What is Organic? Part C

“Organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. Specific requirements must be met and maintained in order for products to be labeled as “organic”.

Organic foods provide a variety of benefits. Some studies show that organic foods have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, According to most health experts, consuming fruits and vegetables with a small amount of pesticides poses a very small health risk. Also, large-scale studies suggest the residues are not likely to be an important risk factor for cancer, especially because of the known health benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables, regardless of how they are grown.
hand_in_soil-resized-600
Organic crops must be grown in safe soil, have no modifications, and must remain separate from conventional products. Farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.

Organic food is often fresher. Fresh food tastes better. Organic food is usually fresher when eaten because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.
organic-farming
Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution (air, water, soil), conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. In addition, organic farming is better for birds and small animals as chemical pesticides can make it harder for creatures to reproduce and can even kill them. Farming without pesticides is also better for the people who harvest our food.

what do the labels mean?

-100% Organic means all ingredients (except water and salt) and foods are completely organic and GMO-free.

-Certified Organic or USDA Certified Organic means 95% of the ingredients are organic and usually GMO-free.

-Made with Organic means up to (did you catch that? “up to”) 70% of the ingredients are organic and not usually GMO-free.

nutrition-organic-conventional-farming

 

Author: Kira 

Healthy Subscription Box!

 

 

The BerryCart Box

BerryCart is a new monthly subscription box that will allow people to try 9-10 organic, non-GMO, and all-around healthy products.  Enjoy new snacks and exclusive cash-back rebates to use in your app!

Sneak Peak: In the April box, we currently have 9 products, 5 are full-sized.  Here is the breakdown:

–        8 Non-GMO

–        5 Organic

–        6 gluten-free

–        4 Vegan

–        3 Kosher

–        4 Soy Free

–        5 Dairy-Free

berrybox-app-promo

Enjoy a $5 cash back rebate with our new BerryCart Box too, good for either 1 month or 3 month plan!

5-off-box-rebate

And…

Did you know that if you refer a BerryCart Box to a new subscriber that orders, that $5 is applied to your account?

Happy BerryCart’in!

berrycartbox

Author: Christine

Which Oils Are Good For You?

As we all know, not all fats are created equal. Back in the day, you might remember your grandmother saving bacon drippings to cook with, or at least you heard about it. We’ve learned a lot since then, so let’s take a look at some modern findings:

 

Olive oil

Olive oil is not only flavorful, but good for you. This oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are known to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the healthy kind of cholesterol (HDL). To increase this benefit, high-polyphenol virgin olive oil has been found to have an even greater benefit than regular olive oil.

oliveoil

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil contains all of the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids that a human body needs.  It has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omeg-3, a balance shown to be ideal for the cardiovascular system. It also contains fatty acids that are known to be crucial for brain and optical health. In fact, pregnant women are encouraged to include hemp oil in their diets to aid in the development of their growing infant. Hemp oil is also good for mood regulation and immune system health, as well as intestinal health.

Topically, hemp oil is easily absorbed into the skin and excellent for moisturizing  poor skin conditions or as a base for healing blends, treating psoriasis, eczema, itchiness, and irritated skin.

hempoil

Avocado Oil

This tasty oil is especially rich in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein absorption. It is found to lower cholesterol, and to be good for your kidneys by improving kidney function through the way the way kidneys respond to hormones.

Avocado oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help stimulate cartilage growth and repair. One study also noted that it helped ease the symptoms of knee and hip arthritis as well as helped prevent periodontal disease

When blended with Vitamin B12, it has also been found to be an excellent topical treatment for psoriasis.

avocadooil

Apricot Oil

Apricot oil has a sweet, nutty aroma. As a food, it is high in oleic acid and linoleic acid. It is often used in recipes interchangeably with almond oil.

However, apricot oil is primarily a topical. It is commonly used in cosmetics, creams, soaps, lotions, and others. It is also frequently used in massage, as it is easily absorbed into the skin and does not leave a greasy residue. It is also one of the gentlest topical oils, which makes it suitable for use in children, elderly patients, and those with sensitive skin.

