Beware These Food Dangers when Shopping

Not all ingredients are as harmless as they may seem. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most concerning additives approved by the US government and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from their potential harms:

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Widely used as a sweetener in countless food and beverage products, HFCS poses significant health risks. Studies have linked its consumption to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even certain types of cancer. To avoid HFCS, opt for products sweetened with natural alternatives like honey or maple syrup.

2. Aspartame
Although arketed as a calorie-free sweetener, research has linked it to serious health problems, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, seizures, headaches and mood disorders. Choose products without artificial sweeteners.

3. BHT/BHA (Butylated hydroxytoluene/Butylated hydroxyanisole)
These petroleum-derived preservatives, commonly found in processed foods, have been linked to allergic reactions, carcinogenicity, and hormonal disruptions. When shopping, look for products that are free from BHT and BHA or opt for fresher, minimally processed alternatives.

4. Artificial Colorings
Brightly colored foods may be visually appealing, but their vibrant hues often come at a cost. Artificial colorings have been implicated in hyperactivity in children and may contain carcinogenic contaminants. Choose products that use natural colorings derived from fruits, vegetables, and spices.

5. Fluoride
While touted for its dental benefits, fluoride has been linked to adverse effects on brain development, thyroid function, and overall health. To minimize exposure, opt for fluoride-free toothpaste and filtered water.

6. Artificial Flavorings
With over 700 synthetic chemicals falling under this umbrella term, artificial flavorings offer little in terms of nutritional value and may pose health risks. Choose whole foods and products with minimal processing to avoid unnecessary exposure to artificial flavors.

6. Mono- and Diglycerides of fatty acids (MDGs) (“Apeel” Coating contains this)
The production process of MDGs often involves the use of hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenation can lead to the formation of trans fats, which are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by raising levels of LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of HDL cholesterol. Additionally, MDGs may contain trace amounts of potentially harmful substances, such as glycidol esters and 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD). These compounds can form during the processing of vegetable oils and have been linked to adverse health effects, including organ damage and cancer, in animal studies.

Tips for Safer Shopping

  • Read labels carefully and familiarize yourself with common additives to watch out for.
  • Choose whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
  • Opt for products with minimal ingredients and avoid those with lengthy, unpronounceable additives.
  • Support brands that prioritize transparency and use natural, wholesome ingredients.

Microgreens

In emergencies, microgreens are vital for nutrition. Popular types like beets, Swiss chard, and broccoli offer both flavor and health benefits. With over sixty varieties available, microgreens are packed with nutrients, containing up to 40% more phytochemicals than their mature counterparts.

These tiny greens are rich in fiber and vitamin K, which can help lower blood pressure and support heart health. Some, like broccoli sprouts, may even help fight cancer due to compounds like sulforaphane. Additionally, research shows that red cabbage microgreens can lower LDL cholesterol and promote gut health by acting as prebiotics.

Quick and easy to incorporate into salads, soups, or sandwiches, microgreens are a bounty of health-supporting components. Whether in an emergency or daily life, adding microgreens to your diet can boost your health and well-being.

Microgreens Without Soil

Know as growing hydroponically.

1. Choose Your Growing Medium:

  • Coconut Coir: Affordable and requires pre-soaking.
  • Clay Pebbles: Porous and reusable, provide excellent air circulation.
  • Hemp Growing Mats: Less messy but more expensive.
  • Vermiculite: Lightweight, sterile, and retains water well.

2. Gather Your Supplies:

  • Seeds: Look for untreated microgreen seeds.
  • Growing Trays: Choose hydroponic trays without drainage holes.
  • Growing Lights: LED grow lights or direct sunlight.
  • pH Testing Kits: Maintain water pH around 6.
  • Nutrients or Fertilizers: Specifically designed for hydroponic use.
  • Spray Bottle: Ensure it’s clean and free of chemicals.

3. Prepare Your Water:

  • Use distilled or rainwater if possible.
  • Test pH and adjust as needed.
  • Add nutrients to the water.

4. Fill the Trays:

  • Spread growing medium evenly in trays.
  • Plant seeds evenly across the medium.

5. Keep Them Moist:

  • Mist seeds with water to keep them moist.
  • Cover trays to maintain moisture or keep in a dark area.

6. Germinate the Seeds:

  • Keep trays warm (around 70°F) for 3-4 days.
  • Ensure airflow to prevent mold growth.
  • Continue misting every 12 hours.

7. Place Under Grow Lights:

  • After germination, move trays under grow lights.
  • Use the dry and soak method for watering.
  • Remove excess water after 10-20 minutes.

8. Wait and Harvest:

  • Microgreens will be ready in about two weeks.
  • Harvest when true leaves appear.
  • Use sharp scissors to cut stems.
  • Consume harvested microgreens the same day for maximum freshness and nutrition.

Protein Rich Microgreens

A concise guide to cultivating protein rich plants, suitable for both urban and rural settings, to ensure sustained nutrition in the face of potential disruptions.

