Healthy Choice at The Market

What Do You Find at The Market?

You don’t have to be  a food scientist or carry a gram counter or calculator when you go to the market. Simply focus on selecting the freshest foods in their most natural state. And use your knowledge of basic nutritional principles. Here are a few tips.

Avoid heavily fatted meats. Free- range poultry and meats have been raised without the excessive use of antibiotics and other chemicals, and they’re recommended for the Blood Type Diet. Free-range means just that – that animals haven’t been penned in. Once you try free-range meat or poultry, you’ll see the difference. The flesh is leaner, the color and texture are richer, and there is very little fat. It’s possible to raise red meats that have fat and cholesterol level that are closer to those of the leaner poultry, but the meat may be less tender and flavorful by modern standards. The giant agribusinesses are still locked into the traditional notion that consumers want rich, high-fat meats. Our ancestors consumed rather lean game or domestic animals that graze on alfalfa and other grasses. Today’s meats are corn-fed, kept healthy with antibiotics, and prized for the tenderness of their meat and the marbling of their fat. Fortunately, some business are beginning to respond to the growing demand for lean, organic meat. If your market hasn’t caught on to the trend, be sure to let the manager know.

Fresh fish is fairly simple to identify. Look at the eyes. If they’re clear and reflective, the fish is probably fresh. Pull the gills out from the back of the head. They should be bright red or dark pink. If the skin is slimy to the touch, and the fish has any kind of off odor or fishy smell, it is not fresh.

Try to avoid the canned-foods aisles. Commercially canned foods are subjected to high heat and pressure, and they lose a great deal of their vitamin content, especially the antioxidants, such as vitamin C. They do retain the vitamins that are not heat sensitive, such as vitamin A. Canned foods are usually lower in fiber and higher in salt. The salt is added to boost the flavor lost during production. Few of the natural enzymes remain; for the most part, they’re destroyed by the canning process.

Other than fresh foods, frozen ones are your best bet, since freezing doesn’t alter the nutritional content of the food very much. The quality and variety of frozen foods have improved greatly in the just the last few years. New processing and freezing methods allow foods to be kept as close to fresh as possible.

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If you buy non organic veggies, take care to remove chemicals from the skin. Wash the vegetables in a full sink of water with a solution of two teaspoons (10 ml) of bleach and one tablespoon (15 ml) of dish detergent. There are also ready-made solutions available from health food stores and mail-order catalogs

Whole lines of organic and vegetarian foods are now being offered commercially, making it easier than ever before to bring a wide variety of items to the consumer’s table that might be have been difficult to find before. Still, I’m an old-fashioned guy. My favorite foods are still fresh food.

Stay Smart About Safety

In March 1998, New York Times report that the U.S. federal government was being urged by health officials to undertake new and comprehensive efforts to detect cases of illness caused by contaminated foods and to protect future outbreaks. Such a case also take place in the other countries.

The National Center for Health Statistics in the U.S. reported that food-borne illness are among the leading reasons for emergency room visits each year. As an example, it was estimated that in a one-year period between 1996 and 1997, the state of Minnesota’s 4.4 million residents suffered 6.1 million diarrhoeal illness.

Although there are no firm numbers regarding the consumption of unsafe foods, botulism, staphylococcus and toxoplasmosis are among the more common examples of fish related contamination. Viral hepatitis, caused by faecal contamination, unsafe mercury levels, and high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are potential hazards of eating foods from polluted water supplies. As with animal product, bacterial and parasitic contamination are always possible. Alarmingly, fish is not subject to the same level of federal inspection as meat and poultry. Rather, a voluntary program of inspection is maintained by wholesale distributors and prosessors. It wasn’t until 1991 that FDA created a unit to monitor the safety of seafood!

Although the U.S. has long been touted as having the world’s safest and least expensive food supply, it is becoming less so. A tremendous amount of the nation’s food supply pours in from countries without even the minimal safeguards the U.S. employs to ensure food safety. An increasing number of food-borne illnesses, in fact, closely resemble what was once considered classic traveller’s diarrhoea. In other words, Montezuma’s Revenge no longer requires luggage, merely a trip to the local supermarket.

Don’t assume that you can relax your guard when you shop in a health food store. Many health food stores, especially the smaller ones, do not have the rapid turnover of a busy greengrocer or supermarket. Check the ’sell by’ dates on every package.

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If  You Don’t Have a Health Food Store and Can’t Find Organic Foods . . .

  • Let your local supermarket manager know that you’re interested in buying organic foods. Many chains have started to stock organic produce, meat and poultry as a matter of course.
  • Check out the frozen-food section of your supermarket. There are many new variations on vegetarians and gluten-free foods. They’re not just in health food store anymore.

Know Your Organics

Commercial markets are stocking organic produce on a regular basis – a fairly recent innovation. In case of U.S.,  most  organic produce and fruits are from California, a state with specific laws concerning the use of the word organic. In some markets, organic vegetables and fruits are displayed side by side with the nonorganic produce. In many instances, they are priced identically! We suspect that market demand will continue to push more and more vegetable and fruit growers back to the organic methods of cultivation. The cost of commercial fertilizers and pesticides will eventually make the nonorganic produce more expensive to grow. Despite the old pro and con aerguments about the use of pesticides, it simply comes down to this piece of common sense: no amount of pesticides, however small, has ever been discovered to be beneficial to the human body (see another great post: Are You Sure Your Foods are Safe?).  Conversely, it is best to remember that organic fruits and vegetables bruise easily and spoil rapidly. Many areas of the world couldn’t sustain sufficient levels of food production at this point without using pesticides. That is the paradox.

Pragmatically, a good rule of thumb is to purchase organic vegetables in preference to nonorganic vegetables if they’re not exorbitantly priced. They taste better, are muchly delicious and  healthier for you. Commercial fertilisers can increase agribusiness production. Fruits and vegetables can be produced according to the consumer’s desire. But, this trend produces higher water content, as well as muchly less delicious taste of fruit and vegetable. Thus, decrease the nutrition value as well.

Independent laboratories revealed that organic wheat contains 24% higher protein than the commercial one, and organic castor (oil) contains 43% higher vitamin C as well. The other data are:

  • Organic tomato contains 23 mg. higher calcium, while the nonorganic one contains only 5 mg.
  • Organic vegetable contain antioxidant 10% to 50 % higher than nonorganic one.
  • Organic fruits and vegetables contain higher vitamin C and essential minerals, such as Calcium, Phosporus, Magnesium, Ferum (iron) and Chrome. Organic fruits and vegetables also contain Nitrate (carsinogenic contaminant) 25% lesser than nonorganic ones.

However, if you don’t have a lot of money to spend and can’t find reasonably priced organic produce, improvise. Fresh, high quality nonorganic produce will be fine. The important thing is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Organic or commercial (nonorganic), the valuable nutrients are there for the eating.
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Reference:

  • “‘Cook Right 4 Your Type”, Peter J. D’adamo, Century, Random House, London, 2001


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