You might find some useful information on these websites:

 

Healthy Families BC website has been a provincial endeavour since 2011, aimed at improving the health and well being of British Columbians at every stage of life. Healthy Families BC encourages and educates British Columbians on how to make healthier choices and reduce chronic disease by focusing on four key areas: healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, resources for parents, and fostering healthy communities. When you visit this website you might want to check out some of the articles, resources and tools available for pregnancy, birth, and parenting; healthy and budget wise shopping; choosing low sugar foods or being sodium savvy; and aging well for mature adults.


Local Farmer's Markets  We love beautiful British Columbia and what it has to offer at different times of the year. If you are interested in finding fresh, local, wholesome, real food from the people who grow it, then check out this link to find a local neighbourhood Farmer's Market in your area.  Want to know what foods are currently in season

When you sit down to eat, have you ever given much thought about where your food was grown, how it was grown, or who grew it?  Browse through this BC Farm Fresh listing to find a variety of family friendly local farms and businesses that allow you to buy local, fresh, and direct from the farm items such as vegetables, fruits and berries, free-range eggs, meats (organic poultry, non-medicated, grass fed beef), dairy/goat milk and cheese products, specialty garden produce, culinary herbs and even some nursery stock. Here is another link to a variety of other home grown BC Businesses, Farms and Events that you might want to explore. Remember buying local not only supports BC farmers and growers, but it can reward you with some of the freshest nutrition, best flavours and pleasures of the season.


In both Canada and the United States (US), GMO foods are not required to be labelled as such, so it is challenging for shoppers who want to find Non-GMO containing foods to differentiate between GMO and Non-GMO foods. Living Non-GMO is a website developed to help inform consumers where to find and purchase brands of verified non-GMO foods. They believe that everyone has a right to know what’s in the food they’re eating and feeding loved ones.

Not sure what GMO’s are?  Here is a brief summary. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), aka “genetically engineered” in the US, are living organisms (plants, animals, bacteria and viruses) whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated by scientists in the laboratory. This results in genetic traits or combinations that do not occur in nature nor would ever result from traditional crossbreeding. Currently, the list of GMO foods grown and cultivated in Canada include corn, canola, soy, sugar beets and alfalfa. Other GMO crops that are imported into Canada include cottonseed oil, papaya (Hawaiian), squash, zucchini and some US milk products (if they contain bovine growth hormone). The Canadian GMO food list is still growing and getting more diverse, and as of June 2017, genetically modified atlantic salmon has been approved to be grown in a fish factory in Prince Edward Island and will be available for sale in Canada and the US. Genetically modified salmon is not yet being produced anywhere in the world.

Are GMO Foods safe? There is no universal consensus on the long term safety of GMO foods. Even with careful scrutiny, scientific researchers acknowledge that while adverse health effects from GMO foods are not currently detected they could develop or be discovered over time. Consequently, many developed nations do not consider GMO’s to be sufficiently tested and thus not proven safe. In fact, more than three dozen countries around the world, including Russia, Japan, New Zealand and many of the countries in the European Union (EU) have placed significant restrictions or outright bans on the production, cultivation or sale of GMO containing foods. However, in both the US and Canada, GMO’s have been approved for use based on studies conducted by the corporations that have created them and profit from their sale, rather than independent peer-reviewed research.

There is a growing body of evidence that connects GMO’s with off-target effects and unintended consequences such as environmental damage and possible health effects (including changes in intestinal microflora), so many shoppers want to purchase non-GMO foods. All Certified Organic foods are also non-GMO foods because genetic modification is prohibited in organic farming. 

The Non-GMO Project organization hosts the Living Non-GMO website listed above.


EWG.org The new 2017 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. aka "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen". Many people want to reduce their exposure to pesticides in produce but cannot find or afford an all-organic diet. Using this chart from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), along with your food budget, will help you wisely prioritize your selection of organically grown foods.

How to use this chart: The EWG Shopper's Guide annually ranks 48 foods (fruits and vegetables) by the level of pesticides that are typically found in the foods when they are conventionally grown. Knowing which foods test high in pesticides can help you prioritize the foods you may want to purchase in an organic version. Foods ranked first on the chart (with the lower numbers, e.g. 1 - 12) are higher in pesticide residues, with #1 (Strawberries) being the highest contaminated of all 50 foods tested. Consequently purchasing organic varieties of these foods ranked 1 - 12, also known as the "Dirty Dozen", should be a priority. Foods with a ranking score over 35, also called "Clean Fifteen", are much lower in pesticides and are less of a priority to insist on organic. Regardless of food ranking, always remember that the health benefits of consuming more fruits and vegetables in your diet, even if they are not organically grown, are better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.

Why should you care about pesticides? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on human health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. Pesticide runoff may also contaminate groundwater and otherwise damage local ecosystems. So, to help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it's best to buy organic whenever possible, including when you are purchasing any of the foods referred to in the chart above.


FamilyDoctor.org  Award-winning, trustworthy, and credible health information and tools for patients from the American Academy of Family Physicians. A great resource for a description of health conditions, symptoms, etc.