When eating one meal a day, you want to make sure you are receiving the proper nutrition that your body needs for your overall health. This can be done with supplementation, but what about eating in a healthier way? When doing the omad diet or eating one meal a day, eating organic food can have many health benefits. We are going to focus on telling you why eating organic food can give you a lot of health benefits chemically grown food cannot and highlight the negatives of food grown non-organically. We will also talk about easy organic recipes without spending a a lot and where to find more of these recipes. We hope the this info brings out the naturalist in you and helps to change your eating ways. Let’s take a look at the history of organic food and see how it may benefit you in your one meal a day journey.
History of Organic Food
We have been blessed with a wonderful planet. Nature is so kind to have gifted us with different plant and animal species, it is actually a herculean task to know and remember all of them, not to mention how they make the lives of us humans really worthwhile.
Amongst this mind boggling variety of flora and fauna in nature, some have been domesticated and cultivated by human species since many thousand years now – they make our staple diet and are regularly encouraged to grow for the use of feeding thousands of humans on Earth. Early agriculturists employed techniques of farming which were completely nature based and so they did not necessarily upset the balance environment works on.
As time passed and the number of people to feed on crops went up, the resources began running out, the soil got pressured. There was large scale deforestation to create fertile land for agriculture. The world began experiencing changes – wars, industrialization and population explosion caused both the soil to become barren as well as the requirement of food crops to go up. It all started getting really difficult.
Then came the era of revolution in the way agriculture was performed. There were chemicals, a whole lot of them to cover the needs of more production per hectare of land, lesser weeds and undesirable plants growing and feeding on the nutrition of the soil and killing bugs that destroyed the farms. This was an easy way to deal with all sorts of agricultural challenges, and it all became easier to deal with – the only trouble being, long term impacts on consumer’s bodies which were getting fuelled by these “bumper” crops being grown using variety of synthetic products.
The impact was clearly alarming. There were dangerous levels of certain elements in the food chain, that is, in the bodies of organisms feeding on the crops grown using a lot of chemicals. Plants are food producers, and if these chemicals get into their metabolism, they will get reflected in the food they prepare and ultimately, it gets reflected in the bodies of the other organisms which eat that food further up the food chain. Alarming amounts of such unwanted elements and compounds in the organisms are cause for many diseases and lifestyle disorders.
Food suddenly became very unsafe for health – there were toxic chemicals running in the food, there were all sorts of complications. Then people wanted to go back to the traditional ways, making food safe and a gift from nature. Organic food is the answer to industrialization of food and its production.
We are going to focus on telling you why eating organic food can give you a lot of health benefits chemically grown food cannot and highlight the negatives of food grown non-organically. We will also talk about easy organic recipes without spending a a lot and where to find more of these recipes. We hope the this info brings out the naturalist in you and helps to change your eating ways.
Organic food and its growing practices
Organic food in the most layperson terms is food grown organically. The need here is to understand what organic means.
The dictionary suggests the word organic meaning – “relating to or derived from living matter”.
A more comprehensive definition states – “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other artificial chemicals.”
Organic food translates to – food grown or produced without any use of synthetic additives and is completely and purely natural. It has no harmful effect on the health of the consumer.
Growing organic food is quite complicated – actually, growing it is simple enough, but to prove that it has been grown organically takes some procedures and standards set by the government and it is quite logical too, as organic food yield is low and it costs more both to the farmer as well as consumer. To justify that cost, one needs the appropriate certification. It is not just heavily regulated but also there is close monitoring in this sector to keep it free of chemical adulteration and fooling the customer.
Some organic food growing practices include:
- Soil used: Soil is the most important component when starting out with farming. Without good quality soil, crops cannot grow well. Manure, compost and organic remains are used as fertilizers in organic farming instead of chemical nutrition boosting substances like urea. The release of nutrient in the soil is slow and controlled in this case, as opposed to the rapid change in the nature of soil when chemical fertilizers are used. This affects the water holding capacity of the soil as well as retaining nitrates in the soil. Since the chemical fertilizers are so readily soluble in water, a third of all fertilizer components end up being dissolved in surface and run-off water, poisoning the reservoirs and polluting the ecosystem.
- Biological insecticides: organic farming introduces other living beings which feed on pest population and end the menace rather than using insecticides to kill away the bugs. Insects like ladybugs and green lacewings eat up the insects ruining the crop without any damage to the ecosystem of the farm in general. Hence they are effective insecticides without any drawback on the environment. They are widely used in organic farming.
