Organic Living - Practical tips
for starting and maintaining
an organic and healthy lifestyle
for starting and maintaining
an organic and healthy lifestyle
by R. K. Mendis
Have you thought about living the organic lifestyle but aren't sure how to get started?
It's actually much easier than you may think. Organic Living gives you practical tips you can use to live a more organic lifestyle. It provides helpful insight on what makes something organic as well as tips on incorporating organic foods into your current lifestyle. While reading this book, you will discover:
- Why you should stop eating foods treated with chemicals and pesticides.
- What it means when something is labeled organic and when it's "made with organic ingredients".
- How to read food labels and what you should be looking for when you read them.
- Which foods to eat to help boost your energy, improve your health and improve your appearance.
- Recipes that will help you put the tips shared throughout the book into practice.
Chapter 1: Why Eat Organic?
Eat organic or not to eat organic?
Is that the question?
I think that a better question would be, what is organic and how will I know when I see it?
Ok, that’s actually two questions but the point I’m making is that when it comes to eating organic or living an organic lifestyle, before we can determine whether we should eat organic we must first determine what makes something organic.
If you’ve gone to the grocery store to buy organic food, the first thing you probably noticed is that it’s often much more expensive than non-organic food.
Why is that, you may ask?
First let me dispel the notion that organic food costs more because it’s labeled organic. That’s not entirely true. The process it takes to call something organic is typically what makes it more expensive. But before I take you through that process, I want to first clarify what organic really means.
What is organic?
Essentially a food is considered organic when it’s produced through organic farming methods. Organic farming methods are ones that involve limited amounts of synthetic or chemical treatments such as pesticides and fertilizers.
Why does that matter?
Over the years, scientific research has found that some pesticides and fertilizers don’t have the most beneficial effects on people. In fact, some of them can be downright harmful. When a pesticide or fertilizer is deemed potentially harmful, it’s often banned or severely restricted. One such pesticide is called POPs pesticides. POPs means Persistent Organic Pollutants.
Over time it was discovered that these pesticides don’t break down very easily and can remain in the environment for long periods of time. Some of them have been shown to evaporate in hot climates, only to travel down to colder climates and accumulate there. They have also been shown not to be fat soluble, so they will build up in your body and cause issues over time. People who have consumed POPs have experienced issues like infertility, hormonal disruption and cancer.
One type of POP called dieldrin was used in Africa to eradicate locusts. Once it was discovered that dieldrin was harmful to the environment and the people living in it, it was banned, but because of its makeup, it tends to linger for a really long time. Even when it’s no longer being used, it’s still a hazard.
When you eat organic, you reduce your chances of consuming potentially dangerous pesticides or fertilizers. Unfortunately, pesticides and fertilizers aren’t always discovered to be harmful until after they have been used for an extended period of time.
If it’s safer why are organic foods so expensive?
When a farmer wants to sell organic foods, there’s a certification process that must be done. The USDA has instituted a National Organic Program, designed to ensure the integrity of foods being sold as organic in the United States. This program has established a set of guidelines that must be adhered to by any product being sold as organic.
It’s a fairly extensive list of USDA requirements, but here’s an overview as explained by the USDA:
The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides and genetically modified organisms were not used.
The USDA organic seal verifies that producers met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed and provided animals with access to the outdoors.
Organic multi-ingredient foods
The USDA organic seal verifies that the product has 95% or more certified organic content. If the label claims that it was made with specified organic ingredients, you can be sure that those specific ingredients are certified organic.
As you can see, organic food can come in three forms: crops, livestock and multi-ingredient foods. All of these types of foods have a unique set of requirements that must be met before they can be sold as organic. While there are general food safety regulations that everyone must follow, the organic regulations are an added layer. This extra layer requires additional costs that the farmer must cover, which ultimately affects you as the consumer.
|Figure 1-1 USDA Organic Seal|
The image in Figure 1-1 is what you can look for when you want to eat organic. When you see this label it means that the food is 95% or more organic and has been certified based on USDA standards. If a food is between 94% and 70% organic, it will say “made with organic ingredients”. Those foods can’t use the seal or the organic label, but they can include the word organic in their ingredient list. If the food is less than 70% organic, it may not be labeled as organic at all, but the ingredients that are organic may be listed as such on the food label.
So when a food is labeled organic you can rest assured that it has gone through a regulated process to ensure that it is indeed organic. This is why eating organic foods is ultimately better for you. Not only is the food grown with less chemicals, it’s a much more regulated process.
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About the Author
R. K. Mendis was born in London, U.K., and specializes in writing books in the health niche. Some of the books include Health Benefits of Juicing, Health Benefits of Coconut Oil, and The Mediterranean Diet. He has recently published Organic Living, a new book on the organic healthy lifestyle.
Stay tuned for a lot more books on healthy living.