Genetically Modified Foods? Pesticides? Chemicals? Food Additives? Artificial Flavourings? Organic? Natural? Local? Free-Range? Grass-Fed? Natural Source? Converting to an Organic lifestyle can seem overwhelming. Our “Beginnner’s Guide to Going Organic” explains the basics and outlines some easy changes you can make that will benefit you, your family, and our Earth.
Step 1: Understanding Why Organic is Better for You and the Earth
Better For You!
-By definition, Certified Organic foods do not contain any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or Genetically-Modified Organisms. Organic livestock are raised without the use of unnecessary hormones or antibiotics, and are given ample room to roam outdoors. Organic foods contain significantly higher levels of nutrients than their non-organic counterparts, and never contain artificial sweeteners, flavours, or colours.
Our bodies are not designed to process the immense amounts of toxins present in our society. It’s alarming to think that at any one time each and every one of us is hosting an average of 100 different chemicals, carcinogens, pesticides, fungicides, and prescription drugs (that we aren’t even taking!). Our bodies don’t know what to do with these toxins, and as such we go into overdrive trying to eliminate them. This puts excess strain on our livers and kidneys, and whatever we can’t get rid of through these organs gets stored in our fat cells, contributing to all kinds of disease and cancers. Eating an organic diet helps to ease the toxic burden on our bodies while providing us with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Better for the Earth!
Organic farming relies on sustainable practices, ensuring healthy soil using age-old methods of crop rotation, natural pest control, natural fertilizer, and biodiversity. This is in stark contrast to factory farming, which relies on chemicals and genetic engineering to grow food. Over-farming and other non-sustainable agriculture depletes soil nutrients, causing a dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals don’t just stay on the crops, but are spread through the air, polluting neighboring farms and communities. They also leach into rivers and lakes, polluting the water supply. This pollution puts the entire food chain, including humans, at incredible risks.
Pesticides and Produce
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The growing consensus among scientists is that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and childhood. Pesticides affect neurological development, reproduction, growth, and the functioning of the immune and endocrine systems. A US National Cancer Institute Survey found that children with leukemia are six times more likely to come from homes where pesticides were used, and the Canadian Cancer Society has stated that the toxins in pesticides can be carcinogenic. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of them whenever possible.
Research done by the Environmental Working Group found that people who consume the “Dirty Dozen” (the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables) consume an average of ten different pesticides each day. There is a common misconception that washing or peeling will eliminate pesticides from fruits and vegetables, but nearly all of the studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group took these factors into consideration. While there is some reduction in pesticides through rinsing and peeling, there is also a significant loss of nutrients and fiber when the peel is eliminated. The best approach is to eat a varied diet, rinse all produce, and buy organic whenever possible.
The “Dirty Dozen” – To reduce the pesticide load in your body, ensure you always choose to buy these organic
Source: www.foodnews.org, www.naturesfare.com