The importance of eating organic foods is overlooked by far too many. It is an issue that I believe is one of America’s largest and is something I am extremely passionate about. Most of us consume conventionally-grown crops, factory-farmed meat, and overly processed foods that are harmful to our health, the environment, and are not ethical.
Choosing organic produce is a much better choice than conventionally-grown crops. Studies have proven that they are significantly higher in nutrients because they are much fresher than processed foods. They also contain far fewer toxins that can be harmful to our health. The apple is something that most people consider healthy, but is it really that healthy when it is covered with chemicals? Chlorpyrifos, captan, iprodine, and vinclozolin are just four toxic chemicals that are typically found on conventionally grown apples. All are carcinogens (meaning they are cancerous), Chlorpyrifos damages the immune system, can cause reproductive abnormalities and damage the brain and entire nervous system. Captan damages the immune system, and vinclozolin is an endocrine disruptor. Yikes. Not to mention, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), a dangerous carcinogenic pesticide that carries with it all sorts of harmful health effects, is found on most conventionally-grown crops and is harmful to humans even in low doses. Look up “DDT health effects” if you want to feel a bit uneasy about the produce you’ve been consuming. People eat these toxins every single day of their lives and still wonder what the root of cancer (and other various diseases) is. All the chemicals used in conventional farming sink into the soil, destroy the soil itself and the plants and animals that live on it, and runoff into our water supplies, thus contaminating the water we drink.
The animals that we get our meat from live in toxic environments. Factory-farmed chickens are raised in a cage, sedentarily locked-up, suffering in their own feces. For this reason, they get sick and must be given regular doses of antibiotics that, when consumed by humans, are harmful to our health. These chickens then lay poor quality eggs. Additionally, chickens are given growth hormones so that the factory farms can be more efficient and make more money. Arsenic, which is known to cause cancer in humans, is added to the diets of over half of chickens raised in the United States as another means of speeding up growth. To avoid this, always choose pasture-raised, organic chickens and eggs.
Factory-farmed cows endure harsh living conditions as well. Cows were designed to consume grass, yet factory farms feed them a steady diet of grains and growth hormones so that they grow fatter faster. The cows then get dangerously sick and must be given large doses of daily antibiotics. They go through each day fighting just to stay alive. The antibiotics that we end up consuming from these practices are gross enough, but take into account just how unethical it is when you realize that these innocent animals have nervous systems too. Sadly, not many people seem to care about that.
The antibiotics and growth hormones administered to these innocent animals are known to cause various forms of cancer and other dysfunctions throughout the body. Stay away.
Processed foods include most deserts, boxed items, any other flavored item, and fast-food. You can find scores of big, scary words if you turn to the back of these packages and look at the ingredients. It goes without saying that these products are not organic, not healthy, carcinogenic, and should not be consumed. The bottom line is that food should be eaten in its simplest form. Eat carrots, not carrot cake. Eat sweet potatoes, not sweet potato chips.
Make the right choice. Do it for yourself, do it for the environment, and do it for the animals. Be aware of the truth behind these foods and that eating organic is a better choice. We can all maximize our health by seeking the truth behind these foods and making the conscious decision not to eat them. The cause of cancer is on our plates, staring us in the face every day, and we pick it up and put it right into our mouths. Just remember: You are what you eat.
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Onward and upward,
Jordan Paris, NASM CPT