Hello, Readers! Handyman here to talk about eating organic. What’s all the fuss about organic food? Does it really affect us enough to worry about? You bet it does! Are you suffering from headaches or nausea (or both)? Are you constantly out of energy? Do you find yourself battling weight issues, but you’re constantly hungry an hour, or so, after you just ate? All these are possible short-term side effects of conventional farming practices according to Toxicsaction.org.
I’ll be going over what it means for food to be organic. Likewise, why it is important to use organic food over conventionally farmed food. In case cost is causing you to skimp on organic food I’ll let you know what foods can be purchased from conventional farming, and what foods you absolutely don’t want to buy unless it’s organic. Finally, some tips for getting started even if you’re on a limited budget and have limited space to grow your own food.
Organic Food? The What and Why
So, what does it mean for food to be organic? Organic.org identifies, according to the USDA, produce to be organic if it has been grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, GMO’s, or ionizing radiation… Most of those sound pretty crazy, but they’ve all become part of the conventional farming practices. For meat and other animal products, no growth hormones or antibiotics may be used.
There is a point to requiring these things to not be used. If the previous list of short-term effects wasn’t worrisome enough for you, here are the longer term side effects… Many different types of cancer, reproductive harm (like increasing your children’s chances of autism or ADHD), or endocrine disruption (which is very critical for your body to function properly).
On top of the adverse health effects on your body, the environment also suffers from the modern conventional practices of farming. The many ecosystems that help the soil remain nutrient rich are destroyed by the pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and ionizing radiation; which promotes erosion. Also, these practices contaminate the ground water.
What are the Benefits?
If all of the negatives aren’t enough to get you to consider changing your lifestyle, here are some of the many benefits of eating organic foods… According to Organicfacts.net, the antioxidant capacity in organic foods are better. Heart health can be better when eating organic foods. Also, your immune system will be stronger. Not to mention the food tastes better, which is, of course, an opinion of mine and can vary from person to person. Likewise, the animals from which your animal products are coming from are treated better.
If you can’t afford to eat a diet made from completely organic sources, here is a list of 15 vegetables, from drweil.com, that you don’t have to buy organic because they don’t absorb the pesticides used on them to a dangerous level, although I’m not necessarily willing to risk it.
- Honeydew melon
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
On the opposite side, here is a list of produce that you should ALWAYS buy organic, because of how much pesticide they absorb.
- Bell pepper
If you can’t grow those yourself, definitely buy them organic.
Don’t Have Much Space Or Time?
Here is something you can do with just a little bit of counter space, and a few minutes at a time. Sprout your own organic seeds! Looking into this is really what got me excited about how easy it could be to add something truly wonderful to your diet. Check out this article on the benefits of eating broccoli sprouts!
So many benefits, and so easy to do! One tablespoon of seeds turns into about a cup of sprouts! I bought 24 oz of organic broccoli sprouts from territorial seeds and, by the way, there are about 9000 seeds per ounce. I sprout 2 tablespoons every other day, so I have a constant supply of sprouts to use every morning. So far, my favorite way to use the sprouts is by putting them in my morning organic smoothie; I’m sure Perfection will be writing up a recipe soon for you guys.
You can sprout so many different types of seeds, that are all incredibly beneficial, and all you need to do it is a little space and a few jars. I’ve sprouted beans, broccoli, alfalfa, wheat for sprouted wheat and also for wheat grass, flax seed, and also sunflower seeds. You can use them in many ways, from delicious smoothies to salad toppings; I’ve even topped my pizza with sprouts to make it a little healthier. 😛
Other Organic Food Options
Besides doing seed sprouts, which I highly recommend, (especially because you can do so year round) you can also grow a number of organic fruits and vegetables in small pots. This works great if all you have is a small patio, deck, or countertop to work with. Strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and leaf lettuce are simple to grow in pots and don’t need a whole lot of room. Even if you only have room to do one pot of each, it’s better than nothing!
And to supplement your own growings and sprouts, I recommend buying local produce from your local farmers’ market. The produce from farmers’ markets is usually picked fresh, instead of sitting in a warehouse for 6 months, then pumped with fumes to ripen them. Doing these few things will help you to be healthier and possibly happier after you see the results. Next week I’ll be going over the specifics you need to know to grow your own sprouts.
Until next time…
Handyman is on the job!
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