Gluten Free For Good


 

More About Melissa

Archive for January, 2012



Balanced Living Lingo (Farm Talk Glossary)

I have a theory that if you keep your intentions (or resolutions as is the case with each new year) to yourself, you have a better chance of achieving them. The more you talk about something—a goal, a resolution, a project, an intention—the more it scatters. It’s like you’re frittering away bits and pieces of your grand design each time you mention it. The more you talk about it, the less interesting it becomes. Your brain registers a premature sense of accomplishment.

So—I’ve decided not to broadcast my list of 2012 resolutions. I’m keeping them to myself, thinking they have more power to blossom if I don’t talk about them (especially that 5 pounds I need to ditch and the mountain I want to climb).

Out with the old—in with the new.

Instead of a resolution list, I’m making a list (a glossary actually) of farm-fresh words to share over at The Balanced Platter, Amy (Simply Sugar and Dairy Free) and Maggie’s (She Let Them Eat Cake) new home for all things related to healthy and balanced living. During this month’s launch of TBP, you’ll find a steady stream of up-to-date information, helpful tips, brilliant ideas, and wholesome recipes instead of resolutions. We’re all in this together, let’s share our wisdom for a brighter and more balanced 2012.

Balanced Living Lingo

Biodynamic: A form of organic farming that emphasizes the relationship between the soil, plants, and animals as a self-sustaining system. Biodynamic farmers seek to maximize diversity in their farming practices by treating their farm as a unified organism. They avoid the use of artificial chemicals and practice crop rotation, composting, and plant and harvest according to seasonal and lunar rhythms.

Cage-Free Eggs: There is no legal definition of cage-free. Often cage-free hens live in crowded conditions with no access to the outdoors. Seek out local farmers who practice human animal husbandry. Organic eggs from healthy, pastured chickens look and taste very different from the conventional version.

Certified Naturally Grown: Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) products are certified by an independent nonprofit organization (not USDA) as having been produced in approximate accordance with national organic standards, a program involving fewer paperwork requirement and lower certification fees for farmers than the USDA’s National Organic Program.

Community Garden: A community owned and/or operated plot of land that is divided up for individuals or families to grow food. Community Gardens provide an opportunity to grow low cost, nutritious food and can contribute to the local economy by allowing gardeners to sell their produce at Farmer’s Markets.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Consumers buy a share in a local farm or garden, usually paying before the beginning of the season—in return, they receive a weekly supply of fresh, local produce that is harvested throughout the growing season. By paying up-front the shareholder gives the farmer cash to start the season and also takes on some of the risks associated with farming (hail, drought, etc.). I’ve been a member of Grant Family Farms CSA here in Colorado for years and appreciate the opportunity to have locally grown, organic food, fresh from the farm. Check here to find a CSA in your area.

Conventional: Refers to standard agricultural practices that are widespread in the industry. Can (but does not necessarily) include the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, mono-cropping, antibiotics, hormones, and other chemical approaches. Conventional farming in the U.S. may also include the use of GMOs.

Farmer’s Market: Refers to an open-air market where farmer’s sell their produce directly to consumers.

Farmstead Cheese: Farmstead cheeses are made by the same people who farm the animals producing the milk.

Farm-To-Table: Signifies that the food on the table came directly from a specific farm, or a meal prepared and served at the farm where the food was grown. The use of farm-to-table also emphasizes a direct relationship between a farm and a restaurant or store.

Food Shed: The term food shed is similar to the concept of a watershed while watersheds ouline the amount and flow of water supplying a particular area, foodsheds outline the flow of food feeding a particular area. Your foodshed encompasses the farm, your table, and everything in between.

Free-Range: USDA regulations apply only to poultry and indicate that the animal has been “allowed access to the outside.” The USDA regulations do not specify the quality or size of the “outside” or the duration of time an animal has “access to the outside.” Most farmers that you meet at the farmer’s market or through your CSA raise animals that are actually free to roam naturally, but if you want to be certain, you should visit the farm.

