More and more people are demanding organic products – produce, dairy, clothing, gardening and cleaning supplies, skin care, cosmetics, and so on. Why? People are beginning to understand the detrimental effects on their health when they use the chemical-laden products provided by the manufacturing processes in today’s world.
Holistic health practitioners have been preaching the harm of chemicals for decades as have many other health advocates. Society however gets caught in the media trap from misleading advertising, which is primarily for the buck instead of health. Since most people don’t take time to investigate but simply swallow the hook, line and sinker of what advertising propagates, serious repercussions are occurring through the breakdown of health and an upward flux in the number of serious and life-threatening diseases.
So what does it mean to be organic? Here are some definitions from Webster: to be inherent, inborn, constitutional, derived from living organisms. What this says is that organic relates to something in its natural state, as it was when born or created, and from a living organism. That leaves out all chemicals and pesticides since they are man-made, an altered form, and definitely not alive. This also eliminates the use of genetically modified foods, which is becoming a major problem on our planet. Organic simply means left in its natural state or close as possible as the Creator created it and using only natural substances for its growth.
Society has become inundated with the chemical age prevalent today. Everyone is so afraid of germs that they have become so squeaky clean to the point they sparkle with disinfectant prisms. No one really knows the complete effect any chemical can have on your body and health until after the fact. Sure, studies are done, but so many factors are part of the equation when introducing a foreign substance in your body, which a chemical is, and it has been repeatedly shown that these studies are not conclusive as to the safety of any given chemical for human consumption. And how could they be? Chemicals are not compatible with living organisms. To what can we attribute this age of chemicals? Science? Quest for more? Greed? Laziness? Higher profits? Technological advancement? Supply and demand? Maybe all of these things apply and maybe not, but since people are slowly waking up and are demanding better choices, namely organic and chemical-free products, change is eminent.
According to recent surveys and Consumer Reports, nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers bought organic foods in 2005; that’s up by about half from 2004. During the last decade organic sales have grown 20 percent annually. According to these reports sales are expected to more than double by 2009. This is awesome as the search for healthy, organic foods and products was not always easy in the past. So with the demand for organics by society, businesses have no choice but to go along with the crowd; if they don’t their sales and profits will plummet downward.
One of the drawbacks to purchasing organic has been price. Organic and chemical-free products always cost more, oftentimes 50 to 100 percent higher. But can you really put a price tag on vibrant health? This has often kept people from buying these items, but now relief is in sight. Walmart has jumped on the bandwagon and is joining in the surge of organics by placing many items in their superstores across the U.S. In addition, big companies are introducing organic items in their product lines to share in the profits due to the increasing demand for them. This means that there will now be competition with sales, thus requiring more competitive pricing - good news for consumers.
However, there’s another aspect to consider. As companies originally not concerned with organics and healthier choices join in the race for monetary rewards, will we find the standards for the organic processes being tainted and lowered? According to the articles and surveys I have recently viewed, this is a concern. Large food companies began lobbying to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2002, attempting to weaken the rules that had been in place by organic companies. Efforts are still being made to lower the standards by changing labeling, allowing for the inclusion of some non-organic ingredients. However, the National Organic Standards Board says, “We do not believe standards will be weakened at all.” Earthbound Farms, the nation’s leading supplier of organic salad greens for more than 20 years, loudly objects to including built-in “emergency exemptions” that would allow non-organic ingredients in organically labeled food if the organic alternative is considered “commercially unavailable.” Charles Sweat, chief operating officer at Earthbound Farm, says “This presents a risk to the integrity of the organic label…” I don’t know what you are thinking, but I am in agreement – no slacking in the standards please. An organic label now means and should always mean no synthetic, artificial or non-organic ingredients.
So why does it make such a difference in your health whether or not you consume organic? Chemicals are synthetic ingredients that are known as carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and more often than not deplete your body of valuable nutrients. They can disrupt your endocrine system (all hormones), lower your immune system, affect male reproductive function, contribute to miscarriages in women, and contribute to if not cause many serious and life-threatening diseases due to the alteration and proliferation of cells. When consuming non-organic foods, you can ingest small amounts of more than 30 pesticides per day. In a single fragrance from cleaning products, cosmetics, and perfumes, there can be as many as 800 different chemicals used in that one product, as was stated in a recent newsletter from Dr. Jordan Rubin. Anything with a base of petroleum – plastics, synthetic clothing, food, cosmetics, perfumes, cleaners, etc. – contains toxic substances that continually gas out into the air that you breathe or are directly absorbed into your body, and they are especially toxic when heated.
