A guide to natural and organic foods.

You are what you eat.

As someone who has always been interested a healthful lifestyle and in good food it's only natural that eventually I became interested in natural and organic foods. The more I learn about how the food industry raises, processes and alters the food supply for commercial reasons the more determined I become to switch over to natural and organic foods.

My main concern is the contamination of crops with chemical pesticides and fertilizers that affect not only the crops but accumulate in the meat of livestock and, eventually, in our bodies. Also, commercially raised livestock are shot up with steroids and antibiotics which affect our bodies when we consume them. All of this creates serious health concerns.

Secondly, there is the issue of sustainability of our natural resources. Raising livestock using conventional methods damages the ecosystem and uses vast amounts of water and energy per animal.

My third area of concern is the humane treatment of animals. While it is true that many people feel that we shouldn't be killing and eating animals at all, it is also true that most people aren't going to stop eating meat any time soon, or ever, for that matter. There is no reason, however, to mistreat the animals while they are being raised.

Lastly, there is what happens to food in the food "factories" where wholesome foods are often processed to the point of nutritional death.

Let's look at these issues one by one.

Chemical contamination.

Chemical fertilizers are a quick and easy (and cheap) fix to the problem of soil depletion. Once the soil has been cultivated long enough it no longer can provide the nutrients to support healthy plant growth. Chemical fertilizers give the plants the boost they need to grow but do not actually enrich the soil. Nor do they provide all the nutrients, such as trace minerals, that are vital to our health.

Perhaps more importantly, runoff from these chemicals ends up in the water supply and studies indicate that this chemical "soup" may have serious effects on our health.

The alternative to this of course is organic farming using sustainable farming practices. For example, plowing under weeds instead of using herbicides, using natural fertilizers such as manure and rock dust and providing an environment conducive to pest predators.

There is great concern about the effect of antibiotics used in livestock on human health. In particular, this practice can promote drug resistant strains of certain micro-organisms such as salmonella.


Robin 9 years ago

Interesting hub. What do you think about the FDA passing the use of cloned animal products for human consumption?

swift1805 9 years ago Author

I' m skeptical. Even though I have no knowledge of how cloned meat might be different from conventional meat I doubt the so called experts do either and messing with nature usually causes trouble, sooner or later.

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livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco

I agree about the accumulation of harmful substances as you go up the food chain. I've found for that reason that buying organic for relatively fatty things (like butter) makes sense, while for fresh vegetables or anything that's peeled, it's not worth the extra cost. Occasionally, though, organic just tastes a lot better in which case it seems worth it.

swift1805 9 years ago Author

You're probably right about the vegetables except root vegetables which by virtue of being in the ground absorb a lot of contaminants. The difference in taste is especially noticable there and in meats.

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