22 Chapters
Medium 9781591201595

1. Organic Goes Mainstream

Roseboro, Ken Basic Health Publications ePub

There is here and abroad, a slow, incremental, but ineluctable

movement toward food that nourishes both person and place,

that is grown with a far richer knowledge and awareness

of biology than can be found in the five-gallon cans of

chlorinated hydrocarbons provided by Shell or Uniroyal.

Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism:

Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

An Acme supermarket in suburban Westmont, New Jersey, looks like most other supermarkets in the United States. Bright, spacious, and clean with long aisles filled with thousands of foods, fresh to frozen. Yet, even here in a suburban supermarket, one cant help but notice a growing trend in the foods that Americans eat. There are new sections of the store with signs reading Organic Produce. There are old, familiar brand namesDole, Heinz, and Frito-Layon new, organic products, such as lettuce, ketchup, and corn chips. This Acme storealong with thousands of supermarkets nationwideis displaying many more foods labeled organic.

Once considered a counterculture fad of the 1960s and 1970s, organic foods have gone mainstream. Organic is a growing movement that is fundamentally changing the way food is grown, produced, and eaten in the United States and around the world. Organic provides a viable, life-supporting alternative to industrialized agriculture, whose methods are damaging human health, polluting the environment, and eroding soils.

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3. Form and Function: The Body Knows Best

Roseboro, Ken Basic Health Publications ePub

Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a seventeenth-century Dutch scientist, was astonished by what he saw through a microscope when viewing red corpuscles, body tissues, and various animalculahis term for tiny organisms. By using sophisticated techniques and instruments, the modern counterparts of van Leeuwenhoek can measure various substances at extremely low levels. These substances may be small but are often powerful and may enlarge our understanding of many disciplines, including nutrition, physiology, biochemistry, agriculture, and food science.

Nutrition. A substance in humans, if present in amounts less than 0.01 percent of the body, is considered to be a trace element. Intake of nutrients such as trace minerals and vitamins is vital to our well-being in amounts sometimes as low as micrograms (millionths of grams).

In the case of the trace mineral iodine, the difference between a normal and a severely retarded child may depend on 70 micrograms (mcg) or fewer daily (about two millionths of an ounce). To appreciate how small this amount really is, consider that the same child consumes a billion mcg of food and water daily.

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6. Healthier by Nature

Roseboro, Ken Basic Health Publications ePub

One day after spraying his fields with pesticides, Klaas Martens tried folding the sprayer to put it away but discovered that he couldnt move his right arm. It was paralyzed.

It was scary, says his wife, Mary-Howell, recalling the incident.

Martenss instant paralysis was caused by exposure to the toxic pesticides he sprayed on the couples 1,300-acre farm in Penn Yan, New York.

He later regained movement in the arm thanks to chiropractic treatments, but the paralysis was the latest in a series of health problems caused by pesticide exposure. There were also headaches and nausea.

Martens dreaded spraying. I knew I would feel rotten for a month after, he says.

He suffered despite taking precautions. While spraying, Martens wore a white, head-to-toe Tyvek suit with green plastic gloves.

Mary-Howell hated to see her husband suffer. Years later, she wrote, We wanted to believe that it [his sickness] was due to just a germ since he had been working such long hours, but we knew better. My husband was slowly being poisoned.

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4. Certified Organic

Roseboro, Ken Basic Health Publications ePub

For a food to be labeled organic, it must be certified as having been produced according to strict standards established by the U.S. Department of Agricultures National Organic Program (NOP). Certified organic foods feature the green and white USDA Organic seal.

Certification of organic foods began in the 1970s when organizations, such as California Certified Organic Farmers and the Northeast Organic Farming Association, saw the need to establish standards for producing and labeling organic foods. Farmers and food manufacturers that followed the standards would be certified organic, which would enhance the credibility of their product and assure consumers of the products quality.

As the organic food movement grew, more organic certification organizations were formed nationwide. The problem was that each certifier had its own standards and the term organic had no consistent meaning from state to state or from certifier to certifier, creating confusion. In addition, some food producers falsely promoted their products as organic when they werent certified, which angered organic farmers and food companies who adhered to the rules.

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7. Dispelling Some Popular Health Myths

Roseboro, Ken Basic Health Publications ePub

In 1994, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed to limit sodium in school feeding programs. The Salt Institute, a trade organization, promptly protested. The group contended that removal of high-sodium foods, such as milk and other dairy products, inevitably denies children other important nutrients such as calcium and potassium, present in such foods.

This challenge deserves scrutiny. The USDAs proposal, which forms public policy, is based solidly on scientific evidence. Correct? Incorrect!

Contrary to popular perception, universal sodium restriction is unnecessary, and possibly undesirable. A common notion is that sodium induces hypertension (high blood pressure) and that lowering sodium intake will prevent hypertension. Unfortunately, this notion has no scientific basis. Instead, many recent medical studies have brought into question the effectiveness and even the safety of universal sodium restriction.

There is a relationship between sodium and blood pressure, which is important for about 10 percent of the population, which is sodium-sensitive. For this group, sodium restriction is an important feature, along with other measures, for treatment. However, for about 90 percent of the population, there is no convincing scientific basis for the idea that sodium restriction will prevent hypertension.

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