What’s the difference and why it matters?
As that Dude at work who used to educate people about food and nutrition despite the interest or lack thereof my audience. I learned a great deal about my students. There is much confusion and ignorance regarding diet. I write about the reasons this occurs in my Blog; The Dietary Dilemma.
The synopsis about Organic foods and raw food health benefits vs their counterparts.
Objective: to discuss pros and cons of eating Organic vs Commercial foods so you may make informed decisions with your diet.
Produce: Fruits and Veggies, anyway you go about produce is a good choice. There is never a problem with eating fruits and veggies. However most people think of pesticides and only pesticides when they think about organic produce. The notion is commercial produce has pesticides and Organic does not. This is partially true. Organic produce may not be directly sprayed and therefore has much less but our entire Earth is contaminated with pesticides. The soil is saturated and therefore your fruits and veggies absorb them via the soil and water, hence are contaminated. If a newborn baby has traces of pesticide, herbacides, heavy metals etc, in its cord blood than so does your organic broccoli (most likely). There is a major difference between trace amounts and toxicity so keep going Organic. The soil is not just a conduit for contamination. It is also where the most substantial Organic benefits are derived. It holds the benefits that most have never considered. Commercial soil contains Sodium, Phosphorus and Potassium, NPK. That is the minimum amount of nutrients required for a plant to grow. So what about all the other minerals and vitamins required for ideal health? You won’t find them in commercial produce. Ironically these are the requirements plants need to protect themselves against pests! Not pesticides or genetic modification. They just need quality soil. It should not surprise anyone why the company spending billion on preventing GMO labelling of produce is a chemical/ pesticide company. If you think that “I can just take my centrium one a day and same difference”, then you are mistaken. You will not absorb said micronutrients nearly as well, especially from synthetic multi-vitamins.
Processed Food: If you are debating whether or not it is worth it to spend the extra dollar on organic mac n cheese vs the regular stuff than the solution is simple. Don’t waste your money on either. Processed food is completely void of nutrients. The heat, chemical additives etc destroy all nutrition once available in the original food. So Organic mac n cheese is not healthier or better for you than the original Kraft. They are both garbage so take your pick. It is ok to indulge on occasion but do not rationalize a bad decision out of guilt. Just stop feeling guilty about how you eat.
Meat, dairy and eggs: This is a big one. First I must inform you that “organic” meat is not Free-range, grass-fed, cage-free, hormone and chemical free etc. It is all those things combined. If you are just buying grass-fed beef then you are buy a cow that was still subjected to torture, hormones, antibiotics, and given a chemical bath after slaughtering. It’s diet becomes irrelevant at this point. Based on the current science there is simply no health benefits or requirement to consume meat, dairy or eggs. It is associated with heart disease, premature death, low Testosterone, etc. Not to mention the fact it is destroying the Earth via climate change and fresh water consumption. If you must consume it than Organic is the only acceptable way to go and here is why.
The typical life of a chicken (the cows experience is really no different) is as follows. Born in a factory. Infused with Testosterone and Growth Hormone. Grows three times faster than is natural causing broken ribs, punctures organs and or inability to support its massive body with little chicken legs ( they snap like twigs and they chicken lies in unimaginable filfth) Placed in a massive coup in darkness 24/7 similar to “the hole” only there is no lack of company. In fact there are so many other chickens that they must pee and poop where they stand. Combined with the decaying carcasses of fallen chicken brothers it is no wonder why antibiotics are essential. In fact the majority of antibiotics consumed in this country is done so by cows and chickens. There now exists multiple strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria ie E-Coli and yet the government insists it is the careless Physicians not being judicious with how they prescribe. Therefore, the meat is contaminated and this bacteria has caused death in children (due to settlement terms it is not publicized) and despite bathing the slaughtered meat in ammonia and other chemical it is still contaminated with fecal content when you put it in your mouth. If you think you are all good by cooking it or that it doesn’t matter meat is meat. Consider the levels of mercury found in a modern Sword Fish. The Sword Fish eat other fish throughout its life. Fish containing mercury. The Sword Fish tissue is so saturated with mercury by adulthood it is not generally considered safe for human consumption. Yet all that chicken and beef hormones, antibiotics, stress hormones, fecal material is somehow not saturating your tissue? Wishful thinking. Organic meat has higher levels of omega 3 vs omega 6 as well. Then again you can acquire all nutrient needs (including protein), build more muscle and loose more fat by cutting out meat, eggs, and dairy so what is the point really (see my other Blogs for explanation, I am working on an alternative plant based protein guide for athletes and all).
Farmed fish is the same concept and treated similarly. Farmed salmon do not have the pink color flesh as wild salmon so their tissues are injected with coloring to give it said appearance. What does that tell you? Go wild.
Raw Vs. Cooking: Heat destroys things. Food is no different. When place broccoli on a skillet, 98% of the micronutrients are destroyed. Why eat it if it is void of nutrient value? All the health benefits of eating veggies do not apply to cooked ones. This is why processed foods are garbage.
So what to eat? Keep in mind taste buds are malleable. They adjust overtime. In time you will not crave the junk and actually like eating your veggies. The trick is to focus on small informed changes consisntely and not drastic overnight ones.
If you need help changing your diet for good. Once and for all! I am able to help.
Dan McGinley RN BSN