Most people do not think twice about heading off to the grocery store each week, or even several times a week, to stock up on food and other goods that they need for themselves or their families. Of course, just a few generations ago, the people in this country grew the majority of their own food. Such a concept is rarely seen today as most people think it is too difficult or too expensive to grow their own food. In reality, neither of these beliefs are true, and there are a large number of wonderful benefits to homegrown food.
In this age of numerous food product recalls and food contamination scares, it should come as no surprise that one of the top reasons to grow your own food is food safety. Only when you are in complete control of your food supply will you be able to rest assured that your food is safe and uncontaminated. You will be able to select what products you use to help your food grow, when it is cultivated, where it is stored, and when it is consumed. All of these steps will prevent worry about bacteria like E. coli or salmonella.
Another related benefit to growing your own food is that you can be sure that it is organic. While products do have to be certified organic in this country to use that label, sometimes people are still unsure whether they can trust a company who says they are organic. You may still have questions about what type of fertilizer was used or whether or not there was any cross-contamination with other produce on their farm or in their factory that is not organic. If you are the one who is making the call on what treatments are done on your food, then you will not have to wonder about whether there may actually be pesticides on your food in spite of an “organic” label.
Despite some people’s thoughts to the contrary, growing your own food really will save you money. You likely pay a premium for organic foods at the grocery store or health food store, and growing your own food will save you a lot of cash for that reason alone. Additionally, you will be able to grow in abundance under good conditions and you may be able to sell your extra produce at a farmers’ market to recoup some costs. You could even trade with neighbors who have grown different types of food. Since you are most likely not using expensive pesticides on your homegrown food, the only true costs to growing your food are the seeds and the personal time and energy it will take to maintain your garden.
Being able to only grow the foods you love and want to eat is another good reason to grow your own food. If you love strawberries, for example, you can dedicate a large space in your garden to those delicious fruits. This is in contrast to getting a box of mixed fruits and vegetables from your local community supported agriculture organization, where you typically end up with a lot things that you do not care to eat. Likewise, you may be stuck with whatever the local farmers have to sell at the market. If you want lots of pumpkins and no eggplant, the best way to control such things is to do it yourself.
Of course growing your own food is easier if you live in a place that has a good climate year round, such as California, but do not think that you cannot grow your own food if you live somewhere that has harsh winters. In fact, container gardening, a type of indoor gardening, is a fast growing sensation and many people even in snowy climates are growing their food year round. Container gardening may take some extra work and know how, as opposed to just planting seeds in your yard, but with the right amount of work it can be a great experience.
Many people scoff at the idea of homegrown food, saying that most people cannot possibly grow all their own food, citing examples like corn and mangos as things that cannot be grown in the average yard in America. However, just because you cannot grow every morsel of food that you eat does not mean that you should not make a strong effort to grow what you can. Even if you only have a few tomato plants and maybe an herb garden growing at your home, this is still a great thing for the environment as it saves valuable land space for other practices and reduces the amount of dangerous pesticides and fertilizers that are going into the ground and water sources.
Even if you do not have a green thumb, it is worth trying to grow your own food at home for your health and for the environmental impact.
Although coffee is still the most popular morning beverage in the morning in the United States, and the number one way to caffeinate the body, tea is on the rise. Of course, in other countries tea is very commonplace and taken with breakfast and throughout the day. In fact, tea is often woven into the culture, as is the case in places like England and Japan. Teas are served at special occasions and to the most important of guests.
As tea rises in popularity in this country, people are becoming more aware of the wide variety of tea that is available. People who do not drink tea are generally aware of only a few kinds of tea, maybe chamomile or Earl Gray. In reality, the flavors and types of teas are endless and far surpass coffee in terms of flavor and variety.
While at one time people may have shied away from tea because they only had the choice of making it at home, more and more tea shops are popping up in major cities and even some small towns. For that reason, trying tea has never been easier. You do not need to try to figure out what kind to buy and then take it home and brew it yourself. Rather, you can just go into one of these tea shops and ask them for a recommendation. They will then make the tea for you and maybe give you a suggestion if you do not like the first flavor that you chose.
