Why I Buy Organic Foods
And Why You Should, Too!
Excerpt from "In the Kitchen with Family and Friends" by Karen Lee
The four main reasons why I grow, buy, cook, and eat organic foods are:
Health. Flavor. Health. and… Health.
Health and Pesticides
The first health reason that I eat organic is that USDA certified organic foods aren’t treated with artificial pesticides. Non-organic, conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are covered with pesticides, and most don’t wash off. Studies prove that chemical pollutants from pesticides are in the bloodstreams of some of us. Unfortunately, those pollutants don’t always flush out of our systems. Some of the chemicals found in blood are those that were banned more than 25 years ago!
Organophosphates are the most commonly used pesticides, and have been linked to poisonings, developmental and behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction. This is serious stuff! I personally met a guy who told me that he had once popped a grape into his mouth while shopping at the grocery store. Within 24 hours, he was in the intensive care ward at the hospital, suffering from extreme toxemia from pesticides. Doctors told him he was lucky to be alive. He developed permanent hyper-sensitivity to pesticides and other chemicals from that unfortunate event.
Young children and babies are the most at risk due to exposure from pesticides in food. Pets can also become unhealthy from eating pesticide-laden foods. Just ask Cheepy Cheep how he feels about them! At the end of this commentary is a list of the fruits and vegetables that are grown with the most pesticides.
Organic Moo Cows
Organic milk and other dairy products are easy to find on your grocer’s shelves. It’s a no-brainer that you should buy organic dairy because non-organic cows usually have really unhealthy diets. What they eat goes into their milk, that you drink! Non-organic cows can be given grain and other feed products that are grown with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Some of those chemicals bio-accumulate, which means they are absorbed into the grain, ingested by the cow, transferred to the cow’s milk, packaged in the milk carton, swallowed by the human, and retained in the human’s tissues permanently. The diet of non-organic cows can also include synthetic growth hormones and antibiotics.
Grocery stores don’t always choose conventionally grown fruits and vegetables because of their flavor. They’re usually selected because of their appearance. Aren’t you just a little suspicious of perfect-looking fruit? Some conventional fruit displays almost look plastic to me. Colored oranges offend me the most. A perfectly-shaped, bright red apple that has a long shelf life must be more profitable for the grocery store to sell. Compared to the appearance of an organically grown, smaller, not bright red, gala apple, for instance, the conventional apple may appear more marketable.
I challenge you to a taste test! Buy a conventional ruby-red apple and an organic gala. After you WASH THE CONVENTIONAL APPLE, take a sample bite of each. You’ll be amazed at how much more delicious the organic apple tastes. This difference holds true with most fresh produce and dairy products. I LOVE the richer taste of organic milk, butter, and cream. Yum, yum, yum.
More Personal Health Concerns
Organic foods have not been genetically engineered, or irradiated. The FDA has not issued official concerns about either process which is allowed in conventional food production. Consumer advocacy groups, however, ARE concerned about the following potential health safety issues of eating GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and irradiated foods:
• Creation of new antibiotic-resistant super diseases by transference to humans from an antibiotic resistant gene inserted into most GM crops
• Increase in naturally occurring plant toxins that could happen with combination of artificially altered genes
• Decreased nutritional efficiency through altered DNA
• A new class of chemicals, cyclobutanones, formed when food is irradiated, may cause genetic and cellular damage in humans and animals
None of the above health threats is recognized (yet) by the FDA, but why take the risk? Eat organic and you and your children will be safe!
Organic Farming for a Healthier Environment
The use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers is destructive to our environment. They pollute the air we breathe and the water we drink. The fragile balance of ecosystems is permanently altered when pesticides indiscriminately kill insects, including butterflies, birds, frogs, lizards, and other wildlife. Mining, production, and use of synthetic fertilizers cause algae blooms in waterways, fish kills, and respiratory problems, just to name a few.
What you buy and what you eat not only affects your personal health, but the health of our planet.
Inconvenience of Going Organic
When I stated that I “grow, buy, cook, and eat organic foods,” I didn’t mean to imply that I ONLY eat organic, because that’s, unfortunately, almost impossible given our lifestyle. We eat out at restaurants, have dinner at friends’, and often make unwise shopping choices due to inconvenience or lack of sense. If you eat organically as often as possible, and continue to increase the percentage of your consumption of organic vs. conventional foods you are minimizing your dietary health risks.
News Flash! Eating all of the organic foods you can get your hands on will not make you healthy if you eat too much! Organic sugar is easy to find on the grocery shelves, along with organic cookies, chips, and high-calorie fruit drinks! Just because it’s “organic” doesn’t give you the green light to consume! You can still be organically unhealthy if you’re too chubby!
Cost of Going Organic
Organic products can often be more expensive than conventional foods in the grocery store, but it slays me when people choose not to spend $2 more for a gallon of organic milk, and then spend $10 or more on a bottle of wine! What sense does that make? When considering the cost of going organic, in the sagacious words of my sister Susan,
“How much is your health worth?”
It’s your choice.