Plant foods are classified as organic when they are grown without fertilizers, hormones and pesticides. Animal foods are classified as free range when they are farmed with space to roam around and without hormones, antibiotics and artificial feeds. Because certain methods that make food production quicker and more efficient are not used in this type of food production, organic and free range foods are more expensive. This clearly leads to a more natural and healthier food choice, but what are the more specific differences? Find out now:
Difference between organic and normal plant foods:
- Organically grown foods cause less damage to the environment and produce less pollution, since poison and fertilizer residues aren't washed away into the rivers, air, water and soil. In some countries, it has become so bad that poisons from farming have indirectly contaminated tap water to levels where it not safe to drink. Organic farming also uses considerably less electricity than other forms of plant farming.
- Because pesticides aren't used on organic plants, they adapt by strengthening their own immune response to insects, weeds and disease. By stimulating and using their own immune systems, they have higher micro nutrient (antioxidant, mineral and vitamin) values compared to plants that are grown with chemicals.
- Although many experts say that the amount of residue poisons on normal plant products are at healthy and safe levels for healthy adults (note the term 'healthy' and 'adults', because young children have immune systems that are not as adept at fighting of these poisons, and current illnesses in adults can become worse with exposure to these poisons), scientists have linked residue poisons on plant products to the increases in illness like cancer in the human population.
- Fragile produce that is more prone to pestilence need more pesticides to ward off disease and infestation. These foods are best bought organic as they can contain more poison residues when bought normally. These foods include lettuce, potatoes, apples, spinach, celery and grapes.
Difference between free range and normal animal products:
- Antibiotics that are given to standard, commercially farmed animals are often the same antibiotics given to humans. By increasing antibiotic usage, viruses and germs are becoming stronger and more resistant to these medications. This means that people who consume these antibiotics indirectly will respond less to the effects of antibiotics, and that viruses are becoming stronger against these treatments.
- Hormones like estrogen are used to fatten up animals on farms so that they yield more meat in a shorter period of time. Some studies show shocking facts. Some studies, in fact, allege that western females reach puberty quicker as a result of the hormones which are indirectly consumed.
- Commercially raised animals are fed limited diets, generally comprising of waste products from plant farms. Free range animals are allowed to walk around naturally and eat surrounding plants, similar to what they would do if they were in the wild. By eating a varied, more natural diet; free range meat has a higher nutrient value for humans. For example, most people are deficient in the essential fatty acid CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA is sold in supplement stores because it helps to redirect fat to the energy cycle in humans. CLA is naturally found in grass fed meat, however. Because free range animals are able to roam around freely, there resulting exercise translates to higher meat quality such as better protein content.
- As an example of the nutrient difference between free range and commercial foods, there is three times more Vitamin E and a third of the cholesterol in a free range egg, compared to a standard, commercially farmed egg.
Unfortunately, organic and free range foods are still a lot more expensive than regular foods. The price difference is decreasing, however, as we learn to farm both healthier and more efficiently. Increased demand for more naturally produced food is leading to a food revolution as people are becoming more conscience about the effects of eating unnaturally. Don't worry if you can't afford to eat exclusively organic and free range, eating a standard banana is better than not eating a banana at all! Stay Strong.