THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON POSITIVE HEALTH WELLNESS.
There’s so much hype about organic food. But I can see that you are clueless. So let me give you the skinny on what it is.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the following things:
- What is organically grown food?
- Why do you need to eat it?
- Where and how do I get it?
- What is some good organic food that I can eat?
- 9 Health Benefits of eating organic food.
I know you’re ready so let’s begin.
What Is Organically Grown Food?
According to Wikipedia, Organic food is food that is produced by methods that comply with standards of organic farming. Obviously, standards vary from region to region worldwide. But the practices have the same general features in farming. These are the following:
- Strive to cycle resources
- Promote ecological balance
- Conserve biodiversity
- Restriction in using certain pesticides and fertilizers
- Absence of irradiation, industrial artificially produced additives
Simply put, “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products. Organic farmers use practices that encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.
Here’s a comparison:
Non-Organic Food Production
- Using artificially produced chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth
- Using commercially made chemical insecticides to control pests and diseases
- Using chemical herbicides to manage weeds
- Letting livestock consume antibiotics, growth hormones, and medication to accelerate growth and prevent disease
Organic Food Production
- Using natural fertilizers like manure or compost to nourish soil and plants
- Using natural predators (such as insects, arachnids, and other animals), biological control agents (good bacteria and fungi), mating disruption or traps, and specialized farming practices to reduce the incidence of pests and diseases
- Giving animals organic feed and free ranging (access to outdoors)
Organic and GMOs. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are not used in organic products. Farmers who practice organic farmers can’t plant GMO planting materials and organically managed livestock can’t consume GMO feed.
So what exactly are GMOs? Here are some facts:
- Organisms that have been changed by injecting it with genetic material from another species
- First introduced commercially in 1994 (FLAVR SAVR tomato)
- Plants that are engineered to survive herbicides and insecticides that can kill weeds and pests
- Plants that produce toxins that kill pests (Bt corn)
Identifying Organically Grown Food. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an organic certification program requires all organic food to meet strict government standards. Farmers, food manufacturers, and distributors should be aware of the labeling that USDA has set to check for meeting these standards.
USDA has set the following labeling with corresponding standards:
- 100% Organic – Made entirely from organic materials
- Organic – At least 95% organic materials, with remaining ingredients that are approved by USDA
- Made With Organic Ingredients – At least 70% organic ingredients and can display 3 organic ingredients on the label. Cannot use the organic seal.
- Non-Organic – If less than 70% organic ingredients,cannot be labeled as organic or use the
- USDA organic seal.
Why Do You Need to Eat It?
I know what you might be thinking. The hype from organic products might not be worth it. For all you know, you might just be buying a high priced product that does not promise much, and you might not be getting your money’s worth. Well, let me tell you some good reasons to buy and consume these products.
Absence or fewer pesticide content. You don’t want poison to enter your body, right? So lesser or no pesticide content is a real good thing. Produce grown conventionally produces products that are chock full of poisons. They do this because they don’t want pests and diseases to plague their crops. It’s a good thing when you want standardized plant products. The problem is, post-harvest practices do not address the problem of cleaning or taking care of the residues of chemical pesticides. Chances are when you buy a product that isn’t organic you are also consuming pesticide.
Fresher produce. When you buy organic, farmers usually sell it straight from their farms. They often do this right after they harvest their produce. This ensures that the product is fresh and good to consume. Aside from that, it does not have the pesticides or chemicals used as preservatives. The shelf life might not be long, but you are guaranteed a fresher more natural product.
Environment-friendly. Most, if not all, farmers who engage in the organic production of crops and livestock use farming practices that are environmentally sound and friendly. They make sure that they don’t use artificially produced chemical fertilizers that deplete the soil’s health. Their non-usage of commercial chemical pesticides would also help in keeping the natural ecology in their system. This is a great way to have a good environment.
Naturally grown meat and dairy. When you consume meat and dairy from most commercial producers, chances are these products are not natural. Animals raised in these setups are given antibiotics and growth hormones to get them to the desired weight in the shortest amount of time and to keep them from diseases. The problem with this is that these antibiotics are also eaten by you, the consumer. Also, some animals are fed byproducts from other animals. Imagine animal cannibalism, a cow eating parts of another cow. This is how mad cow disease happened. Cows were fed processed brain parts of other cows giving them the mad cow disease. Also, these animals are grown in cramped and inhumane areas. This would affect the quality of the meat and dairy. Doing so would get the incidence of bacteria higher. But with organic products, it’s not going to happen. Animals that are produced in this way consume fresh naturally feed. They aren’t given antibiotics and hormones. And for the most part, they are also given a free range in their living areas.
Healthier and more nutritious meat, dairy and vegetable produce. With the way these plants and animals and products are handled, it isn’t surprising that these products are also more nutritious. Nutrients from the soil are not depleted by using artificial commercially produced fertilizer, and this ensures that more nutrients can be consumed by you. Also, since animals consumed natural feed, you won’t be eating unnatural.