‘If I could offer you only one tip for the future, [going organic] would be it’Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – Baz Luhrmann
Ok so I borrowed that from Baz Luhrmann – thanks Baz! But if I could persuade you to make one change to your diet it would be to go organic.
Organic food is the same food your grandparents and great grandparents would have eaten. It’s just food that doesn’t contain any bad stuff. By bad stuff I mean pesticides and herbicides, GMOs and antibiotics, artificial additives, colours and preservatives.
Back then food was just food, you ate it and it nourished your body. Today, sadly that is no longer the case. Conventionally grown food contains chemicals and these chemicals are making us and our children sick.
When I found out what else was in our food, I switched my groceries overnight from conventionally produced to organic. Almost straight away my niggling digestive issues cleared up and my son’s daily headaches stopped. Others who have made the switch report similar health improvements.
Going organic was one of the best things I could have done for me and my family. Here’s how going organic could be better for you and your family too.
1. Fewer pesticides and herbicides
- Rather than use artificial chemicals to produce crops, organic farmers rely on more natural farming techniques. These includes rotating crops and spreading manure as a fertiliser.
- In the UK almost 300 synthetic pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming. In organic farming only 20 are permitted and these are derived from natural ingredients.
- Many pesticides don’t just kill weeds. They also pollute the local environment and harm wildlife when they soak into the soil and run into the surrounding waterways.
- Roundup is the most commonly used synthetic herbicide. It’s not only used to kill weeds, it is deliberately sprayed on crops to harvest them. As the crop dies, it releases its seed making it easier to harvest.
- The active ingredient in Roundup is called glyphosate. According to the World Health Organisation glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.
- Glyphosate kills weeds and when you consume it in food that has been contaminated it also kills the microbes that live in your gut. These are the same microbes that control many of your bodily functions that keep you healthy. For strength and resilience, you need a great diversity of microbes in your gut. If these are depleted you are more likely to become ill.
2. No genetically modified ingredients
- Genetically modified crops including soy and corn have been modified to withstand being sprayed with Roundup and are called Roundup Ready.
- Many Roundup Ready crops have also been engineered to have the BT toxin in their makeup, meaning it becomes part of the plant. The BT toxin works by punching holes in the guts of an insect that tries to eat it, killing the insect.
- GMOs are banned for human consumption in the UK and for organically reared animals. Conventionally raised animals are not so lucky. Over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported to the UK each year. These are fed to the majority of non-organic livestock which produce meat, eggs and dairy foods that we can buy from the supermarket. By law it doesn’t have to be labelled so you may have eaten these foods unknowingly.
- A study has shown when pigs are fed GM grains their intestines can become inflamed. If the meat we eat comes from animals that are sick from eating GM grains then what is that doing to us?
3. Less exposure to antibiotics
- Much of our exposure to antibiotics is not from medication but from the food we eat.
- In conventional farming, antibiotics are given to animals as a preventative measure. This routine use of antibiotics for animals maybe one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance in humans.
- Organically reared animals must not routinely be given antibiotics and wormers; an animal is only treated with medicine if it is sick.
- Organic farming aims for less intensive animal production. Animals have more access to the outdoors, more space and better living conditions. As a result, the animals are happier and healthier and less likely to require antibiotics.
4. Higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids in animal foods
- Organically raised animals must be able to graze and forage naturally on organic pasture including grasses and other crops where only natural fertilisers are used and pesticides are severely restricted.
- A grass-based diet rather than grain based contains high levels of clover that is rich in omega 3. Clover is used in organic farming instead of chemical fertilisers to fix nitrogen in the soil so that crops and grass grow.
- As a result, organic animal foods including milk, eggs and meat have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids which support your overall health, reduce inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
5. No additives and preservatives
- Organic processed foods are not permitted to contain hydrogenated fats, artificial additives or preservatives.
- Hydrogenated fats, also called trans fats cause many adverse health effects and should be avoided.
- Artificial additives damage your intestines and cause inflammation.
- Preservatives essentially kill bacteria to increase the shelf life of a food. In your gut they kill your friendly microbes which you need for good health.
The rising use of chemicals in growing and producing food items is proving to be detrimental to our health and wellbeing. Digestive problems, allergies, and more serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer can all be linked to the rise of chemicals in our food system.
To reduce your risk of health problems then going organic can help. Organic food is food as it should be with no added chemicals and no GM ingredients. Multiple studies show organically grown food has greater nutritional content and fewer toxic chemicals.
So are you ready to make the switch?
Why not try going organic for a couple of weeks and see how it can benefit you and your family.
The Soil Association – The UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. This is a great resource about organic food and organic living.
Institute for Responsible Technology – An organisation that educates policy makers and the public about glyphosate and genetically modified (GM) foods and crops.
Secret Ingredients – A film about people who have regained their health after switching to organic and removing GMOs from their diet.
Image – Daiga Ellaby Unsplash