Organic or not organic… Some think it is a way companies found to charge more for vegetables and fruits, others buy ONLY organic and even some of us don’t really know what it means.
What is the real difference between a 0,75eur/kg apple and a 2,79eur/kg bio apple? Is it really worth it to buy organic and why?
Nowadays when we step on the supermarket the options are infinite. While 30 years ago we would have 2 or 3 different kinds of lettuce, now we can find up to 8 different types. The demand is higher. People have been changing their lifestyle, a demanding fast-paced lifestyle asks for quantity and speed. This lifestyle is been ruling our society and the industries do not cease until they satisfy the consumer.
With the high demand the suppliers try to produce as much as they can. The result? Some pf the food is not only highly processed but also our vegetables and fruits are full of chemicals and pesticedes to make them grow faster and prettier.
Chemicals weren’t a problem until some studies came out discussing the consequences of consuming these substances. Skin, lung diseases and even cancer are associated with the consumption of pesticides found in our vegetables and fruits.
People start looking for the most natural way of eating and looking for organic foods. Foods that tend to be more expensive. So, why is this? Why is more expensive, why is there is the need to find and consume organic? Is it really worth it?
MASTER THE CONCEPTS
Before dig deep in these topic we need first to understand these 3 main concepts:
- Conventional: Food is grown in a system that uses technology and synthetic chemicals to increase the production. It may include genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and synthetic chemicals. Producers don’t follow the natural rhythm of the land.
- Organic: Products are obtained in a more traditional and sustainable environment. Producers follow the natural rhythms of the land and don’t include antibiotics, hormones, GMOs and synthetic insecticides and herbicides in their products.
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are foods that have been modified through genetic engineering. It is been often referred as “lab-food”. These foods are altered so they can be more resistant to pests and herbicides.
WHY EATING ORGANIC?
Well, we cannot forget that vegetables and fruits are the main source of nutrients to our body. Eating foods grown in traditional fields is better than eating no vegetables or fruits at all.
However, there are many reasons we should choose organic over conventional:
- Conventionally grown food have more pesticides than organic produce.
- Organic produce taste better
- Organic practices help nourish the soil and keep it viable for future harvests
- Conventional produce contributes for the environment pollution – chemicals have direct contact with water and soil
- Pesticides are directly related to health problems
PESTICIDES AND OUR HEALTH
Numerous studies have been proving that pesticides contribute to the deterioration of the consumer health. Some of the risks are:
- Hormone disruption
- Brain and nervous system toxicity
- Skin, eye and lung irritation
- Blood disorders
- Nerve disorders
- Reproductive effects
- Birth defect
THE ORGANIC PRICE
It is well known that organic food is more expensive the conventional. The reason is simple: not only the food is lower on production (because producers respect the growing rhythm of the food; the seasonality and the rotation on planted fields to maintain them healthy) but also because there are a significant pressure on the market in order to organic producers buy a vast number of licenses which are very expensive. Besides that, pesticides aren’t that expensive. Soin the marketplace the conventional producer doesn’t need to purchase so many licenses to put his/her product in the market and has much more produce since the foods grow fast due the pesticides.
In the end this producer is able to sell his/her apple for 79cents because didn’t have to pay for so many licenses and have so much of it!
THE BOTTOM LINE
I would like you to understand that I do support buying everything organic but I also understand that is very difficult to cope with the real prices. The trick is following EWG (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen list.
These lists are release every year to help us to understand which foods are the most and the least contaminated by pesticides. The math is: you avoid the Dirty Dozen, consume those only organically and follow the clean fifteen to save some money. Your body will be less likely to have the health problems described before, you will contribute to the organic industry and also to a healthier environment.
I invite you to check EWG website and explore some video material and information about it. In the meantime I leave you with these simple lists.
Always try to find the healthy and simple way to live your life!
*This info was obtained through my own search and information provided by my Nutrition School – Institute of Integrative Nutrition