#FromScratch: Why Organic?

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#FromScratch chronicles Stephie’s nutrition [r]evolution as she switches her thought process from “where should I eat” to “what should I eat”.  Follow her series as she braves the supermarket, starts to cook and explore a new way of eating.

 

So, suffice it to say this culinary neophyte is getting schooled in all things FOOD!

I have to believe that I’m not the only one with questions, so I ask them; I will share the answers that I find with you as well as the sources so you can ‘Do the Knowledge’ [and] make your own decision.

Today, I decided to look into what does organic mean. 

Why organic?

Two Reasons:

The Number One Reason to opt for organic is to avoid the carcinogenic pesticide residues commonly found on thousands of fruits and vegetables, pesticides that often persist after washing [and] even peeling in some instances.

The Number Two Reason, organic produce is verified Non-GMO [and] with so much controversy surrounding the safety of GMO foods, I am opting to consume Non-GMO foods.

 [Now, let’s be real!]

How does one make a decision as to whether or not to go organic?

For us neophytes, The Environmental Working Group has published their 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Produce which outlines the Dirty Dozen [and] the Clean Fifteen or download the app.

[I have a laminated copy of the graphic that I keep in my handbag; I still prefer old school tangibles for some things.] 

So,  what does the USDA Organic Label REALLY mean? 

Stefanie Sacks provides the most comprehensive review of labels that I’ve found in her book, ‘What the Fork Are You Eating?’ 

Note: USDA Certified Organics are independently verified via the USDA National Organic Program [NOP]. This speaks to trustworthiness.

Stefanie writes:

 “According to the USDA NOP, organic is a labeling term that a food or other agricultural product integrates cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promotes ecological balance, and conserves biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage, sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering are not permitted.”screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-11-46-59-am

“For plants, the organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides {certain NOP-approved chemicals are allowed to be used in organic farming and processing], and genetically modified organisms were not used.”

“For animals, it 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.”

Is organic always the better choice?

Not necessarily: UGH! Why can’t this be simple?!

I’m learning that sometimes freshness trumps organic, here’s my approach:

  1. Is it on the Dirty Dozen List? Yes or No.
  2. How fresh does it look?
  3. Individual Food Profile: For example, I know asparagus loses its nutritional qualities quickly as opposed to potatoes which do not. Thus, it’s a judgement call [and there’s no perfect answer!]

As I’ve shared in a previous #FromScratch Post, I am taking Rebecca Katz’s Cancer Fighting Kitchen Online Course. Through her course, I learned that produce and plants grown organically secrete protective chemicals that contribute to the nutritional benefit to our health and wellbeing.

David Servan-Shreiber reiterates this point in his book, ‘Anti-Cancer: a New Way of Life’, writing:

“In nature, when confronted with aggression, vegetables can neither fight nor flee. To survive, they must be armed with powerful molecules capable of defending them against bacteria, insects, and bad weather. These molecules are phytochemical compounds with antimicrobial, antifungal, and insecticidal properties, that act on the biological mechanisms of potential aggressors. They also have antioxidant properties…”.

One last thing from Serven-Shreiber’s book:

Foods [whole] trump contaminants every time.” ~T. Colin Campbell, PhD of Cornell.

So, that’s what I’ve been learning. Now, it’s your turn to ‘Do the Knowledge’ [and] make the decision that is right for you.

P.S. If you are unable to take Rebecca’s Online Course, I’d like to recommend her book, ‘The Cancer Fighting Kitchen’ to you.

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Anti-Cancer Club
    Anti-Cancer Club / November 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm /Reply

    #Organic rocks! But learning the food ropes, understanding food sources and making informed decisions takes some time. Congrats on diving into the deep end!

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