Eating and Growing Organic, Farmer’s Markets, Vegetarian Living, Recipes
Welcome to the wonderful world of organic food.
Why should you eat organic? Is it really better for you than all those other foods you see at the supermarket? In short, I’m not going to dig into science on this. We’ll take it at face value, and then we lovers of organic food will warmly welcome you to the fold when you turn from the dark side.
What Is Organic Food?
Organic food is just a fancy way of saying, natural food. Well, isn’t all food natural? Hmmm — how to put this? I prefer my home run hitters to be like Albert Pujols instead of Barry Bonds, if you get what I’m saying. Both natural athletes, but the buzz around one is that there’s strategic enhancements going on. It’s scary to think that similar stuff is being done to much of our food.
From vegetables to meat, it all starts with the soil. No funk in the soil, no funk in your food. After a well-monitored growing process, you can trust there is no funk ON your food.
Organic crops — Grown without the use of chemical pesticides, artificial fertilizers, food additives, artificial gloss, etc.
Organic Animal Proteins — Animals raised without routine doses of antibiotics and growth hormones. Frequently, these animals are found in free-range environments, feeding on organic feed, grain and good old grass.
Ultimately, no produce may be genetically modified and reach organic certification. In the U.S., all growers, beef, pork and poultry farmers must abide by such standards and meet the certification of a USDA accreditation. Already, it’s easy to see that quality is priority No. 1 on organic farms, as opposed to quantity and the bottom line.
USDA Organic Regulations
Sometimes you really wish the government would stay out of so many things, but the USDA Organic Certified Symbol represents our insurance against road kill that some super-farms and distributors are trying to pass off as “quality.” In an effort to carefully monitor the activities of larger organic brands and farmers, the USDA developed the National Organic Program (NOP), to insure that all organic food is truly organic. The NOP regulates the production of certified organic food in the U.S. It also serves as the IRS to the 56 domestic certifiers in the United States that have USDA accreditation.
Benefits of Organic Food
You may think you get your fruits and veggies clean before you eat them. In truth, there are few ways to rid your fruits and vegetables of chemicals used to “help” them grow.
Sure, some sprays are manufactured and used to prevent insect infestation, or bugs from being all over your someday-to-be food. However, why would you eat something used to kill bugs? Granted, it’s supposed to be non-toxic to humans — so long as it’s in small doses. As Joni Mitchell once sang, “Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and bees, please!”
Considering that it takes something so pure as Alkaline water to effectively remove the chemical residue left on most “sprayed” crops, it really doesn’t make any sense as to why you’d want those same crops in your body. Bottom line, gang, these pesticides that were approved so long ago that they are now to be considered potential cancer agents.
If you’re not worried about ingesting it, then maybe consider the farmers who have to work in it. More organic farms would be beneficial to all parties involved.
The Taste of Organic Foods
When it comes to taste, organic food can’t be touched. It generally enjoys a longer life and the tastes are richer than conventional foods. I’ll admit that statement is solely based on my opinion, but in that same breath I must share that I have known people who were once opponents of eating organic.
Perhaps not opponents, but they didn’t support the movement. They thought it to be a waste of resources. Then one person I know set foot on an organic farm, was treated to a fresh organic meal by the organic farmers (Tuscan Chicken) and subsequently said to himself, “You’re ignorant, man. Educate yourself!”
If you’re skeptical, that’s understandable. Organic food doesn’t come cheap. However, consider an experiment — for one week, do all things as you would, eating conventional groceries and meals. Then switch to a diet rich in organic products for a week, and see if you don’t notice a difference. Seriously, just one week.
Taking It One Step Further With Organic Foods and Healthy Eating
When you make a commitment to “go green” or “go organic,” you’re making more than a commitment; you’re making an investment. While it may not be a financially lucrative investment, you’re investing in quality over quantity. Consider changing a few things about how you shop and think about the ripple you’ll create.
Shop at a farmer’s market and promote local growth. Smaller farmers understand sustainability like no one else. Their livelihood depends on it. If they produce organic products, then they are already a cog in the green wheel that may someday gain unstoppable momentum. And by shopping that way, you’d be doing your part to contribute.
It’s all about investing in your health and realizing that the cheaper, commercial apple might cost a lot more in the long run — both personally and in terms of the environmental impact. It’s about encouraging supermarkets to buy from local farmers and offer more selections that are organic. This way, valuable resources aren’t wasted on old food being imported from other countries and passed off as “fresh.”
Just some organic food for thought.
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