Learning the Organics
I have antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, also known as APA syndrome. It’s a fancy term meaning I have a higher probability of getting blood clots.
I became aware of my disorder two years ago, when I was hospitalized for having a blood clot in my colon. Since then it has been my goal to live a healthier lifestyle.
Staying active is easy for me. I like being outdoors and going for runs but when it comes to eating right, I struggle. This summer I decided to go natural and organic by avoiding processed and chemical-based foods.
I assumed that natural and organic were the same, when in reality, they are completely different terms.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organic is a term used for food and agricultural products that have been produced through certain methods designed to encourage soil and water conservation, reduce pollution and produce chemical-free foods.
Organic farming skips the synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering that are common in a lot of the food we eat.
Research from the Mayo Clinic, claims that organic food and products provide more nutrition and prevent or decrease the possibility of chronic diseases such as degenerative cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
An organically approved product by the USDA will have the USDA Organic label. The label is not required, but many organic producers use it.
Natural foods are defined by a different set of standards than organic foods.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers natural to mean the product does not contain synthetic or artificial ingredients, but some may be farmed or harvested with chemical fertilizers or other chemicals.
After learning that natural foods could have chemicals, I assumed organic was the way to go. But it’s not about which one is better; it’s about understanding labels and knowing what foods are best for your body.
According to the USDA, food products can advertise that they are “made with organic ingredients” if at least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic.
Newcastle University released a peer-reviewed study on the amount of antioxidants and cadmium that are found in organic products compared to nonorganic products.
Antioxidants are nutrients that the human body uses to fight or prevent many different types of disease ranging from cancer to cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, whereas, cadmium is a toxic metal that is found in the soil as a by-product from many different things such as fossil fuels and the incineration municipal waste. Depending on how it is ingested cadmium can affect the lungs and kidneys and it can also cause harm to animals in the fetal development stage.
According to the study, concentrations of antioxidants like polyphenolics were between 18-69 percent higher in organically grown crop sand on average cadmium concentrations were 48 percent lower.
“We have shown without doubt there are composition differences between organic and conventional crops,” said Professor Carlo Leifert of Newcastle University in a statement. “Now there is an urgent need to carry out well-controlled human dietary intervention and cohort studies specifically designed to identify and quantify the health impacts of switching to organic food.”
A rule of thumb for healthy eating is to not buy products with more than five ingredients you can’t easily pronounce.
Ingredients like mono and diglycerides, carob bean gum, carrageenan and Vitamin A palmitate can be found in a container of Breyers’ Cherry Vanilla ice cream, when it should contain just milk, sugar and cherries.
Switch out your naturally and artificially flavored ice cream with handmade frozen yogurt, so you know what you’re putting in your body.
Learning the “do’s” and “don’ts” on healthy eating is a process, but understanding where your food comes from and what standards were set to determine the quality is essential to healthy living.