As I was standing in line at a health food store one day, unloading some of my produce, the gentleman behind me asked me if I was feeding a goat at home or if I was juicing. I asked him why he would ask that? He said, “Well, I’ve never seen anyone buy that much produce.” With one head of Swiss chard, a head of cabbage, some carrots and a small assortment of fresh berries on the belt, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was serious. When I’m grocery shipping, I notice a lot of fast-paced shopping, boxed foods in carts and a lot of grabbing items without reading labels. Looking around at everyone else’s carts, I guess I looked odd since my cart contents weren’t in line with the majority.
Are you a part of the majority when it comes to food habits? Do you find yourself buying the same boxed items or making the same meals over and over? Do you feel like you’re in the dark about what is healthy and unhealthy? If I wasn’t in the business of wellness I think I be would, too. There’s so much information out there that it can be rather intimidating. In a previous post, I spoke about GMO foods. Now, I want to turn your attention to organic food. I’m sure you’ve seen organic labels in your produce and meat section. I’m also sure you’ve noticed the price difference compared to conventional GMO foods. Some people that I’ve spoken to have switched to a few organic items, for example eggs and milk, which makes for a great start! It’s how I got started, too.
So what is organic food, anyway? According to the USDA of Organic Agriculture, organic farming takes extreme measures to avoid most synthetic materials, such as herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics. The people and the farmers who process organic food adhere to a strict, defined set of standards to produce it. The certifications and the process that these farmers go through to achieve quality food is no easy task. The soil itself has to be prepped for a minimum of three years, and be free of any toxins on their list to meet organic soil standards requirements.
Farmers use many methods to keep their farms free from toxins and from being cross-pollinated by GMO farms. Congress described organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table and include soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices and rules for food additives. All farms and businesses that grow, handle or process organic products must be certified. This strict certification allows you to call your product “organic” and to use the USDA organic seal indicating that the food, or agricultural products, have been produced through approved methods. Approved methods integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices promoting ecological balance and conserving biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering may not be used.
It’s important, and critically vital, to have these types of methods and processing while growing and handling your food. If your goal is to avoid sickness and disease, than organic food is for you! It’s really easy to look for that seal when shopping and buying your staple foods. Check out the USDA Organic Agricultural website to review labeling laws. Here are a couple of facts from their site:
- According to data released recently from the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), there were 19,474 certified organic producers in the United States and 27,814 certified organic operations around the world at the end of 2014.
- In one year, the number of U.S. certified organic operations increased by more than five percent and, since the count began in 2002, the number of domestic organic operations increased by over 250 percent.
So with organic becoming more accessible, what foods can you start with when beginning your switch? I began with a process of elimination. I started with meat and eggs first, and noticed the taste was so much better. As my palate began to change, I switched veggies and fruits one by one, until I was eating organic all the time – almost 10 years now.
In that time, I’ve noticed many changes in my physical appearance and inner health. My skin became brighter, aches and pains from work disappeared, my PMS symptoms lessened every year, my hair became thicker, energy level increased, weight was more stable, moods were leveled and my digestion and bowel elimination were really healthy. I felt like I was getting younger and yet I was chronologically older. Crazy, but so true. I read a while back that if you ate a conventional non-organic apple today, it would take you eating five of those apples to get the same nutrients that you would get from an apple back in 1920. It’s no wonder!
If you’re not convinced, than I invite you to take the organic challenge. Give yourself three months. Drop all your boxed foods and replace them with fresh organic fruits and veggies, eat less meat (and when you do make it only organic meats and wild fish), and add in some organic beans and nuts. You can do it! Use this small starter list to replace your boxed foods with organic fruits, keep reading and look for recipes on my site if you’re already feeling adventurous.
Organic Fruit Starter List
- Fresh or frozen blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Low on the glycemic scale, berries are loaded with antioxidants, and raspberries have more fiber than cabbage! Note: Frozen are less expensive and can be thawed out for a sweet desert or smoothie. If you buy berries in the produce section, they will cost more.
- Great for a quick snack on the road, at school or in the office, apples are great for whitening your teeth and are loaded with enzymes for good digestion. Note: Usually not that pricey, they can be found in the produce section.
- Plums and peaches. These colon-healers are so sweet when in season that they are tastier than cookies (okay, maybe you won’t think so at first, but you will over time)!
- Bananas. These have to be the easiest fruit to eat, and work great just before you go to the gym. Bananas are loaded with potassium (save the peel if you have a hemorrhoid – more to come on that).
- Loaded with magnesium and fun to eat while watching a movie, these happen to be one of my favorite fruits right now. Note: Buy frozen or find them fresh in the produce section.
- Very affordable, this fruit goes a long way and is a great to start your morning as it’s loaded with vitamin C and also has vitamin A.
There you have it – my simple fruit starter list. I hope you will continue on your path to better health once you incorporate this step. Use my blogs as a guide and feel free to email me with any questions. I’m here to help you along this journey. God Bless!
With more than 24 years of diverse experience in the health and wellness industry, Jaime has
dedicated her life to caring for and enabling people to increase their overall wellness.