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Does Organic Really Matter?

Today, I want to discuss a little something that has been on my mind recently. The discussion has come up a number of times over the last few months and I felt that I needed to write a quick blog post on it.

Here it goes:

“Organic” is not the be-all, end-all for healthy foods. {Tweet This!} 

There are some people who believe that in order to truly eat healthy ALL of their food must be certified organic.

This is simply not true.

In a perfect world, I would love to eat 100% organic, 100% of the time. But, alas, I have a strict grocery budget and I can only do the best I can with the budget I have.

Why Organic Doesn’t Really Matter (in some areas, that is)

While yes, organic does matter when it comes to produce (more on that below), it doesn’t matter all that much when it comes to animal products (meat and dairy).

The most important thing with meat products is 100% grass-fed and pastured on fields that do not use chemicals and pesticides. {Tweet That!}

You see, cattle (and other animals) can be labeled as “organic” but if you actually look at their environment, they are stuck in feedlots (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation – CAFO) and are simply being fed organic grains.

A lot of “organic” meats that you see on the market are just this — feedlot animals that are fed organic grains and are never allowed to roam on pasture.

Feedlot, grain-fed animals are much more unhealthy than those allowed to pasture, as it goes against how they were designed to live. Feeding them organic grains makes them only slightly better than your regular CAFO animals. Read my article on the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed meats here.

When it comes to meat and dairy, I would choose grass-fed products over “organic” any day of the week. {Tweet That!}

Keep in mind that most ranchers who believe in grass-feeding and pasturing their animals are also going to have fields that are free of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc., making them essentially organic anyway.

It is also important to understand that organic certification is far too expensive for most small farms and ranches, so just because they are not certified organic does not mean they are bad.

Produce and Organic

Now, when it comes to produce, organic is important, because there are chemical fertilizers and pesticides used on many crops.

When it comes to selecting produce, local is going to be best (but it’s not always possible). If you can source locally, talk to the farmers about how the produce is grown. Just because it is not labeled as “organic” does not mean that it should always be avoided. Remember, the produce could be raised organically, but the farm just can’t afford official certification. Ask questions and get to know your farmer.

I encourage everyone to look beyond the organic label when it comes to food and really assess how the animals / plants are raised, what they are fed / fertilized with, etc.

Just because something is labeled as “organic” does not mean that product was raised sustainably or ethically. {Tweet That!}

If you don’t have access to local farmers and ranchers (but honestly, there are very few instances where this occurs), then you do want to pay attention to the organic labels, as most of your food probably comes through commercial grocery store avenues.

To find grass-fed and sustainable foods, please check out the Eat Wild website. Depending on where you live, there are going to be way more choices than you knew of!

Thanks for listening and I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts below!

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