Eating Organic – Part 2 of 2 Part series

Eating Organic Part II

In Part I, I sought to investigate the true benefits of organically grown and produced food.

First, I wanted to know if it’s better for you. Second, is it worth the extra cash? Personally, I see the benefits far outweighing the costs and am now actively trying to purchase the produce included in the Dirty Dozen list from an organic farm. How about you? What conclusions, if any did you come to regarding this hotly debated issue?

Still need more information? No problem! I wanted to keep the conversation going so I continued to engage my friends, colleagues, clients and anyone who would listen. Generally, the majority of those I chatted with shared my feelings about organic food, that it is less harmful for your body and the environment to eat organic.

We agreed that having the two lists, the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15, to draw from was helpful when choosing what to spend our hard earned cash on. There were some who disagreed wholeheartedly, saying that growing produce organically is unnecessary and the price is only jacked up to continue this elitist stigma that has surrounded the organic movement.

Earlier this month, , New York Times Opinion columnist, Times magazine food columnist, author of Food Matters, and guest lecturer at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (where I studied), wrote a piece for the Times Opinion section. His column expressed his disdain for what he describes as a flawed study. I’ve included the link to his column because I really think it’s worth a read, especially if the recent Stanford study turned you away from purchasing organic food.

Now, onto Part II!

Whether we believe that organic produce is worth the extra money or not, I think we can all agree that eating fresh produce is a good thing. Everyone could certainly use more greens in their daily diet. Even other healthy whole foods like grains, nuts and dairy products can be purchased organic, and since those foods also have potential to be contaminated by pesticides or hormones, buying them from the organic section certainly can’t hurt. But what about packaged organic foods, like cereal, cookies, jellybeans, and potato chips? What’s wrong with these organic choices? Are they healthier? In a word: no.

Surveys have shown that people perceive organic foods, no matter what they are, to be healthier than their conventional counterparts. Unfortunately, due to the idea that eating organic is trendy and chic, seeing an organic label on a food product automatically means it’s healthy. Organic means the food is farmed in a different way, not that it somehow removes all the sugar, butter or wheat from those organic chocolate chip cookies; the nutrition profile is essentially the same as the Chips Ahoy! across the aisle. Organic junk foods are still highly processed, which, ironically, goes against the eco-friendly philosophy of leaving a minimal carbon footprint that organic farming is based in.

So I say if you’re going to spend money on organics, make it count. Choose whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and grains. These foods are rich in nutrients, low in sugar, calories and saturated fat, and contain no harmful chemicals or hormones. I don’t know about you, but I like my salad with a side of dressing, not a side of synthetic pesticides.

Article written by:

Ashleigh Gurtler, Holistic Heath Counselor, FitEngine health advisor and reporter


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