The popularity of organically grown meat and produce is growing each year. Organic food is often fresher. It tastes better. It’s better for the environment. So maybe it’s time you looked at the facts and considered the healthier alternative.
Organic produce is grown using no synthetic pesticides and with only natural fertilizers. Weeds and insects are also controlled naturally. Organic meats, dairy products and eggs are produced from animals fed organic feed and allowed access to the outdoors. They also are not given antibiotics, hormones or medications except in the case of illness.
Some crops are more prone to pesticide contamination, and they’re the best place to start when introducing organic foods into your family’s diet:
- Bell Peppers
- Grapes (imported)
Avoiding pesticides reduces health risks. Rinsing reduces but doesn’t eliminate pesticides. Peeling them helps, but you lose valuable nutrients, so the best way to protect your family is to buy these fruits and vegetables that are organically grown. However, it’s important to watch out for false claims. Companies often use play on words to trick the consumer into thinking they’re buying organic or all natural, when in fact, it’s the opposite.
According to an article from MayoClinic, “Products that are completely organic — such as fruits, vegetables, eggs or other single-ingredient foods — are labeled 100 percent organic and can carry the USDA seal.” Although they mention, “Products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients may say “made with organic ingredients” on the label, but may not use the seal.” Therefore, it is important to be knowledgeable about the different labels used and what you’re buying is actually organic.
Organic foods also offer other advantages: they’re usually fresher because they don’t contain preservatives and often come from small, local farms. And it’s better for the environment since the natural methods result in fewer chemicals polluting our soil and water.
Organic foods can cost more because they’re more labor-intensive to grow, getting certified is expensive, and organic farms are often too small to receive government subsidies. But there are a few steps you can take to make organics more affordable:
- Venture beyond the grocery store: shop at farmers’ markets, join a food co-op or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, in which individuals and families join up to purchase “shares” of produce in bulk, directly from a local farm.
- Grow your own
- Shop online.
- Buy in season
Fewer chemicals, hormones and antibiotics in organic foods make them healthier. But what matters even more to you and your family is that organic food tastes better! Just educate yourself and shop wisely and you’ll be able to add healthy, delicious organics to your dinner table.
Photo by Richard Smith