Rizal Dairy Farms and Organic Agriculture

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Rizal Dairy Farms started its journey with the aim of being an organic dairy farm at a time when organic farming was not even remotely popular in the Philippines contrary to Europe and the USA, where organic farming had gained increased popularity and grew steadily due to consumer demand. In the Philippines a few individuals and organisations spearheaded the organic movement. We became a founding member of OPTA (Organic Producers Trade Association) in 1994, which promoted organic food as a healthy  and sustainable alternative. It was the beginning of many years of advocacy work for organic farming, networking with other mind-like organisations with the perspective of sustainable development.

Advocating for Organic Agriculture and Lobbying for Government Support and Legislation
In the Philippines, it was a time wherein the organic pioneers needed to inform, advocate and lobby in favour of organic farming as alternative to chemical laden, conventional farming systems. Many were against, or at least, not convinced that organic can feed the world. The organic movement engaged in the development of the Philippines National Standards on Organic Agriculture and Processing, the founding of OCCP (Organic Certification Center of the Philippines), and lobbied for the development and passage of EO 487, an executive order for the promotion and development of organic agriculture, which eventually lead to the creation of the Philippine Republic Act 10068 (Organic Agriculture Act of 2010).

Though up to date the support of organic farming as a sustainable food production system that protects and rehabilitates ecosystems is rather faint and half-hearted, much progress has been made. But it remains a fact, that if given the same opportunities and official support, organic agriculture could develop faster and production systems would become more proficient in shorter time. Support from consumers, the government and civil society is still very much needed towards a more sustainable food production and consumption.

Organic Dairy” versus “All Natural Dairy”
To develop a dairy farm fully compliant with organic standards proved far more difficult than originally imagined, reason why a few years into operation, Rizal Dairy Farms decided not to aim for organic certification anymore.

We started with the aim, but we never made the claim.

Our dairy products are and always have been declared and promoted as “All Natural Dairy Products – Free of Artificial Ingredients”. A claim we stick to up to date.

Based on our experience, the main hindrance to organic standard compliance is the lack of readily available organic feeds. Animal feeds should be from organic sources or organically produced at the farm site. That complicates life for dairy farmers near urban centres, where fresh dairy products are most in demand. They seldom have the luxury of big farm holdings, hence the grass produced on farm site will never be able to fully satisfy the dietary needs of the cattle. To our knowledge, practically all existing dairy farms are supplementing the animals’ diet with other ingredients such as coconut based products, molasses, soy and maize.

Livestock and feed production are strongly segregated in the Philippine agricultural system. With the existing structural set up of agricultural production it is very difficult to develop organic feeds such as corn and soy that would be available year round to satisfy the needs of dairy or other cattle farms.

But it can be said that small scale dairy operations such as Rizal Dairy Farms can more easily comply with the requirement of humane treatment of animals, which is inherent to our philosophy and the principle of “CARE” and other minimum requirements set by organic standards with regards to the management of animals.

Organic standards are prescribing that in organic livestock management animals be kept as close as possible to their natural behavior. They should have access to movement, natural elements such as pasture, sunlight, even rain and wind, but also appropriate shelter. No permanent caging or keeping inside stables without free movement is allowed. But when it comes to breeding and feeding it becomes more complicated and a lot of work still needs to be done in a country with practically zero tradition in dairy farming.

To know more about Organic Livestock Standards, visit the websites of

OCCP (Organic Certification Center of  the Philippines): http://www.occpphils.org/

IFOAM: http://www.ifoam.org/

DA-BAFPS (Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Products Standards): http://www.bafps.da.gov.ph/

Organic Agriculture alongside with other ecologically sound farm-ing systems aims to produce healthy food in a healthy environment. It has the capacity to enhance natural ecosystems and rehabilitate damaged ecosystems.

Over decades the stakeholders of organic agriculture have devel-oped principles and standards by which they are guided and to which they have to comply.

To better define the organic production system, IFOAM and its members have developed a definition that encompasses the differ-ent qualities and aims of Organic Agriculture.

The IFOAM definition of Organic Agriculture is probably the most widely used definition worldwide.

To our opinion this definition reflects the goals and claims of the main stakeholders, the farming communities, producers and pro-cessors, and consumers alike.

IFOAM PRINCIPLES OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE

In order to find common denominators and to express the philosophy of organic farming, IFOAM also developed a set of Principles of Organic Agriculture.

The Principle of Health
Organic Agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible.

The Principle of Ecology
Organic Agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them.

The Principle of Fairness
Organic Agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities.

The Principle of Care
Organic Agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well being of current and future generations and the environment.

