Why Organic food?
There really is no great mystery when it comes to organic food. The reality is that Organic food is simply FOOD -- REAL FOOD -- AUTHENTIC FOOD. The main difference between Organic food and industrially grown food is that organic food was not sprayed with toxic synthetic chemical herbicides or pesticides. This likely also means that the soil is healthier.
The Granola Myth
Some associate "organic" food with the healthy granola type foods mainly found in health stores. This myth however, is gradually falling by the wayside. Organic foods are healthier than non-organic foods based on the simple fact that they were not exposed to toxic pesticide or herbicide sprays. Despite being deemed safe by government agencies, research shows that exposure to even small amounts of pesticide residues could pose potential health risks. See more here. The flavor of organic versus non-organic is an issue still being debated. Flavor will depend on freshness, but ultimately it is more dependent on the soil it is grown in. And given that synthetic pesticides and herbicides damage the soil, it stands to reason that for the most part, organic soil will provide more rich, vibrant flavors.
The Decadence Factor
Organic foods can therefore be as decadent as conventional other foods. The only difference is that “organic” foods begin with “organic” ingredients, whereas conventional foods begin with ingredients containing synthetic chemical residues. It is now possible to find the organic version of most any foods available including chocolate truffles, premium chocolate bars, mousse, savory items as well as wines and spirits, and all without the toxic residues.
When it comes to chocolate products, the main difference between organic and non-organic is that the organic chocolate is often also fair traded . Fair traded means no child slave labor was used in the production of the chocolate and farm workers/owners are paid a fair price.
Often times however, organic products are superior in taste and quality than most conventional foods because of the higher quality of the ingredients and the higher standards of the artisans creating the products.
Organic Farming VS Non-Organic Farming
Although Organic foods and organic farming have been referred to as “fringe” concepts, in actuality, the opposite is true. Organic farming has been practiced and has evolved over thousands of years. Instead, it is industrial farming with its chemical herbicides and pesticides that is the newcomer and should be labeled as a "fringe" concept. Unfortunately this method of farming has taken over much of our agricultural lands and has mistakenly become what is considered conventional farming.
Organic farming, and to a greater degree biodynamic farming involves working with the soil and the local environment in its entirety to address insect and weed challenges. This ensures a soil that is rich in nutrients and healthy enough to sustain farming activity.
Industrial farming, on the other hand, relies on synthetic chemicals to deal with insects and weeds. These synthetic chemicals not only deplete the soil of vital nutrients, but they then enter the food chain and water supply and are ingested when we consume these foods.
The dangers of Pesticides and Herbicides
There are some that will dispute that pesticide/herbicide residues are actually found in the foods we eat or are of the belief that even if they are found in foods, they are in such small quantities that they would not pose a health risk. There are however a number of studies, including a CDC study that shows that these pesticide/herbicide residues are found in foods and in our bodies, and that children are especially vulnerable. Farm workers who are exposed to these chemicals regularly are also at risk, not to mention the damage done to the land and soil.
Illegal pesticides banned for decades such as DDT and Dieldrin are still showing up regularly in foods.
These pesticides can cause:
•nervous system toxicity
•affect the hormonal system
•skin, eye and lung irritation
The best protection against exposure to these pesticide / herbicide residues is to eat Organic food
Here are just a few of the studies available:
One recent study has linked pesticide residues to ADHD in children
CDC study - National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals
Study Reveals Pesticides from Foods in Children's Bodies Summary of the study
Body Burden — The Pollution in Newborns
Many world class chefs, who are known to be particular about the ingredients they use, are choosing to create their gastronomic feasts with organic ingredients. They seem to know that organic foods/ingredients that are grown in rich fertile soils are filled with nutrients and result in much more flavorful foods
It’s true that flavor is something that is difficult to measure, but it’s also something that world class chefs, would know a little something about. Some of these chefs include:
Alain Passard - l”Arpege
Alain Passard, Owner or l’Arpege in Paris, a 3 Michelin star restaurant considered one of the best and most expensive in Paris. Alain owns 3 organic gardens just outside of Paris to ensure he always has access to organic ingredients for his culinary creations.
Wolfgang Puck has altered the menus in all of his restaurants to feature organic ingredients and ensure that any animal and dairy products served come from humanely treated animals.
Jamie Oliver is a long time advocate of organic foods. “ I’m a great lover of organic food” and “I want to cook with the best ingredients and have food the way it should be: healthy, tasty and grown with nature."
Emeril Lagasse who currently owns 12 restaurants is a supporter of local and organic foods and has embraced that practice in his restaurants for the past 14 years. “Everything I do is from scratch. I've been doing organic for 14 years. I started with a hog farmer to make andouille sausage. In order to have great cuisine you need to have great ingredients.”