Don’t Panic, Eat Organic!

organic picSummer, a time where you not only get three months of (almost) worry free bliss and warm weather, but a time where some of your favorite fruits and veggies are in season. For me personally, summer calls for eating more whole foods because I have more time on my hands to prepare and cut up fruits and veggies and discover new recipes with fresh produce. Plus, I think it’s safe to say that we all love a good slice of watermelon or some delicious strawberries on a summer day. We love fruit during the hot weather because it’s refreshing and healthy, what could be wrong with fruit? It is natural after all. However, have you ever found yourself in the midst of indulging in a slice of watermelon wondering why there are no seeds in it? …Probably not, since a lot of us think of seedless watermelon to be more convenient because who wants those annoying little black seeds in the way of you going to watermeltown? But the unfortunate truth is that a lot of our beloved fruits and veggies that we assume are totally fresh and natural may have been genetically modified and/or have been raised using conventional methods to fertilize and control weeds. Terrifying I know, so what is the solution to this you ask? Organic and GMO free products!

Now, what qualifies as organic? Organic means that agricultural product such as fruits, veggies, grains, dairy products and meat has been grown or raised without using conventional methods. Instead, organic farming practices use natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants with crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds.

What is GMO? GMO means genetically modified organism, for instance, seedless watermelon. The label “organic” usually means GMO free but unfortunately not all of the time! Since there are loop holes, produce can be genetically modified and considered “organic”. So keep an eye out for the GMO certification as well as organic!

What are conventional methods and why are they bad? As far as conventional methods go there are a few different types that come with their own con’s and risks. First off, there is the use of chemical and synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, which is harmful to the environment and to us. These chemicals contain neurotoxins which are damaging to brain and nerve cells. Not only are they used within conventional methods but eighteen percent of genetically modified seeds are engineered to produce their own pesticides. Even worse, studies show that these seeds may continue to produce pesticides after you’ve eaten the food that grows from them. I don’t know about you, but eating food that manufactures it’s own pesticide inside of you is not my cup of tea. Another conventional method is the use of antibiotics which are used to speed growth and fatten up animals in the meat and poultry industries. These are only a couple of the methods used on conventional farms, you can check out more methods such as mono-cropping and genetic-engineering and modification and details about them here.

What are the benefits of organic food? A common misconception of the idea of organic food is that it is a guarantee that it is healthier. But it really depends on what type of food you are banking on to be deemed as healthier. For example: unfortunately, your organic potato chips still aren’t going to be your healthiest pick at the grocery store. However, just because the label “organic” doesn’t mean unnatural products like chips are healthy, it does mean that any whole foods that are natural are increased in nutritional value if they are organic. According to care2.com research shows that organic food is higher in nutrients, and in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium. So if you’re talking organic produce oppose to factory made groceries, you go ahead and get down with your organic eatin’-bad self because there are many health benefits that come along with organic eating.

Some may be skeptical about the idea of organic eating. Due to inconvenience and the price ect. Going about your life constantly asking and checking if a certain food is organic is a concept that makes some people cringe due to it seeming to be a huge hassle. But you do not have to go to the extreme of being one hundred percent organic in order to receive the benefits that come with organic eating. Simply incorporating more organic food into your life will be a positive impact to your health. When it comes to expenses, organic food is making it’s way into more stores and restaurants therefore making it more common, accessible, and affordable. So next time you see the word organic labeled on a food product, think about what it means and the benefits that come with it.  Being knowledgeable about conventionally raised produce will help you avoid enduring the negative effects that come with it. So switch up you summer fruit feasts and make it organic, and eat clean to feel healthy!

“It’s a good day to have a good day!”

-Alena Purpero ♡

Paleo Diet: friend or foe?

Paleo Diet photoBy: Abbey Bowen

When I was struggling with acne last semester, I kept looking for natural solutions online. One day, the “Paleo Diet” showed up on a Google search. I clicked it, and read all about this new diet that aims to mimic the dietary habits of a caveman.

The Paleo Diet, which was created by Dr. Loren Cordain, consists mainly of lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

According to thepaleodiet.com, eating like our caveman ancestors reduces the risk of several illnesses and diseases that currently plague Western civilization, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Acne
  • Myopia (nearsightedness), macular degeneration, glaucoma
  • Varicose veins, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, gastric reflux
  • Gout

To make a long story short, the Paleo Diet is similar to an organic, or all-natural, diet. The premise of the entire diet is to only consume foods that can be “hunted and gathered.” By following the dietary habits that Dr. Cordain has laid out, a person is supposed to maximize his or her vitamin, protein and fiber intake while lowering levels of sodium and carbohydrates.

Well, that’s all well and good, right? I’m not so sure.

Melody Churney, writer for “Foodsafetynews.com,” wrote an article titled “Don’t Eat Like a Caveman,” which compares the Paleo Diet to several other diet trends that are full of promises but really only allow for short-term weight loss and all around health.

Churney mainly slams Dr. Cordain for telling her followers to cut out whole grains from their diets.

“To set the record straight: whole grains (i.e. complex carbohydrates) do not make people fat or sick — assuming you stick to whole grains,” Churney argues. “Refined grains on the other hand are stripped of nutrients and fiber and are often enriched with a mere fraction of the nutrients they once possessed. Whole grains are an important part of a long-term, healthy diet. They provide ample doses of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.”

She also states legumes should not be removed from the diet of someone who desires to be healthy.

“Legumes are also an important part of a long-term healthy diet, and include foods like beans, peas, lentils, soy and peanuts,” she suggests. “Legumes are a nutritional powerhouse packed with fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, folate, magnesium and potassium.”

Later on in the article, she says point blank, “Any diet that advises against consuming whole grains and legumes is focused less on your health and more on selling books.” This statement is amusing because Dr. Cordain is, in fact, a New York Times Bestselling Author.

All in all, I am pretty conflicted with my opinion on the Paleo Diet. I agree with what Churney wrote when she said the diet is outdated because society has evolved so much from the time cavemen were alive. How can we say for certain that their diet is the optimal diet for us as well?

However, I do see how eating all natural can benefit your body and mind.

What do you think about the Paleo Diet?

Message the Warhawk Fitness PR Team on Facebook and let us know!

~Remember, you have to learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else~

Abbey :]