The first day of a New Year is the time when most people ask themselves 'how has my life improved over the last year?' and 'what can I change that will improve my life style and myself during the coming year?' Then many of us resolve to make some drastic changes to our lives, these we all know as New Year's resolutions. Sadly most of them are quickly put on the back shelf the week after they are made.

Just guessing, I'd say that over fifty percent of these resolutions have to do with losing weight, getting healthy. We all know that crash diets just don't work, to get healthy one needs to commit to a long program, one that will not only change how much we put into our mouths, but WHAT we choose to eat.

No, I don't have the perfect diet for you; there is no such animal. But I can tell you that by changing the way you look at the food you eat, you will get healthier as the weight SLOWLY comes off, and it is weight that comes off slowly that stays off.

'Look' just may be the key word here. The biggest eye opener to good health is learning to read labels. Force yourself to read every ingredient, and then ask yourself "Do I really want this stuff in my system?"

The healthier food is usually the food that has been through the least processing; this is where high amounts of salt and fat are added. Learn to prepare your own meals, instead of opting for convenience.

When cooking for yourself, you can choose which fat you want to add. Most manufactures select low cost solid fats, like hydrogenated palm kernel oil, researchers claim that these transfats are even worse for the heart and arteries than animal fat and butter.

In most cases, it will cost you less to take the same recipe and make it using healthy pure vegetable, or olive oil. Nothing beats saving money and improving your family's health at the same time.
Once you realize that we can live and flourish without all those added chemical ingredients in our food, you start questioning the way the food has been grown, and asking 'what is my family getting along with their fruit and vegetables?' This is when your next step is to go organic.

Since starting this column four years ago, many people have asked me how they go about 'going organic', especially when living in an apartment and unable to grow their own food?
It has been a pleasure to direct them out of the aisles of their local grocery store, and into an organic retail co-op (there are about four in the Sherbrooke area). These co-ops offer a variety of bulk food, some certified organic and some not, again it is important to read the label.

Here, you become a member and buy in bulk at a far more reasonable price than your local health food store would offer, the larger the amount purchased the lower the price per pound or Kilogram. And for those who want some convenience and can afford to pay a little extra, they even offer healthy prepared meals.

It makes me sad when people tell me how they want to feed their family organically but just cannot afford it. There are so many ways to overcome the financial burden of higher priced organic food.
A family living in the city could find an organic farm and work a few hours on weekends in exchange for fruit and vegetables. Produce can be purchased in bulk during the summer when prices are low, then preserved for winter by freezing or canning.

Two or three families could take out a membership and buy in bulk and then divide large purchases. By dong this you would often wind up paying less per pound for the organic staples, then what you would pay in a regular grocery store.

A family from the city could offer help to someone living in the country in exchange for a tiny garden plot where they could grow their own food, while getting to spend time out in the fresh air together as a family.

When shopping with these same people, the ones who could not afford to buy organic, I watched as bags of chips, bottles of soda and bags of candy filled the shopping cart. It all boils down to priority, if you want something bad enough you find a way to do it.

So if you are in the mood for a New Year's resolution, how about resolving to change the way you look at food this coming year and see if you feel any better when looking back next December 31.
Almost all my questions this week had to do with last week's article on the new U.S. regulations for Organic foods. Many people want to know what the regulations are like here in Canada.

Here is what I do know: For a farm to be declared Certified Organic, the soil and crops must remain free of chemical applications for one to three years. (Canadian standards.) Organic farms are subject to verification through soil testing and inspection by an impartial certified agent.

The definition of organic is; Organically grown food is any food product grown by using natural farming methods that do not make use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. In addition, organic farmers build up the fertility of the soil by using natural methods such as crop rotation, natural fertilizers, and tilling methods that do not harm the environment, wildlife or humanity.

The new U.S. regulations covers things that I have not yet found covered under the Canadian certification process. Such as the ban on human sewer sludge being used on organic crops, or whether genetically engineered foods and irradiated food are included, these are things I have not been able to find information about. If you know where I can obtain this information I would be more than glad to pass it along.

As things stand now, organic food imported from the U.S. is looking better all the time, it is up to us the consumer to check into Canadian regulations, and if we find them falling behind U.S. standards to insist that new tighter regulations are put in force.
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