The Blog

Beat Your Food Cravings!

By Kim Banting,

Tips to Confront Overeating

At Parties:

  1. If it is potluck, bring something you enjoy and know you can eat guilt-free.

  2. Eat what you want, but in moderation. If there are bacon-wrapped scallops on the table and they are calling your name, have one. Otherwise you may end up overindulging in other snacks as a distraction.

  3. Don’t overdo it. Enjoy the food, but remember to keep portion sizes small and balanced. Eat slowly, savouring the food and avoid choosing only foods with poor nutrition.

  4. Eat at home before you go out. Choose a snack that is nutritious and high in protein such as tuna salad on flax crackers or a bowl of hearty bean soup. Being satisfied will help you control your cravings.

  5. Focus on the people rather than the food. Position yourself in conversations away from the food and keep your back turned to it.

  6. Drink in moderation and eat before you drink to prevent a drop in blood sugar. Also, drink plenty of water. In fact, take 1 full glass of water to every alcoholic drink you have.

  7. If you do overindulge, get back on track the next morning with a nutritious breakfast and add an extra 30 minutes to your exercise routine.

Stress Induced, Other:

  1. Wait. Cravings will often disappear after 15-30 minutes.

  2. Cravings will often disappear with distraction, so focus your attention on something else. If you can’t stop thinking about that food, then choose to eat a smaller serving or indulge in a healthier option.

  3. If you tend to have specific times of the day where you are inclined to binge or crave poor food choices, having something non food related to look forward to can help deter the craving.

  4. Keep healthy snacks on hand for quick snacking at times of day you know you tend to want poor choices.

  5. Keep your food journal posted on the fridge. It reminds you to think before you are eating. Post-it notes on your snack cupboard with messages about your goals can be great, positive reminders as well.

  6. Make rules around food, such as you only eat while sitting down with no distractions or you always set your fork down between bites. Your focus on your meal will help you become more aware of your body’s signals of satisfaction.

  7. Find a friend who is like-minded about food and eating. Support is a key to success.

  8. Don’t skip meals and choose wholesome, balanced meals and snacks to nourish your body. Proper nutrition is key to overcoming cravings.

  9. Refuse to allow others to sabotage you or break your resolve. People who aren’t ready for health changes often have a hard time supporting people who are ready and will unconsciously push you to join them in indulgence.

  10. Every time you resist the urge to purchase junk foods, put the money you would have spent in a jar and watch it grow. Indulge in an item you have really wanted or better yet, new clothes for the new you!

  11. Never shop when hungry. Make a list, set a budget and stick to it.

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Conscious Eating Workshop

By Kim Banting,

http://studio89.org/#calendar

 

Let’s reconnect with our food!

We all live fast-paced, busy lives.

Many of us are grabbing convenience foods and eating on the run.

It’s time to slow down, pay attention to what we are eating and shift gently into making healthier choices.

Join me on November 16th, 2015 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at Studio89 http://studio89.org/ at 1065 Canadian Place, unit 104, Mississauga, ON for a fascinating discussion about how food affects our brains and bodies, followed by a Conscious Eating meditation that will help you to discover the TRUE JOY of eating!

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Scared of Saturated Fats? Read This!

By Kim Banting,

We only know as much as our current scientific research has shared with us.  It changes constantly and contributes to a lot of confusion when it comes to our health and what foods we consider to be wholesome or harmful.  Saturated fat is another confusing food to contemplate. For the past 60 years, we have been advised to reduce or eliminate saturated fats and cholesterol from our diets and substitute them with polyunsaturated fats, however, the current evidence does not support these guidelines and the adverse health effects associated with the consumption of saturated fats are most likely due to other factors.

In 1955, scientific researcher, Ansel Keys introduced his lipid hypothesis which claimed that dietary fat raised blood cholesterol and increased the risk of heart disease.  Initially he blamed all fats, but eventually he pointed his finger at saturated fat alone and stated that unsaturated fats such as vegetable oil were beneficial, while saturated fats from meat and eggs were harmful.  Health Canada jumped on board, telling us to avoid butter, eggs, meat and high fat dairy foods and emphasized the low fat diet craze to prevent Cardiovascular Disease.  The public bought this advise and switched to margarine, leaner meats and fish, but heart disease has risen anyway.

