We had a very dear friend visiting over the Christmas holiday and she was surprised at the number of organic food items we have around here. “Organic Coffee!” she said, surprised.
It got me thinking about why we eat organic foods. I’ve been eating natural and healthy food since college. I was ill in my freshman year and the school doctor suggested I eat a bit more carefully. So, I started researching diet, food, and various methods of alternative healing. I learned a lot about how the food you eat can effect your health.
When my kids were little the news started discussing pesticides being sprayed on apples and how it was potentially unsafe for kids. Then I heard the same about grapes and raisins. I started looking for organic foods. At that time (late 1980s) it wasn’t always easy or affordable! Organic farming was still relatively new and you could only get organic produce and products at the local health food store, but I got what I could and found that even if the produce sometimes looked a little funny (organic used to be less perfect most of the time) it tasted great.
As the kids got older there were more important reasons to look for organic alternatives.
We’ve been having a quiet takeover going on in our food industry. Monsanto and some of the other food giants have been replacing all of our commercial crops with genetically engineered food crops. Corn and soy have been the most prevalent and there are a lot of health concerns. What’s really ‘food for thought’ is that corn and soy are in most commercially processed foods. High Fructose corn syrup is in everything from frozen foods to soda.
Dr. Joseph Mercola (http://www.mercola.com/2000/dec/3/ge_food.htm) says:
“The technology of genetic engineering (GE), wielded by transnational “life science” corporations such as Monsanto and Novartis, is the practice of altering or disrupting the genetic blueprints of living organisms — plants, animals, humans, microorganisms — patenting them, and then selling the resulting gene-foods, seeds, or other products for profit.”
There’s also been genetic engineering going on in our milk products with recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH/BST). Shirley’s Wellness café has a great article. Here’s a snippet:
What is rBGH?
Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone is a genetically engineered copy of a naturally occurring hormone produced by cows. Manufactured by Monsanto Company, the drug is sold to dairy farmers under the name POSILAC, though you’ll also find it called BGH, rBGH, BST and rBST. When rBGH gets injected into dairy cows, milk production increases by as much as 10-15%. The use of rBGH on dairy cows was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late 1993 and has been in use since 1994. While rBGH is banned in Europe and Canada, and has been boycotted by 95 percent of US dairy farmers, the FDA, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture continue to license the drug (and other new genetically engineered foods) without pre-market safety tests. You can read the rest of the article at the link below.
Just like you can find food labeled organic (which also means that it’s NOT genetically engineered you can find milk and cheese products labeled ‘No rBGH/BST’.
I figure it’s another good reason to eat organically as much as you can. Every little bit helps.
In recent years organic has gone mainstream. Most supermarkets have an organic produce section and we can even get organic products at Costco. Farm stands and Farmers markets are another great way to find organic and local produce. The costs have become more reasonable too. The more we buy organic foods the more incentive there will be for farmers to switch their growing process and it’s a great opportunity for small/medium family farms that have been run out of business by the big corporations. It’s healthier for the growers not to be around all those pesticides, it’s better for the environment and it’s safer for us to eat.
And, don’t forget the good taste!
Here is a UK site that has a great article on the 10 Top reasons to go Organic: http://www.organicfood.co.uk/topten.html
Here’s another one, in the US by the Soil Association:
This is a great resource about all things organic. They have a great newsletter as well as tons of info (and action alerts if you’re so inclined) about genetically engineered food: http://www.organicconsumers.org
Read more great Real Food Wednesday posts here, http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/07/29/real-food-wednesday-july-29-2009/