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Going organic is very much a valuable lifestyle for some. As we get older we tend to think a lot more about our health. Being a creative, entrepreneur, or business owner requires us to think more about how we take care of ourselves. For those of you who are in the groove of the breakfast sandwich in the morning, drive through for lunch, and dinner in a box, you may be uncomfortable with this kind of conversation or you may be ready for a change. So here is somewhat of a crash course in eating organically.
One big issue when discussing natural health is GMO’s. Genetically Modified Organisms are in about 70%-80% of all the food consumed in the US. Mostly they are in processed foods which are found within the inner isles of the grocery store. The biggest concern we should have as consumers, is that once our food has been subjected to GMO’s they can become resistant to weeds, insects, and disease. Over time these weeds, insects, and disease can also become resistant causing our farmers to use more chemicals. This can potentially lead to allergies, chronic illness, reproductive disorders, and disease.
How do you know the difference between Organic and Non-GMO ?
Well it’s all in how the food is raised. You can look for the USDA Certified Organic label when you go to the grocery store. The definition of Organic varies based on what country you are in as well. Based on the United States agriculture industry, organic means grown without GMOs, synthetic pesticides, petroleum based fertilizers, and sewage based fertilizers (Help Guide). Any livestock is raised with organic feed and given no antibiotics, hormones, or animal by products. They fight hard for their life so you can fight hard for yours.
Non-GMO does not mean organic. The nutritional value of GMO food has been quite debatable. Eating organic means less pesticides. When you see a Non-GMO Project verified label, this does not mean “non-toxic/organic.” It simply means that the product has not been genetically engineered. GMO foods can still be raised with the use of potentially harmful chemicals.
Know the Dirty Dozen
The dirty dozen refers to the top 12 most chemical laden produce. Environmental Working Group recently released the 2018 “Dirty Dozen” Foods. This company deserves so much support for helping our growing families stay away from harmful chemicals and additives in our food. From their research they discovered the dirty dozen as:
Sweet Bell Peppers
Know the Clean Fifteen
The Clean Fifteen are the top 15 whole foods found to be least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Eat organic when possible, but if you don’t have access to organic foods, the following foods generally have less pesticide residue.
Frozen Sweet Peas
But isn’t organic food more expensive?
Yes it can be more expensive, but getting just the essentials may actually keep you within your budget. On average organic food is just under $1 per pound more than conventional food. Your wallet may not be at peace with spending a little bit more on clean, healthy eating, but your body certainly could be. Also, some employers offer incentives for staying on track with health related decisions. Through my previous employer I earned $150 this year for firstly- eating fruits and vegetables and secondly- attending regular wellness classes. That money went right back into my grocery bill. Check in with your benefits department to see if this is something they offer.
Choosing to eat unhealthy foods can put your body at risk to not receive the proper vitamins and minerals it needs. How can you expect a building to last 100 years if you are building with poor materials? Your body works the same way. Everyone knows you are what you eat.
Many tend not to think there are yummy health foods out there, but you can get all of these vitamins and minerals in creative ways. One of my favorites is the cacoa bean. (Yes that is where real chocolate comes from) It stacks up on the highest mineral content against any other food. It can also boost your metabolism. Not to mention the cacoa bean has a high content of antioxidants which can be protective to good health. But if you think about a traditional chocolate bar that you snag while checking out at the grocery store, that chocolate has been processed and heated so it leaves it with little to no vitamins or minerals. Once real chocolate is processed, it depletes its mineral value.
You can do your research on the food you eat as an excellent way to discover the benefits and harm to your body. Some of the best ways to begin your health journey is to control the foods you bring into your home. You can try shopping at local farms, natural food stores, or the organic section of your favorite grocery store. Another Valuable Tool for the Eco minded, is EWG (Environmental Working Group). Here you can find an abundance of information on natural living.
Final thoughts: When we equate our food with their health we can feel the presence of energy, vitality, and a strong working internal system, not just the absence of disease.
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