With a new year getting started, it’s a safe bet that many people are listing either “eating healthier” or “being healthier” as one of their resolutions. For the more resolute, this may include starting a home garden project or even joining a community garden, but for most of us it more likely means opting for less-processed and more organic choices at the market. Whole foods are healthier foods, but the price point for organic goods as opposed to their non-organic counterparts is jaw-dropping! That $2.50 bunch of carrots just jumped to $5, even though they share the same vitamins, minerals, fiber, and micro-nutrients that are good for you. Then there’s the fact that they spoil faster due to their not being treated with chemicals to increase their shelf-life. Now you’re paying for more expensive food that doesn’t last as long; seriously, what’s the point of going organic?
1. Food Safety
Sure, you wash all your produce once you get home from the store, but that DOESN’T get rid of the dirt, pesticides, and herbicides when waxes have been added to seal in additives (that’s how a lot of produce “seems” more visually attractive on the shelf). Eating small amounts of these poisons daily will…well, poison you! They gather in our organs and cause health problems over time, from all types of cancer to infertility and beyond.
The FDA recently announced that a slate of recent safety guidelines for commercial farmers will be relaxed and in may instances weakened because of the worry that they would hurt the bottom-line of these businesses. This does not portend well for the meat, dairy, and produce that turn up in abundance at the large-chain supermarkets.
Ok, you can peel most produce to get rid of the yucky stuff sprayed on the outside, but you’ll be losing some of the fiber and nutrients contained in the skin. What’s more, organic oranges contain 30% more vitamin C than regular oranges, while regular broccoli has 63% less calcium and 34% less iron than its organic counterpart. A recent study of organic milk found that milk produced by grass-fed cows, as opposed to grain-fed, produced better milk that contained higher levels of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. And don’t forget that getting what your body needs from the foods you eat is just more natural than pills and supplements, which ends up saving you money!
3. The Environment
We all want to use less and recycle what have used, but planting trees and saving endangered animal habitats are not the only ways to save the planet. Organic farms are typically “sustainable” farms, which means they produce food without disrupting, and eventually harming, the natural order of things. That means the goods produced by organic farms are more diverse because they were created in distinct environments, as opposed to the standardized practices and materials of more commercial farms. Organic material makes better soil that has better yield. That means less synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which means less eventual pollution.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you may have already started down the path to eating organic. Or maybe you’ve decided you want to, but there’s that cost factor again. Start small, with the essentials like green, leafy vegetables and potatoes. These have been found to contain high levels of pesticides. Look for food that’s been grown locally, if there’s a farmers market in your area, go check it out and see what may work for your diet and your wallet. Eating organic is eating healthier, but it’s just one step in creating healthier habits for a more prosperous new year.
Have you gone organic? How was it transitioning from typical foods to organic foods? Let us know in the comments below.