In addition to different flavors of tea, there are also different types. Some are filled with caffeine to make you wake up in the morning and some are filled with ingredients to make you sleep better at night. However, no matter what type of tea that you decide to drink, you can be confident that the tea has some great ingredients in it to make you feel good and maybe even improve your health.
Unlike sugary soft drinks or diet sodas, the ingredients in tea are natural and made from earth grown ingredients. This can ensure that your body will react positively to them and you will not have digestion problems that you may experience with soda or even coffee.
As you venture out into the world of teas, you are likely to come across organic teas and wonder just what those are all about. Just like organic food, organic teas are grown a certain way to be able to be labeled as such. The ingredients in organic teas have been grown in soil that has not been treated with chemicals. Likewise, the plants and herbs themselves are not treated with any fertilizers or pesticides that are chemical in nature.
Another thing to consider is that many organic teas may also be fair trade teas. If you are concerned about where your teas come from, this will be important to you. Fair trade teas ensure that the workers who picked the ingredients for the tea were given a fair wage and treated fairly in their working conditions. Although this does not make you any healthier, it will make you feel better knowing that you’ve taken part in a practice that promotes good conditions for workers.
If you are going to switch to tea for its health benefits over coffee, it only makes sense that you will choose tea that is certified organic. You want the best ingredients only for your body, and that is one way to ensure that you are doing just that. Tea that is not organic may have been infused with chemicals before it was harvested. Even if the plants were triple washed before being made into tea, it is not possible to rid them entirely of the toxins.
Organic tea is widely available, but if you live in a smaller town it may be harder to come by. Keep in mind that there are online retailers that sell organic tea if you are unable to find it in your local town. You may have to pay a bit more for organic tea, especially if you need to order it online, but it really is worth it to ensure that are you drinking the healthiest tea possible. This is similar to buying organic fruits and vegetables. Yes, it will cost a little bit more, but you need to not think just about the cost when you decide whether to buy organic tea. The added benefits to you and your family will far outweigh the additional cost of buying organic tea.
Making a big change, like the one required to become a tea drinker, can be a daunting thing, as it is much easier to maintain the status quo. For example, at work they probably offer coffee, not tea. The same can be said for airplanes or at business meetings. However, any change for your health is never easy and you should stick with it. This is one change, however, that you will be happy to have made. You will look back after a few months of drinking organic tea and wonder how you ever went without it.
There are many diets out there that tout the possibility of weight loss and rapidly changing your physique. However, most of these plans care very little about actually giving you a healthier lifestyle and more about giving you a quick fix. Of course, the problem with these quick fix diets is that you may be thinner, but you likely are not healthier. What’s worse is that once you stray from this diet plan, you are likely to gain all the weight back.
The true way to have proper, lifelong weight loss is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. This does not mean counting calories and seeing how many fat free pudding cups you can get away with eating in a day and still come in under your calorie limit. What this entails is eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. While everyone knows that eating more fruits and vegetables will make you healthier, for some reason people are quick to abandon them when they are trying to lose weight. Some diet plans, like the low carb plans, even shun fruits almost entirely, despite the fact that they contain a lot of nutrients that your body needs.
Although adding any fruits and vegetables to your diet will be an improvement, if you want to fully optimize your new healthier lifestyle, you need to look into organic fruits and vegetables. You can still eat your favorite kinds of fruits, whether it is bananas or kiwi, and you can still eat those vegetables like spinach and asparagus that pack a huge nutritional punch. The only difference is that you will do your best to choose only those items that are labeled organic.
Now, most people are used to hearing the word “organic,” but they may not know exactly what it means. For something to be labeled organic, it must have been grown without any chemical pesticides or fertilizers. This means that the fields in which the produce was grown were not sprayed by a crop duster or covered with a misting of chemicals.
Being healthy does not just mean eating wholesome foods that will properly fuel your body and protect you from disease. It also means keeping out noxious chemicals that could cause you harm. Although no one knows for sure what the long term effects of ingesting these chemicals may be, it does not take a scientist to predict that it cannot be good. Even if you scrub each and every morsel of food before you eat it, you cannot be sure that you are not getting some residual chemicals into your body.