Organic on the other hand, provides more nutrients than its non-organic cousin. Since so many individuals are deficient in their vitamin and mineral consumption, it only makes sense to utilize foods that optimize your nutritional needs. An overload of chemicals spells trouble in regard to your health any way you look at it. And I believe most people want to be healthy as a top priority even if they don’t have what it takes to change their lifestyle to one that promotes vibrant health.
Since we are what we eat, let’s talk about the food you eat. It is vitally important that individuals consume at least 7 or 8 vegetables and fruits every day. In a recent poll it is estimated that over 60 percent of Americans eat no vegetables on a given day. That blew my mind! How could this be in a society that has such abundance and surely knows better, or do they? So let me state this again. It is vitally important to consume at least 7 or 8 vegetables and fruits every day! Why? Because they contain the vitamins, fiber, minerals and trace minerals your body needs to fight off disease and keep you healthy. Although I totally support eating organic produce, it has been stated by alternative health authorities, that it’s better to eat the vegetables as non-organic than not to eat them at all. You can reduce the pesticides by peeling all skins or washing the fruits and vegetables in veggie/fruit wash. Here’s a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticides - rightfully named the dirty dozen - and should always be eaten organic, and the top 12 with the least amount of pesticides so that choosing non-organic isn’t as detrimental to you. (Understand this is one list and other lists may differ slightly.)
Highest levels of pesticides
Fruit ~~~ Vegetables
Strawberries ~~~ Spinach
Apples ~~~ Lettuces
Peaches ~~~ Celery
Nectarines ~~~ Potatoes
Red Raspberries ~~~ Peppers Imported Grapes Cherries
Lowest levels of pesticides
Fruit ~~~ Vegetables
Pineapple ~~~ Asparagus
Bananas ~~~ Broccoli
Watermelon ~~~ Cauliflower
Blueberries ~~~ Onions
Avocado ~~~ Cabbage
Kiwi ~~~ Okra
What should you watch for on labels and package markings that indicate “walk away and don’t buy”?
All natural means little nowadays so don’t count on it being really natural or healthy. Free-range or free-roaming doesn’t mean free of chemicals either because the feed is often contaminated. Any hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, polyunsaturated, trans-fats or refined oils should be avoided. Avoid processed or enriched foods made with white sugar, white flour, regular table salt such as canned or dried fruits and vegetables, breads, oils, pasta, cereals and snacks.
Instead make wiser health choices. Choose olive oil or unrefined organic coconut oil for cooking and baking. Some organic oils are also acceptable. Choose fresh vegetables and fruits instead of canned or processed, but if you use canned choose organic. Use unsalted organic butter rather than margarine. Choose Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt for flavoring that enhances your health due to its high natural mineral content. Use organic cane sugar or raw unprocessed honey for sweetener, or try the herb stevia. The more choices you make for foods in their original state the better.
So what it boils down to is choice. This is true for all of life as everything involves choice. Cancer is on the rise as are many serious diseases. Colon cancer is now number two in claiming lives with liver cancer right behind. These are important organs in your body as the liver filters the impurities and toxins you put into your body and the colon rids your body of waste. But if you put more in than your body can process, then disease is eminent. So it only makes sense to lessen your overload of toxins (chemicals particularly) in order to prevent disease or impaired health. What does it matter if you have all the money in the world if you don’t have your health to enjoy it? An email came to me recently of a imaginary interview with God. The person in the story was asking God questions and asked God what he thought of man. God’s reply was this: “Man destroys their health to make money, then spends their money to restore their health.” Oh so true is it not?
Choice is a most powerful tool and you have that power within you. You are what you eat, breathe, digest, assimilate, use and absorb in all dimensions. You have the power to change your life for the better if you so desire. It is my heartfelt wish that you see the value of making this choice. As people continue to tell me they think I’m much younger than I am, and I continue to experience vibrant health, it makes me very glad I made the choices I have for the last 15 years. Now it’s your time to make wiser choices!
Carolyn Porter, D. Div.
Empower Productions, Inc., owner
All About Health, Inc., co-owner
Carolyn porter, D. Div., is an Inspirational Speaker, Author of multiple books, ebooks and audios, Spiritual Wholeness Coach, Energy Facilitator, and Co-owner of a health store, whose passion is to help you move beyond your self-imposed limitations and become all you are meant to be.