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Why eat locally grown and organic foods?

It’s summer, at last, and locally grown produce is bountiful! Fruits and vegetables cultivated in Quebec provide exquisite quality and freshness. Our agricultural land produces a wide variety of seasonal produce, even in winter! So why turn to blueberries grown in Chile or bell peppers cultivated in Mexico when we produce our own in profusion. Here are a few reasons for choosing locally grown foods.

Get local because:

  1. Local produce has greater nutritional value* and more flavour: As soon as fruits and vegetables are harvested, their nutritional value starts to decline. Quebec produce doesn’t spend days on end in transit and storage, as is the case for foods imported from Mexico or the States. When we eat ‘local’, the fruits and vegetables are still extremely fresh and rich in nutrients. They are also less expensive!

*To enjoy the most benefits of locally grown foods, you need to adopt a seasonal approach. I invite you to visit calendrier des fruits et des légumes du Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ). Not available in English.

  1. They support our local economy: According to the MAPAQ, if each consumer were to purchase for $30 a year more of foods produced in Quebec*, the gesture would infuse the local economy with an extra billion dollars in five years. What’s more, a 1% increase in sales would spur the creation of 1,800 jobs, directly and indirectly.

*Look for the following logo on food packages to find those produced in Quebec.

aliments_du_quebec

  1. Eating local foods helps reduce pollution: imported foods travel an average of 2,500 km. The carriers inevitably produce greenhouse gases (GHG).

And what about organic foods?

  1. Organic farming protects the environment: no synthetic pesticides, no seeds from genetically modified organisms, and no antibiotics or growth hormones fed to animals.
  1. Animals are respected: animals aren’t crammed into closed hangars; they have a better quality of life, and enjoy normal growth.
  1. Organic foods taste better: though not scientifically proven, many people seem to think that organic foods are tastier!

Yes, it’s true that organic foods cost more. So if you want to reduce your consumption of synthetic pesticides on non-organic foods, I suggest you rinse your fruits and vegetables well and choose those that are the least contaminated by consulting the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

A pleasant, economical way to eat a wide variety of organic foods is to subscribe to the organic food basket service.

If you’re interested in tips and advice for cooking local foods all year round, I suggest you visit the Équiterre web site.

To learn more on this subject, I strongly recommend you read Sauvez la planète une bouchée à la fois by Bernard Lavallée, nutritionist. Actually, his book partially inspired this article.

So what do you think about local and organic foods?

Karine Séguin, nutritionist.

 

References:
Équiterre. On line: < http://www.equiterre.org/> Consulted June 15, 2015.
MAPAQ, 2007, « Le Québec dans votre assiette : Stratégie d’accroissement des achats de produits alimentaires québécois sur le marché » Consulted June 15, 2015.

Author
Karine Séguin, Dt.P.

Holder of a degree in nutrition from McGill University, and member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec, Karine is currently pursuing a specialist diploma in sports nutrition with the International Olympic Committee. She has been part of the Nautilus Plus team since March 2012. Karine has demonstrated exemplary dedication in her own physical preparation by regularly training in our centers, and has completed the Montreal half-marathon in 2013. Passionate about her work, her objective is to ensure the success of everyone, and motivate you to adopt healthy eating habits. Whether you are picky about food, or a real food lover, Karine will get you to enjoy the pleasures of eating healthy foods that are suited to your needs, so that you can feel good about yourself, and become active!


Why eat locally grown and organic foods? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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