sweet summer strawberryFor years I have lectured and written about the benefits of eating organic, but a new study I read about on Discovery News seemed to contradict my philosophy that eating organic is better for you. This study made headlines by stating that eating organic does not provide any additional health benefits to eating conventional foods. I beg to differ.
If you think about it, we are exposed to a host of pesticides and chemicals on a daily basis that we have no control over - from the air that we breathe to the artificial lights we have in our homes and offices. What we do have control over is what we put on our skin and in our mouths. Granted, it is much more expensive to buy organic, and even I can't always afford it. But contrary to what this single, limited study suggests, eating organic provides numerous benefits.
Organic produce and meats, logically speaking, are better for your health. If the vegetables, fruits and meats you're eating have not been exposed to pesticides, then it follows that you're not being exposed to these toxic chemicals either. In a society in which we take pills for just about everything, most people aren't thinking about the trace chemicals they are ingesting; and, if they are, they probably aren't worried about it given the popularity of fast food in our country.
It is ironic that we, as modern consumers, even have to worry about how our food is being grown. Before small farms were wiped out by mass factories, people grew food the old-fashioned way - without the use of chemicals or pesticides. As the demand for more uniform food came, new methods were developed to ensure that crops and animals produced greater yield and less waste. Pesticides, antibiotics and hormones became common practice in an effort to ensure that products had a longer shelf life.
Why would you want to put food in your body that you know has been drenched in chemicals? I understand the relevancy of supply and demand in the use of non-organic farming methods, but in the last 30 years our society obviously demanded too much, becoming one of the most obese nations in the world. In fact, some research suggests that the obesity epidemic could be the result of the types of food we're eating and the chemicals added to it.
Three Reasons to Eat Organic:
- Organic food tastes better. You might notice that organic produce is smaller and may not have as long a shelf life as conventional produce, but most people say organic tastes better. In order to have a long shelf life, conventional produce must be chemically altered or preserved, which affects the way it tastes. Eating organic is not only better for the planet, it will make your taste buds happy too!
- Eating organic creates a more mindful relationship with your food: Many people find when they start eating organic that they think about their food more. They ask themselves questions like, "Where does my food come from? Who produced it? How will eating this effect the health and wellbeing of the planet?" Essentially, eating organic makes you more conscious of the relationship between you, your food, and the rest of the world.
- Keep the antibiotics out of your food: National organic regulations prohibit the use of antibiotics in livestock farming, which keeps the antibiotics you're consuming through your food to a minimum. Many non-organic farmers give their animals antibiotics to protect them from disease, but scientists believe this practice is contributing to new antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" that threaten human health. By choosing organic options, you're protecting the probiotics, or "healthy bacteria," in your gut and keeping your immune system strong.
What are your favorite ways to integrate organic food into your diet? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
Note: This piece article represents the opinions of the author alone, not that of Intent or its sponsors.
Michelle Cowden has been writing and advocating for healthy lifestyle for over six years at her blog www.wholehealthgirl.blogspot.com. As a licensed clinical social worker, she knows all too well the importance of finding healthy balance in life. Michelle believes that in order to live a healthy life, you must embrace the whole person, not just your mind or body. She has facilitated trainings on the effects of food and behavior at conferences and universities nationwide, and balances her work life with spending time with her husband and dog. She enjoys rock climbing, cycling, and yoga, activities that help her cultivate more balance and inner peace.
Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography