Friday, February 6, 2009

What is Organic

When you hear the word 'Organic', what comes to mind first? Does food come to mind, soil/dirt come to mind, a process, healthy? Well, all are correct if that is what comes to mind when you hear that word. But, what does organic mean? Does it mean unprocessed/unaltered food? Does it mean non chemical? Does it mean all natural or does it mean no animal byproducts? It really makes you wonder doesn't it since everyone wants to eat more healthy nowadays. This article will explore the meaning of organic in terms of human consumption. What is considered organic and how is it processed. What does it mean when a product claims to be 100% organic and how has commercialism and mass production altered the way we cultivate our food source. For starters, let's explore the meaning of organic.
The dictionary's definition of organic is 'Raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones or synthetic checmical; simple healthful, and close to nature'. I happen to agree with the dictionary's definition. This is what organic means to me; It is consuming produce and products that are grown, raised and processed in the simplest form. In other words, allow mother nature to do it's job with the least possible human interference expected. The scientific definition of organic; any living organism by nature is considered organic. We as human's are considered organic because we're considered a living organism. How are animal's and produce cultivated as organic?
Our job as human's is to plant seeds in the ground,cultivate them and harvest them. As human's, we are to prepare the soil by turning/tilling it and allowing mother nature's animal's to fertilize it. We should not be spraying our produce with pesticides and chemically altering them for longer shelf life. Produce are meant to be eaten immediately and not months and months later. We are to allow our domesticated animals to roam free and allow them to feed on mother nature's soil. Cow's, bull's, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens all eat green grass, alfalfa, dandelions, and hay. That is how we as humans should allow our food source to be cultivated. They are not meant to eat antibiotics, genetically altered hormones, commercialized animal feed etc. If that is the case, then what does it mean when a product claims to be 100% organic.
We as consumers must be aware of produce and products that claim they're 100% organic. Not all items that claim to be organic is good for you. Sounds strange don't it? Remember, organic means; consuming produce and products that are grown, raised and processed in the simplest form, with the least human interference as possible. Organic is how food is processed. Just as all products, you need to read the ingredients. Just because the product claim that it's organic doesn't mean that it's acceptable. For example; I can remember reading the ingredients on a loaf of bread and in the ingredients, it stated organic whole grain unbromulated wheat, organic rolled oats, organic yeast , organic High Fructose Corn Syrup, organic cane sugar etc. I stopped reading the rest once I saw organic high fructose corn syrup. I began to ask my self a simple question. How can this be 100% organic when there is high fructose corn syrup in the general ingredient? The answer is simple, it is how the high fructose corn syrup was processed. In it's natural form which is corn, it could have been grown and cultivated organically which means using naturally fertilized soil and with out the use of any chemical,hormonal interference. So the process of how it was cultivated and extracted was organically sound. But organic or not, I still don't want high fructose corn syrup as a main or general ingredient in the products that I buy. In my opinion, high fructose corn syrup is still considered an unhealthy sweetener. To me, that one ingredient spoiled the whole loaf of bread. Therefore, be aware of products that claim they're 100% organic because not all things organic is good for you. There are some products that will claim they're 75% or 50% organic. What that means is some conventional methods have been used in the cultivating and processing stage. So, maybe the soil was not fertilized by cows but some other method or maybe pesticides were used in the spraying process. It all depends on how you as the consumer feel about that. I for one would rather go with the claim of 100% organic as opposed to partial. At least I have a piece of mind knowing that the methods used was organically sound. If we as human's are considered organic, then why pray tell would we want to damage our bodies with substances that aren't organic? That can be summed up in three words; commercialism, mass producton.
Have you ever had an apple that has been chemically sprayed to make it look nice and shiny, very appealing to the eye for consumption. Mass production and commercialism spray them for longer shelf life. Ever notice how long an apple can sustain its color, shine, and firmness when it's chemically sprayed. I don't know about you but i've bought them apples before and they've lasted almost a month. However, when I bit into one, it lost it's taste and texture inside but never lost it's appeal on the outside. Then, I started buying organic apples. The shelf life of an organic apple is less than a week. The apples that I bought started turning brown and losing it's eatable appeal after the 4th day. I knew that I had to eat them or do something with them before they all went bad and no longer eatable. This made me realize something very important. Produce cultivated and harvested the right way with out any chemical alterations are the best for human consumption because it is organic and since we're considered organic why not consume organically. Commercialism and mass production will argue that due to consumer demand produce had to be altered in order to deliver in mass quantity for mass consumption and therefore quality had to be sacrificed. I understand that concept but then why are we not consuming from our local growers who cultivate organically thus can provide better quality and sacrifice quantity. Unfortunately, that is whole other article to write.
Basically, the meaning of organic is a process of how our food is grown and cultivated. It doesn't mean that every thing organic is good for our health as I explained. Thanks to commercialism and mass production, we've altered the way we cultivate our food source by using conventional methods to satisfy consumer demands for the sake of quantity as opposed to quality. The more we produce, the more revenue increases. For sound mind and bodies, always try to buy organic but please be mindful and read all ingredients. Every thing organic is not good for our health.

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