In this age, most are aware that organic food is better for the health of people and the planet. With more levels of exposure to toxins in the environment, such as the burning of fossil fuels and industrial waste, now more than ever, it is important to eat a clean diet to keep the body healthy and strong. But even though the consumption of organic food is on the rise, we still have a lot to learn about the general benefits for personal and collective health, not just physically, but also mentally and, some say, spiritually as well.
The rise of cancer, ADHD, and endocrine disorders
In 1962, Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, highlighted the problem of pesticides, educating the general public about the unique dangers of these chemicals to our health and the environment. Decades later, we may not be in as much active contact with DDT, but we are exposed to equally harmful pesticides in higher concentrations, much more than in the past. The Toxics Action Center offers a sobering view of the problem:
“Chronic health effects can occur years after even minimal exposure to pesticides in the environment, or as a result of pesticide residues that we ingest through our food and water. A July 2007 study by researchers from the Institute of Public Health, the California Department of Health Services, and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health found a six-fold increase in the risk factor for autism spectrum disorders ( TEA) for the children of women who were exposed to Organochlorine Pesticides.
Additionally, research from the University of Montreal and Harvard University found that children who ingest pesticide residues in the product have a double risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a syndrome that causes inattention abnormally active behavior and impulsivity.
The National Cancer Institute also found that American farmers who use agricultural pesticides have a high incidence of Hodgkins disease, Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers. Similarly, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that “farmers who use herbicides are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression than farmers who do not use the chemicals. And farmers who had the most exposure, whether for more hours or more years using herbicides, had the highest risk. And a study published in 2013 revealed that insecticide use is linked to a higher incidence of Parkinson's disease.
Dr. Emanuele Cereda, MD, Ph.D., and Dr. Gianni Pezzoli, MD, reviewed data from 104 studies that were published between 1975 and 2011. What they found is that pesticide exposure is related to a 58 % higher risk of developing the disease. Certain herbicides and fungicides actually double the risk of Parkinson's disease.
Chemicals are also associated with:
- Reproductive damage
- Developmental delays
- Endocrine disruption
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
- Birth defects
- Impaired brain development
Thats not all. Pesticides also destroy the environment. As I wrote in Here is what happens when you eat a 100% organic diet:
“Toxins damage farmland by damaging beneficial insects, soil micro-organisms, and earthworms, all of which contribute to healthy soil and naturally limit harmful pests. The plant's root and immune systems are also adversely affected by pesticides, as are concentrations of important nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. "
When we look at the big picture, science makes a strong case for eating organically if we would like to promote the health of our bodies and minds, along with protecting the environment. But can an organic diet help us spiritually, too?
The soul of food
Susan Bass is a professor and practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine and believes in the "energy" of food, the theory that specific foods can balance and enrich the mind, body and spirit.
"Nature is an aspect of the divine," she says. "When we move with the rhythms and cycles of nature, when we sleep, get up and eat what is in season, we connect with the divine." She adds: “Nature always provides exactly what our bodies need to thrive. “This is why eating organic, fresh and locally grown food is so important. The food that grows in our area is what the creatures here need to keep in balance with the earth. "
Caroline Kelly, a member of Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, agrees.
"Beyond our physical bodies, we are part of a much larger body of Christ." I think we were created to be part of the structure, not to dominate the structure. “When we grow crops, we use pesticides and fertilizers, we are violating a biome that God created,” she says. “This is a system created to sustain us. If we violate it, we will eventually violate our own bodies. The spread of chronic diseases makes me think that this is already happening. "
As a result, both Bass and Kelly could be right. Using Kirlian photography, the researchers have found that the energy fields of organic foods emit "a clearly more vibrant and harmonious energy field than conventional foods." Ripe, freshly selected organic produce had the strongest energy field. "Raw foods also fared better in the energy department than cooked and pasteurized foods, the latter of which appeared more opaque and less uniform than their raw counterparts."
Some believe that this energy field represents the "source of life" of a food and that consuming such vibrant food, which is not overly processed or plagued with pesticides, keeps us healthy and strong, both physically and mentally, as well as spiritually.
So dig deep and reap the benefits of locally grown organic food. Your body, mind and soul will thank you.
- http://www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/Newcastle-study-organic-7112014.pdf [PDF]