Nutrition and Food

Organic versus Conventional – Which Should You Choose? Part Two

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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.

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).

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!

Photo Credit:

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

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

Corporate Wellness

The Best Stress Management Ideas

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Stress. All of us experience some kind of stress throughout our daily lives and stress is unavoidable. Some stress can be good; provide motivation, encourage collaboration, or even push you to try new things. However, excessive stress that isn’t managed can be quite damaging to your health. Chronic, unmanaged stress is associated with weight gain, inflammation, decreased immunity, and even heart conditions over time. These health issues make stress reduction crucial for achieving ideal health.

 You can’t eliminate stress, but you can manage it! The following stress reduction practices are proven to work:

Exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective and beneficial stress reduction methods. How does exercise reduce stress? One of the ways exercise reduces stress is by reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, two hormones that cause stress, while increasing levels of endorphins, which are mood elevators. This causes the aptly named “runner’s high” that you may have heard of before.  Another way that exercise can reduce stress is through the benefits that you gain. Exercise allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you hit your fitness goals and can also reduce stress by reducing your waist-line and improving self image. Tasks, such as heavy lifting, become easier as you become fit making those stressful tasks look a little more manageable. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, walking and running, as well as others are great stress relievers. Click here to learn about 8 great stress relieving exercises

Breathing exercises. Rapid, shallow breathing is commonly associated with stress while relaxed, deep breathing is associated with relaxation. Breath yourself into a state of relaxation with these easy steps:

  1. Breath in slowly and deeply using your diaphragm fully.
  2. Hold your breath briefly
  3. Release your breath slowly, thinking “relax”
  4. Repeat these steps, 5 to 10 times

This is a great relaxation technique because it can be used at any time and any place, as needed. To learn more, Dr. Weil offers some wonderful breathing exercises

Meditation. With elevated stress also comes elevated blood pressure and heart rate. You can relieve your stress and its physiological effects using meditation techniques. Studies of Indian yoga masters have shown that meditation can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood adrenaline levels.   Meditation is a useful and effective way to relieve your stress in the comfort of your own home.

Harvard physician, Dr. Herbert Benson gives this quick guide to meditation

  1. Select a time and place that will be free of distractions and interruption. A semi-darkened room is often best; it should be quiet and private. If possible, wait two hours after you eat before you meditate and empty your bladder before you get started.
  2. Get comfortable. Find a body position that will allow your body to relax so that physical signals of discomfort will not intrude on your mental processes. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your mind to become aware of your rhythmic respirations.
  3. Achieve a relaxed, passive mental attitude. Close your eyes to block out visual stimuli. Try to let your mind go blank, blocking out thoughts and worries.
  4. Concentrate on a mental device. Most people use a mantra, a simple word or syllable that is repeated over and over again in a rhythmic, chant-like fashion. You can repeat your mantra silently or say it aloud. It’s the act of repetition that counts, not the content of the phrase; even the word “one” will do nicely. Some meditators prefer to stare at a fixed object instead of repeating a mantra. In either case, the goal is to focus your attention on a neutral object, thus blocking out ordinary thoughts and sensations.

Acupuncture. Acupuncture may sound a little scary when you think of needles being placed in your face and back, however individuals and research have found it is truly a safe and an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Daniel Hsu, acupuncture works through placement of a needle about half a millimeter from a nerve. Depending on where the needle is placed, it can cause the release of pain killing chemicals from the nervous system, stimulate the body’s natural healing ability, or excite the part of the brain controlling emotion (leading to decreased anxiety and stress). Those who have received acupuncture, often see results after just one session with improved results upon continuous treatment. I can personally vouch for the benefits of Acupuncture, and look forward to my ongoing sessions with Aaron Cashman, L.OM

What to expect at your first appointment

Nutrition and Food

B.Komplete Explore the Store Supermarket Series: Herbs and Spices for Heart Health

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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.

Nutrition and Food

B.Komplete Explore the Store Supermarket Series: Oil

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Come with us as we ‘explore the store’ in our quest to teach consumers the most nutritious and delicious ways to enjoy food products!  

Our focus in January is on Oil.  Did you know…

  • Safflower and Canola Oils have the lowest saturated fat content compared to other oils
  • Coconut Oil has the highest saturated fat content compared to other oils
  • Olive oil is far higher in monounsaturated fatty acids than any other fat or oil
  • Unsaturated fatty acids are thought to be better for your health than saturated fatty acids, with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated the ones to look for
  • You can make delicious salad dressing with avocado, walnut, grape-seed, sesame, flax and olive oils
  • You can cook with canola, sunflower, safflower, and coconut oils

We will be back next month exploring the Herb & Spice aisle.

Nutrition and Food

Pass the Pineapple

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Pass the pineapple! Not only is pineapple a delicious way to get vitamin C and manganese, pineapple provides bromelain which reduces harmful inflammation.  Whether you are looking for a well-balanced smoothie, or a guilt-free cocktail, pineapple is the perfect ingredient to use.  

B. Komplete Tropical Green Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 plain yogurt (I like Greek)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup water (per your consistency preference)

Blend and enjoy!