What Are You Putting In Your Body?   (by Kimberly Frock)

Kimberly1Over the years I have really made an effort to change certain aspects of my lifestyle in order to live a little healthier. While this has been a very bumpy, up and down road I do have to say that I have come out so much better for it. Just in the last couple of months I was instructed to choose somewhere to volunteer my time. In an effort to help my healthy lifestyle grow, I chose to work in a community garden that focused primarily on organic foods. Being around people that took this lifestyle very seriously I began to ask myself some questions. One of the main ideas that I was curious about was if eating an all-organic diet really does affect your body for the better. In an attempt to better understand this logic I both researched other people’s experiences and decided to try it on for myself. I’ll have to say that the results were amazing.

What the Research Says

The first article that I came across was one by Mayo Clinic. It was a very simple read and laid out the basics like what exactly are organic foods and how you can deem a product “organic”. I found this one particularly helpful at first because it lists out all the different reasons why a person should consider eating organic. One factor given was the use of pesticides.

“Conventional growers use synthetic pesticides to protect their crops from molds, insects and diseases. When farmers spray pesticides, this can leave residue on produce. Organic farmers use insect traps, careful crop selection (disease-resistant varieties), predator insects or beneficial microorganisms instead to control crop-damaging pests. Some people buy organic food to limit their exposure to these residues. Organic produce typically carries significantly fewer pesticide residues than does conventional produce. However, residues on most products — both organic and nonorganic — don’t exceed government safety thresholds.” (Mayo).

The second article that I read came from a blog called Down to Earth. It listed out some facts about the difference between different organic foods and nonorganic foods. An example was given on the difference in nutritional value. “Similar results were reported from a study on organic oranges. According to research at Truman State University in Missouri, organically grown oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than those grown conventionally.5 Furthermore, a study from University of California, Davis found that organic tomatoes contained averages of 79% and 97% more quercetin and kaempferol aglycones (beneficial flavonoids) than conventionally grown tomatoes.”(Mitchell). Another statistic given was that “organic milk actually [has] 68% more omega-3 fatty acids, on average, than conventional milk.(Ellis). I also found this article to be very helpful because using specific percentages helps give the reader an idea of the nutritional value of organic foods compared to the genetically modified variety.

A third article that I found interesting was an experiment that a Swedish family took part in. At the start of it they ate “normal” foods, not organic. They each gave samples of urine, which was then tested for pesticides and chemicals. In the samples they found traces of insecticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators.   They then ate completely organic for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks their urine was tested again and it was found that the chemicals were no longer found (Magner). The website gives a brief explanation and video for you to watch on the subject.

How to Get Involved

Now, you may be wondering how you can begin making the change to organic foods. Luckily, grocery stores are beginning to carry more and more organic items. When you go to the grocery store, just look for items with the word Organic either on the package or the crate it’s in. You’ll notice that organic foods do cost more than genetically modified ones, but for good reason. The farming practices for organic foods are a more careful and costly thing. Also I find that the health benefits tend to outweigh the slight cost difference. You can also look for community gardens in your area, like the one that I volunteered at. If you would like a more hands-on experience, they are always open for more hands to help.

Now for my personal experience with eating organic: I was very surprised to see that while organic food does cost more, it really isn’t by that much. Also, if you make a habit of buying items that are on sale, sometimes you can find that they are the same price or even cheaper than their GMO counterparts. While I didn’t do a scientific urine test, I did notice changes in energy and attitude. I felt more awake during the day and just felt better all around. I would really recommend anyone to give organic eating a shot for at least a few weeks and see the difference it can make for him or her. I know for me personally, all the changes were for the better.

Works Cited

Beer, Jeff. “This Experiment Shows What Happens To Your Body When Everything You Eat Is Organic.” Co.Create. Coop Grocery Store, 05 May 2015. Web. 04 June 2015.

Ellis, K., Innocent, G., Grover-White, D., Cripps, P., McLean, W.G., Howard, C.V. & Mihm, M. “Comparing the fatty acid composition of organic and conventional milk,” Journal of Dairy Science, 89: 1938-1950 (2006).

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Nutrition and Healthy Eating.” Organic Foods: Are They Safer? More Nutritious? N.p., June 2014. Web. 04 June 2015.

Mitchell, Alyson. “Ten-Year Comparison of the Influence of Organic and Conventional Crop Management Practices on the Content of Flavonoids in Tomatoes.”Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2007 55 (15), 6154-6159

Ternes, Tracy. “Nutritional Benefits of Eating Organic.” Down to Earth Organic and Natural. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015.

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2 comments

  1. N.B.

    This is quite the informative article! A very clean “ABC” of sources with a healthy dose of personal experience. I very much enjoyed how you linked existing case studies and personal experiments with one of your own. Again (like Ryan,, who I also reviewed) you had the presence of mind to include a “How to get involved” which I neglected. Your sources from the Journal of Dairy Science and the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry prop up the personal blogs that you cite elsewhere; this lends weight to what some may dismiss as anecdotal out-of-hand.

    I’d like to encourage you to carefully consider your use of acronyms when writing on this subject. Organic and GM crops are not the same as mass-produced, pesticide treated crops. Not all of the produce we see in the market is GM, and not all organic crops are grown equally. I hope in further exploration you attend to the concepts of local sourcing, and regional diets; these are additional voices in the debate on food security that are of equal importance to the health-conscious consumer.

    In all, a fun and informative read! I am sad that this is the end of the term and I won’t get to read more. Good fortune to you on your academic journeys!

    -N.B.

  2. Ryan Clark

    Hey Kimberly! Great job on your research and I love this topic! This has always been a struggle in my mind whether or not it was even worth it to go organic. I like how you bring up the cost because that was always sort of my automatic excuse to why to not go organic, it’s too expensive. But sales are a great idea! I think that for construction advice if you maybe made it a little more personable rather than a lot of facts it might keep the readers interest a little more. I think all the facts are really important but they seem more like reading a manual right now more than an interesting blog.

    Another thing was I wasn’t really sure what your research question was at first but as you go on I definitely understood! I think you have some great sources and that’s really cool that you volunteered in a local garden! I didn’t even know you could do that! Knowing the benefits of how your body felt after going organic for a while is a huge plus to me. That is definitely something that makes me want to be better about my food choices! Once again, great job and great topic!

    Ryan

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