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Locally Grown, Organically Grown - You Are What You Eat

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Why Eat Organically Grown Food?

Just as we are what we eat, fruits and vegetables are what they eat, too. Food labeled "organic" is grown without artificial pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. Organic farmers use compost (which is "all natural") and "green" fertilizer to provide nourishment to their crops. Cattle and other livestock raised organically receive neither antibiotics nor growth hormones, and eat feed that is itself raised and harvested on organic farms.

In part because they are locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of antioxidants than produce grown via other methods. Antioxidants are powerful, health-promoting biochemicals that help prevent a wide variety of diseases, including inflammatory diseases and cancer. Organically grown food not only tastes better but is actually good for you, which of course is what we want our food to be.

There is much wisdom in the saying "you are what you eat", but food today is not the food of yesterday. We need to actually work at getting the amount of nutrients that's going to help keep us healthy and well.

Our genetic heritage was not designed for an urban environment. Our digestive systems, for example, were not optimized for high-starch diets, fast food, and canned fruits and vegetables. The energy requirements of our cells were designed to be based on glucose metabolism. But glucose was originally obtained from readily available fresh produce and whole grains, in the form of complex carbohydrates. When our tissues were originally designed there were no such things as processed flour or sweeteners.

At the dawn of man, protein sources were derived from the local fauna - the local birds and beasts. These animals were not fed antibiotics and were not raised on pesticide-treated grasses. They were not caged and forced to grow up in close proximity to dozens and hundreds of fellow creatures. They roamed freely and randomly, ranging over wide stretches of open territory. As a result, their value as food sources was very high.

Today, unless we make a special effort, our food sources are significantly compromised. Until recently, those living in cities were only able to purchase produce that had traveled long distances over many days to reach their stores. The nutritional value of these fruits and vegetables was necessarily substantially degraded. The nutritional content of protein sources - meat, fowl, fish, dairy, and eggs - were likewise degraded by chemical additives, antibiotics, and draconian living conditions.

New food-producing methods, available for the last 30 years but much more so recently, have enabled consumers to put high-quality food on their tables.1,2,3 The slogan "eat locally" has become a possibility for even the most entrenched urban areas such as New York City. Farmers markets spring up weekly and monthly in most cities, suburbs, and the surrounding countryside. Organically grown food - produce, fish, meat, fowl, and dairy - is widely available, even in supermarket chains.

We now have more healthy food options than were available at any time within the last 50 years. It is possible to reverse the diabetes and obesity epidemics that have spread across countries like the United States. It is possible to restore health and well-being to millions people across the globe. Chiropractic care can be of great assistance in this process. Your chiropractor is a nutritional expert and will be able to help you design food plans that will work for you and your family.

1Wang SY: Fruit quality, antioxidant capacity, and flavonoid content of organically and conventionally grown blueberries. J Agric Food Chem 56(14):5788-5794, 2008
2Nitika S, et al: Physico-chemical characteristics, nutrient composition and consumer acceptability of wheat varieties grown under organic and inorganic farming conditions. Int J Food Sci Nutr 59(3:):224-245, 2008
3Dani C, et al: Phenolic content and antioxidant activities of white and purple juices manufactured with organically- or conventionally-produced grapes. Food Chem Toxicol 45(12):2574-2580, 2007
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