Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

May 23, 2017
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Creamy, Dreamy Recipes Perfect for Your Summer Body

We all know the cycle – as the weather heats up, our motivation increases to get or maintain a toned physique.  Often times this means giving up some of the foods we really enjoy to eat.  However, these desires don’t need to be mutually exclusive – you can get or maintain a toned physique AND eat food that you enjoy!  Try one of our favorite creamy, dreamy recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.  

B.Komplete Ranch Dip

Makes 8 – 2 Tablespoon Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • 2/3 Cup Light Mayonnaise
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Consume immediately or refrigerate (will keep covered, in refrigeration up to 3 days).  Perfect for a vegetable dip, and used on sandwiches, fish, meat, baked potatoes and whole grain pasta.  Thin it out with a splash of water and you have made your own salad dressing!

 B.Komplete Cheesecake Pudding

Makes 6 – ½ Cup Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) Packages of Low-Fat Cream Cheese   
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of Fat-Fat Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup siggis Plain Yogurt (Fat-Free)
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions

Allow the cream cheese to soften in room temperature (about 30 – 60 minutes).  When the cream cheese has softened, combine in a medium bowl with all other ingredients.  Mix well.  Consume immediately for a creamy treat, or refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours for a more firm texture.  Enjoy with fresh fruit, or add a pinch of lemon zest. 

If you haven’t tried siggis yet – get up and immediately go buy it!  The Icelandic “Skyr” is a thick and creamy yogurt that is high in protein and has a great flavor.  siggis is B.Komplete Approved because the flavored varieties are still lower in added sugar.  Its the perfect breakfast or snack to take with you during the summer!  The B.Komplete Dietitian Team uses siggis in a variety of our Corporate Wellness Cooking Demonstrations.  We love siggis, and we know that you will too. 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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How to Inspire Healthy Habits in Your Workplace

April 19, 2017
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There are countless reasons to invest time and resources into creating a healthy work environment and workforce. Healthy employees contribute to their companies through increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and are less likely to quit. Reducing turnover and increasing productivity are excellent incentives for employers, and healthy minds and bodies – as well as incentives on insurance premiums or gym memberships – are great incentives for employees.  Wellness designed properly, works.

If your company doesn’t currently have initiatives for improving employee health and wellness, here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Provide Healthy Food at the Office.  Improve food choices in simple ways, by providing access to fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria or keeping a bowl of healthy snacks in the break room. Instead of a platter of donuts for employee morale on a Friday, consider bringing in some Greek yogurt with whole grain granola and fresh fruit slices for healthy parfaits.  By setting a healthy example of food served within the work environment, this will encourage employees to pick up their own healthy food habits at work and at home and promotes wellness success
  • Emphasize Movement Throughout the Work Day. Some offices host “walking clubs” as part of their lunch hour routine and to get employees up and moving during the day. This is one great way to incorporate more exercise, and there are plenty of other options. Consider hosting a workshop to teach employees different ways to get small exercises into their work day – like doing 5 “desk push ups” each time they get up to go to the break room or bathroom.  One effective way to show employees that you care about their fitness and their stress levels is to host an Office Yoga, Functional Training or Pilates Class. A B.Komplete Instructor will come to your work-site and lead your group in a customized workout!
  • Healthy Competitions. Health and weight loss or maintenance challenges that take place over discrete time periods (for example, 4 to 10 weeks) can motivate employees to take on new healthy habits in the spirit of a friendly competition. Challenges can be as simple as encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day, to more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more.
  • Invest in a Comprehensive Corporate Wellness Program. In 2008, Johnson & Johnson published that implementing a corporate wellness program had saved them $250 million dollars in employee healthcare, a return on investment of $2.71 for every dollar spent. But implementing a healthy environment and getting these types of outcomes can be difficult without bringing an expert on board.

