Green, Greener, Greenest! – Why Go Organic?

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Source: culinaryschools.org

Guys, I’m not a Go-Green faddist. It took me the whole last year to convince myself to cut down on cakes and sweets and add vegetables and fruits in my diet. And, as if, that wasn’t a challenge enough; I had to choose between Non-Organic and Organic at the grocery store. My head spins and I cringe at the very name of ‘Organic’. 

So What is This Organic Food Fad? What is the difference between Normal and Organic? Is Organic better? and God! have you looked at the prices?!! Why is it so costly?

In this post I’ll answer all these questions; so grab your coffee and enlighten yourself for once and for all.

Organic- to me was a fashionable word, designed to cater the ones who live to throw their money on expensive products; be it a Gucci bag or Organic Eggs. But, at the same time, I had a feeling, that it has something to do with ‘more-healthy’. So I did an in-depth research on the subject. Besides, my Google routine, I also got hold of a really cool book, it’s called “The Green Food Bible” by Judith Wills. This book helped me understand better the ‘Why’ of what I was already doing.

To simplify things, lets start with the basic questions:

What does Organic Actually Mean?

Organic Farming involves using natural processes, which means fewer chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers used, to grow the plants. Majority of Additives (such as artificial flavors or colors) are banned in organic food because of its health-risks. Farmland is not very intensively used and wildlife is encouraged.

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About Animal Farming: When it comes to Organic, the living condition of the stock should be hygienic and properly maintained. The animals should not be overstocked, they should be given high quality feed and there should be ample space for them to get exercise. The next thing you know they’ll be adding a gym for them, lolz (just kidding).Use of Antibiotics, Hormones, and GMOS (Genetically Modified Organisms) to artificially grow the animals are a big No No.

About Fish Farming: Have you noticed the Farm- Fresh Fish that we get in the grocery stores these days. Apparently, fish caught in the wild is soon to be non-existent; it will only be grown in confined spaces (farms) just like poultry or beef. Issues with growing fish like that, is the unsustainable feed, chemically treated pen-water, pen-water pollution and high level of diseases. To treat these diseases, antibiotics and chemical pesticides are then used. Lack of exercise cause high amount of fat, and lower levels of healthy omega-3 fats and proteins. I was surprised that the Salmon is given artificial color in its feed, so as to achieve its unique deep pink color. So sad for a Salmon-Lover! 😦

About Chicken and Eggs: So basically there is a huge shortage of organic chicks. You never know the organic eggs you buy, might be coming from non-organic hens. But since the regulatory authorities also know that there is a shortage, they have worked it around. As per the regulations, the chicken has to be under organic standards for up to six weeks, so as to label its eggs Organic. Also, the chicken should be under the organic standards of living for at least 10 weeks, to label its meat Organic.

How do I know if food really is Organic: In Ireland, check for the Euro-leaf logo that looks like this

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Why is Organic Food so expensive? The amount of time and money that goes in the production of Organic food makes it so darn expensive. If a farmer wants to go-organic, it can take him up to two years to convert his land to produce organic labelled food. Farming is less intensive, so yields are lower. For the animal farming, the feed should be organic, which costs more of course and sometimes has to be imported as well. So you can imagine!

For example a price comparison of:

Eggs: Non-organic (20x) €3.49              Organic (6x) €1.99

Does Organic Food Taste Better? Well, since taste is not a quantifiable thing, no one can tell. I don’t feel any difference in taste at all, but some people swear on their lives that organic tastes better and that’s why they purchase it.

So how to incorporate Organic Food in your life: To begin with, purge all processed food from your routine. And then if you have enough resources and have access to organic food, switch one thing at a time and take it from there. It’s a lifetime change and will not come in a day. Also, adding one organic item at a time, will not shoot up your budget drastically.

So what to begin with? Okay I really wish I knew this before. Non-Organic Foods when treated with Pesticides, contains Residues of chemicals. According to PAN (Pesticide Action Network, UK, July 2007) Worst Foods For Residues:

Worst Vegetables for Residues (in descending order)

  • Celery
  • potato
  • peas (edible podded)
  • beans (greens and specialty)
  • lettuce
  • Sweet potato
  • tomato
  • cucumber

Worst Fruits for Residues:

  • Citrus fruits
  • pear
  • strawberry
  • apricot
  • cherry
  • raspberry
  • banana
  • apple
  • melon
  • grapes

Worst Other Foods:

  • Oily Fish
  • Cereal Grains
  • flour
  • cereal bars
  • dried fruits
  • bread
  • herbs
  • chips
  • crisps
  • rice

Looking at above, you can have an idea of which ones to swap first. Also, Organic food from your local farm is much better than the ones ‘Imported’. Of course, because of the travel time, its most likely that they lose their nutritious value by the time they get to you.

So guys, I hope it helps. If you have any questions, bring them on, I’m in super learning mode these days and will try to answer you the best I can. So stay motivated, stay strong and Eat Clean!!

Until next time!

Cheers!

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