Why Organic is Best
It is plastered all over the media, film makers are devoting resources to painting a compelling picture of why it is crucial for us to eat organic vegetables, meat and dairy products. Do you think it’s a good idea?
Responses to the question “Why don’t you eat organic?” posted recently on our Facebook Page returned a resounding “It’s too expensive.”
Because eating healthy is counter-culture in America today, “Priority over Perfection” seems much more approachable. For a working family with active kids, eating healthy means more shopping, prepping, and cooking than we’re probably used to. It also requires fighting the seeming constant bombardment of temptations to eat processed and fast food. By adopting a “priority over perfection” attitude, we are saying that any choice we make to eat BETTER than we would otherwise gives us permission to drop the guilt for not eating PERFECTLY. One example being that vegetables, organic or not, are better than no vegetables.
This is how we try to live.
However, after making chicken strips and friend chicken from our whole chicken last night, and doing more research on the connections between meat, sugar, and cancer, we were convinced more than ever that ORGANIC is a priority.
1. Organic tastes better.
Organic vegetables taste better – they have MUCH more an intense flavor. Organic meat is more flavorful, typically has much less fat, and more balance. Consider the adrenaline that fills your body when you are stressed – imagine the stress commercial livestock must be under most of their lives. In the end, would you rather meat raised humanely, happily, more naturally, or meat from animals that are under duress, confined, and treated less humanely? What is it worth?
Save money by buying less of what is more expensive. For example, at our grocery store an organic chicken is around $20 per bird. A “natural” chicken is around $5. After cutting apart about 20 “natural” chickens, I hope to never buy another non-organic chicken again. The meat is much less flavorful, and the bird as a whole is of much, much lesser quality (more fat deposits, off-color, thicker skin). Just as we prefer to spend more on dark chocolate and sharper cheddar, then use less of it, we will do the same with our chicken.
“Taste is definitely an individual matter, but hundreds of gourmet chefs across the nation are choosing organic food to prepare because they believe it has superior taste and quality. ” – Organic.com FAQ
2. Organic is much more eco-friendly.
Small farms use manure – the world is polluted by industrial size management of manure. Fewer chemicals are used and end up in the land of organic farms. Organic farms are much more sustainable, and use much less fossil fuel.
“Total energy use was highest on the farms using high levels of inputs, averaging about 3,780 MJ per hectare per year, while energy use was 50% lower under organic management. According to the team, most of the energy savings came from the non-use of conventional fertilizers on the organic farms.” – Organic-Center.org
3. Organic has Less Pesticide Residue.
Pesticides, by definition, are poison. By eating organic food, we avoid eating pesticides. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
“The routine use of synthetic pesticides is not allowed under organic standards. Currently, over 400 chemicals can be regularly used in conventional farming to kill weeds, insects and other pests that attack crops … Women with breast cancer are five to nine times more likely to have pesticide residues in their blood than those who do not. … Previous studies have shown that those with occupational exposure to pesticides have higher rates of cancer. … In a study of children aged 2 -4 living in Seattle, concentrations of pesticide residues up to six times higher were found in children eating conventionally farmed fruit and vegetables compared with those eating organic food.” – Medical News Today
A great resource is EWG’s 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
4. Organic Saves Us from Added Hormones.
“You’ve probably read plenty of stories about the risks of eating chicken. But the most important protein to buy organic may well be beef. ‘Research suggests a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans, particularly breast cancer,’ says Samuel Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.” – Huffington Post
5. Organic is Antibiotic-Free
Even if our family were antibiotic-seekers when sick, we would not want more antibiotics in our system through food to continue to collectively water down their effectiveness even more.
“In a draft opinion released in April 2008, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) expressed concerns about the growing use of antimicrobial agents in food. Citing the potentially negative impact of these agents on human resistance to bacteria and other microbes, EFSA spokesperson Alun Jones told FoodProductionDaily.com that ‘Antimicrobial resistance cannot be predicted – it comes from the mutation of existing bacteria … so we need to keep an eye on this issue and make sure that all the potential entry points into the food chain for such resistant bacteria are controlled.'” – Organic Trade Association OTA (Their sources cited Food Production Daily / EFSA)
6. Organic is Non-GMO
Genetically Modified produce and livestock have many documented, harmful at best, potentially catastrophic at worst, outcomes.
“A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer. As for environmental impacts, the use of genetic engineering in agriculture will lead to uncontrolled biological pollution, threatening numerous microbial, plant and animal species with extinction, and the potential contamination of all non-genetically engineered life forms with novel and possibly hazardous genetic material.” – Center for Food Safety
They go on to say, “The top 10 seed companies control 57% of the global seed market. Seed industry concentration has resulted from major pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer and Dow buying up half the world’s seed supply.”
It is probably safe to say that genetic modification of our food poses health risks, and is threatening the core of our food supply: seeds.
7. Organic Offers Highest Nutrition
“An independent review of the evidence found that organic crops had significantly higher levels of all 21 nutrients analysed compared with conventional produce including vitamin C (27% more), magnesium (29% more), iron (21% more) and phosphorous (14% more). Organic spinach, lettuce, cabbage and potatoes showed particularly high levels of minerals. Danish researchers have found that organic crops contain 10% to 50% more antioxidants than conventional crops.” – Medical News Today
The article also cites research that attributes fewer allergies, and that it was found that sperm concentration was higher among men eating organically produced food.
What do You Think?
Is it worth spending more for organic?
Top 10 Eco-Friendly Reasons to Buy Organic Meat and Dairy by Care2 Make a Difference
12 Things You Should Definitely Buy Organic by Huffington Post
April 2011 Newsletter “Diversified Organic Systems Cut Energy Use by Up to One-half” by Organic-Center.org
Organic Foods in Relation to Nutrition and Health Key Facts – Medical News Today
Frequently Asked Questions – Organic.com
Antibiotics in Agriculture – Organic Trade Association