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There’s a lot of myths floating around eating organic and whether it’s worth the time, cost and investment. So let’s break down organic vs conventional vegetables and fruits and see how each compare.

ORGANIC

Organic foods are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, growth regulators, livestock feeds, pesticides, additives or bio-engineered genes (GMOs).  Organic farming doesn’t use any synthetic materials or genetically modified crops and has strict regulations in what constitutes ‘organic’.

 Pros

  • Organic veggies have more nutrients in them. If you’re eating to nourish your body, then it’s hard to go past this one. Why do they have more nutrients? The top soil they are harvested in is the key to more nutrient dense veggies that is absorbed into the food.
  • Organic veggies taste better. You can’t really compare biting into the taste of an organic tomato to the tasteless tomatoes at the supermarket. Or that apple you’re eating from the supermarket, covered in wax to seal in the pulp, because it’s been harvested 9 months before being eaten doesn’t have the same appeal as biting into a freshly picked organic apple.
  • Buying organic means supporting local independent farmers and producers. This means that there less of a monopoly in fresh food which keeps the big corporations more honest, but it also means supporting businesses, jobs and artisans who put love into their work.
  • Buying organic means no pesticides, herbicides and glyphosate. If you’re dealing with a gut issue, or have digestive symptoms, it can come down to injecting these on conventional crops. It may also be due to the hybridised crops like wheat with a higher gluten count than crops a few decades back, that causes digestive sensitivity.
  • Buying organic means you’re contributing to a positive climate. Why? It also comes back to the soil, and regenerative agriculture which supports farming and grazing practices that uses the power of photosynthesis and ecological harmony to help rebuild organic soil matter, restore soil biodiversity, improve the water cycle and enhance carbon draw down. Read more about this here.
  • Organic will usually mean ethically raised. That means there are bio dynamic practices farmers need to adhere to when they raise animals, what they feed them and how they live.

Cons

  • Organic can be harder to access. Unless you have an organic market or organic products in health food stores it’s harder to buy organic, depending on where you live. There are organic boxes you can order now online though, and some organic versions of products I’ve seen in supermarkets which is promising.
  • Organic can sometimes be more expensive. I’ll talk more to this point in the last myth as there are strategies around this. But at face value, item for item it can appear that the volume of what you’re getting when you buy organic is less than conventional.

CONVENTIONAL

Conventional foods are one’s that are conventional grown or farmed using chemical fertilizers to quicken growth and resistance. Conventional foods are made using pesticides and chemical herbicides. Conventionally farmed livestock uses antibiotics and growth hormones to accelerate and enhance the growth of the animals.

Pros

  • Conventional foods are more accessible. Any supermarket stocks basic fruit and veggies so if you run out and want to pick some up you can 24/7
  • Conventional foods are more aesthetically pleasing. Want a perfect looking apple? Organic might not be as perfectly shaped. In fact, a lot of fruit and veggies may look different to conventional, making the consumer hesitate to buy them.

Cons

Conventional fruits and vegetables are grown in mono-crops, using conventional methods. This means a few things:

  • The soil you’re planting the crops in hasn’t been rotated and is mostly depleted of nutrients. Some studies say up to 70% of the nutrients are now missing in conventional fruits and vegetables.
  • Conventional crops are sprayed with glyphosate, an antibacterial, to make them more bug and dough resistant, and to make the crops grow quicker.
  • Conventional crops are picked months in advance of ripening and stored in large vats, ready to be transported to various supermarkets nationally. This affects the true freshness and nutrient profile of the food, and of course the taste.

Separating the facts from the myths on eating organic is the first step to making an informed decision. I write about that here.

Weighing up the pro’s and con’s  depends on what you classify as “best.” If you value convenience especially in certain situations, or you’re time poor, it can be easier to buy more accessible conventional foods. If you’re invested in the welfare of the animals, environment or simply want a chemical free way of eating, organic will suit you more. If you have gut issues, want to increase your energy or feel better, the nutrient boost, organic will be an essential part of your long term nutritional strategy.

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