The questions is often asked why buy an apple which is sometimes twice the price just because it is labelled “organic? What does this really mean? And most importantly is it worth it? My answer to this is yes it is worth it and heres why:
Benefits of Choosing Organic Foods:
- Harmful pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are not used to spray crops. These toxic substances have been linked to cause cancer, immune system complications, nervous system disorders and reproductive damage.
- Irradiation which changes molecular structure and can destroy nutrients is banned with organic foods.
- Organic Foods are free from GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) which could be harmful based on the unknown longterm effects on health by this process.
- Antibiotics and growth hormones are not used on animals or in animal feed.
- Organic Farming is better for our environment, soil quality and biodiversity.
- Organic foods tend to have a higher amount of vitamins and minerals which are vital for optimal health.
- Most importantly THEY TASTE BETTER! Organic Foods not only are better for your health but they taste more nutritious and delicious!
Now what does it mean to be Certified Organic vs. non-certified organic? In order to be “Certified Organic” farms have to adhere to a number of standards. There are several organic certifying bodies used in Canada approved by the C.F.I.A (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) which have to be third party verified, have a audit trail traced back to farm of origin and the soil needs to meet organic standards for a minimum of 3 years. Although not “certified organic” some farms will go through all the same standards but for economic or other reasons not go through the certification process. Other farms might be in the process of getting certified which can also be a lengthy process. It is important as consumers to ask questions and not just simply look at the organic certification.
Organic food is available at all major grocery stores but here are some of the best ways to find it in your community:
- CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) is a great way to get involved with your community while supporting local and organic farmers. CSA’s allow farmers to offer “shares or membership” so consumers can receive fresh harvest from the farmers. This is both advantageous to farmers and consumer.
- Local Farmers Markets- A list of seasonal and year round farmers markets in Toronto/GTA area can be found at: http://veg.ca/eat-veg/toronto-farmers-markets
- Organic Food Delivery Services. Here is a list of great organic and local delivery companies: http://www.greenearthorganics.com/ ; http://www.mamaearth.ca/ ; http://www.frontdoororganics.com/; http://www.frontdoororganics.com/; http://www.wanigan.com/index.php
- One of the best ways to ensure organic is to grow your own. There are shared community gardens available in urban cities like Toronto. Or you could grow your own in your backyard or balcony.
- Health food stores around the city also carry organic foods. Here are some resources in Toronto/GTA: Whole Foods, Noah Naturals, Natures Emporium and The Big Carrot.
Another great organic resource is The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), a U.S. based non-profit environmental organization. EWG puts out a list for consumers to follow on what fruits and vegetables are more important to buy organic due to chemical exposure (the Dirty Dozen) and what fruits and vegetables are cleaner crops (Clean 15).
The goal is to eat food as fresh and nutrient dense as possible and buying organic foods is the way to go! Next time you are hung up on the choice of the organic apple vs. the non-organic apple, think about how much more delicious the organic apple is going to taste knowing it was treated with more care from “farm to table”.
My name is Sylvie Tetrault and I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. In pursuing my passion for exercise in becoming a Strength and Conditioning Specialist I realized that there is so much more to a healthy balanced lifestyle than just exercise. What people eat, how they feel and what they think are all aspects which make up a truly healthy person. My passion is to help people make the best possible choices everyday towards the pursuit of a healthy happy self.