GMO (Genetically Modified Organism): GMOs are plants and animals whose genetic make-up has been altered to exhibit traits that they would not normally have, like longer shelf-life, different color, or resistance to certain chemicals. In general, genes are taken (copied) from one organism that shows a desired trait and transferred into the genetic code of another organism. Genetic modification is currently allowed in conventional farming.

Gleaning: To gather food left behind after the harvest. Sometimes farmers invite people to their farms to glean for free food or to donate food to food banks.

Grass-Fed: Refers to livestock, especially cattle or sheep, that have been fed grass instead of corn or soy (grains). Grain is commonly fed because the cattle or sheep fatten more quickly, but grain creates abnormal acidity in their digestive system, which negatively effects their overall health. Meat and milk from 100% grass-fed animals have a healthy ratio of omega 3-6-9′s and a higher amount of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA, a fatty acid that has health-promoting properties).

Heirloom: Heirloom crop varieties, also called farmer’s varieties or traditional varieties, have been developed by farmers through generations. Generally speaking, heirlooms are varieties that have been in existence for a minimum of fifty years.

Heritage: A term applied to breeds of livestock that were bred over time to be well-adapted to local environmental conditions, withstand disease, and survive in harsh environmental conditions. Heritage breeds generally have slow growth rates and long productive lifespans outdoors, making them well-suited for grazing and pasturing.

Local Food System: When all aspects of the production, distribution, storage, consumption, and sale of food are operated, managed, and owned by the community it serves. This is part of the broader sustainable food movement.

Locavore: A person who is interested in eating food that is regionally produced as part of the collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies.

Natural: USDA guidelines state that all “natural” meat and poultry products can only undergo minimal processing and cannot contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients. The claim “natural” is otherwise unregulated. In many cases, it means nothing.

No Anitibiotics: Antibiotics are given to animals such as cows, hogs, sheep, and chickens to  prevent or manage diseases. “No antibiotics,” implies that a farmer does not administer antibiotics to his/her animals.

No Hormones: Hormones are commonly used in the commercial farming of animals such as cattle to speed the growth rate or increase milk production. Some of these hormones are natural, some are synthetic, and some are genetically engineered. If a ranch or product professes “no hormones,” this means that they do not engage in these practices. Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry.

Organically Grown: Food grown without synthetic pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics, fertilizers or other synthetic or toxic substances. Organic food does not include foods that have been irradiated or genetically modified.

Pastured: There are no regulations as to what this defines. If a farmer states their animals are pastured, the animals should spend time living on pasture as opposed to just having “access” to pasture. Time that an animal can actually live on pasture will vary regionally based on weather and length of growing season. To know for sure, ask the farmer and visit the farm.

Raw Foodism: The practice of consuming uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet.

Seed Saving: The practice of collecting seeds in order to preserve the genetic diversity of our agricultural heritage that is now threatened by agricultural seed monopolies.

Slow Food: An international movement that began in Italy as a reaction to the fast food industry. The Slow Food movement seeks to preserve the culture of food by education consumers about the seasonality of foods and which foods grown in their region, by connecting consumers to farmers, and by celebrating high quality food with others. There are Slow Food Chapters all over the world that celebrate good, clean, fair food.

Sulphured/Unsulphured: Many dried fruits are sulfured with sulfur dioxide (SO), or meta bisulfate to keep them from oxidizing during and after the drying process. This preserves their original color and acts as a preservative. Unsulfured fruits are often dark in color.

Sustainable Agriculture: Farming that is socially just, humane, economically viable, and environmentally sound.

Transitional: Farmers must practice organic methods for three years on a given piece of land before the products harvested from that land can be sold or labeled organic. “Transitional” is an unofficial term that refers to farmland that is in a transition period towards organic certification.

Urban Agriculture: The practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in an urban, rather than rural, environment. Urban farming is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system. For example, large gardens (mini farms) are being grown on rooftops in large cities. Vacant lots are being used for agricultural purposes.

