BEYOND ORGANIC? YES. ORGANIC? MAYBE. DO YOU KNOW YOUR FARMER'S FARMING PRACTICES?
Beyond organic foods are the way to go if you can find them. Great for you, great for the planet, and completely sustainable!
Though consuming "just" organic foods is a great start to improving your health, unfortunately it may not be as high as a quality food that you may have initially expected. Let me explain.
There are numerous other levels and types of quality foods out there to be found, and some are of higher quality than that of organic, specifically beyond organic. The truth is, not all foods labeled organic are created equally, some terms become a marketer's dream, and the "organic" term instance is no different! Once the focus is on profit margin, the quality suffers, and your health follows suit. It's a shame!
Finding beyond organic is a truly worthy endeavor!
People that want to live life to its fullest, not just free of disease but optimally, the first place they must start is to consume food products that are as healthy and vibrant, just as they would like to be. These are
not the types of foods that will be raised and grown from conventional and industrial farming,
but can be found from farmers that produce beyond organic, organic, free-range, pasture-raised, wild, and even natural foods. Here are some definitions of the types of labeling you should be looking for to achieve optimal wellness:
This is a term that I was introduced to while reading “Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals" by Michael Pollan. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it, as that is where I learned of Beyond Organic, Joel Salatin, and the Polyface Farm in Virginia. What is going on at this farm is truly impressive.
The main point of Beyond Organic is that Organic has already been watered down horribly in definition and all marketers are using it to sell more of their product.
Organic, in all honesty, was just picking up some steam and may already be outdated because of this compromise. Beyond Organic is a
self-sustaining type of farming that all of the plants, animals and environment (sun included) work in unison to create the healthiest foods available to mankind.
This type of farming is amazing and in my opinion is what we need to see a lot more of in this country. Beyond Organic needs to receive quite a bit more attention, from everybody.
Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards. For crops, it means they were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives. For animals, it means they were reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones. In most countries, organic produce must not be genetically modified. Side-Note: I am embarrassed that we are allowing pre-packaged microwavable foods to be called “organic”. But what did I say? It’s all about the money…not your health! If "organic" was truly organic it wouldn't fall so short of "beyond organic".
This seems to be the term used when a farmer cannot legally, or in their own good conscience, call something organic, though that may be their goal or intention in the future. As mentioned before, there are certain parameters to be reached to be called organic. In my opinion, if you are comfortable with the farmer’s methods, I have no problem with foods labeled “natural” if the foods are healthy and vibrant. For example, I have shopped weekly or bi-weekly with White Egret Farms just outside of Austin, TX. I regularly purchased their raw goat’s milk, pro-biotic yogurt and their poultry, and have also bought their bacon, ham, sausage, and even a Thanksgiving Turkey. They are not an Organic Farm because there are seasons of the year it is far too difficult for them to feed the goats, cows, pigs, turkeys and chickens totally organic feed. I have met the owners, walked the grounds of the farm and am very happy with their product. Have you seen the bumper sticker, “Who’s Your Farmer?” No kidding. You should know.
Here is what Wikipedia.org has to say about Certification and Product Labeling: “Being able to put the word "organic" on a food product is a valuable marketing advantage in today's consumer market. Certification is intended to protect consumers from misuse of the term, and make buying organics easy. However, the organic labeling made possible by certification itself usually requires explanation. In the US, federal organic legislation defines three levels of organics. Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labeled "100% organic". Products with 95% organic ingredients can use the word "organic". Both may also display the USDA organic seal. A third category, containing a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, can be labeled "made with organic ingredients". In addition, products may also display the logo of the certification body that approved them. Products made with less than 70% organic ingredients can not advertise this information to consumers and can only mention this fact in the product's ingredient statement.”
You want your beef products to have received plenty of exercise, sunlight and unlimited opportunity to eat GRASS. Once again, there are plenty of farmers that are producing non-organic Free-Range Grass-Fed beef that I am fine with. Something else to think about here beyond the quality of the product is the freshness of the product. I am much more comfortable
supporting local farmers,
which I can keep my eye on, and consuming the products in their freshest state than consuming a product that has supposedly loftier credentials but has been distributed from five states away if not another country.
Side-Note 1: If the beef says “organic”, the first question you must ask is this “was this cow raised on grain and corn?” if so, RUN! You want grass-fed, not grain and corn fed beef. Organic grain and corn fed beef is just another marketing ploy being used against you without your best intentions being a concern.
Side-Note 2: Buying from local farmers is not only good for the economy, but it is also good for our environment.
This is the term I am now looking for when purchasing eggs at a grocery store, or I will not purchase them. Unfortunately Free-Range (or “the chickens COULD have gone outside”) and Cage-Free (but still living in an overpopulated barn with no direct sunlight) may not be enough information to know that the chickens laying the eggs were exercising and receiving sufficient sunlight. Side-Note 1: Chickens are not vegetarians. The best tasting chicken eggs come from a diverse diet including BUGS! Side-Note 2: For those of you that don’t consume eggs because the yokes have cholesterol. I just recently turned 44, and at age 44 and 265# my total cholesterol was 135. I have no doubt that I have consumed over 100 eggs a MONTH for the past three years. A good portion of these eggs I have eaten raw. If you are not going to consume eggs from healthy chickens, I would NOT eat eggs at all.
It seems that salmon, among other types of fish, have not only been over-fished in many areas, but they are loaded with toxins as well, specifically mercury. There is no debate that Wild Salmon is an excellent food choice for the health of your heart and at this point, the only clean wild fish that I would purchase would be the wild salmon caught off of the shores of Alaska. Unless your store is having the fish tested and deems the fish healthy and non-toxic. Side-Note: DO NOT purchase farm raised salmon (real salmon should not be flabby, fatty, or lacking in taste). Have you seen all of the cancer causing agents that they are finding in these fish? Truly scary!
Who would have thought that shopping for “REAL” and “HEALTHY” food would have come to this? If you want to separate yourselves from the masses, with more vitality and longevity,
begin making wiser choices concerning the quality of food you purchase and consume.
See if you can actually find something beyond organic!
As a side-note: If you are interested in better quality foods, such as natural and organic foods; a couple options might be your
local farmers market
or even a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Farmers markets and CSA's also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the ranching and farming being done, and hopefully you will meet the farmer and/or rancher who is producing your food.