This year I’ve decided to really focus on getting into shape. Part of that is to learn how to eat better. My family has always eaten a lot of starchy foods like rice and pasta. We also go out to eat too much. I’ve become very interested in eating more organic foods because I strongly believe it tastes better. We just had the most amazing organic pork this weekend. Organic strawberries and bananas also taste so much better to me.
The first year of my daughter’s life, she actually ate only organic baby food that I made. During that time, we also purchased organic fruit and vegetables. However, we kind of stopped driving to Whole Foods once she started eating more food. We all know organic can be more expensive (but not always), so it is my goal to find ways to incorporate more organic food in our diet. I also am wondering if eating more natural and organic would help me lose weight in addition to eating better and getting more exercise.
Organic Food and Growth Hormones
So what exactly does USDA certified organic mean? Organic means foods that are produced without artificial fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones, or antibiotics. My husband and I believe that the growth hormones in the food are affecting us and our nation’s children today. Americans are also becoming more and more overweight. Although lack of exercise and a bad diet can increase the risk of obesity (trust me, I know), added growth hormones and other things does not help with the battle of obesity.
It is important to understand what the labels mean before you purchase natural and organic food. Here is some information I found thanks to TCTIMES:
- Natural means no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed. The label also has to provide more specific information, such as “no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.”
- Certified Organic means the animal was given pesticide and chemical fertilizer-free food and never given hormones or antibiotics, ever. Meat from animals treated with antibiotics for illness cannot be sold as organic, even if the animals recover to full health. Organic meat has to be processed (slaughtered and butchered) in a Certified Organic facility.
- Free range means animals have access to the outdoors at least part of the day. However, just because the animal has access to the outdoors does not necessarily mean they ever get outside. A free-range chicken could very well spend most of the time stuck inside a crowded pen.
- Hormone free: all animals have hormones naturally, but cattle are often given synthetic hormones to promote growth. It is against federal regulations to treat pork and poultry with hormones, so never pay more for that label on a chicken.
- No antibiotics added: animals have not been treated with antibiotics. In the U.S., animals raised in crowded conditions are often treated with antibiotics to prevent illness and to help promote rapid growth.
- Grass-fed: the vast majority of beef cattle in the U.S. are fed grain. Grass-fed cattle feed exclusively on grass and forage plants (like hay) for their lifetime once they are weaned. They must have access to pasture during “the growing season” and cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts. The American Grassfed Association (AGA) has a stricter label that means the cattle are not confined or treated with hormones or antibiotics.
Although there is controversy about organic foods, whether if it is a gimmick or not, I truly believe organic is better for you. I am no doctor and definitely not in shape, but I believe the added growth hormones and the fruits being treated with pesticides is just not a good thing. Today starts my journey to becoming healthier. For now on, any post I write that has anything to do with organic foods, you can find here tagged with organic.