In a recent British Medical Journal review, titled “Saturated Fat is Not The Major Issue”, Dr. Aseem Malhotra wrote “saturated fat has been demonized ever since Ansel Key’s landmark “7 Countries” study in 1970.”  http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6340  When Ansel Keys shared his theory, many other researchers pointed out that there were many other factors that could have been contributing to heart disease, and that Mr. Keys conveniently excluded information that did not support his ideas.  The countries he chose for his 7 countries study with the highest rates of heart disease were also the countries with the highest sugar consumption, yet this was quietly swept under the carpet.  In spite of critics pointing out the discrepancy, the public ate it up and began to consume inflammatory vegetable oils and trans fats while avoiding saturated fat like the plague.  Until the mid-90′s, scientific researchers assured us that trans fats were complete harmless.

While some fats do raise cholesterol, and others lower it, it is not total cholesterol that is of such importance, so much as the type of cholesterol.  Your total ratio of HDL to LDL is very important, but so is the type of LDL!  I will get to this in a bit.  For now, let’s agree that saturated fat raises both HDL and LDL where sugar only lowers HDL.  This is important, because HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad.  Next, the quality, or source of your saturated fat is crucial.  A fast food burger, or any beef that is mass produced in a CAFO is NOT quality meat.  (CAFO stands for Confined Agricultural Feeding Operation)  The animals raised in CAFO’s are never exposed to a grass pasture.  They spend their entire existence in a concrete or mud enclosure, knee-deep in their own waste.  They are fed genetically modified corn and soy, which is not their natural diet.  This feed is designed to make them gain their maximum weight in the shortest time.  These animals are depressed and sick and must be given antibiotics to combat the bacterial growth that is inevitable given their living conditions and poor diet.

Grass-fed cattle are raised in what we would typically think of as the family farm environment.  They are let out to pasture daily to graze on plants.  They move around in a clean environment and get exercise.  These cows are only supplemented with organic feed if necessary during harsh winters.  These are healthy, happy animals and nutritionally they are far superior to CAFO animals.  Just consider two humans: one who eats plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and gets regular exercise to another who eats mainly processed and refined foods and lays around indoors-who will be in better health?  Grass-fed cows are lower in saturated fat than grain-fed cows and this saturated fat is higher in stearic acid (does not raise cholesterol and may even lower LDL), and lower in palmitic acid and myristic acid which raise cholesterol.

Our understanding of cholesterol has changed over the years; not only do we know that HDL is healthy and LDL is bad, but within LDL cholesterol there are molecules that are large and fluffy (good) and some molecules that are small and dense (bad), meaning some LDL is good.  Eating some saturated fats like coconut oil will help to raise this healthy cholesterol.  As an added bonus, many saturated fats have properties that make them anti-microbial which helps our immune system and they are fuel for our mitochondria which helps boost energy and metabolism.  That’s right, some fat will help you burn calories!

When studying the causes of any disease, we must always look at all possibilities.  In the research on Cardiovascular Disease, saturated fat and cholesterol got the bad press while sugar flew under the radar.  Sugar, especially HFCS and other highly refined, man-made sugars have been on higher consumption for the past 70 years, just like the increase in Cardiovascular Disease!

  • 1830: 15lbs/capita, mostly molasses-today: 150lbs/capita, mostly HFCS
  • 1900: 1/3 of people lived on a farm-today: 1% of people live on a farm
  • 1910: type 2 Diabetes affected 1 in 30-today: 1 in 3 is at risk
  • 1910: butter consumption was 18lbs per person per year and CVD was <10%-today:  we eat <4lbs per year and CVD is >45%!

