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Will Going Organic Help You Lose Weight?

The word “organic” is now a familiar term with many people across America. We see it all over the grocery store on food labels and in the produce aisle.

But what does it really mean when it comes to food? How can our body benefit from eating organic meals? How many pesticides are we exposed to when we eat conventional produce? And, can eating organic produce and meats help us lose weight?

We are going to talk about this today.

If you are on the fence about going organic, we might be able to answer some of those questions for you.

What does “organic” mean?

The USDA National Organic Standards Board defines organic perfectly that we are going to quote them directly:

  • “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”
  • “‘Organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.”
  • “Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil, and water.”
  • “Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals, and people.”

In short, organic means that the food production was done according to these standards to help reduce pollution and have little to no pesticides.

If you see organic on the food label whether it’s meats, fruits, vegetables, or other food items, it means that they have passed the USDA organic standard.

How can your body benefit from eating organic food?

According to the British Journal of Nutrition, their 2014 research came to the conclusion that organic food has lower cadmium concentrations and higher amounts of antioxidants. Also, not to mention that organic food has little to no pesticide residue.

Cadmium is a toxic chemical often found in fertilizers used in modern farming. It can also be found in plants, shellfish, fish and animals that are grown in a contaminated area according to Hong Kong’s Centre of Food Safety. They also share how our bodies can be affected by cadmium toxicity which can affect our intestinal tract, liver, heart, and kidneys.

Antioxidants are molecules found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables, that help reduce and prevent cell damage. They are known to help our bodies get rid of toxins, which can boost our overall health. Toxins can be linked to cancer, vision loss, atherosclerosis, and other ailments according to Medical News Today.

The NCBI also makes note that fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory effects due to their flavonoids, molecules that act as antioxidants, that help protect our cells from damage and other chronic illnesses. Live Science says that flavonoids boost our immune system too and diets rich in flavonoid can be associated with preventing cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

How many pesticides are we exposed to from conventional produce?

The average American person is exposed to 10-13 different pesticide residues each day. Roughly, we are exposed to 1 to 3 extremely toxic pesticides known as organophosphates. According to the CDC, heavy or regular exposure to those pesticides can cause side effects, such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea. The Organic Center’s research states that organically produced foods can reduce one’s overall exposure to harmful pesticides by 97%.

Many studies suggest that the amount of pesticides found in conventional produce come in very minimal amounts, and that they are still as nutritious as organic produce. It is good to keep that in mind when grocery shopping and organic produce is not available.

Can eating organic food help you lose weight?

Research conducted by Environmental Health Perspective and PLOS One has shown that feeding conventional, non-organic produce to children under 2 may affect their future weight. Chemical pesticides that are sprayed on our produce has been linked to increased BMI’s in these young children and increased abdominal fat, insulin resistance, and overall weight in mice.

Therefore, according to some studies, the answer is yes.

However, research is ongoing and always changing. Organic food shouldn’t be the sole method when trying to control weight. Achieving weight loss involves looking at overall lifestyle behaviors.

Those who defend conventional, non-organic crops claim that pesticide residue on produce is not significant enough to have any real impact on your weight or overall health.

Last Remarks

Consuming more fresh produce, organic or conventional, such as fruits and vegetables has been a consistent link to weight-loss because they are high in fiber and nutrients, which can help control appetite.

Generally speaking, the average person needs between 4 and 6 cups of fruits and veggies each day depending on your lifestyle, weight, and height according to Sidney Fry, RD.

Eat various different colored fruits and vegetables on a daily basis because it will provide you with various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to remain healthy.

Aim to make at least ½ of your lunch and dinner meals with organic veggies because this will help put you on the right track for your weight loss goals.

I stopped eating organic food and lost 100 pounds

Stephan NeidenbachFollow May 28, 2018 · 6 min read

While correlation is not causation, organic food sales has increased steadily along with the adult obesity rate in the United States. It begs the question -Is organic food contributing to obesity?

In January of 2014 I contracted mononucleosis and was stuck home for a couple of weeks. The fever blisters in my mouth got so bad that even eating was difficult. Spending a lot of time on social media as a distraction, I stumbled on a YouTube video called I Love Monsanto (NSFW).

At the time I had never heard of GMOs or Monsanto. I began to see a lot in common between the arguments used by the anto-GMO movement and the anti-vaccination movement.

I have always enjoyed arguing about politics and religion, so I jumped right into it. Being a teacher I thought it would be fun to share what I was learning. So We Love GMOs and Vaccines was born.

It was about this time that I looked at the scale. My weight had gotten out of control over the previous decade. When I realized that I had lost 10 pounds while sick and eating so little, I vowed to keep it off.

Prior to starting the page I had fallen for all the catch phrases and marketing gimmicks. Fat free salad dressing, eating organic, and drinking lots of juice had been my health plan for years.

Source: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/10/18/2803431/adult-obesity-levels-high/http://www.statista.com/statistics/235805/us-retail-sales-of-natural-and-organic-food/

“Count chemicals, not calories!” is one of the most often screamed battle cries of the organic food movement. The phrase serves to demonstrate a lack of basic chemistry and biology knowledge. Everything is made up of chemicals, even that piece of organic fruit. Many of those naturally occurring chemicals are even carcinogenic.

Calories are units of energy. According to the National Institute of Health, “A lack of energy balance most often causes obesity. Energy balance means that your energy IN should equal your energy OUT.” Consume more calories than you burn and you gain weight, burn more than you consume and you lose weight.

Sedentary lifestyles cause those in the developed world to consume more than they burn. We spend too much time sitting down, and not enough exercising. Millions of years of evolution gave us an instinct to overconsume calories because we spent most of that time running after food, or running away from becoming food.

I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app for my phone and started counting calories. I logged everything, setting myself a maximum of 1500 calories on weekdays and 2000 on weekends. I learned that the more I did cardio, the more calories I could earn back. I would get up early and spend an hour on the exercise bike, or throw the kids in the stroller and go for a long walk.

