A little about food co-ops: I am all about food co-ops!! My parents had one out of our house growing up and all I thought of then was every two weeks all these kids came over and played in our backyard with us–so fun! Unfortunately, the two companies are no longer doing food co-ops so where do I go?
For example, check out the Real Food Club. The offer pastured foods from a Amish farm in Pennsylvania. They follow the grass-based farming principles as outlined in the Weston A. Price Foundation. If you get a group of friends together one person can place an order to save on shipping. Ta Da! You started your own food co-op. Check this post out to find out all about pastured foods and eggs. Also, go in together and split an order of half a cow (see below for links).
Places that sell grassfed pastured meat, eggs, and dairy products:
- Whole Foods
- Trader Joe’s
Eggs from pasture raised chickens wins for the best choice. Yes, chickens were created to eat bugs and greens off the land which is partly why roaming free on a pasture makes their eggs higher in key nutrients. Here are two nutrients highlighted: Omega-3 fatty acids are formed in the chloroplast of green leafs so chickens feeding off of the plants in the fields increase the content of that under consumed fatty acid and pass it onto their eggs. Pastured chicken eggs also have ” 3-6 times more Vitamin D then hens raised in confinement.”1 Well that’s because they walk around in the sunshine all day.
One study1 found that when compared to commercial eggs, pastured eggs had:
- 1/3 less cholesterol
- 1/4 less saturated fats
- 2/3 more vitamin A
- 2 times more Omga-3 fatty acids
- 7 times more beta carotene
Here is more on Omega-3 fatty acids: “Omega-3s are called “good fats” because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer’s disease.”1
I also found this another article that breaks down all the definitions in relation to types of eggs you can buy: pastured raised, cage free, free range, organic, and conventional (click here for article).
One must be aware of “all vegetarian diet”. That does not mean hens were allowed free range on a pasture.
1. Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products: http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm
Pasture Raised Animals
Did you want to dig a little deeper into the question: “Why is eating foods from grass-fed animals healthier?” Check out this article called Grass-Fed Basics by Jo Robinson. Basically do you want to eat foods from animals raised on processed foods or fresh pasture grown foods? Pasture raised animal food products have the correct proportion of nutrient and vitamins and minerals. For example, the ratio of unsaturated fat vs. saturated fat in meats is healthier in pasture raised animals. Its just all in the right proportion!
An interesting study on the effect of pesticides and children concluded that once children stopped consuming conventional fruits and vegetables and started eating organic produce, the pesticide markers in their urine disappeared.
The good news was that this change in levels was very rapid. However, we do not know the effects of low-level pesticides, if any, on children. “…a link between neurological impairments and repeated low-level exposure is far more difficult to determine,” states the article. Animal studies have shown a link between pesticides and brain development and behavior and it wasn’t good.
I hadn’t thought of this before but it makes sense as the article states–the levels were higher in the winter months probably due to more imported produce. I love the common sense tips for choose what fruits and vegetable to buy organic. “For example, organic strawberries probably are worth the money because they are a tender-fleshed fruit grown close to the dirt, so more pesticides are needed to fight insects and bugs from the soil. [The researcher] adds apples and spinach to his list. ‘It may also be money-smart to choose conventionally grown broccoli because it has a web of leaves surrounding the florets, resulting in lower levels of pesticide residue,’ Lu says.” I am sure we can apply this way of thinking to other fruits and vegetables we buy at the supermarket. (This article can be found here.)
I always love this question. Is it worth the extra money to buy organic foods? The simple answer is YES!! But will you choose organic with me? Well, that’s up to you of course. Based on all the reviewing of articles and common nutrition sense, I am in favor of buying organic foods when possible. I found this article in New York Times Health by Tara Parker-Pope called “Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly” (April 17, 2013) and enjoyed the read so I wanted to highlight some of the points the author talked about.
This particular study was done on fruit flies by a 16 year old who was able to have her study published in a scientific journal (you can find the article here). Pretty good for 16! It was found that the fruit flies “by nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity” did better then those eating the conventional foods. It wasn’t determined whether the organically fed fruit flies fared better because of less pesticides or that the organic produce had a higher nutrient content. But the overall outcome was organic was better.
One other item the article pointed out was the “question of whether organically raised plants produce more natural compounds to ward off pests and fungi, and whether those compounds offer additional health benefits to flies, animals and humans who consume organic foods”
Interesting don’t you think? Of course more research to better understand the impact to human health is ongoing.