Topically, it can be administered to:

–           reduce stress

–          ease pain

–          treat inflammation

–          leave an overall sense of well-being

–          as an emollient and antioxidant

–          an antiseptic and antibacterial that can be used in open wounds and cuts

–           believed to be anti-aging

–           As a topical hair treatment and can nourish weak, brittle, and damaged hair.

apricotoil

Coconut Oil

The benefits of coconut oil include helping the body to fight off disease and increase proper thyroid function. A study in 2009 found that women who consumed coconut oil saw a reduction in abdominal fat, due to the type of medium chain triglycerides that it contains. Coconut oil is also rich in antioxidants.

coconutoil

Black Cumin Oil

Black Cumin Oil is considered to be an ancient healer and appears in ancient Chinese, Greek, and Egyptian medicine. Black cumin seed extract is believed to fight cancer and help increase the body’s production of bone marrow by 250%, increases immune cells, and natural interferons. Black cumin oil contains over 100 chemical compounds, vitamins, and nutrients and is used to treat a wide range of ailments including:

–          cancer

–          allergies

–          tuberculosis

–          multiple sclerosis

–          asthma

–          liver problems

–          sluggish metabolism

–          lethargy

–          fever

–          lowers blood sugar level

–          Inhibits tumor growth by 50%

blackseedoil

As a final note, research has also discovered that the commercial processing of homogenizing, which began as a way of lengthening the shelf life of the product, actually changed the properties of oil into saturated fats during the process. As 7-time Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Johana Budwig put it, this removes many of the healthful benefits of the oil and makes it behave more like “tar” in the body. Cold pressing is the most widely available positive processing that is accepted as a good way of preserving  an oil’s natural properties. Always look for oils that are non-homogenized.

Coupons and Deals Related to Post

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Author: KIra

Top 5 Superfoods

What exactly is a “superfood”? A superfood is simply a superior food, one that has especially high benefits when eaten, particularly in comparison with others of its kind.

 

So what superfoods should you be eating? Lucky for us, many of these foods are easy to find!

 

Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds are considered to be a treasure for health. Chia seeds are very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and can be stored for long periods without deteriorating because they don’t need to be ground to release their health benefits. They are rich in vitamins A, B, E, and D and are an excellent source of protein. They are also vitamin rich and carry zinc, thiamine, silicon, sodium, niacin, iron, calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium and are a great source of fiber. The seeds have 6 times the calcium found in milk, 6 times the protein found in kidney beans, and 3 times the iron found in spinach.
Add to your diet by:

–          Health snacks and chips

–          Sprinkle into a smoothie

–          Add to baked goods as an egg substitute or grind a few pinches into your flour.

–          Sprinkle into yogurt

quinoa

Kale

Kale is a strain of wild cabbage and is one of the most powerful green leafy vegetables that you can eat. Kale contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that are needed to form protein in the body and has a 3 to 1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. This is very welcome news to vegetarians! Kale is considered easy to digest and is very low in calories and has a higher rate of omega 3 than omega 6 fatty acids, an unusual occurrence in nature. Kale is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, manganese, copper, and potassium.

Add to your diet by:

–          Kale flakes

–          Health snacks and chips

–          Mixed in stir fry

–          Added to salad

ingredents

Walnut

Walnuts contain the most antioxidants of any type of nut, which helps to stave off premature aging, cancer, and heart disease. They are also the richest nuts in omega-3 fatty acids, and are a great substitute if you don’t like to eat fish. Walnuts contain manganese, and vitamins E, C, B, and A.

Add to your diet by:

–          Sprinkling onto salad

–          Stirring into yogurt

–          Add to baked goods

–          A yummy snack!

walnut

Blackberries

Easy to find and a delight to go gather for yourself! Blackberries top the chart due to beating the competition by having an overall nutritional levels that beats out other fruits. They have the highest vitamin K of all berries and are very high in antioxidants. Blackberries have a high omega-3 count and are high in fiber. They are rich in potassium, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. Blackberries are rumored to have qualities that help with coordination, balance, and cognitive function, due to polyphenols. Blackberries also have properties that can help aid in digestion.

Add to your diet by:

-A handful for a snack.

–  Juiced

– Added to baked goods

– As a preserve

– Sprinkled onto yogurt or salad.

blackberry

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is touted to be useful for almost anything. It has immune boosting properties, controls blood sugar levels, boosts energy, and is rumored to help lower the instance of abdominal fat. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants that help prevent illness, viruses, and bacteria. It can also boost thyroid function and blood sugar control. Coconut oil is loaded with healthy types of saturated fats (medium chain triglycerides) that raise good cholesterol and change bad cholesterol to a benign subtype. Because of the medium chain fatty acids, the body processes coconut oil differently than other fats and oils. They go straight to the liver, where they are used for energy or turned into ketone bodies, which are known to improve the condition of brain disorders. Coconut oil also reduces triglycerides and improves blood coagulation.