A lot of people criticize calorie counting because they say that not all calories are the same. Yes and no. What I found was that if I wanted to remain full, I had to find filling food that didn’t have many calories in it. Grilled chicken with buffalo sauce, ground turkey tacos, and grilled vegetables piled high. Plain baked potatoes became a regular part of my diet. A banana with breakfast and lunch always helped to curb my appetite.

I learned why the Atkins diet worked for some people. I had to cut pasta out of my life. Wheat isn’t killing people, gluten isn’t killing people, it’s just the massive portion sizes of pasta and the associated calories. I had bread when making a sandwich, and that was it. No more dinner rolls for me. I gave up beer and margaritas in favor of wine and Diet Coke with rum.

I lost close to 100 pounds, with my waist size dropping from 42 to a 34. This was done over more than a year, rather than the quickie weight loss plans that never last. I never even had to feel guilty about eating the occasional pizza.

Now that doesn’t mean you can just eat junk food if you do a lot of jogging. Doritos and pizza every day are still going to pose a problem by increased sodium and saturated fat intake, which can cause its own own issues. You also need a balanced diet to make sure your body is getting nutrition so you can avoid wasting money on vitamin supplements.

According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Eating a healthy diet and regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Many cases of cancer, the second leading cause of death, are also tied to body fatness and physical inactivity according to the American Cancer Society.

Unfortunately, at some point in recent decades corporations discovered that they can get people to voluntarily pay more for food by scaring them. The organic label was born, followed more recently by “non-GMO” labels. One large global survey showed that “87% of consumers globally think non-GMO is ‘healthier’“. This is a problem.

Researchers at Cornell University showed that “consumers chose beverages, side dishes and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main dish was positioned as ‘healthy,’ even though the main dish contained more calories than the ‘unhealthy option’”.

I firmly believe that my life expectancy has been extended.

Unfortunately there is too much money to be made for people like Food Babe who offer “lose weight quick schemes” and unrealistic lifestyles. “Minimize calories, take walks, and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables” just doesn’t sell that many books.

Further research demonstrated, the “organic” label greatly influenced people’s perceptions. The cookies and yogurt were estimated to have significantly fewer calories when labeled “organic” and people were willing to pay up to 23.4% more for them. The nutritional aspects of these foods were also greatly biased by the health halo effect. The “organic” cookies and yogurt were said to taste ‘lower in fat’ than the “regular” variety, and the “organic” cookies and chips were thought to be more nutritious!

The label even tricked people’s taste buds: when perceived as “organic”, chips seemed more appetizing and yogurt was judged to be more flavorful. “Regular” cookies were reported to taste better–possibly because people often believe healthy foods are not tasty. All of these foods were exactly the same, but a simple organic label made all the difference!”

When Post decided to get Non-GMO verified for their Grape Nuts, vitamins disappeared from their cereal because of genetic engineering used to create them. Capri Sun’s organic version of juice contains more calories and more sugar at a higher price than its conventional counterpart. A Pepsi executive even stated this about consumers “They are willing to go to organic non-GMO products even if they have high salt, high sugar, high fat.”

The media and public are quick to jump all over the sugar industry and soda companies for downplaying the importance of reduced sugar consumption. Yet because the organic industry has developed such a “health halo” around its products, it remains free of criticism.

But is telling people Oreos would be healthy if they just went “GMO free” really any better than Coca Cola telling people to consume as much junk food as they want as long as they exercise?

The word “organic” on a food label leads shoppers to assume that the food is healthy and low-calorie, says a new study by graduate students at Cornell University. But that assumption can be false.

While organic food may be free of pesticides, fertilizers, or hormones, it can still be loaded with sugar, fat, and empty calories.

In the study, researchers asked 144 people at a shopping mall to compare what they thought were regular and organic versions of chocolate cookies, plain yogurt, and potato chips. In actuality, all of the food sampled was organic. Subjects said that they preferred the taste of the organically labeled foods, even though they were identical to their conventionally labeled counterparts. Foods labeled “organic” were also perceived to be significantly lower in calories.

In addition, foods labeled “organic” were perceived to be lower in fat and higher in fiber. Overall, organically labeled chips and cookies were erroneously considered to be more nutritious than their “non-organic” counterparts.

These results suggest that the subjects fell prey to what is known as the “halo effect.” This happens when one positive attribute of a person leads us to believe the person has other positive attributes. For example, people may assume that an attractive person is also intelligent. This effect also apparently applies to food. When people believe the food they are eating is organic, they presume it is also tastier and lower in calories.

Related research has found that people tend to consume more calories at fast-food restaurants that claim to serve healthy fare than at typical fast-food burger joints.

See also: 13 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic

Sources: CBS, EurekAlert!, ScienceDaily

/health/organic-foods-that-are-still-junk-food/Organic

Organic Foods: What You Need to Know

Is organic food really healthier? Is it worth the expense? Find out what the labels mean and which foods give you the most bang for your buck.

The term “organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. While the regulations vary from country to country, in the U.S., organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.

Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy products must have access to the outdoors and be given organic feed. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products.

Organic vs. Non-Organic
Organic produce: Conventionally-grown produce:
Grown with natural fertilizers (manure, compost). Grown with synthetic or chemical fertilizers.
Weeds are controlled naturally (crop rotation, hand weeding, mulching, and tilling). Weeds are controlled with chemical herbicides.
Pests are controlled using natural methods (birds, insects, traps) and naturally-derived pesticides. Pests are controlled with synthetic pesticides
Organic meat, dairy, eggs: Conventionally-raised meat, dairy, eggs
Livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed. Livestock are given growth hormones for faster growth, as well as non-organic, GMO feed.
Disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet. Antibiotics and medications are used to prevent livestock disease.
Livestock must have access to the outdoors. Livestock may or may not have access to the outdoors.

The benefits of organic food

How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives often find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.

Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.

Organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.

Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.

Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.

Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

Organic food vs. locally-grown food

Unlike organic standards, there is no specific definition for “local food”. It could be grown in your local community, your state, your region, or your country. During large portions of the year it is usually possible to find food grown close to home at places such as a farmer’s market.

The benefits of locally grown food

Financial: Money stays within the local economy. More money goes directly to the farmer, instead of to things like marketing and distribution.

