I often get into discussions with my friends and co-workers on whether to buy organic or not. They all know that I always buy organic and don't really understand why I'm so persistent about it. The response that I usually get is that it's too expensive or it doesn't really matter in the long run and what's the difference? Well...there is a huge difference and it actually matters way more than you would think. Buying organic affects all different aspects of our lives, not just our pocket book. So, to make it easier to get the gist of why it's so so important, I've compiled a list of the ten most important reasons to buy organic in my opinion. So here goes!
- Your Health: Sure, it's great to eat veggies and fruits, but if you're not eating organic, then I question how healthy it is for you. Today, we're overloaded with toxins, everything from getting a new flat screen to getting your carpets cleaned to what we wash our hair with. Eating non organic fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed with pesticides is only adding to the toxicity in our bodies. Pesticides have been linked to cancer and birth defects. Field workers especially are at risk being chronically exposed to pesticides. Here's a news story of a baby who was born without legs or arms who's mother worked in a field harvesting tomatoes. Of course, working directly with pesticides on a daily basis is more harmful, yet we ingest food on a daily basis that is sprayed with the same toxins. I always try to look for the most positive way to encourage my friends to eat organic, but at the same time evidence like this cannot be ignored. I care about you guys, so I feel I must share this with you even if it's negative if I think it will change your mind to buy organic.
- Save Money in the Long Run: Many times, people I know would buy organic, but say that it's too expensive. I get it, there are some ridiculously expensive organic items, but not when you buy your essential produce that is in season. For instance, I always buy kale, cabbage and lettuce, but steer away from buying more expensive produce like red peppers and asparagus when they're not in season. Buy in season and trust me, you will get more bang for your buck and it really isn't that much more expensive than non organic. When I talk about the long run, what I mean is you may spend a little more now, but you will be saving yourself potential doctors bills in the long run. When you eat clean organic produce, you are in a sense, cleansing your body of toxins and toxins are what cause disease. Here are two books that I highly recommend to learn more about how living a clean organic lifestyle prevents disease and promotes longevity; Never Be Sick Again by Raymond Francis and The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder. I love, love, love these books because they're straight to the point and packed with such useful information!
- Get More Minerals and Nutrients: So we've talked about pesticides and how nasty they are, well here is another case in which pesticides are preventing us from getting the nutrients we need from our produce. Quite plainly, pesticides kill soil. So yes, they kill bugs and weeds, but they also deplete the essential minerals and nutrients that we need from the soil. So while we think we're being so healthy by eating lots of fruits and veggies, if they're not organic, then we are not getting any of the healthy benefits. So what's the point, right? Organic soil is filled with these nutrients that we need because it's not being destroyed, thus we get produce filled with much, much more minerals and nutrients essential for health.
- Avoid GMO's: This to me, may be the most important reason to buy organic. In case you don't know what GMO's are, they are genetically modified food such as corn, soybeans and host of other types of produce. They were introduced in 1996 and genetically engineered to withstand and survive herbicides or toxic chemicals that are sprayed on the crops. Then there are other GMO's that are engineered to kill insects by producing their own toxins. They do this by injecting the DNA of different species into one another in a lab and creating genetically modified seeds. The reasons behind this of course is money, but the environmental and health implications are disastrous. There have been many studies done on rats and mice that indicate organ damage from GMO's. The fact that we have only been eating genetically modified food since 1996, less than 20 years has not allowed us to see the long term damage. Something like 93% of soybeans, 86% of corn and 70% of all processed food contain GMO's. You would never know it though because there are no laws here in the U.S. that you have to label genetically modified food. Personally I would never want to eat a food that has been genetically sliced and diced in a lab, especially one that contains actual pesticides inside the food! I'm not alone because GMO's have been banned or restricted in Japan, Australia and the European Union. Here, in the U.S. though it's completely legal and they even just approved alfalfa sprouts and sugar beets to be genetically modified! The only way to avoid GMO's is to buy organic or grow your own organic food. Scary stuff.
- It's Better for the Planet: So, we talked about pesticides and GMO's, but how does this affect the rest of the planet? Well, long story short is there is no way to contain these toxins. Pesticides get into the water and the soil, killing native plants and poisoning wildlife. GMO's often times pollinate non GMO plants and also pollinate plants in the wild, there is no way to contain them. This is especially scary since we don't know the full implications of GMO's. I highly recommend watching the documentaries Food Inc or The World According to Monsanto for more information on GMO's. Quite plainly, by supporting sprayed crops and GMO's you may unknowingly be poisoning the planet.
- Helps Bees and Pollination: I'm sure most of you have heard that bee colonies have been on the decline and there have been study after study showing that pesticides are the cause. Bees are so important to our survival so to see the colony collapse disorder is truly alarming. We need bees to pollinate our crops and plants. Albert Einstein once said, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." According to an article at Pace Press, one in every bites of food that we eat here in the U.S. is dependent on pollination from bees. So make sure to buy organic honey!
- Helps Lower the Price of Organic Products: If we want organic food to be cheaper then we must buy more of it. It's the simple logic of supply and demand. So let do this! If everyone started buying organic today, then I'm sure the price will go down. Even better, if you have room, grow your own organic garden!
- Support Local Organic Farms: Every time I go to my local health food store, they always have food from local farms labeled. It's great! I love supporting local farms and it seems that new ones are popping up all the time. Also, if you can, check out your local farmers markets for local organic produce. It's usually cheaper too and we all like that!
- Organic Food Tastes Better: Have you ever compared an organic tomato with one that has been sprayed with pesticides? The taste and texture difference is amazing. The organic tomato is juicy and firm while the non organic is pasty and bland. So gross! Also, I've had non organic lettuce that just tastes like it's still covered in chemicals. I can really taste the difference since I've gone strictly organic.
- You will Look and Feel Better: When I started really giving a crap about what I ate, it was amazing how much better I felt and looked. Plus I lost about 5 to 10 pounds that I wasn't even trying to lose. I'm convinced that it was my body ridding itself of all the chemicals that had built up from eating regular conventional food. Plus, I cut out meat and that made a huge difference as well. I don't eat meat now, but if you do, I highly recommend buying organic meat to avoid all the hormones and antibiotics that are pumped into factory farmed meat.
I mainly spoke about organic produce in this post, but buying organic meat is just as important to avoid meat with hormones and antibiotics which lower our immune system and mess with our own hormones. I know this is a lot of information to take in, but hopefully this post will help clarify how important it is to buy organic food.
If this does seem over whelming, just take it one step at a time by switching over to organic slowly. However, if you're inspired, go for it! You'll feel so much better knowing that you're not only helping yourself, but the whole eco system too. Just think of it as an investment :)
For some organic meal ideas, check out my recipe section.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!