Is there a benefit to eating Organic?

Tuan and I have tweaked our diet for almost 2 years now by eating organically and using all natural ingredients whenever possible. What really spurred this movement was watching the movie Food Inc. It just sparked something in me to become more aware of what I’m actually consuming and be more aware of what I’m introducing into my body. Now if we flash back just 5 years ago, I was totally on the other end of the spectrum, eating junk food like it was critical to my survival and stocking my fridge full of pre-made loaded with preservative type meals. I was more focused on convenience and wanted instant gratification from the vending machines. I do see the folly in my past ways, and thankfully, my health has not suffered from it.

I’m really happy with this conscious choice we made to be more aware of what we put into our bodies and to support the local farmers in our area. What are the exact reasons for this change? To be honest with you, it’s a little bit selfish. It never occurred to me that eating organically and supporting the organic farms would help to promote more humane treatment of animals or to help save the environment. I just wanted to only put necessary and good things in my body. So that actually got me thinking, are there really any advantages and benefits to going the organic route?

Let’s start with what I love most — meat! The living conditions of the animals in industrialized farms can make anyone queasy.  I’d like to have happy thoughts and hope that the animals, even though they are being raised strictly for food, enjoy a life (no matter how short) that is relatively stress-free, free-grazing on the land and not being manufactured in crowded and sometimes deplorable living conditions. Happy animals make happy meat right? Placing the animals in crowded living conditions, not allowing them the freedom of movement, pumping them full of enriched grains and additives to promote quick growth are all for what? All for greed and to fill the pockets of the mass food manufacturers.I’d rather have my hard earned money go to the local farmers who are just trying to earn an honest living. Organic farms are free of pesticides and toxins. They do not clutter up the landfills with toxic waste or pollute the water source with pesticides. It is a conscious choice on their part and I’m happy to support them.

When most people consume fruits and veggies, they do it for the good nutrients and vitamins. But do you really want to ingest the toxins and pesticides as well? Do you really care if your apple has a few blemishes on it? Eliminating the use of these toxins that could potentially pollute the water source and harm the environment should be enough of a reason to pay that extra $0.50 for that apple.And don’t you want to taste what an apple should taste like? Instead of eating one that’s been prematurely plucked but should ripen just in time before it hits the grocery shelves thanks to the chemicals. One of the things that really surprised us was apple juice. Now I know what apple juice should taste like, but after we got a bottle of organic apple juice, we were startled at the taste — it tasted just like apples picked from an orchard!

Organic food is costly, but in my eyes, it is cost effective. Think of the expenses you have to incur on doctors and medicine when you’re ill. Now I’m not saying that eating organically will mean no more colds or no more doctor’s visits. But healthy eating practices can lead to a healthier life. Precaution is always better and it certainly helps to be conscious about your health. And it is certainly good practice to be cautious and aware of what you are eating, what’s in it and where it’s from. So all I’m saying is just read labels of the items you throw into your shopping cart and ask yourself is all that stuff you can’t pronounce really necessary? And visit the farmer’s market every once in a while and just get to know your food source. There are some great ones in our area — Old Town Alexandria, Falls Church, Clarendon Metro Station, and Dupont Circle just to name a few, so go check one out on a nice day and feel good about what you eat.

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One Thought to “Is there a benefit to eating Organic?”

  1. Catherine

    I don't even know if it is really you writing all of this stuff about being sustainable and eating locally and seasonally and being conscious of preventative health care instead of reactive health care. I am so proud of you and so glad that you are raising awareness for yourself and for others. It all starts with people just asking questions and an informed person is an empowered person- so the more power to you!!!!

    ps- And I have actually seen a decrease in my food bills since I am spending more time at the farmer's markets putting real foods into my cart, instead of at the grocers picking up overly processed pre-packaged foods. I think that most people would be surprised that the change is not necessarily a choice of spending more.

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