20 years after the popularization of the “organic certification”, the debate is still raging about whether or not the price point pays off for your health. You know seeing the USDA Certified Organic label means you’re not ingesting pesticides with your daily serving – but is that enough information for the food-conscious consumer?
What keeps many of us from a full organic diet is simply the cost. As reported in 14 Facts The Organic Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know, due to initially heightened farming practices, corporations selling organic fare were given the opportunity to set their own market rates. Without regulation to control the price of organics and make higher quality food available to everyone, “Big Organic” took hold of the market and took home big profit – making better food available only to those with the cash.
Health of the Food System
Big “Org” has been criticized for using practices unhealthy for the food system itself. The certificate verifies that the food you are buying has been produced on a farm producing less per acre than a conventional farm. The increased popularity of organic foods may lead to more large organic farms, with a higher use of fossil fuels and other resources.
And even when you are picking up a bundle of organic carrots grown in California and shipped to New Jersey, there’s 100 more bundles of food waste that didn’t make it on the trip across the country. Being grown without preservatives and shipped without waxing means the shelf life of organic products is limited.
So, even though the food may be better for you, it is worse for the environment.
Rights of Farm Workers
Farming organically requires more time on the part of the farmer. Soil must be cultivated, crops tended and weeds managed. It is more labor intensive than conventional farming, and the farmer may not be able to tend as much land as he could with industrialized farming approaches.
And even when these organic practices are followed – USDA organic certification is beyond reach for many small-scale farmers. With the certification itself costing often upward of $1500, farmers additional must pay annually inspections, assessments, and travel costs for an USDA certifying agent.
For small scale operations offering locally produced foods, free of pesticides and in line with seasonal foods – organic simply isn’t viable.
While local farmers often don’t carry the title, their produce requires less preservatives and chemicals because it will not be shipped thousands of miles. And you can always inquire with the farmer about their farming practices. Opt for farmer’s markets and always dig deeper into the information provided.
There’s a lot of false information being thrown around about “miracle benefits” of juicing. While any health professional will steer you away from snake oils and towards a balanced diet, here are the 5 scientifically supported tips for healthy juicing.
- Understand WHY Fruits & Veg
Any given day you will see countless ambiguous advertisements for something “good for you!”, “your best fit!” or “the best you can get!”. As marketing strategy, these statements are robust. But as blanket health claims – they fall pretty flat.
It’s your job to figure out which vitamins, nutrients & minerals your body is asking you for. No single food that heals one body is guaranteed to offer yours equal benefit.
That being said – determining what is right for your body relies on educating yourself on the scientific data.
Fruits + vegetables contain vital phytonutrients. These “plant chemicals” protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and various inflammatory diseases.
Flavonoids and anthocyanins are also abundant in many fruits and vegetables. They protect against oxidative cellular damage, which comes from exposure to chemicals and pollution.
- Focus on Green Juice – Not Fruit
This is an important distinction to make because, if your juice contains too many fruits, it will be both higher in calories and sugar (fructose). Add in limited amounts of fruit to give your juice flavor, but the bulk of it should come from green veggies – spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc.
- 3. Cold Press
Many people heat their juice to remove bacteria – but this damages nutritional content. Instead, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove all bacteria and maintain a complete nutritional profile.
- Keep the Fiber!
You lose the fiber necessary to help process the sugars of fruits and veggies. SO just add some of the pulp back into your juice, or use it in other foods (like muffin batter, broths, or rice).
- ALWAYS. ORGANIC.
By now you’re familiar with the detrimental effects of GMOs and pesticides. If your budget doesn’t allow for a fully organic basket, at least avoid the “Dirty Dozen”