In the early 1900′s, butter and lard were staples in every home, but far less sugar was consumed and heart attacks were rare.  None of our sugar came from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) but in the past 30 years, since it has been introduced, we have seen obesity and chronic diseases skyrocket!  A high sugar and refined carb diet may increase your risk of CVD by 4 times; specifically heart attacks!

Dietary guidelines limit saturated fat intake to a maximum of 10% of calories, but there has been no limit to sugar intake to date.  Sugar contributes to increased triglycerides, lower HDL and higher LDL as well as inflammation, which is the precursor to all chronic disease.  We have been eating more and more highly processed foods that are labelled low-fat and fat-free, but if you inspect the label, you will see that the fat has been replaced by sugar and total carbs is very high in low-fat foods.  Bottom line: do not fear saturated fat, but do choose healthy sources like coconut oil, grass-fed beef and eggs from pastured hens.  Eat a diet that is abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables and limit sugar of all kinds.  If your great grandparents wouldn’t recognize it as food, don’t eat it!

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Nourish to Flourish!

By Kim Banting,

I am now offering a new service to those in the Mississauga and Brampton area.  Nourish to Flourish is anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, dairy-free meals delivered to your door!

I have found that the weak link for many of my clients is finding the time to prepare food for themselves.  Oftentimes people are cooking for their whole family and some family members aren’t interested in eating this type of food.  Other times people may be intimidated of cooking and using new ingredients.

There is no more need to sacrifice your health.  If you are one of the many people who need a specific diet or simply want to eat for optimal wellness, this service is for you!  Each week I will send you the next week’s menu choices.  $100 per week covers 5 main meals and 2 snacks/desserts.  Each dish is carefully prepared from fresh, local, seasonal and mostly organic ingredients.

Call me for more information!  647.202.7649

 

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Food Addiction and Binge Eating

By Kim Banting,

Why do we struggle with an uncontrollable desire to eat the wrong foods, even though we know they are harmful to our health?  Processed foods contain carefully combined flavours and other sensory factors designed to keep us wanting more.  This makes them highly addictive and is very different from whole foods  which have taste and consistency of which is created in nature and therefore work with your body to satiate hunger and cravings.

Refined sugar is as addictive as cocaine, but sugar is not the sole culprit in food addiction.  ”Flavour science” is how food manufacturers combine specific flavours and textures to create Frankenfoods that we can’t get enough of.  Have you ever tried to make from scratch something you would normally buy at the store, like ice cream?  Your version will be very different in taste and consistency than the store-bought version.  Some people find this difference unappealing, but this is only because you have been trained to think the processed version is superior.  Everything that comes in a package has been enhanced to achieve a desired product.  Junk food manufacturers use “food science” to bring processed foods to extraordinary levels and create what is referred to as the “bliss point”.  This seriously confuses and muddles your body’s metabolism.  For example, artificial sweeteners disrupt your metabolic response to real sugar, exacerbating obesity and diabetes.  Your body isn’t fooled by a sweet taste with zero calories, so it keeps signaling to your brain to continue eating because the point of satisfaction isn’t reached.

What is Food Science?

Food science is how scientists change the properties of food to get a specific quality.  Below are the factors that are considered when a new product is being developed:

