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Organic Food: The Key to Good Health

This week we have another guest blog that is accompanied by an AWESOME infographic on organic foods! Check it out here!

Organic Food:

The Key to Good Health

For every person, the quality of the food is of paramount importance, even more so for those who work out regularly. In recent years, there have been many talks about the detrimental effect of conventional food on our wellbeing. Many have begun to wonder whether organic food presents a healthier alternative.

The popularity of packaged organic food has skyrocketed in recent years. Fitness instructors and personal trainers around the world nowadays recommend fitness and healthy diet to anyone who wants to lose weight, get healthy, and see serious results, even if they have never worked out before.

Considering the tremendous benefits of organic food for the environment and our bodies, we think that it is time we learned more about organic products and their positive effect on our health.

Organic Food for Proper Baby Development

Babies are affected the most by poor nutrition. In the early stages of our lives, our immune system is still fragile and susceptible to many diseases. A poor diet can impair the immune system. For this reason, 40% of people opt to buy organic products for their young ones. Unlike conventional food, organic food does not contain any chemicals or additives that can permanently damage your baby’s health.

What Does This Have to Do with Fitness?

Most people’s eating habits and food preferences are established early in life. It is vital to encourage a healthy diet in your household to prevent a variety of diet-related diseases. If you have bad eating habits during childhood, the chances are higher that you will have weight problems later on. That means that you may have to work out twice as hard in the gym to get back on track.

What Diseases Are Lurking in Conventional Food?

According to the Environmental Working Group report, conventional food contains over 2,000 different chemicals. Eating food packed with chemicals, such as additives and pesticides, puts us at risk for developing a range of diseases, including digestive disorders (food intolerance), brain damage, gout, kidney stones, hormone disbalance, inflammation, and even cancer.

Is Organic Food Expensive?

On average, organic food is more expensive than non-organic food by $0.24. However, many who choose to consume organic products, purchase them at reasonable prices by buying directly from farmers (i.e CSAs and farmers’ markets). Find and connect with your local farmer’s produce by searching www.localharvest.org.

Organic Food Tastes Better

32% of people think that organic food tastes better than conventional food. Sometimes it may not look as appealing, but it is much more delicious. Conventional food generally does not contain all the necessary nutrients and vitamins necessary for keeping our body healthy.

Live Healthier with Organic Food

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that clearly shows organic food is healthier than non-organic. Organic products contain more vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. These are all significant food ingredients, and if you work out regularly and try to lead a healthy lifestyle, eating organic products may be the better choice when considering the higher nutritional value of organic food. Higher nutrients = more energy for physical activity.

Plant-Based Eating Tips and Recipes!

It’s no longer a secret that shifting towards plant-based/whole foods eating, which minimizes processed foods, is best for your overall health.

Plant-based eating limits, or eliminates, animal products and focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds/nuts, and whole grains which provides higher amounts of many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many think of vegetarian’s when they think of plant-based eating, but there are numerous varieties of eating plant-based. This week we’ll look at the differences among them and maybe find a plant-based style that works for you!

But FIRST: To kick off your New Year, today’s mission for you is to go through your cupboards and toss, donate, or give away all those foods that do not fit your health and fitness goals – and start anew! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some healthy recipes too!

Which Plant-Based Diet is Right For You?

No matter who you are, we believe the majority of your diet should be plant-based. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy eating animal products, just that we should strive to allow plants to make up the majority of our calories and nutrition. Let’s discuss some varieties of primarily plant-based diets:

Vegetarian

Even within this meat-less category there are numerous forms:

Lacto-Vegetarian – Including dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.

Ovo-Vegetarian – Including eggs only

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian – As you may have guessed, lacto-ovo-vegetarians exclude meat but allows for dairy and eggs.

Pescatarian

Essentially, vegetarians that exclude dairy and eggs but do include fish. Fatty-fish, like salmon area great way to get your omega-3’s in. For the most benefit, look for wild caught salmon vs farmed.

Not a big fish fan? Try Sea Cuisine which offers sustainably caught seafood with a variety of tasty flares like Mediterranean crusted salmon, tortilla crusted tilapia, and summer herb crusted cod. They also offer non-crusted fish like blacked Cajun salmon. Available in most grocery stores in the frozen fish area.

Flexitarian

Flexitarians are “casual” vegetarians that occasionally eat meat, fish, dairy and/or eggs. For many it is hard to make the switch altogether away from animal products and still adequately meet nutritional needs – at least until they figure out strategies and recipes that allow them to do so. Not everything has to be a clean break!

Vegan

While veganism and vegetarianism crossover much of the same territory – veganism tends to take things to another level by even excluding products from insects – like honey for instance – and in some cases branching beyond what goes in your mouth and abstaining from using non-dietary animal products like wool.

To cover all ends of the spectrum, on this extreme we have Raw Veganism, which also do not cook their foods above 104-118 degrees F, instead relying primarily on preparation methods of blending, dehydrating, soaking, and sprouting.

Recipes

Plant-based eating doesn’t mean you have to eat exotic flavors and try crazy new dishes if you don’t wish!

Try this “Burger” In A Bowl from our friends at Precision Nutrition! Squeeze a dollop of ketchup and mustard over a cup of warm, cooked, lentils and top with a chopped pickle and dash of hemp seeds. This 300 calorie dish serves up 25 grams of protein!

Chopped Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing:
This lacto-vegetarian dish includes some chickpeas with a healthy dose of cabbage, tomatoes, and cucumber along with some healthy fat to keep you full and satisfied!

The dressing blends an avocado with a small amount of plain Greek yogurt, and is a great dressing to keep on hand for any kind of salad!

Get the full recipe here!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos:

Interested in becoming plant-based but don’t know where to start? Try increasing the number of meatless meals you serve. Find ways to include more greens daily. Try substituting a more vegetarian take on already favorite dish like chili or Mexican dishes (sweet potato and black beans versus ground beef in this recipe).

Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad:

This vegan and vegetarian friendly dish includes a major dose of veggies – cabbage, carrots, green onion, snow or snap peas, and cilantro – plus quinoa for a protein boost! (Use maple syrup instead of honey to complete as a vegan dish).

Get it here!

Plant-based diets can tend to be deficient in specific micronutrients like vitamin B-12, calcium, omega-3’s, and vitamin D. You may want to consider getting tested for these nutrients and/or supplement for them if you become a plant-based eater or vegetarian/vegan. Good luck!