Organic foods taste wonderful. Organically grown produce that is not adulterated with hormones and chemical pesticides have the good green fresh taste that nature intended.
Most people are amazed to experience what food “really” tastes like when they start switching over to organic. As good as organic foods are for your body, they are even better for our planet.
Organic farming techniques preserve water resources and protect and respect wildlife. Organic farming helps to maintain biodiversity. Organic farmers collect and preserve seeds, and continue to grow many unusual varieties not grown by traditional farms, while at the same time, modern industrial agriculture has led to the obliteration of many species of foods and grains.
The monolithic chemical intensive techniques of conventional agriculture have led to the worst soil erosion in modern history. More than 3 billion tons of topsoil are eroded from U.S. croplands each year according to estimates by The Soil Conservation Service. Organic farming practices, on the other hand, build long-term soil health and stability.
According to the Organic Trade Organization, Organic Farming is saving rural communities and the family farm. The USDA recently reported that more than half of the country’s food is grown by only 2% of its farms.
Organic farmers give a chance for small farms to get a fair price in a new and rapidly growing market. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, consumers purchase over 6 billion dollars annually worth of organic products, from staples like milk, eggs, and lettuce to snacks such as cookies and tortilla chips.
And that number is rising dramatically in both natural foods stores and conventional supermarkets at a rate of 20% or more every year since 2000. Whole Foods is rapidly becoming the “in and trendy” place to shop, and even Wal-Mart has a large and expanding section of organic food and home products.
Living An Organic Lifestyle
A published study in the Journal of Applied Nutrition found conclusively that organically grown foods have a higher percentage of vital minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients than conventionally grown produce. The study found that organically grown food is 73 percent higher in iron, 63 percent higher in calcium, and 118 percent higher in magnesium.
If you have read some of my other posts about healthy eating and superfoods, then you are familiar with flavonoids and antioxidants. Flavonoids are produced by plants to help them ward off disease and survive in harsh environments. It is also these flavonoids that give most of the Super Foods their anti-cancer and disease-fighting abilities. Studies have shown that the chemicals found in most pesticides inhibit the plant’s production of flavonoids. Organically grown berries, for example, are 30% higher in antioxidants than their conventional counterparts.
If you want to have total control over your organic produce and reduce the cost of your organic food bill, you may consider organic gardening as part of your organic lifestyle.
However going organic means more than just food. If you are truly concerned about the health of your loved ones and the planet they live on, you can adopt an “organic lifestyle.” That means not only eating organic foods but also wearing clothing made from organic cotton or other naturally grown fibers. Skin especially that of babies and children is particularly susceptible to toxic chemicals. Beds, bed clothes and towels are available made from organic fibers.
Household products are another area to “go organic.” There are organic laundry detergents and cleaning products, and organic cosmetics and health and beauty aids. Remember, each organic industry you patronize means that much less environmental damage is done to the planet.
What About the Cost of Going Organic?
Do organic products cost more? Certainly, they do. But what price do you put on the health of your family and the future of the planet? Prudent shoppers can save money on any consumer good, and organic products, especially organic foods are no exception.
With the popularity of organic foods ever expanding, prices are becoming far more competitive. In New York City, for example, Consumer Reports recently found the price of a jar of Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food ranging from .69 a jar to $ 1.29.
If you are on a very tight budget, there are certain foods that you absolutely should be buying organic, especially if you have kids and others where the health impact between conventional and organic is not as profound. According to nutritionist Marion Nestle, Ph.D., if you can only consider buying one organic product, it should be milk.
Kids drink a lot of milk. Nestle, the author of What to Eat, says cows reared on organic farms are not filled up with growth hormone, or given antibiotics, or feed loaded with pesticides, which are all substances that affect the health and development of children.
Other “musts” since they consistently have the highest levels of pesticides and chemicals are apples, peaches, strawberries, celery, cherries, bell peppers, spinach, grapes, nectarines, pears, potatoes, and red raspberries. According to several environmental agencies, the foods less likely to retain pesticide residue are bananas, pineapples, broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, asparagus, kiwi, mangos, papaya, onions, and sweet peas.
Shop around for bargains. Consider buying some organic products online, and certainly, consider buying organic produce locally. Almost every community has a local organization of organic farms that hold farmers markets, and generally do not mark up the price on par with supermarkets. The food is not only organic it is very fresh since it has not had to travel, and you will also be doing your share to support your local economy.
And remember, your mom was right when she said to eat your veggies. The surest way to stay healthy and live longer is to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day – so why not make them organic, listen to your mom — and help out Mother Earth as well.