Organic products aren’t always cheap. That’s no secret. And in recent years, it seems like the word “organic” itself has become somewhat of a buzzword. It's trendy for sure, but don't forget that organic food is an investment towards your health and the health of the planet.
By now, you may have heard horror stories about the chemicals and hormones involved in the commercial production of our foods. Organic products aren’t necessarily more nutritious than non-organic alternatives, but they do keep you (and the environment) from being exposed to the worst of these chemicals.
Here are a few of the reasons why eating organic foods is worth the extra step.
You Are What You Eat (So What Are You Eating, Really?)
As you’ve probably heard, non-organic foods are often grown with the use of harsh pesticides. When we eat conventionally grown (non-organic) products, these pesticides can be present in what we’re eating.
Pesticides are chemical agents used to protect crops from insects, weeds, and infections. They are essentially targeted poisons used for killing pests. They are not intended to come into contact with people, but when humans interact with them in large amounts or over long periods of time, the effects can be fatal.
Pesticides and the Human Body
In humans, high exposure to pesticides can result in hospitalization and even death. Here are a few conditions that can result from exposure to these toxins.
- Respiratory problems
- Memory disorders
- Skin conditions
- Birth defects
- Neurological conditions (Parkinsons)
The pesticides present in one conventional grocery run is not too concerning by itself, but complications can start to arise from continual exposure to these chemicals. Some pesticides are not metabolized or easily expelled from the body so they can build up over time. Certain pesticides can build up in your fat and have even been found in breast milk.
Pesticides and Our Environment
Unfortunately, pesticides don’t only kill problem plants and insects, they can often harm beneficial organisms and interfere with our soil, water, air, and other wildlife.
Here are some of the ways these chemicals can be problematic for our environment:
- “Drifting” of pesticides occurs during every application, which contaminates nearby soil, air, and greenery
- They are often dangerous to non-target critters in the area (birds, fish, good insects, and plants)
- Runoff from treated areas can contaminate other surfaces and groundwater
- They can negatively impact the fertility of soil when used too heavily
The Importance of the USDA Organic Seal
When we choose organic products, we’re choosing to protect ourselves and the environment from certain harmful chemicals. That being said, it’s important to choose brands that are transparent about their ingredients and can back up their claims about being organic.
If you’re unsure about which products are truly organic, look for those that have the USDA organic seal and the name of their certifying agency. These brands can often be cross-referenced on the certifying agency's site and would have gone through an inspection to verify their products are being produced in accordance with organic standards.
RELATED: What Does it Mean to be Organic?
The USDA has specific rules and regulations that specify which substances are allowed to be used during organic food production. Most synthetic substances are prohibited. For farmers looking to get USDA organic certification, they can’t use any prohibited substances for at least three years to let any illicit chemicals flush out of the soil. If a product has obtained USDA organic certification – it’s a safer bet that it was produced in a conscious way.
You Can’t Afford Not to Eat Organic
The most common way humans come into contact with pesticides is through our food. Contrary to popular belief–washing and peeling your fruit and vegetables does not completely get rid of them. With commercial products, there’s always a chance you’re taking in a little bit of poison.
We also understand that eating an entirely organic diet may not be in the budget for everyone, so we recommend checking out resourced like the Environmental Working Group’s annual dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists that rank the most and least pesticide-laden produce, respectively. These guidelines can help you avoid buying conventional products that are known to require heavy pesticide use and help you conserve your budget by knowing which products are less of a worry when not buying organic.
Full Disclosure on Ritual’s Ingredients
Simple ingredients are something we’ve been passionate about since the very beginning of Ritual Energy, but organic is new for us. We’ve always been thoughtful about keeping our ingredients as natural as possible, but as we spent more time in the industry, it became more apparent that just simple and natural wasn't enough. Becoming an organic producer and making the decision to move our product lines towards all organic is a monumental step for us. We believe our health, and the health of our planet is directly tied to the foods that we eat, so we're excited to introduce our first certified organic snack in May of 2019. We hope you enjoy!
If you’re curious about what our conventional peanut and chocolate energy bites are made of, you can learn all about our ingredients here.