Saturday, December 10, 2011
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Saturday, November 26, 2011
Many thanks to our volunteers who served and brought organic desserts for the meal. Many thanks to the musicians that played, and a huge thank you to our kitchen volunteers who had made this event possible.
Thank you for your support and all the donations that made this Thanksgiving event possible.
Administrative Director of Organic Soup Kitchen
Monday, November 21, 2011
Turkey day is just around the corner and here we are preparing a feast to feed not just 1000 people but 1500 people this year. The numbers have increased and even the local shelters have cancelled their Thanksgiving meal due to Organic Soup Kitchen's Annual feast. WOW! So we are in for a huge turn out this year, and are very grateful to all the donors, sponsors and local businesses that have pitched in to make this Thanksgiving meal an amazing time.
Monday, October 4, 2010
- reduces the amount of toxic chemicals ingested;
- totally avoids GMOs [genetically modified organisms];
- reduces the amount of food additives and colourings;
- increases the amount of beneficial vitamins, minerals, EFAs [essential fatty acids] and antioxidants consumed;
- appears to have the potential to lower the incidence of common conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease, allergies and hyperactivity in children.
The routine use of synthetic pesticides is not allowed under organic standards. Currently, over 400 chemicals can be regularly used in conventional farming to kill weeds, insects and other pests that attack crops. For example, Cox's apples can be sprayed up to 16 times with 36 different pesticides. 7 Only four chemicals are allowed in restricted circumstances under Soil Association standards.
"Organic food contains fewer residues of pesticides used in conventional agriculture, so buying organic is one way to reduce the chances that your food contains these pesticides" (Sir John Krebs, Chair, Food Standards Agency, Cheltenham Science Festival debate, 5th June 2003).
"Consumers who wish to minimise their dietary pesticide exposure can do so with confidence by buying organically grown food" (Baker et al 2002).
The most dangerous chemicals used in farming such as organophosphates [pesticides] have been linked with a range of conditions such as cancer, decreasing male fertility, foetal abnormalities, chronic fatigue syndrome in children and Parkinson's disease. 8,9 Pesticide residues have been ranked among the top three environmental cancer risks by the American Government. 10
Pesticide residues in food
In recent years, UK Government research has consistently found pesticide residues in a third of food, including residues of more than one chemical in apples, baby food, bread, cereal bars, fresh salmon, lemons, lettuces, peaches, nectarines, potatoes and strawberries. 11 Not all foodstuffs are checked; instead a small number of different products is tested every 3 months and the results published by the Pesticide Safety Directorate (PSD).
Residues of multiple pesticides: the cocktail effect
Combinations of low-level insecticides, herbicides and nitrates have been shown to be toxic at levels that individual chemicals are not.13 - 16 It is clearly an enormous task to test all possible combinations of the 400 permitted pesticides currently in use. It is clear that not enough is known about how combinations of pesticides affect our health, and the Government's Committee on Toxicity has expressed disquiet about the risks involved.17
Pesticides and cancer
Women with breast cancer are five to nine times more likely to have pesticide residues in their blood than those who do not.18 Previous studies have shown that those with occupational exposure to pesticides have higher rates of cancer.19 - 21 The apparent link between hormone dependent cancers, such as those of the breast and prostate, may be via endocrine disrupting chemicals [compounds that artificially affect the hormone system] such as 2,4D and Atrazine (both herbicides, now banned or about to be banned). The Royal Society [the UK's main scientific organisation] recommends that human exposure to EDCs (especially during pregnancy) should be minimised on grounds of prudence.63
Effects of pesticides on children
Children may be particularly susceptible to pesticide residues as they have a higher intake of food and water per unit of body weight than adults and their relatively immature organ systems may have limited ability to detoxify these substances.22
In a study of children aged 2 -4 living in Seattle, concentrations of pesticide residues up to six times higher were found in children eating conventionally farmed fruit and vegetables compared with those eating organic food.23 Whilst the presence of pesticide residues in children eating conventional food has been confirmed, the full effect of such pesticides are unknown.
2) FOOD ADDITIVES
Food colourings and additives can cause a range of health problems in adults and children. For example, tartrazine (the yellow food colouring E102) and other additives have been linked to allergic reactions, headaches, asthma, growth retardation and hyperactivity in children.24 - 27
Although around 300 additives are permitted in conventional food only 30 are allowed under Soil Association standards. Some additives found in organic food are added for legal reasons including iron, thiamine (vitamin B) and nicotinic acid (vitamin B3) in white flour, and various vitamins and minerals in different types of baby foods. All artificial colourings and artificial sweeteners are banned in organic food.
