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The REAL Reason to Eat Organic Food

When I first started writing my upcoming book Organic Manifesto a year ago, I fully expected to have lots of information about how organic foods are healthier for you because they are more nutritious. The more research I did, the more I realized that nutrition is the least of our worries. Aside from the fact that the nutritional content of just about ALL of our food has declined over the past 50 years, we are, as a rule, overfed. And good nutrition is available from many sources in our diet.

So I wasn’t surprised in the least when a report was released last week by a British research team saying that a review of studies showed that organic foods aren’t more nutritious than chemical foods. As it turns out, there are some significant flaws in the way that analysis was done, as reported by Rodale.com and others. But beyond that is a larger point: The quest for more nutrition should be the last reason to eat organic foods.

What’s the first reason? The REAL reason we should eat organic foods? The real reason to eat organic food is that the thousands of chemicals used to grow chemical foods are causing horrific health and environmental problems. In my book (due out in March 2010) I discuss multiple well-documented studies from reliable sources showing that chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and the GMO’s used in chemically based food production, are implicated in, if not causing, the following health problems: diabetes, obesity, cancer, autism, Parkinson’s disease, male sterility, genital deformities, female infertility, miscarriage, infant deformities, ADHD, hormonally caused gender confusion, asthma, allergies, accelerated aging, and smaller penises in boys, amphibians, and other wildlife.

I have also discovered (and reveal in my book) that the chemicals used to grow so-called “conventional food” are responsible for the majority of our climate-change problems, the majority of our water-pollution problems, the majority of our plant and insect disease problems, and the majority of our economic woes.

Sounds crazy, but it’s true. You’ll have to wait until the book comes out to find out the details. But in the meantime, for your sake, for your kid’s sake, and for the planet’s sake, keep on eating organic!

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22 Responses to The REAL Reason to Eat Organic Food

  1. Katie August 3, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    Wow I can’t wait to read more! Sobering stuff.

  2. Mary August 3, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    It doesn’t take a nutritionist or doctor to see what’s happened to people in this country over the last 30 years. All you have to do is go to your local big-box warehouse store and watch the masses load up on every humungous package of prepared “food” and snacks to see a major part of the problem. I feel so bad for kids who’s concept of dinner is a Hot Pocket.

  3. Andrea August 3, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    Yes! I was so disappointed when I heard the news stations and papers spreading word about this study’s results! They completely ignored the aspect of the pesticides and chemicals being one of the main reasons why wise people choose organic.

    I also choose to buy from local organic farmers whenever possible.

  4. Diana August 3, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    I agree with Mary. The last thing we need is to have people attempting to become “healthy” by grabbing now called conventionally (chemically) grown produce only to have another host of health issues.

  5. Maya August 3, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    Most shocking of all is that there are so many studies confirming how dangerous chemicals are and NOTHING is done to prohibit their use! I can’t wait until The Organic Manifesto is released and brings a lot of this to light.

  6. Mary August 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    And to think as a kid I thought just rubbing an apple on my shirt would get the pesticides off! Who knew?

    Thank you, Maria. Looking forward to the release … I think.

  7. Sandy August 3, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    The real problem is the level of illiteracy among the general population. Weaned on television, the last three generations ( at least! ) know nothing of life outside the screen box. How are they to know “stuff is bad for you?” When I turned up pregnant at 39 ( Thank God for epidurals! ) I read at least ten books on childcare and development as training for my new job as mommy. Countless are the women I have talked to who didn’t pick up a single book while pregnant. The ignorant used to get eaten by lions./

  8. Maria August 3, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Thank you for fearlessly saying it like it is! You are so refreshing.

  9. Marco August 3, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    Yes Maria is totally correct, this agrochemical paradigm has depleted our soils and we are being served nutritionally bankrupt agricultural products.

    Not just produce but dairy, meat, eggs etc.. http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/headlines06/0202-06.htm

    Sustainable Organic farming keeps the soils healthy, alive and rich.

  10. Amanda August 3, 2009 at 8:31 pm #

    Thank you! I’ve been saying this for years! Everyone wants to make the “more nutritious” claim, but it is totally besides the point.

  11. Pat August 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    It’s the same in the medical field. People totally buy into medicines,
    trusting what they’ve been told, and they don’t know any better. Or sometimes the alternatives cost more. It’s the same with our food supply. And I know what you’re saying about pregnancy. How can anyone undertake somethig so important and not want to know everything about it?

