Ok, so movies like “9 and a 1/2 weeks” have perhaps blurred the edges around the idea of the kitchen and its counter-tops being a completely clean and wholesome, dirt free area… but one place you definitely want to avoid getting dirty, so you can feel more vital and alive, is in your choice of fruits and vegetables.
***(Short on time? Go here for the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 fruits and veggies list)***
Let me explain why. Once upon a time, all foods were “organic” ie. grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilisers or hormones. Then, around the time of WWII large-scale farming with chemicals began, as did the idea of food processing. Unfortunately large-scale farming works against the natural cycles of the earth, relying on chemicals to produce big returns. This process has depleted much of the world’s soil of its minerals and nutrients and the resulting produce (fruits, vegetables & animal foods) is not only deficient in nutrients, but also full of pollutants and agrochemicals.
Thankfully we have realised it’s time to appreciate the way our ancestors ate, and the benefits that organic foods provide – from protecting the environment to helping us stay slim and healthier.
Health Benefits of Organic Foods:
• More Nutrients: Studies show that fresh, organic produce contain more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micronutrients than intensively farmed produce
• Fertility Health: Pesticides found in conventionally grown foods have been shown to reduce fertility
• Immune System Protection: The chemicals in non-organic foods have been shown to harm your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness and some forms of cancer
• Hormones and weight gain: New research has shown that some agricultural chemicals could actually be making you fat by interfering with your hormone levels
• Unknown effects of GMOs: Organic foods are never genetically modified
Best Organic Basics
• Organic beef comes from livestock that eats an organic diet, and spend part of their lives grazing on pasture grasses. That’s important, because studies show grass-fed meat has 60% more omega-3s and 200% more vitamin E.
• Likewise, organic chicken is healthier than non-organic chicken. One study found that it has 28 percent more omega-3 fatty acids.
• Studies show that organic milk has 50% more vitamin E, 75% more beta-carotene, and 70% more omega-3 fatty acids than regular.
• Organic milk is also free of commonly used growth hormones, which increases infertility in cows and has been linked to prostate and breast cancers in humans.
• Organic chickens, like cows, spend a portion of their life grazing. That means that, along with their organic feed, they have access to the chicken’s food of choice, which is a cocktail of worms and grubs. And when animals eat their favorite foods and are not living in stressful, unnatural environment, humans benefit. According to a study from Penn State, eggs from grazing chickens have twice as much vitamin E, 40 percent more vitamin A, and 3 times as many omega-3s. Plus they taste better!
Although organic eggs usually costs a couple extra dollars per carton, compared to mass-produced conventional eggs, it’s a small price for the health of your body and planet.
Fruits and Vegetables
“Dirty Dozen” (downloadable version here)
• According to estimates by the Environmental Working Group (the agency that developed the “Dirty Dozen” list) you can reduce your pesticide exposure by 80 percent simply by choosing organic versions of the following 12 fruits and vegetables: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots and pears.
• As a general rule with fruits and vegetables, when it comes to edible skins you’d be wise to choose organic.
“Clean 15” (downloadable version here)
• These 15 fruits and vegetables were the lowest in pesticides, so it’s not as important to buy organic versions of them: onions, avocadoes, sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwis, cabbage, eggplants, papayas, watermelon, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
• Note that most of these fruits and vegetables are protected from pesticide contamination by their thick skins.
One of the most profound ways to experience the energetic nature of food (and what that can do for you!) is to notice the properties of organic food. The next time you have the choice, open up your awareness, and notice how organic food can make you feel more vital, energised and alive… and that the taste is actually cleaner and more flavourful than that non-organic “stuff”.
I know it’s not always possible, and yes, it can be more expensive or take more effort to find. Start slowly by swapping in a couple of foods at a time. Many supermarkets now have their own “organic produce” section. Have fun with it, perhaps take some time out and explore a new farmer’s market. Think of it as a treat that you and your family deserve. Know that by making a few adjustments to your food intake, you can dramatically improve the quality of your life and the way you feel.
Better quality food = better health… it’s really that simple