Transportation: In the U.S., for example, the average distance a meal travels from the farm to the dinner plate is over 1,500 miles. Produce must be picked while still unripe and then gassed to “ripen” it after transport. Or the food is highly processed in factories using preservatives, irradiation, and other means to keep it stable for transport.

Freshness: Local food is harvested when ripe and thus fresher and full of flavor.

Small local farmers often use organic methods but sometimes cannot afford to become certified organic. Visit a farmer’s market and talk with the farmers to find out what methods they use.

Understanding GMOs

The ongoing debate about the effects of GMOs on health and the environment is a controversial one. In most cases, GMOs are engineered to make food crops resistant to herbicides and/or to produce an insecticide. For example, much of the sweet corn consumed in the U.S. is genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup and to produce its own insecticide, Bt Toxin.

GMOs are also commonly found in U.S. crops such as soybeans, alfalfa, squash, zucchini, papaya, and canola, and are present in many breakfast cereals and much of the processed food that we eat. If the ingredients on a package include corn syrup or soy lecithin, chances are it contains GMOs.

GMOs and pesticides

The use of toxic herbicides like Roundup (glyphosate) has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. While the World Health Organization announced that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” there is still some controversy over the level of health risks posed by the use of pesticides.

Are GMOs safe?

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the biotech companies that engineer GMOs insist they are safe, many food safety advocates point out that no long term studies have ever been conducted to confirm the safety of GMO use, while some animal studies have indicated that consuming GMOs may cause internal organ damage, slowed brain growth, and thickening of the digestive tract.

GMOs have been linked to increased food allergens and gastro-intestinal problems in humans. While many people think that altering the DNA of a plant or animal can increase the risk of cancer, the research has so far proven inconclusive.

Does organic mean pesticide-free?

As mentioned above, one of the primary benefits of eating organic is lower levels of pesticides. However, despite popular belief, organic farms do use pesticides. The difference is that they only use naturally-derived pesticides, rather than the synthetic pesticides used on conventional commercial farms. Natural pesticides are believed to be less toxic, however, some have been found to have health risks. That said, your exposure to harmful pesticides will be lower when eating organic.

What are the possible risks of pesticides?

Most of us have an accumulated build-up of pesticide exposure in our bodies due to numerous years of exposure. This chemical “body burden” as it is medically known could lead to health issues such as headaches, birth defects, and added strain on weakened immune systems.

Some studies have indicated that the use of pesticides even at low doses can increase the risk of certain cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Children and fetuses are most vulnerable to pesticide exposure because their immune systems, bodies, and brains are still developing. Exposure at an early age may cause developmental delays, behavioral disorders, autism, immune system harm, and motor dysfunction.

Pregnant women are more vulnerable due to the added stress pesticides put on their already taxed organs. Plus, pesticides can be passed from mother to child in the womb, as well as through breast milk.

The widespread use of pesticides has also led to the emergence of “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which can only be killed with extremely toxic poisons like 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (a major ingredient in Agent Orange).

Does washing and peeling produce get rid of pesticides?

Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling sometimes helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, wash and scrub all produce thoroughly, and buy organic when possible.

The best bang for your buck when shopping organic

Organic food is often more expensive than conventionally-grown food. But if you set some priorities, it may be possible to purchase organic food and stay within your food budget.

Know your produce pesticide levels

Some types of conventionally-grown produce are much higher in pesticides than others, and should be avoided. Others are low enough that buying non-organic is relatively safe. The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., offers an annually-updated list that can help guide your choices.

Fruits and vegetables where the organic label matters most

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., the following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide levels so are best to buy organic:

  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Summer Squash
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Hot Peppers

Fruits and vegetables you DON’T need to buy organic

Known as the “Clean 15”, these conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are generally low in pesticides.

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Onion
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe

Buy organic meat, eggs, and dairy if you can afford to

While prominent organizations such as the American Heart Association maintain that eating saturated fat from any source increases the risk of heart disease, other nutrition experts maintain that eating organic grass-fed meat and organic dairy products doesn’t carry the same risks. It’s not the saturated fat that’s the problem, they say, but the unnatural diet of an industrially-raised animal that includes corn, hormones, and medication.

What’s in American meat?

According to Animal Feed, conventionally raised animals in U.S. can be given:

  • Dairy cows – antibiotics, pig and chicken byproducts, growth hormones, pesticides, sewage sludge
  • Beef cows – antibiotics, pig and chicken byproducts, steroids, hormones, pesticides, sewage sludge
  • Pigs – antibiotics, animal byproducts, pesticides, sewage sludge, arsenic-based drugs
  • Broiler chickens – antibiotics, animal byproducts, pesticides, sewage sludge, arsenic-based drugs
  • Egg laying hens – antibiotics, animal byproducts, pesticides, sewage sludge, arsenic-based drugs

Other ways to keep the cost of organic food within your budget

Shop at farmers’ markets. Many cities, as well as small towns, host a weekly farmers’ market, where local farmers sell their produce at an open-air street market, often at a discount to grocery stores.

Join a food co-op. A natural foods co-op, or cooperative grocery store typically offers lower prices to members, who pay an annual fee to belong

Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, in which individuals and families join up to purchase “shares” of produce in bulk, directly from a local farm. Local and organic!

Organic food buying tips

Buy in season – Fruits and vegetables are cheapest and freshest when they are in season. Find out when produce is delivered to your market so you’re buying the freshest food possible.

Shop around – Compare the price of organic items at the grocery store, the farmers’ market and other venues (even the freezer aisle).

Remember that organic doesn’t always equal healthy –Making junk food sound healthy is a common marketing ploy in the food industry but organic baked goods, desserts, and snacks are usually still very high in sugar, salt, fat, or calories. It pays to read food labels carefully.

Why is organic food often more expensive?

Organic food is more labor intensive since the farmers do not use pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or drugs. Organic certification is expensive and organic feed for animals can cost twice as much. Organic farms tend to be smaller than conventional farms, which means fixed costs and overhead must be distributed across smaller produce volumes without government subsidies.

