Want to know if organic food is worth the cost? Find out what the pros and cons of organic food really are.
Should you eat organic food? Is it really worth the price? The pros and cons of organic food are numerous. But what you need to know is if organic food is worth it for you.
I want to lay out the facts for you so you can decide for yourself-after all you know yourself the best. And, my goal is to help you be the healthiest that you can be!
I firmly believe that some people need to make organic food a priority in their lives. Eating organic foods is a literal lifesaver for some people. I also believe that there are times when buying conventional might be right for you.
How to Know if You Need Organic Food
I have researched and thought about organic foods quite a lot, and even though I am Healthy and Lovin’ It, my answer isn’t what you might think it would be.
There are many things to consider when you are trying to decide if organic food is worth the cost for you.
First, let’s consider what organic food is. The USDA has set standards in place in order for food to carry the organic label. Produce and meat have different criteria for getting the organic certification. So, let’s start by talking about produce.
Organic produce must be grown without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms. (Genetically modified food is often highly sprayed with poisons).
- This means that if you choose organic vegetables and fruits, you end up eating less pesticides (poisons). How much less? One study found that people that often or always buy organic produce had a lot less organophosphate insecticides in their urine samples. Even those who were buying organic were eating a lot more produce, they still had less insecticide in their urine samples than those who were eating conventional.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) nearly 70 percent of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticides. (EWG analyzed the tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come up with that figure.)
Although washing and peeling can remove some pesticide residues, it can’t remove them all. Some pesticides are absorbed through the plant’s root system into the flesh.
This means that you will be eating extra poisons when you eat non organic food. Although it can be hard to measure exactly how much, you can be sure you are ingesting some.
A Thought Provoking Study
In one study, participants reported what they were eating to the researchers. The researcher’s discovered that the participants that reported eating more “high residue” crops had more pesticides and herbicides in their urine than participants who weren’t eating so many pesticide laden foods.
This study says a couple of things to me. First, it is obvious that when you can actually measure pesticides and herbicides in someone’s urine, it is obvious that the pesticides are getting into that person.
Pesticides and herbicides are known poisons. The whole point of pesticides and herbicides are to kill something (either a bug or a plant). They are obviously going to cause us problems as well. Just read the warning on one of the packages of poisons!
I do agree that some people can ingest small amounts of these poisons and be okay. However, I also think that there is a tipping point where these poisons can start to cause serious diseases like cancer.
In the article “How to Never Get Cancer” on the Truth about Cancer website, there are 7 steps listed to help you minimize the chance of ever getting cancer. Many of these steps show the importance of minimizing pesticides and herbicides in the diet.
Steps number 1, 2, and 4 particularly apply to organic food-
The first step is to eliminate and avoid toxins. Obviously, this means to avoid pesticides if at all possible.
The second step is to ensure that you have a healthy liver. The liver is the body’s filter and has to process poisons. Too many poisons cause the liver to be stressed. Again, avoiding pesticides can help.
The fourth step is to eat a very healthy diet-which means increasing the amount of produce in the diet, but at the same time taking steps to reduce the pesticide exposure from all the extra produce.
You can tell that reducing pesticides is important if you want to avoid cancer. On the other hand, if you are a good detoxer than maybe you can handle a little more pesticides without much of a problem. But, how do you know if you are a good detoxer? I will answer that in a minute, but first let’s consider the study I mentioned earlier.
The participants in that study may have had pretty good detox systems since the pesticides were coming out in their urine. I am assuming that these were pretty healthy participants.
Some people do not eliminate poisons so easily, and those people can end up getting sick with cancer and other chronic diseases.
How to Know if You are Detoxing Well
If you have optimal digestion, liver function, kidney function, lung function, lymph function, and sweat efficiently than your detox system is probably working very well. If you do not have any chronic health problems, that is also a good sign that you are detoxing well.
If you don’t struggle with brain fog, fatigue, body odor, or chemical sensitivities, than you probably don’t have to work at detox. All of these things that I have mentioned are symptoms of someone who may be toxic.
I believe that I used to have a problem with detoxing. Here is the short version of how I overcame a lot of health problems.
First, I went to the doctor with my very long list of health issues. Many of them seem like “normal” things that a lot of people struggle with. However I felt really badly a good majority of the time. I knew it wasn’t “normal”.
I had awful insomnia, headaches, weight gain, bloating, breathlessness, heartburn, missing periods, and I was just worn out all the time. I would shake if I got too hungry. This is the short list of my symptoms-there were other problems also.
The doctors that I saw diagnosed me with iron deficiency, b vitamin deficiency, pcos, elevated liver enzymes, and adrenal fatigue. They were unsure of the reason that I had all of these problems.
