After a visit to the newly opened Earth Fare market in my neighborhood, I began to evaluate the choice of a primarily organic diet. I know that some people believe it is the only way to eat, and others think it is a devious plot to extract more money from harried shoppers, but I stand somewhere in the middle. My allergy, or “histamine” reaction to MSG since I was a very young woman has made me aware of all of the additives that are slipped into our food. While they are not all our enemies (way too many lives were lost to spoiled food before the advent of preservatives), many of them do prove detrimental to our health.
Unfortunately the modernization of our world over the last hundred or so years has added things into our environment which have most certainly proven detrimental to our well-being. The pollutants in our air and water are often carcinogenic, and we have little control over that on a daily basis. “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cited data indicating that in 2010, 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution, and said there was also convincing evidence it increases the risk of bladder cancer,” according to the World Health Organization's cancer agency, so one can only guess how many additional deaths the last decade has brought to us. We need only to look as far as Flint, Michigan to see how dangerous chemicals polluting our water can be.
While we have little control over the air and water that surrounds us, I like to believe that I can control some of the products that I voluntarily ingest. I am not fanatical about it, and while most of the fish and produce that I bring into our home is free from added chemicals and hormones, I am aware that many of the restaurants I visit don’t follow those standards. Most of the produce that we purchase is from the farm that is a few miles from our home. While they are not officially organic (their land had not been fallow for the required number of years when they began growing on it), they use no pesticides or poisonous chemicals on their land. We supplement that with organic whenever we can, and our seafood is either wild caught or organically farmed. We don’t cook with meat products, so that is not an issue.
The major drawback to organic eating is the cost factor. It is difficult to understand why an organic apple or peach is so much more costly than its conventional counterpart, but my research made it clearer for me. When they don’t use pesticides, they must find alternative measures to protect their crops. Many of these methods include manual labor which is costly. The certification process itself is expensive, and constant education for the farmers adds to their costs. Since most organic farms are small, they don’t gain the financial benefits that big farms get, and supply and demand hikes up prices since there are many fewer organic buyers.
I respect those who choose to prioritize differently than I do. After all, there are many ways to spend our hard earned dollars, and the choice should be our own, but after further research I have decided to try to eat as chemically free as possible. Am I sure that will add healthier years to my life? Of course not, but since there is so much that I can’t control, I would like to feel that I can do something to keep myself free of chemicals that might harm me. The old “better safe than sorry” saying calls to me each time I stand in front of a fruit bin.
On a wildly different note, if we are talking safe versus sorry, David Rosenfelt gives us a taste of that in his new thriller, Black and Blue. Protagonist Doug Brock is after a serial killer in the third book of this series, and Rosenfelt’s witty hero takes the reader on many twists and turns before we reach the finish line.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.