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A pea is a pea is a pea

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By Holly Martin

Did you know that frozen peas are good for you and lean beef is nutritious? Oh, you did? Then you might not be the target audience for a recent Time magazine article entitled, "Give (frozen) peas a chance--and carrots too."

But that's fine, because farmers and ranchers generally have a good concept of understanding that nutritionally, a pea is a pea, regardless of whether it was raised by the Jolly Green Giant or a niche local organic farmer--both are good for you. The only difference is the price tag.

The target audience for the Time article was more likely the food elitists that have overtaken the nutrition message. Celebrity chefs and fancy food magazines seem to have de-railed nutrition discussions into a false premise that organic is more nutritious. If you can't eat organic, you aren't eating healthily. But that's just not the case, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, who wrote the article.

Maybe you know Dr. Oz. Or maybe you don't. I suspect not many High Plains Journal readers spend lots of time watching Oprah, which is where Dr. Oz gained fame. He was Oprah's go-to source for all things health related. Mehmet Oz is a vice chairman and professor of surgery at Columbia University and his Oprah spin-off television show, The Dr. Oz Show, has won an Emmy.

The only problem was that when it came to food--he didn't always get it right. But this recent Time article may be one the best food articles I've read in recent memory.

In a nutshell the article says conventionally raised foods are as nutritious as organic foods and all foods can be consumed in the right portions and in moderation. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

He says, "After several years of research and experience, I have come to an encouraging conclusion: the American food supply is abundant, nutritionally sound, affordable and, with a few simple considerations, comparable to the most elite organic diets. Save the cash."

The message is something that many Americans already know, particularly if you are involved in the production of food. But many consumers have been swayed by the marketing campaigns of food companies, restaurants and the like to believe the only healthy option is organic.

So much so that I've heard mothers worry openly about not being able to feed their children nutritiously because they couldn't afford organic foods. The article dispels that myth.

"I consider it a public-health service to the consumer who has to feed a family of five or the person who wants to make all the right choices and instead is alienated and dejected because the marketing of healthy foods too often blurs into elitism, with all the expense and culinary affectation that implies. The fact is, a lot of the stuff we ate in childhood can be good for you and good to eat--if you know how to shop," Dr. Oz wrote.

And that's where this article gives me hope. Dr. Oz is a trusted source among today's young mothers. And Time magazine isn't exactly a farmer-friendly publication. I can only hope that consumers will listen. Sure, organic foods are fine as an option, but for the vast majority of us who are feeling the strain of the economy, a box of frozen peas is a good choice. Now to convince the boys in my household...

Holly Martin can be reached by phone at 1-800-452-7171 ext. 1806, or by email at hmartin@hpj.com.

Date: 12/10/2012



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