Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
An Organic Trend that Needs to Become A Lifestyle
Organic foods are a healthy choice, not just an organic trend. Your list of healthy food choices needs to include organics, such as organic whey, meats and proteins, vegetables and fruits. What are organic foods? Find out more about organics.
Foods grown organically have been available for centuries (we didn't invent it; that's how food was grown hundreds of years ago - with no chemicals or genetic modifications or other industrial age modifications).
Local farmers have offered selections of seasonal, synthetic chemical free, naturally grown, fresh produce throughout time. Organic farming was here long before the pesticides and chemicals were here.
Recently, however, organically grown foods have become more abundant and can typically be found on the shelves of your favorite grocery store. You can find nature's health foods with the organic label in frozen, canned and fresh varieties.
Extensive research over the past decade on the benefits of organically produced food and the risks of chemically grown food, and publication of that research, has created a steadily growing interest in organic products.
Over the past ten years, sales of food grown organically increased by about 20% per year. This growth rate could reach as much as a 50% increase in some countries, while continuing to steadily rise around the world.
Such a growing market, with growing profit potential, has created a need for regulations and restrictions to protect both consumers and genuine organic farmers.
Identifying What Are Organic Foods?
Most countries have adopted a set of standards that control foods produced organically and that ensure products that meet consumer expectations.
Individual governments typically have their own strict certification guidelines that must be met before any item can display an organic label. (For example on a jar of organic whey protein I can see the certified organic label as well as the ingredients; fruits and vegetables have much smaller labels indicating they are certified organic).
A certified organic product is:
- Grown and processed without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other substances containing harmful chemicals
- Made up of primarily organic ingredients, typically at least 95%
- Not irradiated
- Produced in adherence to animal welfare standards
- Produced in adherence to environmental health standards
- Not genetically modified.
Is this Organic Trend Sustainable?
The Environmental Impact of Organic Farming
The current movement to organics is viewed by some as an organic trend; meaning that a new trend may take its place in the future. However, the benefits of organic farming and gardening are significant enough that this trend will likely become the way for the future. We need to do things differently for our environment, our climate and our planet to be sustainable, growing, buying, cooking and eating organically is the way forward.
For the most part, organic farming is extremely beneficial to the environment. Organic farms make a significant contribution to encouraging and maintaining a balanced and diverse ecosystem. The lack of chemicals and toxins improve the welfare of surrounding wildlife and decrease air and water pollution.
Growing foods organically also increases the natural nutrient levels within the soil and uses significantly less energy and water than commercial farming methods. Organic farming also helps sustain land, wildlife, and natural resources, unlike intensive farming that often destroys areas of land over the years and then moves on.
Pesticides, Genetic Modification and Certified Organic Products
The dangers that pesticides pose to both humans and animals have been evident for some time. Farmers regularly working around chemical substances have shown an array of health complications, including nausea, vision complications, and skin problems. Other effects include birth defects, cancer, memory loss, and even depression.
Those directly exposed to the common pesticides used in conventional farming methods aren't the only ones at risk.
The foods grown with these chemicals retain residues that pose a number of health risks. While more than 75% of commercially grown foods contain synthetic chemical residues, it is rare for any to be found in organically farmed produce.
Studies have found that children on an organic foods diet test lower for chemical traces, and higher for nutritional substances like vitamins and antioxidants, when compared to children eating non-organic food.
Genetically modified (GM) foods are also a significant issue in our environment.
Creating a food source that is altered and controlled by manufacturers and producers is impacting our ecosystems around the world and is risking the health of our environment.
What About Flavour and Nutrition?
A number of people choose to eat organic foods because of the benefits to the environment, while others prefer the more humane treatment organically raised livestock receives. Additional attractions are taste and nutritional content.
Not only have studies found that organically grown fruits and vegetables taste better, but also that they contain significantly higher levels of the vital nutrients that many adults lack in their typical diet. In fact, a person eating organic fruit can consume fewer servings and still get the same nutritional value as a person eating more non-organic produce.
The organic industry is booming, and the predictions are that demand will keep on growing.
To make a difference in your health, your family's health, and the planet's health, you need to take a stand against the unhealthy and unsustainable practices of conventional, intensive food production and look at the bigger picture; organic products are a benefit to our health and our environment. Put organics on your list of healthy food and make sure to grow, buy and eat organics.
Additional Reading (include this in your List of Healthy Food Information):