Read more about IFOAM’s Principles of Organic Agriculture and go to IFOAM’s website.

IFOAM: http://www.ifoam.org/

Humane Treatment of Animals

HUMANE

A cornerstone of organic and natural farming systems

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

Organic and natural farming production practices are both earth and animal friendly. Today there are many standards throughout the world, which are based on concerned consumers, associations such as the Humane Society and many national and regional organic standards. They may differ in their approach, the details and how stringent depending on local and economic conditions. But they are all based on the principles of care and prevention just like the IFOAM organic principles.

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About Healthy Nutrition

At Rizal Dairy Farms we always put the health of people and the health of the planet at the centre of our attention and activities.
Though it is difficult to present such a complex topic as healthy nutrition on our website, we hope that the information provided in this section will spark interest, improve understanding of the principles of healthy nutrition and will assist our patrons and readers in their journey to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
yours sincerely,
Jacqueline Haessig Alleje

A world of contradictions
While the world seems to be divided into extremes of food abundance on one side and food scar-city on the other side, an increase in non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyles and diets, can be observed in many regions and countries. Tragically millions of people are under- and malnourished as a result of lack of food. And yet, another few million people are malnourished because of food abundance and wrong choices of food.

Health Issues and problems are real
Many published data in newspapers, professional publications and the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines show that beyond our individual search for health and well being, the di-mensions of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis are to be taken very seriously. They are a threat to people’s welfare and are very costly for the country.

Everybody wants to live well, to eat well
But often we don’t know what food to choose, and how to prepare food that is tasty and healthy at the same time. Many people who are on the lookout for the “Perfect Diet”. They are getting lost in the overflow of nutritional information, or don’t know how to prepare health promoting food. Some people find it difficult to distinguish the quality of foods, or evaluate the quality and validity of so called healthy food, miracle food and other offerings that are suggesting to improve ones health.

It is often said, that Nutrition is the biggest single-factor that determines our health and well-being. Please read on. We have tried to provide you with some basic information to guide you

Why you are what you eat

FOODS NOURISH THE BODY
When we eat, we nourish the Body by intaking the basic macro and micro nutrients required to keep us going, growing and glowing.

1. GROW: Protein and Minerals
2. GO: Carbohydrates, fats and proteins
3. GLOW: Vitamins, minerals and trace elements, essential fatty acids (EFA)
4. WATER: Water has many vital functions. While water is not a nutrient, it is an essential element 60 % of our bodies are made from

Functions of water
Water is essential to keep the appropriate volume and pressure of blood in our body. As the main blood ingredient, water transports essential nutrients and oxygen to all body cells. It participates in adjusting the body temperature. The purpose of sweating is to remove excess heat from our bodies. Water also cooperates with digestive enzymes in the process of digestion and allows for better absorption of nutrients.

Daily requirements
Every day we lose an average 2,6 liters of water through the urinary system, with faces, sweat and during breathing. This amount is bigger on hot, dry and windy days or after vigorous exercise.
Every water loss must be replaced at once, that is why generally it is recommended for adults to drink about 1,5 to 2 liters of liquids every day to which water from food is added. One has to be mindful to drink the water evenly distributed over the entire day, as the absorption capacity at one intake is limited. Thus it is ideal to drink 1 to two glasses of water every hour or two during the day.

NOURISH THE SOUL AND THE MIND
Eating,however, is more than getting the essential macro and micro nutrients. Eating is a bonding, experiential and, and socialising activity.
• Food is as much part of a cultural heritage as a contemporary expression of a society’s lifestyles.
• Food can contribute to connect communities and improve the understanding of different cul-tures.
➢ Baby’s bonding with mother through breastfeeding
➢ Children “growing” into the world experiencing “comfort” food
➢ Food bonds families, communities, nations and creates global cultural understanding

NOURISH THE PLANET EARTH
Today, more than ever before in the history of humankind, it is important to care on how food is produced from the agricultural production, wild collection, food processing, trading and retailing. Food production in its widest sense is a global, all encompassing activity that needs the global un-derstanding, guidelines and laws, but based on the need of local communities as to allow a food production that is ecologically, socially and economically sound.

That’s why we promote organic agriculture and all possible ecologically friendly food production systems and technologies.

