Have you heard of the “Dirty Dozen”? It’s a shopping list of the fruits and vegetables most exposed to high concentrations of pesticides and it can help you decide how to most effectively spend your fresh produce budget. The list is prepared by the American-based Environmental Working Group whose agenda includes educating people about the toxic state of our environment so that subsequent political pressure might have a real impact on environmental policy. Your decision to eat organic and support a local CSA contributes to the big picture of encouraging much-needed changes to these policies. It also benefits you directly by reducing your exposure…
Heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, are prominent in our environment and contributing causes of neurological, autoimmune, and other systemic health diseases. We use Doctors Data, an international leader in heavy metal science, to assess body toxicity.
Sarah Knight, PhD, RM, EuBP
Everything is energy. We feel it in ourselves, in other people, in our pets, in the earth. ¬¬There are systems of integrated medicine and healing practices dedicated to working with the energy of plants, animals and even minerals. Homeopathy, phytobiophysics and Bach flower remedies, and various shamanic practices are just a few of these. But there is energy medicine right at our fingertips that we can tap in to every time we prepare and consume a meal.
Good quality, unrefined foods feed our chi (or qi – our life force). In addition, the foods that we eat all have their own energies, some of them in harmony with our systems and our individual needs (which may change throughout the day, year or with different phases in our lives) and some in dissonance. For optimum health and well-being, a balanced intake of food energy should be considered alongside a balanced intake of calories and nutrients.
Connecting Farmers and Eaters through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Programs to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
by Suszane Neimanis-Klug, Roots Down Organic Farm
When we first began working our farm in 2005 we quickly realized that we were going to have a hard time funding our operation. It is very difficult for a mixed vegetable farm of this small a scale fit in to a category of small business loans and we needed to build up some infrastructure and employ farm hands in order to produce enough veggies to even begin to support ourselves. We were familiar with other farms using the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model as a solution to these problems but this concept was relatively new to the Kingston area. With this model, we would find individuals that would be willing to support our farm’s endeavors by paying ahead for veggies that they would receive throughout the growing season. We would deliver their veggies
By Dr. Holly WhiteKnight, ND
As per the Food Climate Research Network’s most recent report put it: “The relationship between health and environmental sustainability can best be viewed as an arranged marriage, rather than a love match.”
As North Americans we need to think about the way that we eat, not just for the health of our bodies but also for the good of the planet. With all of unfolding research regarding climate change, it’s no surprise that food security is such an issue. Unpredictable weather patterns and drastic extremes provide challenges for farmers and their crops. “Fad” superfoods deplete the local resources for the native population, driving the prices up so high that their chance for maintaining it as a staple in their diet is no longer financially attainable, as is the case with Quinoa in South America. People are becoming more detached from what it means to eat locally, with whole foods as the center focus of their diet.
Sustainability comes in many faces. Some factors to consider when making sustainable food choices could include:
Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
We’ve put our heads together to come up with some gift ideas that we hope you can feel really good about! These gifts are environmentally friendly and, in many cases, have the additional benefit of supporting our community.
1. Local food or drinks. We’re fortunate to have some incredibly creative food artisans in our area, whose product lends charm to the sometimes boring and colourless starches of winter cooking. Consider making a little gift basket of some unique preserves or pantry item (e.g. kettle beans, spelt flour, organic garlic, infused oils, pickled asparagus or carrots), healing herbal teas, or locally roasted coffee, available at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market (open until December 21st), Wendy’s Country Market, Old Farm Fine Foods, and even Farm Boy (e.g. Dharani Teas and Herb Haven products).
~ Dr. Christina Vlahopoulos, ND
It is really hard to think about fresh local vegetables and farmer’s markets when it is still snowing out but believe it or not, it is that time of the year again – time to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Although the ground is still covered in snow, farmers in our area are gearing up for a new season in the hopes of growing and selling amazing produce this summer.
Generally speaking, less than 10% of food imported into Canada is inspected. Furthermore, “product of Canada” doesn’t necessarily mean, “grown in Canada.” What the CSA provides is an alternative to produce being picked too early and shipped for hundreds if not thousands of kilometers before making it to your kitchen. If you are not familiar with the concept of CSA, it is a great way to get fresh, seasonal, organic vegetables and support a local farmer.
Each farm is slightly different but most CSA farms require people to sign up
~ Dr. Christina Vlahopoulos, ND, MSc (cand.)
With spring just around the corner it means we will start opening windows to let the fresh air in. It is also a very damp time of year with a lot of rain – for those who suffer from mould allergies, it can be challenging. There is a lot of strong evidence suggesting that dampness outside can change indoor air quality. But how does moisture make us sick? Unfortunately it is not the water and rain that make us sick, but rather they create the perfect environment and conditions for mould to grow.
Mould spores can be found everywhere – from food to drywall to leaf litter and the soil on the ground. In fact, mould and the enzymes they secrete, are needed for the normal breakdown and decay of organic material. But the problem begins when there are higher concentrations of mould indoors than outdoors. The problem gets worse when the perfect conditions are met for it to grow. All mould needs is increased moisture or water accumulation and/or the indoor relative humidity level to be above 60% – the higher the moisture content, the faster the mould growth. The greater the mould growth, the higher the risk for poor indoor air quality and the greater the chance of breathing problems or other respiratory illnesses.
One type of mould called “black toxic mould”
Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND
Healthcare in Ontario is financially unsustainable. We spend 43% of our provincial budget on healthcare and economists estimate that in less than 20 years we’ll require an impossible budget of 80% to accommodate our sick population. A significant portion of this budget is consumed by the 80% of adult Ontarians who have a chronic illness, such as heart disease and diabetes. Science has established beyond a doubt that most chronic disease is preventable and often reversible. We have to be smarter about chronic illness if our publically-funded healthcare system is to survive.
One of my favourite quotes is from the philosopher Wendell Berry: “The idea that we live in something called “The Environment” is utterly preposterous… The world that environs us, that is around us, is also within us. We are made of it; We eat, drink, and breathe it”. The idea that humans exist separate from our surroundings is a cultural phenomenon that underestimates the impact of environment on health. This misconception contributes significantly to our current healthcare crisis and is a driving force behind Integrative Medicine,