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Five ways to go organic
From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear and the products we use on our body, the demand to go organic seems to be on the rise these days. Organic foods and products are produced and manufactured without the use of potentially harmful pesticides, insecticides, fertilisers and other toxic additives; hence, considered to be the healthier choice not only for the body but for the environment as well. And by the looks of organic retail stores and restaurants being seen here and there, it seems Singapore is catching up on the health revolution.
A report in The Straits Times stated that there are now more than 40 organic stores, cafes and warehouses in the country1; and it is estimated that the organic food market in Singapore is worth between $6 million and $10 million. A survey by the Nielsen company in 2007 also showed that over four in 10 Singaporeans buy organic fruits and vegetables some of the time, with 12 percent buying them regularly.2
Just like any other lifestyle change, however, switching to organic living can be hard at first. But with the right motivation, coupled with a good dose of information, switching into the organic lifestyle can be a breeze. To get you started, we rounded up five ways you can go organic.
Organic foods are those produced without the use of fertilisers and pesticides. According to experts, organic food is known to contain 50 percent more nutrients, vitamins and minerals than the conventional ones.3
Once upon a time, agriculture was simple, and people grew their apples and vegetables in their backyard. But over the years, because of the rising demand to produce more crops, farming got complicated and farmers started using pesticides to control pests and diseases, and fertilisers to ensure plant growth. Poultry and cattle farming were not spared. Antibiotics and hormones were used to guarantee fast slaughter weight. At lease two-thirds of
all beef cattle in the US are given growth hormones, and approximately 22 percent of dairy cows are given hormones to increase milk production.4
By opting to buy organic foods, you are not only minimising the toxins that go into your body, you’re reducing the ones that go into the soil as well.
Nowadays, the clothing business is among the biggest industries that leave the most carbon footprints. In her news feature in 2007 entitled “Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry“, author Luz Claudio said, “Manufacture of polyester and other synthetic fabrics is an energy-intensive process requiring large amounts of crude oil and releasing emissions including volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and acid gases such as hydrogen chloride, all of which can cause or aggravate respiratory disease.”5
Supporting the organic clothing industry does not only boost a healthy living, but makes you an advocate for the environment and fair labour as well. In the 2010 version of the “Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)”, safety, humane working conditions, and fair wages and working hours are among the guidelines required to ensure organic status of textiles.6
Starting them young is a good way to train kids to be healthy. According to Dr Alan Greene, American pediatrician and author of “From First Kicks to First Steps”, “Choosing organic foods is a great way 21st century fathers can teach, provide for and protect their children.”
One of the things parents can do to ensure that their babies develop a much stronger immune system is by feeding them organic foods. Because organic foods have increased nutritional value, babies don’t need to be fed a large portion in order to get the required daily nutritional needs. Organic foods also have less saturated fats that often cause weight increase.
Since a good percentage of the world’s pesticides and insecticides go to production and processing of cotton, the number one material used for baby clothing, concerns about babies’ health are increasing. Using organic products can help appease parents’ minds on the chemical residue concerns.
In order to have a clean and bacteria-free household, some of us overuse cleaning products. But experts believe that certain cleaning materials can be more hazardous to our health than any bacteria around. Traditional cleaning products can contain chemicals associated with cancer, reproductive disorders, respiratory ailments, allergies, and other human health issues. They also include materials that can accumulate in the environment with potentially harmful consequences and ozone-depleting substances.7
The philosophy behind using organic skin care is the same as eating organic foods. The fresher and more natural the products are, the better they are for your skin and body. Organic skin care contains only natural ingredients and free of additives that are damaging to the skin. The idea is that, our body absorbs a percentage of whatever is applied on our skin, and using organic skin care products eliminates the hazard of having harmful toxins being absorbed into the body through the skin.
Since organic skin care products do not contain artificial preservatives, their shelf life, of course, is shorter. So make sure that you only use the products within the indicated time.