What Does Organic Really Mean?
This past weekend, while we ate our picnic on the couch Saturday night, I began randomly paging through the On Demand list for a good movie to watch and stumbled upon a documentary called, In Organic We Trust.
I was intrigued by this film because I often hear assumptions that organic food is a bunch of BS or that it is extremely overpriced. Well, I can vouch for the latter as I spend most of my life’s earnings on organic food. Okay, not that much, but I do spend a good chunk of it on food and I choose to do this because it is something I am very passionate about.
You might be asking yourself what that means, what exactly am I passionate about? Eating healthy? Protecting the environment? Or following some fad that ‘only rich people are dumb enough to adhere to’?
Let me start by saying that, after my family (of course), my health is one of my top priorities. To be honest, I wasn’t always healthy and used to smoke cigarettes and eat McDonalds and Taco Bell on a regular basis.
Luckily, when I met Brandon (who was a non-smoker) it didn’t take long for me to realize that he wasn’t going to find my ashtray-scented perfume very sexy.
However, the biggest change came after I was accepted into a Sonography program and started to learn all about the human body and the horrible diseases that are capable of ever-so-kindly destroying our insides. You can literally see the destruction taking place inside of the body, and it ain’t pretty.
After spending hours working in hospitals and seeing people, both young and old, in their most vulnerable state, some spending their last hours hooked to tubes and machines, unable to feed themselves or even speak, I got a major wake up call.
Sure, some health problems are completely out of our control so why not go along with the mantra “everything causes cancer”? Because, there are so many health problems (diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers) that are in our control and they are mainly a result of our lifestyle choices.
So, the question is, where does organic food fit into being healthy? What does organic even mean?
When referring to food that is produced organically, it means that the manufacturer or farmer is required to adhere to guidelines that are set by a certain certifying organization, the most well-known of these being the USDA.
I’m sure many of you have seen the USDA Organic Certification label on products throughout the grocery store which, unfortunately, is usually associated with a higher price tag.
In Organic We Trust (IOWT) dissects the mysteries of organic food and whether or not it really is a scam by researching the answers to some of the following questions:
1. Is everything that dons the organic label automatically considered healthy? No.
2. Is a bag of white flour or white sugar healthy because it is organic? No. Unhealthy foods are unhealthy whether they are organic or not. Aren’t they produced with less chemicals, pesticides or additives? Yes, but it can still be something that is unhealthy or void of nutrition.
3. Does organic produce have more nutrients than a conventional produce? Maybe. There are conflicting studies on this topic, but farmer’s growing organic produce are limited to the use of pesticides that are naturally occurring, while conventional farming practices use synthetic pesticides that are linked to various health problems such as ADHD in children.
4. Does organic farming really help the environment? Yes. Organic farming allows for healthier soil that not only helps grow more nutrient-dense food but also supports a more sustainable foundation for the land. Alternatively, pesticides used in conventional farming destroy the sustainability of the soil and also run off into our water sources, polluting our drinking water which has been linked to health issues.
If any of these questions touch on topics that interest you, then I highly recommend that you watch IOWT. It does an excellent job explaining the true meaning of organic food and the way it impacts our health and the environment. It also explores the role of the government in the organic certification process and the politics that exist behind the scenes.
Before watching this film, I felt like I already had a firm understanding of organic food and its relation to our health but I didn’t know much about the politics behind the process. IOWT opened my eyes to a few things and, actually, it kind of got me fired-up.
Personally, I find it extremely frustrating that the government doesn’t do something to support healthier food practices for our country. They are subsidizing the large corporate farms that are using toxic sprays, yet they make it more expensive for the smaller farmers, who are trying to work with mother nature to produce a healthier product, to get proper certification. Yet, somehow there is all of this controversy over our broken healthcare system. Maybe our healthcare wouldn’t cost as much if we made it easier for Americans to afford healthier food? Just a thought.
Ultimately, the decision to live a healthy lifestyle is up to each individual. Not all healthy food is expensive and there are different options for everyone.
Side note: If you are a smoker and say you can’t afford to eat “expensive” healthy food then quit smoking and see how much more money you have to spend. (This is aimed at my brother who makes fun of me for buying expensive organic food. He probably won’t read this though, ha! #siblinglove)
Even if you don’t buy-in to the whole organic food movement, the documentary points out that one of the best things we can do is support local farms by taking a weekly trip to your Farmer’s Market.
I really enjoy shopping in the fresh air and that they allow you to bring your kid, as long they’re on a leash.
We have to keep an eye on Coco, she really likes the fresh sourdough.
Another option they suggest is to plant some of your own produce at home. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can still grow a few things on a balcony.
We could definitely do better at this, but we currently have three heirloom tomato plants and two basil plants that we are trying not to kill.
Recently, the tomato plants started to outgrow the little clay pots we had them in (I also read that clay pots can dry out the soil) so we transplanted them to larger, plastic pots.
As always, Coco did her best to assist the process…
What’s really exciting is that the tomato plants are starting to show a few blooms! This makes me a little giddy…squeal!
It’s exciting stuff, I tell ya.
I am proud to say that I am an advocate for local and organic practices and will continue to support these causes whenever I have the opportunity.
I hope you will give IOWT a chance so that you can learn more about what organic food really is and form your own opinions on the matter. Or if you’re not in the mood for a movie, hopefully you will at least take a trip to the farmer’s market to meet your local farmers!
Other health/food related documentaries worth watching:
Do you support local or organic practices? Have you ever grown your own food?
Have you seen any good documentaries lately? Tell me about them!
**Disclaimer: I was not endorsed or compensated in any way by the makers of IOWT. This is simply a reflection of my own personal feelings and opinions.