Add to your diet by:

–          Baked goods

–          Cooking as you would with vegetable oil

–          In dressings

 

coconutoil

One final thing that is important to remember when choosing superfoods is that your end goal might vary what is best for you as an individual. For example, foods that are the richest in nutrition might also be higher in calories than alternatives, so it is important that you understand your health goals when making a dietary plan for yourself. Our list is one that reflects overall well-being and health. Happy eating!

Author: Kira

Pea Protein, the New Vegan Meat Substitute

Meat substitutes are nothing new in the world of vegan and healthy eating. There are many options to explore for the health conscious gourmet palette, but one of the newest alternatives on the scene, pea protein, is getting a lot of attention. Why is pea protein such a rising star? For several reasons!

pea

The first is that meat alternatives made with pea protein can be made with a different texture that solves the age-old dilemma of meat substitutes –  it doesn’t feel like mush or rubbery. Instead, it has the texture that most people miss when they switch from animal products.

 

Secondly, you might be shocked to find out that pea protein actually is more useable to your body than meat protein! Let’s take a look at a breakdown of useable protein by type:

Pea protein 85%-90%

Whey 81% – 90%

Meat 20%

Soy 61%

powderedpea

Pea protein is comparable to whey, with soy at a mediocre second. However, unlike the other two, pea protein is very easy on your body to digest and allergies to it are rare. While some people are skeptical about eating pea protein for the first time due the fact that peas are a legume, you can rest assured that pea protein is not known to cause flatulence due to the way it is processed.

 

Veggie meats made with pea protein are also lower in calories than animal-based alternatives by at least 14% to 35%! In addition, pea protein is very, very low in fat and that makes it a perfect substitution for those who are dieting.

 

Pea protein is rich in essential amino acids, something that is ideal for people who are active in sports. It has Lysine and Glutamine, which help to maintain nitrogen levels during a workout. It also contains Arginine, which is great for heart health and is a muscle metabolism stimulant, and also Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, which help maintain muscle tissue.

 

 

Another health benefit of this animal alternative is that it is free of GMOs, Antibiotics, and no growth hormones that are the hallmark of conventionally grown meat. Plus, you can sleep soundly knowing that the little plants that went into your food were kept in a happy, healthy, environment, where they naturally grew big and strong. This is not true of the conventionally grown meat, which is grown in extremely poor, cramped, and unhealthy conditions. Plus, conventional meat farms produce mass quantities of waste material that can be difficult to dispose of.

bare

You might be wondering where pea protein comes from and you’ll be relieved to find out that it is not something that is formed in a lab. Have you ever had homemade pea soup from scratch? The dried peas that were used in that soup are powdered to become the exact same base that is used for pea protein to make the meat substitute.

 

If you are quite sold yet, meats made with pea protein have a longer natural shelf life and it’s faster to prepare than conventional meat. This makes it much easier for you to finish those quick dinners on busy days!

 

It’s 100% vegan, 100% natural, and much better for your body, with an authentic texture and a taste that blends naturally into your recipes.

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Author: Kira

Kale and Chia and Black Beans oh MY: Three Great Foods to Add to Your Diet this Week

You probably already know that Black Beans are good for you. Aside from being one of the healthiest foods for your colon and digestive tract, black beans are a great way to fulfill the weekly dietary recommendation of 3 cups of legumes per week.  But did you know that black beans are also great for blood sugar regulation due to its natural ability to curtail simple sugar extremes during digestion? They also contain 8 different flavonoids that have antioxidant potential and are high in phtyochemicals. In layman’s terms, they are a big help in the prevention of cancer.

 

But guess what – black beans aren’t just good for YOU, they are good for the soil too!  Beans are one of the only cultivated plants that enrich, rather than deplete, the soil they are grown in.

infogram-black-beans

Chia is actually nothing new, even though it’s new to a lot of Americans. It was a highly prized plant to the Mayans. In fact, chia is the Mayan word for strength. Modern science is proving that the Mayans knew what they were talking about.

Chia seeds contain massive amounts of nutrients on very little calories. In fact, the nutrient to calorie ratio is one of the best known to food.  Two Tablespoons of chia seed contains 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. They are also very high in magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and calcium and contain a significant amount of Vitamins B1, B3, and B12, Zinc, and Potassium.

