Organic Food

  Happily more and more people are demanding better food, i.e. organic, and the grocery stores are to complying.  You may have noticed “organic” or “natural” sections popping up in your produce section, as well as in certain aisles of the store.  This means the food industry is getting the message that people desire more complete, whole foods without all the additives.  Before we go any further, I want to define the term “organic”.  Simply put, this means a product had been grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or other chemicals in the soil.  It also means the soil has been nourished with only the addition of live matter and mineral fertilizers.

Organic practices include:

          Alternating the types of crops grown in each field.

·             Planting cover crops, such as clover, to add nutrients to the soil and prevent weeds.

·               Releasing beneficial insects to prey on pests, helping to eliminate the need for chemical insecticides.

·         Adding compost made of manure and plant wastes to help the soil retain moisture and nutrients.

   Organic foods are minimally processed to maintain the integrity of the food without artificial preservatives or irradiation.

Organic applies to animal derived foods as well.  That means the animals were fed and watered free of pesticides and chemical contaminants, where there has been no routine use of growth stimulants, hormones, or other drugs.  To clarify these labels further, you will see products labeled “natural”.  Natural does not mean organic.  It could just mean the product was manufactured without chemical ingredients.  However, the food may not have been grown or raised organically.

The more natural foods do not contain artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives in the ingredient list.  They have words you can understand and pronounce.  As you get more familiar with healthy foods you may want to find other places to buy them so you can get more variety, selection, and better prices.  Many people have come together to form food co-ops to purchase in bulk quantities at bulk prices.  This can be invaluable when just starting out because it also becomes a great resource for recipes and new foods.

Tomorrow we will talk more specifically about commonly consumed food groups to which you can easily transition.  I would like to make you aware of how the food industry hides certain ingredients from you and how they can mislead you by the wording they put on the product labels.

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