Why I Love True Organic Foods - All Organics are not created Equal!
by N J Howell
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Due to regulations that loosened the definition of "organic", it has become a lot harder than it used to be, to tell true organic from organic wanta-be products. I would strongly suggest buying from well-established organic companies with long, unblemished reputations and look on the label for the words "certified organic". These days, in addition, please check labels for Non-GMO foods and support manufacturers who use non-gmo ingredients.
If you do choose to eat organic foods that are kind of new kids on the organic foods block (Walmart brands, for one), write the company and ask about their standards because organic doesn't mean what it used to mean. Should the power brokers in nutrition industry have their way, "organic" won't mean anything at all before long so it's up to the person who is invested in healthy and ethical treatment of animals raised for food, to find and support those companies that do still know the meaning of words like organic, kosher and ethical.
Certified Organic Foods: Worth the Price? The two biggest arguments most people lobby against buying organic is that it usually costs more and it goes to ruin quicker because organic food typically has no preservatives. Organic foods cost more, it's true. Consumers can change that. The cost of organic foods will continue going down as more and more people go organic. I can see a drop in cost just since I began eating organic foods so I know that the more people choose organic, the less it will cost.
Organic foods don't hold up as long as other foods either, because they are not full of preservatives. This makes them less convenient to large families because you can only buy what you need for the short-term, to avoid spoilage. Because they spoil quicker and cost more, a lot of people still opt for non-organic. I understand the money issue. I've dealt with it myself, plenty.
However, once I made the move to mostly organic foods, I enjoyed my foods so much more and felt so much better eating them, that it was worth it. For me, they are definitely worth the price. Like that commercial with Sally Field, about Boniva, where she says she's just got this one life, one body ... it's true for all of us so why fuel the only body we have to run the only life we have with junk?
If you are eating non-organic foods, you may not realize that they typically contain herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals that are harmful. The level of pesticides in food is truly alarming and there are certain foods that have more pesticides than other. One is a fruit most consider healthy and it would be except.....
An apple a day....
More pesticides and chemicals are used on apples than any other fruit except peaches so if you are only able to buy one organic fruit, I'd make it apples. Just remember that organic apples will not keep as long as non-organic so might wanta buy less at a time. I've noticed that gala or other tart apples last longer than the red delicious organic apples....maybe because there is less natural sugar.
If you are eating non-organic meats, you should know they were probably treated with antibiotics, given hormones and / or steriods. The way meats are raised and killed is also a factor so, in addition to seeking out organically grass fed meats, I look for words like "free range" and "humanely handled". Those companies at least recognize that this is an issue and so, I'm assuming, they take steps to be different.
The best of all options would be to actually know the person who grows your veggies and raises your meat. When buying your veggies local, you can ask directly how plants are protected from insects and fertilized. If there are pesticides in food that your farmer grows, you have a right to know which ones are present. When buying your meats local, you can ask to visit the farm and see where the animals are kept is a wonderful way to know for sure that the company you are dealing with is operating within the acceptable organic guidelines or not.
For example, just having the "free range" sticker on the pack of chicken meat does not mean the animals were truly raised in a comfortable free range environment. It might just mean they were not in cages but were still kept in cramped, tiny pens where they could not get adequate exercise.
I'm all for contacting the CEO's of companies and asking for details, if you can't find a local farmer or person who raises cattle or chickens in your area. I raised a big fuss with Shelton farms when I saw their new chicken noodle soup cans because the words "free range" were missing. I was assured that Shelton chickens are still free range even though it didn't say that on the new cans. I also pitched a fit with Campbell's soup, when they changed their "Healthy Select" soups and left off the "no MSG" on the label. Is it still no msg or not?
By calling companies and letting them know that you, as a consumer, definitely notice when they change labeling in a way that might mean a formula has also changed, they get the point. They can't just add and remove important information and not tell people. Maybe I wasn't the only one who called Shelton Farms because now they advertise this new soup that publically, on tv, features the "no msg" plug.
Unfortunately, their cheapest soups (the ones so many moms buy and feed to very young children) does still have msg so the damage continues but I am glad they finally have gotten an msg-free soup. what's msg?
What about USDA Certified Organic?
I recently visited the USDA website for certification requirements to be labeled USDA organic. I wanted to pull my hair out. The information is probably there but finding it may be impossible. From what I've read by those who have more patience than I do, USDA only requires 75% of any product to be organic. If that's true, I definitely don't consider USDA organic to be true organic. If anyone has a direct link to any sort of clear information on the requirements, I'd love to read it.
Here's the website. See what you can find: USDA organic maze.
One thing that did catch my eye in all the pages I waded through was on the prohibited and allowed list. Vaccines are allowed in livestock. In other words, you could be eating vaccine residuals in organic beef or pork. Also, on the list of prohibited products to be used in crop production for organic certification, I don't see glyphosate on that list. What?
Health Care Disclaimer: The information contained in article on organic foods, pesticides in food and whole food organic alternatives to chemically treated foods is not presented as medical advice but as educational information. While eating healthier foods can assist your body in maintaining wellness, please consult with your chosen healthcare professional on matters relating to your health and well-being.