Whether it’s due to worries about food safety, a desire to have a better diet meal plan or ecological concerns, more and more people are buying and consuming organic food these days. Living an organic lifestyle has become very popular. However, trying to navigate the maze of organic benefits, a diet meal plan, food labels and claims can be overwhelming. Is organic food that good for your physical and mental well being?
The term organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. These regulations, however, vary from one country to the next. In the U.S., organic crops meet the standards only if farmers grow them without the use of bioengineered genes (GMOs), sewage sludge-based fertilizers, and synthetic pesticides.
Organic livestock raised for eggs, meat, and dairy products need to have access to the outdoors and eat only organic feed. They may not receive growth hormones, antibiotics, or any other animal by-products.
What You Need to Know About Organic Foods
Organic foods have exploded exponentially over the last few decades. In the U.S. alone, organic food consumers spent $40 billion on organic products in 2014. This trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down since sales in organic products increased by 11 percent from 2014 to 2015.
Studies comparing organic and non-organic nutrient content have provided mixed results. According to these studies, it is due to the natural variation in food handling and production. Despite the uncertainty over organic food benefits, evidence from research points out that organic food may be more nutritious than non-organic food.
Benefits of organic foods
Organically grown crops have been found to contain higher levels of certain micronutrients that are good for our health such as Zinc, Vitamin C, and Iron. Antioxidant levels in organic foods are up to 70 percent higher than in non-organic foods.
According to a study done on berries to compare levels of nutrients in organic and non-organic food, organic berries had levels of Vitamin C that were 52 percent higher. Another study pointed out that replacing your regular vegetable, cereal, and fruit diet meal plan with organic versions provides extra nutrients.
Researchers have discovered that organic dairy products such as milk might have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids with slightly higher amounts of Vitamin E, iron, and carotenoids. It's also important to note that non-organic milk contains more iodine and selenium than organic milk, which is essential for health. A higher intake of Omega 3 fatty acids common in organic food has a myriad of health benefits including a healthy heart. Also, many people prefer organic food to avoid exposure to artificial chemicals that are potentially harmful to our health.
Organic Foods and Cost
While organic foods are good for our health and recommended as healthy diet plans, they cost more than regular non-organic food. They are expensive because growing them is labor intensive and the crop yield isn’t always as good. This forces consumers to spend more to eat healthily.
How to save on organic foods
Strictly following an organic diet meal plan can dig a hole in your pocket. It’s highly unlikely that they will be more cost-effective compared to non-organic food unless, of course, you own a garden. Due to this, most consumers are forced to limit their expenses on organic foods to items with the highest potential for pesticides.
Can you save money by buying organic food? Here are a few tips that could significantly help stretch your organic food choices for a more beneficial diet meal plan.
Getting the Best out of an Organic Diet Meal Plan
Most people today are aware of the benefits of good health, and they are trying to eat better by adopting healthy diet meal plans. Adopting a healthy diet means choosing plenty of whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins, and fruits. According to organic food advocates, organic food is much more nutritious, and often better tasting. It's better for the environment and kinder to animals too.
To get the best out of your organic diet meal plan, you need to understand why organic foods should be an important part of your diet. Organic foods lack artificial chemicals, growth hormones, or pesticides. Therefore, the laws on organic labeling ban the use of chemicals, herbicides, or hormone treatments on any produce or meat with organic certification.
You also need to note organic foods that are most vulnerable to growth hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics. You can reduce chemical residue on the following foods by washing them thoroughly, and cooking reduces their hormone levels.
When shopping for organic foods, it is important that consumers only get seasonal foods. Produce that is in season, including organic produce, is cost-effective and plentiful.
Healthy Organic Diet Meal Plans
Several healthy, organic diet meal plans can work. However, the key is finding one that you like and can stick to for a long period. Here are four organic diet meal plans that are scientifically proven to be effective.
Organic low-carb, real food-based diet meal plan
If you are looking to lose weight and still eat healthy organic food, this is the perfect diet meal plan. An organic low-carb diet has the capability of fine-tuning your carb intake depending on your goals. This particular diet meal plan is rich in organic fish, eggs, meat, nuts, fruits, and fats.
An organic low-carb diet is a diet that is restrictive of carbohydrates that are common in sugary foods such as pasta and bread. However, it is high in healthy vegetables, proteins, and fat. While there are a variety of different low-carb diets, this one is special since it's organic and low-carb. This diet meal plan will not only help you lose weight but will also ensure you get the maximum health benefits of organic foods.
Your food choices on this diet will depend on how healthy you are, how often you exercise, and how much weight you are looking to lose.
Organic low-carb one-week diet meal plan
Ensure you include a variety of low-carb vegetables in your organic diet meal plan. It needs to remain under 50 grams of carbs in a single day. There is room for one fruit and plenty of veggies every day.
Organic Mediterranean diet meal plan
The Mediterranean diet is centuries old and particularly effective in heart disease prevention. This diet includes eating plenty of organic vegetables, fish, fruits, poultry, legumes, whole grains, dairy, berries, and extra virgin olive oil.
The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional foods that were eaten in 1960 by people in Greece and Italy. According to studies, people in these regions were exponentially healthy compared to current Americans. They had a very low risk of lifestyle diseases. This diet helps prevent heart attacks, diabetes, and premature death. It also promotes weight loss.
The basics of an organic Mediterranean diet meal plan
Eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, whole grains, herbs, seafood, spices, potatoes, extra virgin olive oil.
Don’t eat sugary beverages, processed meats, added sugars, refined oils, refined grains, or highly processed foods.
Organic Mediterranean one-week diet meal plan
There is usually no need for calorie counting when you are on a Mediterranean diet. However, you need to ensure all the products are organic to qualify as an organic Mediterranean diet.
Organic Paleo diet meal plan
The Organic paleo diet is a very popular diet when it comes to general health improvement as well as weight loss. It’s a diet that is designed to resemble a traditional hunter-gatherer meal plan. While it's almost impossible to figure out exactly what foods our hunter and gatherer ancestors ate, scientists believe it consisted of whole foods.
An organic whole food-based diet mixed with a physically active life has much lower rates of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Organic Paleo one-week diet plan
There is no need for tracking calories when you are on an organic paleo diet meal plan. If you are looking to lose weight, then it might be a good idea to cut down on the carbs in your diet meal plan. Limit your intake on high-fat foods. Ensure all products are organic.
Organic vegan diet plan
Vegan diets are trendy, and linked to some health benefits including better blood sugar levels, a healthy heart, and weight loss. This particular diet is exclusively plant-based and organic.
Organic Vegan one-week diet meal plan
Make sure you vary your sources with vegetables and proteins throughout the day, since each provides different types of nutrients that are vital to your health.
When buying organic food, it's important to note that organic doesn’t always mean healthy. Often, making junk food sound healthy is a ploy used in marketing. It's also important to note that organic desserts, baked goods, and snacks are still very high in fat, salt, sugar and calories. It's wise to read food labels carefully before buying.