I have been eating Organic food for a long time now and it is just a part of my life. I would not choose anything else for me and my family.
I meet many people who are beginning to make the transition over to organic foods and ask me questions such as,
- Is Organic food more nutritious?
- Is Organic food safe?
- How do you afford Organic food?
- Why should I eat Organic?
- How do I know if it is really Organic?
If you are thinking about making the transition, or perhaps you already have, and are wondering if it is all worth it, I will attempt to guide you to choosing what feels right for you.
Organic basically means that a food is grown or processed without the use of genetic engineering, no synthetic or artificial fertilizers, no pesticides, no antibiotics, no growth regulators, no preservatives or dyes.
Organic Food is More Nutritious
According to The Organic Consumers Association, organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, contain higher levels of beta carotene, vitamins C, D and E, health-promoting polyphenols, cancer-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids that help ward off heart disease, essential fatty acids, and essential minerals.
On average, organic is 25% more nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals than products which are non-organic. This increases when you eat the organic food in its raw, natural state.
Organic Food is Safer
Organic food doesn’t contain pesticides. More than 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues remain on non-organic food even after washing. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. One class of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, may be responsible for early puberty and breast cancer. Pesticides are linked to asthma and cancer.
Organic food is not genetically modified. Genetically modified foods harm soil quality, disrupt ecosystems, and reduce biodiversity, among many other things.
Organic food is not irradiated. Irradiation makes your produce look fresh but in actual fact, they are not depleted in enzymes and vitamins.
Organic crops aren’t fertilized with toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, or irrigated with E. coli contaminated sewage water.
Organic Food is Affordable
On average Organic food’s shelf price is about 20% higher than chemical food. This makes it actually cheaper, gram for gram, than chemical food.
Let’s also acknowledge the high hidden costs of industrial food production; damage to health, climate, environment and government subsidies. Think of the money that is spent on health care alone!
When you choose to eat organic, you will likely save money by eating out less (which means eating at home more), packing your lunch and preparing meals from ‘scratch’. Who knows, maybe you will even grow a few things in your own garden or on your balcony!
Why Eat Organic?
Besides all of the reasons above, I have a couple more for you.
- Organic food is earth-supportive (when big business keeps their hands out of it). Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future.
- Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Consider it the domestic version of fair trade.
- Most organic food simply tastes better than the pesticide-grown counterparts.
- Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).
- Organic farms are safer for farm workers. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70 percent increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides. Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk of Parkinson’s or other illnesses.
How do I know that it is Organic?
According to Canadian Organic Regulations,not all organic standards are exactly the same. Soil and agriculture are different throughout the world and different countries produce different products. For instance, Canada does not have organic standards that govern the production of coffee because our farmers don’t grow coffee. For the most part, if Canadian farmers, processors, and traders want to sell a product in the foreign market, they have to certify their product to the standard of the host country. The same is true for foreign businesses that want to export to Canada.
When buying packaged products look for the following labels:
When it comes to cosmetics and body care products, know that the ingredient list must say that they are organic. The product may be called ‘Organic ___” or even the company name may have Organic in it, but the contents may not be organic. Read the label carefully! Read the ingredients carefully!
At the end of the day, which foods or products that you purchase is a personal choice. Only you know what is best for you and for your family.
Listen to your gut! (Pun intended!) 🙂