- Buffer zones: these are the areas on the edge of the farms where crops are grown using the organic farming techniques but they aren’t sold with the organic label because of the fact that they may be affected and contaminated with the chemical fertilizers and practices done beyond the farm. This reduces the chances of contamination in the core area of the farm too.
- Cover cropping and crop rotation: these are two very crucial techniques to organic farming. Cover crops are the ones who are responsible for replenishing soil fertility after a cycle of regular crops or staple crops. These cover crops include the likes of rye, clover and wheat. They also eradicate the problem or soil erosion. Some cover crops can tame the problem of weeds and help the upkeep of the helpful insect population. Crop rotation is the practice of never repeating the same crop over and over because this causes erosion and depletion of a particular set of nutrients in the soil over years. Rotation replenishes the lost nutrients and also utilizes different sets of nutrients. This maintains the soil well. This also limits pest populations.
In the case of poultry, meat and milk, some understanding changes:
- Animals are fed an all- organic, hormone free and GMO free diet.
- Diseases are kept at bay using natural methods as far as possible. This includes hygienic lodging, good grazing practice and an optimally healthy and clean diet.
- Livestock is allowed to roam freely in the open and has easy access to open lands.
Another commonly mistaken term with “organic” is “locally grown”. There is a stark difference amongst the two. Locally grown food is just locally grown; it may or may not be organic. Locally grown food also has many advantages like it is grown in areas nearby so there is no extra cost of transporting that food to you so financially it makes sense. The money also stays in the local economy and a larger chunk of what you pay for the food goes to the farmer. Local food is also as fresh as it can get – almost to the level of being harvested one day and getting delivered to you the next.
But it is not necessarily organic food so it must not be confused with the same.
The benefits of eating organic food
The benefits of eating organic food are many and diverse. There is no debate in the fact that the intensive farming practices and the boom in population has put excess pressure on nature and the fact that industrialization and technology are slowly killing the environment and lowering the quality of resources we have at our disposal. Organic farming is a way with humanity to restore the goodness of food and safeguard the quality of life on Earth, by maintaining its cleanliness, purity and ability to regenerate itself. Let us see some benefits of eating organic food:
- Tastier food: organic food is definitely better tasting because of the crop being as close to natural as it can be. The lack of synthetic fertilizers and chemicals to enhance the produce size, number and shelf life can alter the natural, original taste and composition of the food produce. Also, since the food produced organically utilizes naturally available nutrition, the taste is more balanced. There is no aftertaste of the organically grown food, nor is there any artificial taste of additives. This makes the food taste as authentic as can be, and the dishes you prepare using those ingredients come out authentic tasting as well.
- More nutritive, harmless food: organically grown food is denser in nutrition than non-organic food. Also, it has next to no negative impacts on health. It is absolutely safe for babies and pets. Organic food is in fact better for health than non organic, and it reflects in the impact it has on people, especially those who are switching from junk and processed food to organic food. Organic food had nutritional superiority, as in; it has the same components (of the same chemical composition) but made with better ingredient, making it nutritionally richer. The practices used in growing organic plants are safe and free from pesticides, insecticides and quick fix fertilizers. These chemicals are often retained on the plant surface and cannot be removed even by repeated washing. Data shows that about 60% of these chemicals can cause cancer. Unwashed or unclean raw food is poisonous for human consumption. There are also concerns on these chemicals causing Alzheimer’s disease and causing congenital defects.
There is a practice of using antibiotics in animals and can enter the body of humans too, when they consume the products of those particular animals. This can cause another whole set of deadly issues, antibiotic resistance and catching an infection again and again, to name the few milder ones. Organic farming is safe from all these, hence better for health and general wellbeing of the consumer.
Studies show organic food is much higher in vitamins and antioxidants than conventional, non –organic variety. This means, a stop to synthetic diet supplements, vitamin tablets and pills to boost metabolism!
The amount and quality of antioxidants are also much better in organic food as compared to non – organic. This is due to absence of any external harmful chemicals which react with the minerals and vitamins present in food and causing some sort of negativity. It is undisputed that the level of antioxidants in food is responsible for all the “goodness” of the food. So higher antioxidants are great for optimum health and they can turn around a person’s health!