 

If that isn’t enough for you, chia seeds are rich in antioxidants. Foods rich in antioxidants are necessary for helping your body prevent infectious and debilitating diseases. They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids and have been known to reduce dangerous health markers in diabetics.

 

Chia is also classed as a “whole grain” and is naturally gluten free. As a bonus perk, they are also usually grown organically and GMO-free and are easy to incorporate into your diet. Most nutritionists consider chia to be a “superfood” with no question.

 

Kale was at one time relegated to the unfair position of “food dressing,” where it’s lovely leaves were simply there to make other foods look prettier. However, those days are long gone.

 

Kale has special cholesterol lowering benefits and is excellent for aiding in digestive tract issues. It contains properties that allow bile acids to be excreted more efficiently. The plant is now well-known for helping assist in body detoxification, as well. Kale has been specifically linked to the prevention of at least five different types of cancer – bladder, breast, prostate, ovary, and colon – and new findings are coming in regularly.

ingredents

Science has also found at least 45 different identifiable flavonoids in kale that combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

If you aren’t sold on kale yet, 1 cup of kale has only 36 calories, but packs a huge vitamin punch. Its loaded with vitamins A,  K, and C, and also contains significant amounts of calcium, fiber, iron, B6, copper, manganese, and vitamin E.

 

So as you can see, we aren’t kidding! These are three great foods that you should start adding to your diet this week! Your body will thank you.

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Author: Guest Blogger

What foods should infants and toddlers eat?

Who wouldn't want to nourish this babe as healthily as possible?

Who wouldn’t want to nourish this babe as healthily as possible?

It’s an exciting time in a parent’s life when they start to consider baby’s first foods. You want to nourish your little one with foods that imbue all the love that you have for them, that will help them feel well and be healthy. So, where should you start?

First, before you start trying new foods, there are a few foods that you should avoid for the first two years. These are: raw honey, peanuts, and tree nuts. It’s also best to avoid “sticky” foods, like soy nut butters and other gluey-type consistencies.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s form some building blocks towards a healthy baby! (Before we start, a little reminder that Organically grown is always best.)

Don't forget the building blocks for your infant

Don’t forget the building blocks for your infant

Up to 4 months of age, a baby’s diet should be breast milk or formula. After that, the fun begins. Be sure to monitor new foods to make sure there are no adverse reactions and introduce the foods gradually, making sure the foods have adjusted before you try something new.

fruits for infants

Don’t forget to peel the skin off and puree!

Fruits and Veggies:
These are great first foods for babies and can be tried after 4 months. Make sure that you either puree these foods or purchase a good prepared organic baby fruit or veggie puree. Good first choices are apples, avocado, banana, pears, butternut squash, and green beans.

At 6 months, your baby can start on a more advanced, fibrous list, such as apricots, mango, nectarines, pumpkin, plums, peas, peaches, zucchini, and carrots. These will still need to be pureed.

At 9 months, babies can usually handle soft chunks of fruits and veggies, like a piece of baked potato or sliced banana. These should be cut into “finger food” portions. These should only be very soft foods, not things that require biting, like grapes, because they are a choking danger. However, berries like strawberries and blueberries are fine pureed. Do not use “seedy” fruits, like blackberries. Other new recommended additions at this age include eggplant, potatoes, beets, broccoli, and asparagus.

At 12 months, foods that have slightly more substance can be added, like spinach, tomatoes, corn, onions, and beans.

After 18-24 months, babies can usually handle foods like grapes, but should be closely monitored and it’s best to slice the fruit before feeding.

You can use white or brown rice, or other grains.

You can use white or brown rice, or other grains.

Grains:
Soft brown rice can be introduced as early as 4-5 months, although you should consult your pediatrician, as most recommend the age of 6 months before starting solid foods. Brown rice is a good starter grain because it is easy to digest

Cereal grains can be introduced at 6 months. These include oatmeal and barley can be introduced.
At 9 months, baby can handle things like teething biscuits that are very bland, easy to hold, and do not pose a choking hazard. You can also introduce finger foods, like cereal-os. Baby can also have pasta (semolina flour pasta, not whole wheat).

At 12 months, babies can start having more wheat, added gradually because wheat is a common allergen. Wheat germ can be added to foods as a dietary supplement.

