You may have heard in recent years about this new trend of everyone beginning to eat organic. Composing the seemingly more luxurious aisles of the grocery store, many wonder what all the hype is about. Some tend to assume it is the same as conventional products, packaged or showcased in a different way, or another form of “green washing” strategies employed by big corporations that many are becoming more aware of. This, however, is far from the truth.
Organic farmers and food companies have to go through extremely rigorous testing before they can be approved for the certification. Simply not using pesticides is not enough. The land must have not been used for any conventional farming for at least the last three years in order to even be considered. They also are not allowed to contain GMO’s, crops that have had DNA segments of other plants, animals, or microbes inserted into their genetic code. Going organic additionally ensures you will not be exposed to hormones or antibiotics, as well as other toxic chemicals such as harmful drug ractopamine in animal products.(1)
This means you will not be ingesting glyphosate (better known as roundup) in your food, either. Sadly, a common household gardening supply, roundup has been linked to leaky gut, cancer, and even autism (2). As if that alone weren’t enough, choosing organic will avoid synthetic dyes which have been linked to attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity in children(3).
My life has personally been transformed for the better since switching to organic. This is likely because of the fact that, with awareness of what is put into our food, my perceptions of the food I would see in the store and feed to my loved ones has inevitably changed. Life does happen though, and while it is nearly impossible to eat a 100% organic diet in the world we currently live in, I have been in about the 80% range for the last five years. I feel much better than I used to when I didn’t evaluate every product I chose to purchase, have far less issues with acne, digestive complaints, and have better energy overall.
Unfortunately, most people seem blissfully unaware of these truths about our food system or simply just accept it as the way things are, or have to be. However, hiding in these packaged “goods” are the insidious genetically modified ingredients, making up about 80 percent of what is on shelves, if you do your shopping at the supermarket, rather than at the local farmers market or health food store. This number is ever growing, too, with new GMO crops constantly being tested and put up for FDA approval. There are even GMO salmon now, which are likely being sold in your local grocery stores! However, a few good supermarkets, due to public outcry are not selling the frankenfish, such as Costco and Trader Joe’s(4). Here is a wonderful app that you can download to your phone and use to scan the bar codes of foods at the store to see whether it has GMO’s, or if the company supports GMO labeling or not. Finally, this is a s
Things weren’t always this way. In fact, once, all food was organic. Those were the days. This was before and WWII, when all kinds of new chemicals were made available and eventually were used in the big-food industry we know today. This is when companies like General Mills and Kellogg’s and started manufacturing food-like products with longer shelf lives which compose the majority of the American diet consumed today. Sadly, this food is lacking in some of the most important aspects of nourishment such as live enzymes that come naturally packaged in whole foods to help us digest them better. It’s no wonder there are so many digestive complaints and diseases in this day and age.
As people learn more and are waking up to the fact that we are being poisoned by petrochemicals, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, and a seemingly unending list of toxic additives in our food supply, increasing alternatives with integrity are popping up. These businesses are booming for the first time since, well, your great grandparents were unknowingly picking an “organic” apple off the tree in their family orchard– as far as I’m concerned, foods laden with pesticides are the ones that should have to have a special name in front of their name. There is hope though; people are catching on and the tide is finally turning back to the way it once was, and for good reason. It is becoming much more convenient, popular, and affordable to buy organic and I only see this trend gaining more momentum in the years to come.
In fact, I’m recent years, an even more monumental movement has taken place. It goes beyond the somewhat diminishing standards of our USDA to protect food safety in the manner of toxic chemicals— this is called biodynamic farming. Biodynamic farming utilized methods meant to replenish the soil, which is more needed than ever while many say we are running out of good soil due to destruction- based chemical agriculture. Instead of the merely wiping out entire species whether it be bugs or weeds, biodynamic farming works to replenish the soil, plants, and in turn you, by using regenerative methods like crop rotation, companion planting and livestock in order to help fertilize the ground naturally and sustainably. This is one of the best long- term solutions for nearly every problem we face, from pollution, to cancers, chemical poisoning’s, starvation, mass deaths of critical creatures for our environment and food supply like bees and butterflies, as well as GMOs. When we simply support the God- given mechanisms instilled in this earth, we all flourish, from the smallest organism to the largest and most complex including us. This allows us as humans to benefit alongside the organisms that keep us humming along “behind the scenes”. If there is any one aspect of labeling on a food you can look for, this is definitely the certification you want to look for and support.
We must realize that each and every one of us has 100% authority, power and control of how are food is manufactured, processed and treated. We claim this power by actively seeking out the companies that meet our standards, and starving those that don’t of their profits. While we can’t always be perfect, we can always aim towards this with hope. If there has ever been a time to strive to impact our food supply by voting with our hard- earned dollars, it is now. We have the opportunity to do so, three times each day. This literally gives us the chance to reshape our entire food supply and thankfully it rests in all of our hands, with whatever steps we can best take at the time being given our circumstances. This can for instance begin with, purchasing organic products at the market you frequent. Better yet, check out your nearest farmer’s market, locally owned businesses, and even restaurants near you that actually meet the standards for you and your family’s standards. For more on accessing high quality products near you, you can check out this article on the most nourishing foods near you.