T Nation

Organic Foods

Anyone with more knowledge than I, care to comment on the relative benefits/drawbacks of organic meat/produce versus the regular stuff?

Especially for dairy, I consider it important. Standard dairy cows are pumped full of hormones and anti-biotics, making the milk rather unhealthy. Organic milk should come from cows that are raised and fed naturally.

Dairy for sure, if you’re going to make any changes start there. I just wish organic cottage cheese weren’t so darn expensive.

Next, consider meats. Cows especially are also full of chemicals.

Eggs… they taste better, too

Produce… from what I’ve read, most important are broccoli, berries, basically anything with a texture that would trap insecticides and such, try to go organic. The others you can wash & brush that stuff off for the most part.

Funny you should ask, I JUST walked in the door from the local organic market with a bag of meat and dairy :slight_smile:

Anyway, I’ve talked before about organic food on here, as about 50-75% of my diet comes from organic sources. Michael already touched on the growth hormones/antibiotics issues with dairy; these issues also occur with meat, obviously. Just as important as these two to me, however, are the lack of pesticides used in producing organic foods. The amount of toxins found in your run-of-the-mill grocery store foods is astronomically high.

Taste is the biggest noticeable difference with organic food, especially dairy. After you drink organic milk, you’ll never want to go back. Also, although this is probably a mental thing, I notice I just flat-out feel better when I consume a mostly-organic diet. Anytime I stray a little bit I can definitely tell the difference.

The biggest downside to organic food, however, is cost. Just for comparison, the local Kroger (grocery chain) sells a gallon of milk for around $3 these days (I think, I haven’t bought “regualar” milk in a long time). A gallon of organic is around $5.

P.S. At the very least, if you can’t do organic because cost is an issue, people who take large amounts of fish oil capsules (or any amounts for that matter) really should look into capsules from an organic store. I get 100 1-gram capsules for around $9. The oil comes from Norwegian raised fish, tested by a third party source to be free of mercury, lead, pbc’s, etc.

I have always figured that many toxins build up in the fatty tissue of animals so the fattier the cut of meat the more important that is is organic.

One thing you should know is that organic food does not mean they do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizer. There is just a different list they can legally choose from to get the label organic. The idea that there is naturally grown produce is a myth.

I agree with the last post by Fire…

It has been stated here and other place several times. Just because it is organic doesnt mean it is pesticide free. Also many times so called natural/organic pesticides are more harmfull for us than there synthetic counterparts.

Kind of a double edged sword.

Not that organic is bad. Its great just have to be aware of all these things,

Eat well, hope this helps,

Phill

One thing to add to Phill and Fire’s comments. But first yes try to eat everything you can from local farmers markets and organic farms. Give these people your money and maybe the government will decide to at some point too. The one thing to note is that a product might leave a farm as organic but in route be stored in an area that is sprayed with mercury based fumigants and other things( usually to keep rats away) which defeats the purpose. Try to find a good local farm and cut out the middleman if you can. If you’re in the city it is tougher but do what you can.

Here are some thoughts.

  1. “Organic” is a far stricter set of criteria than “natural”. “Natural” doesn’t really mean anything.

The fertilizers and pesticides that are banned for producing organic food are ones that are known and proven to be toxic. Believe it or not, some nonorganic food out there is produced using chemicals that are KNOWN to be toxic, even radioactive toxic waste has been used on crops. Sometimes illegal chemicals are used. Honestly.

  1. Toxins accumulate in fat. If you take biopsies of animals up the food chain, the levels found in the fat of these animals increase expontentially. So a small fish in a lake may have a level of 1, a bear in the same area and a couple levels up the food chain a level of 10,000. So the recommendation of shopping organic for fatty meats, butter, etc. may be sound.

  2. A lot of chemicals/toxins used or found in fat are proven estrogenic. Like soy. If you avoid putting plastic in the microwave, why wouldn’t you try to minimize exposure to estrogenic chemicals that have been sprayed on your food?

  3. Research has been performed to test for known toxic pesticides on crops, and a list has been compiled of those which tend to be the “best” and “worst”. It may be a good idea to buy the “top offenders” organic.

12 Most Contaminated Foods

? Apples
? Bell Peppers
? Celery
? Cherries
? Imported Grapes
? Nectarines
? Peaches
? Pears
? Potatoes
? Red Raspberries
? Spinach
? Strawberries

( From http://www.foodnews.org/reportcard.php )

  1. “Organic” farming is generally better for the environment. The fertilization and pest control practised should be safer. Furthermore, the animals are usually treated better.

See also “Hormone Deception: How Everyday Foods and Products Are Disrupting Your Hormones” by D. Lindsey Berkson.

See also “Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Own Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival” by Theo Colborn et al.