Food and Drink

The Basics of Organic Diets – What You Need to Know

We all live in a world of chemicals and genetic engineering. We have learned to accept the fact that in order to prevent pests from ravaging our fields, pesticides have to be sprayed on a regular basis. To ensure that we get the best, juiciest and largest produce, fertilizers have to be used as well. Because of the demand for meat and the shortage of grass and free ranging space, cows in big farms have to be fed artificial feeds and given antibiotics when they get sick. All these contemporary practices have long been accepted. However, as advances in technology and engineering grew, we have also come to realize that there these fertilizers, pesticides and artificial means of feeding farm animals have resulted in sickness and the proliferation of toxins in our environment.

Knowing the adverse effects of these unnatural methods have led to the organic movement. Organic foods are those that have undergone only minimal processing. As such, they are free of preservatives or artificial ingredients and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, works towards the optimization of “health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil, plants, animals and people.” When you refer to an organic diet, you are actually choosing fruits, veggies, grains, meats, eggs and other dairy products that have been grown minus the fertilizers, growth hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and genetic engineering. Instead, traditional farming techniques like crop rotation and animal manure as fertilizers are used to produce foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Even more important, choosing organically-grown and raised plants and animals reduces exposure and ingestion of toxins and other harmful chemicals that get into the food from these standard practices common in big farms nowadays. Because these contaminants can potentially alter the processes natural to these plants and animals, cell mutations may result which, when ingested by humans, lead to the development of cancer and other diseases. Genetically-modified foods are particularly under intense scrutiny in this area.

An organic diet, research has shown, is more nutritious. Organic strawberries have higher levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants compared to traditionally-farmed varieties. Blueberries, cherries, peaches, grapes and apples for fruits and kale, potatoes and spinach for vegetables are also more nutritious when bought organic. Organic meat also reduces your exposure to antibiotics and growth hormones. Drinking organic milk also minimizes your risk of also guzzling in rBGH. This growth hormone has been linked to the growth of many cancers.

The problem with going full blast on an organic diet, however, is that organically-grown produce undoubtedly costs more. This has discouraged many people from enjoying its full spectrum of benefits. While a few dollars’ difference shouldn’t really matter where the health and wellbeing of your family is concerned, you can still find ways to save if you plan on going organic. First, buy fresh produce when they are in season and are less expensive. A farmer’s market also offers locally-grown organic products at reasonable prices. Finally, you can also cut back on organic meat consumption or make your portion slices smaller. This way, you don’t have to spend as much.

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