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Educating yourself on calorie intake

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by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

When talking about global food production and global food requirements, calories are often used as the unit of measurement.  You may hear statements such as “there are enough calories produced to feed the entire world”.
How are those calories distributed, though?  On average, North Americans eat more calories than they require…a lot more.  In other countries, people eat a lot less than their body requires, which leads to hunger problems.  Even if they were distributed equally across all countries, simply looking at calories is not enough to gauge whether or not people will be getting what they need from food.

Malnourished used to be used strictly to refer to people who were going hungry, but now, it can also be applied to people who always have enough to eat.  Why?  It is all in the calories we consume.  If a person eats prepared foods or fast food on a regular basis, they may obtain an entire day’s worth of calories in one meal!  If just calories are considered, it looks as if they are doing quite well.  If you start looking at the rest of the Nutrition Facts labels for the food they ate, you will see a very different story.  None of the other nutrients are being consumed in the proper ratios.  Fat, sodium, carbohydrates and sugars are often high, while fibre, vitamins and minerals are low.

As consumers, we have to start educating ourselves on how to read the nutrition information on our food labels and learn how to make healthier choices.  Talk to a registered dietician or your doctor about making simple changes in your eating habits to stay healthy.

It is a hard adjustment to make.  I have been trying for years, especially since becoming a mom.  Even though I know how my family should be eating, I find myself longing for those chocolates or, the odd time, picking up prepared foods because they seem so fast.  Our society is so dependent on these prepared foods that it can seem impossible to cut them out completely.

If we are going to improve our health and combat malnutrition, we have to find ways to make the necessary dietary changes, though.  It could be as simple as not walking down the junk food aisle at the grocery store so you will not be tempted to buy any, or replacing your regular afternoon snack with some fruit and yogurt, but we have to start somewhere.

While looking for good, wholesome foods, reach out to the farmers in your area.  No one can tell you better about what is in the food you are buying than the person who raised the crops and animals.  Take advantage of local food maps, farmers’ markets, and on-farm stores to begin fighting malnutrition.  You might just find a new favourite food or learn about agricultural practices in the process!


Posted by FFC on August 19th, 2011 :: Filed under Feeding the world
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Hot summer days on the farm

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by Patricia Grotenhuis, lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Hot summer days are part of the routine for all of us.  For some, it means a chance to relax by a pool, or to enjoy it from the comfort of air conditioning.  Those options do not work for our farm animals, so what do farmers do to help them? 


Posted by FFC on August 11th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Barns,Housing,Innovation and technology,Ventilation,Weather
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