Eating organic produce used to be a niche way of life, but as people become more health and lifestyle conscious, the popularity of organic foods continues to grow. There are several reasons why shoppers are choosing to eat organically these days and this article will explore the benefits of an organic lifestyle.
The difference between organic and non-organic produce is the way it is grown. Organic food is raised – where possible – without chemicals. In order to meet organic standards there must be no genetically modified ingredients, no chemical based fertilisers and no pesticides used in the growing process. Organic food must also be grown separately from other produce.
Is it Better For You?
There have been several studies to determine whether or not organic foods are better for the body than non-organically grown produce. One of the most recent studies from Stanford University showed that organic products are not actually richer in nutrients than other foods; however, they do contain far less chemicals so they are better for us in that respect.
Are Organic Foods More Expensive?
Unfortunately, the cost of eating well doesn't come cheap. Organic produce can be quite expensive when compared with other foods, although many experts would argue that the price reflects the quality.
One way of cutting the costs down is to choose the foods you buy carefully. For instance, some fruits and vegetables have much thicker skins than others, so they are less likely to have been affected by chemicals used in the growing process as they won't usually have gotten through to the fruits or vegetables inside.
However, foods like apples or pears are more likely to have been directly exposed to fertilisers, and these are the kinds of foods that are probably far safer when eaten organically.
Going Organic is Better For The Environment
Without a doubt, one of the other main advantages of eating organically is that it is better for the planet. Foods produced using less chemicals and fertilisers are far less damaging to the environment as a whole; in order for food to be considered organic, it must also be grown in a way that will not cause pollution to the surrounding areas.
Organic Foods Taste Better and Stay Fresher
Consumers trying organic foods for the first time often comment on how much better it tastes. It adds more flavour to a meal and it often has more "body" to it.
Organic foods stay fresher for longer as well, so although they are more expensive, buying organic could still save the average consumer money in the long run, as foods don't go off as quickly. This also helps reduce food waste.
Organic Baby Foods
Many families now prefer to buy organic foods for their babies and children. Most people don't like the thought of giving food high in chemicals and fertilisers to their youngsters and feel that eating organically is the best option for their growing family.
There are now many producers of organic baby food, so finding them in the supermarkets should not be an issue.
Disadvantages of Organic Produce
The main disadvantage of eating organic food is the cost, but the prices are coming down and as the demand for organic food increases, it is likely to become less expensive.
Another negative aspect is that some experts say that organic foods can still retain some of the residues of chemicals and pollutants.
And in some areas, organic foods can still be in short supply or the local supermarkets only have a limited range, but it can be ordered online and delivered if it is hard to obtain anywhere else.
Where to Buy Organic Foods?
Organic foods are much easier to find in the supermarket than they once were and most of them have an area dedicated to organic produce. In addition, there are plenty of specialist organic food stores that can be found online and offline.
Organic vegetable and fruit boxes are becoming increasingly popular. These are often offered via a doorstep delivery and other organic produce such as meat and dairy products are available for delivery, too.
Farmers markets and farm shops are a good way to buy organic fruits, vegetables, breads and meat. It can also be more affordable method of buying fresh food and it helps support the local economy, too.
Moreover, health shops will also offer a range of organic foods.
Growing Your Own Organic Produce
There is another option which can help reduce the overall cost of eating organic food and that is to simply grow your own fresh produce.
If you have an area of garden that you can use then this represents the perfect opportunity to harvest your own fruit and vegetables. Another option is to rent out some allotment space which can be a fairly cost effective solution for those who do not have a garden.
All you need is a little knowledge on creating the right organic environment and a small amount of patience. The internet is jam packed with lots of free resources on the best way to grow your own food, so you can be up and running in no time at all.
You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that much of your meal has been "home grown" and will no doubt taste that much better!
Image credit: twindesign / 123RF Stock Photo
January 30, 2013