Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Straight talk about food, 'organic' or not ...

From at digby's:
... so let me cut to the chase. If you want to understand the basics of the issues surrounding organic, start by reading Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle. However, I don't think even that is too necessary if all you're interested in is eating well - meaning lustily, healthfully, and responsibly. It boils down to this:

If you can afford it, and you can find it, prepare and eat unprocessed fresh organic foods.

Otherwise, prepare and eat unprocessed fresh conventional foods.

If you possibly can, don't buy or eat industrial meat.

The End. The rest is detail. Here's a little of that:

Why are organics preferred? Mainly, it's way easier on the environment and far less cruel to animals. Since there are fewer human-made chemicals used in the growing, cleaning, storing, and distribution it's probably healthier (assuming it's fresh and meets the appropriate standards). There are other reasons, but those are the main ones.

Why are conventionally grown foods acceptable? They're much cheaper. If you can't afford organics, there is no reason under the sun to worry that you are somehow harming your family (assuming it's fresh and meets the appropriate standards). Far worse than eating unprocessed conventional is eating processed organic food, which is usually junk food. The less of that stuff, the better (ditto junk food that isn't organic, duh).

Why avoid industrial meat if you possibly can? The more you understand how the animals are treated, how they are killed, and how the meat is made, the more you understand how environmentally destructive industrial meat practices are, the more you realize how thoroughly disgusting it is, by any standards. Get your meat from a high quality butcher and only eat ground meat prepared by people you trust. Since this is more expensive, chances are you'll eat less meat. That is an extra benefit, for many reasons. Pollan, Nestle, and Bittman - none of whom are vegetarians, btw - will be happy to tell you about them.

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