The Move toward Organic Foods
By Basma Raza
The World Health Organization projects that this year cancer will become the world's leading cause of death. Either we know someone who has fought through cancer or someone who died from it. What we don’t seem to focus on is how we can prevent ourselves from this wide spread disease.
The cause of the cancer epidemic, as numerous studies have now documented, is largely environmental -- the result of toxic substances in the water we drink, the food we eat, the consumer products we use, and the air we breathe.
Approximately 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, and about 21 percent will die from the cancer.
Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University Of Illinois, in his book The Politics of Cancer concludes that cancer is a preventable disease “caused mainly by exposure to chemical or physical agents in the environment.”
If we can figure out a way to reduce the use of harmful chemicals from our food sources we might have a chance in dealing with this epidemic. Even though it might sound like baby steps towards an unconquerable problem, we have to start somewhere and that place just might be eating organic foods.
According to a New York Times article, a Harris poll in October 2007 found that about 30 percent of Americans buy organic food at least on occasion, and most think it is safer, better for the environment and healthier.
The US Department of Agriculture defines organic as being “free of synthetic substances; contains no antibiotics and hormones; has not been irradiated or fertilized with sewage sludge; was raised without the use of most conventional pesticides; and contains no genetically modified ingredients.” All of these requirements must be met in order for food to be labeled “U.S.D.A. Organic.”
A lot of people complain about the fact that organic food is so much more expensive than conventional foods and there are many reasons for that. But if you compare the cost of buying organic to hospital bills of a cancer patient, you would see a significant difference.
Even if you can’t afford to switch completely towards organic, you can buy those fruits and vegetables organic that contain the most pesticide. Strawberries, bell pepper, spinach, and cherries are just some from the list that contains high pesticide residue.
Organic foods are not just free of pesticides and harmful chemicals but also more nutritious then conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. On average, organically grown food is 63 percent higher in calcium, 73 percent higher in iron and 118 percent higher in magnesium, while being 29 percent lower in mercury.
Just the taste of organic milk compared to regular milk will serve as proof that they must be doing something right. I mean, maybe happy cow’s means delicious milk, I mean it tastes like real milk.
These days it’s not even hard to find stores that carry organic produce. As the trend has settled in most major grocery stores carry some or a large variety of organic products. Also you can limit your purchase of organic products by focusing on those produce that are in season.
As a recent convert to this organic trend, my son’s baby food is made at home from organic produce. I believe if you can make a difference in your life for the better no matter how big or small you should go for it. The fact that you might be helping the chances of your family from falling victim to the cancer epidemic should be incentive enough to go organic, if not fully at least partially, whatever works for you.
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