I just read an article that Dr. Mercola posted on his latest newsletter, “Which Organic Label Should You Trust”, and it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to post something about organic foods for a while now. I don’t claim to be an expert on the topic but it definitely deserves attention. Our health is greatly influenced by the foods that we put into our body, it is literally, the fuel that drives us. So what’s the big deal, why are organic foods so much better for us?
Organic implies that the foods are free of chemicals, pesticides, & hormone additives that can be found in other foods. These additives change the chemical constituents of the food itself, deeming them less bioavailable, more toxic to the body and they have been linked to many different diseases, such as cancer and other autoimmune disease.
Obviously, organic foods are a much healthier choice, and just to prove this point, in October 2002 there was a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives where University of Washington researchers compared pesitcide residues in children aged 2 to 5 years old. The children who consumed mostly organic foods over a three-day period had dramatically lower levels of compounds produced by the metabolism of organophosphate insecticides (commonly used on fruits and vegetables) in their urine than children eating a conventional diet. In fact, the children eating a conventional diet averaged almost nine times the amount of pesticides as children eating organic foods!
So, how do you know what you’re getting? Not all Organic foods are created equal, you always have to check the label & read the ingredients!
According to the USDA foods that are labeled as:
- 100% Organic are in fact 100% Organic. They must contain ONLY organically produced ingredients & processing aids.
- Organic foods must be at least 95% organically produced ingredients.
- Made with Organic Ingredients are foods that contain at least 70% organic ingredients
Only foods that contain 95% to 100% organic ingredients can label their products with the USDA Seal, so it’s a good thing to keep in mind! Also, all ingredients that are organic must be labeled as such in the ingredients.
Buying Organic gets expensive, I know, I’m definitely on a tight budget and try to limit my grocey bills the best I can so it’s always good to know when it’s the MOST necessary to buy organic and when you can get away with not.
Here is a quick list I took from Mercola.com of “ok” conventional foods:
- Sweet Pea
- Sweet Corn (but you always have to be careful with GMO’s)
Here are some foods, you should ALWAYS buy Organic:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (imported)
People go organic for a lot of reasons, their health being one of them, but others also consider the environment. Farmers who are certified Organic growers have more environmentally friendly approaches to maintaining their crops, which in addition to keeping our food pesticide and chemical free also keeps these nasty things out of the environment and sustains our world as we know it, pristine and beautiful.
Another thing to consider when buying Organic are Skin Care Products. What we put on our skin is immensely important to the state of our health. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and personally I would have to say that it is more important to consider what we put on our skin than what we put in our mouths. As our diet can be “detoxified” by the work of our wonderful Livers, our skin doesn’t have this advantage. Whatever we put on our skin is inadvertently put right into the blood stream without the advantage of a detox or anything of the sort. It’s no wonder that skin problems are so rampant in our day and age! I would love to claim that simply putting Organic products on your skin would be the right thing to do, but most skin products that are considered organic still contain chemical and synthetic ingredients. My best piece of advice would be to either use natural oils as a moisturizer, (Emu Oil is a great all around skin care product), coconut oil, sesame, olive… whatever suits your fancy or consult the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. It’s a great website where you can look up different products and get a rating on their toxicity, etc, so you can make a more intelligent educated decision about what you inadvertently ingest through your skin!
Till next time; be well, eat well and live well!
Sources: Environmental Health Perspectives, www.ehp.com, Aug 2002, Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database; USDA Organic Regulations; Which Organic Label Should You Trust?, www.mercola.com, Oct 1st, 2009; Whole Foods Market, Sept/Oct 2009