People are asking if it is worth the higher grocery bill to start going ‘all in’ on the organic train. We are seeing more and more organic options popping up in grocery stores due to the rise in demand for these alternatives. Surprisingly, when asked what organic food is, most people don’t really know. Here is what organic food really is, and why it is so important.
1.) Less Preservatives are found in organic food.
Ever wonder why a bag of chips can sit in your cupboard for months on end, but that lettuce you were saving to make a salad has already gone bad? Blame preservatives. While it may seem like a good idea to have preservatives in our food since it makes it last longer, think again. Preservatives have been linked to many different illnesses including, but not limited to, allergies, headaches, heart palpitations, cancers, etc.
If you are unsure about whether or not your food contains harmful preservatives, try looking at the ingredient list. When you find something you cannot pronounce, most likely it is something it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of research on. Typically, the more natural and simple your ingredient list is, the safer the food choice will be.
2.) Less Antibiotics or Growth hormones in meat.
Have you ever thought, ‘they must be on steroids,’ when watching competitive body builders on tv? It’s probably hard to believe that someone could get that large naturally. It goes the same with the meat that comes from farms who use growth hormones to make their animals larger. The larger the animal, the more meat they can get out of it, and the more money they can make when selling to consumers.
Not only are farmers making animals unnaturally large, but they are doing it in half the time all while overcrowding them to make the best bang for their buck. The more cows you can stick in a barn, the more money you can make. Overcrowded environments and unhealthy diets lead to sickness and disease, resulting in the need to pump antibiotics into the animals to keep them alive as long as needed. These growth hormones and antibiotics don’t disappear once the meat is in production. It gets passed on to consumers, and onto the plates of their friends and family, leading to potential antibiotic resistance, an increase in the risk of cancer, and many other seriously harmful health effects.
3.) Organic farming is better for the environment and human health.
Organic farming naturally replenishes the soil with the nutrients and microbials it needs every year for a new crop. This is essential, not only for the livelihood of the farm’s soil, but for surrounding environments as well. When farmers use fertilizers, pesticides, and other unnatural chemicals in their fields, their fields can be seriously harmed. Nearby water can become contaminated and serious erosion can occur due to an unnatural state of soil.
While organic farming may not always produce as high of a quantity of food as traditional farming, it works to support long term environmental sustainability over time.
Last, but certainly not least, conventional means of farming can also lead to consumers being exposed to carcinogens and heavy metals in their food supply.
4.) Organic food is more nutrient dense.
Phytochemicals are essentially vitamins and antioxidants found naturally in our foods; however, when farms are bombarded with pesticides and fertilizers, it is more difficult for plants to effectively produce phytochemicals, leading to a less nutrient dense food.
Some studies say that a non-organic apple today would be of no comparison to how nutrient dense an apple would be back in the day of our grandparents and great-grandparents.
Think of all the times you prepared yourself a truly healthy meal, full of fruits and vegetables. Wouldn’t you feel a bit robbed knowing that these foods have been potentially stripped of their nutrients? Getting all your vegetables in is hard enough! Sure, your organic foods may not be as big or pretty as what you’re used to, but food naturally comes in different shapes, colors, and sizes.
5.) Organic food may save you money over time.
Because organic food contains less chemicals, preservatives, growth hormones, antibiotics, etc., it is healthier for you and your family. When thinking of how often you eat, these health benefits can truly add up throughout the years. As any financial advisor would tell you, it’s the small investments now that yield large dividends down the road.
While you may be paying more for these organic choices, you may be saving yourself on some significant medical bills down the road.
Studies have shown patients with serious illnesses being able to reach their health again, solely due to an all organic diet. It truly can make a tremendous difference in your life.
**While an all-organic diet would be ideal, realistically this is not attainable for everyone. A little change is better than perfect, and as long as you are being conscientious of what you are putting into your body and your family’s, progress is being made.