I researched and prayed a lot for a long time. I finally decided that I needed to rid myself of mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal that is poisonous. In order to get rid of the mercury, I worked with a specialized dentist to remove my old mercury fillings. (It can be dangerous to have them removed unless the dentist is a specialized dentist.)
I then actively worked on detox to rid myself of mercury. I slowly got better and better. Today, I feel good, and most all of my symptoms are gone. The few health problems that I am working on now are very mild compared to what I used to deal with.
I believe that some people can live with mercury fillings and do okay. For me, I was not okay. I feel that my body was not able to detox the mercury effectively and it made me sick.
I tell you this whole story with the hopes that it will help you. Maybe you recognize yourself in my story or maybe you don’t. I just want to get the information out there so that you can make informed decisions on health issues. If you think that you may not be detoxing effectively, you may want to make organic food more of a priority in your life.
Now let’s talk about organic meat for a bit. Organic meat has to meet quite a few qualifications for it to be certified organic. Here are some of the criteria:
- Organic meat must come from animals that didn’t receive any antibiotics except in the case of illness. The animals are less likely to need antibiotics because they must be raised in a natural setting with access to the outdoors.
- No hormones may be given to organically raised animals.
- The feed given to organically raised animals must be free of toxic additives like arsenic or animal byproducts.
- The feed must be 100% organic.
You may be wondering if all these guidelines make a big difference in how healthy the meat is for you. It actually does! Meat that is raised the right way is 47% higher in omega 3’s. Omega 3’s are vital to health-they are especially important to your brain and heart.
Organic meat is much less likely to have antibiotics in it. It is important to avoid antibiotics in meat because antibiotics are known to alter gut flora.
I personally don’t want to ingest extra unneeded antibiotics because gut health is so important to overall health.
And of course there is another problem when antibiotics are given to animals-it can also allow antibiotic-resistant bacteria to develop. These bacteria can cause severe illness in people.
Animals that are fed conventional feed often end up with pesticide residues in their meat. So, it is possible to ingest pesticides from meat, not just from produce.
To sum it all up, if you eat organic meat you will be getting:
- more omega 3’s
- less antibiotics
- less pesticides
- You will also be minimizing the risk of ingesting antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Those are some major pros. In fact, I believe that healthy meat is even more important than organic produce.
But, there is one big caveat in buying organic meat: organic meat often comes from animals that were fed grain. Grain fed animals are not near as nutritious as grass fed animals. So, even though I believe organic meat is a lot better than non organic, it is not anywhere near as nutritious as grass fed animals.
You can read more about the awesome benefits of grass fed beef on Dr. Axe’s site. So, where do you find this wonderful meat? I buy mine from a local farmer who doesn’t feed his cows any grain. (Except a very tiny amount to get the cows to come to him).
The beef I get from him is a darker color and is less fatty (but has more of the right kinds of fat). It is also delicious.
So, now we are ready to tackle the question-do you need to buy organic food?
The Pros and Cons of Organic Food
Here are the major pros of buying organic:
- You will be exposed to much less pesticides
- You will be exposed to less antibiotics (and less antibiotic resistant bacteria)
- You will be consuming more heart healthy and brain healthy omega 3 fats.
The cons of buying organic are:
- Organic food is more expensive.
- For some people, the extra expense could cause them a lot of stress. Stress is also detrimental to health.
- Organic meat is not necessarily raised the best way (grass fed or pastured meats are healthier.)
Now, for the million dollar question-should you buy organic food? I obviously cannot make your decision for you (and it can be a tough one!), but I can give you some guidelines that I think will help.
If you are very strapped for money, and you feel that buying organic would be extremely stressful, than maybe now is not the time to start buying organic. I personally believe that there is a time for everything, and maybe it is not the best time for you.
If you are facing cancer or some other serious conditions, then now might be a great time to buy organic. Many people have seen improvement in their conditions when they consumed only healthy organic food.
You might be interested in checking out this interview of a mother who gave her children an organic formula, and juiced vegetables as well as doing other natural therapies to help her child survive cancer. (He was sent home to die with hospice care.)
If you feel that you may not be detoxing well, organic food could help you a lot. It was one of my priorities when I was actively working on detoxing. Although, I didn’t buy all organic because I also needed to watch my costs.
I also needed to spend money on supplements and testing, and those things had to come first.
I hope I have given you some help in making the decision in whether to buy organic or not. And if you are ready to see how I did it-stay tuned. I will soon post about how I buy the healthiest food I can buy even on a tight budget.
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Disclaimer: This post is not medical advice. I am not a doctor or medical professional. I share only from my own experiences and research. Consult your own practitioner before making changes in your diet or supplements.