Expert corporate wellness vendors create wellness challenges, provide work-site nutrition and food, stress management, and exercise activities and track important health care benchmarks to let you know how your company stacks up when it comes to health and wellness. Unclear how to choose the right corporate wellness program for you? Click here and learn the best ways to identify how your company can incorporate corporate wellness.  B.Komplete is a best-in-class full-service corporate wellness vendor that will provide the most effective solutions for your organization.  Contact us now to learn more.

Savvy managers and business owners realize that happy, healthy employees create a more innovative work space and a more productive work environment. By considering the tips above, you will make your company more successful and a better place to work.

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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Put Your Best Fork Forward – International Cuisine

March 13, 2017
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With the 2017 National Nutrition Month in full swing, there is no better time than now to learn how to enjoy International Cuisine.  Below are a list of cuisines where “putting your best fork forward” does not require a fork! 


Japanese:  A cuisine rich in fish, vegetables and rice, with many delicious and nutritious options.  Chopsticks are used to eat most Japanese Cuisine.  While traditional Japanese cuisine is prepared steamed, boiled or raw – be mindful of added sodium and fried preparation methods. 

Healthy Japanese Choices:

Steamed Edamame: Perfect as an appetizer – these crisp green beans have a slightly nutty flavor and provide protein and fiber.

Seaweed Salad: Try a different type of green salad that is packed with flavor and includes a good source of many vitamins including B12.

Hiyayakko: Cool tofu topped with daikon, grated ginger or mustard delivers a delectable flavor and gives you the benefit of protein and healthy fat.

Sashimi: Naturally high in protein and satisfying. Select from ikura (salmon), ahi (tuna), ika (squid), kani (crab), ebi (shrimp) and unagi (eel). 

Teriyaki: Chicken, salmon, shrimp or tofu with vegetables make a well-balanced meal.  Select your choice with brown rice.  Ask for your dish to be steamed, and for the sauce to come on the side.  This way you can control how much of the teriyaki sauce you use, and save yourself unnecessary calories, fat, sugar and sodium.   

Toppings: Apply wasabi and ginger liberally – both rich in spice and antioxidants.


Thai:  Traditional Thai dishes require a fork, and a spoon.  The spoon is used to move the food you are eating to your mouth, and the fork is used to help push food into the spoon. 

Healthy Thai Choices: 

Tom Yum Soup: Spicy and sour with ample herbs and spices, this soup will satisfy an adventurous palate. Please note, the soup may be high in sodium. 

Summer Rolls: Also known as “fresh spring rolls” this healthy appetizer is typically made with shrimp and vegetables and wrapped in rice paper.  Use the peanut dipping sauce sparingly. 

Satay: Grilled meat or tofu laced onto bamboo skewers – packed with protein and sure to satisfy.  When preparing at home, flavor with lime, turmeric, garlic and red chili.  If enjoying out, use the peanut dipping sauce sparingly. 

Broth Based Curry: The two most common curries, red and green curry, have fresh herbal flavor and pair well with seafood. Jungle curry (gkaeng bpah) and sour curry (gkaeng som) are popular broth-based soups, without the addition of heavy cream. These curries can be spooned over rice for a fulfilling meal. 

Pik Pow (Nam Prik Pao): Also known as “thai vegetarian chili paste” is a flavor-packed paste that is smoky, sweet, tart, and spicy. It can be used in stir-fry’s, as a rub, and used to dip vegetables. And the best part – the paste is extremely flavorful and a little goes a long way.

Pad Thai (without egg, and peanut topping on the side): A fresh, light-bodied dish and truly delicious with the variety of flavors and textures. Substitute egg for firm tofu and use soybean spread to replace the peanuts or peanut butter commonly used in traditional pad thai. This results in a healthy dish packed with plenty of protein and healthy fats.  Check out an egg-free recipe here.


Ethiopian:  Injera is a flatbread made from teff, a grass (not a grain, like wheat) that’s fermented with water for several days and then baked into large, airy pancakes that have the texture of crepes and the flavor of sourdough bread. Teff flour is incredibly nutritious – high in fiber, iron, calcium, and complete amino acid profile and gluten-free.  To eat Ethiopian food, tear off a piece of injera, scoop your food in it, roll it up, pop the whole thing into your mouth – and repeat until satisfied. 

