- Authors: Christopher and Dana VanDeCar (Owners and Founders of Optimally Organic)
Earlier this week, we showed you 5 amazing reasons to go organic. If you’re trying to make healthier choices in your day-to-day life, the previous article can give you a lot of motivation to start thinking about some better, ultimately tastier-ways to get the nutrients, vitamins, and other essentials you need. In terms of organic food benefits, the list is long. The food generally tastes better, while the impact on the ecosystem is minimized to a significant degree. Organic food and organic farming ultimately make it much easier to avoid pesticides and heavy metals, as well.
If you stop your research at the 5 reasons to go organic we’ve already discussed, you’re stopping with a lot of useful information as your footing.
However, why stop there? We have several more compelling benefits of going organic to consider, particularly in terms of your general wellbeing and health. We also want to leave anyone eager to find the best organic food store in their area with some tips for going/shopping organic. These tips are going to be particularly helpful to anyone who can’t find organic food stores or organic food delivery in their area, and who need to do the best with limited resources.
Let’s start with a different perspective on the old issue of chemicals used in commercial farming.
1.) You Will Avoid Literally Hundreds Of Chemicals
Let’s be blunt: There are a lot of chemicals being used in commercial farming. That doesn’t even get us into the territory of processing and manufacturing. By the time a lot of food gets to you, it’s pretty useless from a nutritional standpoint. A lot of that starts with many of the chemicals that are used in commercial farming and elsewhere.
Currently, over six hundred active chemicals are registered to be used in American agricultural practices. We are talking about literally billions of pounds. The average use of chemicals in American commercial farming comes out to roughly sixteen pounds in chemical pesticides per person. A lot of those chemicals were approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency, without lengthy diet testing either. What that means is that the chemicals were not tested with regards to their impact on long-term consumption (through the food we eat) by human beings. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) indicated that some ninety-percent of the chemicals that have been applied to the foods we eat have not been properly tested to determine the full impact of any potential long-term health effects that can occur through consistent consumption. That’s a lot to take in, so let’s simplify it a little: Most of the chemicals being used on food have not been tested extensively enough to confirm that they are safe to use!
Also, the FDA is woefully behind the mark of proper testing of pesticide residues on the food we eat. Special testing measures are required for some of the chemicals being added to our food, and the FDA is rarely willing to spring for the money involved.
True, organic farming and foods are not inherently flawless, particularly when the USDA gets involved. Also true is the fact that the food industry is still making every effort possible to take organics as a concept for themselves, those things are still far less problematic. You simply do not have to worry about chemicals in the same way. This fact should be included in any organic food definition you might develop for yourself.
2.) You Help Improve Water Quality
This is not a complicated reason by any means. Rain falls on crops. When this occurs, a certain degree of soil and nutrients are carried on to other places. This can be downstream to other bodies of water, but this water can also be moved to underground aquifers. In addition to the soil and nutrients, chemicals can also be carried to these sources, which are crucial elements in establishing an essential level of quality in the water we use.
Remember when we told you that there are over 600 chemicals approved for use in American agriculture?
There are other problems going on with our water, as you may or may not know. While we keep those problems in mind, we certainly shouldn’t lose sight of the journey those chemicals can take from the fields to our drinking water. Ever heard of The Dead Zone, which is located in the Gulf of Mexico? Millions of acres that have been sprayed with chemicals, making their way from the fields to the mighty Mississippi. It is a grim sight, and it is one of the more somber reasons to go organic that we’ve covered so far.
Organic food comes from organic sources. While chemicals are still being used in many instances, the range of dangerous chemicals that are potentially used in organic farming are not nearly as dominant or devastating as they are in commercial farming. The benefits to the water are most certainly there.
3.) You Are Keeping Rural Landscapes Rich In Biodiversity And Loveliness
Compared to commercial/traditional farming practices, organic farming is far more effective at maintaining biodiversity within rural areas. Obviously, these rural areas are where a lot of our farming occurs. Not only does organic maintain and encourage biodiversity to a certain extent, but it also helps to maintain the beauty and health of these landscapes. On many successful organic farms, various crops are brought together with livestock, as well as other animals.
All of this amounts to a good way to promote soil health. However, there is obviously so much more that can be done in that aspect.
4.) You Can Avoid Endocrine Disruptors
The bulk of our two articles detailing both reasons to go organic and benefits of going organic involve food, water, and things like meat and dairy. At the same time, we should also remember that going organic, which includes those benefits, is not limited to those things. Going organic can also mean paying close attention to the supplements we take (since we can’t get everything from the soil alone), in addition to the cosmetics and personal care products that we use during a normal day.
