10 Sep Everything You Need to Know About Eating Organic

vegetablesWhy should you eat organic?

Big question.  Even bigger answer.

I’m not writing this to try to convince you to eat organic. It’s all a choice.  It’s your choice.

I am attempting to educate you on the simple reasons that eating organic makes good sense for your long term health.

First, how much is your health worth?  Really think about this.  What is more important that your health?  Nothing.

How valuable is your health to your family?  Your kids, your loved ones.  How much is their health worth?  There’s no price tag on that, it’s invaluable.  I’ve got a family and I’ve got kids.  My health is critically important to them and their health is of the utmost importance to me.

Cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and the ever rising incidence of the overweight and obese population (now estimated at almost 70% in the U.S.).

With the rise of all of these devastating diseases, a major contributor is the way we eat in today’s busy, fast paced world.

In today’s world, foods are made much differently than they were just 50 years ago. Foods are much more processed than ever before.  This article is not about processed foods though.  It’s about whole foods that undergo some sort of chemically processed treatment in the “fast to market strategy.”

Hopefully, you’re already making the change towards more whole foods and away from sugary, salty, and starchy processed foods.  Here’s a simple tip for you, shop in the grocery store periphery (where the whole foods are) and avoid the isles (where the processed foods are).

The main health reason to go ‘organic’ is to eliminate the toxic contaminants (pesticides, industrial chemicals, fertilizers, heavy metals, and possible radioactive materials). Would you want to eat and digest any of this?  In today’s world, unfortunately, these materials are more prevalent than ever before!

I’ve heard people say:

Well, my grandparents didn’t eat organic and they’re fine, so why should I pay extra for organic food? I think it’s fine and it’s just too expensive to eat all that organic stuff anyway.”

The fact is, when our grandparents were younger, foods were not chemically processed as they are today.  We are living in a technological and industrial revolution where foods are manufactured at a much faster rate in an attempt to lower costs.

Are you concerned about pesticide exposure, fertilizers, and other chemicals in your food?  If your health is important to you, you should be.  Yes, organic food is a bit more expensive, but I ask you again, what is the value of your health?  Every single piece of food you put in your mouth has an effect, positive or negative.  The cumulative exposure to such contaminants can wreak havoc on your body over time and the chronic exposure that your cells experience can pay heavy price, when you think of the major diseases I already mentioned.

We are what eat.

Every day and at every meal, we each have the power to decide what is best to put in our bodies.  It’s our choice.

That’s the reality and the power we each have within us.

Organic or locally grown fruits and vegetables are great, not only for sparing us the toxic chemicals, but also may potentially have more nutrient dense vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Locally grown is a fantastic option because they are not sprayed with the heavy pesticides and other chemicals to maintain their ‘ripeness.’

So, not only are the organic foods safer, but they may be more power packed with the nutrients we need.  As a matter of fact, it has been estimated that organic fruit may contain up to 10 times more in micronutrient concentration than traditional fruit.

As a matter of fact,  locally grown fruit and vegetables may be your best choice.

Why?

Locally grown fruit or vegetables don’t have to undergo the shipment process to maintain the health of the commodity.  So, if an organic fruit is coming from another country (as an example), compare that to getting your fruit from the local farmer’s market, where it’s picked fresh and your local market doesn’t use the same toxic growing methods as the larger commercial companies do.  So, local conventional may actually be a better option than organic in some cases, keep that in mind.

What are some of the best fruits and vegetables?  Here’s a list of some of the best with high amounts of antioxidants:

  • Avocado, Broccoli, Kale, Carrots, Spinach, Brussels sprouts, Garlic, Cauliflower, Red Bell Pepper, Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries), Apples, Kiwis, Cherries, and Pomegranates

Now, what about meats?  This information is very important for your health.  I’ll keep this streamlined for you, as best I can.

And, I’m not getting into the ‘vegan debate’ here.  That’s an individual choice. Personally, I eat meat.  If you choose not to, then I totally respect that, but it’s a very individual thing.

Now, assuming you are a meat eater, eating the right animal foods is a healthy and nutritious part of our eating habits and has been for many years.  What are the right meats?  Meats that are organic, hormone free, antibiotic free, free range, grass fed or otherwise humanely raised and chemically free.

There is a massive difference between a “processed” meat, such as a hog dog, bacon, processed lunch meats, sausage, etc, versus organic grass fed lean red meat or chicken. There are many potential harmful chemical and toxic agents in these meats, as well as a significant reduction in the nutritional value.