  1. Taste and Mouth Feel.   This one is pretty self-explanatory.  The company designing the product has hired people called super tasters to go to produce farms to taste the food grown there and those super tasters then go to the laboratory and assist the scientists to create a flavour, such as strawberry, that is a sweeter, stronger, strawberry-er flavour than any you have ever tasted before.  There may be dozens of vials of “strawberry” flavour in the lab, and together, these people work to choose the most appealing version that will keep the consumer buying their product over a competitior’s.
  2. Macronutrient Content of Food:  The combination of fat, sugar and salt plus additonal flavourings target the brain’s reward centre and it keeps you wanting more.  The reward centre is the area of your brain that pumps out happy hormones, like dopamine.  This gives a chemical feeling of pleasure that can be worn out over time, similar to insulin resistance.
  3. Dynamic Contrast:  Is when a combination of contrasting sensations produces a pleasurable experience; biting through a crunchy chocolate shell into a soft, creamy centre, also called orosensation.
  4. Salivation Response:  Boosts the taste and feelings of pleasure, the food almost swims around the mouth, coating the taste buds. Foods that promote salivation are butter, chocolate, ice cream, mayonaise.  Salivation triggers desire to continue eating.
  5. Rapid Food Meltdown and Vanishing Caloric Density:  (Can you believe this?!??!  The people making food for us to eat actually consider these things.  This is an actual thing!)  Foods that melt quickly in the mouth trick your brain into thinking you aren’t really eating as much as you are.  Cheetos has perfected this.
  6. Sensory Specific Response:  Repetitive flavours  or flavour overload tend to lead to decreased sensations of pleasure.  You “get tired” of eating the same flavour again and again.  Your palate can even tire of a flavour in minutes.  Food manufacturers get around this by creating more complex flavour and sensory profiles.  The greatest successes from food and beverages owe their craveability to formulas that pique taste buds just enough without overwhelming.  This overrides your brain’s inclination to say “enough”.
  7. Caloric Density:  Junk food is designed to convince your brain that it is getting nutrition, but not fill you up.  This is accomplished by combining an ideal number of calories to prevent satiety signals from going off.  Receptors in the mouth tell your brain about how many carbs, protein and fat you are eating and how filling it is.  Compare eating chips with eating a salad.  You could continue eating more and more chips, but with the salad, you will reach a point where you are satisfied.
  8. Memories of Past Eating Experiences:  The psychobiology of junk food works against you.  When you eat something tasty, your brain registers this feeling and experience and logs it away.  Your brain picks up information that you aren’t even aware of like the temperature in the room, the sounds around you and so much more.  This is significant, because the next time you see, smell, read about or think about that food, it triggers the memory of the past experience making it impossible to resist eating it.

All of this is part of making a bag of cookies, snack cakes, french fries, etc.  How do you feel knowing that this is the manipulation that goes into creating food for people to eat?  Do you feel helpless, or powerless to fight it?  Remember this:  the more processed junk food you eat, the more you will come to crave it.  However, when you begin replacing junk food with whole, natural, unprocessed, high-quality, nutrient-dense foods, this is what your body will begin to want more of.  Junk food becomes less appealing over time.  When you make the effort to choose the better option, your body gradually detoxifies and your mood and energy levels begin to shift.  You sleep better, you wake up feeling rested, you want to exercise and you look forward to each and every day!  You will simply become motivated to keep it up.

For more information on why we over eat, read the article attached: http://www.cspinet.org/nah/07_09/julaug09us1.pdf

 

 

 

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Health Canada Proposes New Nutrition Facts Label

By Kim Banting,

 

Health Canada has recognized the need to improve the overall look and user-ability of the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient list on packaged foods. At this very time, there are changes being suggested and the new proposed look is available for us to examine. The changes are meant to make the label easier to read, easier to understand and to reflect the latest scientific information. However, it isn’t completed yet and you have the opportunity to have your voice and opinion heard! This link will take you to Health Canada’s website and there is space for you to offer your suggestions to help make this label the best it can possibly be.

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I’m going to compare the current label with the new proposals and offer my humble opinion on what else may be of value.

Current label:

At the top we begin with the serving size. Right now, similar products do not have consistent serving sizes, making it difficult to make a choice.  Yogurt, for example can have serving sizes of 1/3 cup, ½ cup or ¾ cup. If you are trying to compare the nutritional value of two different serving sizes, it can be confusing. Especially if you are shopping in a hurry or have your children along with you! The serving size also doesn’t always accurately or realistically represent how much the average person really eats.