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Basic Cooking Equipment and Tools when Cooking for a Healthy Lifestyle

Everything is possible with a cup of coffee

Something to brew your coffee:
If you are in for a treat, purchase an espresso machine which can heat milk for home made cappuccino

Basting Brush for applying sauces and glazes
Blender to puree fruits and vegetables for fresh juices, soups
Bread toaster To make your whole wheat bread crunchy even if 1 or 2 days old
Cast iron grill to pan grill, which reduces the use of fat when cooking and to
Colander to drain food
Chopping Board define a system on how to separate chopping board for the produce, meat, poultry and fish
In professional kitchen the chopping boards are color-coded to avoid cross contamination
White: for food to be served (cooked food)
Green: Vegetables and fruits
Blue: Seafood and fish
Red: Raw meat
Yellow: Raw poultry
Citrus press to press lemon and oranges (calamansi can be squeezed through a fork or strainer)
Cooking spoons to mix and scoop food & ladles
Electric Hand Mixer for the preparation of doughs, beating egg whites, whipping cream
Food Processor for easy preparation of dips and other sauces, which require chopped, and/or well mixed ingredients
Garlic press allows to “chop” garlic in a jiffy
Kitchen knives 1 Bread knife for whole wheat bread, 1 Chef’s knife for cutting and
Measuring cups & Spoons ideally made from stainless for them to be accurate and long-lasting
Mitten for handling of hot pots and pans
Non-stick pan for frying of eggs, omelettes, crepes and other food which would stick when cooked with very little fat
Oven-proof dishes for baking, broiling
Plastic turner for use with non-stick frying pan
Stainless pots & pans will use less energy as they keep the heat; will not oxidise when
when acid food is cooked (note: it is not advisable to use aluminium pans, as it is believed that they may be a cause among others for Alzheimer Disease)
Steamer to steam food
Strainer to strain food
Tongs to handle food, either raw or hot
Weighing scale to weigh ingredients accurately

Preferred Cooking Methods for a Healthy Lifestyle Cooking

In our daily lives we prepare food and apply cooking methods without too much reflecting on what we do, as our cooking skills are often “handed-down” by our mothers and grand mothers or other family members. Below follows a short description of the preferred cooking methods. Pan-frying and deep frying are the least preferred cooking methods when cooking for a healthy lifestyle.

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Boiling
Is a cooking method that uses large amounts of rapidly bubbling liquids such as water and stocks to cook foods. Boiling is done at a higher temperature than poaching or simmering, thus cooks food faster. There are only few foods that are truly boiled. They are mostly the starchy foods such as potatoes, root crops and pasta. Other more sensitive foods such as fish, vegetables or eggs are either simmered or poached.

Steaming
Steaming is a most preferred cooking method for tender vegetables, fish and seafood. It enhances the natural flavor of the food, while preserving the color, texture, micro nutrients and vitamins. The food to be steamed is usually placed in a basket or rack above a boiling liquid, which is not going to get in touch with the food to be steamed. In Asian countries steaming is often done using bamboo baskets or banana leaves. Additional flavor can be added to the food by flavoring the liquid used as steaming medium.

Modern electrical convection steamers are using pressured steam to cook food very quickly.

Simmering
Another cooking method, often used for food that needs to be cooked through long, slow and moist cooking to increase flavor and/or tenderness(sauces and certain meats).  The temperature for simmering is always below the boiling point and ranges from 85-96 Celsius. Simmering liquids need to be well seasoned as to impart flavor to the food.

Poaching
Is mostly used for delicate food that require a short cooking time such as eggs and fish. For poaching the liquid is held at a lower temperature than for simmering as to maintain the form and texture of the food, and clarity of the liquid and ranges from 71 to 82 Degrees Celsius

Roasting and Baking
Roasting and baking are two cooking methods, which surround the food with an even, dry heat in a closed environment, and allows to cook food with relatively little addition of fats.
While the term roasting is usually applied to savory food such as meat and poultry, the term baking is more often used for fish, vegetables, fruits, starchy food (potatoes), breads, cakes and other pastries.

Broiling
Broiling requires a bit of sophisticated equipment such as broilers and salamanders, which are mostly used in professional kitchens. Some domestic ovens though are equipped with this feature or even with a Rotisserie (French for roasting by turning), consisting of a spade to pierce a whole piece of meat, or a whole chicken, which then will be turned with the help of an electric motor to assure even heating through the radiant heat above. Broiling is a cooking techniques that produces very tasty food which doesn’t required the addition of lot’s of fat and produces very tasty food.

Grilling
Grilling is a cooking method similar to the broiling, but uses the heat from beneath only. Grills can be electric or gas, burn wood or charcoal as a source of heat. Sometimes specific woods are used to produce a particular flavor. In the Philippines, the grilling in Banana leaves is another method of adding a specific flavor to grilled food and can replace the use of aluminum foil. Grilled food are often identified by crosshatch or grill markings.

