3 organic super-vegetables that cost less than $2 | MNN – Mother Nature Network

Have you ever felt like you were on the right track with your diet, only to have someone completely derail your progress with a simple comment? It happens all the time. You may eat a diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables… but someone asks you, are they organic? Locally-grown? Ugh.

So you do your best to adjust, adding more organic produce to your diet, and after just a few days, you realize that you’re going broke.

I’ve seen this rollercoaster ride so many times before, and it often ends almost exactly where it started. This person who was trying so hard before, now throws her hands up and says, “This just isn’t working.” All her progress goes out the window because she was made to feel like she had to spend her whole paycheck on food in order to be healthy. Well, that’s simply not the case. [12 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget]

Not all vegetables are expensive, but they’re also not created equal. For example, iceberg lettuce is inexpensive, but it contains less protein, fiber, calcium, folate and vitamin K per calorie than its pricier counterpart, romaine. If you look at the lettuces in terms of penny per nutrient, instead of penny per calorie, romaine is the clear winner.

And speaking of nutritional winners, a study published in the journal PLOS One in May reported two clear winners in the overall cost-per-nutrient category: potatoes and beans (beans are classified as a vegetable by the USDA). [13 Easy Kitchen Fixes that Can Help You Lose Weight]

Researchers used a combination of nutrient profiling methods and national average pricing to create an affordability index, which was used to examine the nutrients in 98 individual vegetables as well as five subgroups. The fact that potatoes come out on top is surprising to some, but potatoes are extremely rich in potassium, fiber, vitamin C and magnesium. And, they’re cheap too!

This report definitely sparked my interest because I think this is an important topic. So, I thought this might be a good time to review my personal favorite, budget-friendly organic vegetables that pack a healthy nutritional punch.

  1. Kale: This is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy greens you can get, and it’s cheap. The other day, I went to the grocery store just for some organic kale and I walked out with a big bunch. Guess how much I spent? It was well under two dollars, and I’d say I got more than my money’s worth. Just one cup of this raw leafy green has 206 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, and 134 percent of vitamin C.
  2. Green cabbage: At about $0.92 per pound, this organic vegetable is certainly affordable. But it’s also nutritious. One cup of raw green cabbage contains nearly a full day’s worth of vitamin K, and it has about half of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants.
  3. Baby carrots: At about $1.75 per pound, organic baby carrots make for a nutritious and inexpensive snack. And eating one mere ounce, will give you 77 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A.

Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

[tag 3 organic super-vege]

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Natural News Blogs Sprouting Organic Mung Beans » Natural News Blogs

Sprouting Organic Mung Beans
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Mung Beans have a shelf life of 3-5 years if kept in a cool, dark place such as a closet but not a hot garage. Mung beans will usually produce twice the amount of sprouts as seeds. Mung bean sprouts can last up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator if properly stored. As with anything in the fridge, if it smells funky in a bad way, don’t eat it!

Directions:

Put 1/3 cup beans into your sprout jar. Add 2 cups of water. Allow seeds to soak for 8-12 hours. Empty the seeds into your Sprout Jar. Drain off the soak water. You may use it to water plants. Rinse thoroughly with cool (60-70°) water. Drain thoroughly.Once I emptied out the water I set the jar upside down in a bowl to drain completely.

If you want to grow short, sweet Mung Beans – with 1/8 – 1/2 inch roots:

Rinse and drain every 8-12 hours for 2 – 3 days.

If you want to grow big, thick Mung Bean – with 1 – 3 inch roots:
Rinse and Drain every 8-12 hours for 4 – 6 days.

Just to be clear:
Soak for 8-10 hours. Rinse and drain. Leave the jar in a cool place with no direct sunlight for the next 8-10 hours (dry). Repeat. It is VERY important that you rinse and drain thoroughly.The great thing about my Sprout Jar is that it’s self-contained. I can soak, drain, rinse and let them sit all in one container.

