By now, you must have heard and seen organic food in the markets. Some of you may have even tried their hands on it while others might be completely clueless as to what they are and why to buy them.
This and the following posts will focus on their introduction in your life and their importance for your family health.
But first, know…
What is meant by organic food?
Entering a supermarket is a maze in itself. And on top of it, you stumble upon the section of ‘Organic Foods’. You pick one to see what’s new. Confusion arises with so many labels, benefits, and claims. What to do?
So, let me first introduce the word “Organic”
‘Organic’ refers to the way an agricultural product is grown and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers and sewage sludge based fertilizers.
Specifically for Indian foods, organic food is one which is grown with methods like crop rotation, animal and plant manure, and biological pest controls.
So, are organic foods healthier?
Organic farming is beneficial, not only for us but for our planet as well. Similarly, organic livestock rose for meat, egg and dairy are fed on organic food without giving any antibiotics, growth hormones or animal by-products.
What are the benefits of organic food?
Changing into an Organic lifestyle is not a trend rather a benefit; a benefit for us and our Mother Earth.
Organic foods are rich in naturally occurring nutrients like antioxidants and do not have any additives. Organic food is a one-stop solution for people with food allergies. Other benefits of organic food include:
- No fear of chemical pesticide and insecticide residues in the food, and thus, safe to consume.
- Organic food is fresh in look and taste as it lacks the preservatives.
- Organic produce reduces pollution, helps in conserving water, reduces soil erosion, and increases the soil fertility. Farming without chemicals is also beneficial for the birds and animals nearby.
- Organic meat products are safe and do not cause any zoonotic disease in humans (diseases transferred from animals to humans).
- Milk and meat of organic variety are richer in certain nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids.
- Organic foods are natural and not modified to look something that they are not supposed to.
Which organic food is worth buying?
Should I buy everything that is organic? Can I limit certain items and go for others as organic?
These are some questions that arise when you navigate through the ‘Organic’ maze in the market, the reason being the higher cost of organic food as compared to non-organic.
It’s not necessary to buy organic for every food item. I recommend following this list of organic food when you go grocery shopping.
Choose organic variety of these food items as they use maximum amount of pesticides:
- Bell peppers
- Hot peppers
- Collard greens
- Grains, cereals, and pulses (unpolished)
- Baby food
- Cooking oils
- Herbs and spices
- Fruit and vegetable juices (free from artificial flavour and preservatives)
Also, go for organic meats and dairy if you can afford.
Read: What is organic meat?
List of Foods to buy Non-organic
These fruits and veggies have the least possible amount of pesticides. So, you can safely consume their non-organic variety:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet pea (frozen)
- Sweet potatoes
How to buy organic food on a tight budget?
The only disadvantage of organic food is it’s slightly expensive. That’s because it’s labour intensive and farmers do not use any short cuts to produce organic food.
Plus, the organic farms and livestock are small in number than conventional farms which means fixed high costs.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have organic on a tight budget. You just need to think smart and follow these tips:
1. Shop at farmer’s market
A concept that is highly popular in States is to shop directly from the farmers. Search for a weekly farmer’s market in your area where local farmers gather to sell what they produce at their farms.
2. Shop from online portals
Check out the organic grocery section of some major online players like Amazon, myorganicgrocery.com, etc.
3. Go for seasonal foods
In season foods guarantee freshness and are low in cost.
4. Compare the rates before buying
Don’t go organic shopping like everyday shopping. Do your research and then, adopt this lifestyle.
5. Buy in small quantities
Organic foods have a low shelf life due to the lack of additives and preservatives. So, buy them in quantities you actually need.
My purpose here was to make sure you understand what is actually meant by “Organic Food”, what their benefits are and how easily you can slide them in your life.
Now since you are aware of what you should be eating, stay tuned for more on ‘Organic Food’ in the upcoming posts.
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Want to know more about organic foods? Drop your questions in the comments and I will answer them.
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