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Let’s talk Organic food!

According to the USDA, Organic food is the integration of “ cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. ”  So, what does that mean?  Well, it means that organic food is grown, raised, or produced in as natural a manner as possible.  In order for something to be considered “Organic” there are a number of steps that must be taken and regulations that must be followed to ensure a reputable and safe product.

Let’s take a look at an organic apple.  In order for this apple to be considered “organic” it would have been planned well before any harvest.  Organic produce is not an overnight product.  Farmers cannot simply decide not to put pesticides on a crop and label it organic.  There is a process to this whole organic thing.  In order for said apple to be organic it would have to have grown on an organic apple tree.  In order for the apple tree to be organic, it would have had to come from an organic apple seed.  In order for that organic apple seed to grow into an organic apple tree, it needed to be planted in organic soil.  In order for the soil to be considered organic, it would have had to lay fallow (unused) and untreated for usually 3+  years.  Once the organic soil and the organic apple seed grew a tree, the soil and the tree could not be treated or nourished with any pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc.  So, that little organic apple was planned long before it ever grew into its crisp, tart deliciousness.

So, what is organic food? It is food that has been treated or rather untreated as nature intended.  Next time you or your kids bite into an organic apple, that is what they are getting, an apple.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Everything you want and need; nothing you don’t.

Visit www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop for more information on organic regulations from the USDA.

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First and foremost, if you are purchasing certified Organic products then raising organic kids and avoiding trans fat is not going to be an issue.  There are minimal trace amounts of naturally occurring trans fat in beef, lamb and full-fat dairy products (webmd.com) but not enough to be of concern to even the most health conscious consumer.  Naturally occurring trans fat is not believed to have the same harmful effects as added trans fat.   There are tricks to avoiding trans fat in many non-organic products and as we all know finding organic products for all your needs is not always an option and makes raising organic kids difficult.

So, what is trans fat?

Trans fat or trans fatty acids are the product of “hydrogenating” oil by adding hydrogen to liquid oils.  This is done for a number of reasons including shelf life, low cost, texture, solidity and fry life.  Basically, it is a process that takes perfectly good oil and makes it more solid and bad for you and your organic kids.

What to avoid and look for in products?

First off, stay away from fast food and most fried foods in restaurants.  I have years of experience as a chef, a caterer and a sales manager for a major food service distributor, and more often than not, the deep fryer has a trans fat based oil in it.

Second, read labels.  This is the key to raising organic kids, READ THE LABELS!  The FDA is not on your side, they are not interested in guaranteeing food is safe (only “reasonably safe”).  Look for the words “hydrogenated”, “partially hydrogenated”, and “shortening” on the ingredients label.  This is the only way to guarantee you will be getting a trans fat free product (unless you are buying organic, which I recommend).

Labels can be deceiving…

“Zero grams trans fat per serving”, “no trans fat”, and ‘trans fat free” are a sampling of the deceiving and down right criminal practice of lying about trans fat.  According to the FDA, there is an allowable amount of trans fat in food, to be exact .5 grams per serving.  So, in the eyes of the FDA, a box of cereal could have 28 grams of trans fat but so long as the serving size only has .5 grams of trans fat it is considered trans fat free and can be labeled accordingly.  Apparently .5+.5=0.  Raising Organic Kids is not mathematically challenging.

Read the Labels and buy organic when available.

KidGanics is your one stop guide for raising organic kids. The decision to raise your children “organically’ is not a simple task or a cheap one.  Organic products tend to be higher priced and at times hard to obtain.  For parents it is an experiment in patience and a new set of rules for food and life.  The fact is that there is a whole lot of crap out there and manufacturers will use every trick in the book to hide the bad stuff and promote the “so-called” good stuff.   Use the KidGanics blog as your guide to raise healthy and happy kids.  Enjoy.

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