Healthy Ethiopian Choices:

Split Pea Stew: Also known as “kik alicha” is a comforting stew made with savory ingredients such as ginger, garlic, red onions, split peas, and green chili. Choose to eat in a bowl or dip with injera. 

Lentils: Lentils are a great source of fiber, protein and iron. Season with berbere spice or simmer with herbs and vegetables as a healthful side dish.

Yetsom Beyaynetu: A vegetarian combination platter consisting of injera (flatbread) served with several vegan curries and vegetables–a light and healthy appetizer choice that gives you the ability to try a variety of curry.

Shiro Wat: A spicy chickpea-based dish seasoned with onions, garlic, and other spices. Use this as a dip for vegetables or injera. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein.

Misir Wat: This red lentil curry made with garlic, olive oil, ginger, and onion–this is a great option if you are looking for a spicy, warm stew. 

Shiro Alecha: A mild stew of seasoned ground lentils, chickpeas and/or peas. This is a terrific option to be served with injera if you are looking for a dish with a milder flavor profile.

Gomen: Ethiopian style collard greens – perfect for your little leafy green lover. Pairs perfectly with fresh lemon juice! When preparing at home add paprika, ginger root, turmeric and all spice for flavor and a boost of antioxidants. 

Chicken Doro Wat: A flavorful chicken dish served in a slightly spicy sauce containing ginger and berbere over injera. The key: slowly simmer the chicken for enhanced flavor.


Mexican:  Eating tacos with a fork and knife is unacceptable in the Mexican culture. Therefore, be polite: use your hands to enjoy tacos.  Mexican cuisine is filled with flavors and ingredients such as cilantro, garlic, avocado, beans, onion, chili’s, and more. Maize, also known as corn, is a staple grain that is commonly used in this cuisine. Maize is the main ingredient in tortillas: used for burritos, quesadillas, and tacos.

Healthy Mexican Choices:

Salsa de Pina Picante: A sweet and fresh salsa option made with pineapple, cilantro, and lime juice. Enjoy with multi grain tortillas for a light, tropical appetizer.  Want to make at home – try this recipe.

Guacamole: Made from mashed avocados, guacamole is packed with healthy fats. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, jalapenos, and cilantro–these ingredients can give a kick of flavor to your traditional guacamole

Turkey Tacos: Great if you’re looking for a quick, easy taco dinner. Use lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, and wheat tortillas over traditional white tortilla. Add avocado, tomato, lettuce, and as much cilantro and chili as you like – for full flavor. 

Sopa de Habas: This fava bean soup is filled with a flavorful aromatic base of tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Not to mention, fava beans are very nutrient-dense, containing folate and iron.

Chicken Carnitas Tacos: Crispy, tender chicken with hints of lime, cumin, garlic, and– orange juice! These ingredients give your chicken carnitas a unique, pleasant taste and allows you to top it with your choice of veggies and herbs. The last step: stuff it all in a wheat tortilla.

We would love to hear what International Cuisine you try and enjoy – no fork required!  And in the meantime…

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete


 

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B.Komplete Explore the Store: Stress Management… and Potatoes

April 18, 2016
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How Do Potatoes Relate to Stress Management?

Stress impacts us all.  And the one thing that is always true about stress – it never goes away.   At B.Komplete we are passionate about teaching consumers how to manage the stress we all face, in simple ways.  Food impacts our mood, and we can choose what we eat to impact how we feel.  In times of acute stress our levels of cortisol are UP, which increases are cravings for fat and sugar.  However, in that stressful time, the worst things we can eat are fat and sugar.  The best things to eat are foods that help to promote the release of serotonin, the hormone that relates to our good mood; feelings of wellness and calm.  Complex carbohydrates help to promote the release of serotonin.  Potatoes are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.  

Come with us, as we explore the store in the potato aisle!

