Organic seems to be a word that is becoming increasingly more common. We see it in the shops, in magazines & on the television. More & more people & organisations are encouraging us to buy more organic produce so what is it all about & why is it so good for you?
What does organic mean?
We use the term organic & usually we immediately think of organic fruit & vegetables. However the term organic applies to a whole host of goods including meat, coffee, skincare & even clothing!
The main reason people move to organic is because they believe they are cutting out all the pesticides, chemicals & toxins as they believe that there are none inorganic products. This is in fact incorrect! There is a list of approved products which organic farmers can use which includes certain approved pesticides & chemicals.
However, by opting for organic, you are significantly reducing your exposure to pesticides & chemicals & you are eliminating your exposure to anything that has been genetically modified. This has significant health benefits – especially for children & also pregnant women.
Look for the Australian Organic bud label on your produce. By buying items with this label, you ensure that the item is certified organic. This means that farmers have followed certain standards & kept the correct documentation. It is not an easy process to get certification & to maintain it, the farm is put through a vigorous audit every 3 years.
Why should I choose organic?
By choosing organic, you are reducing your exposure to toxins, pesticides & chemicals & totally avoiding genetically modified products. This is all great for your health & your family’s health too.
Organic meat comes from animals that have been allowed to roam & that are treated humanely. They are not given hormones & unnecessary medical substances such as antibiotics & instead are treated well & lead a much happier life. This is why organic meat is such high quality meat.
By opting for organic, you are also helping the environment because not only is the exposure to chemicals reduced, the health of the soil is also improved as a result. This in turn ensures that the plants are more healthy.
Organic farms tend to be smaller & they do not benefit from lower costs associated with large scale production. Therefore they have higher overheads. In addition, it is costly to maintain the standards & records required to be certified organic & this cost has to be borne by the producer. By buying organic products, you are helping ensure the future of the farm & investing in the future of Australia’s agriculture.
Finally there is taste! I find that organic produce tastes much better than the non-organic options & it tends to be fresher too.
Everything that is organic is good for you – right?
Wrong! Just because it is labelled as organic, it is not automatically good for you. Yes it will not be full of toxins & chemicals but an organic processed food is still a processed food. It could still be high in sugar & unhealthy fats etc. You still have to look at the contents or, even better, opt for a non processed alternative.
There is also still a question mark as to the nutritional content of organic food compared to non-organic. Reports are not conclusive as to whether organic food is higher in nutritional value compared with non-organic produce. However you can be satisfied that there will be less chemicals in the organic option so that will have health benefits for the consumer.
The Dirty Dozen
It is better to buy some foods that are organic compared to others. There is a list of fruit & vegetables published annually that is called “The Dirty Dozen”. The list contains the fruit & vegetables that you should always buy organic if you can because these are most heavily laden with pesticides & chemicals. These are apples, blueberries, capsicums, celery, cucumber, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, strawberries & spinach.
With fruit & vegetables where you don’t eat the skin (such as melon & avocados), it is less critical to buy organic as you are only eating the fleshy centre. The toxins & chemicals will be mostly on the outer skin which is discarded. The fruit & vegetables that have fewer toxins are asparagus, avocado, cabbage, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwifruit, mango, mushroom, onion, peas, pineapple, rockmelon, sweetcorn, sweet potato & watermelon.
Organic produce has a lot of benefits for the consumer & the environment. The costs do tend to be higher but as more people opt for organic produce so the prices should start to come down. Buying your organic produce from the farmers markets tends to be a cheaper option. Also look for organic co-operatives in your area as you can make big savings there.
If you do decide to go organic then take your time & do it slowly or it could be overwhelming. Still read the label & look out for the bud symbol to ensure certification. Also remember to feel positive about the change as you are doing your bit for the environment & the future of Australia!S
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Courtesy of Caroline Harridence
Caroline is a health coach & personal trainer who is passionate about creating healthy homes & helping families lead happy & healthy lives. She runs a successful health coaching business as well as hosting events & classes on health related topics. She also writes for a number of organisations & blogs, & is soon to release an online program for families to help them move to a more healthy, toxin free lifestyle.
Caroline is very passionate about the elimination of chemicals around the home. She is a qualified biochemist so has a thorough understanding of the impact these chemicals can have on our health. She can offer families advice on what to look out for & what alternatives there are. She can even show you how to make your own products to help families reduce their exposure to toxins.
Caroline is originally from Scotland but now lives in sunny Brisbane. She is a busy mother of young children & leads a very active life. She loves to cook, read & is a keen runner. She also enjoys meditation & has recently developed a love of yoga.