Get the Dirt On Organic

getthedirt

March 7, 2016

by Briana McDonald
Natural Health Writer

(UtopiaSilver.com) There is a shift taking place within our culture when it comes to what we define as “wealth”. More people are switching to “organic diets” in an attempt to reclaim their health and vitality. I can’t help but notice how often I hear the word “organic” and “all natural” or my favorite “gluten free”. We are taking more interest in what’s best for our health and well being now more than we ever have and I believe that there is a deep seeded urgency within the majority of American’s hearts of feeling the need to “get back to nature.” The grocery aisles are flooded with creative advertising and catchy commercials to draw the health-conscious consumer to a product that seems to be organic, but often times are not. So what does “all natural” and “organic” really mean? And how do we sift through the smoke and mirrors and find what’s truly for our benefit? I realized it was time to get the dirt on organic.

First off, let’s look at what “organic” really means.

Organic: Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

I don’t know about you but for the longest time I assumed that when there was a USDA –Certified Organic sticker on the label that it meant it really was organic; “grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation” but as it turns out, farms that produce these USDA-Organic foods are not inspected by anyone from the USDA National Organic Program (NOC). “As a small and underfunded agency within the USDA (it has fewer than a dozen employees), NOP relies on what it calls Accredited Certifying Agencies — ACAs — to do the legwork. The ACAs take responsibility for ensuring that any farm or processor bearing the organic label meets the strict requirements for certification.”

“for an American looking for high-quality organics, the number one way to ensure that’s what you’re getting is to buy directly from the farmer. Farmers markets or CSAs (community supported agriculture — arrangements in which consumers buy a share in a farm and receive weekly boxes of produce) are excellent ways to go as you can often meet the farmer or visit the farm yourself.”

In a nutshell, if you really want to play it safe, grow it yourself, or find out where a farmers market is in your area. Labels are deceiving, which brings me to my next point. Always read the ingredients list.

“Whole Grain” Bread:

Shopping for bread has become a lot more complicated lately. Almost every loaf you come across has “Made with Whole Grains” splashed in bold letters. Oh yeah, there are some whole grains in there alright, but you won’t know how much until you read the label. The FDA does not have a minimum requirement for how many whole grains have to be in there as long as just a little bit is. The first ingredient is what the product is mostly made from, the further down the list you go, the less of those ingredients are involved in the making of the product. If it says “Made with Whole Grains” and it’s pretty far down on the ingredients list, you can bet your sweet patooty there’s probably very little whole grains in it. Check for yourself. “Multigrain” is also a tricky one to watch out for, all it means is the product is made from a variety of different grains; they could be made with rye or barley flour as well, but all of those could be refined. Again, read the label.

Yogurt:

This one is almost painful for me to write about because I am a huge yogurt fan. It’s probably been my favorite breakfast or snack for years now and I even blend it in with my smoothies for added flavor and thickness. Here’s the dirt on yogurt, and it’s not pretty. For one, steer clear of yogurts that say “Made with Natural Flavors.” Well, Briana, it says “natural” what’s so wrong with that? The answer is although it may be “natural” it may not be something you want to consume. Take for instance, the flavor raspberry. Want to take a guess at where it comes from? If you guessed raspberries, you’re wrong. If you guessed beaver anal scent glands, you’re right! Keep in mind, just because it comes from a natural source doesn’t mean it belongs in your body. Petroleum comes from the earth but is it safe to ingest? I think not.

Tricalcium phosphate is another commonly added ingredient in yogurt to provide additional calcium but not all calcium is processed well by the body. Calcium Citrate and Calcium Carbonate can in fact be very harmful to the body. The body has a hard time breaking it down and it gets stored in the joints creating inflammation and pain.

Can you guess where tricalcium phosphate comes from? The answer is bone ashes, pretty disgusting right? Again, “all natural” doesn’t always mean “all good”. I know it can be overwhelming to try and remember all of these things when you’re in the grocery store just trying to buy some darn yogurt and your kids are screaming and you want to get out of there as quickly as possible, but just read the label, okay? I’m talking to myself here too. It’s worth the few seconds it takes to scan the ingredients list. The only yogurt you should consume to reap its wonderful benefits is plain yogurt made with milk and live yogurt cultures. These yogurt cultures occur naturally in the yogurt, they aren’t “made” with them like Bifidus Regularis which is extracted from animal intestines in a laboratory.

Do your research and read the labels on your products before you buy them. You have this one body, this one life, don’t just take my word for it, there is an abundance of information out there. Get the dirt on organic and only put the best fuel in your body, you deserve it!

Sources:
http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/johannah-sakimura-nutrition-sleuth/whole-truth-whole-grain/
http://www.thealternativedaily.com/the-truth-about-yogurt-revealed/
http://www.alternet.org/story/94146/is_your_organic_food_really_organic

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