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Let’s talk organic with The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ Sharon Palmer

In this last of 4 video/blog transcriptions, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™ Sharon Palmer and I talk about  organic and what are the extra (if any) benefits of eating organic versus conventional produce. Eating organic Sharon palmer piccan be an extra expense, so buying locally grown foods can be an excellent alternative. Regardless, eat more fruits and veggies whenever you can!

Transcript below. To watch the video, scroll to bottom or click here

Neily: Sharon Palmer author of The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today and I were talking about plant-powered diets and wanted to pick Sharon’s brain a bit about organic. We hear so much about organic. First of all let’s define what it is.
Sharon: Organic is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture and it’s a very rigorous process in which foods have to be certified. The protection has to be certified, and organic production means that the most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not allowed to be used in the production of the crops.


What is Organic? (excerpt from Neily article)

Organic certification by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a process certification not a product certification.  It does not have to do with the quality of the product, its nutritional value, or its safety.  Organic foods differ from conventionally produced foods in the way they are grown, handled, and processed.  Certified organic means no use of synthetic pesticides, hormones, synthetic fertilizers, bioengineering or irradiation.  Animals are raised on 100% organic feed and do not receive antibiotics or growth hormones.

There are a lot of detailed regulations behind how the crops have to be grown in order to carry the certification for organic. So, a lot of the consumers are interested in organics because of the pesticides. They like to see a reduced intake of pesticides in the plants.

Neily: What are the benefits of going organic?
Sharon: There really are not a lot of clear-cut benefits in terms of the nutritional profile of organic food. The studies have shown different things. There was one big study that came out that showed there was not a big nutritional difference between an organic and a conventional plant. Some studies have gotten a little bit higher intake of nutrients and antioxidants. I think that most people who are interested in organic are doing it not for the nutritional value, but to eat food that is less exposed to pesticides and fertilizers, and want to support more sustainable agriculture.
Neily: I am very balanced in my approach to organics. I much rather have people just eat their fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I hear people say “if I can’t buy organic, why bother,” and that is not the message we want to give. We want people to eat those plant foods, regardless—especially if cost is an issue.
Sharon: That is exactly true. My advice is to eat fruits and vegetables first. If you’re avoiding them because you can’t afford organic, that is not a good message. We need to be eating more—they are so important to health. They have so many nutrients we need and phytochemicals that protect our health.
Neily: Even if we get local. You know, local, conventionally grown versus organic that might come from another country.
Sharon: That is another great point because we should all be eating more close to home. Especially with fruits and vegetables. These are things that we used to produce in our communities, and a couple of generations ago everybody had a kitchen garden. We all ate locally and now we are shipping around so much produce. I think it’s great if you can find produce that comes closer to home.
Neily Yes. I wish everyone could have a garden—that would be wonderful. I remember growing up, my mom would tell me to go out to the garden and pick our salad.
Sharon That’s the best organic food you can have! The quality is so much better when you can grow your own produce or the second best would be the local farmers market. Supermarkets are getting better now too. They have more local foods. It is much more available than it was ten years ago
Neily Yes. Great. Eat those fruits and veggies!
Sharon That’s right!
Neily I’ve never seen a study that showed that they are bad for you.
Sharon I don’t think there is one!
Neily I know! Again Sharon Palmer author of The Plant-Powered Diet. Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition, and we’ll see you in the next video!

I’m very excited for Sharon that her second book Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, due in book stores on June 17, 2014, is now available for pre-order!

Special thanks to Monica Parodi, RDN for transcribing this series of videos when she was my intern last summer!

Make sure to not miss the series of videos with Sharon at Neily on Nutrition YouTube channel.

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