Specific ingredients and additives not allowed in organic food are monosodium glutamate, aspartame, phosphoric acid and hydrogenated fats. In each case their use has been banned because of evidence that they can be damaging to health. For example, hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats) have been directly linked with increased rates of heart disease, cancer and skin disease. 28,29,30,31 The FSA [Food Standards Agency] acknowledges that they have no known nutritional benefits and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. The FSA website advises that people should try to cut down their consumption of hydrogenated fat. 32
3) GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
Genetically modified organisms are banned from organic food.
The potential health effects of GM foods are unknown. Michael Meacher the former Minister for the Environment recently stated that "We have had no systematic clinical or biochemical trials of the effects on human beings of eating GM food".
A paper in Nutrition and Health 33 supports Mr Meacher's position. The authors state that there have only been ten published studies of the health effects of GM food and that the quality of some of these was inadequate. Over half were done in collaboration with companies (fully or partially), and these found no negative effects on body organs. The others were done independently and looked more closely at the effects on the gut lining; in several, evidence of harmful effects were found which remain unexplained. 33
Similar effects on the gut lining were found in an unpublished animal feeding study on a GM tomato. In addition, a study by Newcastle University sponsored by the FSA found that the transgenes [genetically modified organisms] transfer into gut bacteria at detectable levels after only one GM meal. The health effects of these transgenes are unknown and until they have been properly tested people are, in our opinion, wise to avoid eating GM food.
4) ESSENTIAL VITAMINS AND MINERALS
UK and US government statistics indicate that levels of trace minerals in fruit and vegetables fell by up to 76% between 1940 and 1991. 34,35 In contrast there is growing evidence that organic fruit and vegetables generally contain more nutrients than non-organic food.
The Soil Association conducted a systematic review of the evidence comparing the vitamin and mineral content of organic and conventionally grown food. It was found that, on average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium. 36
An independent review of the evidence found that organic crops had significantly higher levels of all 21 nutrients analysed compared with conventional produce including vitamin C (27% more), magnesium (29% more), iron (21% more) and phosphorous (14% more). Organic spinach, lettuce, cabbage and potatoes showed particularly high levels of minerals. 37
A high antioxidant intake has been shown to be associated with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and some cancers. Such antioxidants include certain vitamins (vitamin E and beta-carotene) and substances known as phenolics. Researchers have recognised the growing concern that levels of some phenolics may be lower than is optimal for human health in conventionally grown foods. 38Phenolics are generated by a plant when attacked by pests.
Generally, organic crops are not protected by pesticides and research has shown that organically produced fruit contains higher levels of phenolic compounds than conventionally grown fruit. 38,39 Danish researchers have found that organic crops contain 10% to 50% more antioxidants than conventional crops. 40
6) ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
The essential fatty acids (EFA), omega 3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) play an essential role in metabolism [chemical changes which take place in our bodies to utilise food and eliminate waste materials] and especially in the prevention of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure 41,42,43. Omega 3s also reduce the risk of neurological disorders including depression 44,45,46 and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in children 47,48,49,50, 51,52. Furthermore, CLA has been demonstrated to help prevent cancer and degenerative changes in the walls of the arteries 53,54 enhance growth promotion and reduce body fat 54, 55, 56.
Forage based diets [a diet based on fresh or dried food as opposed to processed feed] form the basis of organic livestock production systems and have the potential to decrease saturated fat concentrations and to increase the concentrations of omega-3 57, 58 and CLA 59,50,61 in beef. Milk taken from animals fed on a forage-based diet also display improved levels of EFAs, including CLA and omega 3. 61, 62
In a study of Swedish children, the prevalence of atopic disorders [allergies] from two different groups of children was measured. The study compared 295 children aged 5 - 13 years from two anthroposophic schools [schools with an alternative approach to education] with 380 children from two neighbouring state schools. The anthroposophical school children ate a predominantly organic diet, used antibiotics restrictively, had few vaccinations and their diet usually contained live lactobacilli [a friendly bacteria found in the upper intestinal tract of humans and in some yoghurts and in unpasteurised milk]. It was found that the anthroposophic way of life is associated with a lowered prevalence of atopy in children. 4
The reduced incidence of atopic disorders is likely to be the result of a combination of lifestyle differences between the two groups of children so that the contribution of organic food consumption is unclear. However, consumption of organic food is the single most common factor unifying the anthroposophic children.