Where to shop for organic food

To find farmers’ markets, organic farms, and grocery co-ops in your area, visit:

  • In the U.S.: Eat Well Guide or Local Harvest
  • In the UK: FARMA
  • In Australia: Australian Farmers’ Markets Directory
  • In Canada: Farmers’ Markets in Canada

Loud voices dismiss organic food as nothing more than a trendy 21st-century lifestyle choice for the neurotic rich, but this is a phony argument. There’s nothing new or modish about organics – until the 1950s, all the food we ate was organically produced. It’s organic food that should be considered “normal”, not the upstart, factory-farmed, agrochemical stuff that’s only been on our shelves for a few decades. And the reasons for eating organic food, and supporting organic farmers and growers, are becoming more compelling, not less.

If health – your own or that of your family – is your main concern, then perhaps the biggest motivation is limiting your exposure to the residues of pesticides that are routinely found in non-organic food. Pesticides are poisons designed to kill things. Why eat them if you don’t have to?

Of the “conventional” non-organic food we eat, 46% contains residues of one or more pesticide, and levels are going up dramatically, not down: in 2003 the equivalent figure was just 25%. Consumers are assured that farmers and growers take human health protection very seriously, but the truth of the matter is that the National Farmers Union and chemical companies militantly defend their pesticide armoury in the face of any government attempt to restrict it.

Non-organic farmers have at their disposal an arsenal of over 320 pesticides and they use them routinely. Carbendazim is one of the most commonly applied ones (on apples, cucumber, grapes, pre-packed salads, spinach and more) even though evidence links it with developmental damage to mammals that could lead to cancers, developmental problems and birth defects.

‘Organic farmers only treat their animals with antibiotics when they show clinical signs of illness.’ Photograph: Alamy

The regulatory bodies responsible for public health parrot the chemical industry line that we should not be the slightest bit alarmed that our food routinely contains residues of toxic pesticides because they are all below “safe limits”, but this comforting reassurance looks thinner by the moment. Earlier this year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency – classified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and the world’s most widely used herbicide, as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

By contrast, pesticide residues are hardly ever found in organic food, and only through accidental contamination with non-organic agriculture, because organic farmers aim for zero pesticide use. The Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic certification body, does allow eight pesticides in organic farming, but these can only be used when every other non-chemical approach has failed, and as part of an approved annual plan that sets out proposals to ensure that the pesticide will not have to be used in future.

Avoiding dodgy, controversial food additives is another persuasive health reason for eating organic. Manufacturers of organic food can use just 45 of the thousands permitted in Europe. Only additives derived from natural sources, such as lecithin and citric acid, are allowed in organic food and no artificial colourings or flavourings are permitted.

This restricted list of organic additives has to be good news for our health. The Danish National Food Institute has recently developed a more reliable mathematical method for calculating the likely “additive” or “cocktail” effect of chemicals, whether it be from pesticides or food additives. Its research suggests that even tiny doses of chemicals in combination can have more significant negative effects on our health than was previously thought. This underlines why limiting your exposure to such substances (by eating organic, for example), is a wise move. Of particular concern are the endocrine disrupting chemicals found in food additives and pesticides, which can have unexpected and potent negative effects on health, even at very low doses.

The Farmers’ City Market store in Hampton Hill near Teddington. ‘Can you afford organic? The true costs of chemical agriculture are not accounted for up front in calculations of the ‘efficiency’ of our existing food system.’ Photograph: Frank Baron/The Guardian

When you choose organic food, you also get a cast-iron guarantee that your food is GM-free because organically reared livestock cannot be fed on genetically modified feed.

Evidence is emerging to suggest that GM crops increase the use of pesticides, produce super-weeds and super-pests, and compromise animal, and possibly human, health. Looking beyond human health issues, there are other powerful reasons for choosing organic. If animal welfare is a prime concern for you, it’s worth noting that Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), the world’s leading animal welfare organisation, “strongly supports organic as the best form of humane and sustainable agriculture”. CIWF rates organic standards for raising livestock as the best in operation. Organic farmers only treat their animals with antibiotics when they show clinical signs of illness; they are not allowed to use them to promote growth or keep a lid on the diseases endemic to intensive farming. Conventional farmers, on the other hand, often use antibiotics preventively to treat stressed, disease-prone animals kept in factory farms. Concern is mounting that the overuse of antibiotics in farming – farm animals account for almost two-thirds of all antibiotics used in the EU – is compromising the efficacy of these vital drugs in both animal and human medicine, encouraging the emergence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Organic farming methods also beat non-organic hands-down when it comes to encouraging and protecting wildlife. Over the last 50 years the UK has witnessed a steep decline in wildlife, in large part a consequence of the 31,000 tonnes of chemicals that are sprayed on Britain every year, impoverishing soil fertility and harming bees and other pollinators. Because organic farming methods are more benign, wildlife is 50% more abundant on organic farms, organic farms support on average 75% more plant species, and have 50% more species of pollinators than non-organic farms.

Can you afford organic? The annoying thing is that because the true environmental and health costs of chemical agriculture (pollution, soil erosion, ill health, animal suffering and more) are “externalised” , that is, not accounted for up front in calculations of the “efficiency” of our existing food system, organic food generally costs more. But choosing organic whenever you can nevertheless makes good sense. After only 75 years, the industrial agriculture food system that we have been locked into is patently cracking at the seams. It is becoming ever more obvious that it is structurally incapable of delivering safe, healthy food, treating animals humanely, or taking care of the environment. Organics is the only organised, coherent, global alternative to this failed industrial food experiment.

‘Every year 31,000 tonnes of chemicals are sprayed on Britain.’ Photograph: Brian Brown/Alamy

mindbodygreen

Pesticides and herbicides are by their very nature toxic, and your diet chronically exposes you to these dangerous poisons. The National Research Council claims that, in children especially, dietary intake of pesticides accounts for most pesticide exposure.

Animal products are no different. Most conventionally raised livestock are fed a combination of soy and corn, 90% of which is GMO. Their feed is also laced with hormones and antibiotics. Dairy cows are given a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone called rBGH to increase milk production. The forced increase in milk production causes infections, and the animals are dosed with antibiotics. These hormones and antibiotics make their way into dairy products and, eventually, your body.

