Organic vs. conventional produce: is there really a debate?

Do we really know better than Mother Nature?

Do we really know better than Mother Nature?

One of the biggest and most noticeable turning points on my path to wellness was when I made the decision to switch to a mostly organic diet. The improvement I saw in my health was huge and it happened so quickly that I can’t see myself ever switching back. I haven’t done the math (it never was my strongest subject so I’d probably give you bung figures if I tried) but I would hazard a guess that I between 80% and 90% of what I put in my mouth is organic (Mind. Gutter. Get out.) these days.

Even before switching to organic, I was confused by the message we have been fed that organic produce is somehow a luxury item that isn’t really necessary, and that it’s the unusual choice. Organic fruit and vegetables are simply in the form that Mother Nature intended them to be in. Our bodies are designed to get their nutrients from food, especially fruit and vegetables. Conventional produce is a bastardised, stripped back, chemical-laden and, quite frankly, poor substitute for the real deal.

Farms used to be diverse places, with an abundance of different fruit and vegetables that all worked in harmony to maintain the ecological balance and ward of pests. When farmers switched to one-crop farming, they destroyed the soil’s mineral content by continuously planting the same crop and only feeding the soil with a mix of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (because they’re absolutely the only things we need in the soil our carrots are growing in, right?).

They also quickly found that insects and pests were a huge problem due to the lack of diversity on the farms. What to do? Introduce a Molotov cocktail of pesticides and fungicides that have been proven time and time again to cause all manner of illness, of course.

So, how bad can conventional produce really be? I found the answer while I was studying for a recent assignment. I came across a journal article (which I can’t, for the life of me, find again to link here!) that found you would have to eat more than 30 of today’s conventionally grown apricots to get the same amount of vitamin A as you would have from one apricot in the ’50s. 30. That’s bananas! (Or apricots, as it were.)

When I switched to organic, I did notice a difference in the cost of my grocery bill but it wasn’t out of control and I took a step back and realised that, for me, saving my health (and by extension, my life) is more important than saving my money. And, it actually isn’t that much more to buy organic. The trick is to shop local to avoid the shipping and storage fees that are whacked on to the tiny little organic range at your local Woolies or Coles.

Having said all of this, I 100% understand that not everyone is in a position to buy organic produce all of the time but I do have to honour what I know about food and not shy away from the truth. If you want to start transitioning from conventional to organic but don’t have the funds to go the whole hog, I recommend checking out the dirty dozen and clean fifteen (i.e. a list of which fruit and vegetables are the most toxic when not organic). Another way you can reduce the chemical load is to soak your produce in a bowl of water with 1/2 a cup of vinegar for 15 minutes before eating them.

Eating organic is simply food in its real form. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Laura

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