organic food

  1. Organic foods are better than conventional for many reasons

    Is organic really no better than conventional?

    Stanford researchers recently dropped a "bombshell." (Really more like a feather drop if you ask me...but more on that in a moment.)

    They announced that, according to the findings of their recent study, there's a lack of evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventionally-grown foods.

    And did the mainstream media hounds take the bait?

    Oh, boy, did they ever! But I'm willing to bet you already knew that.

    In fact, for the last couple of weeks you likely haven't been able to turn on the news...or check your favorite online websites...without being practically knocked over the noggin with bold headlines screaming, "Organic foods are no more nutritious than conventional foods!"

    Amidst all the hype you may be confused and wondering what it all means. You may even be questioning if you should be spending that extra cash on organics if they're no better than the other stuff.

    Well, I'm more than happy to help you make sense of it all. But first, let me get started with just two simple words of organic.

    Here's why...

    Don't buy into the organic panic

    As I've explained before, meta-analyses aren't my favorite kind of research. It's not that they aren't a valuable tool for researchers...they certainly can be. But in the hands of the uninformed--or those prone to hysterics like the mainstream media--they often do more harm than good.

    To understand why this is the case you need to understand what a meta-analysis actually is. Or rather, what it isn't. It isn't new research. It's simply a review of existing research.

    So those Stanford researchers were simply reporting on averages and overall trends they found when they looked at a few hundred already published papers. And, of course, individually some of those studies would have found that organics came out on top. While others didn't.

    In other words, while some of the studies didn't find any statistically significant nutritional differences others certainly did. But in the end, it was the overall average that was nearly the same. And, well, when you think about it that doesn't really tell us a whole heck of a lot, now, does it?

    The real reasons to buy organic

    But nutrition isn't the only reason that I'm telling you to stick with organic foods. In fact, it's not even the most important reason.

    Somehow, in the middle of all the hype and hysteria, we forgot one every important fact. We were never really choosing organics because of their higher nutritional content anyway. That's just a bonus.

    I urge you to choose organic foods all the time. But only occasionally do I mention nutritional differences. More often than not I'm warning you that factory-farmed foods and commercially-grown crops are bad news because of the toxic chemicals with which they are often laced.

    The truth is if your supermarket steak isn't labeled organic it's likely spiked with antibiotics. And although that factory-raised conventional chicken breast may look plump and juicy, it would probably pop positive for arsenic. Oh, and those crisp fall apples that are just coming into season are likely loaded up with pesticides.

    And, of course, there's the issue of genetically modified foods....a disaster that's unfolding as you read this. As more and more of the GMO foods hit our shelves without real regulation or labeling, the ONLY way to steer clear of this stuff is to choose organic.

    (If you want to know the REAL truth, as usual you need to follow the money. The biotech industry has deep ties to Stanford University. Heck, biotech giant...and food marketer...Cargill admits on its own website that it has had a 25-year partnership with S.U. But that's a story for another time.)

    That's right; there are LOTS of good reasons to be choosing organic foods over conventional ones. And we haven't even touched on any of the sound arguments against factory farming that involve the treatment of the animals or the workers on those industrial farms. Or covered the superbug problem that's been large the practice of dosing up farm animals on antibiotics.

    Yes, in a classic case of misdirection, the mainstream managed to confuse many of us into thinking that we had been duped into paying more for organics. And nothing could be further from the truth.

    Sure, the fact that some organic foods are higher in nutritional value (not to mention taste value) is great. But even if none of them ever was, the case for going organic is still a super solid one.

    If you don't want your family chowing down on antibiotics, synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, synthetic herbicides, synthetic fungicides, growth hormones, and even prescription drugs like Prozac (yes, really) with every meal than keep the conventionally-grown foods in your fridge down to a minimum.

    While going 100 percent organic is not realistic for most, you can certainly reduce the number of factory-farmed foods you put into your shopping cart and onto your family's dinner table.

  2. Despite Tough Times, Organic Food is Catching On

    Even five years ago, it was hard to find organic produce at big-chain super markets. You had to go to your local farmer's market or to a small family-owned store to get a variety of organic products.

    But awareness about the dangers of using pesticides and insecticides to treat our food has grown. More people now seek out organic alternatives, even though it's usually more expensive.

    In fact, despite the tough economic times, it seems that more and more families are choosing organic food. According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA) nearly 75 percent of U.S. families now buy organic food, even if it's just occasionally. Plus—three out of 10 families bought more organic food in 2008 than they did the previous year.

    Supply-and-demand economics

    Now that there's a proven demand for organic food, the industry has just exploded with new products. In fact, U.S. sales of organic products (food and personal care items) grew 17 percent in 2008. Organic products now pull in $24.6 billion in sales in the U.S. alone. That's nearly a 600 percent increase over the last 12 years.

    Today, it's not uncommon to see organic milk, eggs, juice, bread, cereal bars, and baby food on the shelves of your local superstore. I've even seen organic macaroni and cheese! And the organic stuff is no longer stuck in the one "healthy" aisle in the store that everyone always skips. The organic products are now spread all over the store.

    So on your next trip to the grocery store, look around. See all the great alternatives out there. Even packaged products like waffles and cereal now have healthier, organic alternatives. And if we all keep up the demand for fresh organic food, competition in the marketplace will continue to grow. This will help to bring down the prices of organic products.

    And don't forget about continuing to support your local farmer's market. They're the ones who got this revolution started!

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