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The Organic Truth

Posted in Balanced Nutrition | September 2, 2009 |

  

This post was written by Anastasiya. Follow me on Twitter or StumbleUpon and keep your life balanced!

“Organic” is one of the most popular words used nowadays. When you watch TV, read a newspaper or magazine, and browse through your favorite websites you always see this word “organic”. Organic food, organic cosmetics, organic clothes and even organic rugs. Is there anything that cannot be organic? The question that I have about all this organic stuff is “Is it just a fad? Am I being fooled into paying more for regular things? Is it just a way for somebody to make good money on me?”

Let’s look at organic food in particular. Is organic food an essential part of a balanced diet or not? I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now. When I go to the grocery store I want to save as much money as possible without compromising my family’s health. I am often faced with a choice to buy the old-fashioned groceries or pay a few more dollars and buy something organic. A few dollars do not seem like much at first but once you’ve got all your essentials like milk, cereal, meat and produce your bill goes up $50 or more. My question is “Is it really worth it?” I can’t be throwing away money just to follow some fad. Can you?

I was very skeptical about everything organic at first and that is why I decided to conduct my own research about this craze. I have written down cons and pros of organic products to help you make the choice. Here they are:

Pros:

Cons:

  • Organic food is expensive.
  • There are a few studies that claim to have not found any difference in nutritional value of organic and non-organic produce.
  • Organic juices and cereals have fewer vitamins than non-organic ones. Manufacturers of non-organic goods add vital minerals and vitamins to their products.
  • Organic food does not mean fewer in calories or diet-friendly (that’s by far the biggest myth).
  • A lot of times organic produce travels half way around the world to get to your supermarket. It’s not environmentally friendly driving, floating or flying that far and I have to doubt the quality of these veggies and fruits that have spent weeks just to get to your fridge.
  • A lot of organic products come from third world countries that do not have high farming standards.

Organic foods have more pros than cons though I realize that some of the benefits are vague and unsupported. I think that it’s important to find a balance between value for your pocket and value for your stomach. I truly believe that every piece of food that you put in your mouth must bring you as many benefits as possible. I do not want to regret that I have eaten something that is not good for me. I do not want to give my babies anything that is not 100% safe for them.

When it comes to organic food it’s important to find that golden balance between prudence and foolishness. I am not going to pay extra money just to say that I buy only organic groceries. I do not believe in only organic living nowadays. Some foods are organic by nature and they won’t get any better if you put an organic stamp on them. Some of the examples are bread, canned beans and tomatoes, rice, pasta, bananas, onions, sweet potatoes and many others.

I think that organic eating is an essential part of a balanced nutrition nowadays and I have made it part of my family’s diet. I do not go crazy about organic foods and I practice, what I call, frugal organic eating (read my tips on frugal organic eating). I take the best of both worlds, organic and non-organic, without wasting extra money at the grocery store. If you want to eat healthy without going bankrupt then I am sure that half-organic is the way to go. Be smart about what you put in your shopping cart and in your mouth and

Keep it balanced!

 

Smart Thoughts (10)

  1. JS Dixon says:

    Really the only way you can be absolutely 100% sure about the quality of your food is if you grow it yourself. Though I can say that when I started getting pickier about my food, I started getting sick less often. That benefit alone has made up for the additional price.

  2. Anastasiya says:

    @JS Dixon
    Growing your food yourself is the ultimate and I really wish I had time to grow at least a few little things. Maybe sometime it will happen, when my babies get older a little bit…
    Good food does make you feel better and that’s probably the best benefit of it.

  3. Kye says:

    JS and Anastasiya — I am a member of an organic CSA (stands for community supported agriculture). I have a personal relationship with the farmer and have had long conversations with him about his philosophy and exactly what he does in practice.

    He’s phenomenal! He uses NO pesticides including the ones (e.g. pyrethrines) that are considered organic because they are plant based. Instead, he keeps the soil very very healthy, so the plants are healthy and mostly fend off pests and diseases by themselves. He’s been at it for 30 years now–his son is starting to take over, so that knowledge won’t be lost with him.

    I’d suggest that while your kids are little would be a great time to get involved with an organic CSA if you can find one in your area. Your food will not only be organic, it’ll also be local, and therefore more sustainable. And kids love to see where their food comes from, and often CSAs encourage you to be involved in the community of memebers, and in the life of the farm.

    Kye

  4. Anastasiya says:

    @Kye
    I’ve read a lot recently about cooperating with local farmers and getting produce from them. I am looking forward to finding farmers in my area and getting fresh produce from them. However, my husband and I are planning to move to another state soon that is why I put off this idea for later. I hope that next year I will become a member of organic CSA too.

  5. Jeffrey Tang says:

    Anastasiya, thank you for this balanced look at organic food. There’s a lot of hype surrounding organic good (both good and bad), and it’s refreshing to read a look at both sides of the argument.

    I honestly don’t go after organic food very often, since it is more expensive and I don’t feel like the taste is really that much different. The pesticides might make a difference, but right now it’s not really worth the money to me.

    I’d love to hear more about “frugal organic eating.” I might even give it a try sometime! Thanks for this honest look at organic food!

  6. If I go shopping, I always buy organic. My wife, she goes for cost-savings. Needless to say, she doesn’t let me shop often.

    In my neck of the woods, local organic food is very difficult to find, but the organic food we have at the grocery store doesn’t cost significantly more than the regular variety. I find that when I do buy organic, I tend to be more careful with how much I buy, due to the cost, and less likely to waste the food. Yes, I know, it’s sinful to waste food, but unfortunately, it does happen due to our own carelessness.

    Thanks for the great article, Anastasiya.

    - Charley

  7. Anastasiya says:

    @Jeffrey Organic eating is not for everybody. I guess one downside of it is that it takes more time to fix organic meals. There are not many ready-to-go solutions for a quick supper or lunch and most of the time you have to spend some time cooking. For me personally pesticides were the main factor that made me go half-organic.

    @Charley You can be saving money while you buy organic food (I will write more about in my next article). I totally understand your wife – I hate wasting money and I also prefer to buy everything that is on sale to cut down on my grocery bill. However, with your babies coming home pretty soon I think that it will be wise to use more of organic products. I started to buy organic food mostly for my babies and then I started using more and more of it for me and my husband.

  8. Patrick says:

    I think the key is to really be able to find your own balance. While JS advice to grow your own food might be the ultimate solution that is not manageable for most of us.

    I think any small step towards this is an improvement and everyone must find out for himself, how “organic” he wants to become.

    Good article.

  9. Well balanced posts about the pros and cons of organic food.

    Here in the UK, organic food has now become mainstream and available in all the supermarkets. Sometimes it is the same price if not cheaper than the non-organic produce.

    Though I eat organic as much as possible, the question remains as to just what is truly organic and what is not.

    As Justin has suggested, growing your own is best and I am lucky to have a big garden at the back of my home.

    A couple of years ago I did start of with grandiose plans to grow my own oganic vegetables – http://www.arvinddevalia.com/blog/2007/04/23/organic-vegetables-on-my-doorstep/

    My experiment lasted a few months before I gave up – there was just not enough light for the vegetables. It was a fun experience though.

    Maybe I shall start again next year but in a different spot in the garden with more light:-)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] About a year ago I decided to go organic. For a while I tried to buy almost everything organic; everything that had an organic label on it was a must-have for me. After a few trips to the grocery store I realized that 100% organic eating was draining my budget like crazy. If it had continued that way then I wouldn’t have had any money to spend on anything else! That was not a fair choice to make so that is why I decided to conduct my own research and find out really how important organic eating really is. [...]