Organic food is safe also in the light of exposure to heavy metals. Non – organic pesticides and fertilizers are basically just a mixture of various types of salts and are quick to enter the system. they are persistent too – they say DDT, a pesticide banned about 30 years ago in the USA still remains in the fat deposits of Americans and it will be there 40 more years to get reduced to a level which is too less to trace. These heavy metals and tough chemicals stay in systems and keep harming the internal environment negatively. Organic food is safe to consume from this perspective as well.
- Less pollution and lower carbon footprint: carbon footprint is the index which measures the amount of carbon dioxide released into the environment in a particular activity undertaken by an individual or an organization. It is basically a measure of how much pollution an activity or individual can be held responsible for. Organic farming has a low carbon footprint because it is not adding any more toxic chemicals into the practice of agriculture, there is next to no processing required (which is done by machines and so that source of carbon dioxide is also minimized), the food utilizes natural methods to control the cropping and so no fuel is burnt in order to carry out complicated spraying processes (as in non-organic farming) and the produce is sold in farmer’s markets mostly which also does not require the food to be transported a long distance. All these factors make organic food a better option to opt with respect to safeguarding the planet.
- Saving soil quality: soil is the basis of all food produced – it is the core of agriculture as well as the basis of production for poultry and milch cattle. Soil thus becomes the major factor which decides the quality of produce when harvested. If soil quality is poor, the produce will also be poor in nutrient. To increase the elements present in soil immediately, non – organic farming practices aim at dissolving chemical additives in irrigation and soil is enriched with nutrient. The problem here is, these additives are not balanced in acidity levels or nutrient density and cause the soil to lose its natural composition. The lopsided addition makes it barren sometimes. This does not happen in organic farming. There is balanced nutrition enrichment using natural methods which ensure that soil is maintained good quality.
The excessive addition of chemical fertilizers causes the extra chemical particles to stay as a surface residue. This residue gets mixed with rain water or irrigation and flow into the freshwater or salty water sources in the area. This not only affects the ecosystems of those water reservoirs, it also makes the soil even poorer. Organic farming ensures that the soil is fertilized using natural material so that the soils remain neutral and even if there is surface run off, the ecosystems of water bodies don’t get disturbed. This way, organic farming is very good for the environment. Eating organic food supports this cause and thus is beneficial for you as well as for everyone!
- Good for the local organic farmer: organic food comes from the small time farmer who grows lesser quantity and charges it at actual, which is way higher than low quality – cheaper price mass produced food which dominates the market. This way he gets lesser representation at stores, sells lesser and ends up with narrow profits, sometimes not even that. Switching to organic food means encouraging this small time good-doer and getting him some accolades for his good job!
- No pollution to the water supply: since there are no run offs and surface dilution of nutrients added to the soil in form of organic fertilizers or manure, it does not end up polluting any water source. On the contrary, non organic farming uses chemical mixture of elements making them easily susceptible to dilution with water sources. This tips the balance in the ultimate water reservoir – as a result of this, there is excess of certain handful of salts in the source of water. This not only makes the water reservoir unfit for human consumption, but also badly affects the flora and fauna of the water. It can be deemed unfit for their survival. This puts the ecosystem out of balance. Not only due to surface runoff, the water supply can be affected by chemical fertilizers used in no-organic farming by getting seeped into the underground water streams, often used by human settlements for agricultural, daily purposes. This causes large scale pollution. This water table quenches the thirst of thousands of people and animals; pollutants reaching that source cause large scale trouble.
- Better immune system for the consumer: it is well known and understood that health wise, organic food is superb. But in addition to this, organic food has shown remarkable advancement in terms of a person’s immunity. The level of unhampered nutrients in organic food is high and the scope of genetically modified crops getting a preference over the natural crop is negligible. Genetically modified plants are high in commercially valuable content of the fruit of the crop but not in the quality of the nutrients. Organic food means such crops are not preferred over the natural variants.
- Innovativeness: organic farmers are trying hard to find, test and implement ways and means to grow crops without the use of chemical fertilizers. This gives them the chance to experience and experiment. Many new uses of plants come into knowledge. The old organic farming practices can be replaced with new and better ways of growing these crops. Techniques can be revised with time. This not just saves the environment and improve the eating habit of the consumers, but also make advancements in the art and science of agriculture. The corpus of knowledge keeps on adding up to make a better culture for organic farming.
- Addition in options and variety of food: the non organic food was touted to be the answer to all food problems, aiming at more production and profitable farming along with sustenance. But we can see side effects of farming this way and they are threatening for us. Every foodstuff has a healthier alternative which can be achieved by tweaking small details. So every small change can give a different type of crop. This adds to the variety available in the market and puts up many options in front of the consumer to choose from. It can get as healthy as innovation will allow.
