Sunday, August 8, 2010

Organic - Why to Buy

Ok, so...after the Where and's the Why.  In a nutshell, you want the cleanest and most natural meats, fruits and vegetables you can buy.  It's that simple.  When you are buying something that is labeled as Organic, the product has gone through a strict certification process.  This process normally means that the product meets the below guidelines:
  1. Avoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics,food additives, etc), genetically modified organisms(GMO), irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge
  2. Use of farmland that has been free from synthetic chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more)
  3. Keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail)
  4. Maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products
  5. Undergoing periodic on-site inspections.

You'll read all about how it benefits local economies and how good for the environment it is...etc.  Those are all also great reasons, but when it comes to how it benefits YOU the key is that you are limiting the amount of chemicals that you introduce into your system.  These chemicals can disrupt your hormones and cause other side-effects.  This goes beyond weightloss, but various conditions and diseases that result from unnatural exposure to the pesticides, fungicides, antibiotics and hormones that our livestock and poultry are given. 

As for your meat and poultry, the organic label generally means that the following were prohibited:
  1. Use of animal drugs, including hormones, to promote growth
  2. Plastic pellets for roughage
  3. Urea or manure added to feed or in feed formulas.
  4. Direct fed mammalian or poultry by-products such as animal fats and rendered products (does not include fishmeal).
  5. Providing feed supplements or additives in amounts over what is needed by the livestock for nutrition and health.
Again, it comes down to not only ensuring that the animal was treated well, but that they are also fed as naturally as possible.  Just like when we get sick, animals are given antibiotics - but you don't want to ingest those antibiotics unnecessarily when you eat a steak or drink some milk.  By purchasing organic meat and poultry you are buying chemical, antibiotic and hormone free food. 

If you want to read more detail of the requirements, here is a link to Vermont's certification guidelines:

Something else that is important to know when buying meat is that the cattle is grass-fed. Most of the meat that we buy in the stores or at a restaurant is grain-fed.  Cattle given commercial feed or grains have to be given antibiotics because of their inability to digest corn adequately. The reason farmers go this route is because they can get the cattle bigger faster - the faster they grow, the faster they can sell it.  Higher turnover, higher profit.  The end result is fattier meat that is higher in Omega-6 (not good for you).  On the other hand, grass-fed cattle beef has higher amounts of Omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) - both of which are important to your health and actually helpful in weightloss as well. When you buy organic meat, you can feel comfortable that it came from grass-fed/vegetarian diet.

Here is an excellent article on such a topic:

You know, I was talking to my aunt about this and she put it so well - so simply:  It doesn't take a scientist to understand that if you give something to an animal to make it bigger, that when we eat that animal that we're going to also get bigger.  

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