Organic Foods

In recent years, mainstream grocery stores have jumped on the organic foods bandwagon. As more people learn about the benefits of a natural foods lifestyle, grocery stores have accommodated by greatly expanding their vegetarian and vegan offerings. It’s still a bit difficult to find and consume only organic foods. You may find that you will have to visit several grocery stores, health food stores and even farmers markets to complete your grocery list. In addition, organic foods are often more costly than regular, non-organic food and the gas expense and wear and tear on your car from driving from store to store can make a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle expensive. But, the benefits greatly outweigh any sacrifice you have to make to eat in order to stay healthy.

Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York tells about the benefits of organic foods, Catherine Woods of Mobulls in West Plains, Missouri provides some tasty smoothie recipes and Richard Jones of St. Louis, Missouri talks about gluten free foods, food allergies and the benefits of living a (mostly) vegan lifestyle.

Organic Foods Improve Health, Contribute to Weight Loss and Taste Surprisingly Good by Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York

Organic foods are naturally produced, without artificial pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, growth hormones or livestock feed additives. There are a number of really good foods that will help you feel better, lose weight and improve your overall health. Here’s a short list of some of our favorite organic foods that you should add to your diet now:

  1. Add fruits to your list of organic foods to buy at the grocery store or, even better, the farmers market. Pumpkin, tomatoes, blackberries and raspberries are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. Pumpkin is a good source of beta-carotene, which also helps prevent disease. Cook tomatoes in olive oil to get the most benefit from this heart-healthy organic food.
  2. Vegetables remain a staple in a healthy diet rich in organic foods. Broccoli and spinach contain antioxidants and help prevent cancer. Broccoli also helps prevent inflammation, which can lead to disease. Spinach, kale and collard greens have lutein, which reduces the risk of cataracts.
  3. The benefits of fish are almost unlimited. When broiled, baked or grilled, fish is low in fat and high in protein. Salmon, tuna and lake trout contain Omega-3 fatty acids, essential to decreasing the risk of heart disease or stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce the risk of cancer and have many anti-inflammatory benefits.

Our Favorite Smoothie Recipes Take Advantage of Available Organic Foods by Catherine Woods of Mobulls in West Plains, Missouri

If you’re trying to eat organic foods, drinking smoothies are a great way to get in your fruits for the day without taking herbal supplements. It’s always best to make your own smoothies, rather than going to the smoothie store or restaurant. When you buy pre-made smoothies you run the risk of getting a lot of unnecessary sugar and additives like gluten, preservatives and dairy. Whether you are fighting food allergies or trying to lose weight, a store-bought smoothie is usually not a good option for your diet.

Use fruits rich in antioxidants, like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries when creating your favorite smoothie combination. Here are some quick and easy recipes for our favorite smoothies:

Chocolate- Raspberry Smoothies: Combine 1 cup chocolate soy milk, ice and ½ cup raspberries in the blender and blend to taste. A unique taste combination that really works, and kills the chocolate craving, too!

Blueberry-Banana Smoothies: Combine ½ cup blueberries, 1 banana, and 1 serving of tofu with ice in the blender. Add organic juice or plain soy milk to thin out the recipe. The high protein in tofu makes this a tasty blend that’s a real eye-opener in the early morning hours!

Blackberry-Vanilla Smoothies: Combine ½ cup blackberries with 1 cup vanilla soy milk and ice in the blender. Add one serving of tofu if you need an extra shot of protein. Tasty and smooth, this one goes down easy and beats the heck out of a cup of coffee in the morning.

Gluten Free Foods Save the Day If You Have Food Allergies by Richard Jones of St. Louis, Missouri

When I was first diagnosed with food allergies, I was amazed to learn that I needed to start eating gluten free foods. Gluten is a protein group found in white or wheat flour. I have a number of other food allergies, including eggs and dairy allergies, but trying to avoid foods with gluten has been the biggest challenge. Almost everything from the freezer aisle or most things that come in a box from the grocery store contain gluten. Finding Gluten free foods has, I admit, become easier over the years, but it’s still a struggle. Gluten isn’t just in breads, crackers and dry goods; it’s used as filler in just about every food you can imagine. Who knew?

Since I was diagnosed with food allergies, and gave up gluten free foods, I have more energy and I have lost weight. It will always be a challenge to cook at home and to dine out but learning to live without gluten has changed my life. In addition, there are a number of companies that market gluten free foods like cookies, crackers, cereals and a number of other foods that normally contain gluten. That helps a lot. Sticking with whole foods or organic foods also helps when you have food allergies. Organic foods typically only have a few ingredients. When you have food allergies and you shop for non-organic foods that contain several ingredients, like additives and preservatives, you’re probably in trouble. Eating organic foods just keeps things simple, and gluten free.

Living a Vegan Lifestyle, Most of the Time
When you have food allergies you may find yourself living a vegan lifestyle, even if you still eat meat! That sounds funny, but it’s the most accurate way to describe a lifestyle rich with organic and gluten free foods. Tofu is a staple of the vegan lifestyle. Tofu is also a staple of the gluten free lifestyle. Tofu, made of soybeans, provides low fat protein and is an easy replacement for everything from sour cream to eggs when you’re trying to develop healthy habits. If you have food allergies, you’ll find yourself turning to tofu for a number of your cooking needs. When you shop at health food stores for gluten free foods, you’re essentially embracing the tenets of a vegan lifestyle. I am not allergic to meat, so I still eat chicken, beef and pork. But, instead of rounding out my meals with boxed or frozen foods, I supplement them with organic foods from the health food store.

We thank our contributors:

  • Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York
  • Catherine Woods, Mobulls, breeders of French and English bulldogs, West Plains, MO
  • Richard Jones of St. Louis, Missouri

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