What does “organic” really mean?
Yesterday I had a patient ask me “How do I know that what I’m buying from the grocery store is really organic? How do I know they didn’t just take the xxx and put the Organic label on it?” Do you struggle with that question? Or maybe your question is “What does organic really mean?” or “Is it really worth the money?” Oh honey, I’m about to share it all with you! After all, isn’t that why you’re here?
My husband gives Health Talks quite frequently and I often hear him say, “My wife always says ‘You can spend the money now, or you can spend the money later’.” Haha! That’s funny to me, because as you raise children you hear them quote you on different things as they grow up, and I realize the things I say “stick” to my dear hubby too. Which is so fun! So, straight out of my mouth… or fingertips I suppose 🙂 You can spend the money now, or you can spend the money later.
What do I mean by that?
What I mean is, non-organic food will make you sick. If you don’t experience the effects now, you will in the future. So… you can spend a little more switching to organic food for your family now, or you will spend much much more in the future. If you don’t start eating organic foods now, you will be spending more money for your medical bills to repair the damage that’s been done, not to mention, time wasted at doctors’ visits, in pain, and missing out on life with your kiddos, spouse, grand-babies, etc.
Not all organic is more expensive.
Some organic food can be more expensive, yes. The reason? Well, there may be several. One reason is that our government subsidizes non-organic food. What does that mean? Our government gives non-organic farmers money to grow GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), chemical ridden, and inhumanely raised foods. This subsidy is intended to help the farmers with the costs of producing. But this subsidizing is not given to organic farmers. What?!? For real! GMOs, chemicals and sick animals are not good for you or your family to consume, and in my opinion should not be produced at all.
Organic farmers spend more money to produce food without being genetically modified, without chemicals, without antibiotics, without added hormones, and humanely raised. Our government is not helping them out. So, it costs an organic farmer more to produce organic food. Essentially, they’re being penalized for growing healthy food. And because it costs them more to grow it, it costs us a bit more for us to buy it. 100 years ago there wasn’t a difference between organic and non-organic.
Want to lower the cost of buying organic?
To cut the cost of buying organic, grow your own, (you can grow your own in a pot on an apartment balcony, if space is limited) raise some chickens (and a goat or cow, if you can) or buy from local organic farmers; directly or via farmers markets. Support local! When buying local, you’re not paying the middle man (your grocery store) for the markup. And you can get to know who’s growing your food!
But wait! What does organic really mean?
Organic is food that does not contain artificial colors and additives, and are free from GMOs, antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, etc. Organic farming practices also include being better for our planet, including better soil and water conditions, and provides a more humane life for the animals we consume. Have you seen non-organic farmers in hazmat suits spraying food with chemicals? Have you seen the horrific conditions that animal’s live in when they’re mass produced? It’s really quite disgusting!
Let’s talk about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).
First of all… Does “Genetically Modified” sound like something you want to feed your babies? Dictionary.com states “genetically modified organism: an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering” (oh good! A scientist in a lab designed your food…) and good ol’ Wikipedia states “GMOs can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.” WHOA! Did you get that? For example, that means they’re splicing DNA from fish into your tomatoes. YUCK!
So, let me ask you this question. If we’re living beings with DNA, and we put food into our body with altered DNA, meaning DNA that was not how God sent it to us to nourish and heal our bodies, what do you think happens? The answer my friend is this… it alters our DNA too. In our clinic we see many allergies and other symptoms that are caused by this association. In a nutshell, we eat a food that’s been genetically altered or laden with chemicals, and our body then thinks that food is the modified organism or chemical and rejects it. Viola! Now our body doesn’t like the food that was intended to be healthy and heal us.
All of this information takes my brain to so much more, but we’ll stay on topic, or at least try to… we’ll get into that another day. 😉 The worst part is our politicians spend millions of dollars every year lobbying to not label GMOs in your food, while other countries have completely banned GMOs. Our country is fighting to keep GMOs a secret from you. But people are getting smart.
