Organic Foods: Worth The Cost?

When you look up exactly what organic farming practices are, the trend starts making a whole lot of sense. Here’s some quotes from the USDA website:

  • “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on managements practices that restore, maintain, and enhance ecological harmony.”
  • “Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.”
  • Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.”
  • Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticide; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewer sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.”

All these things are positive. They help to maintain our environment, to keep it healthy for generations to come. It keeps chemicals out of our body from fertilizers and pesticides. And it keeps us from ingesting extra growth hormones and antibiotics that can lead to long term health issues. So what is stopping us from buying organic foods all the time?

Well, when only 5-10% of the typical grocery store is dedicated to organic foods, selection is low and prices tend to be high. Instead, the stores stock up on foods that American’s crave: loud, chemically complex, salty and sweet foods that kill our tastebuds’ love for simple and healthy nutrients.

Since 1940, over 75,000 synthetic food chemicals have been developed and most of them are lypofillic. MSG and free glutamates are used to enhance flavor in 75% of all processed foods. These chemicals excite your brain much in the same way that added sugars do, and you end up eating more of it than you would have otherwise. Thus, you continue to pack on the pounds and more addicted to these junk foods.

Most people purchase non-organic foods because of the price difference. Because government subsides go to cash crops, such as corn, wheat, and soy, products that are filled with high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, and other byproducts are cheaper to produce and sell at lower prices. Thus, most people turn up their nose at the higher prices of organic food and reach for the lower quality products.

The problem is eating this way costs more money in the long run. Eating a healthy diet cuts back on hospital and doctor bills, pharmacy costs, and health insurance costs. Instead, we should be reframing our mind that eating organic is simply an investment into our family’s health.

So what can we do? First of all, we can buy more local produce and support local farmers who grow organic food. Do a google search of farmer’s markets in your area, and I guarantee you’ll find at least a few. Often times, local farms will also do a crop share buy in, meaning that you buy a year’s subscription to their farm and they deliver you fresh produce weekly or monthly. Or if you have a green thumb, you can try your hand at growing some of your own food. Herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and greens are usually the easiest plants to start with. I guarantee that foods you grow yourself taste a whole lot better and fresher than what you are buying at the store.

At the very least, when shopping at your local grocery store, make more informed decisions. Read signs and labels. Choose more organic foods. Choose local products. Read ingredient labels. Shop mostly in the outside aisles (processed foods tend to be in the inside aisles). Just do whatever you can do to be a more informed consumer.

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