 

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete

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Delicious Chocolate Vinaigrette Recipe

February 12, 2016
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chocolate vinagrette salad

Scrumptious Chocolate Vinaigrette over Salad

Who doesn’t like chocolate? When you can get veggies and fruit added to your day while eating chocolate… its the perfect culinary marriage! In honor of Valentines Day why not make this delicious chocolate vinaigrette for your sweet-heart. This tasty vinaigrette is an excellent sweet and savory topping for salad.  It can also be used to dip berries in for a sweet and savory appetizer.  If you love chocolate, or even just like it, this recipe is sure to please.

Recipe: Chocolate Vinaigrette over Salad

Makes 6 servings

             Salad Ingredients

            6 Cups Baby Spinach and Mixed Greens

            1 ½ Cups Sliced, Fresh Strawberries

            ½ Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

           2 Tablespoons Slivered Almonds

 

 

 Vinaigrette Ingredients

2 Ounces of Bitter Sweet Chocolate Chopped (66%)

5 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Honey

½ Teaspoon Sea Salt

⅛ Teaspoon Cinnamon

⅛ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

⅛ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)

Instructions:

Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Combine cayenne pepper, black pepper, sea salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Melt chocolate by heating in microwave in ten-second intervals (stir chocolate between heating sessions) until there are no visible lumps. Caution* DO NOT OVERHEAT CHOCOLATE.  Fold chocolate into the olive oil/balsamic mixture stirring vigorously to combine. Add dry ingredients and whisk until blended. Pour over salad greens and enjoy!

B. Educated, B. Inspired, B. Komplete

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B.Komplete Explore the Store: Supermarket Series

February 7, 2016
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How to Use Herbs & Spices for Heart Health

We are back for our second edition of our ‘explore the store’ series in our quest to teach consumers the most nutritious and delicious ways to enjoy food products!  

Our focus in February is on Herbs & Spices for Heart Health.  Did you know…

  • Garlic helps keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.  Fresh is the best, however if you don’t have fresh use dried garlic to season your meals.  Garlic pairs well with numerous cuisines.  
  • Oregano is an antioxidant super-power providing more than apples, potato, oranges, and even blueberries!  Season your fish, poultry, whole grains, vegetables, and salad dressings with this herb.  
  • Turmeric can help to reduce inflammation.  Use this savory spice with poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables and event tea.  
  • Chipotle spice is your go-to when you want a smoky and spicy flavor.  Providing health benefit and awesome flavor, use chipotle with fish, poultry, meat, eggs, potato, whole grains and in dips and rubs.  
  • To flavor simple white fish combine lemon with thyme, parley, ground pepper and a dash of sea salt OR combine garlic, onion and chipotle powders.  

We will be back next month exploring the Snack Aisle.

B. Educated, B. Inspired, B. Komplete

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Savory Ancient Grain Recipe

September 12, 2015
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Looking for a healthier version of a comfort dish? The Ancient Grain Millet is perfect to use in place of any simple carbohydrate (white rice, bread or pasta). Millet will take on the flavors that you add. Try out this B.Komplete Savory Millet Stuffing recipe:

1 TBSP Buttery Spread (Smart Balance)
1/2 Medium White Onion, Diced
1 Medium Sweet Bell Pepper, Diced
2 Celery Stalks, Diced
2 CUPS Millet, Uncooked
4.4 CUPS Low Sodium Broth (Veg or Chicken)
2 Bay Leaves

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the buttery spread, allow to melt and coat the pan. Add the vegetables and the uncooked millet, and coat in the melted spread. Allow to lightly brown. Add the bay leaves. Gradually add the broth, 0.5 cups at a time. Allow to absorb, stir, then add more broth.

Serves: 6 – 8
Cook Time: ~30 minutes

B.Educated, B.Inspired, B.Komplete!

          B.Komplete Millet Pilaf

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HOW TO START A VEGETARIAN DIET – ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

August 25, 2015
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Woman thinking over how to become a vegetarian

Type “becoming a vegetarian” into your favorite search engine and you are guaranteed to see a plethora of news articles, medical journals, lifestyle blogs, and social media sites filled with suggestions.  Let’s keep it simple – condensed results for you in an easy-to-follow article:

First, let’s review the benefits.  Switching to a vegetarian lifestyle can help improve personal health , sustain the environment, support animal welfare, and save money.  Whatever you believe, there is always a reason to consider trying a vegetarian diet.

