By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
Natural & organic are two terms people are using more and more. As trends push us towards a more simplistic way of eating, it’s no surprise that there are more product touting “natural & organic” now more than ever. So what it is? Let’s take a deeper look…“Organic Produce”.
Organically grown produce is grown and packed without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or irradiation and is certified by a USDA accredited third-party certifying organization. Organic farmers use earth friendly methods and rely on natural fertilizers and crop rotation to re-nurture fields.”
Many factors influence the decision to choose organic. For some it’s the taste and for other it’s the concern around potential consequences of fertilizers or pesticides.
Is Organic and Natural Healthier?
Overall health status is determined by meeting our dietary requirements. All foods- organic or not- contain a similar amount of calories and nutrients; thus choosing one form over the other is a personal choice.
Either way, it is best to do your own research that way you can make an informed choice when selecting what foods to consume!
Consider the following factors when deciding whether organic is right for you and your family.
NUTRITION: There is no conclusive evidence that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food.
PESTICIDES: Conventional growers use pesticides to protect their crops from molds, insects and diseases. Some people buy organic food to limit their exposure to these residues. Most experts agree that the amount of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables pose a very small health risk and is therefore safe to consume.
QUALITY: Organic foods meet the same quality and safety standards as conventional foods. The difference lies in how the food is produced, processed and handled.
ENVIRONMENT: Organic farming practices are designed to protect the environment by reducing pollution and conserving water and soil.
TASTE: Taste is subjective, so decide for yourself. Choosing the freshest foods available may have the biggest impact on taste.
Source: Mayo Clinic. Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? www.mayoclinic.com
FDA and “Natural”
FDA has not established a formal definition for the term “natural”, however the agency has not objected to the use of the term on food labels provided it is used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
Shopping for Natural foods is easy! Natural foods are minimally processed and free from added colors, artificial ingredients, preservatives or sweeteners and do not contain high fructose corn syrup.”
Simple examples include lean meats, seafood, produce, whole grains like brown rice, barley, quinoa and oats just to name a few!
Makes: 2 servings
- 1/2 cup Organic Quinoa Grain
- 1/2 cup Almond Milk, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp vegetable oil spread such as Earth Balance Spread
- 1 Apple, medium-sized, cored and diced
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup chopped Walnuts, toasted
- 1 tbsp honey
- In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa, milk, water, and salt to a boil for 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and cover for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Note: if quinoa appears to dry, add almond milk or water to desired consistency.
- Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt the spread. Add the apple, stir together until evenly coated, and sauté for 1 minute. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until soft.
- Add the cinnamon and walnuts and cook for 1 additional minute. Stir in the apple mixture with the quinoa, and divide between 2 bowls. Drizzle the honey on top and enjoy!