Organic Foods: More than bread and water

Organic Foods: More than bread and water
Today’s Omaha Woman (June 2002)
By Wendy Townley

How does a thick, juicy steak sound right about now? Paired perhaps with a salad, crisp green beans and garlic bread?

If you ask someone who has “gone organic,” a lot of other foods sound much better. The difference lies in what goes in to bringing this food to our tables – and it’s been on the books since 1990.

The California Organic Foods Act of 1990 defined what it means to produce and sell foods under the label of organic. Such foods contain no pesticides, chemicals, sprays in the water, in the soil the food was grown in or raised upon or no residue, explains Trent Hurley of No Name Nutrition, one of many organic foods outlets in the Omaha area.

But enough about specifics; let’s talk taste.

Hurley describes organic foods as possessing “more life and flavor. Meat is the biggest thing I notice the difference in.” Hurley describes organic steak (which still comes from the cow) as “some of the best I’ve ever had.”

For cracker and cereal lovers, you may notice a difference in the taste of organic alternatives initially. These foods lack sugars, artificial flavors and colors most associated with our favorite snacks. “A lot of our taste buds are used to that,” Hurley says. Natural and organic foods have a more hearty taste, allowing the natural flavors of the foods to come through.

But what about fruit? How does organic fruit differ from an apple or orange you pick up at your local grocery store? The difference, in this case, lies in the skin, explains Diana Lucas, natural living manager of Wild Oats Market. “Fruits without pesticides and that are grown organically are just fabulous,” Lucas says. An apple’s texture is typically better, she adds. “You don’t have the wax that you’re biting through. The flavor is more full, and the taste buds seem to react better.”

Lucas attributes the rise of organic foods to more knowledgeable consumers. “There’s just more information out there. There has been more of a grassroots effort to get that information out as far as the health benefits of eating organically.”

Because your body isn’t processing artificial additives and preservatives, it simply uses the natural foods you’re eating, which yields more energy and better digestion. “Once you start eating this way, you begin to read ingredients more,” Lucas adds. “And because you’re eating more full-flavored foods and eating more fruits and vegetables, you begin to desire that full flavor.” And, best of all, you stop going for the junk foods when hunger hits. “You can get that sugar craving from an apple or a pear.”

If you can’t yet part from cookies or other goodies, numerous of alternatives exist for these favorites. Such organic treats may use an organic flour or a natural chocolate. And it doesn’t have to taste nasty. “There’s this idea that health food is gross,” Lucas explains. “Maybe 20 years ago, but not now.”

Some consumers may be weary of going organic because of the additional cost. Some organic foods do cost more than their regular counterparts, but Lucas feels that it’s money best spent now rather than later. “I look at it like you’re not going to be spending that money, later in life, on medical bills. You might as well spend a little more now than thousands later.”

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