By Nicole Smith, Expert Partner
The French and Canadians call it “biologique” or “bio” for short. In the United States we hear the English equivalent word more and more. “Organic.” What does this mean exactly? And why should we care so much whether or not the food and personal care products we buy are organic or not? I think the question shouldn’t be why buy organic, it should be why not buy organic.
10 Reasons to Buy Organic
Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. These are used freely in non-organic food and most have been shown to cause cancer or disrupt the hormone functions in our bodies.
Irradiation. This doesn’t sound good, does it? Food manufacturers don’t want their food to spoil, and they want it to look fresh for as long as possible. So they expose it to radioactive rods. Depending on the food, it is exposed at different levels. These levels are measured by rads – RAD stands for “radiation absorbed dose.” What are some commonly irradiated foods? “Fresh” foods, spices, teas, and dried seasonings, iceberg lettuce, spinach, frozen or refrigerated, uncooked meat, potatoes. Sounds a bit scary to me.
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have actually been present in non-organic food for a long, long time. The problem is, there are no labeling requirements to alert the public to this. “In the two short years between 1997-1999, genetically modified ingredients appeared in 2/3s of all foods processed in the US.1 No special labels are required for foods that are genetically modified.” Organic food is prohibited from having GMOs. Why should we care? Studies have shown that eating genetically modified food can alter your DNA. Since our DNA controls all the functions in our bodies, this can lead to trouble losing weight, tissue damage, and toxicity, among other conditions.
Are you a meat or poultry eater? Do you consume dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk? Non-organic livestock is fed a diet rich with antibiotics, steroids, and genetically modified feed, among other nasty things. Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association stated that “80% of the drugs and antibiotics made in this country are…fed to animals…The only way to keep them alive is to constantly feed them antibiotics.”
Which leads me to the next point: the welfare of the animals. Non-organic raised animals are kept in cramped pens, in their own waste, are cruelly treated, and likely never see the sunlight. Animals raised as organic livestock have access to the outdoors, among other humane treatment.
Maintaining healthy soil. Soil is where we get all of our nutrients! When pesticides and herbicides are used, these leach into the soil, killing the ecosystem there. One teaspoon of organic soil can contain 600 million to 1 billion helpful bacteria from 15,000 species, whereas one teaspoon of chemically treated soil can contain as few as 100.
Respect for the environment. Organic farmers work with the environment, instead of against it. Organic farming preserves our ecosystems and the natural balance of the planet. There is also far less pollution and energy waste.
The food tastes better! Non-organic food and produce have often been so manipulated, they often need to inject chemical flavorings back into the food so it tastes like something! More chemicals!
Our bodies need clean fuel. If you wouldn’t put used, dirty oil in your car or use sewage sludge to brush your teeth, you shouldn’t fill your body with processed, chemically-altered, and genetically modified food. Our food is our medicine, and it can make us sick or make us healthy. The choice is ours.
Lastly, to go along with number 9, organic food provides the body with what it needs, and not what it does not need. If we want a higher level of health, we need a higher quality of food. Your body cannot recognize non-organic food as it does organic food, because the chemicals in non-organic food disrupt the body’s own natural chemicals. This can lead to a host of disease conditions, obesity or trouble losing weight, hormone problems, possibly cancer, and many other symptoms and conditions that you may have never related to your food intake.
I could list numerous other reasons to buy organic, however, there is no reason not to buy organic. Thankfully the awareness of the importance of organic food has grown considerably, and the availability of organic food has flourished. When we think back to the start of this article, and the French word for organic, “biologique,” I feel this is a fitting term. In English, biological, or biology, is defined as “relating to biology or living organisms; the science of life and of living organisms, their structure, function, growth, and living processes.” Organic, or “bio” food promotes and aids these processes. Non-organic food destroys these processes.
When it comes to organic produce, it is easy to tell if something is organic or not. It either will say it on the package, or the small number on the sticker of the fruit or vegetable will start with a large 9, and will be a 5-digit number. If it is a 4-digit number, put it back – it is not organic.
When you are looking at packaged food with multiple ingredients, the USDA affirms that 95% of the ingredients must be organic in order for the package to wear the USDA Organic seal. However, other ingredients can be lurking in organic food, which we will discuss in future articles, so it is always a good idea to read the ingredient label.
In summary, organic food promotes a healthier environment, both now and in the future. Our bodies will thank us to be rid of the sludge of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, additives, GMOs, dyes, colorings, steroids, antibiotics, chemical flavorings, MSG, synthetic ingredients, etc. that are found in non-organic food. The more you switch your diet to organic, the better you are likely to feel, excess weight may fall off, energy may increase, and cells will be less likely to age at a faster rate than normal. It is as easy as choosing one product over another.
1. Genetically Modified Food - What are you eating? Mavis Butcher. 2008-10-04. Taken from reference 33 in the book Skinny Genes – Generate Your Gene Power, Lose the Fat by Nicole T. Smith, L.Ac.
2. Interview: Organic Consumers Association’s Ronnie Cummins tells the truth about organic milk that isn’t. Monday, April 02, 2007 by: Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor. Taken from reference 45 in the book Skinny Genes – Generate Your Gene Power, Lose the Fat by Nicole T. Smith, L.Ac.
3. Elaine R. Ingham, soil scientist, Oregon State University, "Our food, our future," by Donella H. Meadows, in Organic Gardening, September/October 2000.