Recently I bought some organic strawberries in Lidl. Organic berries are rare enough in supermarkets so I shared my find with Nourish the Community and encouraged group members to stock up. Despite the good intentions, my post wasn’t received well by many because the strawberries were not only wrapped in plastic but also didn’t come from Mallorca. Fair points.
As a nutritional therapist, I always encourage people to support local food producers and I certainly don’t entertain mindless collection of plastic wrappers. Nevertheless, conventionally grown strawberries are number one fruit to be avoided due to the heavy pesticide residue, with up to 45 different chemicals. But is it a good enough reason to support the pseudo-eco market represented by The Giants? Yes and no.
The organic label has lost its credibility for various reasons which I want to discuss. Thank you Nourish the Community for the inspiration and bringing up such an important subject because indeed, it’s not just about us but also the planet.
What does ‘organic’ mean?
“Organic farming is an agricultural method that aims to produce food using natural substances and processes. This means that organic farming tends to have a limited environmental impact as it encourages:
• the responsible use of energy and natural resources
• the maintenance of biodiversity
• preservation of regional ecological balances
• enhancement of soil fertility
• maintenance of water quality
Additionally, organic farming rules encourage a high standard of animal welfare and require farmers to meet the specific behavioural needs of animals. Organic farming aims to promote environment protection, maintain the biodiversity of Europe and build consumer trust in organic products. These regulations govern all areas of organic production and are based on a number of key principles, such as:
• prohibition of the use of GMOs
• forbidding the use of ionising radiation
• limiting the use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides
• “prohibiting the use of hormones and restrict the use of antibiotics and only when necessary for animal health”
For more information, I encourage you to visit this website.
Why organic isn’t always the best
The term ‘organic’ often doesn’t define what we truly seek. The standards may pertain only to the farming method but not packaging or processing. In fact, the organic label on organic processed foods means nothing as these are still processed, lifeless foods.
For example, organic nut milk comes in a plastic-lined TetraPak and has been heated to a high temperature to ensure sterile environment. Therefore, it has all its precious enzymes dead, fats oxidised, proteins denatured, not to mention the leaching problem. It may have been obtained from organic produce but by the time it hits the shelves, it is not a health food anymore. The same goes to undesirable ingredients like organic glucose syrup, inverted sugar or carrageenan, to name a few. The ‘organic’ bit is just self-contradictory because organic poison is still poison.
Organic livestock feed also leaves a lot to be desired. Cattle are often fed with organic grains or soy while they should be mainly grazing on grass. Organic chickens can solely live on organic corn while they should be finding their own food – worms, grass and wild herbs.
Dairy follows the same pattern as it comes from cattle fed the wrong foods. Long story short, our bodies are getting inflamed because of an imbalanced fatty acid profile caused by too much grain in animal diet. Wild fish cannot be called organic because ‘wild’ cannot be controlled. It’s a true paradox.
Moreover, organic produce doesn’t mean it’s always 100% natural. While it is exposed to aot less pesticides, they may not be completely absent, often due to the long distances the produce has to travel. Beautiful shiny organic apples that don’t go off for ages are a prime example.
Last but not least, in order to use the European Union organic label, the farmer has to be certified by a regulatory body. Many local farmers who cultivate ethical and traditional methods may simply not want to invest into the expensive certification. Their produce, even though non-organic, is often of a lot better quality. It doesn’t mean all local farmers only sell local produce! There is just so much confucion unless you ask the right people the right questions.
So how to shop for food? Is ‘organic’ important at all? Look out for my next article.
Maya Flynn | www.welcometoglow.com | +34663634474
Written by Maya Flynn
About the author
Maya Flynn, founder of www.welcometoglow.com is a functional nutritional therapist, certified GAPS practitioner (Gut and Paychology / Physiology Syndrome) and natural health consultant. Consultations online and in Club De Mar Medical Centre.