- Peace of mind: organic food promises a healthy as well as guilt – free meal! The goodness of an organically produced food item, be it fruits or vegetables or milk promises the assurance of being far from pesticide contamination, cruelty, genetically modified organism presence, environmental pollution and many other issues which can cause psychological as well as physical problems. You can be rest assured that the food you are eating is free from any such issue. You can enjoy the pure nutrition of an organic produce without any hassles or doubt.
The hazards of non – organic food
You might start feeling that organic food is the answer to a healthy lifestyle. Indeed that’s true, because non organic food is not good enough. But the question arises, why so? This chapter aims at solving those important cues for you.
- Non organic food has lower variety of nutrition. The umbrella of nutritive value in non organic food is far lesser than organic food. Non organic food has a high concentration of elements of nutrition the food if famous for. Non organic farmers have devised techniques which are guided by increasing that particular desirable element of food which sells well – like making mangoes with a thicker sweeter pulpy layer and a smaller seed. For this they provide plants with selected diet.
- Non organic food is quite cruel on the environment. Be it pollution or excessive technology in production, non organic food is much less sensitive towards environment and its balance than organic food. This is not just alarming but is also responsible for environmental degradation.
- You can never be really sure of what is going into your system if you are using non-organic food. The terms of selling non organic food are much relaxed; making it susceptible to adulteration, mixing, mislabeling etc. there is a huge risk of contamination in non organic food as well. All these points make it nearly impossible for one to control the amount of heavy metals, contaminants and other pollutants entering one’s body.
- Genetically modified crops are not ruled out of non-organic foods. These can be really dangerous sometimes, especially when someone is prone to allergies. Also, the crops are said to make one less responsive to antibiotics. Not enough testing has been done for GM crops’ safety for human consumption and for all we know; they could be really disadvantageous and even dangerous. Organic crops are safer and better for food.
- Not enough antioxidants in non organic food make it really worthless in terms of nutrition. Non organic food is not as full of antioxidants, which are responsible for avoiding cancer, boosting metabolism and maintaining the body properly.
Non organic food can be difficult for your body. So much energy gets wasted in trying to digest food and absorb nutrients from it and the amount is not even enough for one. non organic food is putting a lot of pressure on the environment because of all the hazards it poses in terms of pollution and contamination so how can it be good for your body?
Eating organic can be very overwhelming for some people, because non organic food ingredients behave differently when cooked as compared to organic foodstuffs. Maybe, the flavor is different, so getting used to the organic food might be a little difficult. It can be quite an adjustment, because the human body gets addicted to the poorer quality and harmful food easier, as compared to healthy, fulfilling food with better qualities.
Here we have tried to compile some recipes so that you can have some insight into how to go about a fully organic meal day. More on this can can found in this book: “organic recipes on a budget” so that you can eat well and eat organic without burning a hole in your pocket because organic food might seem a little pricey when compared to the non organic ingredients.
Organic peanut butter + jelly pancakes
- Nut butter (preferably peanut), organic – 1 cup
- Eggs, organic – 4
- Vanilla extract – few drops
- Greek yogurt, organic – a fourth cup
- Strawberry jam, organic – 3 tablespoons
- Agave syrup, organic
- Coconut oil, organic
- Take a small bowl and mix eggs, butter, yogurt and jam with the vanilla extract.
- Use a whisk to blend everything into a smooth paste.
- Heat a skillet to 350 degrees. Go for preheating.
- On the hot skillet, smear some coconut oil and cover the entire surface of the skillet.
- Pout the paste or batter onto the vessel and let it cook golden brown on both sides (flip when one side is done).
- When serving, add the agave syrup and strawberry jam on top and serve hot.
Here is a sample recipe for you to follow with ease:
- Organic eggs – 7
- Finely shredded Kale, organic – 2 cups
- Grated carrots, organic – 2 medium
- Zucchini, organic – 1 large sized
- Diced red capsicum – 1 small
- Chopped spring onions – 4
- Garlic, crushed – 4 or 5
- Organic mixed herbs – 2 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Organic coconut flour – 5 tablespoons
- Salt – a pinch
- Organic black pepper – a pinch
- Heat the oven at 180 degrees.
- In a bowl mix eggs, all the vegetables and garlic with herbs and oil until properly combined.
