October 22, 2020 4 min read
Remember the time when food was just food? Nobody cared about how it was grown, or what the animals were fed, or whether they got exercise or not. Those days are long gone. Now, all these things (and more) matter. These things are what organic food is about.
But is organic really different from conventional foods? Is it just a fad? Let's dive right into this.
Simply put, organic food is food that has been produced as naturally as possible. This means that it should be free of certain things, or processes, which are specified in international standards as non-organic. These include:
Have you ever wondered how organic food is produced? Here are some of the things farmers do to make sure their plant produce is as natural as possible.
Well, what about animal products? How do farmers make sure their animal products are organic?
Organic is not just about how the plants are grown or how animals are reared. It's also about how the food is processed.
Only organically-produced ingredients should be used in processing. In some cases, some synthetic and non-organic ingredients are allowed in limited amounts.
Organic ingredients are stored separately from non-organic ingredients to avoid inadvertent mixing.
Ingredients added to organic food during processing also have to have been organically produced. Synthetic additives like flavors, preservatives, fillers, etc. are prohibited.
The company has to do rigorous record-keeping to enable tracing of all products and their ingredients and ensure that they are also organic.
Is organic food healthier? The jury is still out on this, but so far, the prognosis is good. Here's why.
Remember the 'no preservatives' rule in processing of organic food? Because organic food doesn't have preservatives, it's fresher than conventional food, which can last longer because it's packed with preservatives.
This also means that you have to consume organic food faster, otherwise it will spoil.
One of the reasons you have to thoroughly wash raw fruit and vegetable before eating is to get rid of pesticide residues. Non-organic foodstuff gets sprayed with synthetic pesticides to kill off pests, and unfortunately, a lot of the pesticide remains on the food and ends up in your body.
Pesticide residues accumulate slowly in the body and eventually lead to health problems.
Conventionally reared animals are treated with antibiotics to fight infectious diseases. This wouldn't matter if the antibiotics were completely eliminated from the animal's bodies once their job is done.
Unfortunately, this doesn't happen. Antibiotics remain in animal products and end up in our food. What happens when you take antibiotics when you're not sick?
The germs get used to them. So when you do get sick, taking meds doesn't work. The germs have become resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is becoming a major health problem worldwide and one of the factors fueling it is eating antibiotic-laden animal products. Organically reared animals are free from this problem.
Non-organic farmers give their livestock growth hormones to promote faster growth. These hormones end up in the animal products and ultimately in our bodies. You don't want foreign hormones interfering with your body processes.
For instance, the presence of growth hormones in dairy products is thought to be one of the factors responsible for allergic reactions and acne. Even food given to organically reared animals should be free of foreign substances like hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, and pesticides.
Organic food products have more nutrients than non-organic products. Since they're grown in natural conditions, they have access to nutrients that non-organic crops wouldn't have.
For example, the barley grass that goes into producing Synergy Natural Organic Barley Grass Powder 500g is grown in fertile soil in an open country and is, therefore, more nutritious than barley grass grown indoors in trays.
Non-organic crops are genetically engineered to be resistant to pesticides and herbicides so that these can be applied to the whole farm without harming the crops.
The products from these crops are not only genetically modified, but they also have pesticide and herbicide residue, which isn't good for your health.
There's no doubt that organic food is better than non-organic, conventionally produced food. With its growth in popularity, it has become more easily available. Try it and you'll see the difference.