Why Organic Food…

**Note: I use the term organic because that’s what most people are familiar with.  When I say organic, I mean foods that are grown naturally without chemical pesticides and harsh treatment.  This includes naturally grown foods and other food designations that encompass this method of food cultivation.**

A lot of people like to write off organic food as overpriced nonsense that the bourgeoisie like to use as a status symbol.  While the use of organic food as a status symbol may be true, organic food is not BS, as one of the physicians I worked with declared one morning.  The reasoning was that if food was all grown organically, the world’s population would starve and that we wouldn’t have gotten to this place in the first place.  That sort of unthinking declaration made me really mad.  I considered responding with a persuasive argument, but as the absolute lowest person on the totem pole, I had nothing to really gain from trying to educate someone who was going to insist that organic food is nothing but a scam.

Organic food is hardly a scam.  Sure, considering the types of things that tend to harm people first, the distinction between organic and conventional food is low priority.  Most of the people I see in the hospital have other more pressing issues to resolve – substance abuse, poverty, gun shot wounds, infection, heart disease.

Organic food does make a difference though.  Organic food means food grown without heavy chemicals.  I have a farmer friend who told me that pesticides were really not too big of a concern for the consumer because most of it is broken down by the time the food reaches the consumer.  The bigger problem was the farm workers who applied pesticides.  Those were the people who got all the ill effects of pesticides.  While on a macro level, this might be true, I imagine that on a microscopic level, that whatever is left of pesticides on foods is not good.  Not to mention that foods grown in an unnatural state tend not to be very nutritious.  (If you want better researched and thought out information on this, click on the links at the bottom of this post.)

If you’ve ever grown your own garden or had organic food from your local farmer’s market, I’m telling you organic makes a difference.  Same goes for “organic” meat.  This past Thanksgiving, I debated the merits of hauling a free-range, organically fed turkey home to my family or just going the easy route and letting them buy a turkey locally.  (I’m sure there are free range, organically-fed turkeys where my family is, but I don’t know where to get one.)  After a lot of back and forth, I bought a turkey and packed it in the trunk of my car with 18 pounds of ice and drove home to my family hoping that the turkey wouldn’t go bad.  The effort paid off.  Everyone raved about how the turkey was the best they had ever had.  Of course, while we can’t discount the role that my sister’s amazing culinary chops had in making a tasty turkey, I have to say, the turkey was exceptionally good.

I know my Thanksgiving tale is just one example, but I can tell the difference between organic foods and conventional foods.  The taste is different and all of a sudden those vegetables and meats that I choked down before are actually appealing to me.  Organic foods also means humane treatment of animals, healthier farm workers, and happier people overall.  I think that’s a pretty picture that I want to be a part of.

Yes, organic food is more expensive, but if you can afford it, why not treat your body to the best that nature has to offer?  Why not support the farmers who are out there trying to make a difference?  Sure, there are big commercial organic farms.  I try to buy local and organic before resorting to commercially grown organic food, but even that is better than the alternative – a world filled with toxins where there are people getting sick and exposed to pesticides just so you can eat.

I might be cynical about a lot of things, but you can taste the difference in your food and that alone is worth eating organic.  Local and organic is even better, but the local foods discussion is another discussion for another time.

Finally, for some intelligent and coherent discussions on organic foods, read the recent bunch of articles posted by Mark Sisson over at Mark’s Daily Apple:

What do you think about organic food?

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6 thoughts on “Why Organic Food…

  1. “The reasoning was that if food was all grown organically, the world’s population would starve and that we wouldn’t have gotten to this place in the first place. ”

    I don’t agree about the starving part, but I agree with the rest of the statement. If all the world’s food was grown organically, WE WOULDN’T HAVE GOTTEN TO THIS PLACE (this individual is duped into thinking where we are now is better than where we used to be). The world has become a bunch of sick people (literally starving for nutrition) dying early from horrible diseases. Conventional farming is a disaster and unsustainable. There’s a great documentary called “FRESH” about the destructive ways of farming one large crop, and how farming multiple crops (providing array of nutrition) and rotating different animals all throughout the fields is effective in preventing disease and bugs, etc., and helps maintain a healthy balance in the soil. But if you grow acres of one crop year after year, you have to use some sort of pesticide to kill off the bugs that eventually multiply because there’s nothing keeping them in check. Of course this only then produces “super bugs” that become resistant and it becomes an even worse situation. More pesticides! More chemicals! More disease! Why don’t we just work WITH nature instead of fighting against it? What makes us think we are so darn smart to insist that our contrary ways can produce better results? You can’t buck the natural order of things and expect good results! You end up with UNnatural results which = death. Yes, I’m ranting.

