I created a list of some Q&A’s that that I found to be useful, before making my decision about whether or not to buy organic products whenever I possibly can…
Q: What is organic food?
A: Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without using pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), or ionizing radiation. Organic meat and dairy products do not have any antibiotics or growth hormones. Fertilizer and pesticides pollute groundwater, which can cause diseases and are extremely harmful to our wildlife. In addition, certain types of cancer may result from exposure to polluted water.
Q: How is organic food grown?
A: Organic agriculture, which is governed by strict government standards, requires that products bearing the organic label are produced without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, sewage sludge. In addition, organic foods are exposed to things like insects which prompts them to form protective compounds and as a result these compounds make the organic foods healthier.
Q: Is organic food more expensive?
A: Yes, most times, buying organic can be significantly more expensive than non-organic. However, one thing that most of us can do to save money is to buy less processed or pre-packaged foods, meat and dairy, and instead buy more fresh organic produce. My goal is to move towards an 80-90% fresh fruit and vegetable diet and reduce the amount of pre-packaged foods and my meat and dairy intake, while eliminating processed foods all together. Meat, dairy, processed, and packaged foods are all very expensive. Therefore, reducing these items is not only more healthy but saves money. And, an important thing to note is, serious illness, like cancer, are much more expensive and difficult to deal with (I know this first hand) than switching to eating organic and living a healthier lifestyle to support a healthy immune system. And, a healthy immune system is designed to fight illness.
Q: Are there studies that prove Organic is actually better than non-organic food?
A: Studies have shown that organic dairy and meat contain more omega-3 fatty acids because they feed on grasses rich in omega-3s. “Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function. Other studies show that there are higher concentrations of antioxidants and something called called polyacetylene compounds, in organically grown fruits and vegetables. Polyacetylene compounds are formed as a protection against things like insects. These compounds are beneficial for humans because they could play a role in reducing inflammation and cancer risk.
A 12-year study which shows that fields under organic management had half the annual nitrate leaching losses than fields under conventional management. Using excessive quantities of nitrogen fertilizers increases nitrate pollution and contributes to the release of more carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere, carbon dioxide being one of the greenhouse effect gases.
My conclusion: Buying organic is not only healthier for me and my family but it supports organic farming which is healthier for the environment. Bottom line is, if everyone bought organic food then it could significantly reduce the amount of toxicities that we consume and put into our environment because of conventional farming.