Many of these organic benefits that we’ve discussed are directly related to our organs. Our livers, kidneys, hearts, and other vital pieces of our humanity are extraordinary machines on their own. Yet they need help to function at their very best. This is where it pays to know the benefits of organic food and other products. This is where it can also be helpful to remember to pay close attention to the supplements and similar items we purchase and use.
All of this brings us to the skin. It is both the largest external human organ, as well as the largest human organ overall. You would hope that the FDA would keep that in mind, in terms of regulatory measures. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Unlike drugs and biologics, the regulations on cosmetics and personal care products is downright disconcerting in its emptiness. Phthalates are a good example of endocrine disruptors. It is a chemical commonly found in plastic, as we have mentioned before, and it causes a lot of problems. This family of chemicals are often found in personal care products/cosmetics, and they have been linked to substantial damage to our livers, our kidneys, our lungs, and even the reproductive system.
And remember: Phthalates represents just a portion of the chemicals that are often used in products we apply to our body’s largest organ.
Going organic can avoid a lot of those chemicals. With supplements specifically, processes like cold-water extraction, as well as packaging that completely avoids plastic (both of which are essentials utilized by Optimally Organic with every product), you can avoid those chemicals entirely.
5.) You Are Doing More For Pets And Other Animals
While this is another aspect of organic farming that needs work, there is no question that comparatively speaking, livestock raised on organic farms are healthier and happier. They must be, in order to meet to certain demands associated with the organic label.
There are also a lot of good reasons to go vegan. Nonetheless, for the time being, even those who want to switch to organic food are going to want dairy and meat. Lean organic meat is healthier, and it also translates to animals that are treated considerably more humane than their conventional farming counterparts.
These benefits to soil and water can be useful to human beings. They can also be useful to our pets, as well. Furthermore, things like organic dog food and organic cat food can steer your friends clear of many, if not all, of the carcinogens that make their way into conventional pet food products. This in turn means reducing the possibility of adverse reactions to those carcinogens. Organic pet food can also come from high-protein sources, which will avoid harmful fillers and problematic byproducts. This will make the nutritional benefits of such foods more potent. Empty calories, which play a role in the mounting issue of pet obesity, are also largely, or even completely, eliminated.
Easy Tips for Going Organic
By now, you can see that the reasons and benefits of going organic are multifaceted. Again, it’s not nearly enough, in terms of what we need to restore a meaningful balance to entities like the soil and the water, but the benefits are clearly still significant, and worth taking seriously. There are short-term and long-term benefits, to be sure.
More to the point, as you no doubt understand at this point, the benefits impact literally every single aspect of our lives. Our bodies, minds, land, air, water, and even pets all profit from taking organic food and other products seriously.
Making the switch to a more organic lifestyle can be challenging. To that end, while this is not a complete list by any means, here are some basic tips for going organic to help emphasize what we’ve covered here, while also getting you started on the right foot:
- Patronize farmers’ markets: One nice perk from the recent organic food movement is the proliferation of farmers’ markets. Remember that many of your local farmers cannot afford “Organic” labeling from the USDA. You can certainly find farmers’ markets in your area.
- “What about organic food stores near me?” Certainly, you can also try to more shopping at the organic grocery stores in your area. This is sometimes easier said than done, but it’s at least worth finding out if there are any legitimate alternatives to massive supermarkets.
- Shopping online: Organic food delivery is becoming increasingly accessible, and increasingly affordable. If you can’t find organic food stores in your area, make sure you’ve exhausted your online delivery possibilities, as well.
- Buying in season: When buying organic produce and other things, try to go with what’s actually in season whenever possible.
- Think about growing your own herbs: This is not just a good way to ensure you prepare more meals at home, but it’s honestly easy to grow a number of herbs on your own, and under just about any circumstances imaginable.
- Buying in bulk: You don’t want to do this for everything, but there are always going to be situations in which buying bulk is economically sound, while also the best way to take advantage of the options available to you.
- Whole foods over packaged foods: As we’ve said before, the plastic used to store many packaged products can cause all sorts of health problems. It also creates destructive waste. Buying whole foods will avoid both of those things.
- Meal planning is good planning: Planning out your meals for the week is a good way to encourage yourself to go organic as often as possible.
- When you can’t go organic: For your thicker-skinned vegetables, you can get rid of a lot of pesticides by utilizing a solution that combines one part vinegar with three parts water. Make sure to use a scrub brush.
- Vitamins, supplements, care products, and more: We can’t rely on the soil to give us everything our bodies need, so we must turn to supplements and similar products to fill in the gap. As we mentioned, organic care products are always worth shopping for. The same can be said for vitamins and supplements. Make sure you know the processes being used to bring your vitamins and other supplements to market. You should also avoid any health supplements that come in plastic containers.