Folks–this is a long post but I promise you it is worth the 10 minutes to read and absorb it! This was the foundation as to why I started eating organic. If you don’t understand the difference between organic and non-organic, you won’t realize the importance in making the switch! The first changes I made was switching over to organic produce, meat and dairy!
For those of you in the Lehigh Valley, there’s a fantastic company I found that delivered organic food right to my door called Pure Sprouts so most of the information I learned about eating organic was from their website. I just happened to stumble upon their ad in a local magazine and as a busy mom with a newborn at the time, I was enticed to see what this food delivery service was all about! It was a great start for me vs. being overwhelmed at the grocery store with so many choices. – Mama Kris
Today is your lucky day because we’re going to make it even easier for you guys!!! People complain most about the price of going organic but here’s a great way to ease into the organic movement. Below is a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 which lists the items you definitely want to buy organic and those that you can get away with buying conventionally. A simple way to think about it is that most produce with thicker skin can be purchased conventionally, however the produce with thin skin where pesticides and chemicals can seep in, you will want to purchase organic.
Dirty Dozen (buy organic)
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
11. Lettuce/Kale/Collard Greens
12. Snap Peas
CLEAN FIFTEEN (buy conventional)
2. Sweet Corn
13. Sweet Potato
Now let’s dive in further to the nitty-gritty facts! Bare with us people–we know it’s lengthy!
Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, and human sewage sludge.
What’s Allowed In Non-Organic Meat?
Why is there anything in meat that doesn’t get there naturally? That question should be the first that comes to mind!
First we’ll take a quick look at the dangers of processed meats and why everyone should STOP eating processed meat NOW.
Then we’ll take a look at what IS allowed in non-organic meats, primarily non-organic beef but also to some extent non-organic chicken and other poultry.
Additives In Non-Organic Meats
There are nearly 3,000 chemical additives which are approved for use in food.
Most producers of non-organic beef have started the practice of injecting their meat with a solution of water, salt and sodium phosphate to add moisture (added weight), to improve tenderness and to extend shelf life.
Many lean cuts of meat are now injected with hydrolyzed proteins to add flavor and tenderize them. According to the FDA these hydrolyzed proteins contain MSG. However, when added as part of hydrolyzed proteins the labels are not required to list MSG as an ingredient.
Certified organic meats will not contain any additives of any type.
Antibiotics In Non-Organic Meats
You may ask, don’t they need to use antibiotics if the animal gets sick? The simple answer to that is, yes sometimes.
If an animal gets sick it may need to be given medication, non-antibiotic if possible, to help it get well. However, in mass production feed lots and other non-organic meat production facilities the animals are given antibiotics constantly, sick or not, day in and day out from birth to slaughter.
In the beef industry for the past 40 plus years it has been an acceptable practice to constantly administer low levels of antibiotics. This is done to compensate for the conditions which exist in overcrowded feed lots. If the animals were not given a constant supply of antibiotics a sickness could spread like wild-fire and wipe out the entire herd.
By virtue of how they are raised, organic animals have much stronger immune systems and seldom get sick. However, if this happens the animal must be removed from the herd until all medication has cleared their system plus a buffer time period. If antibiotics are used the animal must be removed permanently from the organic herd.
Certified organic meats will not contain any antibiotics
Hormones In Non-Organic Meats
There are 6 FDA approved hormones, 3 synthetic and 3 natural, for use in the beef industry. The 3 synthetic ones are melengestrol acetate, trenbolone acetate and zeranol and the 3 natural ones are estradiol, progesterone and testosterone.
Virtually all beef in the US that is not organic meat is produced using one or more of these hormones. The hormones are used to speed the growth of the animals thus speeding production and reducing feed costs and improving return on investment.
There are those in the scientific community that believe there is a potential for these types of hormones to cause reproductive and metabolic problems in humans. They believe the use of these hormones needs to be halted until further research can be completed.
Certified organic meats will not contain any hormones
CLA and Omega-3/Omega-6 Comparisons
What is CLA and is it good for you? Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a trans fatty acid and a cis fatty acid. The cis bond allows for a lower melting point and therefore healthy benefits. Unlike other trans fatty acids, CLA is beneficial rather than harmful.
CLA has been shown to contain both antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Research has shown that CLA slows the growth of tumors in mammary, skin and colon tissue.
Nursing mothers who drank mostly organic milk and ate organic meat produced approximately 50% higher levels in their breast milk.
CLA has been found to reduce body fat, especially abdominal fat, combat Arteriosclerosis and help fight the onset of diabetes.
Organic meat from grass-fed cows is an excellent source of CLA, and contains much higher levels of it than meat from grain-fed animals. Research has found that dairy products and meat from grass-fed cattle can have CLA levels at 30% to 50% higher than those of cattle fed a diet of primarily corn and grain.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that we as humans need to be healthy. Omega 3 has been found to fight cancer and improve heart health. Omega 3 is very important to human health.
On the other hand, there is a considerable amount of research which shows that excessive levels of Omega-6 relative to Omega-3 increases the probability of arrhythmia, arthritis, cancer, depression, heart attacks, inflammation, mood disorders, osteoporosis and stroke.
A cow which is fed its natural diet of grasses and other green leafy plants, has a near base pH7 digestive solution. This diet of green plants is a great source of Omega 3. This in combination with the base digestive solution produces high levels of Omega-3 and CLA and very little Omega-6. That’s very good.
A cow which is fed a diet consisting of mainly corn and grain will have a very acidic pH digestive solution. This acidic solution in combination with starches in the corn and grain produce elevated levels of Omega-6 and lower levels of Omega-3 and CLA. That’s not good.
What They Eat Really Does Matter
Animals raised for the purpose of providing certified organic meats are not allowed to eat any food which has been treated with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, sewage sludge or radiation. Their food sources cannot contain any preservatives, additives or GMO’s.
The best of the best is meat which comes from animals raised on a diet consisting of their natural foods.
Chickens and turkeys in their natural environment eat seeds, grains, berries and insects. Just because chicken or turkey says that it’s “free range” does not mean that it’s organic. Truly organic free range chickens and turkeys are raised under conditions which do not allow for any of the toxic chemicals so common in non-organic meats.
When cattle eat the right diet, their meat is incredibly lean, has better fatty acid ratios and less total fat. Grass fed organic beef is just all around much healthier to eat with its higher levels of CLA and Omega-3.
Phew!!!! If you are still reading this then CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You now know the definition of organic and will be able to make smarter, healthier choices for you and your family. You can do this!!!!