Written by Chris Carra, writer, author and certified nutrition coach.
For many people, ‘organic’ may just seem like a buzzword – something advertisers use to boost the salability of their products. However, organic living is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself, our animal friends, and the planet. Here, I highlight the benefits of organic living and how you can integrate more of it into your life.
Benefits for the Planet
We only have one planet Earth – and we want to keep it. There are many ways humans can contribute to the planet’s health and longevity, and organic living is one of them.
Whether we eat organic produce or wear clothing made from organic materials, the environment certainly benefits from organic farming compared to conventional farming. Conventional farming relies on the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides that can pollute the soil, air and water supply. Organic farming, on the other hand, makes use of natural fertilisers and traditional farming practices, such as crop rotations and composting. This style of ethical farming pushes less pollution into the atmosphere and the surrounding environment for an overall smaller carbon footprint.
In addition, organic farming can help increase soil fertility, and regenerate the biodiversity of plants and wildlife – including mammals, birds, fish, bees and insects – in the areas surrounding the farms. A loss of biodiversity is seen as a great threat to mankind, as it suggests the collapse of ecosystems. Organic farming can help us avoid these catastrophes.
Benefits for You
While the positive impact on planet Earth will be enough to convert many people to organic living, the benefits of not ingesting food produced with chemicals should be obvious.
Pretty much all food varieties can be found with organic certification, including vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and meat products. To be certified organic, the product must have been grown without the use of chemicals, and must be free from artificial preservatives, flavourings and colourings. In the case of organic meat and dairy, this must be produced without using growth hormones, antibiotics and medications, which are common in conventional farming.
The benefit of consuming organic food is that you do not expose your body to potentially harmful chemicals and substances than can reside on and in these foods. In addition to avoiding chemicals, you can also benefit from potentially higher levels of antioxidants and some vitamins and minerals that are present in organic fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants can help prevent cancers and heart disease, while boosting immunity.
There are similar benefits with consuming both organic meat and dairy products. For example, some studies have found that organic meats contain more good omega-3 fats and less saturated fat than meat produced by conventional farming.
How to Live More Organically
There’s no doubt that organic living has clear benefits for humans, animals and the planet. So how do you do more of it?
Firstly, relax – you don’t have to go organic overnight, as this can be a bit overwhelming and potentially expensive. Instead, making small changes to the foods you buy and eat can have a big impact.
Start by replacing some of the foods you consume regularly. Perhaps change one or two products a week, such as buying organic broccoli in the supermarket instead of regular broccoli. Or choose organic apples, berries, nuts, meat and milk instead of your regular items.
Don’t forget drinks such as coffee and tea, and even beer and wine, as leaves, beans, grapes and wheat can all be grown organically. So, if you drink a lot of coffee, try switching to a bag of organic espresso instead.
Large grocery stores often have big organic selections and most items you already eat will have an organic alternative. However, don’t overlook smaller grocery stores or farmers markets, as they may offer produce grown locally, which will be fresher and boast an even better environmental footprint.
You can take things a step further and try to grow your own organic produce in your back garden or an allotment. It takes some time, but the rewards of eating crops you cared for makes things taste extra sweet!
As mentioned, organic living is not solely down to what you put in your mouth. There is an organic alternative for your clothing, underwear, bed clothes, handbags, backpacks, and even toothbrush. The possibilities are endless…