BUY ORGANIC AND LOCAL
"You've heard plenty about the effects of conventional farming on the environment and how buying locally grown organic produce helps right things by limiting the use of chemicals (in farming) and fuel (in transport). But this is a wellness book, and there are health reasons to opt for local and organic too: Conventional fruits and vegetables are often grown in mineral-deficient soil. They could look perfectly lovely but be nutrient poor. And the transportation process -trucking, prolonged refrigeration, treatment for longevity-further depletes them. Shop your local greenmarket whenever you can. Stick with organic options if you can afford to. And if it's possible for you to go hyperlocal (as in veggies grown in your own backyard), that's fantastic."
What I Know For Sure: Any fruit or vegetable is waaaay better than any product that exists in the outer perimeter of the store. If you eliminate refined, processed foods and add in any whole food item, you are on a better road than the one you were traveling. Yes, organic provides you with more nutrients which means more vitamins and minerals, and health benefits (i.e., antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants) that are going to pack a bigger punch! BUT if you can't afford to go organic completely, try to follow the dirty dozen, purchasing those products with the highest pesticide rates organically. Here is a chart that you can print which lists foods according to their pesticide rating: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/ or if your phone is your lifeline, you may want to download the dirty dozen/clean 15 app on the phone.
There is a healthy debate regarding organic vs. non-organic, but it seems to teeter from one extreme to another; I think trying to live somewhere in the middle provides us with a lifestyle that is easier to sustain. If you want to pursue finding out more on the subject there is a ton of reading that can be done to make your own decision or consider joining a local health group to find out more.
Did you know that the average apple takes 6-14 months to get to our grocery store shelves? With that in mind, "sprayed" apples from a local farmer look great. They pick, pack and bring them to market.
Personally, the one place I don't usually compromise is in the meat department. I have read horror stories about some conditions that our animals are raised in. Fed terrible slop (mixed in with dead animal parts, AAAAAHHHH! & grains that I wouldn't feed to my dogs), and the conditions are so horrible because money is king and high yield is expected - not hoped for. In those conditions animals can't keep up with healthy living because they are being fed growth hormones, antibiotics and not allowed to roam freely in a pasture to graze on the land or vegetation as they were intended to do. The chemicals in the meat then transfer into our bloodstream when we eat products from those animals.
I buy a lot of my meat from Orchard Fresh (it's not organic, but they guarantee fresh meat that does not contain the yucky stuff (sold as being USDA process verified and rBGH free) and they are always willing to provide special orders or fresh cuts when available. Orchard Fresh meat department has that old fashioned feel to it where customers count, and I like that. We also purchase our meat from other local sources, T-Meadow (http://tmeadowfarm.com/), Green Heron (http://greenherongrowers.com/), and Farmers and Artisans Market (http://www.farmersandartisans.com/).
Would you prefer to buy eggs from Chickens raised in these conditions?
Or these conditions?
Another thing to take into account when buying food items are labels. Antibiotic free and natural are buzz terms that marketers use to appeal to the consumer. They may not really mean what they imply. Become a label guru, it's not hard or time consuming, and will help you feed yourself and family with healthier ingredients.
What Pam Proposes: Check out this website - http://www.bestofwny.com/farmers_market/ to find out more information about Farmers Markets near you. Most will be opening within a month or so. Give a few a try - a few because they all have a little different feel to them. Also, Experiment. Buy an organic food item, one that is non-organic, and one that is local. Bread and strawberries (just a couple) are good items to use. Leave both undisturbed, out on the counter for one week. Check each day, make note of how things are progressing day by day and what differences you notice most among them. This is fun project to do with kids too!
Which do you think is not organic and why do you think that?
What do You Think? You may say to yourself that you eat non-organic and refined foods and you are just fine. That's today. What about 10, 15 or 20 years down the road? Will what you eat today affect you adversely over time? Another question to ponder may be one that has to do with genetics. Will lifetimes of eating poorly over generations cause a genetic change that may cause an increase in disease and other oddities in future generations?
I would love to get some feedback so I'll keep trying. Is this a subject you and your friends talk about often? What do you think about organic, local and non-organic products?