Next we have the % Daily Value which lets the purchaser know how much of a day’s worth of the nutrient is in the serving (if you measure out and eat the suggested serving size). All of the daily percentages are based on the serving size at the top of the label, so it is important to keep in mind that if you double the suggested serving, you are doubling all of the values. This may seem like common sense, but many of us are not measuring our food, and often are eating far more than the recommended amount. Also, keep in mind that the footnote at the bottom of the panel will tells us that the values are based on a 2000 calorie diet, and it will only apply if that is what you also are eating.  (I’m not recommending a 2000 calorie diet for everyone, fyi)

The above label shows that one serving of this product is 160 calories and that 90 of these calories come from fat. That is about 55% and that may be too much depending on what the food is and the type of fat. Remember, fat is far more dense than protein or carbohydrate, giving us 9 calories per gram of food as opposed to 4 calories per gram. While fat is an important nutrient for healthy cells, balanced hormones and a well functioning brain and nervous system, if you are eating a diet that comes mainly from packaged foods, you are not getting healthy fats and you are likely getting far too much.

All of the nutrients at the top of the label (fat, cholesterol and sodium) are the nutrients we are advised to reduce by Health Canada. A percent daily value of 5 or less is considered low and is recommended here. At the bottom of the label are the nutrients we want to get high amounts of (fibre, protein and selected vitamins and minerals). A value of 20% or higher is recommended.

Now compare with the new proposed panel above. Standardized serving sizes will require manufacturers to make “serving sizes” consistent and to better reflect the amount of food people really eat. Calories will move higher and be in larger, bold font to quickly find. There are separate daily values each for fat, saturated fat and trans fat, where before there was only a percentage for total fat and saturated fat. There will be new, updated % values for sodium and sugar which will reflect Health Canada’s new guidelines. Also, carbohydrates now fall into the category of nutrients of health concern that we are advised to limit. This is interesting because in 2004, when the World Health Organization (WHO) tried to include a 10% added sugar limit in the Global Strategy for Diet, Physical Activity and Health, the US Congress, under pressure from the sugar industry lobby, threatened to withdraw US funding for the agency. The direct reference to the 10% was withdrawn from the final report. Which begs the question: who’s best interest does WHO have in mind?

There will now be a % daily value for total sugars as well as a line to indicate the added sugars. 10% added sugars is equal to 13 tsp. Health Canada is recommending total sugars daily, including naturally occurring and added, of 100 grams, which equals 25 tsp. However, they do state that less than 5% added sugars, or 6 tsp would be better. Remember this: in any and all sugars, there are 4 calories per gram, 4 grams per tsp and this adds up to 16 calories per tsp. That adds up to 400 calories per day with 25 tsp. Do we really need 400 calories per day of sugar?

As for vitamins and minerals, there will now be absolute amounts on the label where before we only had a % DV and Vitamin D and potassium will be replacing Vitamins A and C.

A new change will also be in effect for the ingredient list on packaged foods. Lists will be mandated to look consistent from package to package, will have a separate title, minimum font size and be black type on a white background, making it much easier to locate. Bullets will clearly separte ingredients and the entire list will appear in a box. Manufacturers will also be required to group similar ingredients together, helping consumers to more easily find hidden sugars. Currently, labels do not distinguish between added and naturally occurring sugars, such as the sugars found in fruit and dairy.

It is my opinion that this is a great improvement to the Nutrition Facts panel, but I have a couple of other suggestions as well:

  1. There is no mandate to include the number of servings per container either currently, or on this new panel. This would be useful for people to quickly scan the size of the package and ask if it is enough food to satisfy in the suggested size serving or would one need to eat the whole package?
  2. Health claims such as “whole grain” or “antioxidants” should give the %DV of the ingredient used in the claim.
  3. To keep the new guidelines for sugar clear, % values for total sugars and added sugars should be included, as well as the number of calories from sugar.
  4. Highlighting or using a bright colour such as red would quickly bring your eye to very high values for the foods to limit (such as trans fat or added sugars) when they exceed the recommended amount.

Be sure to visit Health Canada’s website for more information and to offer any of your suggestions!

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Have a healthy day,

Kim Banting, RNCP

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Gluten-free Eating Is Easy

By Kim Banting, Tags:

Gluten-free Eating Is Easy

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt, oats, kamut, triticale and barley.  This tiny molecule can be responsible for so many illnesses it is difficult to count them all.  In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine has listed 55 “diseases” that are connected to eating gluten-containing foods.

