Top 4 Reasons to Eat Organic -- and Local

Top 4 Reasons to Eat Organic and Local

By Steve Edwards for Beachbody

"Think globally, act locally" is not just for bumper stickers anymore. This United States-esque slogan has become even more important when it comes to thinking about where your next meal should come from. After all, aren't we supposed to be a bunch of independent counties, making up independent states, that band together to aid each other as a nation? Anyway, the implications are far from just political. Buying local, as well as organic, will allow you to feed and protect your family in the safest way possible. Here are 10 reasons to add your local farmers market to the top of your to-do list each week.

Local foods are safer. Or, at least, you can find out if they are. Organic food standards are high but there are still companies out there attempting to fudge the rules. When you buy local, it's easy to check out what you're buying and won't require that you hire Magnum, P.I. to do it. The great thing about local media is that they love to cover this stuff. If, for any reason, a local farm is mixed up in nefarious activities, there's a good chance your paper has a reporter dreaming of life at The New York Times who'll be on the job for you. In lieu of this, be inquisitive at the farmers market and you'll be surprised how quickly you're up to date on the local scoop. Farmers who adhere to a strict code of ethics love to talk about who else does, and who doesn't.

Organic foods are safer. Organic certification standards are the public's assurance that their food and products have been grown and handled according to sustainable procedures without toxic inputs. At least that's what the law says. But even though many companies still cheat the system, most of them play by the rules. These rules are in place to help both soil longevity and the health and safety of the consumer. Many Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Now, the EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides, and 30 percent of all insecticides as potentially cancer causing, none of which meet organic criteria. You can't always be certain you're getting safe food, but eating organic stacks the odds in your favor.

Organic food tastes better. Many people would be amazed to taste the difference between garden-grown fruits and vegetables and wild meat compared to what you find down at Food4Less. The main reason for this has to do with something called trophic levels, which has to do with the way plants and animals feed up the food chain. When food -- even natural food -- is manufactured, such as plants grown in poor soil with some added nutrients or animals raised using drugs and a non-native diet, their physiological chemistry is altered. This not only changes their nutrient content but the way they taste.

Organic food is more nutritious -- which stands to reason based on the above. When soils are depleted and then fertilized, only certain nutrients are added with fertilizers. The resulting losses are many of the plants' original phytonutrients. While not a major component of any individual plant, they add up in your diet and become a major component of who you are. Lack of phytonutients in our diet carries the blame for many modern-day maladies. With regard to meat, it's basically the same story. Animals raised on a poor diet are, as you might imagine, less healthy to eat because you, too, are part of the trophic level paradigm.



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