A steady deterioration in male reproductive health has been reported throughout Europe. Sperm concentrations have declined and abnormalities in sperm development have been recorded.
Danish research compared the sperm density of members of an organic farming association (OFA) with that of three different occupational groups and found that that the former had significantly higher sperm counts 2. This research was corroborated in 1996 when members of another Danish OFA were compared with a control group of 797 healthy men. It was found that "sperm concentration was higher among men eating organically produced food" 3.
"A biological plausible hypothesis has suggested that man-made chemicals act as endocrine disrupters (EDC) resulting in altered development of the reproductive tract causing the observed effects"5. A number of pesticides regularly used in conventional agriculture are known to be EDCs. Therefore, if an individual's diet does not contain pesticide residues, it can be hypothesised that the above abnormalities of sperm would be less likely.
9) POSITION OF THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY AND THE GOVERNMENT
The Food Standards Agency responded to the Soil Association's report "Organic farming, food quality and human health' (2001) by stating that:
On the basis of current evidence, the Agency's assessment is that organic food is not significantly different in terms of food safety and nutrition from food produced conventionally. 1
The Government has taken a more open-minded view. At a meeting between members of the Government's Organic Action Plan and the FSA, the then Organic Farming Minister, Elliot Morley, suggested to the FSA that:
"while the FSA is clear that all conventionally produced food is safe, the FSA could also recognise that some consumers want less pesticide residues, less use of veterinary medicines, no routine use of antibiotics, and no use of GM ingredients, and that in all these areas organic food delivers what the consumers want."
At that time, Sir John Krebs the Chair of the FSA, was unwilling to change its stance on organic food. However, in recent months Sir John has endorsed one of the organic sector's findings, namely that organic food contains less pesticide residues.
"Organic food contains fewer residues of pesticides used in conventional agriculture, so buying organic is one way to reduce the chances that your food contains these pesticides" (Sir John Krebs, Cheltenham Science Festival debate, 5th June 2003).
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
All 16 cooking nominees will dish up their recipes at our round of judging on Thursday, May 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Whole Foods, 3761 State Street. Everyone’s invited to see the judging panel of John Jurey from Whole Foods, Elizabeth Poett from Rancho San Julian Beef, Julie Ramos from KTYD, and me, under the guidance of emcee Restaurant Guy John Dickson, declare who’s got the best BBQ goods in town.
So without further adieu, the finalists in the professional entrée category are wild salmon with Italian caviar by Anthony Carroccio of the Organic Soup Kitchen; grilled filet mignon with corn-cilantro slaw and mole butter sauce by caterer Danny Douglas; Creole sugar-rum-rubbed short ribs by caterer Edie Robertson; and ribs and sauce by James Sly of Sly’s. For the professional side dish category, the finalists are Yukon Gold potato salad with Greek olives, radishes, Sriracha, and scallions by Douglas; bacon-cheddar grits by Aaron Robertson of Union Ale Brewing Company; and grilled asparagus with vodka Meyer lemon dressing by Edie Robertson.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
It is becoming increasingly clear that a host of illnesses - including heart disease, many cancers and Alzheimer's disease - are influenced in large part by chronic inflammation. This is a process in which the immune system becomes off balance, and persists unnecessarily in its efforts to repair the body and repel pathogens. The prolonged process results in damage to healthy tissue as well. Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition and other lifestyle factors can all promote inflammation, but poor diet is perhaps the main contributor, and the ideal place to begin addressing inflammation.
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is not a diet in the popular sense - it is not intended as a weight-loss program (although people can and do lose weight on it), nor is it an eating plan to stay on for a limited period of time. Rather, it is way of selecting and preparing foods based on scientific knowledge of how they can help your body remain optimally healthy. Along with influencing inflammation, this diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and dietary fiber.
You can also adapt your existing recipes according to these anti-inflammatory diet princip
- Aim for variety.
- Include as much fresh food as possible.
- Minimize your consumption of processed foods and fast food.
- Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
- Most adults need to consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day.
- Women and smaller and less active people need fewer calories.
- Men and bigger and more active people need more calories.
- If you are eating the appropriate number of calories for your level of activity, your weight should not fluctuate greatly.
- The distribution of calories you take in should be as follows: 40 to 50 percent from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat, and 20 to 30 percent from protein.
- Try to include carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal.
- On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, adult women should consume between 160 to 200 grams of carbohydrates a day.
- Adult men should consume between 240 to 300 grams of carbohydrates a day.
- The majority of this should be in the form of less-refined, less-processed foods with a low glycemic load.
