The question remains, should you eat organic or conventional. “Oh, organic food is soooo expensive” we whine. But is it really? Lets look at some costs.
Medical costs of illness in this country are staggering. A gastric bypass will cost the patient $18,000- $35,000. And they are not always successful. A cardiac bypass surgery will cost in t he neighborhood of $50-60,000. Arthritis costs us $128 billion per year.
Fibromyalgia costs family’s $100-1,000 per month over insurance. In the USA we spend $12-14 billion dollars per year on related fibromyalgia costs. To boot lets factor in the 1-2% loss in productivity.
Oh, lets talk about diabetes. There are 18.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes. There are 7 million people who have diabetes, but they are not diagnosed yet. Did you know that there are about 79 million people who are pre-diabetics. In 2012 we spent $176 billion on diabetic related issues. Lets add to that $69 billion in loss of productivity.
That is some staggering statistics. The sad thing is, most of this could be prevented as they are lifestyle diseases.
If you buy only organic food your food bill will be about 20% higher than buying conventional. My question to you: is it worth paying more money for healthy food and preventing costly diseases down the road? Only you can answer that. We know that what we eat has a big impact on our health. Food production started changing about 1960. There was increase in pesticides and artificial fertilizers. There was also a big trend to fast foods, on the road and in boxes. Since that time people have gotten bigger, heavier, and sicker. Lets connect the dot, folks.
Here is some other interesting information. Only about 2% of food we eat is organic. There is minimal support from our government for organic farmers. Conversely, conventional farmers are highly subsidized. So what we are paying for conventional food is much lower that what it would be without all that government support to the farmer.
In Western Europe things are different. “In Western Europe, most countries have decided that organic agriculture needs special support to bring production [and consumption] up to a significantly higher level,” Dobbs notes. In countries including Denmark,Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and also at the European Union level, governments contribute to organic markets. In fact, many European policy makers treat organic farming as an instrument to help mitigate environmental problems, manage marginal lands, and address falling farmer incomes, according to Dabbert, et al. (eartheasy.com)
Some other things to think about concerning organic or conventional food. Organic food is becoming more popular. Back in the 1980’s organic produce was sparse, very expensive and only sold in health food stores. Today about 3/4 of grocery stores carry organic products. They are accessible.
You know your budget. It is like putting away for retirement. So buy what you can of organic food. Things like greens are better if you buy organic. Try to do one meal or one day per week only organic food and move up from there.
Another option is to buy local. This supports local farmers and reduces the carbon foot print of long range transportation. Getting the certified organic label is very expensive. Many local farmers do organic practices but can’t afford the certification.
Look for free range beef, chicken and lamb. Also you want local free range eggs. If you can get local raw milk, cream, butter and cheese buy it. It is much healthier for you than the conventional. If not raw, switch to organic as much as you can.
Remember… do what you can. Don’t make yourself crazy. And whatever food you buy, bless it and all who brought the food to you. Enjoy.
I agree with you 100%. Thank you so much for writing this blog. I hope many people read it and are motivated to buy organic!