Organic foods helpful or hype??


peapod
#1
Is it all its cracked up to be? What has been your experience for maintaining responsible/eating/living and proper health.
 
Reverend Blair
#2
I have no experience in this area at all.
 
Paranoid Dot Calm
#3
Yuh Know;

I gotta admit that when I eat something "healthy", I feel a whisp of confidence towards a long life.

In my mind, eating orgainic food would be just like those people I see every day exercising on their ten-speeds at the Toronto waterfront.
The ten-speed freaks are zipping around on the waterfront and just a quarter mile from the Gardner Expressway.
They are breathing the exhaust particulates to the very bottom of their panting lungs.

While feasting upon my organic food, I know that everything else around me is "eating" away at my inner-core.

Calm
 
galianomama
#4
pea, for god's sake we have had this talk before....you know that organics are good for you, like i said, always eat your spinach. i just like to eat mine without all that added pesticide stuff. assuming that you know the grower personally, you can pretty much be assured it is okay. the stuff locally is much better for you, in that at least you are also doing your bit for global warming. i don't like to eat organics from mexico or usa, because they have different organic 'rules' than we do in canuck land. they don't have to leave their land fallow nearly as long as we do - taking it from a pesticide environment to an organic one. and so forth. i like to think i don't glow in the dark quite so much.
 
Reverend Blair
#5
See I eat organic stuff because it tastes better. I buy locally as much as possible because it supports local growers. I'm not to eat for health reason though. I'm more like...hmmm, think I'll have a cucumber and tomato sandwich because I don't feel like having a balogna sandwich.
 
Twila
#6
I think organic foods are a great way to avoid some of the carcinogenic (sp?) pesticides that are used.

I think that supporting organic farmers is a good way to help our environment just a little bit.
 
peapod
#7
I agree twila, for me the price does not matter, I don't have a family to feed. I know alot of people that would like to buy organic, they just can't afford it. Did you hear that part of campbells health plan is to promote british columbians eating more fruits and vegetables. I hope the prices can come down, I would like to see the organic market flourish.
 
Reverend Blair
#8
Do you have co-op gardens there where people without the space at home can rent a plot to grow their own veggies? We have one here somewhere. I've never been there since I don't need the space, but it sounded like a dandy idea to me.
 
peapod
#9
We call them community gardens here rev. Yes there are quite a few but not enough to accomadate everyone who would like to grow their own vegetables. The garden I have is huge, this year I am giving the vegetable garden to a couple of individuals who desperately want their own garden, in return I get free vegies :P a good deal for me and my back. We also have alot of individuals who find niches in the organic market. Salt spring island is great for this.
 
Hard-Luck Henry
#10
I tend to buy locally produced food if possible, such as that sold at my local farmers' market - for ethical, as much as health, reasons.

The large supermarket chains in the U.K. have too much power; they compete with one another to offer the lowest prices but, in the end, lower prices just equals lower standards, not lower profits for them: The cost of these "savings" are passed on to the suppliers, who want to make a profit too, and so cut their own costs accordingly, using ever cheaper farming methods and ingredients, minimal quality control, cheaper, often temporary (and, therefore, less skilled) labour, and so on.
I don't necessarily blame consumers for taking advantage of the supermarkets' offers, that's just human nature (greedy f*ckers), but it seems a false economy to me - we end paying for it anyway; through taxes to clean the environment, or fund the hospitals that have to deal with the chronic heart disease and cancers, or paying benefits to workers whilst out of season etc.

oops. Is that off-topic? Right, the health benefits of organic foods; I found this piece in yesterday's Guardian (newspaper):

Organic food can help you sleep, keep you slim and boost your immune system - if you are a rat.

Scientists at the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences experimented with 36 rats, feeding one group organic food, another group food grown conventionally with high levels of fertiliser and some pesticide, and a third group minimally fertilised food. They say the rats fed organic food were measurably healthier, in that they slept better, had stronger immune systems and were less obese.

Dr Kirsten Brandt of Newcastle University's school of agriculture, who helped to design the study, said: "This study doesn't prove anything about which food is better than the other, but it does show that it can make a difference."

The results have been submitted to a scientific journal but have not yet been published. They were released yesterday by the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming, which funded the study. It said: "In all cases where differences were observed there was a beneficial effect of the organically grown diet. This indicates a positive effect of organically grown foods as compared to conventionally grown food."
 
marcarc
#11
There are just too many variables here for a pat answer. As was said, first you have to find out what is meant by 'organic'. To the above poster though commenting on the power of british supermarkets, Canada essentially has three supermarket chains and it's been estimated that canadians pay 40% more for groceries than would be the case were there more competition or regulation.

There isn't much doubt about growing your own or as long as you know the farmer. A study two years ago found vegetables from california laced with rocket fuel from their water supply. I'm not positive on this but I think under many guidelines in canada you can still be labelled 'organic' if you use bio-solids (human waste) as fertilizer. There are inherent dangers in that, but most troublesome is the fact that most municipalities cannot separate their population's human waste from the industrial waste that companies pump into the sewage system, so there's all kinds of industrial waste ending up on farm land. I live in Waterloo where there's a big mennonite population, if you check and find old order mennonites you can be sure they don't use the stuff, but boy they make you pay for it-they're business people too!
 
Jovey
#12
I once had to write a paper for a course I was taking dealing with this exact subject, so here is a little of what I learned.