It’s the same as the fruit and vegetable situation mentioned above, more harmful and less nutritious.

Pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.  The 3 big things we want to avoid in our meats!

The scary fact is that when we buy conventional meat (red meat, chicken, or other), we are very likely getting malnourished, heavily chemically treated, and possibly even diseased meat.  That doesn’t sound very appetizing does it?  There are many books that have rather radical view points on eating meat, which could make you really think about going vegan.  As I said, I’m not here to get into that debate, but you should know what you are getting and what you are putting into your body.

It’s all about avoiding the poor quality of conventional meat in today’s world, so that you maximize your nutrition and minimize potential health risks.  For those reasons, certified organic meat is your best option, as much as possible.

If organic meat is not possible (and I know this is a challenge at times, depending on your local market), then hormone free and antibiotic free meats are your better options. Also, look for “100% grass fedbeef and for “free rangechicken on the label.  For a great resource for healthy, grass fed meats and information, see Eat Wild. Grass fed beef is better than grain fed beef because it’s leaner and has a more favorable ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s (we want a higher portion of omega 3’s to omega 6’s for health benefits).

Again, the quality of meat is significantly better with “grass fed” beef.  Even if a product is advertised as “organic,” it does not mean “grass fed” unless it states it.  Organic beef could still be organic that is fed grain diets, this is not what you want.  Why is that?  Grain fed beef is higher in fat and doesn’t have the proper balance of omega 3’s.

Most diets have an inappropriate amount of omega 6 to omega 3 ratio (being higher in omega 6 and lower in omega 3, this is not what you want).  This makes a big difference for your total health, as the omega 3’s are the healthy, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, while the omega 6’s actually promote inflammation.

Again, organic grass fed meats have the higher omega 3’s and are more nutrition dense, as compared to the average commercial meat where toxins are abundant.  The key word with the meats is “lean.” Lean meats are healthier meats.  The extra fat in beef is usually where more toxic materials are, so the leaner, the better.

To recap, your number one choice for meats, if you can, is certified grass fed organic meat.  And, for chicken, you want free range organic as your top choice.  You do not want conventional chicken, where the living conditions are horrific, to say the least.

And finally, a few words on dairy.

If you have no issues with dairy sensitivity (lactose intolerance or casein sensitivity), good options are raw dairy or organic (hormone and antibiotic free) dairy. Remember, commercial dairy products have a prevalence of hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics, just as the conventional meats do.

It’s worth mentioning the homogenization and pasteurization process that milk undergoes.  I’ve heard this presented before, so it’s important to mention.  As milk goes through this process to remove bacteria, it also removes beneficial bacteria, vitamins, and enzymes.  What’s the solution?  I’ve found a great alternative to dairy milk, that’s a non dairy product, with an abundance of health benefits.  That alternative is coconut milk.  You can see my previous article on the health benefits of coconut milk.

Cheese is the same.  Make sure it’s pesticide, antibiotic, and hormone free, if you decide to eat cheese in your diet.

Note:  rBGH is recombinant bovine growth hormone used in cows to increase their milk production.  I seriously don’t think you want to ingest that, do you?

Eggs are also very much worth the extra money to eat organic.  As with other things mentioned, organic eggs are more nutrition dense, have less toxins, and contain significantly more omega 3’s (up to 20 times the content) than traditional eggs do.  And don’t forget, the yolk is actually the most nutritious part of the egg, containing the bulk of the micronutrients.  For a short review on eggs, here’s what you need to know about eggs.

For you, for your family, for your total heath, it’s important to know why you should be eating organic.  While this is just a top level overview on the benefits of eating organic, it should really clear up the reasons for you why you should ‘eat clean.’

Ask yourself, what will it cost me to NOT eat this way?  If you answer honestly, you won’t like the answer.

Is it a little more expensive?  Yes, it is.  I’ll ask you again, what is your health worth? Book after book that I have read states the same thing.  And that is eating hormone, pesticide, and antibiotic free food is critical for your health and for the prevention of many serious, life threatening diseases.

Going organic is not just some fad.  Eating healthy is no trendy fad, it’s a lifestyle choice.  Every meal is your decision.  The simple reasons are that it’s less harmful and more nutritious than conventional eating, in today’s world.

Whatever decisions you make, get in the habit of making the best choices for your long term health.  At a minimum, try to limit the cumulative exposure to the toxic contaminants in conventional foods.

Have some thoughts on this?  Let me know.  This is an important article. Please share it!

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