Why it's Better to Shop Small
Learn more about nitrates and their effect on your diet.
In 2011, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), over 85-percent of customers polled by the National Grocers Association said they chose a grocery store based, in part, on whether it stocked food from regional producers. Also, 1,500 chefs nationwide ranked local foods as the year’s top restaurant industry trend. The desire for local food sourced from small producers is on the rise.
This is very lucrative because as Americans, we share a common desire to invest in our communities and also reap the benefits that stem from our investment. Since we all eat, the money we spend on food becomes a powerful investment tool.
So when bistroMD looks for a company to partner with, it is important that our values match up with theirs. Our company was built on the foundation of integrity, both in the products we offer and in how we interact with others.
Also, through our commitment to natural food, we strive to work with farmers and vendors who also share our love of land and love of food.
We model our ingredient list based on Whole Food’s Banned Ingredients list, since they’ve set the standard in the industry. Anything found on that list will not be included in our entrees and that is a promise we will always keep.
A practical example
For these reasons, we chose to partner with North Country Smokehouse in Claremont, New Hampshire. NCS believes there are two ways of doing things: wrong and right. They tend to strongly favor doing things the right way—with hard work, integrity and respect—just like we do.
North Country Smokehouse is a member of the Free Farmed program, which assures proper care and handling of livestock.
NCS also buys local. They take the time to hand select every ingredient from their New England sources who they know and trust.
Those same practices and fresh ingredients are used in many of the delicious entrees we offer at bistroMD. Below are just a few mouthwatering examples.
Take our new Cherries Jubilee Crepes with Chicken Sausage. This entree features juicy cherries enveloped in cream cheese and resting inside delicate French-style crepes, accompanied by a tangy orange marmalade with a delicious chicken maple sausage.
If that sounds too bold, NCS’s chicken sausage is also featured in our Vegetable and Cheese Omelet with Chicken Sausage. This breakfast staple is an egg white omelet stuffed with zucchini, squash, onions and mozzarella cheese paired with NCS’s all natural chicken apple sausage.
Our chicken sausages are formulated especially for bistroMD by NCS. This means they use a reduced sodium blend to meet our standards, avoid the use of nitrates and use a natural pork casing.
NCS also avoids the use of nitrates. Nitrates are chemicals used to retain the moisture, tenderness and color of meats in many food applications and processed meats (sausages, hot dogs, salami, bologna, ham, bacon and lunchmeat). Our standard of serving you the highest quality food in its natural state does not comply with the use of such harmful chemicals and preservatives.
Why do nitrates matter?
In nature, nitrates are readily converted to nitrites and vice versa. Both are anions or ions with a negative charge. They are manufactured mainly for use as a food preservative and both nitrates and nitrites are used to extensively enhance the color and extend the shelf-life of processed meats. Nitrates are also used to make fertilizer, which we think is just plain gross.
Unfortunately, nitrates and nitrites are present in many foods. They are the precursors of N-nitroso compounds, which are known animal carcinogens and potential human carcinogens.
Thankfully, bistroMD would never serve you any food that contains these compounds because there are serious health risks involved when using these compounds. Consuming foods that contain these compounds, such as bacon and other cured meats, is being studied by researchers for a possible links to severe liver damage with prolonged exposure, and even cancer.
In animal studies, long-term exposure to these compounds was shown to lead to cancer of the liver, esophagus and nasal cavities. Exposure to lower levels for more than several weeks caused lung cancer, liver cancer and liver damage in rats, mice, hamsters and other animals. Additionally, many animals exposed to these compounds suffered internal bleeding, usually followed by death, according to the Deleware Health and Social Services Division of Public Health.
It is not known if these compounds will cause similar effects in humans, but it’s best to stay away from them. At bistroMD, we believe that the small producers we work with are more passionate about providing products that are free of harmful substances. We encourage people to learn about where there food comes from, and what’s in it. Whereas the ‘big guys’ in the food industry are often closed-lipped regarding their ingredients and processes, most smaller vendors are happy to share their knowledge and practices with anyone who takes the time to ask.