A few days ago the mainstream media released details of a study by Stanford University, in which findings state that little evidence was found organic foods were more nutritious than conventionally grown foods. Ya don't say?? I honestly never thought there was a significant difference nutrient-wise. And by the way, Stanford doesn't define what they mean by "significantly nutritious" in their study.
Why I Eat Organic Food
Even if organic foods did have a slight benefit of being more nutritious, which isn't really a concern of mine, there are so many compelling reasons to eat organic.
Pesticides damage and destroy soils and the air we breathe, kill the birds and the bees (which by the way, bees are strangely declining... hmmm) and I certainly don't want pesticides in my body. These scientists say that there isn't much risk eating pesticide residue. Sure, if you eat one slice of an apple. What about someone like me who eats several servings (which everyone should be doing but probably doesn't) of fruits and veggies a day? Those different chemicals can build up and may have synergistic effects. It's like someone who uses a lot of chemical-filled beauty products. One might not be a huge risk, but when you use several on a daily basis, the risks increase. I'd rather have peace of mind to know I'm doing myself and the world I live in a big favor and ditch the pesticide-ridden food.
According to a study by The Soil Association, the UK's leading charity that campaigns for humane and sustainable food sources, organic and conventional farming were compared and found organic farms had five times more wild plants, more birds and 160 percent the arthropods (insects) that the birds eat, including three times non-pest butterflies, one to five times as many spider numbers, and one to two times as many spider species. Another benefit, a significant decrease in aphid numbers. (Source: "The Biodiversity Benefits of Organic Farming," The Soil Association, May 2000)
GMO's (Gotta Love Em)
Buying organic is one surefire way we can be sure our food has not been genetically modified. Recent polls show that most Americans would rather avoid eating genetically modified foods. Organic foods threaten any corporation who uses genetically modified food as a product ingredient. Companies such as Cargill, who are tied to this particular study. It pays to find out the source of data before you decide to blindly believe it, which is exactly what they want.
Buying organics also means no antibiotics or growth hormones allowed. If you're into health and nutrition like I am, you probably know that antibiotics given to factory-farmed animals can affect our health negatively. And these animals are not just given these drugs when they are sick; they are used to prevent illness, which is not a sound practice because bacteria develop antibiotic resistance. Did you know that close to 80% of all antibiotics manufactured are given to farm animals that we then slaughter and eat? Over the last several decades there has been a significant incline in diet-related diseases. Does anyone see a problem here? Here is an interesting study of bacteria samples taken from feed lots that were found to have antibiotic resistance. So the next time you get sick, you may want to think about your diet and if it is supporting these little buggers.
Why Organic Costs More
Last but not least.... the complain I hear most from family and friends is that organics are more expensive and that they would buy them but can't afford it. Factory-farmed animals and pesticide covered produce may be cheaper, but that's mostly because it is subsidized by tax dollars to make it more affordable. So of course organics seem expensive. And organic farmers have to go through more steps to prove their food is safe. Seems a bit backwards, doesn't it? Shouldn't we be funding organic farming instead? But it's all about profits for large food companies, and the more they can produce - even if there is enough food we can grow organically it is never enough, because more bulk equals more dollars in their wallets. It's greed, pure and simple.
What Can You Do?
Buy whatever you can organic, especially the dirty dozen produce. Heck, grow some of your own produce. I'm currently container gardening bell peppers and tomatoes on my small apartment patio! If you can't afford buying organic meat, consider cutting back on meat so you can afford quality, not quantity. There are many other healthy sources of protein. Teach your children where food comes from. Let your voice be heard through your legislators.
We are all smart enough and know better than to take a couple of articles at face value. Many articles are one-sided or bias and have a hidden agenda. With the help of the almighty Internet, the knowledge is right at our fingertips.
Interested in more articles on organic foods? Check out Huffington Post "Organic Food vs. Conventional: What the Stanford Study Missed and here is another one on Mother Jones
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