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Choosing Organic - by Jordan Rubin

Jordan Rubin

I’m a proponent of natural foods grown organically; this refers to a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organic agricultural practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues, although methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil, and water. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation (like from a microwave oven) to maintain the integrity of the food.

Most people, when they think of organic food, picture a head of leafy lettuce or plump red tomatoes fresh from the vine. Organic foods are much more than that: they include cereals, dairy products, and meats, the latter coming from livestock that graze on unsprayed fields of grass and are fed with organic feed, not pumped up with antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food production costs more than conventional foods since larger and more expensive demands are placed upon the producer.

It’s less expensive for commercial farmers to raise crops inorganically because they’ve adopted methods that rely on dousing their fields with chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. These synthetic fertilizers stimulate rapid plant growth, but they bring along unintended circumstances: the fertilizers are made up of nitrogen salts, which return little, if any, vital minerals to the soil. Thus, the nutritive value of foods grown in these soils has declined significantly in the last hundred years. All told, Americans are subsisting on a diet of nutrient-poor foods of both plant and animal origin.

The word is getting out that there’s a healthier option, which is why the latest buzzword these days is organic.

Many people intuitively know that when they find the magic word organic labeled on the package or signage, that means it’s something better for them to eat. With thousands of food growers and manufacturers jumping on the organic bandwagon—and trying to claim that their product was organic when maybe it really wasn’t—the U.S. Department of Agriculture stepped in and passed new regulations for the organic produce industry in 2001. This USDA organic logo gives consumers more confidence that whatever is labeled “organic” adheres to the stated definition that the food must be free of genetically modified organisms, was produced without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers for plant foods, and must be free from hormones and antibiotics for animal foods.

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Common Makers Diet Jordan Rubin misspellings are Jordan Ruben, Jordan Reuben, Jordon Rubin, Jordon Ruben, or Jordon Reuben