It’s easy for the term organic to get mixed in with all the other diet and foodie fad buzzwords. It’s also easy to assume that organic is just another popular marketing ploy, like “all natural” and “eco-friendly.” Thankfully, however, for Canadian young professionals (YPs) concerned with matters of health and environment, we can be confident that the government regulated “certified organic” label that exists here in our fine country is worth its weight in extra toonies. Of course we also get that going organic can up the weekly grocery bill, so we offer these six reasons to rearrange that budget and splurge on the good stuff:
1. Wellness over profit: Perhaps the most general, though most important, purpose of organic food production is the concern for environment over profit. While the main goal of most factory food producers (the brands found in our typical big box stores) is to make money, organic farmers and producers put the wellness of the world, their workers, and their animals first. This is obviously what makes organic food more expensive, but we think it’s worth it to spend a little more money to know the world is a little better off. Can we get a duh?
2. Taste over convenience: We Canadian YPs may not know the awesomeness of tasting oranges picked fresh from our own backyards, but we sure know how other fresh fruits and veggies taste like tomatoes and apples and carrots and corn. We may have a unique (ok, limited) growing season up here in the Great White North, but we still yield some amazingly tasty produce. Foods picked closer to home and closer to the time of selling, taste way better and are much more nutritious. It can be difficult to know and find those foods that are the freshest at certain times of the year, but fortunately for us flavour-concerned consumers most organic food stores and farmers markets stock their shelves with local and seasonal foods first. By just making the effort to shop where flavour and quality reign supreme, the hard work is done for us.
3. Health over efficiency: By now, most of us eco-savvy YPs have some idea of what GMOs are all about (if not, see here) Whether you’re for or against the idea of genetically modified foods, we say better safe than sorry at this point. We just don’t know enough about the long-term effects of GMOs, so avoiding them, along with all the icky hormones, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals and additives often found in factory produced foods, is the way to go. Organic foods are meticulously produced, grown in the tough, traditional ways of the days of yore, but also regulated by very modernized government standards to make them free of all the nasty artificial stuff.
4. Happy meat over. . . well, you know: At a time when the ills of factory farming are being illuminated, and the advantages of certified organic products are being eaten up, more and more traditional-style farms are now producing organic meat products that we can all feel good about. Without getting into the gory details, we suggest opting for that pricier organic chicken or steak to be sure that the animal lived in a clean, comfortable environment, was able to engage in normal, natural behaviour and, most importantly, was treated humanely. In turn, this makes for a healthier, higher-quality product (and a little less carnivorous guilt).
5. Mindfulness over excessiveness: Tweaking the usual grocery budget in order to make room for organic food prices can have some extra hidden benefits, like reminding us of the true value of our food and helping us become more mindful eaters. Cheap foods are easy to either forget about in the back of fridge or to gorge out on in huge amounts without much thought. Higher quality, higher-priced organic foods, on the other hand, will have us reveling in the brilliance of an apple, making good use of all that kale, and savouring every last bite of that steak.
6. Sustainability over negligence: Sure, cheap food is convenient in the here and now, but what about the future? Organic farmers and food producers have to stick to strict regulations regarding sustainable practices, like maintaining long-term soil fertility, recycling materials, using renewable resources as much as possible, etc. What this all means is that when we transition from young professionals to older professionals, and perhaps parents, we can feel good knowing that the consumer choices we made in our earlier years helped to maintain a healthy food-producing world for ourselves and our children.
Making the switch to organic foods doesn’t have to be an abrupt kick to the wallet. Start by substituting certain key products like fruits and veggies and then work your way onto meats and dairy as the budget allows, followed by your fave specialty items (hell, try going for cruelty-free beauty products while you’re at it). As young professionals, we are in the perfect position to help make a change in the way our food is produced and how our environment fares. As they say, we vote with our dollars, so let’s make our hard-earned money mean something.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Cover image from: www.theblondevegan.com