WELLNESS--While organic fruit and vegetables have been consistently growing in popularity for many years, there are still plenty of people that don’t understand the importance of making the choice to go organic.
For starters, the chemicals used on conventional fruits and vegetables are dangerous for our health. The most common and well-known chemical compound is called glyphosate also known as Monsanto’s Roundup. This compound has been known to cause tumors in rats and lab animals since the early 80’s but they continue to keep this product on the shelves and to spray it on conventionally grown crops.
The organic naysayers will tell you that they still use chemicals on the fruits and vegetables that are grown organically, and that is true, but they are not synthetic.
People who only eat conventional and don’t bother purchasing organic fruits vegetables and other foods have been found to have higher levels of glyphosate in their systems. This particular chemical has been proven to be dangerous to lab animals, and there is little doubt that it has the same effect on humans.
The soil is another reason to buy organic. In order for fruits and vegetables to be sold as organic there are certain regulations they must follow to protect the soil. One of them is that soil needs to be taken care of and not sprayed with synthetic chemical compounds. The other is that organic farms do not use genetically modified seeds while growing crops, and finally, organic farms use a technique called diversified crop rotation that helps to keep the soil healthy and not stripped of all it’s nutrients. Basically it means that different crops are planted on the same soil at different times during the year.
Like all food sources, it is important to talk to the farmers and find out the source of the food. Because it’s true that even with organic selections, there are organic chemicals used on the fruits and vegetables. If one shops at a huge grocery store, even if it’s organic there are a number of chemicals being used and it may be difficult to find out exactly how many and which compounds are being utilized to treat the produce. It will also be tough to find out where the produce is coming from and how the soil is being treated.
It is ALWAYS the best choice to go to local farmers markets if you are near one. The majority of these farmers are not mass-producing huge amounts of fruits and vegetables and are therefore less likely to use as many chemicals on their food.
One can also talk to the farmers and ask questions like what type of chemicals or pesticides are they using if any. Keep in mind there are completely pesticide free farms and these can often be found at farmers markets. Other questions to ask them are, is the soil being used in a way where different crops are being rotated or are the same crops being grown over and over each year? How far did the crops have to travel to get here and in what way were they transported? These farmers work hard and wake up very early to get to the markets to sell us food. It is safe to assume they are doing what they do because they believe in farming and in the power of healthy food, as opposed to huge popular grocery chains many of which are mostly concerned with the bottom line.
Ask questions, and remember that organic does not mean pesticide free. It does mean synthetic pesticide free, but that isn’t always enough information to know that you are making the best choice for your fruit and vegetables. Finally, there is also Roundup or glyphosate found in other foods like ice cream and it is important to buy organic dairy for this reason. Why increase our chances of illness or the possibility of poisoning ourselves with chemicals when we have the chance to make a different choice?
(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 310.909.6956 twitter: @CristianoWFR )