If you’re reading this, then you may have thought about becoming a vegetarian at one time.  For whatever reason you couldn’t start then, we challenge you to take the venture now!  Vegetarianism is more accessible than ever, even for the busy professional. 

Here are four steps to make it happen:

Step 1 – Let’s be honest…

Before skydiving for the first time, would you calmly hop in your car and drive to the nearest airport?  Probably not; you may consider a few things like risk, personal health and cost, prior to jumping.  Similarly, if you want to become a vegetarian, consider the following:

  1. What foods do you enjoy and what don’t you like?
  2. Are you an adventurous eater or do you to stick with what you know?
  3. Do you eat in restaurants or at home?
  4. Do you cook or buy ready-to-eat meals?

Understanding your preferences will help make this work.  For example, don’t expect to become a vegan chef overnight if you don’t like cooking.  You may enjoy some ready-to-eat options instead while you ease yourself into cooking a few meals. 

Step 2 – What do you know?

There are different types of vegetarianism.  Here are the most popular:

  • “No food with a face” – Quoted from TV character Phoebe Buffay of Friends , this type of vegetarian avoids food with a face, or simply put animal meat. The technical name is lacto-ovo vegetarian, which includes eating animal byproducts like dairy and eggs, but not the animal flesh itself. 
  • One fish, two fish… – A pescatarian fuses the health benefits of fresh fish with nutrient rich plant-based foods. A pescatarian avoids all land animals like beef and poultry and may also exclude byproducts like eggs and dairy.
  • Animal hugger – Also known as vegan. This version completely omits animal product from the diet including byproducts like eggs, dairy, honey, and foods with Red40 coloring. 
  • What the heck is a flexitarian? – A newer term, the flexitarian  consumes meat less frequently and in smaller amounts. For example, a flexitarian  may eat plant-based foods only, but will eat meat on special occasions like holidays.

Which one sounds good?  Choose the best fit for you and set it as your goal.

Woman pointing out produce and vegetable options in grocery store to a man.

Step 3 – Let’s eat!

Enough thinking, let’s start eating! 

  • Tip 1 – Make your favorite already-vegetarian dishes:

Do you like sandwiches like grilled cheese and PB&J, veggie lasagna , rice and beans , tossed green salads and other potato, pasta and fruit salads, minestrone soup, or mac ‘n cheese?  If you do, good news!  These are already meat-free dishes!  

  • Tip 2 – Embrace “gateway” meat products:

While some people turn their noses up at the processed nature of faux meats, this option can be an efficient way to add protein and make a meaty dish vegetarian without losing the flavor and texture of the dish.  These products can be found in most grocery store chains, in the natural food and frozen food isles:

For more healthful vegetarian products, check out our previous post.

  • Tip 3 – Substitutions for Vegan-friendly dishes

Avoid dairy and eggs by using plant-based ingredients instead.  Items like applesauce, bananas, nut milks, flax seed, and coconut can be substituted while cooking and baking.  In addition to great taste, your foods may be healthier!  Check out conversion charts available online.

Step 4 – Nice to meet you!

To be a successful vegetarian, introduce yourself to new meals and ingredients.  Plant-based dishes can be delicious, easy to find, and healthy.

Take the Challenge

Starting a vegetarian diet can be easy to do, and can be a gradual process.  It’s helpful to have a support system in friends and family. 

To help you get started, we challenge you to take the 3-day B.Komplete Vegetarian Challenge!  All you need to do is try three breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners that fall within the type of vegetarian you want to become.  Use the recipe sources in this post or stick to your already vegetarian favorites.  Then, let us know how you did by leaving a comment below! 

