As in the beauty industry, the word ‘organic’ is used a lot these days in the food industry and has many meanings. However, the main idea in relation to food is that the food is produced without the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals. Put simply: organic food is how your great grandparents ate. Back then food wasn’t labeled organic as it already was. Food was typically grown on farms or in gardens, where natural fertilisers such as compost from food scraps or animal manure nourished the soil.
Today it is much harder to tell what is organic and what is not. When looking for organic food it is not as simple as just shopping at your local supermarket, although many supermarkets are now stocking more organic food due to demand. Buying organic means looking for certain symbols or labels that certify the food has been produced alongside set guidelines. Each country has different guidelines and symbols so it is important to do your research. Simply search online for ‘organic food certification’ and then the name of your country to find the labels you should be looking out for. Of course if you are buying from a local farmers market you shouldn’t need a label and instead are able to speak directly with the grower to find out their food producing methods.
1. Benefits Of Eating Organic Food
You only need to spend time pondering what is happening in your body when you consume food that is covered in toxins to understand the relief it will feel when it doesn’t need to get rid of those. Eating organically allows the body to do what it does best: fuel itself with the vitamins and minerals it needs to be efficient.
The mental, emotional and spiritual elements of a person are also to gain from eating organically. Bryant McGill sums it up beautifully in Voice of Reason where he states; ‘Cultivate clarity, strength, vitality and power from natural, beautiful and organic living foods.” A renewed sense of self, finding balance and bringing joy to the soul are but a few ways we can nourish our beings as a whole, not only the physical.
As the view is broadened from the body to the whole being and then to our community, the opportunities presented by eating organically continue to grow. Supporting local farmers through buying organic food from markets or straight from the farm gate if you are lucky enough encourages beautiful conversations to take place. Relationships are developed as you speak with the growers and farmers themselves about their produce and products. You can hear the passion and love in their voice as they share their heart for the food they produce and how this impacts the world we live in. Knowing you are contributing to a more eco-friendly and sustainable world as well as your local economy by eating organically is good for the body and soul.
2. Beware The Organic Food Label
Just because food is labeled organic, doesn’t mean it is good for you. When it comes to eating organic fruit and vegetables in season there is little to worry about, your body will need the nutrients provided during that time of year. However, anything that is not a fruit or vegetable in its original form needs to be consider more carefully before consuming, even if it is labeled organic.
The trap that people fall into is allowing themselves to eat foods that don’t offer their body much in the way of vitamins and minerals because it is labeled organic. It is fine to have a tasty treat every now and then made from organic ingredients but beware if you find yourself consuming more than you should and justifying it because it is organic. There are many processed and packaged foods such as biscuits and cereals that are organic, however are still high in sugar, fat or salt and therefore best consumed in moderation.
The key to eating organically is to keep a healthy well-rounded diet in mind, one that is inclusive of a large range of fruits and vegetables. Go back to the basics and eat the way your great grandparents would have and you can’t go wrong.
3. Organic Food On A Budget
Many argue that eating organically is expensive, and it can be for sure, but there are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve to help it be more budget friendly. It makes sense to start by buying the organic food that is cheaper, choose 5 carrots for $5 over a handful of coriander for $5. This way you are getting the most out of the money you have to spend.
Remember when buying organic produce you can use the whole plant, making it go further. Save carrot ends and onion skins to make a beautiful home made vegetable stock. Use the whole broccoli by cutting the stem into small pieces and roasting them with your other veggies and adding the leaves to a pesto. If you peel your veggies then use the peelings to make homemade veggies chips by drizzling olive oil over them and roasting them. These are delicious sprinkled with sea salt flakes and dried herbs.
If your budget is really tight and you don’t think you can make it work to buy all your produce organically then focus on only buying what is commonly known as the ‘dirty dozen’. These are items that most often are the highest in pesticides and chemicals and are best eaten organically; apples, berries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, capsicum, potatoes (including sweet potato), cucumbers, tomatoes and snap peas. Not all of these will be in season at once so you will be able to add some more things to your list, keeping in mind that fruits and vegetables you eat the skin of is best organic also!
What is your biggest motivation to eat organic and natural food? Let us know in a comment below and inspire other people to eat organically, too!
Jenny Barrow is based in the beautiful Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Through her own health journey, Jenny developed a passion for food and nutrition and loves sharing this with others. She is passionate about eating plant-based, seasonally and sustainably as a way of not only nourishing the body but also supporting local farmers and producers. After working in a variety of fields and then completing more study Jenny is now settled in what she describes as her dream job, working in the Wellness Industry with Janesce Skincare and Bestow Beauty. Blessed with a job that brings her joy, Jenny also fills her soul with family, friends, nature and travelling. She is working towards living a ‘slow and simple’ life.