What is Food ?

Pretty strange question, isn’t it?

But when you think about it, what is the definition?  I decided to look it up in a dictionary and here it is:
Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth, and maintain life.

Well put, wouldn’t you say? But there is also a catch-food needs to be tasty. In the modern world, when food is mass produced, when chickens are held in cages and force fed, when plants are being grown in artificial conditions food has lost its taste. That’s when organic food kicks in. Organic food is the way of growing food that has been practiced for centuries, until the 20th century. The world was facing famine, especially in Africa and other lands where the soil was not so friendly. The species were genetically modified in order to succeed in growing on hostile soil.

To go along with the modified plants artificial fertilizers were produced. Those types of fertilizers were used to facilitate the growth of plants. Soon enough, because of the profits, artificial fertilizers were introduced into traditional farming.

Along with artificial fertilizers the livestock was fed with growth hormones and antibiotics and was held in awful conditions.

As an alternative to all that, organic food and free range farming were introduced. This type of nutrition is healthier and tastier, but what exactly does it give us?

Farmers who practice organic farming do not use any chemicals to control weeds, fertilize and prevent diseases of both plants and livestock. In conventional farming for example, chemical-based fertilizers are being applied to facilitate growth. In organic farming however, natural fertilizers such as compost and manure are being used instead.

Another example is the use of pesticide in conventional farming while in organic farming, methods such as mating disruptions, traps and natural pesticides are being utilized. Livestock in non organic farming is not injected with growth hormones and boosters, instead it is being fed with organic feeds and clean shelters are being maintained.

Despite the fact that nonorganic food is grown with synthetic chemicals, it doesn’t completely mean that they are not suited for human consumption due to health issues. The truth of the matter is that both of them use certain types of chemicals in quantities that are allowed. But organic foods have been exposed to less chemicals than nonorganic ones.

Aside from the chemical-exposure, another hot issue that is being disputed worldwide is the notion that organic food is more nutritious than nonorganic. There have already been thousand of studies conducted to support this notion for the past five decades, but this issue is not yet settled as most food researchers firmly believe that organic foods isn’t more nutritious than nonorganic food.

There are actually several factors that you may consider in choosing organic foods over non-organic. One factor is the use of food additives in non-organic foods. Regulatory ban against the use of food additives had strictly been implemented to ensure that food is free from harmful chemicals that could cause adversarial effects to humans. Some common examples of food additives are artificial sweeteners, food preservatives, food colorings, identical flavorings and the ever classic which is the monosodium glutamate.

Other factors are chemical exposure like pesticides and environmental factors as well.
If you are asking whether organic foods have any downsides, well the truth is there are.

One of the most noticeable is that organic food is relatively more expensive than nonorganic food. The reason for that is that organic farming is typically more expensive that conventional farming.

Another is that organic food has a shorter storage life. Moreover, they may look less perfect as well like some might possess odd shapes, be smaller and vary in colors. However they are a lot tastier, and you deserve it.

Image credit: kurhan / 123RF Stock Photo