Why Live Organically?
Its back to basics really, we evolved and were born organically!
Before we get started – IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS:
**Organic: Relating to or derived from living matter. (1)
**Organic chemistry: Chemistry Relating to or denoting compounds containing carbon (other than simple binary compounds and salts) and chiefly or ultimately of biological origin. Compare with inorganic chemistry. (1)
As you can imagine, in looking at the above two definitions, it can be quite confusing when it comes to defining the word ORGANIC. A compound that has been derived or manipulated via Organic Chemistry is not usually left in its natural form. An example of this would be processed food, most cleaning products, most personal hygiene products etc. If you want to boil it right down, everything on the planet is derived from living matter, however where the chemical structures on organically derived compounds are altered via chemical or mechanical means, and no longer resemble their natural state, they need to be removed from under the ORGANIC umbrella. Some naturally occurring process such as fermentation, fluid extraction and gentle heating for example, can be mimicked and we are still left with an organic substance that can be good for our body; for example, some vinegars, herbal extracts and sauerkraut. To boil it down, the less our food and items that we come into contact with are manipulated and changed from their original form, the easier it is for our body to recognise and utilize or eliminate them.
Our bodies are well equipped to deal with a variety of toxic substances, even some Phyto Chemicals from plants can cause illness and death, such as the Death Cup Mushroom – nature has its own protective chemistry lab that has developed over millions of years. We know that if we eat too many oranges it can cause diarrhoea for example, in fact if we drank too much pure spring water we would become ill. Having the healthiest life possible is about balance and common-sense!
It does seem to make sense that if we ingest or absorb a chemical or toxic substance that our body was not designed to recognise or absorb, it can make us sick. However due to the amazing work of the liver and eliminatory organs we often do not feel acutely ill, however where we are exposed to large amounts of the substance or smaller amounts over a long period of time, our detoxification pathways within our body may become exhausted, and chronic illness may follow.
Diabetes type 2 – following a highly processed sugars and modified carbohydrate diet
Cirrhosis of the liver – excessive alcohol or drug ingestion over a long period of time.
Alzheimer’s disease – elevated Aluminium levels within our tissue over a long period of time.
There has been a steady increase in chronic illness over the last few decades, and doctors and scientists seemed perplexed in many cases as to why, particularly when it comes to cancers. The medical and scientific models that research causes for these diseases are quite remarkable in this day and age, however it is impossible to mimic and study the effects of exposure to multiple (thousands of) so-called organic and inorganic substances at a time, as part of every day. This is where the common-sense bit comes in – if we agree that one toxic substance ingested in high amounts or for a long period of time can cause illness, then we would have to agree that ingesting hundreds or thousands of substances in the course of one day could be quite detrimental to our health. The liver plays an important role in hormonal health, not just detoxing, as explained in this blog.
o According to the United States Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), when analysing pesticide residue found on vegetables in 2011, they found that, the humble Lettuce had 52 pesticide residues,
3 of which were known carcinogens
17 were hormone disruptors
10 were neurotoxins
8 were developmental or reproductive toxins
14 were honey bee toxins (2)
The effects of pesticides on our system can be detrimental, scientists are now discovering that some of these previously thought of as safe chemicals actually do cause harm to our body.
o Glyphosate AKA Roundup is thought of as a safe week killer to spray on food crops, as it does not harmfully affect any of the human cells, tissue or organs in our body. However, this chemical is also antibacterial, we house up to 2kg of beneficial bacteria in our gut, and our body on a whole, houses more bacteria than human cells. Bacteria play important roles in our health, they produce over 80% of the essential neurotransmitter Serotonin, orchestrate up to 90% of immunity, and play a huge role in digestion of our food – without them we would not be here, and where the types and amounts of bacteria are affected by outside influence such as Glyphosate on our grains and some medications, we are at risk of ill health in some form. Learn more about probiotics here.
Organic Living Defined
Put simply living as organic as is possible can be achieved by following a couple of ground rules:
1. Consume foods (vegetables and meats) that have been certified organic as often as possible, or grown yourself without pesticides or fertilizers that are out of packet – these can be made from safe household ingredients in most cases.
2. Use certified organic cleaning, personal hygiene and cosmetic products, or again make them yourself from organic household items.
3. Wear clothing that is made from natural fibres, organically grown where possible, or wash well before wearing.
4. Keep medications (e.g. Panadol), alcohol and cigarette smoke exposure limited where possible, and choose treatments from a Naturopath where available.
However, in some cases medications are life-saving and definitely should not be stopped – living as organically as possible in other areas of your life will help you to detoxify these more easily; also, your practitioner can prescribe herbal medicines to help with side-effects and extra nutrients where deficiencies are caused.
How to Live and Eat Organically Without Going Crazy or Broke
This all sounds quite difficult on face value, it can also be expensive living like this when you have a family. Just do your best, every time you reduce your families toxic load, their body responds positively, especially when it is still growing!
Initially being mindful of living in a more organic lifestyle and environment, internally and externally, in of itself usually means you are eating fresher foods with higher vitamin levels, which will make a huge impact on the way you feel day to day, usually within a few weeks. It is difficult to live 100% organically, in the beginning it is just about being mindful of the things you are buying at the supermarket.
Each time you need to replace a household item source the most cost effective organic option, whether it be homemade or purchased, and stick to that. You should find that you can save a fortune on cleaning agents using common household items such as vinegar, bi carbonate soda, salt, eucalyptus and other essential oils etc, and with the savings you could spend a little extra on organic foods. Most areas have farmers markets on a regular basis, where less expensive and fresher locally grown organic food can be purchased, also Organic Food Co-Ops are becoming more popular.
Research growing your own vegetables and fruits, start with simple items such as lettuce, spinach, snow peas, beans, sprouts, mushrooms etc. Growing your own is a very rewarding hobby, they taste absolutely amazing, and you will be outdoors getting your daily vitamin D as you tend to their growth and harvest.
Start a worm farm or compost heap, if you are pushed for space, an indoor Bokashi fermentation composter may be the best option, this will produce liquid fertilizer for your plants derived from the organic vegetable items you put through it. You can also grow in tubs or pots, often there are less pesticide and fungal invasions in a veranda where you can monitor things closely. If you have the room think about getting some chickens, they will compost your scraps and turn it into potent manure fertilizer. We have another detailed blog about easy ways to detox your home, which we highly recommend regarding reducing the chemical exposure we already have.
After the initial health benefits when you begin to merge toward living more organically, such as:
- More energy
- Less fogginess and more clarity of thinking
- Reduction in digestive disturbances
- Less headaches and joint and injury pain
In the long term, you will notice in looking back 12 months on wards that:
- Your immunity is improved
- Chronic illness symptoms will reduce and even disappear in some instances
- You will gain less weight or lose some
- Your hormonal systems including Thyroid, Reproductive, Adrenal and Pancreatic organs will function in better harmony
- Your appearance will improve with clearer skin, eyes, and shinier hair
- And in the longer term:
- You may reduce your risk for acute and chronic illnesses
- You may live longer and or healthier into older age
- You may switch off or prevent genetic predispositions to disease, such as familial type cancers and diseases.
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Recommended Reading and References
1 2017 Oxford University Press. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/
2 Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN), http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=LT