Organic Foods???

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Organic Foods???
12
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 4:09pm
Hey gang - everyone must be psyched about 4th! Me, I have to work Sat so I can't really "celebrate" with the nice bottle of wine my bf and I bought. :-( Anyway, a store called "Trader Joe's" has opened up in my town. Perhaps you've heard of it - it is a ***FABULOUS*** store filled with great fresh stuff, hard-to-find ingredients (caramelized mango salsa, anyone?), and it has a great selection of whole foods and organic foods and their freezer section is a regular schmorgasbord of exotic meats and veggies! Free range buffalo and ostrich!!! It even sells outrageous shapes of pasta from real Italian importers - one brand is sold by Williams Sonoma, too, and it goes for $7 s package in their catalog vs 1.85 at Trader Joe's!

Anyway, my Question is, what exactly is the difference between foods labeled "organic" and nonorganic food? I think it has something to do with hormones/preservatives/chemicals, something along that line? I've been buying more and more organic stuff - my bf looooves his Kashi cereal, haha, how macho he says!! Is organic better for you than regular? What are the benefits? I have noticed they're a little more expensive than regular. I do notice that their organic coffee (grind your own!!!) tastes much better than Dunkin Donuts, and I'm a HUGE D&D fan.

I just know my vegan cousin and her family looove organic foods...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 5:02pm
i love trader joe's!! where did the new trader joe's open up near you? they have great prices on soymilk, spagetti sauce, cereal, household products, etc. etc.

there are standards now for what can be labelled "organic" but i'm not sure what they are exactly. with regard to fruits, grains, veggies, organic generally means no chemical fertilizers or pesticides were used, rather the farm uses environmentally responsible agricultural practices like rotating crops. also it won't be genetically modified. i really don't know what organic meat is except i do know that it only has to do with the way the animals are fed, not how they are treated.

organic crops are healthier because you don't ingest the pesticide. apparently there are certain fruits and veggies that are especially important to eat organic because of the level of pesticide they carry, but i'd have to track down the list. now that there are legal standards as to what constitutes "organic" the bad news is that many small farmers can't afford to get the certification to call themselves "organic" although their crops are actually produced in the same manner as certified organic. so if you go to a farmer's market and see produce labelled "pesticide free" or something like that it means it's basically organic but they aren't allowed to call it organic because of bureacracy. i try to eat organic or pesticide free as much as i can. organic and pesticide free are also much better for the environment. organic coffee may also be shade grown (but i don't know if it necessarily is) which means it was grown in a sustainable way that is better for the environment.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 6:04pm
hey cool, thanks!!! i don't want to eat any pesticide - who knows what'll happen, maybe i'll grow like a third eye or something. although maybe i should start eating hormone grown chicken so maybe those hormones will make my boobies grow back...or that is just wishful thinking, and it's an issue that should be devoted another post entirely!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 6:08pm
oh yeah - TJs opened up like six months ago, my mom introduced me to it like a couple months ago; she was always telling me about it but i never went. same thing always happens though, i go in for like one thing and i end up buying a million! i want to try all their little yummy appetizers, frozen dessert platters, and gorge on their Ghiardelli chocolate! i love chocolate!!! isn't TJs the BEST?? i should probably head there now and do some more damage.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2002
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 6:09pm
On organic meats....I'm a little fuzzy on organic standards too, but organic meats are raised without unnecessary antibiotics, no growth hormones, and currently vegetarian feed, though I think there's a bill trying to get it "okay'ed" to feel organic farm animals non-vegetarian feed, which would really screw things up. Current practice of raising farm animals for consumption involves keeping large numbers of animals in feedlots, not pastures. Animals are fed antibiotics because their living conditions promote quick spread of diseases that would render meat inedible (or dead), and the antibiotics have to be regularly rotated so that whatever's bugging the animals can't develop a resistance to it (this is a big problem, imho, as far as breeding supergerms). Animals, especially chickens, are given hormones so that they grow bigger or faster, and dairy cows are given hormones to make them produce more milk. For some reason, and I'm not sure what it is, farm animals are sometimes fed grain that is mixed with other ground up animals in it, I don't know if it's for more protein or what, but this is another way to spread mad cow and other diseases...