Not willing to commit yet?  Try out Meatless Monday.  A now global movement, this  organization encourages people to “once a week, cut the meat.”  Their website has a vault of resources to help you commit to reducing overall consumption of meat.

keep calm vegetarians

Resources for you:

Vegetarianism and Sustainability – http://www.businessinsider.com/reasons-to-go-vegetarian-in-charts-2013-10

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/vegetarian-and-special-diets/curious-about-vegetarianism

Animal Welfare – http://www.peta.org/

Money Saving Tips – http://www.nomeatathlete.com/save-money-vegetarian/

Pescatarianism – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/start-pescatarian-diet-9760.html

Vegan Diets – http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/vegan-diet

Flexitarianism – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/flexitarian/bgp-20056276

Recipe sources – http://allrecipes.com, http://www.marthastewart.com, http://www.vegkitchen.com, and http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/search/vegetarian

Meatless Mondays – http://www.meatlessmonday.com/

Vegetarian Asian Blend

                 Vegan Asian Blend – Made with Tempeh

 

B.inspired, B.educated, B.Komplete!

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Organic versus Conventional – Which Should You Choose?

July 9, 2015
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PART TWO

Lets continue the conversation on some of the main factors that consumers like you consider when making purchases at the food store. If you didn’t read Part 1 of the series addressing the safety and cost of organic and conventional foods, you can view it here.

 Nutrition

Working to improve your health through the food that you eat? Then you want to eat the MOST nutritious versions available, right? It’s more bang for your buck!  The food & nutrition industry has been testing both organic and conventional foods for many years. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a definitive answer of which type is nutritiously superior.  In the early 2000’s, you could find articles that were claiming a significant nutritional disparity between select organic and conventional foods. Only a few years later, there had been new research saying the exact opposite. In 2009, the American Society of Nutrition posted an article  concluding there is no significant difference between organic and conventional foods. Again in 2012, a hotly debated report from Stanford University stated that there is a lack of strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than conventional foods.

 Today’s research deviates from those studies, showing that there IS a nutritional difference in some organic foods. Reports are showing up to 40% higher in antioxidant activity  in organic fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are comprised of nutrients like Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids and minerals like selenium and the health benefits of antioxidants are evident.

 What does this mean? It’s apparent that there is more research needed.

 If good health is important to you, then we suggest continuing to choose your favorites until further solid evidence is discovered. Want better nutrition now? Remember VARIETY! Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat meats and dairy will give you a wide spectrum of your daily needed nutrients.

anti-oxidants

Environmental Impact

Soil erosion, decline in crop production, fertilizer runoff, and pesticide resistance are concerns that some take into account when deciding between organic or conventional foods. The USDA has many resources on how farmers can protect and enhance the environment but there are still problems that worry shoppers.

 Scary reports of lake and river “dead zones” occasionally surface after finding considerable deterioration of wildlife and vegetation. This fuels new environmental studies to identify the true offender and will often include testing of new farming techniques and products that can help protect instead of harm.

Consider this: all types of farming impacts the surrounding environment. Organic farms can use natural fertilizers and pesticides that can cause runoff problems. However, the USDA says that organic farming differs from conventional farming because they strive to preserve natural resources and biodiversity with their farming techniques. There also are organizations like the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania that dedicate themselves to researching and testing better ways for American farmers to grow organic foods without harming the environment.

If preserving the environment is important to you, then you may want to consider choosing organic foods. Environment-friendly tip: buy local! As we mentioned in Part 1, think about supporting smaller farms that are local to your home or workplace. This reduces the need to truck food products all over the country, which can produce a considerable amount of fossil fuel emissions.

 Don’t know where to find a local farmer market? Visit here and input your zip code or download an app for your mobile device (we tried Farmstand).

 

FreshProduce at a local farm stand

So, what should YOU choose?

The bottom line is that, as a consumer, you have to decide what’s important to you. Whether you’re concerned with safety, cost, nutrition, environmental impact or something else that wasn’t mentioned, you should always choose what’s best for you and your family. Watch for new research on the areas that are important to you. And in the meantime, purchase and eat healthy food that you love!