Gluten sensitivity should not be confused with Celiac disease which is a severe autoimmune reaction to gluten, or with a wheat allergy which has it’s own specific antibodies.  However, millions of people are suffering from undiagnosed gluten intolerance which wreaks havoc on their health.

Gluten containing grains were introduced into Europe in the Middle Ages and 30% of people of European descent carry the gene for Celiac that makes them susceptible to health issues from eating gluten.  A sensitivity of intolerance to gluten can develop at any time in your life.  It has a slow onset and such a broad range of symptoms that it can be very difficult to diagnose.  Every person will experience a different combination and severity of health problems, including but not limited to:

  • gas
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • weight changes
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • poorly formed stools
  • fat in the stools
  • aching joins
  • headaches
  • depression
  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • hyperactivity
  • inability to concentrate
  • brain fog
  • exhaustion
  • eczema
  • cramps, tingling, numbness
  • infertility
  • miscarriage
  • irregular menstrual cycles
  • slow growth
  • poor dental health

These complaints can often seem innocuous and unrelated to anything we have eaten, however, left unaddressed these can grow in severity and cause great damage to our various body systems.  While it is always important to eat whole, nutritious food, it may be even more so during times of stress, trauma, surgery, infection and childbirth.  These conditions have been shown to be possible triggers for new gluten sensitivity or can worsen the effects of an existing sensitivity.

What should you do if you suspect you may be sensitive to gluten?  There are 3 ways of testing yourself:

  1. The skin prick test is where your skin is exposed to allergens and observed for signs of a reaction.  This type of testing is most effective for detecting IgE antibodies.  These types of reactions are immediate and severe such as with rashes, sudden digestive disturbances, anaphylaxis, etc.
  2. Allergy spot testing is used more for IgG reactions, or delayed onset.  This test takes drops of blood from a finger prick and can detect sensitivity reactions to gluten and various other foods.
  3. The elimination diet can be used if the above tests don’t show any antibodies.  Eliminate all gluten-containing foods from the diet for a minimum of 2 weeks (4-6 is better) will allow all gluten residues to leave the body.  Upon reintoduction of gluten, observe any reaction at all that has not been noticed previously.  If you eat gluten and no reaction occurs, wait 2 days and eat a good sized portion of gluten again.  If still no reaction occurs, this is not likely to be the problem food.  This testing method can be used to determine any food sensitivity.

What to do if you find you are sensitive to gluten?  You must eliminate it from your diet completely by avoiding known grains as well as foods containing hidden sources:

http://www.glutenfreehelp.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/TS-Hidden-Sources-of-Gluten1.pdf

  • soy sauce
  • white vinegar
  • alcohol
  • processed foods
  • veggie burgers, sausages, etc.
  • malt
  • some vitamins, minerals and other supplements
  • personal hygeine products such as some shampoos, lipstick, toothpaste, soaps and sunscreen
  • stamps, envelopes, stickers

Learn to read food labels and ingredient lists, choose to prepare your own healthy, whole food meals or look to a health professional for guidance on how to create a meal plan that is right for you.  This is the most effective way to ensure you are not eating hidden gluten.  Yes, it is difficult in the beginning while shopping for and trying out new foods, but it does get easier.  You will discover new foods you may not have eaten before, you will be cutting out a lot of processed junk foods that you shouldn’t be eating anyway and you will find a new, revitalized state of health!  Speaking from experience, I know that waking each day feeling amazing becomes addictive and I rarely get cravings for the foods that caused me discomfort before.  Many people with an intolerance can cut out the offending food for a period of time and later be able to eat small amounts of that food, but for most of us it is a life-long change that in my opinion is a great one!

