Root Veggie Stuffing Hash

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All the flavor of holiday stuffing, minus the stomachache! Even gluten-free versions of stuffing can be tough on the tummy, so I wanted to create a healthier and easier to digest version that’s full of veggies. Try it out for the holidays, especially if you’re doing a Whole30 or looking to keep your holidays healthy and clean. It also happens to be delicious for breakfast if I do say so myself….. 

Root Veggie Stuffing Hash
 
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A flavorful dish full of root vegetables. Perfect for breakfast or as a side.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbl coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 Tbl fresh chopped parsley, divided
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped sage
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 smal or medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium parsnip, shredded
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Heat a large saute pan (one that has a lid) over medium heat.
  2. Add oil and melt.
  3. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add celery, 1 Tbl parsley, the other herbs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Add shredded root veggies, stir to combine and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Reduce heat to low, add broth and cover pan for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove lid and stir.
  8. Allow to cook until broth is absorbed and veggies are soft.
  9. Remove from heat, add remaining parsley, and enjoy!

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Why Choose Organic?

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We hear the term “organic” everywhere. However, there tends to be a lot of confusion over what exactly organic means. There can also be confusion over where to draw the line with being healthy and just…well, paying for fancy marketing. Today I’m going to cover some information regarding food, but keep in mind that organic certifications also extend out to many other products such as personal care products and clothing.

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The USDA is the governmental department that issues organic certification to farmers, producers and other food manufactures. To become organic certified applicants must adhere to specific protocols ensuring the protection of their animals and land.

In order to obtain certification farmers and producers must follow the below guidelines created by the USDA:

  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
  • Support animal health and welfare
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
  • Only use approved materials
  • Do not use genetically modified ingredients
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food

  The guidelines are meant to cover all steps from farm to table in the production cycle. Once a farmer, producer or processer is granted certification they can then use the familiar USDA Organic label meant to distinguish their products from conventional products.

produce-suzanne

So this begs the question, is there a reason to choose organic? Here are some benefits for you to consider:

  1. Organic food limits your exposure to synthetic chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and fungicides which are used in conventional agriculture. One of the most common, and controversial, pesticides is known as Round-Up (glyphosate), which the World Health Organization recently classified as a ‘probable carcinogen’. Do you want that on your lettuce?
  2. Applying synthetic chemicals to crops contributes to water pollution, which affects the terrestrial and aquatic environments of native wildlife and animals. Water pollution and the toxic residues that build up in the eco system are largely to blame for the ‘deadzone’ found where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico.
  3. Organic agriculture utilizes sustainable farming methods like crop rotation, cover crops and Biointensive Integrated Pest Management. This is in direct contrast to the heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in conventional farming.
  4. Sustainable farming methods protect the unique biodiversity of a region, promote soil health and enable farmers to coexist with animal and native plant wildlife for future generations. 
  5. The USDA prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in organic agriculture. GMOs have had parts of their genomes altered to protect against pests and to improve growth. The implications of GMOS still remain untested, but problems have been documented in the poisoning of wildlife and transferring GMO genes to native plans. 
  6. Organic farming relies on natural feeding methods and healthy environments for farm animals. Many conventionally raised animals are crowded in cages and barns with little or no access to the outdoors. *
  7. Eating organically limits exposure to hormones and antibiotics that are given to animals on conventional farms. They are used to increase growth rate and to reduce infection (most infections stem from the horrible living conditions the animals are forced into). This practice has given way to super bugs, which are resistant to antibiotics and can create serious health risks in humans.
  8. Organic produce tastes better! Organic produce grown in a natural environment, with healthy, nutritious soil and limited adulteration results in some truly amazing flavors.

*When it comes to animal welfare, you can take it a step further by learning more from the organization Animal Welfare Approved - I suggest this site since organic labeling for animals does not, in my opinion, go far enough. The best thing we can do for ourselves is get educated so that we’re making informed decisions. 

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Now, with all this in mind, how do we know we’re being healthier by choosing organic and not just spending more?

