Organic vs. Inorganic
Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of your diet. The average person needs to consume 4-6 cups of vegetables and 3-4 servings of fruit per day to get all of the essential vitamins and minerals that they need for optimal health. That being said, your grocery store spinach may not be the spinach that you think it is and could be leaving your body wanting what it needs and giving it toxins that it does not. Typical grocery store produce is loaded with pesticides, over fertilized, picked green and then sits in warehouses and freezers for several weeks before you buy it. Each of these is bad for your produce and you.
Let’s start with the pesticides. Pesticides are nasty chemicals that work in a variety of ways. Some are neurotoxins, but almost all are endocrine modulators. That means that they alter your natural hormone balance. Your average pesticide causes sexual dimorphism in animals that are exposed to it. That means that males act more like females and females act more like males, disturbing the natural balance that needs to exist between the sexes. This also occurs in humans and can be seen genetically as far as 6 generations deep. In other words, the things that I do to alter my hormone levels, will also alter the hormones of my great, great, great, great grandchildren. These hormones are meant to naturally be in a certain balance, called homeostasis which your body desires. When they are not in this balance it affects every system in your body. This can cause an assortment of issues ranging from obesity to several cancers and heart disease. These hormones are important for your health and not meant to be toyed with haphazardly.
Fertilizing, when done properly can add greatly to plant health. But, conventional methods are not done properly. These methods use formulations of N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium), the three essential nutrients plants require to grow shoots, blooms and roots. They work phenomenally for getting a plant to grow and bear fruit. The downside to this is that as the plant grows it strips all of the other elements from the soil. After several seasons of this style of agriculture, the soil is left barren and NPK becomes even more necessary to grow crops. The result is a plant that looks great and produces lots, but is void of most of its micronutrient value. This means that you get tomatoes, but they are low in vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and phytonutrient content. A proper fertilizer, like good quality compost, will provide N-P-K and all of the plants other nutrients.
When the fruit matures on the plant, it has its highest nutritional content. Much of this content, especially antioxidants, is added in the last few days before the fruit is fully ripe. Then, once picked the fruit quickly begins to loose nutrition value. For example, an organically grow green bean, picked ripe, has roughly the same vitamin C content per serving as an orange. After 24 hours, it has half of that content. After another 24 hours the content has halved again. So by the time you pick it up from the grocery, a few weeks to a month after it was picked, it has almost no vitamin C.
I have seen the effects of this year after year in clients. They struggle to lose weight, then finally yield and switch to organic local fruits and vegetables and suddenly the weight begins to fall off. It became most apparent to me several years ago as I found that clients would go to Europe (for work or play) for a few weeks and manage to lose 10-20 pounds while skipping their workouts and eating rich high carbohydrate meals (and drinking too much wine). I was left with a conundrum. Either everything that I knew about exercise and diet was wrong, or something is different about European food. It is the later. One thing that you see in Europe is food stands in every town. These are local farmers that raise their fruits and vegetables organically, pick them the evening before and sell them in the market the next day. The meats are grass fed and wild and are also fresh from the farm or sea. All in all, everything is raised more healthily and far fresher than American supermarket food (a lot of which comes from Asia). The result was that clients said the same meals tasted better, were more satisfying, they felt better, had more energy, and lost weight without trying (many vitamins and minerals are essential for fat metabolism).
The best solution is to find a local organic grower for a far superior food and try not to buy more than a few days at a time. A good second option is to buy organic frozen fruits and vegetables when they do need to be fresh. A lot of people frown on frozen but the reality is that they are picked, washed, cut and frozen on the same day so they don’t lose nutritional value. So if you are going to sauté your spinach, organic fresh frozen is fine. For those items that you can’t find organic locally, and frozen won’t do, buy organic from the supermarket and try to make sure it was grown in the states to ensure that it is as fresh as possible (theoretically, the closer to home the better).