Luckily, eating organic foods can reduce pesticide buildup. A study in 2005 demonstrated that in as little as 15 days, children adopting a primarily organic diet experienced a dramatic decrease in urinary concentrations of organophosphorus pesticides.

You’ve likely been eating a conventional diet for years. Cleanse your body of toxic residues by substituting as much of your diet as you can with organic foods.

2. Organic foods are by definition non-GMO.

GMOs are plants and animals that have been created by combining DNA of different species in a way that could not occur in nature or by traditional cross-breeding. They comprise a large percentage of commercial soy, corn, beets, and alfalfa crops in the United States.

Genetic engineering alters crops to make them weather- and pest-resistant. GMO Corn for example was combined with bacteria in order to produce its own insecticide, called Bt-toxin. Bt-toxin kills insects by destroying the lining of their digestive tracts. The poison is not specific to insects and also pokes holes in human cells, damaging the intestines and causing leaky gut. The growing body of evidence that GMOs are dangerous prompted the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) to publicly warn that “it is biologically plausible for Genetically Modified Foods to cause adverse health effects in humans.”

Bt-toxin was originally derived from bacteria, the DNA of which was combined with corn. Organic farmers actually use Bt-toxin-producing bacteria as an effective nematode control. The bacteria produce a much lower concentration of Bt-toxin. The higher potency Bt-toxin in GMO corn can’t be washed off–it’s part of the genetic makeup of the genetically engineered crop.

3. Organic farming is good for the earth.

Organic farmers rely on crop rotation, companion planting, and animal manure in place of synthetic fertilizers, weed killers, and pesticides to control pests and maintain the quality and integrity of the soil.

In 2000 the National Water Quality Inventory concluded that pollution from agriculture in the United States is the largest factor affecting the water quality of rivers and lakes. You can help lessen the damage by supporting farmers who maintain their crops and livestock responsibly.

4. Organic crops are more nutritious.

Many question the nutritional benefit of organic crops over conventionally grown crops . A recent study shed new light on the debate, providing evidence that organic foods are richer in nutrients and antioxidants and lower in heavy metals, especially cadmium, and pesticides. Other studies suggest that good soil nutrition increases the production of cancer-fighting compounds, called flavonoids, and that conventional farming practices like pesticide and herbicide use disturb their production.

Overall, crops treated with any amount or form of chemicals have a negative impact on your body. Organic crops are more nutritious, and they won’t deplete your health by putting unwanted and unnecessary toxins in your body.

I know it may seem a bit daunting at first to eat 100% organic. It might not be available or within your budget. If that’s the case, I recommend starting with one food at a time, and making the complete switch when you are able.

In the meantime, enjoy plenty of these foods, keeping in mind which ones are usually GMO. They’re considered The Clean Fifteen as they contain the lowest concentration of pesticides:

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Organic food has been on the rise since it came into fashion; vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy and meat grown and processed using non-conventional methods not only tend to carry a hefty price tag, but are usually thought to be of higher quality and better for health, although production of organic food products may not be good for the environment.

“Our study shows that organic peas, farmed in Sweden, have around a 50 percent bigger climate impact than conventionally farmed peas,” said an associate professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, Stefan Wirsenius.

Recently, it was reported that organic food had a larger impact on the Earth’s climate than previously thought, mostly because of how much land is required to grow it compared to conventionally grown food, according to the Economic Times.

Organic food has become so popular in the United States that the US Department of Agriculture has even provided certain requirements for certification of organic products depending on how much of the product is made organically.

Read also: Can eating organic food lower your cancer risk? Hard to prove

Putting aside the health benefits, the yields each hectare produces for organically grown food is much lower than conventionally grown food because of the lack of fertilizers.

“For some foodstuffs, there is an even bigger difference — for example, with organic Swedish winter wheat the difference is closer to 70 percent,” Wirsenius said.

To produce the same amount of food organically as is grown conventionally, farmers need more land, according to researchers. Other foods such as organic meat and milk, produced by organic-fed livestock, also require more land and resources, which is bad for climate change.

“The greater the land use in organic farming leads indirectly to higher carbon dioxide emissions, thanks to deforestation,” Wirsenius explained.

“If we use more land for the same amount of food, we contribute indirectly to greater deforestation elsewhere in the world,” he added. (acr/kes)

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“Certified Organic”

We see that tag everywhere nowadays.

It’s on our fresh fruits, our vegetables, and even on some processed packaged foods.

But what does that tag actually mean?

Organic= healthful.

Organic=the responsible choice…right?

In this article, we will fully explore the reality behind ‘organic’ in order to answer the age-old question: should I be buying organic food or is conventional produce good enough?

“Organic”—It’s All in a Label

To earn an organic label, farmers and food producers have to maintain certain standards set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There are several different types of organic labels all with slightly different definitions:

“USDA Organic” and “Certified Organic”: For a fruit or vegetable to have this seal, it means they are certified to be 95% free of synthetic additives like chemical fertilizers, dyes and pesticides. Equally, they can’t be genetically engineered or processed using irradiation or industrial solvents. The other 5% of ingredients could include additives or synthetics if they are on an approved USDA list. The label must identify the organic and non-organic ingredients in the product and contain the name of the organic certifier.

“100% Organic”: These are products that meet the 95% criteria above and do not contain any other foods or additives, synthetics, chemicals or pesticides or genetically engineered substances. The label must show an ingredient list, the name and address of the handler of the finished product, and the name and seal of the organic certifier.

“Made with Organic” Ingredients: This label means that the product has been made with at least 70% organic ingredients. However, the remaining 30% cannot possess any of the processed foods or additives included on the USDA exclusion list. The label must identify the organic and non-organic ingredients in the product along with the name of the organic certifier.

The Two Reasons Organic Might Not Be Exactly What You Think

There are two main issues with organic food that very few people are aware of. The first is that organic food can contain pesticides. The second is that ‘organic’ does not necessarily mean more nutritional benefits, at least not when we consider the presence of essential micronutrients. Let’s take a look at both of these issues.

Organic Food Can Contain Pesticides

You might think that eating only organically grown foods is “safer” because you won’t be exposed to pesticides. But that’s not true.