Organic foods are grown via a number of practices that differ from
conventionally grown foods. The idea as we know is to eliminate the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used to almost nothing. Chemical fertilizers are not used, instead natural forms such as manure, potash, guano, seaweed or rock phosphate are used. Instead of growing a single monoculture on a field as most large scale conventional growers do, different crops are grown on a single field in successive years to protect the nutrient base. In general the difference in the combined management methods all result in a higher level of manual labor required and this is one reason for the higher prices we see in the organic food market. Will prices come down as sales continue to increase??

There is evidence that pesticide use reduces the vitamin content, most often Vit. C, beta-carotene (precursor for vit.A) and the B-vitamins. Chemical residues within the body greatly increase the chances of some types of cancer. That being said,pesticides are still found on organic crops (I think the studies done contained information from the US dep.of agriculture if I remember correctly), only in lesser quantities and incidences. If chemicals were used in that particular location in the past (and they do persist in the soil for many years after-even decades), chances are the plants are still capable of taking the contaminants up into their systems. They can also be transferred from nearby locations. I'm not sure if this is as prevalent in Canada although I can't see how it would differ greatly.

Interestingly enough, studies regarding pesticides and the link to cancer can never be completed in an official "scientific" manner since there is no control group (no individuals containing zero levels of chemicals in their bodies can be found) to compare to.

Overall, organically grown foods are not that different from
conventional but there is some evidence showing that they contain higher levels of certain nutrients (but not all). For example they could contain more vit C and B vitamins because less pesticides are used, but they may also be deficient in nitrogen because less concentrated fertilizers are used. There are some types of defense chemicals beneficial to us that are produced in higher concentrations in the organic (I can't remember what they were called but these are probably similar to antioxidants) since the plants have to create more of these in order to fight off pests on their own.

All in all, I think it's still pretty much up in the air. From what
I've read, organic foods are beneficial but I think they need to up the ante on their production standards (ie ways to eliminate all
pesticides) before we will ever be able to see any convincing evidence to cause everyone to switch over. The price factor is a big issue as well.

I'm trying to eat as healthy as I can, but I've yet to make the organic switch! If I could afford it I probably would...less pesticides couldn't hurt
 
peapod
#13
I liked what you said jovey, its true that there is alot of debate about organic food. I buy it because I can afford it, and I also grow vegetables, like henry I also buy produce in the summer at farmers markets. I like to support small independent growers, and I think their food taste better.
 
mrmom2
#14
organic tastes much better there is nothing better than picking or own veggies out of the garden and eating them knowing there is no chemicals herbacides or pestacides and you grew them yourself
 
dumpthemonarchy
#15
Organic is so much better for ourselves and the environment. It is getting more popular for good reason.
 
Tonington
#16
Beleive it or not organic is not that much better than conventional agricultural practices. By cutting back on pesticide use, the plant crops themselves produce more of their own toxins to deal with pests, soem of which are carcinogenic to us. Also with organic you end up requiring large amounts of animal feces to fertilize crops, farmers can use green manures but they don't pack the punch that animal manure does. This leads to outbreaks like we saw with the organic spinach.

Like so many other things we do, what's best is usually somewhere between the two. I agree that the agri-food industry has made some of the foods less apetizing, particularly tomatoes. If you want to ship tomatoes across the continent, you need a tough endocarp to prevent damage. As a result our tomatoes now have up to 25% less vitamin A and they taste like ****.
 
hermanntrude
#17
wow this is an old thread.

I agree with tonington. organic certainly is good, but not all that it's made out to be, and pesticides have their uses. Also i think "organic" is not a good reason to hike up prices by 30%.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#18
In the Feb 2007 issue of Common Ground magazine, in the article Healthy food, healthy planet, by Vesanto Melina, MS. RD., wrote on page 10,

" Buy Organic. Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at a much higher level than soils from coventional farms. If we North Americans grew all of our corn and soyabeans organically, we'd remove more than 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Sounds like good organic news to me, a person who never bought organic foods until recently. I buy organic because I know it is good for myself and for the environment.

Where is the mainstream media on this? We could solve Kyoto in Canada and reduce our emissions hugely in only a few years.
 
marygaspe
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by dumpthemonarchyView Post

In the Feb 2007 issue of Common Ground magazine, in the article Healthy food, healthy planet, by Vesanto Melina, MS. RD., wrote on page 10,

" Buy Organic. Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at a much higher level than soils from coventional farms. If we North Americans grew all of our corn and soyabeans organically, we'd remove more than 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Sounds like good organic news to me, a person who never bought organic foods until recently. I buy organic because I know it is good for myself and for the environment.

Where is the mainstream media on this? We could solve Kyoto in Canada and reduce our emissions hugely in only a few years.


I think organic foods are a load of hype. We are far healthier now than our ancestors, who all ate organic foods, so to speak.
 
dumpthemonarchy
#20
Are we healthier than our ancestors who did heavy physical labour on farms? Who died in their 50s? Who didn't have antibiotics? Hospitals that were miles away-if you could find one? And, nowadays, farm work uses a great deal of dangerous machinery and chemicals.

I grew some tomatoes on my patio over the past few years and they tasted awesome. They make store bought tomatoes taste so so so plain.

Organic food is challenging the slogan from the 1950s, "Better living through chemistry." We have a food oversupply so massive overproduction is somewhat passe. You want chemicals in paint, sure, but not for the stuff you put in your body.

Eating low sugar/fat/salt and limiting processed foods is the best way to go for better health. I have been out of the country for a while and there are way more organic foods available now than in 2006. Our troops advance!
 

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