Organic foods?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 23, 2012 1:54 AM GMT
    Hey everyone! So recently I've been thinking of going the organic route when buying my foods to optimize my health, however, I'm not quite sure what to look for, or what companies are truly sell organic products. I've heard that buying such products can be tricky as many companies can slap a label on something claiming to be organic when they only half or a quarter of the ingredients are such as with many recent boxed cereals such as Kellog's or Post. I'm not too concerned when it comes to boxed products,or bagged foods though, as I have been cutting out processed boxed , but when buying meats and fruits are there any companies I should look out for? Also what are the benefits of going this route?
  • swall1963

    Posts: 161

    Sep 23, 2012 6:40 AM GMT
    The best place to start is locally.

    I belong to a CSA (community sustained agriculture) farm that provides me with certified organic vegetables and eggs. And, I also shop at a local cooperative that sells organic foods, including meats and dairy. The prices are not that much higher than a mid-range grocery store.

    I am not going to say that organic foods have more vitamins or nutrients than non-organic (boxed cereals, processed flours and the like may). However, organic fruits and vegetables are free from preservatives, herbicides, insecticides, etc. That to me is the real benefit of organic foods.

    But, check out local producers and markets. Get to know them. Ask questions. Most of these farmers and markets enjoy engaging with the customer.
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    Sep 23, 2012 7:04 AM GMT
    News release earlier this month says a study has been done that says organic is not healthier.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/organic-food-health-produce-food_n_1853995.html
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    Sep 23, 2012 7:06 AM GMT
    Recent studies have shown that there is no discernible scientific benefit from eating organic. So there's that. But... I try to regardless because it wouldn't surprise me one bit if in a decade or so we find out that there actually is some benefit.
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    Sep 23, 2012 7:23 AM GMT
    I think it's an easy way to spend more money for smaller portions of similar nutrition.
  • booboolv

    Posts: 203

    Sep 23, 2012 9:17 AM GMT
    The lack of pesticides and herbicides, as well as the natural condition of organic foods is probably of greater value. I suspect the nutrition is also higher, regardless of what the studies say. I have become suspicious of anything and everything in the mass media, so if I'm wrong I have only myself to blame.
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    Sep 23, 2012 9:39 AM GMT
    Whoot! A forum post I can actually respond to.

    TL;DR http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/04/160395259/why-organic-food-may-not-be-healthier-for-you

    I'd say be very cautious, I've got loads of background on this (I'm a plant scientist, as well as worked on an organic farm). But safest bet is to buy local, or grow your own.

    First issue. People lie. It is very rare for an organic company to be completely organic, and intentional or non-intentional applications of fertilizers do happen. My family grows oranges in Florida and while none of ours is organic, we know our neighbors claim to be organic and have caught them using the same fertilizers we do (a non-organic one). Yes they are suppose to be testing done regularly, but as they're many different agencies, it isn't quite as monitored yet as it should be for the consumer.

    Second issue. Organic fertilizers and pesticides are just, if not more harmful than many chemical ones out there. Obviously you should always wash your produce before consuming, but many people operate under the idea that organic is healthier. However my ex-boss who a couple years back was doing Parkinsons research was testing correlations between pesticides and inducing parkinsons in rats. While Parkinsons is a human disease, they found they were able to induce the disease using organic pesticides and fertilizers.

    I would argue that if you really want to make the biggest difference to your diet, stay away from monoculture foods and simply try and diversify. that and wash what you eat.

    ----

    On a side note, to grow the organic food on the farm i worked, we regularly, and I do mean regularly sprayed with a cow urine mixture.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 23, 2012 9:51 AM GMT
    Realize my post comes off as very critical, so wanted to clarify.

    Going organic, or at least decreasing our usage of fertilizers and pesticides will be a crucial component of agriculture in the coming decades. Just don't believe everything you read.

    There is not any solid evidence linking organic produce to higher nutrient levels, or necessarily linking it to better health. If you want to "switch" to organic, what I would first suggest doing is looking at the origins of what you purchase. While its terrible to say this, I would rather buy non-organic grapes grown in the USA than organically from Chile because at least I know in the USA they can't use certain chemicals that have been linked to health.
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    Sep 23, 2012 10:32 AM GMT
    I shop at a totally organic food store, so I don't have to check labels.