It might surprise you to learn that some organic farmers do use pesticides. So eating organic doesn’t guarantee a pesticide-free strawberry. However, instead of using synthetic pesticides like their more conventional counterparts, organic farmers tend to use “natural” pesticides (but synthetic pesticides are still allowed if they are on an approved list).

Scientists argue that the key is not necessarily to eliminate fruits and vegetables with traces of pesticides entirely from our diet. The trick is to choose produce that contains the least possible pesticides whether the fruit or vegetable is conventionally or organically farmed.

To help shoppers make those choices, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled a “shoppers guide to pesticide in produce”, naming the “dirtiest” and “cleanest” fruits and vegetables in terms of measured pesticide residue.

As you can see, when it comes to the “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables, it may be wiser to buy organic. However, when it comes to the “cleanest” options, both conventional and organic produce are totally acceptable.

It should be noted however that there is an issue with the methodology to create the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen EWG’s lists*. In their vegetable ranking, they assume that people consume the exact same amounts of each of the fruits and vegetables tested. (But the truth is, most people don’t consume the exact same amount of grapefruit as potatoes. Or onions as strawberries.)

Organic Food Isn’t Necessarily More Nutritional

So we have established that organic food often do contain some pesticides.

But what about the comparative nutritional value of organic versus conventional?

A number of studies ‘proving’ the nutritional superiority of organically grown produce have garnered mainstream popularity. Not surprisingly, there’s a corresponding perception among buyers of conventionally grown produce that they’re getting ‘short-changed’ on nutrition.

But in reality there appears to be no consistent difference in the content of essential vitamins and minerals in organically vs. conventionally grown produce.

However, evidence does point to the fact that organic produce is much higher in phenolic phytonutrients, which are non-essential nutrients, but do promote health and protect against disease. Check out the latest research here.

The Bottom Line About Organic Produce?

The straight truth is this

  • The typical American diet contains too much processed food, too much animal protein and not enough fruits and vegetables.
  • We know definitively that how much plant vs. animal foods we eat has quantifiable effects on the development and progression of cancer and other chronic diseases.

In The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell states that it’s not the dose of carcinogen that matters when it comes to cancer prevention or promotion. He showed conclusively that a high toxin/low animal protein diet is less cancer-promoting than a low toxin/high animal protein diet.

In other words… If you eat a super clean, low pesticide diet but continue to eat animal proteins, that protein may still promote cancer. If you are eating plant-based proteins, the risk may be less even if there are some chemicals in your food.

So before engaging in the great organic debate, we first need to start filling our plates with fresh produce—no matter whether they are organically or conventionally grown.

Bottom line: If you can afford to eat organic and you want to support sustainable farming practices while reducing your exposure to pesticides, do it. But if not, it’s simply better to start eating more plants (from any source) rather than worry about how they were grown.

*Consumer Reports’ From Crop to Table guide takes into consideration country of origin, serving size and actual pesticide residue found in produce within their list of fruits and vegetables recommended to buy organic (page 18). They also list the requirements for pesticide residue by different organic certifiers (pages 20-21).

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What is an organic food?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic as “a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster recycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.”

In general, the average consumer knows that organic foods have been produced without certain kinds of fertilizers and pesticides, certain synthetic additives, or artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors.
Are organic foods more nutritious?
The term organic reflects how a food is produced and processed, not the nutritional make-up of a food. There is a prevailing belief that organic food products are somehow healthier, or better for you, than non-organic or “conventional” products.

Recent research, including a 2012 Stanford University study, has confirmed that organic foods are no more nutritious than conventionally prepared foods. An organic cookie, for example, may contain no artificial ingredients, yet has a comparable amount of sugar and fat, and essentially the same nutritional value as its conventionally prepared counterpart. In most instances, a cookie is still a cookie, and candy is still candy. An “organic” label does not necessarily make the product healthier.

Which foods – conventional or organic – are safer to eat?
Conventional food products must adhere to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards. Organic food is subject to the same FDA standards, as well as USDA regulations for organic labeling. Organic and conventional products are both safe for consumption.

Are some foods better if they are labeled “organic”?
Some fruits and vegetables, especially those without a shell or exterior that is peeled away before eating (such as oranges, bananas, peas or avocados), may be ideal if grown organically. Tea leaves, for example, are often grown with the assistance of pesticides, and not washed before packaging. With tea, an organic product may also be ideal.

Why isn’t all food organic?
In general, organic food is more expensive and more difficult to find.

Organic foods often are more expensive because of the more complicated growth and packaging, and a more lengthy regulatory process. In contrast, conventional foods rely on economies of scale and are more consistently affordable. In addition, some organic foods can be more difficult to find in general grocery stores, and because not all have preserving ingredients, have a shorter shelf life.

Are organic foods the future?
Given the current practices of how food is created and distributed, it is not realistic to convert all of the nation or world’s food production into organic food. Feeding the world’s growing population requires foods that can be preserved, and affordably produced, processed and distributed. Until that changes, there remains a place in the food market for both organic and conventional foods.

Source: Kantha Shelke, PhD, IFT member

Eating organic is often considered healthier, but if you have hesitated, thinking that it’s too expensive, think again. With a little bit of planning and strategy, you could get the best fuel for your body without breaking the bank. Here are five ways you can eat organic on any budget.

Go Big Time

Shop the bulk aisles for organic beans and grains to save some cash. You can also buddy up with a group of friends or office mates to join a CSA—a Community Supported Agriculture program. When you join you’ll receive a box of produce from a farmer’s harvest every 1-2 weeks during the season. Find your nearest CSA at Local Harvest. This way you could get a bigger bang for your buck, and you’ll probably get to try some veggies you wouldn’t normally choose when browsing the store aisles.

Put it on Ice

You can use coupons to snag more deals in your grocery store’s frozen section. Plus, frozen fruits and veggies are usually frozen at the peak of freshness, so they retain their health benefits. Bonus: you might also be able to get organic fruits and berries (think delicious smoothies) that are out of season at a steal.

