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Certified Personal Trainer. Health Foodie. Wife. Mom.

Twinkie’s Challenge: Buy Organic

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There are a lot of people still debating on whether they should buy Organic or not. Let’s set the record straight once and for all when it comes to Organic.

Definition

Organic food is grown, processed, and packaged without the use of agricultural chemicals, artificial colors or flavors, genetic modification, irradiation, or other synthetic ingredients.

Per the National Organic Program, here are some definitions that should help clear up their labeling:

“‘100 Percent Organic’ must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients and processing aids.

Products labeled ‘Organic’ must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on the National List including specific non-organically produced agricultural products that are not commercially available in organic form.”

Later, the National Organic Program addressed the term “made with organic ingredients”. They wrote:

“Processed products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients” and list up to three of the organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel.”

Something good to know: If you use the USDA Organic seal on your products that are not produced or handled within the National Organic Program’s regulations, you can have a civil penalty of up to $11,000 US Dollars. Ouch!

Just so you know, products labeled as “Naturally Grown” are not regulated. Some smaller farms who can’t afford to join the National Organic Program to be labeled as “USDA Organic”, can label their products as “Naturally Grown”. Since it isn’t regulated though, there are no guarantees on what you are really getting with this label.

Organic Farms

Having an Organic Farm is a strict business, and as you now know, you can’t just mark up your products as “USDA Organic” just for the fun of it. Organic farms do not use synthetic chemicals or drugs. They instead treat their soil, plants, and animals with natural products, which are a much safer alternative. They have surprise inspections by Inspectors who test the water, soil, plants (or animals) to make sure that everything is within USDA Organic standards. Once they do this, they review receipts from anything from feed to other records of reports and tests. This takes time and money, done twice a year, and the organic farmer pays for the fees involved to be able to label their products as “USDA Organic”.

Veggies in Market

Nutrition

The debate on whether Organic is really worth the usual additional costs seems to boil down to the common question, “Is Organic healthier for you?” or “Is Organic more nutritious?”. The answer to both of the questions is a simple “Yes”.

According to Virginia Worthington MS, ScD, CNS, in her article “Nutritional Quality of Organic versus Conventional Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains” in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, she found in her studies:

“…the vitamin C content of an organic fruit or vegetable is 27% more, on average, than a comparable conventionally grown fruit or vegetable.”

She also found from the various produce she studied, that  you can, on average, find about 21% more Iron, 29% more Magnesium, and 13% more Phosphorus. You will find about 15% less Nitrates. This is all very good news for your body, and more reason to stick to Organic produce.

The Nutrients come from the soil, which then in turns feeds the plant what it needs to produce healthy good-for-you produce which we get to enrich our own bodies with. If the soil is infested with pesticides and harmful chemicals, it will be lacking in nutrients, and the produce will in turn be depleted of nutrients.

Keep in Mind

When you do see “Organic” Chocolate bars, for example, it doesn’t mean it is all of a sudden it will be considered “healthy” or even “low calorie”. It still is sugar, candy, and not to be considered as food. Organic Candy is still Candy! Keep that in mind while you are in the grocery store, and try to stick with foods in its natural form. For example, choose fresh Organic Pears versus canned Pears.

Your body deserves the best.

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2 Comments

  1. Organic food is especially good for people with sensitive stomachs/IBS, like me. Processed foods have too many harsh chemicals that my tum just does not agree with.

  2. Have you read ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safron Foer? If not,you should.