The Truth About Buying Organic: Secrets The Health Food Industry Doesn't Want You To Know
In this "sequel" to the earlier chapter titled "How Chemicals in Can Food Make Us Fat", we're going to delve deeper into the facts (and myths) around buying organic.
These days the big wave in the health industry is to eat organic, and while many brush it off as just as the newest hip fad, for many it is either a way of life or health standard to strive for.
I personally fall into this "way of life/health standard" category, for the following reasons:
1. What we now call 'organic' was the standard no more than 50-60 years ago.
a. Not surprisingly, this was also when mass-produced processed foods (and many major diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes) began their meteoric rise in western society.
2. Organic foods help balance the Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio in our bodies, without increasing toxin intake
a. The ideal ratio is around 3:1 but most Americans are around 20:1 or even 50:1 in some studies.
b. This is mainly due to the abnormally high omega 6 content in unhealthy and processed foods
i. You'll recall we discussed the avoidance of industrial oils and other high Omega-6 foods as key to weight loss and longevity
ii. When you're not eating organic, the likelihood of eating omega-6 laden foods increases exponentially.
1. If you pick up a box of Triscuits for example (which are wrongly marketed as "healthy"), they'll have toxic, high Omega 6 Soybean Oil in them.
2. If you go to your local health food store on the other hand, and look closely at the ingredients, you're much more likely to find a decent box of organic snacks made with rice or low-toxin grains and low/moderate Omega-6 oils like olive oil, avocado oil, etc. (My guilty pleasures are chocolate chip cookies made with quinoa, and potato chips with avocado oil and sea salt. Delicious. Health food stores rock!)
3. This Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio is also crucial to keeping chronic inflammation down.
a. When the "wrong" fats a.k.a. Omega 6 take over our healthy cells, it signals a major inflammatory reaction in the body.
b. When these "wrong" fats are consumed every day (remember: they're found in almost all processed or pre-made foods these days), this inflammatory response goes to "work" every single day.
c. And sooner or later, the body is trying to deal with so much at once that it attacks both damaged and healthy cells in an effort to get rid of the poisonous fats that we keep consuming.
d. And voila: you have a recipe for the chronic, system-wide inflammation that is now making its way to the forefront in medical circles, as one of the main causes of major disease.
4. Eating organic eliminates or greatly reduces our bodily exposure to thousands of chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and more that are found in modern, processed foods.
a. To be completely honest, when I eat organic, I remind myself that I'm eating real food, instead of pink slime-laden ground beef or ammonia-washed chicken.
b. And don't fool yourself. If the foods you eat are NOT organically-grown, naturally-made products, chances are you're eating food with bleach-like ingredients, insect killers, lab-made chemicals, genetically engineered crops, and more.
c. On that note, another nice benefit in your food is to eat packaged/processed foods that have the "Non-GMO Project" label (assuming there are no high Omega-6 oils in them)
A little more about the Omega-6: Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio
In regards to the Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio, typical Westerners have a ratio somewhere around 20:1, whereas the ideal ratio is between 4:1 and 2:1.
As we've discussed, Omega 6's are the unhealthy fats found in heavily processed foods, refined grains, commercially raised meats, and many often-used cooking oils (soybean, vegetable, corn, sunflower, etc
- yes they sound good, but they are NOT good for your body).
Omega 3's are the good fats found in naturally raised meats, properly-soaked beans/legumes, oily fish, and some nuts (nuts have a higher chance of high Omega 6, though).
If you want to reduce this ratio down to more normal, healthy levels, you should:
Stick to organic coconut oil, butter/ghee, and other natural fats that have I've listed previously for cooking. Use extra virgin olive oil on salads and other foods, preferably after cooking (since olive oil and other moderate Omega 6 oils can go bad under high heat).
As for meats, most animals were naturally intended to graze and feed in open pastures, and those that do so tend to have much higher levels of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids in their bodies.
Unfortunately, many of us eat commercially raised meats which are fattened on low quality grains, corn, soy, and in many cases the leftover scraps of actual animals. These animals' bodies are not intended to be stuffed full of grains, animal meat, and other junk for starters. And as a side effect of this, to prevent (and react) to eventual animal sicknesses, farmers will pump them full of antibiotics (and then hormones to encourage further growth).
As an end result we, the consumer, eat meats that have a much higher unhealthy Omega 6 fat content AND we ingest the remnants of antibiotics and growth hormones.
So, how do you eat right...and how do we know what to eat organic or conventional?
"I want to eat healthy but it's too expensive!"
"I have to eat organic all the time, don't I? I can't afford that!"
I hear these 2 cost-related issues far too often as an excuse to put off a diet.
But fear NOT. The truth is, eating healthy can be pretty cheap if you follow 2 simple rules:
1) Eat real, single-ingredient foods 90% of the time. Cut out the expensive snacks here and there. Focus your diet around meats/fish, veggies, and fruits, plus gluten-free grains if you're somewhat lean and strength-training.
2) Read this post and learn what you should buy organic, and what you can get away with buying "conventional".
Interested in losing weight? Then click below to see the exact steps I took to lose weight and keep it off for good...
Moving forward, there are several other articles/topics I'll share so you can lose weight even faster, and feel great doing it.
Below is a list of these topics and you can use this Table of Contents to jump to the part that interests you the most.