By virtue of what I do, I often find myself in conversations with people (family, friends, random people in the supermarket) about health and wellness. I’ve recognized the fact that there are many terms that need to be explained and misconceptions that need to be erased. I think if everyone has a better understanding of these words and terms it will make deciding what’s healthy and what isn’t easier. Take the word “organic” for instance. I like to think of it as food the way nature intended… but people seem to have a lot of difficulty understanding how this or that could be organic. Organic food is simply the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made
fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, livestock feed additives, irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs. Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control. So basically, any type of food that can be grown can be grown organically.
Lately, there has been a pretty decent selection of organic foods at our supermarkets. I also shop at the market and from roadside hawkers. People always ask how I can be so sure what I’m purchasing is indeed organic. There’s a method that I use to guide my food purchases. First of all, I don’t worry about seasonal crops like sweet oranges and mangoes. I can’t imagine that our farmers would be fertilizing those trees. I believe they just pick the fruit that the trees bear. For cash crops like lettuce and tomatoes, I try to purchase from small farms where the farmers don’t use chemical fertilizers. That way I minimize my exposure to the chemicals. I often worry about some of the types of fertilizers that are still allowed to be used here and their documented ill effects, but more on this later.
Many studies have proven that eating organic food is in fact a healthier choice. According to research, the consumption of organic food can contribute to more intake of nutritionally advantageous antioxidants and limited exposure to heavy metals. The positive impacts of antioxidants obtained from organic foods include prevention of heart disease, cancer, vision problems, premature aging, and cognitive malfunction. Eating organic food, according to studies, even reduces the risk of heart disease, strengthens the immune system and gives you a more pleasurable eating experience because the food tastes better. Many people complain about the cost of organic foods which is often the “convenience” organic foods in the supermarket and imported fruit and vegetables. If this is an issue, try to reduce your exposure to toxic chemical by eating as much responsibly grown local foods as possible. It’s refreshing to see how many people are actually growing their own food these days. Perhaps that could be a consideration for those of you with the land space, time and inclination. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your farmers and vendors what methods were used to grow you food.
— By: Candy Nicholas