Organic food has become a hot topic! What's the difference? Why is it so freaking expensive? Is it just an excuse to charge more? Trust me-I've asked the exact same questions and am asked these questions constantly so you are definitely not alone if you really don't get what the big deal is. Today I'm going to break it down for you and explain why I choose (and recommend) going organic where possible-but also not breaking the bank on the less important items! Sound good? Great-let's do this!
Let's start with what organic actually means when it's referring to your food-and I'm going to keep it simple and just talk about whole foods here, not processed foods labelled organic (that's a whole other ball game). To put it as simply as possible it means that the growers have to follow very strict guidelines about what chemicals are involved and how the food is treated during the growing process. To be certified organic the grower cannot use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and also cannot use any GMO's. Now let's get real-this doesn't mean that organic fruit and vegetables have absolutely no pesticide residue: they don't exist in a bubble and are often exposed based on environmental contamination. What it does mean is that there are much lower amounts of pesticides on organic fruit and vegetables and this has been confirmed in numerous studies. Should we care? Absolutely! Synthetic pesticides have been linked to such an array of serious health concerns it's crazy! Multiple forms of cancer, immune issues, nerve disorders and hormone disruption is just the tip of the iceberg. These are some seriously scary consequences of eating 'healthy' food like conventionally grown fruits and veg.
Another big issue is the soil quality in organic foods vs conventionally grown foods and this is an environmental issue as well as a health issue. Conventional growers tend to 'monocrop' which basically means they grow the same large scale crop over and over in one area. This has a ton of environmental repercussions but also succeeds in depleting the soil of key minerals very quickly! Our bodies need minerals to live and the main place we get these minerals is through the uptake of soil minerals by the food we eat. If the soil is deficient then so are our bodies! Organic growers use a traditional crop rotation and this allows the soil to maintain it's composition-meaning we get nutrient richer foods! Chalk up another win to organic!
Organic may be most important when it comes to meat & dairy. Livestock raised as an organic food source is guaranteed to be without hormones, GMO feed and antibiotic use. Our bodies are exposed to so many hormone disrupting substances in today's world it is SUPER important to limit this when we can! Antibiotics are used routinely in conventional livestock raised for meat: they live in such horrible conditions infections are rampant and they are just doused with antibiotics from the get go. Also-antibiotics have been found to promote weight gain and are used for this reason as well-bigger animals have more meat! Antibiotic use in humans has been under the microscope now for a while and we are just realizing how damaging their overuse can be! Trust me-you don't want to be ingesting ANY antibiotics unless absolutely necessary! So for these reasons alone I think choosing organic is really important in this industry. That goes doubly so for dairy products like butter. Toxins are mainly stored in fat cells for protection. When you are buying a dairy product like butter you are basically buying the fat from that animal. If the animal was sick and full of toxins they are going to be be in the most concentrated in products like butter. Go organic here-seriously!
Clearly I think organic is worth it-I advocate for buying the highest quality food you can afford. The trick here is knowing when you should be choosing organic first and what is a less risky choice for conventional foods. For a full listing google 'the dirty dozen' but I'll break down the basics for you. Always go organic when you can with meats and dairy. Berries, apples, bananas, most greens, tomatoes and celery are common staples that should be chosen as organic first if possible (lots of pesticide residue found on conventionally grown versions of this food in studies). Less 'risky' popular foods are avocados, mangoes, asparagus, sweet potatoes, onions and mushrooms. If you are interested in making the switch start choosing organic with your riskier foods first and go from there!
If budget dictates mainly conventional foods that's ok! Don't stop eating the typical "dirty dozen" just put real effort into washing them thoroughly before you do eat them! Adding an antioxidant supplement to your routine can also help your body clean up and prevent damage caused by excess toxin exposure. You can buy pre made formulas or just start with some extra Vitamin C! That's it!
Have a great week!