What is “Organic”?
I’m not going to bore you with the FDA’s legal definitions, the required %’s of organic ingredients that are required to be in a processed food in order for a food to be deemed “organic” or how manufacturers’ labels can mislead us with their fancy words like “all natural” and more. Instead I’m just going to give you the nitty-gritty dirt about how foods are grown and processed then let you decide for yourself if you want you and your pets to consume conventionally grown and processed foods, or organically grown and processed foods.
Traditional Highly Processed Commercial Bird Food:
Even when a highly processed commercial bird food contains “certified organic” ingredients during the production process the food becomes adulterated. Once the manufacturer begins reconstituting the food, by adding vitamins and other nutrients back in that were stripped out during the intense high-heat and high-pressure used to cook and form the kibble into the finished product, using certified organic ingredients becomes nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
Here is what a typical ingredient listing may look like of a certified organic commercial bird food:
Rice, barley, sunflower seed hulled, ground soybeans, ground shelled peanuts, ground green peas, quinoa whole, buckwheat hulled, ground alfalfa, carrot powder, spinach leaf powder, vitamin A Supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, vitamin B12 supplement, Riboflavin supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride and so on and so forth.
My point is this, once the ingredients are cooked, when heat is used in anyway, or the finely ground wet mixture is (heat or cold) pressed or extruded, and/or synthetic vitamins are added back into the food it becomes an adulterated food; it is no longer in its most pure and natural form. Any kind of deviation from its most natural form food begins to deteriorate losing its intrinsic, natural nutritional content. The more it is altered, the more nutrients in the form of digestive enzymes, naturally occurring proteins, fatty acids and vitamins are lost and must be added back in. In fact commercial bird foods usually do not even address the lack of digestive enzymes; they are completely left out of highly processed foods.
Therefore beginning with “organic” ingredients is nothing more than a marketing ploy.
If you want the real organic benefit for your bird you must find a bird food that begins with wholesome and pure ingredients and then takes the effort to make sure those ingredients are very carefully cared for during the entire production process so only a minimal amount of nutrients are lost during the production process.
That means no heat, no mechanical extrusion, no pressure regardless whether the pressure is hot or cold. Then your bird’s food will not require the addition of synthetic vitamins after the production process.
I ask you:
“What is truly organic?”
“Is organic really all “THAT”?”
“Is organic so much more healthy than conventional?”
The answers are simple.
Without chemical fertilizers and harsh pesticides in organic foods, you and your pets will receive the real, naturally occurring nutrients Nature places in the soil for produce to absorb!
It isn’t that organic has any more naturally occurring nutrients than conventionally grown produce, it’s that organic foods don’t have the harsh, synthetic, laboratory-produced highly carcinogenic chemicals that are now proven to penetrate deep into the cellular layers of the produce.
These chemicals cannot simply be washed away by washing and rinsing.
Since chemicals cannot be washed away it means you, your family and pets consume these chemicals reducing the actual nutritional benefits of the naturally occurring nutrients of the very foods you are consuming!
To ensure your body, the body of each member in your family and the body of your beloved pets receive maximum nutritional benefit without adding even more contaminants to your bodies than you are already exposed to simply by breathing in our polluted air and through the water we all drink!
“Is Organic Really More Nutritious?”
I take on that age-old question.
You will probably cringe when you hear my answer; “no”.
Now let me clarify my answer further.
It all depends on how a person defines the word “nutritious” and this can be debated until the proverbial cow comes home.
If we literally define the word “nutritious” as a piece of produce having more nutrients in it simply because it was grown organically, then no, organically grown produce is not necessarily more nutritious.
In fact you may be surprised to learn that in some cases the actual nutritional profile of some nutrients, mainly minerals, may be slightly higher in conventionally grown produce.
This is due largely to the fact that the chemicals used in growing the produce contain mineral salts (laboratory-produced) themselves, not because the chemicals cause the produce to become more nutritious during the actual growing phase.
However, that being said the amount of nutrients in any piece of produce grown, whether it be conventionally grown or organically will depend largely, if not completely on the soil it was grown in, the weather conditions it was exposed to while growing, the quality of water it received and how it was handled during harvest and processing during and after the harvest all the way to the end user. Therefore any nutrient profile a person reads on the label of the produce or from any other source such as the Internet or from any other resource can only be an estimate taken from an average of what that variety of produce on a large scale might offer nutritionally.
Conventional produce is normally grown with chemical fertilizers, treated with chemical pesticides and often washed with chemicals that help to ward off pests during transport. All of these chemicals literally penetrate the skins. A mere washing or peeling of the skin does not remove these chemicals and therefore when they are consumed these chemicals are also consumed. Do you want you, your family and your pets consuming these toxic chemicals? I don’t.
In addition many conventional pieces of produce are now GMO. The debate is still out whether GMOs are harmful to a living creature. Each of us seems to have our own opinions on GMOs. I hold that all opinions have equal worth and until an opinion can be backed up with facts that are backed up with references and citations then opinions remain opinions with equal worth on both sides. Therefore I will refrain from giving my opinion regarding GMOs except that I try to stay away from them as much as possible. To date if an item is marked as “certified organic” it is not legally allowed to be GMO.
So if we want to base the word “nutritious” on the opinion that conventional produce is less nutritious than organic produce simply because it has been exposed to these chemicals, then yes it is less nutritious by that definition. The better word, in my opinion would be less “healthy”, not less nutritious. The actual nutritional profile probably doesn’t change because of the chemicals, but the overall health aspect does in my opinion. Do I want to consume chemicals that have been scientifically proven to be carcinogenic?
My answer is a resounding “NO.”
If you would like to know how the U.S. government determines if a chemical is carcinogenic here is a link to read about that: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/cancerfs.htm. It appears as though their guidelines have not been updated since 2005.
Furthermore organic produce produces additional antioxidants, and can be naturally enticed to produce even more antioxidants that conventionally grown produce do not simply because the organic produce instinctively “knows” it has to fight off pests, bacteria, viruses and fungi without the outside help of chemicals. In effect organically grown produce create their own naturally occurring “pesticides and herbicides” that are “organic” in nature. These powerful antioxidants are known as polyphenols, a rich source of anti-carcinogens we get to consume to help us ward off cancer and other illness and disease in our own bodies; a side benefit of consuming organically grown produce.
There are some in our world who try to tout that consuming these polyphenols could be harmful for us and our pets; this is categorically untrue and false information lacking common sense and good judgment. Many, many scientific studies have been performed proving polyphenols are highly antioxidant in nature providing nutritional benefits human-made chemicals and supplements can never come close to. Nature in all of its wonders has provided all of the naturally occurring constituents in just the correct blend and molecules to cause the macro and micro nutrients (nutraceuticals) to work just as they should in each living creature. Human-made supplements isolate molecules and therefore can never copy Nature identically providing the exact same benefits as whole-food nutrition. This is why we are told to “eat our dark and bright veggies, berries and fruit”; those that contain the highest amount of these polyphenols. The caveat to this statement however would be if you or your pet has an extreme sensitivity to salicylates. Salicylates are a type of phenol some living creatures exhibit sensitivity to. If this is the case then polyphenols may not be a good choice for you or your pet, but for the larger sector of all living creatures polyphenols are a very nutritious part of the diet. (Ref: http://sebsnjaesnews.rutgers.edu/2014/10/fending-disease-with-a-fork-rutgers-scarlet-lettuce-exceeds-blueberries-in-polyphenol-content; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915)
Here is an article about organic pesticides: http://www.mamavation.com/2015/04/facts-about-organic-pesticides.html
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