First off, supporting local farms who follow organic farming practices is not only great for you and great for the farm, it’s better for the environment. So start there and purchase what you can at farmer’s markets or stores that sell local food. When it comes to meat, many local farms may not be organic certified but if they’re raising animals on pasture and not using chemicals or antibiotics, it’s going to be a much healthier choice than factory-farmed conventional meat from the grocery store. Putting money into the small, sustainable farming system is far and away the healthier choice for everyone. Now, with that said, many large scale stores such as Costco are investing a lot in selling higher quality and organic food – I am really happy to see this and think it’s a huge move for our food system. 

I also suggest learning about The Clean 15 and The Dirty Dozen as this will help you analyze which foods to purchase organic. 

I’m going to stop here since this is already a lot of information – I hope in the very least to have peaked your interest as to why choosing organic and local food can be beneficial to your health. 

 Resources

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=organic-agriculture.html

https://www.princeton.edu/greening/organic4.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22944875

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/309/5734/570

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2013/07/17/organic-causes-confusion/#2d6e73447533

 

Tumeric Chicken & Pastured Poultry

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I wanted to talk a little bit about chicken today and share some information so you can make educated decisions about the poultry you buy. I also have a delicious recipe here for you that I have been working on with my colleague Elissa – Roasted Chicken with Turmeric. Yum! 
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According to the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, in order for a farm to be recognized for raising pastured poultry the birds must be raised directly on green pasture. This type of poultry management is in direct contrast with the more common commercial version of raising poultry, which relies on crowded, inhumane cages, limited or no access to the outdoors, and barns.
 Why should we care about how chickens are raised?
There are several reasons why pastured poultry is preferred, both in respect to the humane treatment of the animals and the quality of the egg and meat production.
Below are several points highlighting the details and benefits of pastured raised poultry.
Environment -
  • Poultry is raised directly on green pasture.
  • Fresh pasture equates to a cleaner and healthier environment- both for the chickens and for the planet!
Food -
  • The poultry live off of the pasture, and use the forage as feed
  • Forage can be grasses, clover, grubs
  • Insects are also part of a bird’s natural diet (chickens are not vegetarians, by the way).
Housing -
  • Most farmers utilize a movable or stationary house for shelter
  • Farmer and author Joel Salatin, a notable resource in the pastured poultry community, describes his methodology on raising pastured poultry in his book Pastured Poultry Profits
  • According to Salatin’s method the practice of pastured poultry means the birds must be housed in a 10x12x2 foot high house, that is moved a couple of times day around a green pasture. The birds must have access to fresh air, grass and insects but are still protected from predators.
The Poultry -
  • Never given antibiotics
  • Takes a longer time for birds to reach slaughter weight because they are growing naturally
  • Flocks are much smaller, not so “mass-produced”
  • Chickens are able to live and eat naturally
The Impact on Eggs & Meat -
  • Pasture raised yolks are a much deeper orange color- a result from the beta carotene found in a chicken’s natural diet
  • Eggs taste richer, creamier, and are a good source of choline and B12
  • Pasture raised poultry is higher in vitamin D3 and E, and has a better ratio of omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Overall, pastured poultry is a better source of nutrients for you and is a more sustainable way of raising chickens.
Advice for consumers -
                  Be aware that the terms “pastured raised”, “cage-free”, “free-range” and “natural” have little standardization in the marketplace. The best way to know your food is to know your farmer! Visit farmers markets, talk to the farmers, and visit farms in your area so you can see for yourself how the animals are being raised. The more educated you are, the healthier you can be!
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Roasted Chicken with Tumeric
 
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Pastured poultry with a blend of fresh spices.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breast, skin on (boneless or split breast)
  • 2 T grated fresh tumeric
  • 1 Tbl fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 T rosemary, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 T coconut oil or avocado oil, melted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to to 375 F degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except chicken in a bowl.
  3. Place chicken in an oven safe baking dish.
  4. Rub marinade under and over skin on all sides.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, then baste with the juices that have collected in the pan
  6. Roast for another 10-20 minutes*, until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 165.
  7. *Final cook time depends on the size of the chicken breast.
Resources
The Cornucopia Institute- Organic Egg Scorecard