ORGANIC FOOD

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    Jan 03, 2008 9:12 PM GMT
    Now, I am asking people what do they think about Organic Food. Is it worth buying? I am trying to eat organic food, but it is very expensive. I am 5'11 and I weight about 125lbs. I am trying to gain weight, but I don't seem a healthy weight plan. I know, guys on here have recommended about protein shakes and protein bars, but I don't like doing that... All that is is sugar... Anyway...lol... Is ORGANIC FOOD WORTH IT?
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    Jan 04, 2008 1:56 AM GMT
    I buy a lot of organic food, not to try and put on weight, but to eat less processed foods while satisfying my body's needs for vitamins and other nutrients.

    if the protien shakes and bars you are eating and drinking are all sugar, then you're getting the wrong ones. there are several powders and bars that I use that have little to no sugar, and any sugar they have is natural. but to gain weight a seefood diet will help: see food and eat it!
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    Jan 04, 2008 2:24 AM GMT
    All food is organic, except for things like water and salt. When food is labeled "organic," it's just a marketing scam.
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    Jan 04, 2008 4:02 AM GMT
    It's amusing how we grow fruit from trees then classify it as "organic" or not
  • Kohaku

    Posts: 87

    Jan 04, 2008 4:20 AM GMT
    Courtesy of Wikipedia, organic food means crops that have not been exposed to pesticides, fertilizers, human waste, been irradiated, or have additives. For animal products, they cannot be subjected to growth hormones or antibiotics. Generally, genetically altered products are not considered organic.
    Personally, I can't detect a difference in taste, and studies go both ways about if organics have more nutrient value than conventional or not. It comes down to whether or not you're worried about pesticide residue or growth chemicals in your food, and how much you're worried about the impact conventional farming has on the environment.
    I don't believe it's a marketing scam. While the products may look exactly the same except for the labels, there is quite a bit of effort put into keeping them "organic." I worked at a market in high school and we had to wash our hands and rinse for 3 minutes before handling the organics, organics could not be placed in containers that had conventional produce first until it had been washed and rinsed thoroughly for at least 3 minutes. Organics had to be stored above and separately from other foods. Rinsing even had to be done with highly purified distilled water. I don't know how strict other places were about their organics, but I hated them because they were such a pain!
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    Jan 04, 2008 4:34 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidAll food is organic, except for things like water and salt. When food is labeled "organic," it's just a marketing scam.


    for food to be considered organic it needs to meet criteria set by the USDA. So, it isn't necessarily a scam because it contains organic compounds. Food corporations have been lobbying for years to broaden the definition of organic so disgusting chemicals can be dumped into foods and still get the label and price tag of organic.

    But organic food is a scam in other ways. For example, it isn't better for the earth necessarily. Ya, you grow that organic asparagus by organic standards, but shipping it all the way from bolivia negates any benefit to the eco-system.

    So, if you can get food that is both organic and local you have a winner. But otherwise it doesn't really make a difference.
  • Kohaku

    Posts: 87

    Jan 04, 2008 4:54 AM GMT
    Organic farming can be better for the ecosystems though. Because they aren't using the pesticides. Pesticides are causing problems because of a phenomena called biomagnification. Pesticides and chemicals move into the animal world by insects that eat treated plants, or from water run-off that enters fish, which also eat the insects. Predators eat fish, and those predators are prey for something else, and so on. Eventually, the animals with the greatest concentrations of chemicals in there bodies are the predators at the top of the food chain. Biomagnification due to the use of the pesticide DDT almost wiped out the entire North American Bald Eagle population because it messed with their calcium production systems, causing their eggs to be laid with super brittle shells that could not withstand the weight of the adult bird. After DDT was banned, the population began recovering. Though modern pesticides are much safer and are designed not to bioaccumulate, there are still many substances that we do not know if they will or not. With the development of new pesticides from synthetic sources, the chances of making a bioaccumulative compound increases because organisms have not been previously subjected to these chemicals and therefore have not developed proper detoxification or excretion methods.

    And I know these things because I'm a huge nerd. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 04, 2008 5:03 AM GMT
    MunchingZombie saidBut organic food is a scam in other ways. For example, it isn't better for the earth necessarily. Ya, you grow that organic asparagus by organic standards, but shipping it all the way from bolivia negates any benefit to the eco-system.


