“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”
– Joseph Campbell
Mankind has a funny way of coming full circle, and today’s ever-growing organic movement is testimony to that! As humans, we had our beginnings in the lap of nature. But somewhere down the line, overpopulation and urbanization took us further and further away from natural, holistic ways of living. Now, a growing number of consumers are deciding to return to our organic roots.
“Organic” is one of our values (and one of our value categories) because organic products and supply chains are vital to our sustainable mission.
It’s also true that as more people are recognizing this fact, it is equally as important to ask the hard questions about why organic is better. Questions like:
- What exactly do we mean when we say ‘organic’?
- How and why are organic goods a better choice for our health?
- Why are organic products better for the environment?
So we’re here to clear the air! Today, we share the organic basics you need to know along with how we view (and value) organic brands.
Back to the Organic Basics
While the explosion of interest in organic food, skincare, and clothing may seem like a recent trend, it is far from it. Think about it. Up until 100 years or so ago, all food and materials used by humans were organic in nature!
As industrialization and urbanization exploded our population sizes, we had to think fast for ways to rapidly grow more in less time. The result? Large-scale farming that relies on heavy use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other synthetic harmful products.
In the rush to up our quantity, we forgot about quality. The overuse of these toxic chemicals has led to harmful consequences for our health and the health of our planet.
The search for a lifestyle that is health promoting, one that prevents illness, is encouraging people to get back to their organic basics. And make the swap to organic products.
What Do We Mean By Organic?
Now let’s get down to the word itself. Because we’re just covering the organic basics here, we won’t go deep into the organic certification process. This is complicated and location specific. In general, for a product to be termed organic, it broadly has to satisfy two major criteria.
Organic Basics 1: No Toxic Chemicals, Non-GMO
Organic crops are grown without the use of toxic man-made chemicals, artificial hormones, or genetic modification. The term ‘toxic chemicals’ is a broad one, and includes everything from artificial hormones, chemical herbicides and food additives to synthetic hormones, antibiotics, and industrial solvents.
The restriction of genetic modification in organic farming allows us to assume that truly organic products are Non-GMO as well.
Organic Basics 2: Environmentally Sustainable Agricultural Methods
The farming methods used to grow organic earth crops focus on environmentally sustainable methods of agriculture. These natural techniques preserve the fertility of the soil, plant nutrition, while also protecting natural resources and the biodiversity of its surroundings.
Organic livestock farming such as meat, poultry, and dairy is produced using no chemicals, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, ionizing radiation, or industrial sludge.
What Are The Examples Of Organic Products?
Hear the word ‘organic’, and most of us think ‘food’! While this is correct, there are many other products that use organic materials and ingredients. There are skincare, personal care, and clothing brands across the world that are committed to using organic ingredients in their products.
Visit the organic aisle in your supermarket or farmer’s market. You’ll find a thriving variety of organically grown fruits and vegetables. It’s not just the greens – organic foods also include meats, preserved foods like from SauerCrowd, and dairy products produced using organic livestock practices.
Organic clothing brands use organic cotton and other natural materials such as bamboo to create their clothes. Clothes by brands such as Saint Basics are free of any synthetic materials! They are softer, more breathable, and free of any toxic chemicals. Plus, unlike conventional cotton, organic cotton is grown using sustainable environmental practices.
Organic Personal Care
Organic personal care brands like Food For Skin use certified organic ingredients to formulate their products. More and more eco-conscious brands are offering a wide collection of organic shampoos, skincare, candles, and other personal care products that are just as effective (or even more) than conventional products, without any of the chemical nasties!
4 Reasons Why Organic is Better For Us And The Environment
What makes organic products better for us than non-organic goods? The answer lies in the very way in which organic crops are produced and processed. Here are 4 main reasons why organic is better:
1 – Organic Products Have No Harmful Chemicals
Non-organically produced products freely use toxic pesticides that not only have dangerous effects on our physical health but psychological effects as well. These pesticides accumulate in our bodies over time. They have been found to raise our risk of cancer, weaken our immunity, disrupt hormonal balance, and cause reproductive problems. (And here we can’t help by think, “of course they do. They were literally created to poison living things.”)
Organic products, in contrast, have a cleaner composition since they categorically avoid the use of such toxic chemicals. As a result, consuming them prevents these chemicals from building up in our bodies.
2 – Organic Foods Have More Nutrients, Antioxidants, and Vitamins
Several scientific studies have found that organic foods have a much higher level of antioxidants and micronutrients like zinc and iron! This is because organic foods don’t depend on chemical pesticides to protect them from pests, and instead produce their own antioxidants as a natural defense.
That’s why eating raw, organic foods rich in antioxidants reduces our risk of heart disease and cancer, and slows down the aging of our organs and skin.
3 – Organic Basics Are Better For Our Skin
Our skin is the body’s largest organ and up to 60% of what we apply to it can be absorbed. Non-organic shampoos, nail paints, and soaps contain chemicals that lack safety data – and using them consistently can mean their harmful effects will be circulated throughout our bodies.
Organic clothing, personal care, and skincare products are made using only natural ingredients that are free of these toxins. So you can go ahead and use them as liberally as you need. Rest assured, your skin will only be absorbing the goodness of natural, GMO-free ingredients.
4 – More Environmentally-Friendly
If you’ve been thinking about living a more eco-conscious lifestyle, then switching to organic products is a big step in the right direction. When you use organic products, you’re more likely to be supporting environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.
Conventional farming methods use chemical pesticides that can destroy the long-term viability of the topsoil, while also killing crucial microorganisms that produce organic matter responsible for the soil’s fertility!
In contrast, organic farming uses natural fertilizers and green manure that enrich the fertility of the soil. Organic farming is also focused on preserving the nutritional value of the plants. Moreover, organic farming is more likely to make responsible use of water resources and preserve the natural biodiversity of the region.
How Do You Identify Organic Products? The Certifications and Brand Values.
Various countries around the world have their own certification bodies to brand their products as organic. While the broad definition of organic products (the one we’ve shared earlier) is agreed upon across the board, there may be minor modifications from country to country to account for local farming practices.
There are two organic certifications that you’ll see most commonly, depending on where a product is created and/or sold:
The European Union launched its very own EU Organic logo in 2010. The EU certification is awarded to products that have fulfilled the body’s strict conditions on how its ingredients are produced, processed transported, and stored. This visual logo makes it easy for consumers to readily identity EU made organic products too.
The US has its own USDA organic certification, which lays down strict guidelines for companies to fulfill before they can be certified organic by the agency. The body has different categories of organic certification. These are 100% Organic, Organic, and ‘Made with Organic’, depending on the percentage of organic content in the products.
The downside of only using organic certifications as your buying metric
However, it’s important to note that certifications can be very expensive and time consuming to achieve. This is especially true for smaller companies and brands that are just getting started. For a lot of small businesses, migrating to using the organic basics is a huge time and money investment – one we want to help honor. If you find yourself drawn to a brand based on their values, but you don’t see an organic certification – just ask them about the organic nature of their products! You’ll find that there are a lot of brands out there working with the organic basics. Often, they’re doing the hard work without the certified recognition!
If there was ever a time for us to go back to our natural roots, it is now. By supporting organic brands and organic products, we not only take a stand for our own well-being, but also for our planet’s future. And like all great things in life, it starts by taking a single step – one day at a time!