Your Resources

For the Organic 101 series provided by the USDA – http://blogs.usda.gov/tag/organic-101/

Antioxidant Health Benefits – http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/

Market Search: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/

Farmstand App: https://www.farmstandapp.com

B.inspired, B.educated, B.Komplete!

 Photo Credit:

http://abcn.ca/category/diet-exercise/

http://farmersmarketannex.com/fmablog/?p=271

 

 

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Organic versus Conventional – Which Should You Choose?

June 29, 2015
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organic-vs-conventional-640

Deception. Misdirection. Imminent Danger. All characteristics of a villain in the next superhero blockbuster, not the emotions we should have when selecting our next meals.

 With sensational headlines in modern media and new research claims, it’s not surprising that even the most educated shopper can be infused with doubt over what to place in the cart. Shopping at the market should be a pleasant experience filled with delicious options from which to choose.

 Today, there is a wide variety of conventional and organic produce (fruit, vegetables), livestock (meat, dairy, eggs) and multi-ingredient products (breads, pasta, and other processed foods). This is a great success for the US, but it can be very overwhelming for the American consumer.

 Common complications:

  1. We can be inundated with so many choices that it may seem easier to select what was purchased before, without thinking twice.
  2. Organic foods are stigmatized, with some saying that they’re only for the wealthy, for environmentalists, or for parents with young children.
  3. Some food companies have embraced misleading marketing practices to boost sales, touting that their foods are “healthy and natural” or even using “organic” on their packaging. (Other companies are responding to these practices by putting out product lists of their own, encouraging transparency in marketing and making healthy, informed choices.)

 Choosing between organic and conventional foods can be an easier decision. In this two-part series, we’ll address some factors that consumers like you consider when making purchases at the store.

Safety

A concern for some shoppers is safety – safety for themselves, for farmers, or for the animals. Understanding the production of both conventional and organic foods can clear up some apprehension.

 Conventional food products are produced by traditional farming practices used by small family farmers to large corporate farms. This can include using chemical pesticides for pest control and synthetic fertilizers to increase growth margins. For livestock, this includes dosing with antibiotics and hormones to help maintain the health of the animals.

 Governing organizations like the USDA and FDA regulate conventional farming practices and inspect food products for wholesomeness, deeming them as safe for consumption. However, government regulation ends there.

 According to the USDA,  organic operations must use only approved substances and avoid man-made fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, and genetically modified organisms. These practices also promote farm worker health, lowering the risk of inhalation or ingestion of harmful substances.  Furthermore, the USDA organic seal on meat, eggs, and dairy products verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, and provided animals with access to the outdoors.

 If safety is your priority, then organic foods may be the best choice. On the fence? Start with the Environmental Workers Group’s “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen,”  an annual list distributed to educate consumers on pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.

Cost

One of the key benefits of conventional food products is their wide spread availability in the US. These products can be found in grocery stores, convenience stores, and schools, to name a few. Simple economics of supply and demand as well as generous government subsidies help explain the lower prices of conventional foods.

organic operations chart

Typically, organic foods are priced higher than conventionally grown foods, which may be caused by the limited availability of organics. America has seen a significant increase of organic operations since 2002 however, so consumers may begin to see reduced prices on certain foods. 

 Consider also the additional fees to the farmers. Farm owners have to pay fees and complete a transition period  before beginning organic operations. To recoup these expenses, additional costs may be incorporated into food prices. Paired with “high-end” public perception and premium upcharges, organic foods will often be more costly than their conventional counterparts.

 If you are concerned about cost, then conventional foods may be best. Still like to buy some organic? Here are some money saving tips:  

  1. Purchase discounted organic “seconds” at your local markets when available. 
  2. Visit local farmers who may follow organic practices but save on operational costs by avoiding the USDA certification process. A few specific questions to the farmer may help save you some money.  eat local

 Don’t know where to find a local farmer market? Visit here and input your zip code or download an app for your mobile device (we tried Farmstand).

 Check back for Part Two of Organic vs. Conventional – What should you choose? We’ll discuss the Nutrition and Environmental Impact of Organic and Conventional foods.

 Resources for you

 

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