Debate has gone on over the years about the value of eating organic foods over the typically grown produce, meat and dairy products. Organic typically means produced without toxic agricultural chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, and where meat and dairy are concerned, fed from organic sources, without antibiotics, and free ranging.
With federal organic standards having been set, consumers can now be more confident that when the green and while circular organic label is present, no toxic chemicals or chemical fertilizers were used in the production of the labeled item. Although in some parts of the country, organic foods are more difficult to come by and more expensive, the trend is working toward a more available selection of organic goods.
And although it is true that non-organic farms are sometimes next to organic farms, and so the threat of cross-over GMO seed or pesticids and/or chemical fertilizers may be present, they are still a better choice overall in overall toxicity.
Reasons for Eating Organic
The primary reasons for leaning toward organic selections in your produce, meat and dairy are twofold. First, the cumulative exposures during our lifetimes to the toxic pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides are difficult to measure. And although a direct causal relationship to certain cancers and other diseases are difficult to pinpoint, the EPA considers 30% of all insecticides, 60% of all herbicides, and 90% of all fungicides to be carcinogenic.
It is believed that not only are these agricultural chemicals connected to our rise in cancer over the last few decades, but that the cumulative exposure to them in our lifetimes also contribute to other degenerative and neurological diseases. This is even notwithstanding the problems of microorganisms’ overexposure to antibiotics which are typically fed to non-organically raised animals.
Secondly, the organic varieties of grain and produce are believed to contain more nutrients than the non-organic varieties. While this point is argued more regularly consider this. There are over 200 nutrients present in un-farmed and rich native soil. But the typical fertilizers only contain 3 nutrients, the ones necessary for healthy root, stem and leaf/fruit production in plants (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium or N-P-K). When a food product is grown in over-farmed and chemically fertilized soil, why would there be the same number of nutrients present as food grown in soil fertilized with organic matter?
And the truth is, nutritional content is of vital importance when it comes to fighting toxicity and associated free radical damage!
Foods to Prefer Organic
Eat as much organic meat, poultry and dairy as possible in order to avoid exposure to growth hormones, antibiotics and the effects associated with certain conditions such as overcrowding and feed that is treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
As for produce, it is important that you at least be aware of the types that are more likely to contain significant residues of pesticides, so that you can at least minimize consumption or try to buy organic when selecting these items. The reasons for the higher amounts of pesticides has to do with the type of delivery used, whether it is topically applied or systemic. If it is systemic then the pesticide cannot be washed off or cooked away. These crops are ones to be cautious of:
- Coffee — not exactly a produce here but relevant just the same
- green beans
- leafy greens
- sweet bell peppers
- winter cantaloupes from Mexico,
- winter grapes from Chile
Using organic flour is important because conventional wheat is heavily treated with chemicals, and because the whole grains are a concentrated source of minerals which are depleted from over-farmed, chemically fertilized soils.
So a bit of awareness may go a long way. Washing produce with more than just water (either using soap or a vegetable wash) should remove most pesticides from fruit or vegetables not in the list above. Buying organic meat and dairy products as well as produce on the list above should limit toxic esposures, particularly important in children.
Eat well, live well!
Thanks Vicki Berry for this great post!