Sauteing
Is a cooking method done in a sauté pan, or frying pan. The best sauté pans are the thick bottomed stainless pans, which can retain a high heat, which is then penetrating to the food through “conduction” without burning it. This is important as sautéing is a cooking process using high temperatures to “seal” the flavour of the food. Food for sautéing is usually cut into small pieces for fast and even cooking.

Stir-frying
Is a variation of sautéing. In Asian cooking, a wok is used instead of a frying pan. In the Philippines, it is the “Kawali”. It is easy to toss food in a wok or “Kawali” because of the rounded bottom and the curved sides.

Pan-frying
Pan-frying is a cooking method similar to sautéing and deep-frying. In the Philippines the “pritong isda” (fried fish) is the most popular form of pan-frying.  Pritong saging, turron and others are also using the pan-frying method.

Pan-frying food are often coated with in breading; they require the use of more fat than sautéing, but less fat than the deep-frying.

The reason for breading a food is to avoid the direct contact of the food with the oil, which makes a difference in flavour and texture. This does, however, not mean that less fat is ingested when eating pan-fried, breaded food, as the fat will be absorbed by the breading.

Deep-frying
Deep-frying is a cooking method that transfers the heat to the food by submerging the food in hot fat. The high temperature of the deep-frying cooks the food fast.

It is a cooking method that is not recommended when cooking for a Healthy Lifestyle, as the fat content of deep fried food is generally very high. An exemption could be made for children or people with a very active lifestyle or the once-in a while special treats. Deep-frying will thus be a cooking method avoided or used sparingly.

Note
Not all food we eat should be cooked.

Raw fruits and vegetables are an important source of vitamins and minerals, and play a crucial role in healthy diets. Eaten daily, they provide the necessary enzymes, antioxidants and fibers, which are important for a healthy digestion.

Functions of a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet will help our bodies to function the way intended by nature. It will be a source of wellbeing and keep us healthy and free from diseases. It will help us perform our tasks: study and work, sports, pregnancies, parenthood and make us age gracefully. A healthy diet will add fun and years to our lives:

A healthy Nutrition is based on a set of choices for food
     ➢ Food quality
     ➢ Food groups
     ➢ Food quantities
     ➢ Food combinations
     ➢ Cooking methods

FOOD QUALITY
Use fresh ingredients and food products that are as little processed as possible, as close as possible to their natural state
➢ Only fresh fruits and vegetables contain all the vitamins, minerals and the power of the living forces.
➢ Food processing such as bottling or canning often requires the addition of sugar as preservative and processing aid.
➢ Convenience food often contains modified starches, sugars and other additional ingredients one does not expect to eat for a wholesome meal.

Organic Quality
Whenever possible, use organically grown fruits and vegetables. They are not only free of pesticides and other agrochemicals, but are often more nutritious because they are grown in healthier soils.
Organic production techniques aim for long term soil fertility and protect our natural resources and the environment.

High Quality Protein Food
Knowing of the importance of proteins in our body, it is important to choose good sources of protein such as
➢ high quality dairy and poultry products, meats and fish free of hormones, antibiotics and other synthetic substances, ideally from organic landholdings or farming systems that allow a human treatment of the animals, and which do not pollute the environment
➢ Avoid processed meat products as they are often high in fat content, salt, sugar, modified starch and other ingredients you want to avoid in a healthy diet
➢ High quality, organically grown vegetables (legumes)

Whole Grains
Choose your source of carbohydrates and follow the rule of “as little processed” as possible. Favor whole wheat bread and pasta over white bread and pasta, brown, unpolished rice over white polished rice. Refining whole grains (wheat, rice) into white flour/grain removes vitamins and fiber, which are essential for a healthy diet.

FAVORED FOOD GROUPS

Fresh fruits
Fresh fruits are ideally taken in the morning to start the daily activities, and provide the body with essential vitamins, enzymes and fiber necessary for various bodily functions as well as a healthy digestion.

Fresh vegetables
Are essential in a healthy diet. They are not only rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements, they are rich in fiber. They contribute to a healthy digestion and most of the vegetables belong to the “low GI” (low glycemic index) food group.

Proteins
Proteins are organic substances found in a wide variety of animal and vegetable foods, including foods such as meat, fish, diary product and pulses. They are essential to the body, and since they contain little, if any, sugar they will not raise your blood sugar levels, stimulate insulin production, or contribute to weight gain.

Generally it can be said, that it is essential to eat both animal and vegetable proteins, as a diet consisting of just vegetable proteins will lack some essential amino acids.
➢ Beans and pulses are a good source of protein. They are high in fiber and have very low GI values.
➢ Some meats, such as beef, pork and poultry, however, when eaten in excess, can contribute to cardiovascular disease due to the saturated fats.
➢ Beware of proteins from processed meats, they are usually sweetened with glucose and contain other unwanted additives.

