Image by: UGA College of AG
By Jake Bradshaw
In the last decade, America has gone crazy over organic food. With all the scientific research and talk shows promoting its health benefits, it was just a matter of time before people started to view it as an alternative route for a better life.
Going “organic” is not a drastic change. In today’s world, we’ve all grown accustomed to our bad habits that we’re too scared to take the leap. But once you do, not only will see immediate results, you will be kicking yourself in the pants for not doing it sooner.
Organic Is NOT A Diet
Probably one of the biggest myths out there is that an organic lifestyle is a “diet.” This can’t be further from the truth. Going organic means you rid the food of dirty chemicals, not it’s fat or caloric content.
Many junk food products are ranking in on the organic craze, making their products with natural ingredients. Don’t be fooled. Just because you’re in the store and you see a product that says “100% organic” it doesn’t mean that it’s healthier for you, it just means that it’s much cleaner than the other alternative.
What Do Pesticides Do?
Though a recent study stated that organic foods offer little to no health benefits over conventional foods, what most people fail to see is the negative impact over time.
Conventional produce are 5 times more likely to have pesticides than organic ones since they’re typically grown with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers to prolong their life in the store. Even though farmers claim they don’t exceed government safety thresholds, often times the negative impacts are seen in the details.
Pesticides are no different than a typical pharmaceutical drug. They’re chemicals with a unique design and purpose. When we take over the counter drugs, we expect them to deliver a change to our bodies. Since pesticides are chemicals with similar structure, they’re bound to give us similar effects.
Pesticides, Growth Hormones, and Antibiotics
In many cases, the overabundance of pesticides will effect our brains, libido, and body organs. Our body doesn’t know how to digest chemicals except to have an internal reaction of some sorts. Depending on the level or type of pesticide, everyone’s reaction will be different over time.
One of the most common pesticides is the organophosphates. Almost everyone in the world has them in their blood because they get transferred from our food. This kind of pesticide has been linked to a lower IQ, ADHD, and memory problems.
Red meat, chicken, eggs, and dairy will contain growth hormones and antibiotics. Farmers want to plump their chickens up so there will be more meat (which then transfers to the eggs). Antibiotics are to rid the cows of the bacteria that most of them have gained while in unsanitary captivity. The antibiotics then get transferred to their meat, as well as the milk.
Organic meat, chicken, eggs, and dairy are free of these things. Plus they’re fed natural foods with no pesticides which makes their taste better and allows for the digestion process to be more fluid.
Here’s a tip: Strawberries, dairy, blueberries, celery, peppers, peaches, cherries, cucumbers, grapes, and potatoes are much more susceptible to pesticides. If you eat them frequently, be sure to buy them organic.
Is It More Expensive?
In order for organic farmers to meet USDA criteria to become certified growers, they need to pay for it. Not to mention, the practice of organic farming itself are a bit more expensive since it usually doesn’t supply the demand that conventional growing does. Because of this, organic foods have a bad reputation of costing more money.
The secret to organic purchases doesn’t lie in big grocery chains like Ralph’s who order their organic products through long-distant shipping. Instead, buy local.
Nearly every major city has a farmers market that sets up shop in the mornings or afternoons on 3 – 8 blocks. Local farmers sell pesticide-free produce, bread, dairy, eggs, and all that’s in between for less than what you would find in a grocery store.
To find a Farmer’s Market near you, go to FarmersMarket.com.
Here’s a tip: Do the best you can. Start small. If you don’t want to get rid of your favorite snacks, choose the more organic option in the same brand. Take baby steps. When it says “made with organic ingredients,” that means at least 75% of their ingredients are organic. That’s better than nothing.