    However, at stores that have a mixture, check the little sticker put on the produce. If the product number begins with 9, then it is organic.
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    Sep 23, 2012 10:41 AM GMT
    bluey2223 saidNews release earlier this month says a study has been done that says organic is not healthier.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/organic-food-health-produce-food_n_1853995.html


    I have read this and several studies on this matter. I don't believe you need to have a Ph.D. to grasp the concept that consuming less chemicals/pesticides will be healthier for you accumulatively in the long run. Seems like common sense to me.

    I buy strictly organic for that reason, but more importantly, because it's better for the environment.

    Tristan
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    Sep 23, 2012 11:07 AM GMT

    hmmm, I would wait for MuchMoreThanMuscle on this!
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    Sep 23, 2012 11:15 AM GMT
    ^^
    Actually the real expert on Organic foods is: CAMFER
    (Not to take away from MuchMoreThanMuscle about this. (I don't know if he has any expertise on this matter or not.))

    CAMFER is an organic farmer, and knows EVERY regulation on this subject. (Not vouching on his knowledge of the health aspects, but I would imagine after reading his in-depth replies, he has studied this too.)

    Tristan
  • camfer

    Posts: 891

    Sep 24, 2012 4:39 PM GMT
    censorthis1 said I've heard that buying such products can be tricky as many companies can slap a label on something claiming to be organic when they only half or a quarter of the ingredients are such...


    My farm has been certified organic since the 1990s.

    If a product has the USDA organic seal on it, by law it has to contain at least 95% organic ingredients by content. There are some products out there that contain some organic ingredients, and the products can only state "made with organic _____" and/or list the organic ingredients on the ingredient list. It is all highly regulated.

    But, very good that you're moving away from all the boxed processed stuff anyway, regardless if it's organic or not.

    The conclusions of the Stanford study have been thoroughly debunked on here by myself and others in another thread,so no point in going into it here. The same researchers who said they found no health benefits also said they found decreased pesticide residues and decreased exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria.

    There are plenty of studies showing increased nutrition in various organic produce items. I've cited them in threads over the years.

    There's a lot of spin going on by big agribusiness. You should see the latest spin after French researchers found increased tumors and decreased longevity in rats fed GMO corn and/or exposed to the chemicals used growing GMO corn.

    AFAIK the pesticides associated with Parkinson's disease are the organophosphates, which are synthetic substances specifically banned in organic agriculture.

    Organic regulations require that uncomposted animal manures be applied at least 90 days prior to harvest for crops whose edible portions do not come in contact with the soil and at least 120 days prior to harvest of crops whose edible portions do come in contact with the soil.

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    Sep 24, 2012 4:43 PM GMT
    I've had a dream to own my own/maintain my own backyard greenhouse, since I was a child. Too much PBS showed me the cost effectiveness of it, and how you can also grow beautiful flowers like roses and an orchids. I'll know that I'm "home" when I can have my own greenhouse. Cause come to think of it, it still is a symbol of homeyness and nurturing to me.

    Looks something like this; though maybe not so large:
    NewGreenhouse-296x300.jpg
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    Sep 25, 2012 5:47 AM GMT
    I didn't know organs had to have food. I thought all they needed was air and pipes.

    IMG_2470.jpg
  • A_1991

    Posts: 366

    Sep 25, 2012 5:50 AM GMT
    farmers market, traders joe (mostly everything is organic), whole's food, bristole farm, fresh n easy. I would stick to buying veggies organic and anything else besides meat since it is soo expensive to buy grass fed stuff. I always end up buying regular corn fed meat all the time.
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    Sep 26, 2012 11:54 AM GMT
    World's Healthiest Foods is a favorite site of mine for food information.

    http://whfoods.org/foodstoc.php
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    Sep 26, 2012 1:15 PM GMT
    When it comes to buying organic produce, I'm only strict about it with the "dirty dozen":

    http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

  • camfer

    Posts: 891

    Sep 26, 2012 2:34 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    As others have mentioned here, organic farmers either lie and/or are actually entitled to use a certain amount of pesticides (so long as it stays within certain guidelines) and still classify their food as organic. If that's the case who's to say that a small amount of a potentially very toxic pesticide (that still falls within "organic" labeling restrictions) won't eventually wreak havoc on humans either short or long term? For these two reasons I am of the opinion that buying organic poses no better value.


    Organic farmers lie? You're making that up, and as an organic farmer I frankly find it insulting. On what basis do you make such a claim? Has an organic farmer ever lied to you personally? Have conventional farmers not lied to you? Where is this coming from?

