The Basics of Organic Food

The type of food human beings have always eaten — until 50–60 years ago — is now fashionably named organic or biodynamic food — meaning it is grown without synthetic fertilisers, insecticides, herbicides, post-harvest fungicides, growth promoting hormones or antibiotic growth promoters. And processed organic food is made without artificial colourings, flavour enhancers, preservatives or other synthetic additives, and contains no genetically modified or irradiated ingredients (food zapped with large doses of ionising radiation to sterilise it).

With the globalisation and inter-connectedness of our planet, and mankind’s ongoing interference with nature and the environment, we are becoming even more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

The topic of organic food is a can of worms because some of the people who are ‘very pro’ can, inadvertently, come across as evangelistic, back-to-nature ideologists with a reactionary, alarmist stance. But more and more it is becoming commonly accepted that the colouring-rich ice-cream, chemically filled biscuits and highly processed chippies being fed to children are affecting their behaviour, health and ability to learn. Heck, even the animals in our zoos are fed organic food. Great reading on this topic can be found in Sue Kedgley’s Eating Safely in a Toxic World.

Many consumers are now looking at eating organic food as an investment in their long-term health, because of the questionable effects of consuming residue chemicals and pesticides. But organic food can seem incredibly expensive — but it isn’t really, it’s simply that producing food inorganically has reduced the overall cost of food production. (When I was little, eating roast chicken was an expensive treat — now it’s a cheap dinner you can buy at the service station.)

The immature brain, digestive system, nervous system, immune system, kidneys and liver that children have makes them far more vulnerable and sensitive than adults to most chemical substances (particularly toxins). So when introducing solids, we decided to feed our children mostly organic baby foods.

Now that they are older, and with organic food being so much dearer than non-organic food,  we’ve tried to give our children a lot of their staple foods as organic — with the ‘frilly’ bits being conventional. For example, I’ll use organic bread, but the butter and honey may not be organic. Plus, I try to supply my children with only organic fruit.

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