Most big farms, typically associated with corporations, do not think twice about dousing their fields with these toxins because it is cheaper and gives them a better yield. Obviously, it costs less to cover a field in chemical weed killer than to pay workers to go row by row and pull the weeds or put down netting to stop the weeds from growing. For that reason, non-organic foods are probably going to be cheaper for you to purchase at the store than organic foods. The extra money out of your pocket is worth it, however, when you think about the fact that you will no longer be putting those harsh chemicals in to your body, and you’re also doing the environment a favor at the same time by keeping those toxins out of soils and waterways.
If you are concerned about the higher costs associated with buying organic food, you may want to limit the amount of foods that you buy organic. Rather than just picking and choosing, however, you should buy only the organic varieties of those fruits and vegetables that are more susceptible to the absorption of chemicals. These items have been labeled the “dirty dozen” and are made up of apples, sweet bell peppers, peaches, celery, strawberries, nectarines, cherries, imported grapes, spinach, pears, lettuce, and potatoes.
What is great, though, is that these “dirty dozen” are all very common fruits and vegetables and you should not have any trouble finding these in the organic versions. That does not mean, of course, that you should not get organic versions of other fruits and vegetables, if you can afford to do so. Rather, it is just that if you have to limit your consumption of organic foods, these are the ones that you should focus on getting.
The transition to organic food for a healthier lifestyle will not be difficult if you have already been eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. If you notice anything at all about a difference in taste, you’ll likely find that the organic products are far better tasting, and you will continue to enjoy your regular meals with these items. Just be sure to give your organic fruit and vegetables a thorough wash with a natural based fruit and vegetable cleaner to ensure that they do not contain any bacteria or natural fertilizer.
This simple change is something that will make a big difference in your physical health and personal well-being, both in the short-term and for the rest of your life. You’ll also be helping the environment by refusing to buy products that have been treated with harmful chemicals that ultimately damage the planet.
In the past few decades, salt has gotten a bad reputation. It has been linked to high blood pressure and heart attacks, and often people who suffer from hypertension are told by their doctor to limit their salt intake. This can be difficult for many because salt adds a lot to cooked meals, often bringing out flavors and enhancing the taste of many things. Also, table salt has iodine added to it, which people need to prevent iodine deficiency which can lead to things like goiters.
However, table salt has other negative things about it, besides it being linked to hypertension. It has additives, like the aforementioned iodine, which make it a very processed item. The iodine is not naturally occurring in the table salt and must go through chemical processes to be added in. In fact, table salt has no natural nutritional value at all, and, in fact, has had all natural minerals removed from it with even more processing.
So, what is the alternative if you want the flavor of salt, but not the blood pressure raising overly processed table salt? The answer is natural salt, often called sea salt. Unlike table salt which is mined, sea salt is harvested in the ocean or seas. This is done by the water being channeled into trays, where the water then evaporates in the sun, leaving the sea salt behind.
There are many great benefits to sea salt. It is not stripped of its minerals the way table salt typically is, meaning that it contains trace minerals like iodine, potassium, and zinc, among others. It does not go through extensive processing like table salt, making it more natural and healthier for your body to digest. Further, it does not appear to have the same level of negative effects on the body that table salt has been shown to create. For example, the water retention issues that table salt can cause do not appear to occur with natural sea salt. The different reaction by the body may result from the fact that sea salt is sold in the same way that it naturally occurs, meaning that your body is able to process it more easily. This is in contrast to table salt, which has been greatly processed and is unlike it was in its natural state when it was first mined.
You may be wondering about the flavor difference between sea salt and table salt. Well, most people prefer the taste of sea salt to regular table salt. It has a stronger flavor that can really make your food taste even better than before. It is available in different sizes, ranging from coarse to super fine. This can be useful in different types of foods that may call for different types of salt, and you do not get such a choice with table salt.
Most people easily can make the transition to sea salt in their cooking and eating at home. Many people either love the taste difference or do not really notice too much difference in their food. However, they will likely notice a difference in their health, as the sea salt will not make them feel as bloated or retain as much water and will likely bring down their blood pressure rather than raise it.
