What does it really mean when a food is labeled “organic”? Does it automatically equate to healthy? Well, not so fast! After all, chocolate chip cookies can be organic, but they are far from a Superfood! That’s why it’s important to understand the basics of organic.
What is Organic Food?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, foods can be labeled ‘USDA Organic’ if they are grown and processed according to federal guidelines around soil quality, animal raising practices, pesticide and weed control and use of additives. The use of genetic engineering or GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is also prohibited in organic products.
Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be organic across different food categories:
- Organic produce must be grown on soil that contains zero prohibited synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for three years prior to harvest.
- Organic meats require animals to be raised in the most natural conditions. For example, the ability for cows to graze on pasture is considered a natural condition. Animals must also not receive any hormones or antibiotics and consume 100% organic feed. This is important because the use of antibiotics in conventional animal production is a key driver of antibiotic resistance in humans.
- Organic packaged foods must not contain artificial colors, preservatives or flavors and all ingredients must be organic (with a few exceptions). Be weary of the label though, as a product labeled “made with organic ingredients” does not mean it is 100% organic, rather it contains at least 70% organically-produced ingredients.
Are there Health Benefits of Choosing Organic over Conventional Food?
Evidence suggests that organic food is more nutritious across the board. For example, organic fruits and vegetables have higher phenolic compounds, which are beneficial chemicals produced by plants that can help lower the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In terms of animal products, organic feeding regimens and access to pasture cause organic milk, eggs and meats to contain significantly more omega-3 fatty acids than their conventional counterparts. This is important because omega-3 fats are known to lower disease-causing inflammatory markers in the body.
Economical Ways to Add Organic Food to your Meals
As a Heinen’s shopper, you have access to an abundance of affordable organic produce, meat, dairy, and packaged products.
- Many of Heinen’s private label foods are available in organic varieties. From Heinen’s organic canned beans and spaghetti sauce, to frozen fruit and milk, you can whip up a nutritious meal in no time!
- Heinen’s Produce Department houses over 150 varieties of fresh, USDA certified organic produce.
- Our Meat Department offers organic chicken, turkey, and 100% organic grass-fed beef.
At the end of the day, I view organic as a vehicle for upgrading my food choices, however not all foods in my cart bear the organic seal. Personally, I opt for organic milk, meat, eggs and certain produce like spinach and apples. You can do the same! Pick one or two staples on your grocery list to buy organic, and don’t forget to watch out for the incredible sales!
“Organic” even goes beyond food.
Here are some of Heinen’s Wellness Consultant, Carla’s favorite Organic Health & Beauty picks:
Acure Organic Moroccan Argan Oil
A true skin superfood! Moroccan Argan Oil is incredibly rich in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and proteins. Argan Oil helps restore the appearance, texture and tone of your skin – it’s no wonder that it’s referred to as “liquid gold.” Acure’s Organic Moroccan Argan Oil is 100% organic, pure and cold pressed and suitable for all skin types. This oil can be used as a hair serum as well.
Freerange Skincare Oat & Honey Soap Bar
Created by nature and backed by science, this locally made soap will feed your skin while you get squeaky clean. The owner of Freerange Skin Care actually has a chicken farm that supplies her
with the pasture-raised free-range eggs contained in the soaps. Other key ingredients in this bar include Manuka Honey which is known for its healing properties, as well as organic oats to help soothe irritated skin. This soap contains coconut, castor and essential oils that cleanse and lather without leaving a residue or over drying your skin.
MyChelle Refining Sugar Cleanser
This natural sugar, multi-tasking cleanser gently exfoliates surface impurities as it transforms into a creamy, foaming later that leaves skin smoother, softer and hydrated. This incredible cleanser is boosted with age-defying peptides and plant extracts. Made without GMO’s, gluten, parabens, petroleum, silicone, sulfates, artificial fragrances or artificial colors.
Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Shower Tablets
Now you can enjoy the luxurious aromatic escape of a bath with the convenience of a shower! These unique effervescent tablets contain 100% pure essential oils and no synthetic colors or fragrances. Take it from me, this little gem of a product will prove to purify your mind, body and spirit. Available in Calming Lavender, Clarifying Eucalyptus and Invigorating Peppermint.
Morning Song Gardens Sore Muscle & Joint Rub
Soothing and relaxing, this locally made and all-natural rub is perfect for aiding stiff joints, sprains and a myriad of pains with the added benefit of soft and supple skin. Raw Ohio beeswax combined with arnica, St. John’s Wort, rosehip and candula helps soothe muscles, joints and injuries.
Do you need help locating a product or want to learn more about organics? Visit your local Heinen’s. One of our Wellness Consultants would be happy to assist you!
Axel Mie, et al. “Human Health Implications of Organic Food and Organic Agriculture: a Comprehensive Review.” Environmental Health, BioMed Central, 27 Oct. 2017, ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-017-0315-4.