So really, what does going organic truly mean? I have to say before I began my course at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I really had no idea. I guess I thought it was a bit of a phase that everyone was just going through you know? Kind of like the ‘low fat’ phase we had and now we are on to the ‘gluten free’ phase as that’s all you see in shops nowadays. But little did I know that going organic meant so much more, not only with regard to the environment but how it impacts our health.
Ok so let’s delve deeper into my original question then. What does going organic truly mean for the food we eat – plant and animals? Let me break it down for you:
- This means that no harmful synthetic pesticides can be sprayed onto the food we eat. These pesticides also end up contaminating our water supply and our environment
- No synthetic fertilisers can be used in the planting of produce
- No artificial hormones can be given to any animal to speed up the growth rate of that animal
- No harmful trans fats are allowed in any organic food product
- The feed of the animal must be 100% organic with no animal by-products incorporated into it
- The animal must be provided with outdoor access and pasture for livestock
- No ionising radiation can be used
- No GMO (genetically modified organism) feed can be given to any animal or use GMO’s to alter any human food product
And why does all this matter you may ask? Well ultimately because we are what we eat! The food we eat literally becomes us on a cellular level. It affects our skin, hair, nails, blood, tissue and our cells, so what we put into our body literally becomes who we are. In that respect how do you think harmful synthetic pesticides, artificial growth hormones, GMO’s, radiation and trans fats will affect our bodies and how we function? You guessed it, not in a good way at all. It is only going to bring sickness into our lives. Pesticides alone have been linked to blood disorders, birth defects, skin, eye and lung irritation, nerve disorders and the growth of certain cancers. Did you also know that a single lettuce can contain up to 78 different pesticides on it after washing? I know, insane right! And a single apple up to 56. Who knew? I certainly didn’t and until now I’ve been happily eating my supermarket apples (a bargain at ten for two pounds) in total bliss. Not anymore!
After learning so much I am trying to make the switch to going organic myself but as I have come to realise, this comes at a price and most of the time a high price. So I wanted to share a couple of tips with you to help making the switch to organic that little bit easier on the purse strings. So here we go……
The Dirty Dozen
Ok, so the level of pesticide residue you consume differs depending on what fruit or vegetable you eat. Some have higher levels and some lower. As a result, the Environmental Working Group came up with a great way to help shoppers make some healthy switches to organic by identifying the top fourteen highest pesticide containing fruits and vegetables. That way if you eat several of these fruits and vegetables on a regular basis from the list then maybe you could switch these to organic options rather than your entire food shop and it costing you a fortune. Brilliant idea or what! So here is the list friends. As you will notice they tend to be the fruits and vegetables with no protective coating and the ones that you tend to eat the skin.
The Clean Fifteen
Now in opposite to ‘The Dirty Dozen’ welcome to ‘The Clean Fifteen’. As you might have guessed these are the fruit and vegetables that contain the lowest pesticide residue. So to save yourself some more pennies these would be the fruits and veggies that you would be better to buy non-organic on your shopping list. This time round you can see that most have a nice protective coating around them and a skin that we don’t tend to eat.
- Sweet Pea’s
- Honeydew Melon
Join A CSA – Community Supported Agriculture
Now if you live in the United States then this is for you. There is an amazing initiative going on in America which is encouraging the consumer to choose local, seasonal produce from an independent farmer instead of huge commercial chains. So what you do is you go to http://www.localharvest.org and enter your zip code and it will show you the closest farmer to you that is included in the scheme. You pay the farmer five hundred dollars at the beginning of a six month period and every week for the next six months you get a huge basket of local, fresh fruit and veggies delivered to your front door. This works out at roughly just twenty one dollars a week. Absolute bargain! The advantages are that you get to eat ultra fresh food, you know exactly where it came from, you know how it was grown, you get to know your local farmer and you get exposed to eating a range of new vegetables too. Win win as far as I’m concerned. As we learnt earlier, it is so important to know what’s going into our bodies and this way you will know exactly that.
Buy From Farmers Markets
Once again I had never even heard of a farmer’s market before my studies began but now it’s all I hear about. By purchasing your fruit and veg from a local farmer not only increases the freshness of your food, but it means that you are protecting the environment because your food hasn’t had to travel thousands of miles to get to you, burning up the world’s precious fossil fuel resources in the process. And do you know what? Produce that comes from a farmers market tends to be cheaper than in your supermarket. Especially if you buy seasonal and that’s the key. By eating strawberries throughout the summer when they are readily available and squash in the winter times you will save yourself some pennies as these foods will be cheaper at those specific times of the year. Plus you are also keeping in line with the seasons which is exactly how nature intended for us to eat.
Grow Your Own
Ok, so with this one I’m setting you a little challenge. Have you ever thought about growing your own fruit, veg and herbs before? Well maybe this is the time to give it a go for yourself? There is nothing more satisfying than picking beautifully home nurtured vegetables from your garden and then preparing them in a delicious home cooked meal. What could be better? You know exactly where your food has come from and for some reason it takes extra tasty when you have grown it and cooked it yourself. Plus not to mention you will be saving yourself a fortune. Why not give it a try?
As one of our amazing lecturers Andrea Beaman said this week, “We have our priorities all wrong nowadays. We are happy to pay eight hundred dollars for the latest iPhone but not an extra two dollars for an organic apple” ! Surely our health should come first, right?
#Organic #CleanEating #Health #Nutrition #FoodIsMedicine