- Reduce your consumption of foods made with wheat flour and sugar, especially bread and most packaged snack foods (including chips and pretzels).
- Eat more whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat, in which the grain is intact or in a few large pieces. These are preferable to whole wheat flour products, which have roughly the same glycemic index as white flour products.
- Eat more beans, winter squashes, and sweet potatoes.
- Cook pasta al dente and eat it in moderation.
- Avoid products made with high fructose corn syrup.
- On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, 600 calories can come from fat - that is, about 67 grams. This should be in a ratio of 1:2:1 of saturated to monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fat.
- Reduce your intake of saturated fat by eating less butter, cream, cheese and other full-fat dairy products; unskinned chicken and fatty meats; and products made with coconut and palm kernel oils.
- Use extra-virgin olive oil as a main cooking oil. If you want a neutral tasting oil, use expeller-pressed, organic canola oil. High-oleic versions of sunflower and safflower oil are acceptable also, preferably non-GMO (genetically modified).
- Avoid regular safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetable oils.
- Strictly avoid margarine, vegetable shortening, and all products listing them as ingredients. Strictly avoid all products made with partially hydrogenated oils of any kind. Include in your diet avocados and nuts, especially walnuts, cashews, almonds, and nut butters made from these nuts.
- For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably fresh or frozen wild or canned sockeye), sardines packed in water or olive oil, herring, and black cod (sablefish, butterfish); omega-3 fortified eggs; hemp seeds and flaxseeds (preferably freshly ground); or take a fish oil supplement (see below).
- On a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet your daily intake of protein should be between 80 and 120 grams. Eat less protein if you have liver or kidney problems, allergies, or autoimmune disease.
- Decrease your consumption of animal protein except for fish and reduced-fat dairy products.
- Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans in general and soybeans in particular. Become familiar with the range of soy foods available and find ones you like.
- Try to eat 40 grams of fiber a day. You can achieve this by increasing your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables (especially beans), and whole grains.
- Ready-made cereals can be good fiber sources, but read labels to make sure they give you at least 4 and preferably 5 grams of bran per one-ounce serving.
- To get maximum natural protection against age-related diseases (including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease) as well as against environmental toxicity, eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and mushrooms.
- Choose fruits and vegetables from all parts of the color spectrum, especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, and dark leafy greens.
- Choose organic produce whenever possible. Learn which conventionally grown crops are most likely to carry pesticide residues and avoid them.
- Eat cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables regularly.
- Include soy foods in your diet.
- Drink tea instead of coffee, especially good quality white, green or oolong tea.
- If you drink alcohol, use red wine preferentially.
- Enjoy plain dark chocolate in moderation (with a minimum cocoa content of 70 percent).
Vitamins and Minerals
The best way to obtain all of your daily vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients is by eating a diet high in fresh foods with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. In addition, supplement your diet with the following antioxidant cocktail:
- Vitamin C, 200 milligrams a day.
- Vitamin E, 400 IU of natural mixed tocopherols (d-alpha-tocopherol with other tocopherols, or, better, a minimum of 80 milligrams of natural mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols).
- Selenium, 200 micrograms of an organic (yeast-bound) form.
- Mixed carotenoids, 10,000-15,000 IU daily.
- In addition, take daily multivitamin/multimineral supplements that provide at least 400 micrograms of folic acid and at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D. They should contain no iron and no preformed vitamin A (retinol).
- Take supplemental calcium, preferably as calcium citrate. Women should supplement with 500-700 mg daily, for a total daily intake of 1,000-1,200 mg from all sources. Men should get no more than 500-600 mg daily from all sources, and probably do not need to supplement.
Other Dietary Supplements
- If you are not eating oily fish at least twice a week, take supplemental fish oil, in capsule or liquid form, 1-2 grams a day. Look for molecularly distilled products certified to be free of heavy metals and other contaminants.
- Talk to your doctor about going on low-dose aspirin therapy, one or two baby aspirins a day (81 or 162 milligrams).
- If you are not regularly eating ginger and turmeric, consider taking these in supplemental form.
- Add CoQ10 to your daily regimen: 60-100 milligrams of a softgel form taken with your largest meal.
- If you are prone to metabolic syndrome, take alpha-lipoic acid, 100 to 400 milligrams a day.
- Try to drink 6-8 glasses of pure water a day, or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon).
- Use bottled water or get a home water purifier if your tap water tastes of chlorine or other contaminants, or if you live in an area where the water is known or suspected to be contaminated.