Health and happiness,

Kim

 

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From Farm to Plate

By Kim Banting,

From Farm to Plate

Our food supply is threatened.  What does that mean?  How is it threatened? More importantly, why, and is it too late to correct this problem?The massive use of GMO crops, spraying of pesticides and herbicides and using chemical fertilizers has changed the way the world farms. Farming is big business.  People need to eat and most of us are now far too distracted with keeping up with society’s demands on us that we don’t take the time to consider where the food we are eating came from or how it got to our plate.  Some make what they believe to be conscious choices, such as buying organics, but the food industry is a complicated system and we can no longer trust that we are always being offered safe, healthy food. 

 The agricultural system changed in the 1940′s when men were away to fight in the war.  At this time what is known as factory farming began to take shape.  Tractors and other machinery were brought in to replace the work horse and mule and a monoculture was introduced to the family farm.  Monoculture is the growing of vast fields of the same crop or livestock, year after year without allowing the land to rest and regenerate.  Farmers were supposed to see greater yields with this style of farming, yet there is no evidence of this being the case.  Before this, farmers would create a polyculture by rotating their fields for animal grazing and a variety of crop growth.  This encourages a natural balance and biodiversity that is essential if a farmer wants to maintain the integrity of his or her land and the health of the food grown there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=sYWYU5V8JOo   This type of farming strives to mimic nature in all aspects and produces nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and healthy, happy animals that have no need for medication.  It also discourages pests, eliminating the need for pesticides.  Actually, the current popular method of planting large fields of the same crop has increased the need for pesticides instead of reducing it as was promised by the companies that introduced the idea.

The face of organic farming has also changed in recent years.  Approximately 15 years ago, larger corporations saw the revenue to be made in organics and wanted a piece of the pie.  This is why we can purchase cookies, sugary cereals and other highly processed foods with an organic label.  We can no longer assume that organic foods have the benefits we have come to expect.  So now what do we buy if we want quality food with a conscience?  The new keywords to watch for are “local”, “sustainable” and “transparent”. 

  •  Buying local (within 100 miles of your home) improves your economy and you are more likely to be purchasing from a small, family farmer. 
  • Sustainable means that the methods used promote rich, fertile soil, less disease and fewer pests without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  The land’s resources will not be damaged or depleted and the animals are fed a species-appropriate diet.
  • Transparent means that you will not be turned away if you want to see the farm yourself.  The farmer will be proud to share his practices with the consumer. 

This is not the case with corporate farming, not even organic.  Organic foods are shipped to us from all over the world, there is much secrecy surrounding the production of commercial organics and these companies are still using a monoculture system which has been proven to be unproductive.  In fact, small farms that had previously been certified organic have begun decertifying their farms which has led to these new labels to identify quality food.

When we buy organics, we are told what we aren’t getting in our food: pesticides, synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, GMO, etc. This is good, but what if conventionally-grown foods also had to be labelled with what they do contain?  http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/ Would people continue to purchase it?  Would people still buy bacon if they knew where it came from or understood what that animal’s life experience was before it was slaughtered?  We have the right to know where our food comes from and what happens to it from the farm to our plates.  We, as consumers, also have a responsibility to seek out the healthiest, safest, most humane and eco-friendly foods we can find. 

What happens on your plate represents your most important engagement with the natural world and your biggest impact on the Earth.” ~Michael Pollan, “The Omnivores Dilemma”

Health and happiness,

Kimberly Banting, RNCP, HHP

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Eat Your Way to A Healthy Brain

By Kim Banting, Tags: , , , ,

Eat Your Way to A Healthy Brain

WHO defines mental health as “a state of complete mental, physical and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease” and states that diseases of the brain affect 1.1 billion people worldwide.  http://www.who.int/topics/mental_health/en/  1 in 4 people will be affected at any point in their lifetime.

Read More…

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You Are What You Eat…Absorb and Assimilate

By Kim Banting, Tags: ,

You Are What You Eat….Absorb and Assimilate

You are only as healthy as your digestive tract.  Many of us take for granted the work our bodies do for us until they fail us.  According to Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive diseases.  30,000 Canadians die each year from diseases of the digestive system. http://www.cdhf.ca/digestive-disorders/statistics.shtml  In fact, the epidemic of digestive disorders in this country is so common they are often considered normal! Read More…

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