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What's for dinner?

Apple Car


Supermarket Tips
Environmentally Friendly Fish
Six Ways Soy Benefits Your Health
Can I Supersize that Heart Attack for You?
Community Supported Agriculture

Over 6,000 low to middle income New Yorkers have discovered how to afford fresh organic produce for their dinner tables -- cut out the middlemen. Buying clubs and CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) are enjoying unprecedented growth, bringing the farmlife to the innercity. Organic family farmers are successfully bypassing distributors and supermarkets and literally delivering their food firsthand to families in neighborhoods like Harlem and Brooklyn. As a result, the fruits and vegetables are organic, fresher and less expensive than the produce at supermarkets, yet the farmers see a better profit from their crops. Members of these urban buying clubs are even organizing weekend trips to visit the farms where their food is grown.


-An average family-size seasonal share of produce from a CSA is only $350 (half shares are also available), which provides the customer  with a weekly delivery of fresh, locally grown produce, while offering  small family farmers a means to stay in business.
-There are over  1,000 CSAs in the US, up from zero in 1984.
-You can find a CSA near  you at

"How we eat determines to a considerable extent how the world is used."
--  Wendell Berry, Author

Oct. 24 was national "Take Back Your Time Day". Most of us at the OCA offices forgot to acknowledge it, as we were too busy
working, serving as a testament to the problem at hand. In the US, we each work an average of 350 hours (9 weeks) more per year than our European friends. In other words, for the EU and the US to have equivalent work hours per person per year, the average American would need to take off work from October 24 until the end of the year. Although this is not an obvious food related issue, the American work schedule directly impacts how the food industry reacts to consumer demands. Longer days at the office mean more convenience foods, more eat-on-the-run foods, more fast foods, more packaging, and more preservatives. It also means less time to cook with fresh locally grown produce from co-ops, farmer's markets, CSAs, and home gardens.


-The average Americans puts in more hours now than in the 1950s -We put in more hours than Medieval peasants did, and more than any other modern day industrialized country.
-Working Americans average a little over two weeks of vacation per year, while Europeans average five to six weeks.
-Take Back Your Time Day is not about being anti-work. It's about taking back time for your family, your health, and your involvement in bettering the world around you.
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Supermarket Tips

When you buy overpackaged or disposable items, you're essentially buying trash.
Look for items you can use over and over again.

· Bring your own reusable shopping bag and avoid the paper versus plastic dilemma. Durable canvas or string bags for grocery shopping are light and easy to tuck into a purse or briefcase and can be used thousands of times.

· Buy in bulk. Buy the large economy size instead of the same volume in several smaller containers (for instance two-liter bottles versus six-packs).

· Buy fruits and vegetables uncut and unpackaged, a whole melon, for example, not a halved, shrink-wrapped melon in a styrofoam container.
More Supermarket Tips at:,YccfdhifgDI


 Six Ways Soy Benefits Your Health
 by Monique N. Gilbert/
 Soy, and most soy-based products, are nutritional  powerhouses. Soybeans are the only plant food that  has all of the essential amino acids our body requires,  making it a complete protein. Soy foods do not have any  cholesterol, and most are high in fiber. Soy also has  many vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical compounds  (like isoflavones) that work together to create numerous  health benefits. This article outlines six ways soy can  improve your health.


Can I Supersize that Heart Attack for You?
By Jackie Alan Giuliano, Ph.D.
No time for your health today;
no health for your time tomorrow.
-- Irish Proverb

Every 33 seconds, an American dies of heart disease. That is more than 954,000 deaths annually, more than 42 percent of all deaths every year. In fact, since 1900 the number one killer in the United States has been cardiovascular disease in every year but 1918.
Not surprisingly, fast food burger companies refuse to acknowledge the impact that their diet is having on children and adults around the world. That diet is killing us.

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 GENEVA, New York, January 24, 2002 (ENS) - A natural cancer fighting compound found in apples may help explain the old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away.

Writing in the medical journal "The Lancet," scientists from Cornell University and Seoul National University offer a more precise explanation for vitamin C's anti-cancer activity, and suggest that a natural chemical from apples works even better than vitamin C.

C.Y. Lee, Cornell professor of food science and technology, and his South Korean colleagues, Ki Won Lee, Hyong Joo Lee and Kyung-Sun Kang, found that vitamin C blocks the carcinogenic effects of hydrogen peroxide on intercellular communication. Until this finding, the mechanism for vitamin C's ability to inhibit tumor formation was not understood.

The report also notes that quercetin, a phytochemical found in apples, has even stronger anticancer activity than vitamin C. Phytochemicals, such as flavanoids and polyphenols, are plant chemicals that contain protective, disease preventing compounds.

"Vitamin C has been considered one of the most important essential nutrients in our diet since the discovery in 1907 that it prevents scurvy," said Lee. "In addition, vitamin C has several important functions in our body for the synthesis of amino acids and collagen, wound healing, metabolism of iron, lipids and cholesterol and others. In particular, vitamin C is a well known anti-oxidant that scavenges free radicals."

An anti-oxidant is one of many chemicals that prevent molecules, such as a special form of oxygen, from attaching themselves to cells. Reducing this process, known as oxidation, helps prevent cell and tissue damage from free radicals in the body.

"Vitamin C prevents the inhibition of gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) induced by hydrogen peroxide," said Lee.

GJIC is essential for maintaining normal cell growth. Inhibition of GJIC is related to the cancer processes including the growth of tumors.

Hydrogen peroxide, a tumor promoter, inhibits GJIC by changing a special protein, connexin43. When rat liver epithelial cells were treated with vitamin C, the researchers report, inhibition of GJIC induced by hydrogen peroxide was prevented.

Although vitamin C protects against oxidative DNA damage through its free radical scavenging activity, Lee and his coworkers believe that the vitamin's anti-tumor action works through a different mechanism.

"The most powerful weapon we have in the fight against cancer is prevention," Lee concluded. "A diet rich in phytochemicals and vitamin C will reduce the risk of cancer. These phytochemicals and nutrients are most readily available in fresh fruits and vegetables."

The report appears in the January 12 issue of "The Lancet," the weekly journal for physicians published in London.

Environmentally Friendly Fish
Want to choose the most environmentally friendly fish in a restaurant or at the fish market but are daunted by trying to remember which fish are best and which should be avoided? Visit our Seafood Selector and be sure to print out the new Pocket Seafood Selector to make informed choices offline!
Dive in to the Seafood Selector:


                         Strip Mining the Oceans
    Carl Safina, author of Song for the Blue Ocean and Eye of the Albatross, sees the current ocean crisis this way:  "For those who take seriously the overwhelming scientific evidence showing a precipitous decline in fish populations, the answers to ocean recovery lie in fishing slower than fish can breed, farming seafood in ecologically productive  ways, and giving consumers the information they need to vote with their conscience and their wallet. There is time. And, yes, there is hope."
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