Healthy Cooking: Starting With Organic Ingredients

By: Craig Stanford

These days there are stories almost every day on the TV news and in the newspapers about food that has been recalled because of ecoli or some other contamination. This has spurred many of us to shop and cook more carefully for our families. If you want to take a step beyond buying just safe ingredients for your familie's cooking, then you'll investigate truly healthy cooking with organics.

When I talk about organics, some people think that I'm just talking just about produce. That's not true; there are now organic versions of many animal products available also.

I advocate switching to organic ingredients for your cooking because most produce is sprayed with pesticides and grown with chemical fertilizers, Animal foods can contain growth hormones and antibiotics.

The hormones can cause premature maturing of children. Also, it's a fact that bacteria are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics. Scientists say that one of the reasons that bacteriia have become so resistant to antibiotics is because of all the antibiotics in our food.

Before buying organic ingredients, it's normal for people to ask one or more of the following questions;

1) How can I replace my whole menu with organic ingredients overnight?

Won't I pay a premium for organic ingredients?

How can I determine that an ingredient that I'm looking at is a genuine organic?

The short answer to question #1 is, "you don't have to". I recently read a book by Kevin Trudeau called," Natural Cures (they don't want you to know about)". In it, Kevin recommends changing one ingredient of your meals at a time to organic until eventually all of your cooking is with organic ingredients. I experimeted with this technique and discovered that the my family made the transition to organics a lot more easily then I expected. So far, everything that I eat for breakfast is organic and my other meals are made up of more than half organic ingrediants.

The answer to question #2 is that unfortunately, organic ingredients usually will cost more. The number of people that buy organic products has increased, but the numbers haven't increased enough to cause economies of scale in the production and sale of of organic ingredients.

Even though organic ingredients cost more, there are ways to bring these costs down.

A good way to save money is to do as much shopping as possible at a farmer's market. Almost every town has a seasonal farmer's market. Some big cities even have a year round farmer's market. Prices are lower because you are buying directly from the farmer. Usually, you can only buy fruits, vegetables, spices and eggs at these markets, but you should be able to beat the non- organic prices in the supermarkets.

Another way to get your costs down is to shop at discount chains because many of them now have organic departments. Even the big guys like Wal-Mart have jumped on the organic bandwagon.

Another sure way to cut costs of your healthy cooking is to scratch cook more often. A good example is soup. Canned soup in the store usually has a lot of salt and other non- organic ingredients. Don't buy the package of chicken thighs. Buy an organic bird and cut it up yourself. Don't buy the salad in the bag. Whenever possible, don't cook your vegebles, instead steam them if you have a recipe that says that they should be cooked. Steaming them will leave in more of the vitamins and minerals than high heat cooking.

Remember, every time someone touches your food, it will cost more.

The answer to question #3 is simple. To know if an ingredient you're looking at is organic look for the label that says, " USDA organic ". This means that the food has been certified by the USDA as being organic in origin.

This article has been meant to show you the logical starting point in your quest to provide healthy cooking for yourself and your family. In follow up articles I shall talk about such things as more reasons why you should buy organic ingredients and how to get refined sugar out of your cooking.

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