I grew up in farm country, so this is a double-edged sword for me. Farmers (like family farmers, not these corporate guys) don't make squat to live on, so production is key to putting kids through school and not losing the farm, but there's GOT to be much more sustainable ways to do this. Fortunately organic farming is catching on. Organic meat and eggs TASTE better (sorry Jen) than the other stuff.

On a good note, I did see organic farms on my bike ride in Wisconsin, big ones. They had posted signs at the edges of the field warning about toxic chemicals (as in no overspray) because it was an organic farm. While that doesn't mean there's no overspray from the neighboring farms, it is at the very least an attempt to grow something without poisons, which are exactly what those chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are.

I'm all in favor of organics, fortunately my SO is too. We like unadulterated food!

Judie

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Avatar for oceanfanatic
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 8:24pm
It sounded like such a great store that I looked up the website and we have none even remotely close to us....:( Ah well, I will have to live vicariously through you guys! We do have a williams and sonoma, but, like you said, it's a little pricey..albeit very good! lol....Our plans for the fourth are throwing a party! I don't know what we're thinking! lol...but we're having pretty healthy stuff besides the bratwurst (my weakness)! Just a few friends and some beer! Hope everyone's fourth is safe and wonderful!!! Have a good one! Cheers!

kathrine

Community Leader
Registered: 04-05-2002
Thu, 07-03-2003 - 11:05pm
Jen and judie covered this all. I try to buy either organic produce or locally grown (I love farmers markets). I'm pickier about some that are high in pesticides like cherries, apples, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, spinach. Others like broccoli, melons, oranges, I'm not as picky, because they aren't as high in pesticides, though I do try to buy those organic also. I'm a believer in sustainable agriculture that minimizes effect on the environment but at the same time, it can cost a lot more so I realize it's not possible for everyone. I conviced my major meat eating husband that it's better to eat cut back on meat but eat really good ones like Niman Ranch or Rocky's. Like judie said, it tastes a lot better. On coffee, organic is healthier for you and better for the environment. I also look for Fair Trade coffee which pays the growers in third world countries a fair price. I know people who own San Francisco Bay Coffee and though they're not fair trade, they go to the towns where the coffee they purchase is grown and build schools, wells, whatever the town needs.

Anyway, I love TJ's, too! When they opened one in Alameda, there was a huge line and celebration on the opening day. It was days before the crowds subsided. I'm headed there tomorrow!






iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 7:07am
i always buy fair trade coffee too.

by the way, you can tell whether fruit is organic just from the little sticker on it...

-A label with 4 digits indicates conventionally grown

food. Labels with 5 digits starting with the number 8

indicates the food is genetically engineered. Labels

with 5 digits starting with the number 9 indicates the

food is organically grown.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 11:19am
That's good to know! I always go by the sign but I didn't know there was a convention. I also don't quite trust what they tell me at farmer's markets. I asked and was told at a few places that they were transitional (doing w/out pesticides but not for enough years to get an organic rating). After a few years, they still weren't organic. I do buy transitional because I think it's good to support those who are trying to make a change.

Did you hear about the resolution in Berkeley on the polls that coffee sold had to be organic or fair trade? I thought it was a little extreme, especially because you'd get 6 months in jail for breaking that law. It brought the issue to the front, though, so more people were aware.






iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2002
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 1:29pm
SHADE GROWN COFFEE! On the Fair Trade and organic coffee thread...if you can find shade grown coffee, it's in your best interests and those of the rest of the world to support it. Countless acres of rain forest are being cleared to support the coffee habits of the rest of the world because coffee produces more beans in full sun, compared to the shade in which it normally grows. Shade-grown coffee is obviously going to be more sustainable than that requiring slash-and-burn farming, and the rate at which we're losing rain forest (and species we never knew existed) is scary.

Lol...I think we're more than just gym rats! ;)

Judie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Fri, 07-04-2003 - 3:54pm
LOL, the environmentally conscious gym rats! It's all part of good health. And, you can buy all these different kinds of coffee at TJ's. I think I should buy stock! I just came from there and the products are different on the coasts. I can't find the Kashi GoLean waffles that I love. Oh well.:-(





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