The Organic Lifestyle

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BlacksThere is no safe alternative to consuming a 100% organic diet. In May of this year, President Obama’s Cancer Panel released findings, which reported that consuming a diet free of pesticides, toxic waste products, hormones, radiation and other harmful substances is the best way to prevent environmental-related cancer. Granted, the word “organic” was utilized sparingly in the findings; however, the recommendation to eat food free of hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins is what organic food is all about. It’s not new news: study after study has shown that overexposure to these substances takes a heavy toll on our health.

Requirements of Organic Food

Organic produce has to meet certain standards laid out by the FDA, which includes being grown in soil that is free of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or sewage sludge (treated human waste). The seeds and seedlings used to plant the crops must be organic, and organic farms are required to use earth-friendly measures for crop rotation and insect control. 

Organic meat, dairy products, and eggs must be derived from animals that receive only organic feed, are free from hormone and antibiotic injections, and are provided with humane grazing and pasture treatment. Organic processed foods must be free from artificial dyes, preservatives, and cannot be subjected to irradiation. 

Organic foods also have strict labeling rules. For a product to boast the USDA organic stamp, it must contain 100% organic ingredients. If it is labeled simply as “organic,” it must have at least 95% organic ingredients, and to carry the label “made with organic ingredients,” 70% of the contents must be organic. 

Health Risks Presented by Conventional Foods

Conventional foods are continuously being doused with liquid, gas, and solid chemicals and injected with hormones and antibiotics. What’s scary is that most of these substances have never been tested for safety in humans. The ones that have been tested are associated with severe health risks, including neurological damage, cancer, asthma, allergies, ADHD in children, developmental delays, autism, and a litany of other potential consequences. Scientific studies have shown that the more you eat conventional foods, the higher the levels of toxins and dangerous chemicals in your blood stream. Sewage sludge that is used as fertilizer on conventional crops is filled with byproducts like pharmaceutical drugs and heavy metals, which aren’t removed when human waste is processed. Irradiation, which is basically the exposure of foods to radiation, has been linked to an increase in various types of cancer.

Dr. Elon Bomani, who created the holistic, natural-living program for women called Dynamic Divas, warns consumers, “Our food system, without a doubt, has been compromised; the constant onslaught of hormones, chemicals, and other toxins is contributing to the breakdown of our immune, hormonal, and endocrine systems, resulting in obesity, early onset of puberty, and the high rate of illness that permeates our country. It’s a vicious cycle. The good news is that the levels of these toxins are drastically reduced when you begin eating a 100% organic diet.”  

There are some who complain that organic foods are too expensive, but that is, for the most part, no longer the case. Farmers markets, food co-ops, and smaller, local health food alternatives to Whole Foods are springing up everywhere. A lot of major cities have organic delivery services that pass on their low, bulk rate savings directly to their customers. If you live in a smaller city, see if you can find a local organic farm. After taking a minute to do a quick cost-benefit analysis between an increased food bill vs. cancer and a host of other illnesses that diminish the quality of life, choosing the organic path should be a pretty easy call.