That is certainly a big question many people are asking these days. Answering the question of whether or not to go organic in your life is not one that should be taken lightly; just as the decision should not be made in haste either. Going organic requires not only research, but a serious commitment.
When you go organic you are committing yourself to buy only organically raised produce, even your meats and dairy should also be organic. Most people are under the common misconception that eating organically is better for your body nutritionally which is a falsehood that has been perpetuated from day one of the organic movement.
What organic means is that you’re committing to eating produce and products that are grown, raise, or produced without chemicals. In the case of meats and dairy organic means the animals are not given hormones or antibiotics, and are being fed pure grains and allowed to roam freely in their natural habitats. Organic farming practices include encouraging soil and water conservation to aid in the reduction of pollution. Organically grown without chemicals also means that farmers who grow organic produce and meat do not use the usual methods to fertilize, control weeds or prevent livestock disease. For example, instead of using chemical weed killers, organic farmers may perform more difficult crop rotations and spread mulch or manure, as well as using other well established “green” methods to keep the weeds at bay.
So no, there is absolutely not one iota of difference in nutritional value between regular farmed foods and organically grown ones. The major difference comes from what you are gaining which is better for your health in the long run. Chemicals used in regular farming such as those used for produce and weed reduction alike have been linked to certain types of cancers. The antibiotics found all too often in meats are causing us to become immune to antibiotics in general making us susceptible to “super bugs”. These are the two primary reasons that most people are beginning to lead organic lifestyles and encouraging others to do the same.
However, just as with anything else, there is a downside to eating organically; and that’s the cost. This is the number one reason people do not follow this lifestyle as much as they would like to. Many companies have taken unfair advantage of this growing “trend” (I use the word trend loosely, take a look at the picture to see why) and have marked up the prices of these items in a struggling economy.
There are many ways to get around that though; one is to grow your own food, take advantage of the abnormally warm summer we’re having here on the East Coast and go for it! The other way is to look for local farmers markets, which generally have their fair share of organically grown produce at reasonable prices. Seeking out local fruit and vegetable stands aren’t a bad way to go either (local is fresher too) and do not ever be afraid to ask whether it is truly organic produce or if they are just calling it that to turn a buck.
Remember to read labels thoroughly and keep in mind that “natural” and “organic” are not transposable terms. There will be many foods that are labeled “natural” or other terms like “all natural,” “free-range” or “hormone-free” on food labels. Even though these products must live up to that label and the standards set according to the USDA, don’t confuse them with the term organic. Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled as such.
The internet provides us with access to sites such as Yelp® and search engines like Google® to help us see what other people have had to say about businesses that boast organic produce, whether they are truly selling those products, or if their just taking your money for a ride. Answering the question to go or organic or not to is one that only you can decide. Weigh the pros and the cons carefully to decide what is best not only for you and your family, but also what is best for your wallet in this tough economy.