Your sprouts are done 8-10 hours after the final rinse. Be sure to drain your sprouts as thoroughly as possible after the final rinse. Remove any left over hulls. Transfer your sprouts to a plastic bag or sealed container and put them in the refrigerator.

KS

Home-delivered organic produce

Residents of Atlanta have a new way to get fresh, non-GMO, pesticide-free organic fruits and vegetables. A new company called ColdLife Organics lets consumers place their orders online and have their groceries delivered directly to their home once a week.

ColdLife is more about delivery, though. The company is involved at every step of the way to make sure that customers receive the freshest produce possible. Their unique process starts right at their own certified organic farm in Florida. As soon as the produce is picked, it is washed in cold water and then placed into a refrigerated truck. After that it’s shipped to ColdLife’s 70,000 square foot refrigerated facility on Marietta Boulevard. As the company’s COO, Jason Sherman, explained to MNN, “the produce is never exposed to heat from harvest to delivery we insure that correct temperatures are maintained.” The fruits and vegetables — plus some meats and cheeses — are even delivered in a special, insulated box to make sure the contents stay cold during the journey between their delivery truck and your refrigerator. “The majority of our clients instruct us to leave their delivery outside as they are not at home,” Sherman says, and this method allows the products in the box to stay cool for up to eight hours. He says all of this work to keep the produce cool ensures that their products are both fresh and have a long shelf life.

ColdLife heirloom tomatoesThe company offers a variety of offerings, including a weekly fruit package for $39 and a box of “super greens” for the same price. (Pictured at right is a selection of heirloom tomatoes recently harvested by ColdLife at their organic farm.) There’s also a veggie lover’s family-size box for $59 and several other options. In addition to the standard selections, customers can create their own combinations or go to the website and add extra items to their regular, weekly deliveries. “We are in the process of expanding the online store to offer a full Organic and Natural supermarket menu of products,” Sherman says. “These new products are being added on a weekly basis.”

ColdLife just launched its website to customers a few months ago, but they are rapidly adding new clients and expanding their delivery area. Just this past week, they announced that they have added deliveries in Cumming, Conyers, Fayetteville, Lawrenceville, Peachtree City, Suwanee and Dacula.

And ColdLife will soon be expanding beyond delivery. “We are opening organic ‘grab n go’ stores featuring prepared organic foods and cold pressed juices,” Sherman says. They also have an organic juice truck that will serve juices, popsicles, salads and other foods within the Atlanta metro area.

For more information on ColdLife Organics, visit their website, or watch COO Jason Sherman in this appearance on ‘Atlanta & Company’ earlier this week:

Organics vs. Conventional: What’s the Difference?

organic versus non organic foods

The difference between organic and conventional foods is more than just what you find on a Nutrition Facts label. Organic products and conventional products have the same nutritional values. For instance,

  • 1 cup of organic milk has very similar calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate content to non-organic milk, and both organic and conventionally produced milk are fortified with Vitamins D and A. In other words, organic milk does not have more or less calories than conventional milk.
  • Fruits and vegetables, whether they are organic or conventionally grown, all contain vitamins, minerals, fibers, and other phytonutrients. Actual levels will vary regardless of their organic/non-organic status because of the differences in growing conditions, including nutrient levels in the soil.

Therefore, better nutrition should not be the reason we purchase organics. For most people, buying organics means eating fewer pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc. Organic milk is produced without the use of growth hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics. Organic regulations also prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and require that the production of foods adhere to environmentally and ecologically friendly practices. Produce grown in accordance with organic regulations cannot use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Several studies have documented the reduction in pesticide levels in the urine of children consuming conventionally grown produce when they switch to the organic version of the produce they eat.

So, Is Organic Worth the Extra Money?

