For me, this is old stuff. I began eating organic foods during my first pregnancy, oh so many years ago. I didn’t want anything unnatural or unhealthy to harm my baby. After he was born, I grew vegetables, made his baby food and learned everything I could about feeding him the best diet possible. It all helped my diet as well.
Back then, it was hard to find organically grown produce if you didn’t have your own garden or farm. The meager offerings at health food stores looked as though they had been run over by the delivery truck a couple of weeks earlier. Now, in almost every pocket of our world, beautiful organically grown produce is available. With increased supply, the price has come down, however it still costs more than commercially produced products from giant, industrial farms.
So, why go to the trouble to find them and pay more money? One common sense answer is so you don’t ingest pesticides and herbicides. Since they are applied throughout the development of the plants, you can’t just wash them off. Also, now that there are many foods that have been genetically modified for longer shelf life or beautiful colors, the cell structures of our foods have been changed and include other foods you might not suspect. What if your tomato has been cross-bred with corn? Will your body even recognize and utilize it as a tomato? How does your body handle corn?
I’ve read several reports that indicate there are as many as three times the nutrients in organically produced foods as those commercially produced. For people who don’t care for vegetables and fruits as much as I, that would be a great bonus.
Beyond produce, the differences in organics just doesn’t quit. About 25 years ago, a medical doctor (and health-food chef) spoke to me about her research into chicken. She had learned that the large producers bunched up the chickens in warehouses and fed them grain, hormones and antibiotics to produce chicken more quickly. Their feet had been cut off so they couldn’t run off calories and could be butchered for faster profits. It’s a bad deal for the chickens and bad for consumers. She and I went to a butcher’s counter and compared the color of the chickens produced each way and there was quite a difference. The organically produced chicken who had grown up more slowly, running in the sunshine, was more richly colored. We purchased some of each and the taste was quite different. Guess which one doesn’t taste like chicken?
Eggs produced organically are also remarkably different. Decades ago, I learned that the cheap, white eggs often on sale at the grocery store may be kept in cold storage for a couple of months before you bring them home. Some stores may have changed this policy, however within the past year, I witnessed the manager of the dairy section of a major chain grocery bringing frozen eggs from the freezer to the “Fresh Eggs” display. The shells are brittle and the color of the yolks is pastel. Again, they are filled with antibiotics and other unnatural substances. Fresh organic eggs seems to have harder shells and the yolks are bright and full of nutrients. Clean, simple and healthy.
The same story applies to beef and just about every other food. I believe in high-quality nutrition and organics so strongly that I try not to eat processed foods. While I’m sure corporations producing food in mass, genetically modifying organisms and spraying everything with chemicals will insist their foods are just as nutritious, I know in my heart it is not. I choose organic foods to nourish my body and those of my family and friends.
Besides doing it for your health, the tastes of organically produced foods are richer and, to me, make every dish I make worth the effort. As a Tantra Cook, I get into every aspect of meal preparation, including locating the best ingredients and serving the best tasting foods at my table.