Definition of "Organics" in the U.S.Effective 21 October 2002, all agricultural farms and products claiming to be organic must be guaranteed by a USDA-approved independent agency to be meeting the following guidelines: Abstain from the application of prohibited materials (including synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and sewage sludge) for 3 years prior to certification and then continually throughout their organic license. Prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms and irradiation. Employ positive soil building, conservation, manure management and crop rotation practices. Provide outdoor access and pasture for livestock. Refrain from antibiotic and hormone use in animals. Sustain animals on 100% organic feed. Avoid contamination during the processing of organic products. Keep records of all operations.
This explains what is 'allowable' for USDA organic certification. It seems pretty cut and dry, however, I just don't think it is quite that simple. Some companies are using other labeling options to get out of the fear factor especially of irradiated foods. There is actually a symbol that will hopefully be placed on all foods that are irradiated in our country. Many countries have outlawed irradiating foods and also genetically modified foods as well. Go team GO! I sure hope that at some point we will follow suit!
It is imperative in our country that we educate consumers on why they are obese and chronically ill, all the time! Foods in a box is not the food we need for healthy living. Our cells need the to syncronize of the myriad of macronutrients, and micronutrients in order to function properly.
In other words, our organic foods can be heat processed, (pasteurized and homogenized) and yes this does alter our foods. It does deactivate the enzymes in our food. The good news is our pancreas can synthesize enzymes needed for digestion and other bodily function. The bad news, without any raw food enzymes in the diet we can really tax our pancreas thus, adding raw foods to the diet is a great way to assure that we will not put this unnecessary stress on ourselves. Sally Fallon says, that enzymes are proteins that are necessary for many bodily functions, but that without proper intake of necessary vitamins and minerals these process' do not function as they should. Consider the orchestra without violins.
On another note some foods have enzyme inhibitors, and cooking and/or sprouting is necessary to deactivate these. Grains, nuts, legumes and seeds, this is why these foods uncooked can be hard for some to digest. We all have to find a balance between our cooked food and our raw foods. Cooking is not all bad, it can also kill unwanted toxins from foods and activate some nutrients. I think balance is the key. A plant based diet is necessary for optimum health and these foods should be eaten, as we recognize them not so altered that we have to guess what we are eating!
Again choosing raw, cooked, vegetarian, omnivorous is up to each individual to figure out on their own. We are all biochemically different and have to acknowledge and sometimes find what works for our own bodies. I can say that choosing a wide variety of whole organic foods is a great start to better health and more energy. Research has shown that organic foods are more rich in the nutrients we need for life. Many foods have been stored on shelves, trucked across country and sprayed with a myriad of toxins or even irradiated to ward of bacteria and extend shelf life. Be an aware and smart consumer, care about your body and what you put in it. I am certain that will live richer and healthier lives because of it!
Sources: Sally Fallon- Nourishing Traditions George Mateljan- Worlds Healthiest Foods Textbook and Natural Medicine