52 weeks of good health....

every week I will share with you a tip to improve your eating habits or lifestyle to help you reach maximum energy levels and increase overall physical and emotional health.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Local or Organic???

This is a question I hear a lot...and if you're lucky to live in an area that has lots of local, organic veg and fruit, then it's not really an issue for you. But, most of us are faced with this decision; especially once summer arrives. To begin with, it's important to know that not all organic food is local and not all locally grown food is organic.

Numerous studies show that organically produced foods (produce, dairy, meat) have a higher nutritional content than foods conventionally produced. So what is organic? Well, it's more than just the elimination of synthetic chemicals; organic farmers use practices that ensure the land is being treated in a way that continually improves soil fertility by using the tools that nature provides, instead of synthetic chemicals. It is certified by a third party that it meets their standards and ensures that the farm is following certain practices.

One of the major downsides to purchasing organic is that most of the produce is coming from out of country - avocado's from Mexico, apples from New Zealand, mangos from Equador...the further your produce travels, the less fresh it is and the greater impact is has on the environment (think about the CO2 emissions).

For these reasons, a lot of people are trying to purchase local products when available. The 100 Mile diet has made eating local a new, food trend in the past couple of years, although many people have been eating only produce that is local and in season for many years. Eating locally not only supports your community, but gives you the chance to meet your local farmers and seeing first hand how your food is being grown. Also, many smaller farmers avoid the tools of industrialized conventional agriculture and may be producing food that meets many of the organic requirements, but these farmers often chose not to become certified.

Another movement that has risen in popularity in the past years is the Slow Food movement - slow foodies believe in sustaining Heirloom varieties of produce; preserving and promoting local food products; small scale processing; and educating consumers. Check out their website; http://www.slowfood.ca/about.php for more information!

So the question still remains...local or organic? Well, I think that if you don't know the farm and their growing methods personally, then organic is your best bet. But, it definitely comes down to your own personal principles.

In good health,

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