    You're right - to an extent. But you're still eating something that was grown without pesticides, is not genetically modified, etc. Shipping it from Bolivia does impact the environment, yes. But from a personal health standpoint, it's still better to eat organic.

    I'd rather eat the organic asparagus shipped from Bolivia than the "conventional" (ie: sprayed with all kinds of nasty stuff) ones grown a few states away. Yes, fossil fuels were burned to bring me the asparagus, but at least they weren't bathed in toxic chemicals, all of which ultimately soak into the ground and...
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    Jan 04, 2008 2:44 PM GMT
    I recently read a report on a study done for organic and conventional produce. I can not remember it too well but I will tell you what I got from it.

    The study mostly tested the amount of pesticide residue in the fruit. They found that it mostly is on the outside skin of the fruit. They did a list of the "more dangerous" to the least. fruit that had the most pesticides on them were the berries because none have a skin. You just plop them in your mouth.

    So if the fruit is exposed to the pesticide then it is more dangerous. If they do have a skin then the thicker the better. So bananas are the least likely to have pesticides because they have that thick skin and you don't eat it. Pears and Apples do have some in the fruit, but most of the pesticides are on the skin. A good idea is to peel the apple or pear before you eat it.

    That is all I remember from the study. I still do not trust the "organic" food in the states, especially the produce.

    I lived in Central America for over a year and I was eating the most organic you could get, fruit out of an old man's back yard. I could buy my produce in the market and there would be odd shaped Papaya and flies all over. It was real.

    When I returned to the states I walked into a Trader Joes and I thought the fruit was made of plastic. How is it possible to have "organic" fruit when the apples look perfectly shaped, colored, and it looks the same as every other apple? I would not call it organic.

    By USDA standers it is "organic" but I would not call it that. I think organic would be more natural.

    I would buy yogert, cottage cheese, milk, and few other organic things, but never produce.
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Jan 05, 2008 1:58 PM GMT
    For me, there are a lot of factors that go into determining whether or not I'll buy organic vs. conventional. In Canada a farm can be certified as organic because the farm grows organic products. However, since Canada is only 1 of 3 countries in the world that allows the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), the organic foods we grow are not truly organic in the strictest sense of the term. There is enough contamination in our soil, that if Canada outlawed GMOs it would take about 400 years for our soil to become decontaminated.

    GMOs are so undesirable that our government offered produce at a dirt cheap price to a poor country in Africa (I'm sorry, I can't remember which one) and they refused to purchase the produce.

    In a perfect world, none of the food I consume would have any chemicals in it, but we are making progress in how these chemicals affect our bodies. There are many chemicals being used nowadays that have a surprisingly short lifespan in our bodies. Some chemicals we consume due to conventional farming stay in the body 24 hours, even less, and is at such a low concentration as to have little or no effect on the body.

    Now, it would take a bit or research on the individuals part, but if I had the option of buying truly organic asparagus from Bolivia, or buying conventional asparagus that has been exposed to a low toxic chemical grown locally, I'll opt for the local stuff. Because for me, I'm trying to find a balance between what's best for my health and what's best for the environment.

    One thing I wouldn't budge on though is apples, I absolutely will not buy Canadian apples, they are one of the most horribly contaminated products you can get from our country.

    Also, I can walk to my grocery store, buy my organic and conventioanl foods, and walk home in a half hour. If I were to buy only organic, I would have to go to 3 or 4 stores here in Toronto, only one store being in walking distance. I'm not willing to spend that amount of time getting groceries, plus, exactly how much crap am I pumping into the air because I now have to drive to get my food? Again, I'm trying to balance health and environment.
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    Jan 05, 2008 7:52 PM GMT
    First off, all food is NOT organic, but I think that topic was addressed adequately already, yes? icon_razz.gif

    When it comes to buying organic, I'm often more limited by my budget than by my desire to purchase. That said, I do buy it as often as I can as there is plenty of evidence out there re: the benefits of organic over non-organic. You simply have to do a bit of research or, at very least, make sure your grocer is doing theirs...because there are some foods being marketed as organic, whether by labeling or word of mouth, that don't live up to USDA standards...although this is a more rare exception as labeling rules become increasingly strict. If an item bears the USDA organic label it is at least 95% organic.

