Organic or gluten-free doesn’t mean food without flavorOne of the great things about growing your own organic food is that you know what you are eating. You grew it from scratch.
Even so, we can’t produce every single item that we eat, and let’s face it, life would be pretty dull without a pizza or hot dog now and then.
Being “organic” also doesn’t mean you have to become some other type of person – such as wearing tie-dyed t-shirts and sandals – or being a “food nazi” about eating. It just means you are careful about what you put in your body and pay attention to where your food comes from, how it was grown, and whether it’s nutritious.
Mindful eating is something that becomes a good habit. But it can also be frustrating, given the paucity of information we’re often given at the grocery and the ingenuity food manufacturers have when it comes to labeling.
Sometimes, we have to do more research.
Gluten-free: I certainly hope no one has to use it, but a great resource for those who require gluten-free diets is a book just out titled The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook: Simple Food Solutions for Everyday Meals (Oxmore, 2011, $21.95).
I got the book because my mother-in-law Betty, who lives with us and turns 90 next month, was having difficulty digesting some foods and I thought it might be helpful.
I learned a lot; for example, gluten intolerance is more widespread than I had thought, and is, in fact, a growing health issue. Studies reveal that it’s four times more common in America now than in the 1950s.No one knows why that has occurred, but it’s believed that food processing isthe culprit.
People who are gluten sensitive may be so without knowing it. With proteins in wheat, barley and rye in almost everything available in the supermarket in processed pre-packaged foods, many may dismiss the symptoms as caused by something else.
Symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain in those with celiac disease, estimated to afflict 2 percent of the U.S. population. But allegeric sensitivitity – now estimated at up to 10 percent of the population – can have less obvious symptoms such as gas, bloating, weight loss and even malnutrition.
As it is, Betty is doing just fine with a variety of foods. But the Gluten-Free Cookbook is going to stay handy. It’s a real treasure trove, with more than 250 pages of recipes for virtually every food possible, from pizzas to chocolate cake that are gluten-free. It’s also a primer for those with sensitivities on how to stock their kitchens, and how to determine foods that are safe to eat.
Gluten-free doesn’t mean flavor-free, and eating healthy can mean greater food
To broaden this a bit, some people have also corn allergies and may suffer from headaches, nausea, etc., from food additives derived from corn. Often, corn products (as with wheat gluten, and soy byproducts) are hidden in food labels.
Even items that are labeled “all natural ingredients” and “no artificial preservatives added” can have processed corn (and wheat) products in them.
There’s a lesson here: The further away we are from natural – read organic! – foods that aren’t processed and/or actually knowing what we are putting into our bodies, the greater the chance for irregularities.
Whenever possible, eat local, eat organic, know your farmer, know your food!
•Online: Want to know the nutrition facts about what you’re cooking? An online resource allows you to type in your dish, and it will provide various recipes along with a food nutrition label. Very cool:http://www.foodily.com/
•The annual meeting of the Mississippi Beekeepers Association will be held at the Gulf Coast Community College campus in Gautier Oct. 27-30. For more information, contact the MBA at P. O. Box 5207, Mississippi State, Mississippi 39762; or call Secretary Harry Fulton (662) 325-7765, or
•The Mississippi Fruit & Vegetable Growers Conference & Trade Show will be held at the Vicksburg Convention Center in Vicksburg, Nov. 14-16. It will be held in conjunction with the Mississippi Agritourism Association and the Gulf South Blueberry Growers Association. For more information, see:http://www.msfruitandveg.com/
Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.