This blog will feature issues of health, naturally, to enable healthier choices for living, as we are far too often exposed to harmful chemicals. In fact, if you live in an industrialised country, scientists estimate you carry an average of 700 synthetic chemicals or contaminants in your bodily tissues at any given time. If we can raise awareness that organic, whole-food really does make us what we are and is ‘medicinal’, we can help each other to better health!
The global ‘healthcare’ market of the 21st century is driven by the pharmaceutical industry. The discovery that chronic inflammation drives many diseases of the modern era, including cancer and depression, for example, and that organic whole-foods, from cloves to walnuts, contain anti-inflammatory properties is one of the great secrets of nutrition. But we’re still just scratching the surface of the complex ways in which food compounds interact with the body. As written in Hopkins Medicine, the rise of corporatism had a big influence on medicine;
“Big pharma’ was scarce with cash, because they can’t patent a food’s natural properties. And from a practical viewpoint, studying food with its thousands of chemicals and nutrients is incredibly complex. By comparison, targeting and studying a single drug for efficacy in a double-blind model was far more straightforward and lucrative to both researchers and industry”.
Granted, some pharmaceutical products have given a better quality of life to many people, but the singular focus of making a pill to treat disease has come at the cost of virtually ignoring food as medicine.
Sourcing ethical and organic products and foodstuffs is ideal for everyone’s health and the health of our planet too. In Australia, cruelty-free companies can gain accreditation, so too organic food providers, even though there is no mandatory requirement for certification of organic products sold domestically. Many organic businesses choose to be certified to underpin truth in labelling requirements and promote consumer confidence. However, of major concern to the environment worldwide, thanks to the (faux)-food industry, is palm oil. In Australia, many food products have palm oil listed as ‘vegetable oil’. In non-food products, there are at least 250 alternate names for palm oil. If an ingredient has any one of the alternate names then it is most likely palm oil unless you know the company has a ‘no palm oil’ policy, as these ingredients may be derived from other sources. But, if a product has one of the ingredients listed, you may want to contact the company to find out its derivation (the list was current, October 2016). It isn’t just the Orangutans suffering from the nightmare that palm oil has become as deforestation has spread from south-east Asia, to Africa and South America. Even the Amazon rainforest and it’s indigenous peoples are not safe!
Organic standards used in Australia are generally owned and managed by private organisations who base their certification standards on the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce (Edition 3.4 July 2009, the export standard referred to as the National Standard). The voluntary Australian Standard for Organic and biodynamic products, AS 6000-2009 (Australian Standard), was released October 2009. Standards Australia developed the Australian Standard through a representative committee comprising organic stakeholders including certifiers, retailers, manufacturers, consumer groups and government agencies. The Australian Standard, along with associated publication/s for certification of organic and biodynamic products is available at SAI Global. The Organic Federation of Australia is the peak body for the organic industry in Australia.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a North American non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. With many consumer products available internationally, their Consumer Guides, their Skin Deep database (which reports on and rates over 80,000 products) and their Consumer Products section are relevant worldwide. Do you know what’s in your tap water? What about your shampoo? What’s lurking in the cleaners underneath your sink? What pesticides are on your food? What are GMOs? What do they do to our land and water? More than two decades ago EWG set out to answer these questions and more, to empower us to get to know our environment and protect our health.