What Does it Mean to Live Organically? Your Guide to Organic Living
There are so many choices we can make when it comes to the food we eat, the beverages we drink and the everyday products we use.
Whether you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you’re gluten intolerant, or you’re simply choosing to purchase more responsibly sourced products, every purchase you make reflects an important decision.
When it comes to food and skincare ingredients, organic farming methods have been hailed as the optimum choice for our health and cause an immediate drop in greenhouse gas emissions.
Many skincare products and food products claim to have natural ingredients, but what does it really mean to live an organic lifestyle?
What Does Organic Really Mean?
The term “organic” indicates how agricultural products are grown and treated. Specificities may differ in each country, but here in the UK, DEFRA (the Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs) specifies organic as “food that avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives.”
When it comes to livestock raised for meat, eggs, and dairy, these animals must not be fed any growth hormones or antibiotics that will encourage unnatural growth. The same goes for both of each animal’s parents. They must be fed on organic feed and have access to a certain amount of outdoor space.
What’s the Difference Between Organic and Natural?
When buying food products, it’s important to know the difference between all-natural and organic products. Natural and organic are not mutually exclusive terms – that is, food products can be organic and natural simultaneously. They are both attractive qualities in food and healthcare products, so they are easy to mix up.
All-natural products are much less heavily regulated. An all-natural product usually does not contain artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, but it can contain artificial pesticides and fertilisers.
Organic products often come in varying degrees: if a label says “Organic”, the product is made of at least 95% organic ingredients.
So, in short, all-natural products are more loosely defined, and organic farmers must follow a rigorous set of rules to be certified organic.
How to Start Living Organically
If you’re new to organic living, it’s a good idea to incorporate organic products into your daily life gradually (say, swap a few items for organic each shop) – though, of course, if you want to go all-in, go ahead!
Fruit and vegetables are the easiest things to replace, since there will be an organic option for almost everything in the supermarket (though this will vary depending on where you live).
If you can, source produce from local organic farmers or from local markets, all the better. Just don’t assume that an unpackaged vegetable is organic – it doesn’t work that way!
There are products you should prioritise because they have the highest pesticide levels, such as:
You may need to do some research on a local store that stocks plenty of organic food products, or buy from a company like Abel & Cole, who can deliver organic produce to your door. [If your company does this, replace this link with your own.]
You can also incorporate organic products into your wardrobe. Clothing that is made with organic cotton, for example, is better for the environment as it uses less energy and carbon fuel. It’s also often of a higher standard, as it follows strict manufacturing guidelines, which means it will last for far longer than fast fashion pieces.
Clothing made with organic cotton is also great for those with skin allergies, as there is no chemical retention in the manufacturing process!
Skincare & Beauty
Organic ingredients are also frequently used in skincare products. It makes sense that any chemicals you wouldn’t ingest, you also wouldn’t want to rub into your skin (remember, it can still get into your bloodstream that way)!
Many non-organic skincare ingredients simply act as fillers and do your skin more harm than good. As for the environment, the same applies to this situation. Organic ingredients are always better you and the soil and release far fewer toxins back into the earth.
Benefits of Organic Living
Organic is Better for Our Physical Health
Countless studies have shown that organic food is far better for our physical health. The absence of pesticides in our food also means an absence of harsh chemicals. Organic food is generally fresher as it doesn’t contain preservatives, and is typically free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Organic is Better for the Planet
Aside from physical health reasons, organic food is far better for the planet than food produced using conventional farming methods. Simply by avoiding pesticides alone, organic farming can reduce soil erosion and increase soil fertility. Organic farming prevents the use of carbon dioxide, to the tune of the equivalent of 1/3 of all the cars in the world!
Organically farmed soil is so much richer in nutrients that just one teaspoon of it may contain between 600 million and 1 billion friendly bacteria from 15,000 species. This is especially impressive considering the same amount of chemically-treated soil could contain as few as 100 helpful bacteria!
Peace of Mind
If you’ve ever eyed your food with suspicion, wondering what’s actually in it, you’ll feel so much more relaxed knowing your food and the other products you use are certified organic. Plus, knowing you’re doing everything in your power to help the planet takes a load off your shoulders.
Studies have even found that, because organic food is so much more nutrient-dense, it can significantly improve your ability to prevent disease. This ranges from heart disease (the west’s biggest killer) to cancer, so it’s a huge benefit.
Where to Buy Organic Products
Of course, supermarkets often stock certain organic products, but it can be difficult to source an entirely organic haul from one shop. Unless you like the idea of running from shop to shop to search for each individual organic product you want, an entirely organic shop is probably the place to look.
That’s where we come in: The Organic Boutique is the one place to discover and purchase organic products. We are passionate about making organic products accessible and easy to find, so we have set up a way you can order all your favourite organic products and have them delivered straight to your door.
We’re passionate about minimising our damage to the environment, and we plant a tree with every purchase. Take a look at our website today, and you will find all of your favourite organic brands from sustainable, reliable and responsible sources! Help us save the planet.