Fats
Fats are complex molecules that store energy for long term use by the body, but fats don’t necessarily make you fat! Concerns about heart disease, are often blamed on saturated fat (mostly in animal fats), while unsaturated fats (sunflower, olive, canola oil) can help protect against cardiovascular disease by increasing good cholesterol levels.
➢ Note: High levels of triclycerides also known as hypertriglyceridaemia, can also contribute to cardiovascular disease. This condition can be caused not only by eating saturated fats, but also by consuming high GI carbohydrates (sweet and starchy food).

Coconut oil
An exception among the saturated fats, is coconut oil. Coconut oil expressed from the kernel (meat) of the mature coconut fruit, is usually obtained from copra, refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD).
Coconut oil is over 92 % saturated, the most saturated of all dietary fats; but it differs from the rest in that it is predominantly medium chain fatty acid.
Since coconut oil is 92 % saturated and only 8 percent unsaturated, it is very stable and takes a very long time, from one to three years, before it exhibits any rancidity.
➢ Note: even if coconut oil is 92 percent saturated fats, it does not contain cholesterol.

Trans-fatty acids
Trans-fatty acids are unsaturated fats produced when polyunsaturated fats are subjected to partial hydrogenation or high heat. Where consumption of processed foods is widespread, the supermarket shelves are loaded with products with high trans-fat content – a most unhealthy situation since trans-fatty acid are highly atherogenic (causes abnormal deposition of plaque and fibrous matter on the inner wall of an artery).

COMBINATION OF FOOD
Eat a varied diet composed of fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates with low GI, healthy fats in moderate quantities. When eating in restaurants, apply the same principle, avoid too many processes foods as they often contain high levels of salt, sugar, starch and synthetic ingredients such as artificial flavorings, colorants and additives.

FOOD QUANTITY
The appropriate food quantity will depend on ones age and lifestyle.

Proteins
From childhood to adulthood the protein requirements gradually increase to a peak at young adulthood, and decrease thereafter again slightly.
➢ Note: In our society of food abundance and fast food, adults tend to eat too much protein food from animal source: steaks, hamburgers, other meats, cheese etc., with negative health effects Guiding Principles
➢ Big meat portions are not advisable, as they are overshooting the daily recommended protein intake in one setting
➢ Choose a variety of food with proteins, making dishes with beans and peas more often the main course, without adding meat to that particular meal
➢ Choose fish frequently as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acid
➢ Exchange mayonnaise, sweet relish, ketchup and other toppings with nuts and seeds in salads and sandwiches

Fresh fruits
City dwellers tend to eat too little fruit. Diets in school canteens and canteens at work, cafeterias, and restaurants don’t provide fresh fruits for practical and budgetary reasons. Thus a conscious choice is required to include more fruits in one’s diet when at home.
Some people tend to eat a lot of sweet foods such as cakes, ice cream, chocolates and the likes, and will cut on fruits for fear of overeating calories from sugar. However, fructose, a sugar form in fruits is the healthier form of sugar than the refined white sugar from sugar cane in pastries and industrially produced sweets.

Fresh Vegetables
It is safe to say that vegetables should be given more importance in a healthy diet. It is important to eat vegetables if not with every meal, at least two times a day. Raw vegetables should be eaten daily. They can be included in the meal as salad, or as snacks. Vegetables can be cooked into soups and replace a heavy dinner in the night.

Carbohydrates
Similar as with proteins, the requirement of carbohydrates reaches its peak at young adulthood and declines as we grow older. Generally the metabolic rat slows down from the age of 50 onwards, though some people will feel the slowing down of their metabolism as early as 35 years old. The slowing down of the metabolic rate highly depends on ones lifestyle and body constitution.
To “over-eat” carbohydrates is not only a cause of overweight, but can trigger diabetes and other hormonal imbalances.

Fats
While it is essential to include fats in a healthy diet, they should be used sparingly. Rule of thumb is not too eat excessively fatty meats, small quantities of such, and to avoid deep fried food, which are the main offerings in fast food restaurants, and often used at home as an easy way of bringing taste into food.
➢ Note: It is important to have both, saturated and unsaturated fats in a balanced diet.
➢ For people with less than 30 minutes exercise a day, 1-2 tbsp of fat per day is sufficient. Thus appropriate cooking methods are important to reduce fat while preparing meals.
Another way of controlling the fat intake is avoiding fatty foods such as meats, butter and cream (on breads, in pastries, ice cream and other desserts), oils (on potato chips and other convenience food such as biscuits, crackers, cookies