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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Organic vs. Natural: Understand the Difference, Educate Others

These past few days have been heaven for college football junkies such as myself. Why?

We got to watch a ton of great bowl games and the best is yet to come — January 10th when Auburn and Oregon play for the National BCS Championship. Then, a few months later comes March Madness, the college basketball championship tournament.

Now that I got the sports plug in, let’s talk about Organic vs. Natural.

I am addressing this now because when I was watching the Rose Bowl game yesterday (TCU vs. Wisconsin), a major potato-chip manufacturer kept popping up with its “all-natural” ads. The vegetables in the ads looked pristine, the kitchen was sparkling white and the cutting board was beautiful. It was about as picturesque and healthy-looking as you can imagine.

And, they kept saying their potato chips were “all-natural”.

According to the USDA’s website, this is what “natural” means.

As required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

Did you read that last sentence? There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

As a result, “natural” has been badly abused as a marketing technique, and tons of companies have used genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), synthetic chemicals, and growth hormones in the production of their “natural” foods.

Since the government has been unwilling to enforce any type of standard for the term “natural”, class action lawyers have gotten involved and filed lawsuits against corporations such as Pepsi (Naked Juice) and Kashi who have used ingredients that are anything but natural.

What to do?

Avoid buying products labeled as “natural” and purchase “organic” products.

Organic food has very strict standards — no GMOs, no toxic pesticides or chemicals, nothing artificial, nothing can be irradiated or grown in sewage sludge — and the certification process is rigorous. Organic food is MUCH healthier for a person and for the planet.

So, the next time some person or some advertisement says that a food product is “natural”, now you know what the word really means. Or, doesn’t mean.

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic – Conventional Meat Contains Twice as Many Superbugs

Aside from the fact that conventionally-raised animals can be pumped with synthetic growth hormones and can be fed genetically-modified grain that has been sprayed with super-toxic pesticides, there is now another scary reason to avoid conventional meat: superbugs.

In results from a just released study, Consumers Reports found that 18 percent of the ground beef samples from conventionally-raised cows contained dangerous superbugs resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics used to treat illness in humans. This is compared with just 9 percent of ground beef from samples that were sustainably produced.

Consumer Reports purchased 300 packages – 458 pounds – of conventionally and sustainably produced ground beef from grocery, big-box, and natural food stores in 26 cities across the country.

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A message from Tradin Organic

Why Tradin Organic is Prioritizing Regenerative Organic Farming

At Tradin Organic, we believe that regenerative organic farming is key to growing healthy and nutritious food ingredients — for now and for future generations.

And in Sierra Leone, we have grown the world’s first Regenerative Organic Certified cacao.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

What’s With These Holes in My Kale?

Ok. Let’s be very, very honest here.

How many times have you been at the market, looked at a piece of organic produce, seen numerous imperfections, and then searched for something that looked a little bit more aesthetically pleasing?

I’m certainly guilty of doing that.

But the question is: Why do we do this?

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

New to Organic? – Start with This Inexpensive Breakfast

One question that I get a lot is “How should a person get started with organic food?” One complaint I hear a lot is that organic food costs too much.

Let me both answer this question and address this complaint with a story.

Last week, Brian, a new friend of mine, came to me for some food-related advice. He wanted to know what he could be doing to eat healthier, as he was “crashing” in the middle of the afternoon. Brian was very concerned that his eating habits were negatively impacting his ability to perform at work, which would impact his ability to make money.

He did not know much about organic and was very concerned about the price. When I started talking about organic food, the first words out of his mouth were “Hey, I don’t make $20,000 per month.”

Brian went on to tell me about the fast-food breakfasts that he had been eating and he didn’t think it was the cause of his problem.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink