As it should be, the organic food industry is a heavily regulated system. This means from till to table you can feel more confident that what you're putting in your body isn't carrying poisonous chemicals to your inner workings. Not only will you feel better for eating organic certified food, our environment will feel better too - or is that just what organic food providers would like you to think?
What Makes Food Organic?
The list of requirements for a farmer's crop to be sold with an organic label is without a doubt strict and varies from country to country; but for now let's stick with the Stars and Stripes in an example. In order to pass the USDA's organic certification the crop's planters, cultivators and distributers must comply to the following specifications.
☉ The farmland must be free of synthetic chemicals for three or more years.
☉ No use of synthetic chemicals and pesticides.
☉ No human sewage fertilizer used in the crop and animal feed.
☉ Routine and mystery on-site inspections.
☉ Detailed ledger keeping record of production and sales.
☉ Disciplined separation of organic and non-certified products.
Organic-Organic or Kinda-Sorta-Organic?
In recent years the word 'organic' has been loosely used as a marketing ploy to get more consumers, well, consuming. There is an overabundance of deviantly crafted words in the world of marketing that are counting on your lack of knowledge - I mean no offense to my readers, but this is sadly what some food distributors prey on. That lack of knowledge stops here with you and I - and maybe a dimly lit ambiance for a more intimate learning environment.
No? Oh well.
As legendarily strict as the USDA's (United States Department of Agriculture) requirements appear to be, there have been several accounts of legal issues circling the USDA's professionalism. Whether it's simply jealousy or truth, some organic farmers have brought complains to court regarding the USDA and its weakening discipline toward certain plantations. Regardless of these infrequent disputes you can rest a little easier knowing that all organic products covet the green and white USDA Certified label; if your dietary health is important to you then the USDA is generally a better choice. Just remember to pay closer attention to the way products are worded on your next shopping trip.
Food for Thought - "Made with Organic Chicken"? Hold up, let's put this pecker-head on trial. Is it chicken or mostly chicken? How much of the chicken is organic? Was it fed organic food? Was it simply raised on an organic certified farm? Now if all that speculation really matters to you, go for it. I don't feel the overwhelming urge to worry that much about the organic legitimacy of my food - I just look for key words like "100% Organic" on a bag of carrots or "Organic-Fed Free-Range" on a carton of eggs (Free-Range is a personal preference).
The Cost of Healthier Eating
It is a well known bit of information that organic goods cost more than conventional goods. This is simply a reaction to the high cost of transporting unpreserved goods over hundreds of miles to get to your local supermarket. It is also common sense in the business world that the higher the demand for a product is the higher the price will be. How badly do you want to eat healthily? Badly enough to pay a few more dollars?
Nutritionists have generally concluded that Organic food does not have added nutrition, so there's really no health benefit to organic produce other than the cleanliness of the growing and harvesting process. A few years ago a nutrition table was released to the public and its legitimacy is under dispute to this day. Despite this debate it's safe to assume that organic food has relatively the same nutrition as conventional food. While organic produce may not have any nutritional leverage, it's at least a step in the right direction and I'm content with the way the organic system works until a better idea comes along.
Is organic food better than conventional food? Yes, but not by much. Whether or not the organic food movement is a result of a higher demand for cleaner and healthier food, the fact remains that some products that claim to be organic aren't organic at all. While it's easy to speculate how honest organic food providers are, it doesn't change the fact that unless you own a garden, you're pretty much at the mercy of whatever food giant is providing the next wave in healthier food products.
Furthermore, clever vocabulary strikes between the lines of the USDA's certification requirements. They specifically use the word "synthetic" pesticides, as if to gently suggest their use of an alternative pesticide. Whether or not any pesticides used are truly benign is beyond my current knowledge.
Health is a vastly infinite topic that can include anything from phycological to physical.
Herbalism is the ancient art of creating antidotes, balms, oils, elixirs and the like from plant life. Oils can be used for aromatherapy. Balms and potions can accelerate healing or boost your immunities. A more common use for Herbalism is vitamins, immunity boosters and nutritional supplements.
The food we eat is another form of medicine, unbeknownst to many. In the same breath some food can also have a negative effect on our health. Knowledge of what is and isn't healthy for your body will have a major impact on your quality of life. Whether it be eating away your diabetes with the proper diet or eating fruit to reduce inflammation, you can begin your path to a healthier lifestyle through the food you eat.