Vegan: Foods with this label contain no animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs, gelatin, or honey.

Check out The Balanced Platter for more tips on bringing balance into your life! And please join me on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to my blog for post updates (see above).

Peace, love, and balanced living in 2012!

Thank you to Pitchfork Pinups and The Farmer’s Market Coalition for some of these glossary terms.

Heavy Metal Skillet Breakfast

I’ve been detained for the past several weeks. In fact, I almost forgot I had a blog. If it hadn’t been for the occasional spam updates, this blogging thing might have completely slipped my mind. My absence has been for good reason though. I’m involved in an exciting book writing project with friend, colleague, writing guru, endurance athlete, and fellow blogger Pete Bronski from No Gluten No Problem. Although it’s been a wild ride (sprinting a marathon as Pete says), I’m grateful and thrilled to be involved. We’ll keep you posted.

And now — back to blogging.

Have you ever wondered if you’re getting a hit of iron when you cook in a cast iron skillet and then eat the food? Doesn’t that sound like more fun than buying and taking iron supplements?

I’m not suggesting giving up your iron supplements if you’re truly deficient, but why not let some of that free iron migrate from the pan to your red blood cells? A 2007 study published in the Ecology of Food and Nutrition Journal found that iron nutrition status among vegetarians can be improved by using cast iron skillets in meal preparation. The iron transferred from the skillet to the food and was absorbed by the subjects. The use of cast iron pans decreased the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in the population studied.

That’s great if you’re absorbing your iron to begin with. People with unmanaged, undiagnosed (or newly diagnosed) gluten intolerance are often iron deficient. The area of the small intestine where iron is absorbed can become inflamed and damaged, so even if you’re eating a healthy diet you might not be absorbing or assimilating the nutrients.

You’ve heard the old saying, you are what you eat.

Uh, well, not always.

It’s more like, you are what you’re able to digest (breakdown), absorb into circulation, and ship out to your anxiously-awaiting cells. If you aren’t absorbing your iron, you should find out why. If you don’t get enough iron in your diet, which can be the case with vegetarians, cooking with cast iron will boost your intake.

I have a small cast iron skillet from my grandmother that I use on a regular basis. It’s my personal breakfast skillet. I roast veggies in it and top the mixture with a poached egg or two. It makes for a delicious, iron-rich meal. It also makes for quick cleanup since I’m cooking and eating out of the same pan.

Heavy Metal Skillet Breakfast

Broccoli stalks (amazingly good roasted)
Cauliflower
Onions
Tomatoes
Spinach
Pastured eggs
Simply Organic All-Purpose Seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease skillet. Trim broccoli stalks by getting rid of the funky stuff on the outside. Cut in 1-inch wide by 2- to 3-inch long chunks (see photo). Cut cauliflower chunks in half. Cut onions in 2- to 3-inch chunks. The vegetable pieces should be cut to similar sizes so they roast evenly.

Place vegetables in a small bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add some Simply Organic All-Purpose Seasoning (my absolute favorite multi-purpose seasoning), sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to cover vegetables. Put the broccoli chunks, cauliflower, and onions in the skillet and place on center rack of oven. Set timer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add the tomatoes and spinach, stirring to blend the newly added vegetables with the others. Roast for another 10 minutes.

In the meantime, poach two eggs. Once the vegetables are roasted, top with the eggs and enjoy.

Note: Broccoli stalks are awesome roasted. Don’t throw them away. They taste tender and slightly sweet when roasted. They’re delicious!

You might also like:
Carol’s version of Eggs Florentine baked in a cast iron skillet (from the wonderful blog Simply Gluten Free).

Peace, love, and cast iron.
Melissa

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
recent posts


my book
(co-written with Pete Bronski)



stay connected
Gluten Free For Good on Facebook Gluten Free For Good on Twitter Gluten Free For Good RSS Feed

Subscribe with Bloglines
Add to Feedburner
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to Google
Add to NewsGator
Add to MyAOL