Learn the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15

The Environmental Working Group puts out a list of the Dirty Dozen—the fruits and veggies with the most pesticides, and the Clean 15—the ones that have the least pesticides. If you can’t afford to buy everything organic, start with the Dirty Dozen and don’t sweat the Clean 15.

Go Meatless on Mondays

By cutting back on meat and amping up your veggie intake, you can do wonders for your health. Plus, you could save on your weekly grocery bill. And when you do buy meat, look for grass-fed, hormone-free options when possible.

Grow Your Own

It may seem crazy, but even if you live in a tiny apartment, you can still grow something small, like herbs, in a windowsill. In fact, any small plot of earth that gets moderate sunshine could be used to grow some veggies—tomatoes, carrots and lettuce are among the easiest for beginners.

How do you fit organic and healthy food into your budget? Let us know your healthy food hacks in the comments below.

Photo: Antonia Böhlke

As in the beauty industry, the word ‘organic’ is used a lot these days in the food industry and has many meanings. However, the main idea in relation to food is that the food is produced without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals. Put simply: organic food is how your great grandparents ate. Back then food wasn’t labeled organic as it already was. Food was typically grown on farms or in gardens, where natural fertilisers such as compost from food scraps or animal manure nourished the soil.

Today it is much harder to tell what is organic and what is not. When looking for organic food it is not as simple as just shopping at your local supermarket, although many supermarkets are now stocking more organic food due to demand. Buying organic means looking for certain symbols or labels that certify the food has been produced alongside set guidelines. Each country has different guidelines and symbols so it is important to do your research. Simply search online for ‘organic food certification’ and then the name of your country to find the labels you should be looking out for. Of course if you are buying from a local farmers market you shouldn’t need a label and instead are able to speak directly with the grower to find out their food producing methods.

1. Benefits Of Eating Organic Food

Photo: Antonia Böhlke

You only need to spend time pondering what is happening in your body when you consume food that is covered in toxins to understand the relief it will feel when it doesn’t need to get rid of those. Eating organically allows the body to do what it does best: fuel itself with the vitamins and minerals it needs to be efficient.

The mental, emotional and spiritual elements of a person are also to gain from eating organically. Bryant McGill sums it up beautifully in Voice of Reason where he states; ‘Cultivate clarity, strength, vitality and power from natural, beautiful and organic living foods.” A renewed sense of self, finding balance and bringing joy to the soul are but a few ways we can nourish our beings as a whole, not only the physical.

As the view is broadened from the body to the whole being and then to our community, the opportunities presented by eating organically continue to grow. Supporting local farmers through buying organic food from markets or straight from the farm gate if you are lucky enough encourages beautiful conversations to take place. Relationships are developed as you speak with the growers and farmers themselves about their produce and products. You can hear the passion and love in their voice as they share their heart for the food they produce and how this impacts the world we live in. Knowing you are contributing to a more eco-friendly and sustainable world as well as your local economy by eating organically is good for the body and soul.

2. Beware The Organic Food Label

Photo: Antonia Böhlke

Just because food is labeled organic, doesn’t mean it is good for you. When it comes to eating organic fruit and vegetables in season there is little to worry about, your body will need the nutrients provided during that time of year. However, anything that is not a fruit or vegetable in its original form needs to be consider more carefully before consuming, even if it is labeled organic.

The trap that people fall into is allowing themselves to eat foods that don’t offer their body much in the way of vitamins and minerals because it is labeled organic. It is fine to have a tasty treat every now and then made from organic ingredients but beware if you find yourself consuming more than you should and justifying it because it is organic. There are many processed and packaged foods such as biscuits and cereals that are organic, however are still high in sugar, fat or salt and therefore best consumed in moderation.
The key to eating organically is to keep a healthy well-rounded diet in mind, one that is inclusive of a large range of fruits and vegetables. Go back to the basics and eat the way your great grandparents would have and you can’t go wrong.

3. Organic Food On A Budget

Photo: Antonia Böhlke

Many argue that eating organically is expensive, and it can be for sure, but there are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve to help it be more budget friendly. It makes sense to start by buying the organic food that is cheaper, choose 5 carrots for $5 over a handful of coriander for $5. This way you are getting the most out of the money you have to spend.

Remember when buying organic produce you can use the whole plant, making it go further. Save carrot ends and onion skins to make a beautiful home made vegetable stock. Use the whole broccoli by cutting the stem into small pieces and roasting them with your other veggies and adding the leaves to a pesto. If you peel your veggies then use the peelings to make homemade veggies chips by drizzling olive oil over them and roasting them. These are delicious sprinkled with sea salt flakes and dried herbs.

If your budget is really tight and you don’t think you can make it work to buy all your produce organically then focus on only buying what is commonly known as the ‘dirty dozen’. These are items that most often are the highest in pesticides and chemicals and are best eaten organically; apples, berries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, capsicum, potatoes (including sweet potato), cucumbers, tomatoes and snap peas. Not all of these will be in season at once so you will be able to add some more things to your list, keeping in mind that fruits and vegetables you eat the skin of is best organic also!

What is your biggest motivation to eat organic and natural food? Let us know in a comment below and inspire other people to eat organically, too!

Nutritional Reference:
Beginner’s Guide To Organic Living

by Michelle Chen

People are increasingly interested in living in a way that promotes good health. Not only do they want to make changes that are good for themselves, but that are also healthy for their families and the environment.

Unfortunately, synthetic materials, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals can be found in many of the items that people use on a daily basis. These items include everything from food to hygiene products. In efforts to live a more healthful life and lifestyle, more people are turning to organic products as a solution.

What is Organic?

The word organic is used to describe products that are made or grown without the use of chemicals, such as pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, organic products have not been irradiated, are not bioengineered, and have not been exposed to sewage sludge. It is most often used to describe food items, such as food that comes from animals or that is grown from the Earth.

Organic may also be used to describe certain cosmetic or personal care products. When a person buys food that is labeled organic, he or she should understand that it is not guaranteeing high quality, or claiming that it has a higher nutritional value than other foods. The term is only made in reference to the way that the food was grown or produced.