A brief note about chemicals used with non-organic food.
Let’s talk about just strawberries for a minute. According to EWG, (ewg.org) you can be exposed to dozens of chemicals eating just non-organic strawberries, which are a favorite fruit for most. Chemicals such as: Carbendazim which is a hormone-disrupting fungicide that’s banned in the European Union. Bifenthrin is an insecticide that’s a possible human carcinogen and Malathion which is a nervous system toxin.
Some strawberry growers use up to 60 different pesticides on their fields. Eeek! So every time you slice up some yummy strawberries for your kiddos for their healthy snack, if they’re not organic, you’re dishing up a slew of chemicals also. All non-organic food contains large amounts of chemicals.
Now let’s talk about antibiotics and added hormones.
In non-organic animals, farmers give the animal hormones, specifically estrogen, and feed that is designed to increase their size quickly, to fatten them up. (Estrogen fattens humans just like it does cows) We’re talking mass production here. An organic animal grows at the rate that their DNA has been designed to grow. And when you give an animal additional hormones and food that they’re not supposed to be eating, for instance; cows eating corn feed. (Cows are supposed to be grass-fed. So the next time you eat out, ask if the beef is grass-fed, and if not, don’t eat it!) They get sick because that corn is sitting in their bellies and not digesting, thus creating infection and needing antibiotics. Do you get the cycle?
I actually watched a documentary on non-organic cows and watched them cut a hole in the cow’s stomach (while the cow stood there eating more corn!) and scooped the undigested, infected corn out. For real! And as an added bonus, you eat antibiotics and added hormones in your meat. What do you think that’s doing to you, to your children? I’ll tell you two things that are definitely happening here: 1. antibiotic resistance – antibiotics won’t work when you need them to, and 2. messed up hormones. We have boys growing breast buds (estrogen) like teenage girls, and many humans with out of whack hormones. And that’s just naming two. Oh, and by the way, the FDA estimates that the US uses 29 million pounds of antibiotics in its livestock per year.
So how do you know it’s really organic when you’re buying organic at the grocery store?
Well… I could take up a whole lot more time on this, but in a short answer: If you grow your own food and/or you know your local farmers, then you can trust your food is organic. Know where your food is coming from. If you can’t grow your own or buy local, talk to your organic buyer at your grocery store and ask them. Let them know you’re concerned and that you care about your food. Also, you’ll know if it’s organic because it won’t last a long time, the flavors won’t always be the same, and your potatoes will sprout. 🙂
Are organic foods really healthier for you?
You mean besides not being genetically modified, not having food additives and colors, not having chemicals, hormones and antibiotics? Yes! Organic fruits and vegetables have 40% more antioxidants and have MUCH higher levels of healthy vitamins and minerals, like iron and zinc. Organic beef remains a healthy omega 3, vs non-organic beef’s DNA has changed to a less healthy omega 6. That’s a full topic for another day. But yes, organic food is definitely healthier for you. Farmers, GMO producers and chemical companies spend millions of dollars every year to convince people that there’s not a difference between food and organic food. Don’t believe their millions in marketing dollars!
So for me and my family, organic is our way of life. And I hope it is yours now too!
Each one of us has the power to make organic more readily available and more affordable. I’m a true believer that we vote with our checkbook. Is that even a real thing anymore? 🙂 What we spend our money on speaks loud and clear. If we stop spending our hard-earned money on pseudo chemical foods and start spending it on nutritious organic foods that keep us healthy, farmers will bring it to us. The old adage, “if you build it, they will come” holds true here. If you buy organic, they’ll keep selling it to you.
When you eat real food, as God intended it to be, living and nutritious, our bodies will thrive. We are living beings and we need real living food. If you need to ease into it, I urge you to switch 1-3 items on your shopping list each week. It’s ok to go slow. If it takes you two years to accomplish 100% organic, that’s ok. Just take the step! Are you ready to take the challenge?
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