By Rima Mehta
When we think about consuming the freshest and healthiest food possible, it is important to consider two questions. One – what makes organic food natural? And the other – what impact do your shopping choices have on the environment?
In the rush to produce more and more crops to satisfy growing demand producers have had to resort to using a cocktail of pesticides to control disease and insect attack.This is perhaps good news for their bank balances but not so good news for your health; this is why you need to be informed of the advantages of organic food.
Did you know that if you consumed an average apple you would be eating over 30 pesticides, even after you have washed it?
Yes so, what does “Certified Organic” Mean?
The words “organic” and “certified organic” are sometimes used in a misleading manner to attract consumers, however, to assure that you are indeed purchasing organic product, look for a seal on the package from the certifying agency, such as the Organic Crop Improvement Association, or ask the store for the organic certificate for the product. “Certified organic” refers to agricultural products that have been grown and processed according to uniform standards and verified by independent state or private organizations accredited by the USDA. All products sold as “organic” must be certified.
Benefits of eating organic
Prevent Mental health issues
In 2006, the BBC reported that pesticides found in fruits and vegetables, and the decreased nutrients in non-organic produce, can cause mental health issues like depression, and memory problems in children and adults.
Battle Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Many kids are suffering from Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD), a recurrent pattern of behavior characterized by short attention spans, impulsivity and sometimes hyperactivity. The possible food-related ADD risk factors are high-sugar consumption, eating processed foods and additives.
Healthy vs. Non Healthy organic food
Now that we know some of the benefits of organic foods for your children’s diet, it’s also important to remember that not all organic foods are beneficial for them. For instance, are organic Oreo cookies healthy? Certifying something organic is difficult to decipher. Just because something says it’s organic, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Cookies like Oreos are also loaded with unhealthy sugars and poor quality fats. Organic fruit, free of pesticides and chemicals from the farmer’s market would be a better option.
Impact on the Environment
Along with the awareness of wanting to eat healthy foods usually comes a concern for how we treat the environment. As we become more educated about how conventional farming methods destroy top soil and pollute our waters, etc., it is only natural to want to buy food that has been grown by sustainable agricultural methods that avoid the unnecessary pollution caused by chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Another great concern is that of Genetically Modified Organisms. Through scientific intervention to “improve” crops, mankind has potentially messed around with Mother Nature. The long-term damages caused by these biological experiments could be irreversible.
Although organic foods have not been proven to be healthier, proponents claim that they taste better and have more nutrients than conventionally- produced foods. And trust me, once you try some organic produce and taste an apple the way it should be, and perhaps how you recall it tasting in your youth, you will never go back to mass produced fruit again.
Sure there are issues with availability and cost but with a bit of research you should be able to find local stores or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) who stock organic produce. Also, do not forget about your local farmer, I’m sure you will be able to find that one farm shop that supplies to local residents. And when all else fails BYOF (Be your Own Farmer) your children will enjoy eating because they were involved in taking care and growing them.
However, if you are not sure on how begin an organic lifestyle here’s the list to help you get started; begin buying these foods organic and you can slowly incorporate the rest over time without breaking your budget.
8) Sweet bell peppers
13) Collard greens
14) Fatty Meats
Rima Mehta is a nutrition educator, registered yoga trainer and writes about health and nutrition. To contact Rima, call 480. 326.0138, or email her at email@example.com To connect with her online go to http://www.facebook.com/natruallyhealthy