We would argue that yes, organics are worth the extra money because organic is about much more than which nutrients are contained within the food. However, not everyone can afford to buy organic exclusively. Don’t be discouraged: there are still ways to minimize your exposure to pesticides in conventional produce, such as by checking out the Environmental Working Group’s list of “clean” (minimal to no detectable pesticide residues) and “dirty” (high levels of pesticide residues) produce. If you have room in your budget, buy organic versions of the produce listed as the “dirty dozen,” such as apples, celery, strawberries, and bell peppers.

The Bottom Line

Health guidelines all recommend that we eat more plant-based foods, particularly of the minimally processed variety: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Don’t let the “non-organic” status of a particular food discourage you from buying it. We would also like to point out that there are local growers or farmers who may not be officially certified organic, but are growing and producing their foods in a way that preserves the soil and environment. So eat local! Don’t discount local producers just because they don’t sport an organic label.

On a budget? Try these affordable six superfood staples from Naturalfood.com

Buying organic bulk produce, grains, and beans and becoming your own chef will save you money by not selecting processed foods packaged at higher prices. Those only make you trade health for convenience.

You’re paying for the packaging, additives, and usually bad oils used in those foods, some of which may contain GMOs. Focus more on bulk items and do your own prepping and cooking.

A tip for those concerned about phytic acid or phytates in grains and beans that are reputed to inhibit mineral absorption: Simply soak whatever you plan on eating overnight or for several hours in purified water with added lime or lemon juice.

This process can significantly reduce phytic acid. To prepare, remove the soaking water and replace it with water for cooking.

Inexpensive healthy food staples you can buy in bulk

(1) Organic rice from bulk bins is cheaper and healthier than the packaged stuff. There are a variety of rices from which to choose. Basmati brown and basmati white are usually available in most. Then there are some more exotic choices as well.

Ayurveda practitioners usually recommend parboiled white basmati rice as a main staple. Parboiling is a method discovered in India to remove the outer husk and still retain most of the rice’s nutrients. You may have to seek out an Indian or other food specialty store for parboiled rice.

Rinse all bulk rices in a hand held strainer, rapidly shaking it side to side under a strong stream of water until there is no more cloudy water. There’s often a mineral oil coating to protect the rice that needs to be rinsed out.

You can create several combinations of white or brown rice with peas, beans, veggies, herbs, and spices that will offer your pallet the variety you think you’ve lost by moving away from processed foods (http://www.naturalnews.com/028007_food_shortage_costs.html).

(2) Soaking beans overnight is actually required for dry bulk beans, which are much cheaper and healthier than canned beans. It would take hours to cook beans that haven’t been soaked overnight. The one exception is lentils, which are inexpensive and high in plant protein.

Black or turtle beans require hours of soaking, but once any batch of beans is soaked, you can keep the soaking beans in the fridge for a couple or few days. Black beans are high in anthocyanins, which are strong antioxidant flavonoids.

All beans contain many nutrients, including protein, and they are high in fiber. Nutty flavored garbanzo beans (chick peas) require very little to create a tasty dish, hot or cold. You can make bean salads from cold cooked beans.

(3) For breakfast, buy a batch of organic steel cut oats from bulk at $1.50 or less a pound. Just before you go to bed, measure two to one water to oats in a pan and let is soak until you awaken. Then turn on the stove, bring the oats to a boil, cover snugly and turn off the stove. It’ll be ready in 20 minutes or less.

(4) Organic yams and sweet potatoes are cheap and nutritious. Peel and slice them into small pieces, then boil them. Try mashing them in real butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a little real maple syrup. Add some chopped nuts. Delicious!

(5) Greens and more greens from the organic produce section. Kale, chard, broccoli, and leafy lettuces should be an every day eating event steamed or mixed into salads. You can add avocado, a true superfood, to your salads. They don’t have to be organic. Avocados from Mexico are abundant and inexpensive.

(6) Now for the pricier part of better living through good whole food. The two healthiest oils for cooking and salads are organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil and olive oil.

Contrary to weight loss diet fad philosophies, our bodies need healthy fats. You should be able to afford them after saving money with bulk purchasing.

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