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Archive for March, 2011

Organic is Better!

 Although eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables is better than skipping fruits and vegetables altogether, it is important to minimize your exposure to the pesticides contained in conventionally grown foods as much as possible for good health. Pesticides pose various health dangers and have been linked to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system effects, and skin, eye and lung irritation. Conventional farming methods are also damaging to our environment and local economies. By consuming organic fruits and vegetables, you improve your health and support more sustainable farming practices.

 How to Obtain Organic Produce

 There are several ways to obtain organic produce. You can of course continue shopping at your  grocery store or go

“When we support organic farming, our dollar supports a cause that is sustainable, healthy, and loving.”

 to Whole Foods and purchase organic foods there, but perhaps the price tags scare you away. The Environmental Working Group has created a guide that currently lists 49 items ranked from least contaminated to most contaminated. Simply by eating the least contaminated conventional produce and avoiding the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables or replacing them with the organic option, you can lower your pesticide consumption by nearly 80% and hopefully keep your grocery bill in check.  The twelve most contaminated conventionally grown items to be avoided from most to least contaminated are: 

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries (Domestic)
  • Nectarines
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Cherries
  • Kale/collard greens
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes (Imported)

 You can access the full list here: http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php.

 Another option is to grow some of your own produce. If you’ve got the space and enjoy gardening, this could be a good way to go. However, it will require some research and materials and an upfront cost to get started. Of course, you’d be saving quite a bit over the long run as a packet of seeds costs about two dollars and will yield more than the one pound you’ll get at the store for the same price.

 A co-operative, on the other hand, leaves the farming to others while you sit back and enjoy abundant amounts of organic produce. A co-operative is a community effort that supplies local and organic produce at wholesale prices. Rawfully Organic Co-op, a non-profit, is one such example. Rawfully Organic Co-op “[supports] a raw food lifestyle, our local farmers, and our local economy!” By purchasing either a half-share ($47) or a full-share ($87) on their website, you receive a huge enough amount to last you and your household at least a week, depending on your consumption and size of household.

 Another co-op in Houston is Central City Co-op. This co-op offers a variety in sizes of produce shares  that are less expensive than Rawfully Organic; however, membership is required (there are different levels of membership, some costing more than others, and you can also volunteer in exchange for membership). I recommend asking around and doing some research on the co-ops in your area.

Conclusion

 Yes, please skip the chocolate sprinkle donut and extra-butter microwave popcorn (I don’t care if it’s whole grain) for the conventional apple if you need to, but hopefully you can start introducing more and more organic foods into your diet using the methods discussed above.

As stated by Rawfully Organic Co-op, “When we support organic farming, our dollar supports a cause that is sustainable, healthy, and loving.” Go organic and achieve good health while being kind to the environment.

- Roma Singh

Sources:

http://www.foodnews.org/

http://rawfullyorganic.com/index.php

http://www.centralcityco-op.com/

From murky waters, not of murky waters

The Lotus flower is the national flower of India, as mystical as it is beautiful. Many consider this flower to be sacred, however, beyond sacred it is a powerful metaphor. The lotus can be a symbol of beauty and purity, and Divine Energy, with mesmerizing presence, anyone gets absorbed by it.

It is impossible not to evoke emotions of softness and peacefulness when looking at a lotus flower. The flower grows usually in murky ponds. One of the unique characteristics of this flower making it different from the water lilies, is that the lotus leaves grows above the water surface. The leaves of the lotus are called emergent leaves. Truly a lesson in itself.

We constantly talk in yoga about the invasion of the world around us into the world inside of us. Many times, I know I struggle with the pull and the “distractions” of the senses. It is not easy for me to maintain that constant focus in my internal remembrance of the Divine Love. Yoga also teaches us that we have seven centers of energy called chakras. These start from the tailbone area, go through the heart, the middle chakra, and finish with the crown chakra at the top of our head. The crown chakra is symbolized a lotus flower of one thousand petals.

It is comforting to think of the lotus flower to help find and maintain that balance in our lives. The flower grows, emerges, feeds, and lives of the murky water. Eventually, a beautiful delicate water emerges, with such splendor, and from an unsuspected origin. In the same way, our energy rises up, through our spine, from the lower chakras to the higher chakras, ending in the crown chakra, with the desire of the ultimate realization, God Realization.

The lesson seems simple, though no easy. We have a body, the senses, the external world, to help us. it is our job to emerge, and rise above. Our intent might be to live like the lotus flower, coming from the world, but not of the world. Our meditations may be guided by the image of a lotus flower. The soft colors, the beautiful petals, the impressive flower that opens searching, looking upwards, for that Divine Love. Its beauty does not come from the flower itself, but from its intent – reach above, humbly.

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