Organic food is been around for ages. There really shouldn’t have any confusion about what makes for organic food and what doesn’t. And yet, every time we go to the health food store, we do get mixed up.
It’s not that the USDA hasn’t tried. They established standards 10 years ago for what exactly is supposed to be organic food. Ask your average person on the street why organic food is better, and they’ll just think for a minute and say, “Oh, it has more nutrients! ”
Now that’s a good one, really. Not even the health food store, not even the sellers of organic food, could dream that they could get anyone to accept that organic food had more nutrients. In truth, organic food doesn’t have more; it claims to be grown in a healthy way – without pesticides or fertilizers or antibiotics or anything artificial.
When you go to a health food store and they have organic seafood, what does that mean? The thing is, the standards to do with organic food were meant for grown and raised stuff – not anything caught in the wild. In the wild, fishes and other dwellers of the sea happen to be exposed to possibly high levels of pollution.
Mercury, for instance, can be very high in swordfish and shark. Children aren’t supposed to eat it. And yet, when you call it organic it can feel safe. Oddly enough, when it comes to seafood, it’s artificially grown fish that’s organic – so customers know that what they’re buying wasn’t exposed to any kind of dangerous pollution.
These days, your local health food store will offer you a number of healthy-sounding labels to describe produce, and you won’t really know what they mean. For instance, what are you supposed to make of a label that calls produce Biodynamic? Or Food Alliance Certified?
These two are supposed to be stricter than the standards issued by the USDA for organic food. But you’ll find a number of other confusing labels out there. Check out the website Greener Choices for information on any funny label you come across.
If you want to buy organic, you don’t have to go to expensive health food stores like Whole Foods. You can always join a local co-op or a community-supported agriculture program. You’ll do a little volunteer work; but you’ll get everything on the cheap. You have to pay half what you would at an expensive place like Whole Foods.
But organic foods aren’t the only thing you go to the health food store for. How about dietary supplements? The thing about dietary supplements is that there isn’t any real control that the FDA has over them. They don’t actually claim to do anything for you. They just claim to be healthy and good, is all. Why, they could have a capsule full of wheat flour and say “Healthy, natural and full of vitamins and minerals!” And they could sell it for three dollars a capsule.
Before you actually buy any of this stuff, make sure that it’s something that’s been tested by an independent laboratory. Look for a review online. A lot of the time, these products don’t contain nearly enough goodness to make it worth the money you pay.
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