Friday, April 4, 2008

go organic

I'm an organic food person, and I just found this interesting little article which lists the top foods to buy organic and why. my favorite part of the article: they list alternatives if you can't find the following foods organic (obviously there are no suggestions for meat and milk and coffee, other than become a vegetarian and quit your coffee habit). the list:

1. Meat
2. Milk
3. Coffee
4. Peaches
5. Apples
6. Sweet Bell Peppers
7. Celery
8. Strawberries
9. Lettuces
10. Grapes
11. Potatoes
12. Tomatoes

the article can be found here

what i found to be scariest: the amount of chemicals that are poured on our foods. i read this book about a man who studied illegal aliens by living like one. he said when he was working in the fields it was disturbing how silent they would be. no bugs, no squirrels, nothing alive except for those men and women who were picking the food. he also described picking an orange and having all of this white flaky stuff fall from the fruits and the trees. it was dried pesticides and if you weren't wearing something over your mouth, it would make you sick. it also left their skin raw and red and their eyes watery.

so to me, organic is something i to do and i know there are some people out there who think it's a hoax (perhaps my husband, to a certain degree) just like they think global warming is a hoax.

is organic something you think is important?


tara said...

A good debate. I happen to to think the organic industry is a fraud. In a Otago University study they found that there is little data on pesticide residue in organic foods, "preventing definitive conclusions from being made about any differences in the residue levels of organic and conventional".

Organic foods is a $16 billion a year industry. There are lots of problems with fraud - things labeled organic that really aren't. Also, do you know how lax the regulations are? The USDA checks the fields/farms like once every 8 years.

People who fork over a little more believe that the foods themselves are more nutritious and safer. But the USDA noted that, "No distinctions should be made between organically and non-organically produced products in terms of quality, appearance, or safety." In other words, no claim should be made that the foods themselves are better—or even different! (USDA Study Team on Organic Farming. Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming. USDA, July 1980.)

I understand why people eat organic, but I think the whole industry is sketchy.

Liz said...

Yeah, I think the only way to be certain your foods don't have pesticides is to grow them yourself or buy from a local farmer you've been able to see in action and whom you trust.

But, I also think that we are going to be able to trust our government less and less in the future because where money is involved, you can be sure there's also corruption and dishonesty. Especially money in those quantities. Too many people's testimonies of quality can be "bought" at the right price. We just never really know what goes on, and, therefore, maybe it is best to just become self-sufficient.

Maybe this is why living the law of consecration would be so hard - someone gets greedy and there goes the status quo. Anyway, I think perhaps I've deviated. I'm with Tara, I think this is a good topic for debate.

redstarmama said...

One of the families in our ward grows commercially, both organic-certified and non-organic, for KFC and other big companies. They told us there really isn't much difference, and lots of growers claim to be certified organic, but aren't. Apparently the only difference is that, in order to be organic, a grower can't grow any other produce in the organic field for seven years, only the plant he wants to grow organically. The grower can't use any fertilizers in the ground, but that's it. That's the only difference. Our friend also told us that non-organic produce is better tasting and lasts longer, because the growers can preserve the fruit better. He also said the pesticides he uses are not harmful; I can't vouch for the entire industry on that one. I think the whole industry is ripe for exploitation, because most consumers have no clue. They see the "O" word on the package or the sign, and that's it. Now, that's not to say I don't prefer small farm or home grown produce. I just don't buy into the mass organic craze. There are community-supported agriculture groups all over the place, where you sign up and for a monthly or annual fee, you receive seasonal produce and flowers once a week or two, from local small growers. My Weight Watchers leader subscribes to one, and she loves it; not only is the food unbelievably fresh, but the variety is amazing. When I can afford it, I will go that route, rather than buying the organic produce in the market. There's got to be something like that in your area. Wow, that was my longest comment ever!

bird said...

all of you have valid arguments against organic produce, but what about dairy and meat?

redstarmama said...

Honestly, I just don't have as much info at my fingertips about meat and dairy processes, and I figure if the differences between organic and non-organic produce are so minimal, wouldn't that probably be similar in other areas? I just don't buy that it's so much better. It's the "homegrown" aspect I like, more than anything. I'm a big fan of homemade. And yes, I think global warming is suspect, too. Anything Al Gore is involved in smells fishy to me.

Amber Marie said...

We buy organic when we can. There are as many studies showing an increased levels of pesticides in non-organic compared to organic as there are studies saying there is no difference. Ryan's grandmother grew up around farms and her husband was a farmer for most of his life. Their neighbor was spraying his fields one day and for some reason went over their home. His grandmother got very sick, lost all of her hair and has had many health problems. She was tested for pesticides and poisin in her blood and she had very high my point is, obviously pesticides are bad. Whether the tiny level you get from non-organic foods is going to lead to bad health...I don't think we will ever know. If I can afford the organic, I buy it.

As for dairy and meat. Anything associated with cows is really disgusting to me. I still eat a hamburger every once in a blue moon but when you start reading articles about cow meat and milk and all the anti-biotics and hormones in them, it is really sickening. We buy organic milk for this reason and don't eat much cow meat. Chicken by law cannot be pumped with antibiotics so i feel better about eating non-organic chicken. In short with dairy and meat it is about antibiotics and hormones. That seems more terrible to me than pesticides.

Buy local when you can. Try to NEVR buy stuff from Mexico and elsewhere- they are allowed to use pesticides and other chemicals the US has banned but they can sell their produce and food products here. Eat less meat (D&C 89) :)

L.A. Mama said...

Yes, I think it is important to eat organic...especially if you have children to feed. There will always be corruption; that is why it is important to stay on top of legislation and be involved with non-profit orgs that are trying to protect us. But to just give up and say there is no proof is well...copping out. We should stand up for our health and well-being and make our voices heard...we should eat organic and make sure that the industry does what they say they will do. Much of that is electing the proper officials to make sure that the USDA doesn't relax their rules to benefit special interest groups like the pesticide companies. We should all also learn how to grow our own organic produce. I live in a condo but I am growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, grapes, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries on the terrace organically. Wish me luck! :)

bird said...

well said, la mama!

Liz said...

Miriam, I just watched this video. It makes a good case for veganism. Just copy and paste this link ( into your web browser then click on "watch the video now."

My dad read "The China Study" and promptly gave up meat and dairy. I got one chapter into the book and was too afraid to continue reading. I knew I would take it to heart and the idea of trying to eliminate dairy with children in the home is an almost insurmountable challenge.

Having watched the video above, I think I might just finish the book and make a transition. Good luck!

Liz said...

Hey, if that video doesn't work, you can also find the lecture on Google Video. Just search Neal Barnard then click on the "Chocolate, Cheese, Meat, and Sugar - Physically Addictive Foods" title. It's very interesting, but it's 40 minutes long so I'd recommend watching it during nap time or after bed time for Ava. :) :) :)