    Organic farms submit extensive documentation to prove they're not "lying." The farms have at least one annual inspection (mine was yesterday) and may have surprise unannounced inspections at any time of the year. Last year saw visits on my farm from NRCS, USDA, and NMDA, all governmental agencies overseeing what we do.

    Regarding toxic pesticides, it is *conventional* agriculture that uses them. Earlier this month the EPA revoked yet another toxic pesticide from conventional apple growers that's been banned in Europe for about a decade. The residue is found on a large percentage of the conventional apples you see in the stores today and for all of the next year.

    Since you claim that organic farmers use "very toxic pesticides" that still falls into the organic standard, please name them. Again, here you're just making it up. There are no synthetic pesticides allowed in organic production, period.

    Then you claim that we can use a certain amount of pesticides so long as it's small? You obviously haven't read the standard:

    "§ 205.105 Allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients in organic production and handling.

    To be sold or labeled as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)),” the product must be produced and handled without the use of:

    (a) Synthetic substances and ingredients, except as provided in §205.601 or §205.603;"

    Section 601 deals with crops, 603 is livestock.

    Seriously, go read it before you make any more negative statements about organic agriculture. Here's a direct link

    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=e9e3cef0e13da7a159ce13553b1ca5dd&rgn=div8&view=text&node=7:3.1.1.9.32.7.354.2&idno=7

    What we can use are traps, lures, and release of predator insects. We can use fungus, bacteria, soaps, clays, oils, and botanical extracts, but only as a last resort. These are substances that are either fully biological in nature or are biodegradable in very short periods of time. They have no residual effect and are non-persistent. We can't spray until the pest reach a certain threshold, and really it's not the way to solve the issue.

    The front line against pests in organic ag is to build beneficial insect habitat and release beneficial insects to create a natural balance that keeps pests down to a non-economic issue. We're not trying to kill every last bug on the farm, we're creating an ecology that has a lot of bugs in balance, with the good ones out competing the bad ones.

    What I find so striking in all the conversations about organic agriculture is the lack of knowledge by the people who are against it. I'm fine if people say they haven't really looked into it and just buy conventional food. But when people make false claims to justify their food choices, why do they do that? I don't understand what brings people to do that.






  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 26, 2012 2:53 PM GMT
    I found cutting out all processed "crap" food which includes bread, cereals, Chips, cakes, cookies and all processed sugar sources which includes processed "juice" , soft drinks , etc made the biggest difference. Not eating artificial food is more important then eating organic real food. Eating real food from your local area is next in way of importance and eating grass feed beef rather than beef feed unnaturally is important .
  • derpaderp

    Posts: 3

    Sep 26, 2012 3:29 PM GMT
    camfer said
    There's a lot of spin going on by big agribusiness. You should see the latest spin after French researchers found increased tumors and decreased longevity in rats fed GMO corn and/or exposed to the chemicals used growing GMO corn


    You mean those science people with extensive education and experience in the field whose job it is to study the effects of their products (GMOs, pesticides) for their impact on the environment and their health effects on animals and humans? Yes, their skepticism must be the result of corporate greed rather than picking apart a single, highly flawed study which is drastically against the scientific condenses.

    Have you even read this French study? It's hilarious!
  • camfer

    Posts: 891

    Sep 26, 2012 3:35 PM GMT
    Can you send me the French study or a link to it? I've seen both sides spin it, but no one provides a link to it.
  • derpaderp

    Posts: 3

    Sep 26, 2012 8:28 PM GMT
    camfer saidCan you send me the French study or a link to it? I've seen both sides spin it, but no one provides a link to it.


    http://www.iatp.org/files/GMOtoxicityreport.pdf

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    Sep 26, 2012 8:42 PM GMT
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Sep 26, 2012 8:56 PM GMT
    Was reading a guide to frugal management of the pantry budget and came across a great suggestion. It was going though lists of foods and pointed out that some foods tend to be raised with a lot of pesticides and pollutants, apples, for example, then mentioned that these were the best items to buy as organic. Makes sense to me. Spend you money where it counts.

    I really find that the quality of food is important whether it is organic or not. It is silly to pay super premium money for rotten goods. Have certainly seen this in markets. You can practically hear the thoughts coming from the ragged gal next to you: "O, it has soft spots, but it's organic so it's better."