I love starting my weekend with a trip to the farmers market. I may start the day overwhelmed by my to-do list, but everything slows down as I start to walk past the tables of vibrant produce, local honey, and artisanal breads and cheeses. Connecting with your food and those who produce it makes you pause, breathe, and appreciate the great gift of real food. You know you’re doing something better for your body and planet by going fresh and local.
However, you can’t take for granted that everything at your local farmers market is good for you and the planet. Supporting your local farmers market can provide better quality produce and be beneficial to the environment and local economy. However, it is not a guaranty that the produce is free of pesticides, meets safety standards, or that the product is actually from a local source. If you’re not taking the opportunity to get to know your farmer you may not be getting what you bargained for. Here are some questions to ask at your next (or first) farmers market visit.
DO YOU USE PESTICIDES?
Not every local farmer grows organically. Those who do so often proudly display their USDA organic label. If you don’t see the organic label, you need to ask how they spray and fertilize their crops. Some farmers use all organic methods but simply do not have the resources to obtain the organic certification. Others may use conventional methods of pest control and fertilization. If it is a fruit or vegetable on the Dirty Dozen list, make sure to choose organically grown produce.
WHAT DO YOU FEED YOUR LIVESTOCK?
Local and grass fed seem to go hand-in-hand but you can’t assume that is the case. Cows and chickens may still be eating grain due to cost and land availability (or even junk food!). They may also still be getting things you don’t want in your food, like antibiotics. Organic eggs may be the best protein choice at the farmers market. They can be used in a variety of ways and can be less expensive per serving than organic beef. (more…)
I went to a killer wine, cheese, and seafood tasting event at my local Whole Foods Market yesterday. It’s not often you get access to an intimate Q&A session with their top specialty pros.
Surprisingly, I am new to the world of seafood as I was clinging to my childhood repulsion of fish for a few too many years. Thankfully though, I have learned better and am paving the road to changing my ways. As a newbie, I feel a bit intimidated approaching the fish counter at any grocery store, especially higher end ones. But the fishmonger at the tasting debunked all of my worries as he walked our group through the best questions to ask.
Now, you can help them help you! Here are the top three questions to ask at the fish counter this summer. (more…)
By Shae Blevins, contributor for DietsInReview.com
The diet and nutrition in The Pescetarian Plan is built on The Seven Pescetarian Principles the author, Janis Jibrin, RD, created.
Principle #1: Do not eat meat and poultry; eat recommended amounts of protein.
Proteins allowed with The Pescetarian Plan include fish and seafood, of course, as well as cheese, eggs, edamame and tofu, among other plant-based proteins found in grains, legumes and nuts.
Principle #2: Eat fruits and vegetables!
Fruits and vegetables of the traditional American diet might be apples and potatoes, but The Pescetarian Plan encourages you to explore the produce section at your local grocer to find kiwi, mangoes and figs. The fruits and vegetables allowed in The Pescetarian Plan are not always Mediterranean-based, such as sweet potatoes, but always provide the nutrition the author promised.
Principle #3: Keep treats and alcohol at a minimum.
The Pescetarian Plan allows for you to indulge in your favorite treats, such as salty chips and sweet cookies, but it recommends eating those treats in moderation. The same goes for consuming alcohol – and it should be wine.
Principle #4: Get a handle on starches.
The Pescetarian Plan recommends that half your grain servings should be whole grains, since people who eat whole grains tend to be at a healthier weight. Other starches, such as legumes, should be eaten at least four times a week.
Principles #5: Switch to low-fat or non-fat dairy.
Switching from whole fat milk to low-fat milk will save calories and saturated fat allowances in The Pescetarian Plan. Dairy is also one of the food groups you are allowed to cut completely if you have allergies or don’t like it.
Principle #6: Enjoy healthy fats!
The Pescetarian Plan is not a low-fat diet. Approximately 35 percent of the calories in this plan come from fat – the healthy fats founds in nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados.
Principle #7: Drink more water!
Water is the beverage of choice for The Pescetarian Plan, and Jibrin recommends drinking six cups of water a day or enough so that your urine looks like lemonade. Fruit juices, sodas and sweet teas are, in Jibrin’s opinion, a waste of calories.
The Pescetarian Plan provides calories plans instead of meal plans, which allow you to be more creative with what you eat when but do not give you strict guidelines on what you should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The calories plans outline how many servings of each pescetarian food group you should eat at different calories levels, such as 1,500 calories a day or 2,500 calories a day. However, the diet does show you how to plan your own meals through templates.
There seem to be so many rules when it comes to diet during pregnancy. There are are many “don’ts” as well as “you musts” when it comes to foods that promote the baby’s and mother’s health. One of the trickiest areas for pregnant moms is the issue of fish consumption. On one hand, moms are told to get a healthy dose of fish for the omega-3s and other nutrients. Yet, on the other hand, moms are told to watch out for too much fish as the mercury levels could be dangerous to the baby. So, what’s a mom to do? Thankfully, there are some answers.
According to the Mayo Clinic, fish and seafood are touted as a great source of protein, iron, and omega-3s. All of these nutrients are important in development of the baby, specifically brain development. However, regular consumption of fish high in mercury can lead to a build up in the bloodstream which can eventually damage a growing baby’s brain and nervous system.
To handle this conundrum the FDA released guidelines for pregnant mothers regarding the mercury levels in fish. The guidelines state that no more than 12 oz. of low mercury fish should be consumed on a weekly basis. Fish in the “highest” mercury level category should be avoided completely and those that fall in the “high” category should be kept to three 6-oz servings per month. (more…)
The nonprofit ocean protection group called Oceana has been performing a study, the results of which were released last week. The question – whether or not we’re being sold, and therefore eating, the fish we think we are.
Oceana took a sum of around 1,215 fish from 12 different parts of the country and examined them to see if they matched their labels or not. Listed below are the study’s findings.