Why Do You Eat Organically?

The big “news” as we all returned to work and school last week after the long Labor Day weekend was that “organic” foods might be no better for us than conventionally grown foods.  Here’s a link to just one of those stories from the New York Times.

Excuse me? Are these folks on drugs?! (Well, perhaps, more drugs, specifically antibiotics, if they’re not eating organically grown meats and dairy).

The study was done by  Stanford researchers who wanted to avoid the appearance of all bias so they did not take any money from any source.  Rather what they did was study other studies.  Right there I have a problem with that.  I can’t know the exact methodology of their work, but of course they didn’t replicate the studies–they just read and analyzed them.  That’s a problem for me.

And from that analysis, they decided that there was no real benefit to healthy adults in eating organically grown fruits and vegetables or organically raised meats and dairy.  Children, who accumulate higher levels of pesticides in their bodies, might benefit from eating organically because they do not already have a pesticide load in their bodies.

So because the adults are already poisoned, don’t bother–that’s the message?  Even if I’ve already accumulated a fairly high dose of pesticides over my lifetime from stuff that’s happened “before we knew better” does that mean I should continue to do it?

We’ve known for years that smoking is toxic and that the accumulated effects of smoking are bad.  I was shut up in a car with 2 parents who smoked for all of my formative years.  So I’m doomed and might as well smoke myself, right?  That seems to me to be the logic of this study–that because I’m already poisoned, there’s no point in trying to save myself now.

This flies in the face of all the health news out there! We all know that quitting smoking, whenever someone does it, is better than not quitting.  It is better to begin an exercise program, no matter how sedentary one has been during one’s life, than never to exercise at all (provided one’s doctor agrees with that assessment).  It is better to drink in moderation–or in some studies, not to drink at all if one has a specified set of health issues–than to over-indulge.  But if one is a drinker, quitting is better than continuing to overindulge for a lifetime.

So why NOT eat organic food? There appear to be no downsides and no health risks–at least none that don’t exist with conventionally grown food as well.  The only possible risk is to the wallet, and organic food is becoming more affordable every day, particularly if you grow some of it yourself.

The greatest danger in a “study” like this is that it will set the thinking back monumentally–and we cannot afford that!

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2 thoughts on “Why Do You Eat Organically?

  1. I was fuming when I read this. The whole premise of the study is that organically grown foods are no more nutritional than non-organics…not entirely true if the researcher bothered to include all the studies…but it is healthier to eat organics for the reason most of us do…to avoid the chemicals which the researcher did say were less in organics…so what if most of us shell out a bit more to avoid chemically laced foods…we are OK with that and it is the main reason why we eat them. And as you say they are becoming more affordable. I still believe this researcher had a hidden bias.

  2. Donna,
    I was just floored at the “stupidity” of some of the findings. It just omits so many of the reasons for eating organically. Perhaps you’re right about the hidden bias or perhaps it’s one of those academia things–people living in the ivy covered towers who really do need to get out to see how the rest of the world lives!

    I’ve seen so much since I drafted this post about the other reasons to eat organically, but it didn’t seem to fit with my “rant:” the general idea was that you’re doing something good for the earth was the general. On that I couldn’t agree more!

    And what about supporting farmers? In my state, agriculture in general is a dying breed and it’s just these small, boutique farms that are growing specialty stuff, whether it be organically or hydroponically or even certified humane and cruelty-free.

    All of these are reasons to be aware of where your food comes from and to support what you can afford to support.

    Thanks for reading!

    Karla

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