We hear so much about eating organic food, but are there really any genuine benefits to doing this? Many new trends come along when it comes to diet and our food habits. Organic has been hailed as the best way to eat, so we thought we would take a much closer look at this.
Is it really true, and if so what are the benefits. We thought we would also take a look and see if there are any down sides.
Sometimes it is difficult to make the switch from eating what we have been every day, to something as relatively new as organic food. I know before I make any moves that I like to properly check it out. When most people see the word "Organic," the natural thinking instinct would lead you to believe that it it linked to the word natural.
So in essence organic food is simple the food that we eat every day, but grown without the aid of pesticides that farmers normally use to kill off insects, that would otherwise damage crops. It makes sense to me, without exploring it too deeply, that fruit and vegetables that have not been sprayed with pesticides, should be better for us.
At the same time I wonder what organic farmers do, to actually keep the pests at bay?
Why Do Farmers Spray Crops?
Farmers spray crops to reduce the amount of damage to crops that can be caused by pests and also by weeds. It is estimated that around 25-40% of the world's crops are lost due to these pests. If they didn't spray, then you can imagine just how high, that percentage might be.
So farmers use herbicides, insecticides and fungicides to help control weeds, kill off insects and to combat plant diseases. This process is part of what is termed conventional framing, but organic farmers do not use this particular spraying technique.
Most people perceive that organic farmers do not spray crops, but that is simply not true. The BIG difference is what they spray on the crops. Conventional farmers use products that have been synthetically created and then mass produced. Organic farmers use sprays but these are produced from natural materials.
At the end of the day organic farmers and conventional farmers all face the same enemies, insects, plant disease and weed control. Both will spray so it is what is contained in the sprays that make the real difference. Now organic farmers use many other techniques other than this natural spraying.
For example many of them will manually hoe weeds, they also use harrowing, flame weeding and a lot of crop rotation. They focus on producing healthy soil and that means that it is a lot more labour intensive, and as you can imagine, the cost of production is therefore more expensive. This soil that organic farmers use is often referred to as clean soil.
There are strict standards applied when it comes to being an organic farmer. They have to be certified by the Quality Assurance International group (QAI) . Within this process they must undergo rigorous tests and meet very high standards. When this is done and has been successful, all foods will be stamped with a Certified Organic by QAI sticker or label.
Key Health Benefits
We now know that conventional farmers use a range of sprays to control various pests and diseases. Those sprays are sprayed on to the crops and into the ground. Some of these sprays are dangerous and many people are not just aware of that. The amounts of these in the soil are small, but nonetheless, they are there. You may hear of the term "acceptable levels," but personally I don't agree with that.
Organic food is more expensive because it simply take more manual labour. However you do not have to worry about having an "acceptable level" of pesticides in your food.
Organic food consumption has increased in popularity over the years. More and more people are now starting to eat organic food and the increase continues to rise at a relatively steady pace. If you are in the process of deciding whether you should join this trend, then please read on.
The first thing you should know is that by supporting organic farmers, you are also supporting the environment. We have all seen images of planes spraying crops, and then all of that dropping down on top of the food and into the soil. It can cause damage to that, but also carries on the wind to surrounding areas.
In essence, the demand for food causes mass production. People also want cheap food and farmers want to make the best profit that they can. They therefore sacrifice traditional growing methods, and replace harrowing and tilling with sprays that harm the food and also our precious environment.
The decision for many farmers and organic food companies to go organic can be difficult and risky. Therefore, by purchasing organic foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, you can take comfort in knowing that you are helping many small to medium sized farmers and organic food companies stay in business. They could after all use conventional methods and continue to make more money.
Toxins and Your Body
It is claimed that organic foods can also help to improve your body and health. When you stop eating food that has been produced using the conventional methods, then your body will naturally start to cleanse or detoxify your body from harmful chemicals.
Your body begins to get clean, chemical free, and pesticide free after a specific period of time.
Better Quality Food
There is a strong argument that organic food tastes better. I don't really support that argument myself. If I was given two plates of vegetables, one conventional, and one organic, I doubt if I could tell the difference by taste alone. However what I do know is that what I a putting into my mouth is chemical free. That is good enough for me.
Organic food is one hundred percent, completely natural. You are also given guarantees, as most organic foods must be certified and pass rigorous tests.
It is also worth knowing that organic foods are not just fruits and vegetables. There are snacks, drinks, and deserts that are all considered organic. There are also many companies that specialize in selling organic foods for babies and toddlers.
People who have made the switch to organic foods are often unhappy with the selection of organic foods that they are able to gain access to locally. That will vary a lot depending on where you live. In some areas you may find farmer's markets who specialise in organic food production. You may also find speciality organic food stores, as they specialize solely in the selling of natural foods.
It is also worth checking online as there a number of product manufacturers who sell their organic foods online, as well as organic food stores that sell a number of different brands. Just be careful though as there are also many who are not as organic as they say. Check for the certification stamps.
Disadvantages of Eating Organic Food
You will pay more and for many people trying to balance a family budget that can be very tough. It is ok to be high browed about eating only the best food and protecting the environment. However when you are struggling to make ends meet, this may just be out of the budget range.
My advice is to just be aware of the following. You can search for organic food sales at your local natural food stores or supermarkets. When you come across these then try and stock up. Organic food coupons can also be used. These coupons can be found online, with a standard internet search, in many stores, as well as in newspapers.
If you live in a small town why not try going directly to the source and find some organic farmers. This is great way to get your organic fruits and vegetables, as many small towns now have organic farmers.
Other than price, and trying to source organic foods, we could not find any other disadvantages.