This featured article is sponsored by our friends at Earthbound Farm. Their mission is to cultivate a healthier world through organic food and farming. I have had the absolute pleasure of visiting their organic farms in California twice and I can honestly say they are the real deal and have impeccable standards with every product they sell, like the arugula I used in this 5-minute arugula pesto recipe.
Listen to Amie go into detail about how to make this arugula pesto, what you need to know about going organic, choosing organic food over conventional, and why she chooses to eat organic.
According to Wikipedia, organic food is produced by methods that comply with the standards of organic farming. Standards vary worldwide, but organic farming, in general, features practices that cycle resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organizations regulating organic products may restrict the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers in the farming methods used to produce such products. In general, organic foods are also usually not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives.
I didn’t understand what organic meant years ago before I went through my 12-year journey of chronic health issues. You could say I was “asleep” to what was going on behind the scenes of our collapsing food system that pockets money off of selling us cheap, inflammatory foods that hijack our tastebuds.
What is Organic?
It wasn’t until halfway through my health journey that I actually started to believe there might be something to this whole “eating organic” thing. I was skeptical, to say the least for many, many years. I mean, come on… the organic lettuce looks EXACTLY the same way the CONVENTIONAL (non-organic) lettuce looks so what is the big deal? Well, that was my mindset for a long time until the people around me who were also in a healing crisis were finally starting to feel a difference in their health by lessening their body burden of toxins on a daily basis, something I talk about extensively in my best-selling cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.
What I’ve realized since then is this: what is inside the food and sprayed on the food has nothing to do with what it looks like.
What’s important to understand is what is sprayed on the food you’re eating because when it rains, the rain drips off the plants that are sprayed and the pesticides go into the soil and yes, you guessed it, the roots! So, you can see how no matter how well you wash that apple of yours, it doesn’t matter because the pesticides and herbicides are INSIDE.
Did you know USDA Certified Organic is the most regulated and inspected label in food today? Earthbound Farm joined what was once a movement and is now an industry, early on. Earthbound fought side-by-side with activists, farmers, retailers, manufacturers, academics and environmentalists for a high-integrity organic standard, one all consumers could trust. Earthbound believes they all won, and that means our environment also wins.
So, why do I choose organic? I’ll tell you in the AUDIO feature above.
These things I believe are essential to know about organic food and what you’re putting on your plate. Organic farming benefits:
- Keeps toxic and persistent synthetic chemicals out of the soil, water, air, and food.
- Creates a safer working environment for farmers and farm workers.
- Reduces chemical exposure to neighboring homes, schools and businesses.
- Builds healthier soils through cover cropping and crop rotation, and by adding only organic amendments which also reduces soil erosion.
- Promotes healthy, balanced ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Reduces danger to non-target species.
Want to know an easy trick for finding organic produce in your food store?
Look for the #9 on your produce when you’re in the food store. The #9 means that the produce is organic! Be sure to check out the stickers on everything from apples to pears and lemons and limes, and especially for the ingredients you need to pick up to make this arugula pesto.
HOW CHOOSING ORGANIC AFFECTS YOU
Your liver is in charge of taking all the toxins you’re bombarded with on a daily basis and removing them from your body. It’s a BIG job. I’ve been detoxing my liver for over a decade and I’m still working on it. What I want you to understand is the less amount of toxins (pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics from conventional meats and eggs, over the counter pills, synthetic hormones such as birth control, alcohol, processed foods, etc) you put into your body, the better you will feel and the more energy you will have because your body will not be working so hard to try to remove synthetic chemicals, hormones and more. If you’re looking for a deeper way to support your liver on a daily basis, our 3-Month Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan can help you go deeper.
Here are a few terms and important facts that will help you understand what fresh organic food means while also helping you feel confident that organic food is a healthier and safer choice vs. conventional.
National Organic Program Standards
(USDA Certified Organic)
- USDA officially launched its National Organic Program (NOP) in 1990 with the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act.
- NOP standards govern organic certification of farming, handling, and processing operations.
- NOP created a uniform definition of organic foods with standardized product labeling
- Under USDA standards for organic food production, farms, manufacturers, and distributors must be inspected on location annually by a USDA-accredited certifier.
- The detailed USDA standards for organic are more than 500 pages long.
USDA Standards for Organic Certification
- No conventional synthetic pesticides.
- No fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge.
- No genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- No irradiation.
- Clear and appropriate buffers between organic fields and nearby conventional farms.
- A three-year minimum transition period for fields that have been previously farmed conventionally.
- Annual inspection by USDA-approved, independent certifier.
Product Labeling Requirements
Products allowed to display the USDA Organic seal
- “100% Organic”: made entirely with certified organic ingredients.
- “Organic”: made with at least 95% certified organic ingredients.
Products disallowed from displaying the USDA Organic seal but contain organic ingredients
- “Made with organic ingredients”: products made with at least 70% organic ingredients may make an organic claim on the display panel of the product.
- Products containing less than 70% organic ingredients may only include mention of organic on ingredient listing and not on the packaging panel of the product.
STILL HUNGRY? For more of our anti-inflammatory recipes, check out our 3 Month Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan, which is only available for a limited time.
SHOP the STORY
This super easy 5-minute pesto recipe uses arugula instead of basil for a fun, savory twist. It's perfect for topping roasted organic cauliflower.
- 2 cups Earthbound Farm Baby Kale & Arugula Blend
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp. fresh lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 large lemon
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- pinch ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the cauliflower florets onto the prepared baking dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown.
Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a food processor and puree until it forms a pesto consistency. Transfer to a small bowl.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and spoon the pesto on top of the cauliflower. Serve immediately. Keep the cauliflower and pesto in separate sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.