  12. Claude August 4, 2009 at 6:06 pm #

    It’s a pleasure to read comments made by intelligent people. Have a question? Read a book and do some research. Not sure how to do something? Read a book. As a country, we are lazy(sad but true). We expect others to take us where we want to go and to have our best interests in mind. We need to advocate for ourselves. Have a problem with your lawn or pests? Fix it fast with a chemical. Miracle Grow will give your garden GREAT plants and Veggies! Got a pain…take a pill!
    How many pharmaceutical advt. are on tv? READ READ READ

  13. Chris August 6, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    What I think is very scary is that there are pesticides that have been banned for decades in the U.S. and Canada that are still routinely used in Central and South America, and the crops treated with the stuff is sold in our stores! You can’t use these particular pesticides in North America, but you can sell produce treated with it (as long as it was grown else where!) How warped is that? If the organic version is not available, or just too expensive for your budget, at the very least avoid buying out-of-season produce coming from Central and South America. No pears in June, and no peaches in January!

  14. Stephanie of Sesen August 6, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    I recently watched Penn and Teller’s BS on organic foods. Why did they ignore the obvious – the organic couple were extremely healthy. When are we going to start properly measuring the effects of food on in the body, by looking at blood in the body, or bone density, methods that would seem most appropriate.

  15. Arjan Stephens August 6, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    Here, here! Well written and articulated. Arran has a video response to the UK FSA nutrition study that mentions Chuck Benbrook and the Rodale Institute reports:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Isxj-KYP_I

  16. Manna Organics August 14, 2009 at 11:56 am #

    Hi Maria, Thanks for what you do -this is wonderful information we all need more of.
    We are what we eat. Simple as that.
    We make Manna Bread, a simple, sprouted bread which is free of oils, sweeteners, levening agents. Just whole fully sprouted grains, fruits, nuts and seeds. Amazingly simple and delicious. Love to hear from you. Visit us at http://www.mannaorganicbakery.com or on Facebook when you get a chance.

  17. DONNA FROM DELAWARE August 17, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    I am a black female who, with my brother and his wife, now his family, have been eating “organic” health foods since the early 80’s when it wasn’t popular. Today, I am very grateful that we chose to do that. Not only do we look better than our friends, we feel better. We are now in our 50’s and speaking for myself, people are really surprised that I don’t have wrinkles on my face and body or lots of gray hair. I am always within my target weight for my age, height and gender, even when I don’t excerise regularly or eat properly at every meal or when on vacation. I cherish my health food store, even if it is a bit pricey. I try at all times to buy organic and try not to eat anything out of season unless it can’t be helped. When my sister-in-law was pregnant, she ate the best and freshest, nutritionally rich foods that she could afford and still does. Granted, some of this is due to genetics and lifestyle choices, but I feel the food had a big part in my staying healthy. Just read the label, even if the product is in a health food store. Some products are loaded with sodium, sugar and other ingredients not necessarily good for you. It is ok to cheat with food, but don’t make it a habit. Soon I’ll be off to my neighborhood health food store, I can’t wait to see what they have added to their inventory and they take advantage of local farm produce from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Fantastic! Being a black woman, I know that I do not fit the “usual” profile, meaning overweight, high-blood pressure, diabetic pre-heart-attack victim, I have been blessed to be able to afford my food, but we all are capable of such health problems if we don’t watch what we consume by way of nutrition. I try never to buy anything raised or grown in Mexico, Central and Latin America unless it is proven to be organically grown and raised, here also. Sorry for getting long winded.

  18. Denver September 3, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    “Aside from the fact that the nutritional content of just about ALL of our food has declined over the past 50 years,”

    I’ll need to see some really convincing evidence from a reputable University or A&M before I’ll believe this. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. As a farmer all I can say is if the soil is as poor as you describe the plants would not grow true, flower or bear seed.

    As a former produce buyer for a large supermarket chain I can only say that the “organic” food movement is one of the largest frauds ever committed against the American people. Smaller yields at far higher costs for no gain in nutritional value. You’re being hoodwinked.

  19. Red28 October 23, 2009 at 9:52 am #

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  20. Sharon July 22, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    It’s pretty simple…when we put foreign matter [read chemicals and GMO’s] into out bodies…our organs do not know how to process it or how to dump it. We become the toxic waste we are so concerned with. Between that and our over stressed, over worried mental state and sucking up endless fear that is fed to us…it is no wonder there is so much mindless eating, mindless buying, mindless excess of all kinds. We as a culture are on overload to the max. Turn off the electronics after an hour. Grab an organic carrot…go for a walk…think I will…bye…

  21. Sharon July 22, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    It’s pretty simple…when we put foreign matter [read chemicals and GMO’s] into out bodies…our organs do not know how to process it or how to dump it. We become the toxic waste we are so concerned with. Between that and our over stressed, over worried mental state and sucking up endless fear that is fed to us…it is no wonder there is so much mindless eating, mindless buying, mindless excess of all kinds. We as a culture are on overload to the max. A direct correlation to our bad health. Turn off the electronics after an hour. Grab an organic carrot…go for a walk…think I will…bye…

  22. Tony July 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    Gmo crops do not cause disease there is zero evidence for this. organic food should stand on it’s own merits. Where is the that it is healthier? If you produce half as much organic as conventional you had better show an advantage not justbguess there is.

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