    Someone mentioned peeling fruit that's non-organic, but you'll find that you are also peeling away great phytochemicals and a good portion of the nutrients...
  • ShawnTX

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    Jan 06, 2008 12:34 AM GMT
    Peeling fruit would only take care of whatever was sprayed on it, but wouldn't address what the tree or plant absorbed through the soil.
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    Jan 06, 2008 4:10 PM GMT
    Organic is better for your health and the environment because it eliminates the use of many pesticides, and chemicals.

    Organic is more expensive, but I look at this way.

    It's cheaper to buy organic, than to pay the hefty medical bills down the road.
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    Jan 07, 2008 4:23 AM GMT
    9c1man saidI buy a lot of organic food, not to try and put on weight, but to eat less processed foods while satisfying my body's needs for vitamins and other nutrients.

    if the protien shakes and bars you are eating and drinking are all sugar, then you're getting the wrong ones. there are several powders and bars that I use that have little to no sugar, and any sugar they have is natural. but to gain weight a seefood diet will help: see food and eat it!


    THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE FEED BACK, I DO APPRECIATE IT...
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    Jan 07, 2008 4:32 AM GMT
    I REALLY APPRETIATE YOU ALL FOR YOUR RESPONSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH...
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    Jan 07, 2008 5:59 AM GMT
    If you wanna really learn about the good and bad of contemporary organic food culture, google Michael Pollan, who has written a handful of incredible articles for the New York Times and a couple of books.

    In terms of taste, organic produce is not necessarily superior at all. If you eat an organic apple that's been shipped from China and a locally grown in-season apple conventionally grown, the latter will usually taste much better.

    This is not a black and white issue, either. Organic milk is so popular now that its production is bascially industrialized. Producers create feedlots where the cows are fed organic grains. They don't graze on grass. Besides the issue of humane treatment of the animals, there's also the question whether the milk of the grain-fed cows is as good as grass-fed.

    The label "organic" also has become a marketing label. Walmart, as many of us predicted, has already been charged with passing conventional stuff off as organic. In order to produce the volume necessary at the price it wants to charge, it has to cheat or it has to buy from large-scale producers. This will help put small, local growers out of business -- and the original vision of organic farming depended mainly on sustainable local growers.

    Whole Foods has been repeatedly confronted about this -- buying organic apples from Chile while ignoring local growers. The chain has finally developed a fairly aggressive policy of supporting local growers.

    As it happens I ate this evening in a Brazilian cocktail lounge/restaurant that, when it opened three or four months ago, used only organic, mainly local ingredients. In order to do that, the restaurant had to charge astronomical prices that kept people away in droves. It has since modified its 100-percent rule and the food tastes just as good but is far more affordable.

    Anyway, read Pollan's work. It's the best writing on major food issues in the culture available these days.
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    Jan 07, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    I'm not as strict about organic food as I used to be. I just avoid eating the most heavily sprayed non-organic fruits and veggies. And, I buy locally produced food whenever possible, even if it's not organic, like the local lamb that is raised on organic pasture but fed conventionally grown grain.

    Sometimes the organic produce is crap compared to the non-organic. I seldom buy organic lemons, limes, and avocados any more because they're overpriced and the quality is usually much worse than the non-organic. The quality of fresh ginger root swings both ways; sometimes the organic is much better, sometimes much worse.
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    Jan 09, 2008 10:55 PM GMT
    Well, I am fortunate to live near several farmer's markets that operate through a large part of the year in downtown Portland, OR, so I prefer to buy my produce from there. I think it's better to buy local. Sometimes products are more expensive, but the flavors are almost always better.

    Michael Pollan explores the idea of "organic" foods in his book The Omnivore's Dilemma. It's one of the better books I've read about the food industry in the United States. There is an industrial organic industry out there that is certified as organic, but there are still questionable practices they follow. The bottom line is it's easier and cheaper to eat processed foods, but I agree with an earlier post (paraphrased): it's better to eat better now than pay for the medical bills later.

    In reference to another post about genetically modified foods, most foods grown and produced are genetically modified, not necessarily in a lab, but through selective breeding new species have been produced. It happens in agriculture, and it's not always a bad thing.