Organic v. Generic

BY: THIEN-LOC MIMI NGUYEN

It’s finally that time to bring out our jackets and scarves while we all gather around to celebrate the holidays. But most importantly, it’s that time when we can cook and eat feasts fit for royalty. But what about that feast? Where is that food coming from? How is it made? Should you go for organic products this year or stick with conventional ingredients? It’s never too late to find out.

YAMS AND POTATOES

These are a traditional, starchy, root vegetable. Some classic recipes that use these items are mashed potatoes, candied yams, scalloped potatoes, and sweet potato pie. Yams and potatoes start out as a seedling planted in the dirt, where they root below the surface and sprout flowers above.

• Conventionally Grown – The roots of these yams and potatoes absorb water from the moisture of dirt. When herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are sprinkled into the growing system, it is also absorbed by the root. The potatoes and yams are also treated with more chemicals after being harvested to prevent more sprouting. Some of the chemicals found on conventionally grown yams and potatoes have proven to be carcinogenic and developmentally toxic.

• Organically Grown – These contain no herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides used in the typical growing process so you don’t have to worry about ingesting toxic chemicals. This is a great way to obtain a cleaner forms of essential nutrients such as iron, calcium and vitamin C.

PUMPKINS

They are a versatile gourd-like fruit which can be used to cook or as Halloween decoration. Nobody can escape a slice of pumpkin pie during this time of year. However, there are several other recipes that call for pumpkin such as wine, pancakes, bread, and scones. Pumpkins grow from a vine where male and female flowers grow.

• Conventionally Grown – Some chemicals used in pumpkin production are ethalfluralin and clomazone. These chemicals pollute groundwater and damage the environment.

• Organically Grown – These do not cause harm to the environment in the growing process. One cup of organic pumpkin can provide three grams of fiber at only 49 calories, which can also aid in weight loss by keeping you full for a long period of time.

CRANBERRIES

This delicious fruit is a great additive in salads, cookies, and juice. But during this time of year, everyone wants this hot commodity for sauce. Cranberries are grown in a unique way. They grow on vines that are low-laying in beds layered with peat, sand, clay and gravel, which is known as a bog that is flooded in and out periodically.

• Conventionally Grown – The USDA has found 13 pesticide residues on cranberries. Of those residues, three are known or highly probable carcinogens, six are suspected hormone disruptors, five are neurotoxins, one is a developmental or reproductive toxin, and six are honeybee toxins. • Organically Grown – Allows you to fully enjoy the healthy benefits of cranberries that fight against cancers, heart disease, kidney and bladder problems, while being honeybee friendly.