Of course, it is nearly impossible to avoid table salt unless you make all your meals yourself. Most restaurants continue to use table salt in their food preparation, and most pre-packaged foods like frozen dinners and soups contain a large amount of table salt. Because it is impossible to completely shy away from table salt in these instances, by only using sea salt at home, at least you will be able to have some of the great benefits of this type of salt.
While it was once a more specialty item, sea salt is far more common these days and you should not have too much trouble finding it. It is readily available in health food stores, but even many grocery stores now carry it on their shovels alongside regular table salt. You may even occasionally find pre-packaged foods at health foods stores that have been made with sea salt. For example, there are frozen French fried potatoes on the market that are prepared with sea salt. You should expect to see more and more of these types of products cropping up as the general population becomes more aware of the benefits of natural sea salt.
Like many things that go against the societal norms that have been in place for decades, a switch from table salt to natural salt will likely be a slow one. You can do your part to speed up the transition by spreading the word about the health benefits of natural salt and encourage your favorite local restaurants to make the switch.
One of the great ways to save money and to eat healthier at the same time is to make your own bread. For many people, however, just the thought of baking your own bread is a very daunting task. The idea of all of the kneading of the dough that is required and all the waiting for the bread to rise can seem like too much work. It seems much easier just to go to the grocery store or a local bakery and get your bread that way.
However, the bread that you make yourself will be much fresher and better tasting than what you can buy at the store. The best thing is that you can control the ingredients that go into your bread when you make it yourself. This is great if you or your family has any food allergies because you can omit dairy or eggs or choose a type of flour compatible with your family’s needs.
The more you learn about baking your own bread, the more you will realize how fun it can be and all the different variants there are to bread making. For example, you will learn about making sweet breads versus savory breads, and you can learn which breads go with which types of main dishes. Much like wines or beers, you really can pair types of bread with each meal.
As you get more advanced in your bread making, you will begin looking for tips and tricks to make the process easier and more successful. One such tip comes into play when it comes to covering the dough while it rises. Although some people choose to cover it with a damp dish towel, one great tip is to cover the bowl with a shower cap. The next time you go to a hotel, take the free shower cap they offer and take it home. When you bake bread the next time, try to use that to cover the dough as it rises and see if it makes a great difference in your bread rising capabilities.
Another great tip as a way to bake better bread is to use malt wheat in your bread. Using malt powder actually changes the bread in many ways. It makes the bread rise better, which is great because you definitely do not want flat, dense breads. You want breads that have risen to their full potential and are light and airy. This will make the best tasting bread, as well as give it a great visual appeal. Malt wheat powder will also change the texture of the bread, especially when it comes to the crust. It will make the crust brown perfectly and you will not be struggling to get that beautiful outer layer. It will ensure that the crust is brown and crunchy, while keeping the inside soft, moist, and delicious. Another benefit of wheat malt powder is that it may also help to extend the shelf life of your bread. Unlike store bought bread that is loaded with preservatives, bread that you make at home will not last a long time. However, if you add this secret ingredient to your bread, it will actually last longer on your countertop.
You should really make sure that you are buying organic malt wheat if you are going to go with this option. Organic is really a great way to go for all your food purchases, in fact. Organic means that your items are healthier for both you and the planet because they have not been grown with the aid of any chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers. This can make your health improve if you have not been consuming organic foods in the past. Just imagine your body being free from toxins, and think of how much better you will feel.
Overall, making your own bread can be a fun new activity to start. If you have children, it is definitely something that they can help you with, as kids love doing hands on activities. You can have them help with the tedious kneading process and they will likely find it to be a lot of fun. Their enthusiasm will likely improve your outlook on the whole process as well, making it more fun for everyone. It will also be a fun bonding experience for the family.
There are a lot of different food changes that you can make in your life that will improve your diet and make you a healthier person. Though probably you would not have thought of it on your own, making your own bread really can be one of those positive changes. Plus, it is a much simpler change to make, as opposed to giving up bread, as some dieters are inclined to do. You need not give anything up, just make what you are eating a healthier and better for you version of what you already know and love.