- Mix in the coconut flour and season with salt, pepper and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a baking tin or dish. Don’t forget to line or grease the tin beforehand.
- Bake the mixture for 40 minutes and check for doneness with a skewer put right through (it should come out clean).
- Keep on a rack to cool and remove the tin. Serve sliced, warm or cold.
Dinner is a time to eat light and allow the system to wind down minus a very heavy meal. It should be light on the system and full of fiber and liquid. Here is an example.
Sweet corn fritters and Greek yogurt:
Make fritters using –
- Self raising flour – 110 grams
- Egg, organic – 1 (whisked)
- Organic milk – 30 ml
- Corn on the cob, organic – 2
- Salt pepper to taste
- Oil for frying
Make the dip using –
- Greek yogurt – 200 grams
- Chives, organic – 1 tablespoon
- Grated horseradish, organic – 2 tablespoon
– In a bowl, mix chives, yogurt and horseradish with seasoning and chill until used. This is your dip.
– In another bowl, mix flour and corn kernels and mix the beaten egg and milk before you can fold the egg white in. This is your batter.
– heat a skillet with little oil and pan fry the scoops until golden, from this batter. Place the scoops on the pan using a spoon.
– serve with the chilled dip!
Use these recipes for a fun filled organic food experience. With practice, you will be able to both purchase the ingredients in a more eased out fashion and use them well also. It might take some getting used to, but there is nothing more fulfilling and satisfying than a wholesome, organic meal which filld you up with the right stuff. Try and you will get so used to the idea that it will be a lifestyle choice followed subconsciously not deliberately.
You can eventually also try your own recipes using instinct and judgment of the ingredient as and when you settle with the idea of regularly using organic food in daily life. The balanced nutrition organic food provides is almost addictive – and for a good thing too!
More Organic Recipes
Cannellini Bean and Chicken Salad
This recipe would serve 8 and would need just 40 to 50 minutes for being prepared.
- 5 kg chicken breast
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
- A drizzle of olive oil
- 1 kg cannellini beans (cooked or canned )
- 2 bunches of asparagus stems
- 600 g cherry tomatoes (cut them into two halves)
- 1 cup parmesan cheese (shaved)
- 2 cups chopped rocket leaves
- 8 wedges of lemon (you will need them for garnishing)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Rock salt
- Season the chicken breasts using salt and pepper. Take a large bowl and whisk the vinegar, mustard and garlic in it. Add the seasoned chicken to the vinegar mix and turn it on all sides so that your chicken gets properly coated with the ingredients. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for around 20 minutes.
- Set a barbeque pan or plate to preheat on medium to high heat.
- Spray the marinated chicken lightly with olive oil and place it into the heated pan/plate. Cook each side for 1 minute (both sides should turn golden).
- Once you are satisfied with the color of the chicken, reduce the heat and cook it for another 15 minutes (each side should be cooked for 6 to 8 minutes).Transfer the chicken to a wide plate, place a lid on it and allow the cooked chicken to rest for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Next, you will have to blanch the asparagus stems so that they get a bright green color, while not losing their crunchiness.
- Slice the chicken and transfer the slices into a large mixing bowl. Add the parmesan, tomato, beans, and rocket leaves. Toss well.
- Divide the salad into eight serving plates. Serve with the lemon wedges.
Organic food is not a fad – it is here to stay. It is so full of goodness that nothing can compare to the satisfaction and satiety of an organic lifestyle. Some people like the concept of organic so much, they end up growing their own food! Yes, we are talking about a revolution here.
With the increase in lifestyle related problems and diseases pertaining to poor food habits, organic food appears as a sustainable option on the horizon of healthy eating. We are surrounded by various types of stress in today’s world and we cannot risk harming our health any longer.
The introduction of genetically modified food, the rampant use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers which are almost poison for the human body as well as for the environment too, and the quest to artificially fertilize, prepare and present food to the teeming masses, the quality of foodstuffs has gone for a toss and organic food and organic lifestyle are the answers to all these worries which pose a threat to a healthy and happy humanity in the coming future. The days are near, when everyone will recognize the value of organic food and it will attract one and all despite the current lacunae in demand and supply.
We sincerely hope our attempt at informing and suggesting our readers a better lifestyle choice will not go futile. It is indeed a matter of deep thought and an open mind.
Shift to an organic diet today and experience the beauty of eating clean, eating healthy and constructing a better body with a sound thinking! Organic food will help you live in peace, without any cruelty. Organic food is the food fit for gods.