Is organic really all that different? Some people think organic is a bit overhyped... In my opinion, it's not. Sure, organic almost always costs a bit more, and not everyone can afford to buy 100% organic all the time. Others may live in areas where they simply don't even have access to these kinds of options. I've begun thinking it's not that organic "costs more", it's that using synthetic chemicals and fertilizers costs less. Keeping our soils and foods free from carcinogenic chemicals should be the baseline. Just like with the human body, or taking care of a car...if you think short-term and have no respect for the longevity of the system, then you can cut corners and do things a lot cheaper. But poisoning the soil and farming ecosystem comes back to bite you in the end. As I said in one of my early songs "you can pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later."
Enough about price – what's really the difference? I recently came across this study from a few years ago. It's a meta-analysis of 343 peer-reviewed publications on the topic of "organic vs conventional."
A "meta-analysis" or a "systematic review" looks at a large grouping of various studies on a certain topic. This analysis concluded: "the concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher in organic crops/crop-based foods." The following bullet point terms may not be vocabulary words you're very familiar with...but what you need to know are these are antioxidant compounds which have been shown to provide disease fighting function and anti-inflammatory effects. The researchers found each of these healing compounds HIGHER in organic crops by the following percents:
phenolic acids – 19%
flavanones – 69%
stilbenes – 28%
flavones – 26%
flavonols – 50%
anthocyanins – 51%
These differences are significant.
When you consume conventional nutritionally-compromised foods meal after meal, day after day...the lack of healing potential in your diet really adds up!
Imagine a few decades of missing out on what Nature originally intended your food to do.
It's no wonder we are facing unprecedented levels of chronic disease everywhere we look.
Not only are these important healing factors missing in conventional produce...the study found that organic had lower levels of harmful toxic heavy metals and (obviously) pesticide and insecticide residue.
Many in the mainstream will still dismiss concerns about the toxicity of agri-chemicals...pretending it couldn't possibly add up to impact human health.
Of course, these same people generally dismiss pretty much any toxic burden as being relevant, and yet seem to have no alternate explanation for what is CAUSING our catastrophic increase in disease and cancer.
Look – eating non-organic food occasionally is not going to kill you. It is true that "the dose makes the poison."
It's what you do most of the time that matters.
Stressing about every single meal being organic may be just as negatively impactful as eating a small dose of pesticides.
The point is to be mindful, not neurotic, when it comes to seeking foods that are as optimized as possible to support your wellbeing.
Remember that community, relationships, having fun, and enjoying yourself are part of a healthy life too!
Sometimes just being in company with friends and sharing a meal – with good conversation, smiles, laughs – is healing in immeasurable ways, regardless of the actual food itself.
We most certainly want to encourage each other to buy and eat organic when we can, and studies like this can help us in the conversation as to why we must collectively do more to support local, regenerative, organic farmers – it's of critical importance to the future of our species.
So let's keep inspiring each other on this mission while being sure to find a balance which doesn't compromise our mental health in other ways!