Before I give my two cents about buying organic foods let me explain to you what “organic” really means. Organic means that the product was grown without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers, sewage sludge (that sounds nasty), genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation (organic.org). It also means that organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy do not contain antibiotics or growth hormones. This might make sense to some people but let me break it down a little. Put it this way, pesticide is a chemical used to destroy or prevent insects. It is used in rat poisons, sprays to kill cockroaches, flea’s ticks and any creepy crawlies we have roaming around. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want any of that entering my body. Then there is sewage sludge, which is waste water that is “treated” and “cleaned” for agricultural use. This waste comes from our septic or sewer systems. Although this sludge is a good alternative to chemically synthesized fertilizers and is rich in nutrients ideal for agriculture, I am still not sure if I want to ingest something that was once in my toilet.
So you’re probably already thinking to yourself, Oh geez she is so pro-organic and now she is going to lecture about why you need to choose organic foods. I think that some foods should be bought organic and other foods are a marketing ploy. I’m not going to force you to think one way or the other. I’m trying to educate you on some things you may not understand about organic foods so that you have that the information to choose to eat organic or not. Here are some answers to some of the questions you may have about organic foods:
1. Will eating organic food help you lose weight?
I get this question all the time. No, there is no clear cut evidence that organic foods will make you lose weight any more than conventional foods. Even though they have the same caloric value there are benefits to eating organic that COULD help with weight loss. Think of your body as a car. If your car requires premium then you’re not going to fill it with regular gas. Even though regular gas is cheaper, if you put the wrong fuel in your car then eventually your car won’t run the way it is supposed to run. Our bodies were made to eat whole, natural foods. When we feed it synthetic, processed foods our bodies see it as a threat, a foreign food. Therefore it doesn’t work the way it is created to. When you fuel your body with clean “premium” food it will function the way it’s supposed to. Research shows eating processed foods with additives increases your appetite so you are not fully satisfied, hence causing you to eat more. It also effects digestion and the way you metabolize food. So will eating organic vs. conventional food make you lose weight? There are too many factors for researchers to confirm that, but it sure doesn’t hurt! After all a cookie is a cookie, organic or not. Which brings be to my next question..
2. What foods are worth buying organic?
When buying organic became popular, food companies jumped on the organic wagon and made all their products with “natural ingredients”. Cookies, cakes, candies were marketed as “organic.” It was a marketing tactic to convince consumers that because it was “organic” it was healthier. Well here’s the blunt truth. A cookie is a cookie organic or not. Just because it says organic doesn’t mean it has less calories, less sugar or less fat. So don’t waste your money on buying organic desserts, candies or any type of junk food for that matter. Here is a list of the foods that are worth buying organic because they have the highest amount of chemical residue:
– Meats-beef, pork
– Dairy-Eggs, milks, yogurts
– Produce- fruits and veggies (ones that have thin or no skin, usually referred to as the Dirty Dozen: peaches, bell peppers, celery, oranges, cherries, grapes, spinach, lettuce, apples, potatoes, strawberries)
So save your money and buy organic when it really matters. Bringing me to my next question:
3. Why is organic so gosh darn expensive?
Simple: no chemicals, no sludge, no synthetics=more labor. Why do you think they use chemicals and antibiotics in conventional food? Because the supply has to meet the high demands of consumers. Conventional foods are produced faster, more efficiently and with reduced cost due to large quantity production. The added chemicals speeds up the growing process and makes sure none of the crops are lost from unwanted creatures (which is why they spray crap on the crops). The sewage sludge and chemical fertilizers used in conventional foods are much cheaper. Basically we pay the extra cost because organic farmers put a lot more time, effort and focus on quality not quantity of their products.
The benefits of choosing organic have been very controversial and I think there is no right or wrong answer. I guess you just have to make the decision on your own based on what’s best for you. I could go on and on about this subject but I will end it with one question: Would you take a can of bug spray and use it as a dressing on your salad?