Organic Foods…

When we hear the term organic food we automatically think, better for us. But are organic food/veggies really better and what are a few health benefits of organic food?
 
To make healthier choices we need to educate ourselves and also a lil encouragement.

First off lets consult Webster to define the word organic.
 
or·gan·ic:
of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides <organic farming> <organic produce>.

I did some checking the USDA makes a clear statement that non organic food is as healthy as organic food in most cases.
Though, in my opinion, non organic would most definitely be better for you if it would contain at least less toxins and pesticides that are used on conventionally grown foods. Also,  less “tampered with” would mean more vitamins and minerals retained.
In shopping my local Farmers market, I can see consumers are buying and eating more organic/veggies and healthier for you items which results in better health benefits.
 
In the US, anyone who wants to label their food organic must be certified and abide by a set of USDA guidelines. Thee guidelines dictate how food should be produced and handled before it ends up in your grocery cart.
 
What does the labeling really mean?
According to the USDA…
“Organic” means it must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients. It is permitted to use the USDA seal.
“Made With Organic” means it must be made from at least 70 percent organic ingredients. It is not permitted to use the USDA seal.
If the product contains less than 70 percent of organic ingredients, the ingredient label can still list those items that are organic, but it will not get the USDA seal. (see link below for more info)
 
It is the general perception that organic food is a bit more expensive than standard produce and I have found this to be true. However, if one could cut down on junk food, take-out, alcohol, and cigarettes you could use the funds saved to buy the organic items.
Organic food should not be a luxury buy. It’s how food’s supposed to be!
 
Benefits of organic food are based on the general beliefs of the consumers, farmers and
retailers. These benefits are:

  • Better health: Since organic food is not prepared using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it does not contain any traces of chemicals and might not affect the human body.
  • Better taste: People strongly believe that organic food tastes better than non organic food. The biggest reason might be because organic food is often sold locally resulting in  fresh produce at the market.
  • Environment safety: As harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air and water pollution and kindess to the enviorment.
  • Animal Welfare: Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat, organic poultry, and organic fish. People can feel happy and relieved that the animals are not confined to a caged life and that they might eat organic foods/feed.

Tips when shopping for Organic foods.
“Here’s a fast way to find organic produce at the grocery store: Look at those pesky stickers. A 4-digit number means the food was conventionally grown; a 5-digit number beginning with 9 means it was grown organically. “If you buy a conventional banana at the grocery store, the sticker will read 4011. An organic one will say 94011,” says Barbara Haumann, spokesperson for the Organic Trade Association”.
 
More Ways to Save on Organic Foods.
Go generic Nearly every mainstream supermarket now carries organic store-brand options, including Safeway’s O Organics line, Central Market Organic selections, Wal-Mart’s Great Value private label, Whole Foods and PCC. Organics are also available within Kroger store brands.
 
Join a price club Organic options can be found at Costco and Sam’s Club.
 
Buy in bulk You can purchase many organic grains (including brown and wild rice and whole oats), pastas, flours, dried fruits, and nuts in the bulk sections of stores for far less. Organic brown rice in bulk is about 99 cents per pound.
 
Shop Smart
Buy organic produce in season (preferably local), when it’s most affordable–usually at half the cost.
 
Shop Smart
Choose organic foods without fancy packaging. A bag of 10 2-ounce single-serving packets of organic baby carrots is $5, but for $3.50 less, you can buy a 1-pound bag of whole organic carrots. 
 
Shop Smart
Download coupons Many organic dairy companies such as Stonyfield Farm <stonyfield.com> and Organic Valley <organicvalley.coop> offer printable coupons on their sites for as much as $1 off a half gallon of milk or 16-ounce container of yogurt.

Now, go forth and read labels and have fun shopping! You’ll get the hang of it in no time. You’re body will thank you!

 USDA Organic Labeling info:
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004446&acct=nopgeninfo

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