With over 60% of the total adult American population battling overweight and obesity, more and more people are adopting healthier lifestyles, in an attempt to live longer and prevent these diseases.
However, switching to “organic” or “natural” labels instead of the regular products you buy from supermarkets is not always enough to change your dietary habits, lose weight, and live healthier.
Although the United States Department of Agriculture forbids several dangerous substances in organic farming, it still allows growers to use certain synthetic compounds or naturally occurring chemicals that include natural elements such as minerals. In other words, not even the food that is certified organic and natural is entirely free of pesticide residues and other chemical substances.
For instance, despite being natural, certain pesticides like pyrethrin, azadirachtin, and spinosad are still toxic, especially if you, your children or pets are exposed to them for a longer time. So, how can you make sure what you eat is truly natural, organic, and healthy?
Grow your own food
If you want a job well done, most of the times you will have to do it yourself. That being said, you can turn a part of your backyard lawn into a vegetable, fruits, and spice garden. You can pretty much grow anything you want, from potatoes to tomatoes, onions, lettuce, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, zucchinis, fruit trees, parsley, oregano, garlic or peppermint.
All you have to do is make sure the seeds you are using are from certified-organic providers and that you will only use the best soil, water, and soil supplements to grow your crops. This means you shouldn’t use any type of chemical substances such as fertilizers or pesticides that might alter the quality of your fruits and veggies and put your health at risk.
On this website, you will find a well-written comparison of some of the best handheld microscopes on the market – some useful tools if you want to thoroughly test the quality of your veggies and make sure they are free of pests, diseases, and harmful chemical substances.
Buy from local farmers
If you don’t have time or enough space to build your garden, the second most convenient choice to ensure the quality of the foods you are eating is to buy from local farmers.
Apart from supporting local businesses that stimulate the economy and give a real chance to family-owned companies to thrive in the industry, you will also benefit from the same freshness, taste, and smell of products as if you would have grown them yourself.
Local farmers usually grow various crops on small pieces of land, so all the work is done manually. They invest all their time, energy, and money into growing organic, pesticide-free, and non-GMO products that can qualify for organic certification.
Before buying your fruits and vegetables from local farmers, make sure you know they can tell you exactly where they grow them and what type of fertilizers and pest control substances they use.
Learn to read the labels
Some of the supermarket chains are also trying to attract clients by closing in deals with local farmers to supply them fresh, non-GMO, seasonal products. If you don’t have any farmer market near you yet you care about your health, you should learn how to read the labels on your vegetables and understand what they really mean.
For instance, a “certified organic” label on food or cosmetics is the guarantee that a product has been checked and tested by an approved body that can issue that certification.
Look at the ingredient list
You cannot live solely on fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs, meaning you will also have to buy ready-to-eat foods. Learn to carefully read the ingredient list on any product you are going to buy and identify potentially harmful chemicals or substances.
Preservatives, pesticides, taste enhancers, and chemical dyes don’t qualify as natural or organic, so don’t fall into the trap of certain producers that use misleading terms as “partially organic” or “natural” to label their items.
If you’re not sure what a certain ingredient is, you can easily look it up online or ask the producer. Companies that make a living out of selling certified organic products will be happy to answer all your questions and concerns as they value their clients and their reputation.