When it comes to healthy and clean eating, the verbiage can be confusing at best. What do any of these really mean? And which one is best for us? As a foodie, all of these things are important to me. But since none of them are clear, I decided to do a little research to educate myself on what it means to be organic and why it matters.
In my quest to get to the bottom of this organic mystery, I’ve read books, watched movies, and consulted the experts at Clean Juice West Frisco and Starwood.
This is what I’ve learned.
Let’s start with the word ORGANIC.
It’s a word we throw around casually, on everything from our skincare to our eggs. We use it synonymously with “all-natural” and “non-GMO.” We get it confused with “grass-fed” and “pasture-raised,” and we toss it out there without realizing what it really means, especially when it comes to our food.
Defined as: “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents,” it seems rather self-explanatory. But, when it comes to consumer goods and our food supply, the difference is in the labeling. Sean Green, owner of Clean Juice West Frisco and Starwood, explains it like this:
“There are strict guidelines set up by the United States Department of Agriculture that authorize a business to use the term ‘certified organic.’ In the marketplace, there are companies that use messaging that says “all natural” or “organic” but only “certified organic” messaging can be used when a thorough study of the growing and manufacturing process has been performed by a USDA accredited agency. The farms and manufacturing facilities that carry these certifications have very strict guidelines to ensure consumer confidence and product value.”
This is no easy feat, by the way. There are multiple steps to being labeled “certified organic” and it’s a very lengthy and expensive process for producers, suppliers, and restaurants.
But, as consumers, that label provides us assurance that the things we eat are at least 95% organic, with the remaining 5% of ingredients coming only from an approved list of additives.*
In other words, you can be certain that if that label exists, it’s true, not some made-up marketing terms designed to tug at your heartstrings.
But does Organic even matter?
Well, yes. It does. According to my friends at Clean Juice, which happens to be the only completely certified USDA Organic restaurant in Frisco, an organic diet is vital to our health and well-being for a multitude of reasons.
“For us at Clean Juice, ‘Certified Organic’ is important because studies show that organic foods have higher amounts of beneficial nutrients (Vitamin C, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron) that are vital for the health of our bodies. On the flip side, non-organic foods contain harmful pesticides and herbicides that have been linked to numerous health problems (ADHD, diabetes, birth defects, and cancer),” says Green.
Going even further, certified organic foods have higher antioxidant levels, which are nutrients that help reverse oxidative stress, something those of us who wish to stave off the nasty effects of aging will be happy about. Certified Organic foods also limit our exposure to heavy metals like cadmium, which are toxins to our systems and more prevalent in traditionally farmed produce.
In other words, consuming as many foods labeled Certified Organic as possible will significantly benefit your body, both right now and in the long-term future.
Seems simple, right? Well, somewhat.
It’s simple at home, where we’re in charge of our food supply, ingredients, and menus. To the extent that budget and time allow, we can choose to use as many certified organic ingredients in our meals as we desire.
But when it comes to where we eat when we are on the run and out and about, it’s a different story. Because it is such a lengthy and difficult process to attain the Certified Organic labeling, most restaurants, especially local ones, do not have the budget nor the desire to attain it.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t serve some organic foods and work hard to deliver the best and healthiest ingredients possible. But it does mean that they’re not required to maintain the strict standards of the certified organic label on every dish.
If organic matters to you, and it should, Clean Juice is the only restaurant in our area with the label and therefore the standard of Certified Organic.
Which makes it the clear choice for on-the-go healthy foods in Frisco. Don’t you agree?