The advantages of organic versus conventional foods are multifaceted and extremely important in the context of our current global health and sustainability crisis. As we continue to deepen our understanding and appreciation for the powerful nutrients within organic whole foods, we begin to see a simple yet profound truth: foods provided to us by the Earth with the least amount of alteration from their natural state tend to be the healthiest. Wild foods are obviously the foods that have had the least amount of alteration, yet it is also important to honor organic farming methods, because they are human’s closest attempt to provide food to the masses that is as potent and nutrient rich as wild food.
Organic farming can be simply defined as a method of food production that uses no genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) or toxic chemicals. Nature has never needed to use these compounds to stimulate its growth capacities. It simply recycles its own nutrients.
It is my belief that organic foods can also help our clients feel a deeper and more meaningful connection to the Earth and their local bioregion. To give credence to this theory I want to share with you some facts about non-organic foods. Non-organic foods are those that are sprayed with various chemicals to kill living creatures such as bugs and insects and are allowed to be genetically modified to supposedly encourage increased yield.
Please be aware that the statements below may be hard to swallow because of their intensity. Also, I want to stress that we shouldn’t make our clients feel bad for the choices they make in regards to food. We are all doing the best we can with the information and resources that are available to us. Our role is to be helpful guides, leading our clients in the direction of optimal health.
Food for thought
- In 2005 more than 20 percent of the pesticides registered for use in the U.S. were linked to cancer, birth defects, developmental harm, and central nervous system damage (2).
- Many pesticides and herbicides are also known neurotoxins (3).
- Research has shown that 50% of children with hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder showed significant improvement by eating an organic diet and doing nothing else. Gabriel Cousens, M.D. links this success rate to the fact that neurotoxins disrupt brain functioning and consequently by discontinuing to eat these foods the brain can once again regain healthful expression (4).
- Dr. Joseph Mercola states on his website www.mercola.com that more than 75 percent of non-organic processed food in the U.S. has genetically modified ingredients (5).
- Little long term testing has been done on GMO’s. Some of the dangers of genetically engineered foods are: irreversible damage to ecosystems, permanent changes in the nature of our food, allergic reactions, and deletion of important food elements (6).
What we can see here is that toxins and GMO’s have the potential to create a state of disharmony or disease. Obviously in such a condition it is harder to feel the joy and satisfaction of life and to feel grateful for our connection to the natural world. If our brain cannot function in a healthy way, due to the presence of neurotoxins, is it any wonder why we are seeing such wide spread cases of depression, violence, and disregard for the Earth’s ecosystems? If we don’t feel good inside we often take drastic measures to relieve ourselves of the suffering.
Luckily, one way to help relieve the body’s toxic burden and thereby increase our clients health is to encourage them to buy organic foods as much as possible. I realize that for many people it does not seem like an option to buy all organic, but there are several steps you can inspire clients to make to move in that direction, such as buying from farmers markets (which tend to have great prices), growing their own organic garden, or finding ways to spend less money on other things so more money can be spent towards healthy food.
As we begin to encourage the shift toward wild, seasonal, local, and organic foods, an opportunity awakens within us to participate in a form of eating that is sustainable, healthy, and aligned with the diet that humans and other wild species on Earth have eaten for millions of years. When these realizations become part of our clients awareness, they become a guiding light in their life and create a profound sense of connection to the life systems of the planet and a feeling of deep belonging and purpose.
Further Advantages of Organic Farming
- According to the Organic Trade Association there is strong evidence that organic farming helps prevent topsoil erosion, improves soil fertility, protects groundwater, and conserves energy (7).
- Organic farming can produce 6 inches of topsoil in as little as 50 years (8).
- According to Jim Bauder, a soil and water quality specialist at Montana State University, crop rotations in organic farming, “help to improve or maintain soil fertility, reduce erosion, reduce the build-up of pests, spread the workload, reduce risk of weather damage, reduce reliance on agricultural chemicals, and increase net profits.” (9)
- Organic foods at farmers markets reduce the need for long transportation, oil use, and support local farmers. They are also more nutrient dense because they are not picked before ripened, and because they are consumed much fresher.
I hope it has been clearly shown that the advantages of organic versus conventional foods are truly important and worthy of our encouragement for clients. Clean, nature-mimicking farming methods honor ecosystems and the precious topsoil, which ensures abundant food growth and the healthy continuation of our species. With the current world human population having gone over 7 billion (and steadily rising!), it is becoming increasingly clear that in order to feed the people of this Earth we need to focus our agricultural practices in the most sustainable ways. It is undeniable, based on decades of scientific research, that organic farming is more sustainable than conventional agriculture, which is centered on mono-cropping, GMO’s, and chemically sprayed foods.
It may seem strange that this knowledge is not more readily known or that conventional agriculture is still so heavily practiced. The sad fact that we must face is that certain companies, such as Monsanto, are co-opting our health and our future by continuing harmful agricultural practices that weaken the topsoil in order to make profits. The science supporting the advantages of organic farming is there for all of us to see. The corporations that create, supply, and use GMO’s and chemicals are choosing to ignore this research because it would mean the death of their businesses.
It is understandable that certain people are rooted in their ways or that they don’t want to lose everything they worked so hard to create, but we all live on one planet. We are all in this together and if we don’t heed the reports that say we must change in order to survive then we will all perish due to our stubbornness. We have another opportunity available that will lead us into a prosperous and sustainable future. It is already under way. All we have to do is say yes to life, yes to the Earth, and join in with an incredible movement that is sweeping across the planet. Organic, local, seasonal, and wild foods have the power to heal and restore the Earth, our hearts, and our minds.
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1. Cousens, Gabriel. Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine. pg. 62
2. Ibid. pg. 63
3. Ibid. pg. 68
4. Ibid. pg. 68
6. Ticciati, Laura and Robin. Genetically Engineered Foods: Are they Safe? You Decide. (pg. 5-7)