Organic Foods

TheTruth About Organic Foods

Nowadays, labeling fruits and vegetables as organic foods has become a standard in supermarkets.

Most of their own brands are marked as 'organic' being in direct competition with the more established and well-known organic food brands.

Especially health food stores have to live up to the customer's expectations. So when I occasionally visit these specialty stores I assume that almost every product is beneficial for me and my health.

Organic equals good and healthy. But is that true?

Ever wondered what 'organic' really means?

And what does all this 'organic health food' talk boil down to at the end of the day?

As far as defining the term 'organic foods' goes the idea was once based on the simple assumption that farms should function as organisms. This meant to develop an ecologically-balanced and more holistic approach to farming in general.

Luckily for us as customers, many farmers these days are able to offer and sell fresh organic produce based on that ethic.

Some of you might think, hey, but I don't see much point in spending more money on the same foods just because the label reads 'organic'. The cheaper product sold for a dumping price is just as good.

That used to be my idea of shopping for foods once upon a time. Anything organic would mean a special treat. I simply didn't pay attention to the differences in the taste and better enjoyment of those foods.

But during all the beautiful scenic ultramarathons I have run I became more and more aware of nature and the environment I was running in.

Suddenly I would start to buy seasonal organic foods like vegetables and fruits from local farms nearby.

And, yes, did I notice a difference. Those fresh organic foods have a distinct, much better taste.

Apples, for example, would actually taste of apples.

Honest farmers are the experts to trust

I now literally handpick my own tasty foods like apples straight from the farmer's yard. And pay nearly half the price than what I would have to spend in food stores.

Besides that, I connect with the locals and support their business which is only fair.

One of the local farmers I regularly shop from has even got curious about ultrarunning. He is always amazed at the amounts of fruits we get through in a week or days.

Compared to non-organic fruits and vegetables I don't even have to wash and scrub the food whereas most conventional products can cause food allergies and/or allergic reactions.

So spreading the word helps to promote the sport a bit more, too.

Therefore, invest into more organic seasonal foods near you!

There aren't many vitamins in non-organic apples, pears and other fruits and vegetables anymore that have been shipped all the way from Chile or South Africa.

You might as well not eat any of that - no use what-so-ever! What you might save on at first glance will lack elsewhere.

In order to understand the principles of organic farming, let's take a look at how conventional farming works first:

  1. chemical fertilizers are applied to promote plant growth
  2. chemical herbicides are used to manage weeds
  3. animals are fed with growth hormones and antibiotics
  4. insecticides are sprayed to reduce diseases

And here are the advantages of organic farming:

  1. natural fertilizers, for example compost, are used to feed soil and plants
  2. weeds are managed by rotating crops
  3. animals are raised on organic feeds and allowed access to the outdoors; cots are kept clean
  4. beneficial insects and birds help to reduce disease

It is important to keep in mind that processed foods labeled as 'organic' must contain at least 95% of ingredients that fulfill the requirements mentioned above.

Often, recycable and biodegradable packaging as well as energy-saving technologies are required, too.

The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) requires all manufacturers and farmers that label and sell their products as 'organic' to meet the strict certification standards.

If you see 'all-natural' or 'free-range' on a product this really doesn't mean much after all. Look out for the real 'organic' or 'bio' label.

Every country has different certification programs. Simply check with your Department of Agriculture to find detailed information on the standards of organic foods.

As far as discussing organic fruits and vegetables goes it is your decision after all how 'organic' you want to keep your diet that may include dairy products, fish and meat, too.

It goes without saying, though, that you'll find meats and fish from your local butcher's and fishmonger's much tastier.

The truth behind organic foods is that we aren't in control of what goes on behind the doors of manufacturers and mass-producing farms.

There is never a 100% guarantee when it comes to acting upon laws and restrictions.

Each of us can simply be honest with ourselves.

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