Benefits of Eating Organic

One of the most appealing benefits of eating organic food is that people are able to avoid putting undesirable or unsafe foods into their bodies. Organic foods, by definition, are foods that have not been exposed to the toxins that conventionally grown foods are subject to. As a result, people who eat organic foods do not run the risk of consuming certain pesticides and other chemicals.

This is particularly important when it comes to children.

The environment is another area where the benefits of organic food are clearly evident. With conventional farming, techniques are used that can damage water quality and destroy microbes in the soil, including those that are beneficial. Organic food production actually improves the quality of soil and also helps to protect water quality. When people consume organic food, it also benefits small farms.

Understanding Organic Food Labels

Organic food must meet U.S. National Organic Standards set by the National Organics Standard Board. In order to be sold as organic it must also be certified by a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) accredited certifier.

This also applies to foods that are grown outside of the country.

When a food item meets these standards, it will have the USDA Organic Seal on its label. This means that the product is certified as organic. Items with this label will either be marked as “100 percent Organic” or “Organic.” Items that are marked as “100 percent organic” must have no synthetic ingredients whatsoever.

“Organic” products are those with contents that are at least 95 percent organic.

Labels of some processed products may read “Made with Organic Ingredients.” This means that it contains no less than 70 percent organic ingredients. These products will not have the USDA organic seal.

If a product has less than 70 percent organic ingredients, it cannot use the word “Organic” on the label. It may, however, use the word to describe specific ingredients, but only on the ingredient information portion of the label.

Money Saving Tips For Buying Organic Foods

Organic foods are often more expensive than foods that are conventionally grown. This additional cost can be prohibitive for some. When a person wants to enjoy the benefits of eating organic, there are ways to do so without exhausting their food budget. One way to save money is to buy organic fruits and vegetables when they are in season.

In general, foods that are in season are less expensive than those that are not. If a person is not certain which food items are in season, he or she should ask the produce employee at the local grocer. Also like other foods, organic products do go on sale. Before buying anything, check out weekly sales papers for the best sales prices.

Farmer’s markets are also a good place to look for quality organic food that is reasonably priced. Before making a purchase, verify that the food is actually organically grown. Use coupons for organic products whenever possible. Coupons for organic products can be found online and in the coupon section of local newspapers. Another way to save money on non-perishable organic food is to buy in bulk.

Often grocery warehouse stores sell certain organic food items in bulk, which may end up being cheaper in the long run than buying from traditional grocery stores.

Other Ways to Live Organically

Living an organic lifestyle goes beyond eating organically certified foods. Some people may choose to cut as many chemical or toxic items out of their lives as possible. They can do this by buying organic personal care products, such as toothpaste, lotions, shampoos, and even cosmetics.

Instead of buying household cleaners, a person may choose to make their own by using chemical-free products such as organic vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. Even the clothing that a person buys can be made from materials whose fibers comply with organic agricultural standards and are free of pesticides, herbicides and genetic modification.

  • Organic Fact Sheet for Consumers: A NSF International PDF document that answers frequently asked questions about organic products. The document answers questions such as what is organic and what types of products can be organic. In addition, the document also gives the reader information on labeling and more.
  • USDA National Organic Program – What is Organic: An article on the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service website that provides a summary on the definition of organic. Readers will not only get a better understanding of what organic means, but they will also learn how to recognize organic food and how organic integrity is protected.
  • Organic? What’s the Big Deal?: A Greening Princeton article that reviews the health benefits associated with eating organic foods. The article also reviews how organic food also benefits the environment and animals.
  • What is Organic Agriculture: A PDF document that explains what organic agriculture is. It reviews organic production, certification, and marketing.
  • What is Organic Gardening?: A PDF from the UMass Extension Center for Agriculture that explains organic gardening.
  • Organic Foods: A PDF document about organic foods, organic practices, and legislation and regulation. The document also includes a quality and safety comparison between organic and conventional foods.
  • What is Organic Food?: This web page reviews aspects of organic food, such as a brief summary of its history. The page also reviews the pros and cons of organic food and the certification process.
  • Pesticides and Food – What “Organically Grown” Means: A brief definition of the term “Organically Grown” by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Organic Associations and Standards: A question and answer article from Quality Assurance International (QAI. The article presents questions regarding organic standards, labeling, and certification, and then provides detailed answers.
  • Organic Foods: Are They Safer? More Nutritious?: An article by the Mayo Clinic that discusses whether or not organic foods are safer or more natural than conventionally grown foods. The article includes a side-by-side comparison of the two.
  • Understanding “Organic”: This is a PDF that explains the differences in the labeling of organic products. Readers of this document will understand what labels are true organic products and which labels cannot call themselves organic or use the organic seal.
  • Is Organic Better?: An article from HealthBeat, a Harvard Health Publication. The article explores whether organic foods are better than conventionally grown food items. It also reviews what organic labels mean and how people can “go organic.”
  • Eat Real Organic: A PDF guidebook on eating organic foods. The article reviews pesticides and how eating organic reduces pesticide intake. Readers of the article will also learn about the 12 foods most susceptible to pesticide residue, how to save money when buying organic foods and how to make an organic lifestyle change.
  • Benefits of Choosing to Eat Organic Foods: This article lists eight common benefits of eating organic foods.
  • What’s so Great About Organic Food?: A Time magazine article about organic foods on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale website. The article reviews the cost and the benefits of eating an organic food diet.
  • Understanding the Food Label: A fact sheet from the Colorado State University Extension that explains food labels. At the center of the fact sheet, readers can learn about organic labeling and what they mean.
  • Perceived Pros and Cons of Organic Food: Readers of this article will learn about the pros and cons associated with organic food. Each of the pros and cons comes with a brief explanation.
  • Five Tasty Ways to Save When Buying Organic Food: An article by Fox Business that gives readers five tips on how to save money when shopping for organic food. Before reading the tips, the readers is given organic basic information such as reading the labels and an explanation on what organic means.
  • The Cost and Benefits of Buying Organic Food: Suggestions on how to save money when shopping for organic food items. Tips are listed in bullet point format for easy viewing.
  • Buy Organic Produce: This Stanford University School of Earth Sciences article includes six tips and tricks on how to buy organic food that is affordable.

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