By Remy Marin, Teen Editorial Manager with a personal mission to help every teen de-stress and recognize what truly matters in life.
Everyone has been saying that we should eat only organic food, but I know I’m not the only teen who has no clue what that really means. I mean, I guess organic food is all-natural and has no chemicals, but my chemistry teacher always said that it meant the food contained certain elements, and wouldn’t all fruit and vegetables be organic? And how does it all factor into eating healthy and helping the environment?
If you’re as organically curious as I am, here’s the break down.
Oh, It’s Organic.
Basically, if a food is organic, then it was (or comes from an animal that was) grown without any chemicals, pesticides, tricky modifications, or hormones added, and has been approved by a government inspector. Also, farmers labeled “organic” use methods that conserve and recycle resources.
Here’s the tricky part: the label “100% organic” means that the food is completely organic, but “organic” just means that the food is 95% organic.
The confusion doesn’t stop at “organic.” Some other labels you might see are:
- GMO – A food that farmers have altered genetically so it grows differently.
- Sustainable Foods – Foods from farms that are environment-friendly, natural, preserve the land, serve a local community, and treat animals as well as employees fairly. Sustainable foods are often organic, too.
- Grass-Fed – Animals that ate natural diets, not manufactured foods meant to fatten them up.
- Fair Trade Certified – From farmers who were given fair prices.
- Natural – Food that was processed as little as possible and is close to its original state, with no artificial ingredients added.
- Free Range – Animals that were not stuck in a cage during their life, though this does not guarantee that the animals really got to roam free.
- No Hormones Added – Animals were raised without any growth hormones to beef them up (no pun intended).
While organic foods aren’t always healthier, they are definitely better for your body and often contribute to a more balanced diet, not to mention a healthier environment! And in general, organic veggies and grass-fed meat is better for you than chips or fatty beef.
The only trick is that organic farms can’t follow the same sterilization process as others, so be sure to wash every piece of produce and thoroughly cook every piece of meat to be sure that you’re staying safe. Other than that, you’re good to go!
Last reviewed Nov. 17, 2014