Let me be clear, I love candy, chocolate, pastas, breads, etc. (phew that felt good), but this isn’t the “healthy” I was talking about. I’m talking about an organic healthy way of life. I always thought that “organic” was just for the fancy or rich. But now organic means so much more to me. It means eating without the fear of unwanted, potentially harmful, chemicals. In most cases it means supporting the smaller farmers instead of the money hungry corporations.
Let me share with you the reasons we (as a family) decided to go organic (or as organic as we can get) and I’ll expand on these points further down.
- Avoid chemicals
- More nutrients
- Avoid GMO
- Avoid hormones and antibiotics in animal products
- Support local and small farmers
- Keeping our children safe
According to the National Academy of Sciences 90% of the chemicals that are applied to foods haven’t been tested for long-term health effects. The FDA tests only 1% of foods for pesticides. The most dangerous and toxic pesticides require special testing methods, which are rarely employed by the FDA.
So what does that mean for our family? Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemicals that are present in commercially gown foods. Here are some points as to why organic is better:
- Organic foods must contain 95-100% certified organic ingredients and the other 5% like salt and water cannot contain GMOs
- Organic labeled foods requires 100% organic feed for organic livestock
- Use of chemical fertilizers, synthetic substances, irradiation, sewage sludge, or GMOs is prohibited
- Prohibits antibiotic and synthetic hormone use in organic meat and poultry
- The organic verification is maintained.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine conducted a review of studies that compared the nutritional value of organically grown versus conventionally grown fruits, vegetables, and grains. It was concluded that there are significantly more nutrients in organic foods.
This means that organically grown foods have more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients. On average, organically grown foods provide: 21.1% more iron (than their conventional counterparts); 27% more vitamin C; 29.3% more magnesium; 13.6% more phosphorus
Genetically engineered (GE) food and genetically modified organisms (GMO) are contaminating our food supply at an alarming rate. GMO foods do not have to be labeled in America. Because organically grown food cannot be genetically modified in any way, choosing organic is the only way to be sure that foods that have been genetically engineered stay out of your diet. You can learn more about GMOs here
Avoid Hormones and Antibiotics in Animal Products:
It is reported by the EPA that the majority of pesticide intake comes from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. These foods are all high on the food chain therefore if a large fish eats a smaller fish that eats even smaller fish accumulates all of the toxins of the chain. Many cows, chickens and pigs are fed animal parts, fish meal, grains and by-products that are heavily laden with toxins and chemicals.
Millions of pounds of antibiotics are used in animal feed every year and the hormones fed to cows cannot be broken down. These hormones remain in complete form and pass directly to the consumer when eaten. It is incredibly important that these chemically induced animal products are not consumed by children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.
Support Local and Small Farmers:
The fruits and vegetables you buy at the local farmers markets are some of the freshest and tastiest available. Just be sure that you are visiting the organic farmers’ stands. Some local and small farmers still use pesticides.
These days the agribusiness dominates the food production thus leaving the small family farms at hard times. The small family farmers can’t compete in the food marketplace. When you buy directly from the small farmers it gives them a better return for their foods and a chance to survive today’s globalized economy.
With local farms you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of animal agriculture.
Keeping Our Children Safe:
As parents we want to feed our children healthy foods. Children have fast-growing metabilisms, less varied diets and infants and children are more vulnerable to health and development issues. Safety standards of agricultural chemicals have become more strict but buying organic products and supporting organic agriculture may be the best protection for our children.
So what does that mean for you? If we nurture the soil and keep toxic chemicals out of the environment, organic agriculture is something we can help pass along a healthy and safe planet for future generations.