Monday, December 11, 2006

Fresh or frozen???

I am often asked about the best way to buy and eat vegetables.To me, the best way would be to grow them in organic soils using no pesticides or chemicals and pick them fresh off the vine and cook them in your own kitchen, or eat them raw.

Well, that is a perfect scenario in a perfect world. Most people do not even come close to their five to six servings of fresh vegetables every day, most people, if they could would count catsup and lettuce on a burger as two servings, and actually mean it!

Even if you are eating your vegetables every day, unless they are organically grown, and you are buying them on a regular grocery store shelf, the chances of getting much in the form of nutrition is very small. Most of our vegetable supply is picked about half way through the ripening cycle, shipped, trucked or flown to holding warehouses where they sit idle until they are needed and then they are fully ripened with gases that actually force ripening, but add nothing to the actual nutrition of the food. We have to remember that when vegetables are growing in an ideal situation, they are allowed to fully ripen on the vine, or in the ground so to make sure they have all the nutrition they are meant to have. When they are picked so soon into the ripening cycle, the actual vitamins and minerals do not get a chance to develop into the food.

Also, there was a time when farmers and agriculturalists would rotate crops from year to year, because different vegetables and fruits use different nutrients from the soils, and this would make sure that food crops would not strip the soils two grow seasons in a row. This also provided that every year you would get as much as you possibly could from your crop, and the nutrition would always be there.

Today everything is farmed and shipped, and unless it is organic, you know that pesticides and preservatives are as common as the water they use to make them grow. If you have ever been to large health food store that carries organic produce, you will be amazed at how different it looks from say the normal stock on a regular grocery store shelf. Organic produce is sometimes different shapes, and may even look very imperfect, sometimes smaller and all of this because harmful preservatives and pesticides were not used.

Have you ever noticed that when you go to a regular grocery store that all the apples look the same, and all the vegetables are huge like they were made in a mold.The fact is bigger and redder and riper does not mean more nutrition. Sometimes the smaller organic tomato has more nutrition that one three times it size grown abroad and ripened with gas and picked a third of the way through it's growth cycle.

If you cannot do organic or the availability is not there, get fresh frozen. This will at least let you know that the vegetables had to be vine ripened to be quick frozen, Sometimes I think that frozen, for most parts of the country would be best. Shelf life is better, nutrition is more complete, and in many instances price is a plus as well.

So there really is no reason for you not to get your veggies, just work them into the diet. But remember, eat the good stuff and do not waste your time on going through the motions with food that gives you nothing nutritionally back in return.

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