    We should stop growing all this worthless GMO corn and other grains to feed the starving in the world (which isn’t nutritious and causes it’s own host of problems) and instead teach the starving in the world how to maintain healthy farms and gardens so they can help feed themselves and actually live healthy and happy lives.

    But anyway, the best example I know of that proves the destruction of the West’s farming practices is WHEAT. People wanted to feed the starving in the world so they decided that growing tons of one crop would be the easiest way to do it. To increase production, etc., it was hybridized so bad that it really isn’t wheat anymore! And now millions of people are having insane adverse reactions to wheat and getting fat and sick from it. Yeah, that plan totally backfired.

    People who think that modern farming practices are actually improving the world are completely clueless about the real situation. If someone said that to me I would be mad too. But in your situation, I might not have said anything either 😛 I mean, where do you even start with people who have that mindset?

    • I totally agree with you. As much as I’d like to change the world, I think that at this point I just pick and choose my battles. Some people will believe what they want to believe. I think it’s especially scary that someone who is caring for other people can’t recognize the big difference that naturally grown foods make in someone’s overall health, but it would probably take a very large miracle to change a lot of the minds in medicine. For now, I’ll be working on those people who are actually open to considering that there might be more to health than just medicines and surgeries.

  2. Oh yeah, and taste difference between conventional and organic is HUGE. I discovered that our homegrown brocolli was so potent and strong I could barely get it down! The flavor is way more intense, and especially in animal products like beef. And even though our chickens aren’t exactly “organic” (still eat grain), their eggs are better than any I’ve tasted and their yokes don’t break so easy as other eggs. When it come down to it, organic home grown food is the absolute best and anyone who has had experience with both conventional and organic should be able to tell the difference.

    • I know what you mean about more intense tastes. I was practically a vegetarian before I started eating the way I do now and the shift to eating meat was really difficult for me. Make that grass fed meat and the pungent odor made me nearly gag. Even though I don’t relish the smell of meats like some people do, I can tell the difference between what is good and what is not and the taste is definitely different.

      Is it easy to grow broccoli? My mom had a vegetable garden when I was growing up and we had tomatoes, zucchini, sesame leaves, hot peppers, a bitter green called sook, and some other things, but never any broccoli. I think it would be cool to grow my own broccoli.

      I’m still totally jealous that you have your own chickens to lay eggs for you. Although, I think that I wore myself out on eggs for a while because lately I don’t feel like eating them like I usually do. Of course, that might be more to do with the weather and my weird mood lately than eating too many eggs. hehe.

      • The brocolli will first grow HUGE leaves and it takes a while before the heads come in. They seem like they’ll never get big, but then they are big before you know. You can eat the leaves too, though I never did. I was planning on juicing them. Truth be told, I didn’t grow the brocolli. My in-laws pretty much did all the work this year (mostly because my bro-in-law just does stuff at odd hours and forgot to ask for my help). Next summer we’re planning on our own garden here at our new home, I’m sooo excited! Will probably be more work than I realize, to do it on my own, but I’m ready to tackle it. Unless I get pregnant, that might slow it down a bit, haha. We already planted a crazy amount of garlic this fall, we’ll have a lot to harvest next year. yay!!!!

        We replaced a lot of the chickens this year, many were old and weren’t producing anymore. The new chickens finally started laying and now we’re back with a huge stock of eggs! So happy to have extra, because I can go through eggs really fast!

      • Sounds amazing. Sadly, I will have to wait until I live somewhere with a yard that I can plant to grow things myself, but it’s fun to hear about!

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