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Why organic food, Mark?

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  • Why organic food, Mark?

    First off, thank you Mark Sisson, for providing this great site. After reading through it, I find myself being steered toward a more PB-compliant lifestyle.

    My question to you is: why do you support organic food? The data that is out there suggests that organic food has little if any nutritional benefit over conventionally grown food. It is true that SOME organic crops are higher in antioxidants, but that is due to those plants mitigating damage from insects.

    Just to clarify, organic farming methods are the OLD way, the inefficient way that we grew crops before technology gave us SAFE synthetic pesticides and resilient gene-enhanced crops that yield abundantly.

    Organic pesticides can be lethally toxic to human beings and the environment, but the EPA has clearly stated that residue from synthetic pesticides like DDVP (not to be confused with DDT) poses no health threat to either. I tend to trust the EPA. I've drank tap water all my life and it has yet to make me sick.

    I've even tried eating some organic produce from Whole Foods, and was not impressed by the taste. I also have notably little concern for the "small farmer" or Al Gore or Greenpeace.

    I really want to commit to the PB, but I'm just not sold on organic food yet.

  • #2

    Just save your money and eat the regular stuff. I am not sold on it either. I'm not going to pay extra for grass fed beef either. I don't think that either of these are worth the extra money.


    • #3

      I prefer the "old" way... the natural way. No chemicals in my food, thanks. I'm mostly a Locavore- I eat locally grown plants and animals. And yes, organic really does taste better. I'd rather have something local, fresh and ripe, than something "conventional" that has been picked before it ripens, and sent halfway across the country on a truck (or in some cases halfway across the world on a plane.)


      • #4

        There are still chemicals on organic food, they are just organic chemicals.


        • #5

          Just make your own choices.

          It's grandma, but you can call me sir.


          • #6

            So organic vegetables does not mean pesticide-free???


            • #7

              All organic agricultural farms and products must meet the following guidelines (verified by a USDA-approved independent agency):

              Abstain from the application of prohibited materials (including synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and sewage sludge) for 3 years prior to certification and then continually throughout their organic license.

              Prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms and irradiation.

              Employ positive soil building, conservation, manure management and crop rotation practices.

              Provide outdoor access and pasture for livestock.

              Refrain from antibiotic and hormone use in animals.

              Sustain animals on 100% organic feed.

              Avoid contamination during the processing of organic products.

              Keep records of all operations.



              • #8

                What are some other differences between conventional farming and organic farming?

                The Mayo Clinic provides this comparison:

                Conventional farmers:

                -Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.

                -Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease.

                -Use chemical herbicides to manage weeds.

                -Give animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth.

                Organic farmers:

                -Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.

                -Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.

                -Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.

                -Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors.

                -Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease



                • #9

                  If everyone was growing organic farmers wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand. It is more expensive because it is less efficient.


                  • #10

                    Well, naturally produce will taste better if it was just plucked off the local farm an hour ago. Nothing wrong with that, either. I'm talking about mass-produced foods.

                    Organic produce is also shipped in from just as far and abroad as conventional. In fact, much of it is imported from other countries with zero regulation or inspection. Even organic food grown in the US is not inspected by the USDA.

                    I should also note that almost all produce (including store-bought organics) is picked before ripening. The food is allowed to fully mature and treated with ionizing radiation, which slows the ripening process, kills parasites, prevents sprouts and even makes some foods juicier.


                    • #11

                      If you notice in Mark's book, he advocates Local first, over Organic.


                      • #12

                        PB can be expensive if you eat all organic produce and grass fed meat. In my opinion, the benefits do not outweigh the added cost. If I ever have a lot of excess money, maybe I will switch over, but for right now non organic and grain fed is good enough for me.


                        • #13

                          I'm a fan of organic. I gardened organically and visited the Rodale farms and subscribed to Organic Gardening way back when it was fringe, the 1970's.

                          Saying that, I don't think that there is a +/- 10% difference in the nutritional differences between organic and conventional. But organic can be done on a long term sustainable basis, unlike conventional that require large inputs of petroleum based fertilizers, insecticides, etc.

                          Buy organic when you can, just don't think it's some form of magic elixir.


                          • #14

                            *Edit: oops, wrong link.

                            About chemicals in organic products:

                            “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
                            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
                            "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull


                            • #15

                              I'm not sold on the idea of organic foods either. For anyone interested, Penn and Teller (the famous Vegas magicians, among other things) tackle this subject in their Showtime television show (S07E06), "Bullshit!"

                              "Repudiates the idea that Organic food has better nutrients, a smaller environmental impact, less harmful pesticides, and better taste than non-organic foods."

                              Worth watching if you think Organic is the way to go for any of the aforementioned reasons in the above summary.