At a Glance

  1. Beans: Legumes are renowned for their protein content and adaptability to diverse growing conditions. While beans are not as commonly grown as microgreens compared to other plants like kale or radishes, some bean varieties, such as mung beans and adzuki beans, are suitable for microgreen production.
  2. Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable not only provides essential nutrients but also serves as a valuable protein source.
  3. Corn: A staple crop worldwide, corn offers both sustenance and protein, particularly when harvested at the right stage.
  4. Edamame (soy): Soybeans are a complete protein source and can be cultivated in various climates, making them a versatile addition to any survival garden.
  5. Kale: Known for its resilience and nutritional density, kale is an excellent choice for protein rich greens.
  6. Parsley: Often overlooked, parsley is not only a flavorful herb but also contains notable amounts of protein.
  7. Peas: Whether consumed fresh or dried, peas are a valuable protein source and can be easily grown in small spaces.
  8. Quinoa: Considered a superfood for its nutritional profile, quinoa is a complete protein source and thrives in diverse environments.
  9. Spinach: Rich in vitamins and minerals, spinach is also surprisingly high in protein, making it a valuable addition to any diet.
  10. Sunflower: Beyond its seeds’ nutritional value, sunflower foliage offers protein rich greens for consumption.

Cultivating these protein rich plants can be achieved in various settings, from urban balconies to rural homesteads. Container gardening allows for flexibility and space optimization, while traditional ground cultivation ensures optimal growth and yield for larger crops like corn and sunflower.

During colder months or in regions with limited sunlight, indoor cultivation becomes essential. Utilizing artificial lighting and proper temperature control can sustain plant growth year-round, ensuring a steady protein supply regardless of external conditions.

Additionally, incorporating sprouts and microgreens into your diet provides a quick and efficient means of boosting protein intake. Simple steps, such as rinsing and soaking seeds, facilitate sprout growth within days, while microgreens offer crunchy, nutrient-rich greens in a matter of weeks.

Growing & Harvesting Details

  1. Beans:
    • Height: Varies (1 to 10 feet)
    • Microgreen Harvest: Beans are not typically grown as microgreens.
    • Maturity: 50-70 days
    • Water Requirements: Regular watering is necessary for bean plants to thrive.
    • Light Needs: Beans require full sun for optimal growth.
  2. Broccoli:
    • Height: 18-30 inches
    • Microgreen Harvest: Microgreens can be harvested when they reach 1-2 inches in height, typically within 1-2 weeks after sowing.
    • Maturity: 60-100 days
    • Water Requirements: Consistent moisture is essential for broccoli’s growth as both microgreens and mature plants.
    • Light Needs: Full sun is preferred for broccoli, though it can tolerate partial shade.
  3. Corn:
    • Height: 6-10 feet
    • Microgreen Harvest: Corn is not typically grown as microgreens.
    • Maturity: 60-100 days
    • Water Requirements: Consistent moisture is crucial for corn’s growth.
    • Light Needs: Corn requires full sun for optimal growth.
  4. Edamame (Soy):
    • Height: Varies (2 to 5 feet)
    • Microgreen Harvest: Edamame is not typically grown as microgreens.
    • Maturity: 80-120 days
    • Water Requirements: Consistent moisture is crucial for soybean plants.
    • Light Needs: Full sun is necessary for soybean growth.
  5. Kale:
    • Height: 1 to 3 feet
    • Microgreen Harvest: Microgreens can be harvested when they reach 1-2 inches in height, typically within 1-2 weeks after sowing.
    • Maturity: 50-70 days
    • Water Requirements: Consistently moist soil is crucial for kale’s development, whether as microgreens or mature plants.
    • Light Needs: Kale prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
  6. Parsley:
    • Height: 6-12 inches
    • Microgreen Harvest: Microgreens can be harvested when they reach 1-2 inches in height, typically within 2-3 weeks after sowing.
    • Maturity: 70-90 days
    • Water Requirements: Evenly moist soil is essential for parsley’s growth, whether as microgreens or mature plants.
    • Light Needs: Parsley can thrive in partial shade to full sun conditions.
  7. Peas:
    • Height: Varies (1 to 6 feet)
    • Microgreen Harvest: Microgreens can be harvested when they reach 2-3 inches in height, typically within 2-3 weeks after sowing.
    • Maturity: 60-90 days
    • Water Requirements: Peas require regular watering to support their growth, whether as microgreens or mature plants.
    • Light Needs: Full sun is necessary for optimal pea growth.
  8. Quinoa:
    • Height: 3-6 feet
    • Microgreen Harvest: Quinoa is not typically grown as microgreens.
    • Maturity: 90-120 days
    • Water Requirements: Moderate moisture levels are required for quinoa plants.
    • Light Needs: Quinoa requires full sun for optimal growth.
  9. Spinach:
    • Height: 6-12 inches
    • Microgreen Harvest: Microgreens can be harvested when they reach 1-2 inches in height, typically within 1-2 weeks after sowing. Maturity: 30-50 days
    • Water Requirements: Spinach prefers consistently moist soil to support its rapid growth as both microgreens and mature plants.
    • Light Needs: Full sun is preferred for spinach, but it can tolerate partial shade.
  10. Sunflower:
    • Height: Varies (2 to 12 feet)
    • Microgreen Harvest: Microgreens can be harvested when they reach 1-2 inches in height, typically within 1-2 weeks after sowing.
    • Maturity: 70-100 days
    • Water Requirements: Regular watering is necessary for sunflowers to thrive.
    • Light Needs: Sunflowers require full sun for optimal growth.