Meat like chicken, beef, tofu, and fish can be eaten after 6 months of age

Meat like chicken, beef, tofu, and fish can be eaten after 6 months of age

Meat/ Fish/Tofu:
At 6 months, meat, fish, or tofu can be added to baby’s diet. Again, these will need to be pureed to avoid choking. Keep the foods bland to avoid upset tummies from spices.

At 9 months, most of these will still need to be pureed, but very soft pieces of fish or tofu strips can be added as finger foods. Remember, the pieces of this meat will need to be very, very soft. Think something you could mush up with your tongue and easily swallow.

After 12 months, ground meat and chicken products can be added to the diet, but the tougher cuts of meat will need to wait until closer to 18 months when baby is able to chew them. This is also true of “hot dog” type foods, as they pose a choking hazard until the baby is closer to 2 years. Most health officials don’t recommend eggs until after 12 months.

Prior to the age of 2 years, wild game is not recommended.

Yogurt is good to eat after 6 months of age

Yogurt is good to eat after 6 months of age

Dairy:
Prior to 6 months, a baby should not be consuming milk products of any type other than breast milk or formula (breast milk is the best if possible). If your family has a medical history of dairy allergies, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before introducing dairy products.

At 6 months old, it is usually fine to introduce yogurt. This isn’t the same as introducing milk, as yogurt is gentler on the digestive system due to reduced lactose content.

At 7-8 months, milk in baked goods is considered to be fine.

At 9 months, you can add cheese to your baby’s diet in small, soft chunks or as cottage cheese.

At 12 months, you can add drinking milk. The milk should be whole, not reduced fat. Your baby needs the fat in the milk to be healthy. Just remember, low fat milk is an adult-only drink.

 

Final tips:
Remember, add gradually. If baby truly doesn’t like something, don’t force it. Try 3 or 4 attempts on different days and if it still doesn’t work, you might want to just drop it for a few months. Oftentimes, when a person is very averted to certain foods, it is due to an allergy or sensitivity to that food.

During this stage, a hand grinder for food experimenting is a wonderful thing to have and would be a good investment. There are also a lot of really great organic prepared baby foods on the market that will help you during busy times.

Read labels! We can’t stress this enough. A lot of foods contain unexpected ingredients. Keep it simple. If you can’t read the ingredient quickly or don’t know what it means, it isn’t good for your child anyway.

Finally, keep in mind that this is just a basic guideline for the average infant. Some babies’ digestive systems are faster or slower than others.

Happy eating!

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Why Buy Organic Apples? Top 4 reasons.

organic-apples

Apples are on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues. This is due to the way in which mechanical sprayers dispense large amounts of pesticides on the leaves and fruit. Due to the concave shape of an apple, pesticides can drip deeper into the core.

Top 4 reasons to buy Organic Apples:

 

  1. 1.According to the Environmental Working Group, consumption of Pesticides have been linked to cancer and ADHD.
  2. Apples are high in fiber and relatively low in sugar.
  3. Use of pesticides are harmful to farm workers.
  4. Organic apples taste better due to the timing of when organic fruits are harvested.

Top 5 Foods to Buy Organic

organic-vegetables

We’ve talked about Organic food labeling and how to distinguish between these labels in a previous post, but we haven’t explored how you and your family can save money on buying the Organic products that really matter. With so many Organic foods on the shelves nowadays, it has become increasingly difficult to filter out the essential items. BerryCart went on a search for the top 5 foods that are worthwhile to buy in the Organic section, due to their popularity among households and their high amounts of pesticide residue.

The Top 5 Foods To Buy Organic

1) Peaches

2) Produce-Spinach, kale, lettuce

3) Apples

4) Strawberries

5) Potatoes

We referred to the Dirty Dozen List for these choices (not in the same order as their list).

3 Ways to Save Money Buying Organic

1) Only buy certain organic foods like the ones listed above, and shop for them in season.

2) Look for deals on mobile apps like BerryCart and Smart Foods-Organic Diet Buddy (both are iOS and Android compatible).

Three great sites for online coupons include Organic Deals, Whole Foods, and All Natural Savings.

3) Determine which foods you buy the most, and if they are conventionally grown items, make the switch to Organic. You may consider buying in bulk to avoid extra trips to the store.

Is Organic right for you? Opinions do vary on whether or not Organic food has more benefits than conventional, less expensive items. Check out the resources below to decide for yourself.

Resources

Stanford Medicine News Center: http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2012/09/little-evidence-of-health-benefits-from-organic-foods-study-finds.html

Organic Food Nutrition

The Science Behind Organic

Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™: