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  • Although I typically write about nutraceuticals, I thought I’d address a different topic for this issue: whether or not organic foods are actually better than conventional foods. It’s a question I’m often asked.

    Statistics & Definition
    Over the past few decades, sales of organic foods have consistently increased. U.S. organic food sales in 2018 were no exception. According to Nielsen Homescan household projected data, organic food sales during the 52 weeks ending November 28, 2018, rose nearly nine percent over the previous period, surpassing $21 billion.1 Clearly, consumers are willing to pay the typical 10 to 40 percent higher price for organic foods over conventionally produced foods. But why? According to one survey2, the main reasons consumers purchased organic foods were for the avoidance of pesticides (70 percent), for freshness (68 percent), for health and nutrition (67 percent), and to avoid genetically modified foods (55 percent).

    Now that we know why consumers buy organic food, let’s define organic food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

    Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.3

    After reading the USDA’s definition of organic and the results of the previously cited consumer survey, one might think that organic foods would be universally accepted as being healthier than conventionally grown foods. However, this is not necessarily the case. For example, the USDA “makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food.”4 So, does this mean that the public has been duped and there is really no significant benefit to using organic foods over conventional foods? To answer this question from a scientific perspective, let’s examine the research.

    The Research on Organic Foods

    In a study on the “Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains,”5 organic crops were found to contain significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus and significantly fewer nitrates than conventional crops (see chart on following page). There were nonsignificant trends showing less protein but of better quality and a higher content of nutritionally significant minerals with lower amounts of some heavy metals in organic crops compared to conventional ones.

    In a review6 of earlier research, studies showed that organic fertilization practices produce crops that also had higher levels of ascorbic acid, lower levels of nitrate, and improved protein quality compared with conventionally grown crops. In addition, animal studies showed better growth and reproduction in animals fed organically grown feed compared with those fed conventionally grown feed.

    In other research, organic crops contained a significantly higher amount of certain antioxidants (vitamin C, polyphenols and flavonoids) and minerals than conventional ones. Moreover, there was a lower level of pesticide residues, nitrate and some heavy metal contaminations in organic crops compared to conventional ones. A relationship was seen between the different fertilization and plant protection methods of these two plant production systems and the nutritional composition of crops. The conclusion was that organically produced plant-derived food products have a higher nutritional value, including antioxidants than conventional ones.7 Furthermore, due to the lower level of contamination in organic crops, the risk of diseases caused by contaminated food was thought to be significantly reduced.

    organic crops vs conventional crops

    According to Organic farming, food quality and, human health: A review of the evidence8, “A comprehensive review of existing research reveals significant differences between organically and nonorganically grown food. These differences relate to food safety, primary nutrients, secondary nutrients [aka, phytochemicals] and health outcomes demonstrated by feeding trials.” With regard to food safety:

    • Nearly all pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.
    • There is no evidence linking organically produced foods with an increased risk of food poisoning.
    • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their derivatives are prohibited in organic production.
    • The routine, growth promoting or prophylactic use of antibiotics is prohibited in organic standards for animal husbandry.
    • No record has been found of any case of BSE, suspected of being linked to new variant CJD in humans, in an animal born and reared organically.
    • More than 500 additives are permitted for use in nonorganically processed foods, compared with around 30 permitted in organic processing.
    • Studies have shown lower levels of potentially harmful nitrate in organically produced crops.
    With regard to primary nutrients:
    • Vitamin C and dry matter contents are higher, on average, in organically grown crops.
    • Mineral contents are also higher, on average, in organically grown crops.
    • Research indicates a clear long-term decline in the trace mineral content of fruit and vegetables, and the influence of farming practices requires further investigation.
    With regard to phytochemicals:
    • Research is beginning to confirm the expectation that organic crops contain an increased range and volume of naturally occurring compounds known variously as secondary plant metabolites or phytochemicals.
    • Phytochemicals increase the capacity of plants to withstand external challenges from pests and diseases, and an increasing number of them are also known to be beneficial to humans.

    Nevertheless, not all studies have shown higher levels of nutrients or phytochemicals in organic goods. In a review9 of eleven studies comparing organic and conventional foods with respect to nutrient/phytochemical levels, nine of the studies demonstrated higher levels while two of the studies found no differences. Of course, nine out of eleven studies are still reasonably impressive.

    Even in research that did not find strong evidence that organic and conventional foods differ in concentrations of various nutrients, other health benefits were still seen in organic foods (e.g., a reduction in nitrate content10), and reasonably consistent findings were still seen for higher nitrate and lower vitamin C contents of conventionally-produced vegetables.11

    On August 22, 2002, Dr. Erik Steen Kristensen of the Danish Research Centre for Organic Farming presented data on food safety from an organic perspective at the 14th International In a presentation given at a European conference on organic food and farming12, the impact of organic foods on health and safety was addressed. The data presented showed overwhelmingly positive results for both health and safety (see table below).

    Health and Safety Impact of Organic Foods

    Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements Congress in Victoria, Canada. Dr. Kristensen offered reasons to consider organic foods, specific reasons associated with the risks of conventionally farmed foods13:

    • Discovery of animals with BSE—Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, aka, mad cow disease
    • Increased occurrence of Salmonella in meat and eggs
    • Increased occurrence of campylobacter in meat
    • Listeria in dairy products
    • Increased occurrence of dioxin in food and fodder
    • Too high amounts of pesticides, antibiotics, additives, etc. in food
    • Toxic fungi in food from stocks

    The Research on Organic Farming

    In addition to nutrition and health, another area of consideration associated with the benefits of organic foods, or more specifically organic farming, is biodiversity. Organic agriculture has been confirmed as environmentally sound and more sustainable than mainstream agriculture. In fact, the World Wildlife Fund supports organic farming because it benefits people and nature:

    It is a system that is essential for conserving biodiversity, especially in the center of fields. It avoids the release of toxic pesticide residues into the environment, and it supports rural development, fair trade, food safety, animal welfare, and market-oriented production. No other farming system encapsulates all these benefits and in a way that the public can easily recognize.15

    A research project conducted by Britain's Soil Association and sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund indicated that in most studies important differences have been found between the biodiversity on the organic and conventional farms, generally with substantially greater levels of both abundance and diversity of species on the organic farms. This includes:16

    • Plants: five times as many wild plants in arable fields, 57 percent more species and several rare and declining wild arable species found only on the organic farms.
    • Birds: 25 percent more birds at the field edge, 44 percent more in-field in autumn/winter; 2.2 times as many breeding skylarks and higher skylark breeding rates.
    • Invertebrates: 1.6 times as many of the arthropods that comprise bird food; three times as many non-pest butterflies in the crop areas; one to five times as many spider numbers and one to two times as many spider species.
    • Crop pests: a significant decrease in aphid numbers; no change in numbers of pest butterflies.
    • Distribution of the biodiversity benefits: though the field boundaries had the highest levels of wildlife, the highest increases were found in the cropped areas of the fields.
    • Quality of the habitats: both the field boundary and crop habitats were more favorable on the organic farms.
    • The field boundaries: they had more trees, larger hedges and no spray drift; the crops were sparser, with no herbicides, allowing more weeds; there was also more grassland and a greater variety of crop types.
    • Organic farming was identified as having many beneficial practices: reversing the trends in conventional farming that have caused the decline in biodiversity: crop rotations with grass leys, mixed spring and autumn sowing, more permanent pasture, no use of herbicides or synthetic pesticides and use of "green manure."

    The general consensus of other research17,18 comparing conventional and organic systems of farming was that organic farming is less damaging to the environment for the following reasons:

    • They don't consume or release synthetic pesticides into the environment. This is significant since some of the pesticides may harm soil, water and local terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.
    • They are better at sustaining diverse ecosystems, including populations of plants and insects, as well as animals.
    • When calculated either per unit area or per unit of yield, they use less energy and produce less waste.

    Further to this last point, one study19 found a 20 percent smaller yield from organic farms using 50 percent less fertilizer and 97 percent less pesticide. In addition, a study20 in 2007 compiled research from 293 different comparisons between organic and conventional farming to assess the overall efficiency of the two agricultural systems. The authors concluded, "Organic methods could produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the current human population, and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the agricultural land base."

    One researcher pointed out that, related to the environmentally sound nature of organic farming, the consumers' well-being is based on the certainty "that by purchasing, eating and enjoying organic food, one has contributed to a better future and an improved environment. These effects with their social implications along with improved animal welfare may, in the end, be more important than any measurable contribution of balanced Western diets to individual nutritional health."21

    To answer the earlier posed question, no the public has not been duped. There really are significant benefits to using organic foods over their conventional counterparts. These include health, nutrition and environmental benefits.

    1. Smith H. Organic Sales Soared in 2018: Nielsen. Food Industry Executive. January 9, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2019 from
    2. Whole Foods Market. 2005 Whole Foods Market organic trend tracker. Austin, Tex.: Whole FoodsMarket; 2005.
    3. Organic Food Standards and Labels: The Facts. National Organic Program. Retrieved June 6, 2006 from
    4. Organic Food Standards and Labels: The Facts. National Organic Program. Retrieved June 6, 2006 from
    5. Worthington V. Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional Fruits, Vegetables, and Grains. J Alternative Compl Med 2001; (7)2:161–73.
    6. Worthington V. Effect of agricultural methods on nutritional quality: a comparison of organic with conventional crops. Altern Ther Health Med 1998(1):58–69.
    7. Györéné KG, Varga A, Lugasi A. A comparison of chemical composition and nutritional value of organically and conventionally grown plant derived foods. Orv Hetil 2006;147(43):2081–90.
    8. Organic farming, food quality and,human health: A review of the evidence. Bristol, United Kingdom: Soil Association; 2006.
    9. Winter CK, Davis SF. Organic Foods. Journal of Food Science 2006; 71(9):R117–R124.
    10. Bourn D, Prescott J. A comparison of the nutritional value, sensory qualities, and food safety of organically and conventionally produced foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2002;42(1):1–34.
    11. Williams CM. Nutritional quality of organic food: shades of grey or shades of green? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2002; 61:19–24.
    12. O’Doherty Jensen K, Larsen HN, Mølgaard JP, Andersen J-O, Tingstad A, Marckmann P, Astrup A. 2001. Organic foods and human health. Proceedings of the European conference: Organic Food and Farming. Towards Partnership and Action in Europe. Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Copenhagen 10–11 May 2001, 172–77.
    13. Kristensen ES. Food safety in an organic perspective. 14th IFOAM Congress, Victoria, Canada; August 22nd 2002. Accessed on May 25, 2005 from
    14. Köpke U. Organic foods: do they have a role? Forum Nutr 2005;(57):62–72.
    15. The Biodiversity Benefits of Organic Farming. Bristol, United Kingdom: Soil Association; 2000.
    16. The Biodiversity Benefits of Organic Farming. Bristol, United Kingdom: Soil Association; 2000.
    17. Stolze M, Piorr A, Häring AM, Dabbert S. 2000. Environmental impacts of organic farming in Europe. Organic Farming in Europe: Economics and Policy Vol. 6. Universität Hohenheim, Stuttgart-Hohenheim.
    18. Hansen B, Alrøe HJ, Kristensen ES. Approaches to assess the environmental impact of organic farming with particular regard to Denmark. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 2001; 83:11–26.
    19. Mäder P, Fliessbach A, Dubois D, Gunst L, Fried P, Niggli U. Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming. Science 2002; 296:1694–7.
    20. Perfecto et al, In Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 2007; 22: 86-108 Cambridge University Press: cited in New Scientist 13:46 12 July 2007.
    21. Köpke U. Organic foods: do they have a role? Forum Nutr 2005;(57):62–72.
  • We all love our superheroes. They perform amazing feats with their superhuman abilities. Superheroes reveal their many hidden gifts and talents and always fight on the side of justice, goodness, and protection of the innocent. When we are in the world of superheroes, we feel safer knowing that they will come to our rescue in time of need.

    While superheroes exist in the human world, there are also superheroes that exist in the plant world that will also come to our rescue in time of need. One of the greatest superheroes is a humble, single-cell algae organism called Chlorella (C. vulgaris). Don't be deceived by its very small size. In fact, Chlorella performs Herculean tasks that support our health and wellbeing as well as the health and wellbeing of our animals.

    To begin with, Chlorella is nature's own power-packed multivitamin, containing all the essential nutrients required to sustain life. Chlorella is rich in vitamins A (beta carotene), C, E, and vitamin K, containing all the B-complex vitamins (including B12), zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, iodine, omega-3 essential fatty acid, and the enzyme pepsin. Chlorella also contains 58 to 70 percent of bio-available protein and all the essential amino acids. It is one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. The iron content of chlorella is particularly impressive and can provide up to 40 percent of our daily requirements. Chlorella is also a rich source of the eye nutrients; carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

    But, perhaps, its greatest super hero feat is Chlorella's unique ability to safely absorb and eliminate all the environmental toxins that we are exposed to every day. Very modest estimates have suggested that we are exposed to more than 700,000 different toxic chemicals daily. In addition, other nasty toxins such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and radiation find their way into our bodies through the air, food and water. It definitely takes a superhero to safely and efficiently detoxify so many toxic exposures every single day!

    Glyphosate: A Super Villain to the Health of Humans, Animals and Nature

    spraying pesticides

    Glyphosate is the main ingredient in many weed-killer products. It is considered the most widely used broad-spectrum systemic herbicide in history. In the U.S., farmers use more than 200 million pounds of glyphosate annually. The chemical is also an active ingredient in more than 750 products approved for use, many of which can be found on supermarket and hardware store shelves and used by backyard gardeners.


    Exposure to glyphosate occurs either through environmental contamination or through genetically modified foods. Over 80 percent of genetically modified (GM) crops grown worldwide are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with high amounts of glyphosate herbicides. All non-organic cereals and grains, which are harvested with glyphosate, include wheat, barley, buckwheat, millet, rice, oats, rye, sorghum, wild rice, popcorn, and teff.

    The Environmental Working Group found glyphosate in every sample of popular oat-based cereal and other oat-based food marketed to children. Glyphosate was also found in baby food. Even some organic foods have tested positive for glyphosate.

    There is also a dirty little secret when it comes to the off-label use of glyphosate. It is used as a pre-harvest drying agent (desiccant) on non-GMO as well as organic crops. Glyphosate is regularly sprayed as a desiccant on more than 70 crops, including almonds, apples, dry edible beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, grapes, rice, and sunflowers.

    Many farmers also use it on fields before the growing season, including spinach growers and almond producers.

    Exposure to glyphosate is everywhere. It is even found in tap water. People and animals that eat GM glyphosate-tolerant crops are eating potentially high levels of glyphosate residues. A recent report released by a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 80 percent of urine samples drawn from children and adults in the U.S. contained glyphosate.

    While consumers have been repeatedly told that glyphosate is totally safe by the company and government regulators, the facts say otherwise. One of the big problems with glyphosate is that it impairs the physiology of humans. It is also interesting to note that glyphosate has been patented for use as an antibiotic. No wonder glyphosate has been a disaster to the human microbiome which contains trillions of bacteria playing crucial roles in maintaining our inner ecology.

    Exposure to glyphosate presents many serious health risks including altered gastrointestinal function, immune disorders, infertility, accelerated aging, and insulin dysregulation. Since GMOs were introduced in 1996, the percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses went from 7 percent to 13 percent and there has been an unprecedented rise in autism, food allergies, digestive disorders, and reproductive issues. In addition, GM foods are believed to be contributory to the epidemic of diabetes and obesity.

    There is another serious concern from glyphosate exposure. It has been recognized as a carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and considered the foremost authority on cancer research, has classified glyphosate in Group 2A 'probably carcinogenic to humans' category.

    Glyphosate also has many other undesirable impacts as well:
    • Damages the mitochondria, the energy producers of the cells
    • Promotes oxidative stress
    • Disrupts hormone signaling
    • Acts as an endocrine disruptor
    • Chelates minerals, contributing to nutrient deficiencies
    • Inhibits detoxification
    • Adds to the total body burden of chemicals
    • Destroy the tight junction of cells

    Unfortunately, glyphosate exposure and GM ingredients and foods are ubiquitous in our daily life. It is safe to assume that most people have consumed glyphosate tainted foods or water. Finding a safe solution to eliminate this dangerous chemical from our body is essential for insuring our health and the health of future generations. This is when we are really in need of help from a superhero!

    The Superhero Chlorella Can Save the Day

    Biogenesis Chlorella Powder Pills

    While studies have demonstrated that Chlorella can successful detoxify heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, cadmium, titanium, lead and arsenic, we are shining the spotlight specifically on glyphosate since it so pervasive in our environment, food sources and our bodies. It is interesting to note that Chlorella is so intelligent that it only detoxifies the toxic metals from the body but not the beneficial minerals.

    Chlorella has multiple mechanisms for doing its amazing job of cleansing and detoxifying the body. Biosorption is the ability to attach harmful chemicals to its surface and remove them out the body. Chlorella can bind or attach to herbicides and pesticides found in the gastrointestinal tract and assist in their elimination from the body instead of letting them linger in the body and cause damage to our health.

    Bioaccumulation is another way involved in the detoxification of toxic chemicals using Chlorella. It is also almost like a biosorption mechanism. The good fat content of Chlorella accumulates toxic compounds such as pesticides as waste molecules and then removes them from the body.

    Chlorella can bio-convert pesticides. This process converts harmful pesticides into less toxic, soluble, degradable, and hydrophilic compounds. This conversion prevents pesticides from causing harm to the body during their transient stay in the body before their elimination with Chlorella.

    Chlorella also enhances liver function which is necessary to assist in detoxification. Chlorella can enhance phase 2 enzyme activation in the liver which is essential for eliminating toxic chemicals. Chlorella can also increase blood antioxidant levels and reduce oxidative damage in the body. The increase in antioxidant levels is essential to control the oxidative damage caused by glyphosate and other pesticides.

    Chlorella enhances the natural detoxification process of pesticides and herbicides and protects our bodies from the harmful effects of these chemicals. Many foods are effective for giving the body its required nutrients but only a few are equally successful at removing the toxins as well. Chlorella is one of them. As a super hero, Chlorella is one of the best known biological detoxifiers found in nature.

    The Secret to the Superpower of Chlorella
    Biogenesis Chlorella comparisons Now that you know the power of Chlorella to detoxify the body from all forms of toxins, especially glyphosate, it is essential to be sure to use only the best Chlorella product. Knowing the source of your products is always critical, especially with Chlorella. Only when Chlorella is grown in a pristine outdoor environment of clean air, soil, and water, is it able to ensure all of its powerful health benefits.

    When choosing a Chlorella product be sure to source the Chlorella that is farmed in the purest environment, especially organic Chlorella that is free from herbicides, pesticides, and environmental contaminants. Research shows one of the best Chlorella products grown, is harvested and processed in Australia's great barrier reef region in North Queensland. It is a FDA certified Bio-Secure region.

    There is no doubt, Chlorella should be a part of everyone's diet to support our wellbeing, detoxification, and healing. Modern technology has been able to unlock Chlorella's phenomenal potential not only as a superfood but as super detoxifier We need such superheroes in our toxic and polluted world. Thank goodness that Chlorella has come to our rescue!


    1. Gillezeau C, van Gerwen M, Shaffer RM, Rana I, Zhang L, Sheppard L, Taioli E. The evidence of human exposure to glyphosate: a review. Environ Health. 2019 Jan 7;18(1):2. doi: 10.1186/s12940-018-0435-5. PMID: 30612564; PMCID: PMC6322310.
    2. Australian Diet Study
    3. CDC - National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
    4. Science in Society Archive - Glyphosate is Carcinogenic
    5. Stur E, Aristizabal-Pachon AF, Peronni KC, Agostini LP, Waigel S, Chariker J, et al. (2019) Glyphosate-based herbicides at low doses affect canonical pathways in estrogen positive and negative breast cancer cell lines. PLoS ONE 14(7): e0219610.
    6. Bill's Organics - 10 Most Common GMO Foods
    7. Ferruzzi MG Digestion, absorption, and cancer preventative activity of dietary chlorophyll derivatives. Nutrition Research 2007
    8. Fahey JW, Stephenson KK, Dinkova-Kostova AT, Egner PA, Kensler TW, Talalay P. Chlorophyll, chlorophyllin and related tetrapyrroles are significant inducers of mammalian phase 2 cytoprotective genes. Carcinogenesis 2005;26:1247 - 55.

  • You may have heard that 'going organic' is a healthy choice for the farmers, the environment, and your own health. But do you really understand why it's such a positive choice?

    This article series explores the benefits of choosing organic.

    Reason: Organic food offers superior health benefits

    Some of my previous articles have highlighted health benefits that can be obtained from choosing organic. These range from helping to protect the body from cancer1 to explaining the profound benefits of nurturing healthy soil2 to sharing some of the potentially toxic processes3 and chemicals4 that conventional food can be subjected to.

    In some ways I was reluctant to straight out claim that organic food is more nutritious because this is not always true. There are organic food products on the market that have been highly processed into something that is quite far removed from the crop they started from. Throughout this process valuable nutrients are lost and the end result becomes less nutritious for our bodies.

    It is also worth mentioning that nutrient levels in the soil can vary a lot within both conventional and organic crops depending on how the farmer or grower approaches soil health.

    Additionally, it is important to compare nutrient levels between the same types of crops because nutrient levels vary between types of plants and specific varieties in both conventional and organic growing.

    As I mentioned in an earlier article5 soil health is of the utmost importance in organic farming. This is a crucial factor in successful organic growing because quick fix solutions such as synthetic chemical fertilizers are not allowed to be used. Nurturing the soil creates a healthy soil microbiome, which grows healthy plants, which in turn help people to be healthy.

    Plants need to use their own inbuilt protection mechanisms to ward off pests because these same protection mechanisms are what provide us with antioxidants for our bodies. If plants are routinely being sprayed with synthetic pesticides the plant loses the requirement to use these amazing natural protection mechanisms. Along with that, the antioxidants that have been linked to optimal health in humans are severely depleted.

    There are always going to be studies that show no difference in antioxidant levels between conventional and organic crops. Some studies are repeated over again until beneficial results are found to support whatever corporate giant is funding the study. However there certainly is evidence out there that organically grown crops have higher nutritional content.

    A large study carried out meta-analyses based on 343 peerreviewed publications that indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops/crop-based foods. The concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher in organic crops/crop-based foods.6

    The 'look' of some organic produce can sometimes put people off eating it because it doesn't seem as appealing. In my experience, I have often found that our customers are pleasantly surprised by how wonderful their 'ugly' looking fruit tastes, and there is also evidence to suggest that it could contain superior nutritional qualities.

    Studies have found that apples with 'scabs' on the skin or leaves contained higher antioxidants (phenolic compounds) than scab-free apples and apple leaves.7,8 Similarly, higher concentrations of resveratrol (an antioxidant) have been found in grape leaves following fungal infection or exposure to ultraviolet light.9

    These results all connect back to the plant needing to work hard to fight for its survival. The inbuilt protective mechanisms kick in and these same protection mechanisms are what provide us with antioxidants. To remind you once more, a plant that has been sprayed with synthetic pesticides does not require these mechanisms for protection from pests, and therefore is unlikely to have antioxidants in the same concentrations that a plant which has not been subjected to synthetic pesticides will have.

    With this in mind, give that 'ugly' looking fruit a bit of a chance—you might be pleasantly surprised by the taste and it's highly likely that it's better for you too.

  • You may have heard that ‘going organic’ is a healthy choice for the farmers, the environment, and your own health. But do you really understand why it’s such a positive choice? This article series explores the benefits of choosing organic.

    Reason 1: Glyphosate
    You may be aware that organic food and products are produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. Advocates of conventional farming (the type that does allow use of these artificial substances) argue that recommended levels of these chemicals are not exceeded.

    This statement may be true for one chemical in one product but it does not consider the sheer number of potentially toxic chemicals that we are subjected to in modern society—in our food, our water, in the materials we use to make products and clothing, and in the air we breathe.

    A chemical may be tested and found to be safe at a certain level, but it is unlikely that the full cocktail of chemicals contained in a product have been tested. Molecular biologist Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini has demonstrated that the full formulations of pesticides are much stronger than the declared active ingredient. Additionally, the ‘active’ ingredient may not be the most toxic ingredient in pesticide formulations.1

    Coupled with these issues, there is little consideration for variations in sensitivity between individuals, nor for the consequences of being exposed to so many different chemicals over the course of a day, or a lifetime.

    Glyphosate is a chemical under hot discussion in the farming world. Being on the market in the form of the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, virtually all conventional produce and food products contain traces of this chemical. As with all subjects of debate, there are many studies that claim Roundup herbicide poses no risk to humans.2

    However, in March 2015 the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans” (category 2A) based on epidemiological studies, animal studies, and in vitro studies.3,4,5

    Advocates for organic farming believe it is wise to err on the side of caution—who wants to risk a build-up of toxic residue that could lead to serious health problems? It is much safer to ban ‘questionable’ chemical ingredients and to find a proven safe alternative than to live by the mantra of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    The links between glyphosate and a wide range of health concerns and conditions are becoming increasingly evident. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has found strong links between glyphosate use, and the rise in celiac disease. She explains that the villi in the gut are destroyed by glyphosate, which reduces the person’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals and can result in gut problems.6

    Glyphosate has been highlighted as a potential endocrine disruptor7 and has shown a strong correlation with the increased incidence of many diseases, from cancer to dementia, to autism.8,9,10 The World Health organization lists the adverse health effects caused by glyphosate as airway, skin, and mucous membrane irritation, abdominal, pain, nausea, vomiting, shock, dyspnea, respiratory failure.11

    For consumers who are not convinced about the safety of food production methods using synthetic chemicals such as glyphosate, the only ways to currently drastically reduce exposure are by choosing certified organic produce and products, growing your own, or by getting food from a local farmer who you know is not using these chemicals.12,13,14

    For those who are not sure how to start shifting from a conventional to an organic diet, or who have concerns around personal budgeting restraints, a good place to start making changes is by focusing on the ‘dirty dozen’— a list of the twelve foods in New Zealand that have been identified as having the highest pesticide residues.

    Reason 2: Healthy soil, healthy body
    Many people are now choosing organic as one way to help optimize their health and wellbeing. The vitamin and mineral content of fresh produce and other foods will vary based on how the soil is cared for, the environment they are grown in, and how they are processed, among other things.

    In organic farming, caring for the soil is of the utmost importance, because it forms the basis for health, for all life forms. As Sophie Grigson and William Black explain, “Healthy soil encourages healthy plants, plants which are strong and disease resistant, which means there is less need for artificial pesticides in organic production.” Their book “Organic—a new way of eating” highlights the fact that if we feed the soil, the plants will look after themselves.15

    Sally Fallon reiterates this in her book “Nourishing Traditions,” when she explains that nitrogen fertilizers used in conventional (non-organic) farming produce high yields, in part by pulling minerals from the soil. In turn, the food suffers because the vitamin and mineral contents are depleted. She explains that vitamin and mineral content between conventional and organic crops can vary hugely, and that some commercially raised oranges have been found to contain NO vitamin C!16

    The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ really does ring true. If you are consuming food that was once a sickly animal who was fed routine courses of antibiotics and a genetically engineered diet of pesticide sprayed grains that it is unable to digest, how healthy do you think you will be?

    If you are eating food that has been sprayed copious times with a herbicide that has been engineered to kill EVERYTHING around it, except that particular crop, how do you think this affects the health of the soil, and the subsequent health of your body? Similarly, with the skin being the largest organ in the body, and readily absorbing anything you rub on it, have you considered what is entering your system via this method (by way of creams and lotions)?

    Yes, our bodies are amazing, and yes they can process and eliminate a certain degree of ‘rubbish.’ But, when they become overloaded they are unable to summon the resources required to neutralize the onslaught of poisons entering them. Therefore it makes sense to limit our intake of toxins wherever we are able to do so; for example by making organic choices.

    Organic farming helps ensure you are receiving the best quality for your body, allowing your cells to be as healthy and strong as possible. Growth hormones, protein rich feeds and the routine use of antibiotics are not allowed, nor are synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or pesticides.

    If you consider health as a holistic word encompassing people, animals, and the planet, then choosing organic is a positive step in this direction.


    1. “Food Matters – Life matters!” article. Organic NZ magazine. May/June 2015.
    13. Organic – a new way of eating.” Sophie Grigson and William Black. Headline Book Publishing 2001.
    14. Nourishing Traditions." The Cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Revised second edition. Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig. Ph.D. 1999, 2001 New trends Publishing Inc.