Spotlight on Green Chef: What Does It Mean When a Meal Kit Is “Certified Organic”?
Not that long ago, organic food wasn’t so easy to find. Unless you did your shopping at the local health food store, you were unlikely to have wide access to organic items. These days, however, organic food is more readily available, and most grocery stores dedicate at least a small section of the produce department to organic fruits and vegetables. Organic items are frequently more expensive than their conventional counterparts, so it’s important to arm yourself with the info you need to decide whether the benefits of organic eating are worth the additional cost. What is “organic farming”? What does it mean to be “certified organic”?
In this article, we’ll start by taking a look at what organic farming is all about, and then look at why eating organic foods might be a smart choice for your family. We’ll look at the benefits, downsides, and difficulties involved in choosing to eat organic, and we’ll explore what it means to be “certified organic.” We’ll consider how a meal kit can help make organic eating easy, and we’ll talk about Green Chef, the first meal delivery company to be certified organic.
Ready to find out more about organic eating? Let’s dive in!
What Is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is an approach to food production that begins with the treatment of the soil and water and follows all the way through to processing. Fruits, veggies, eggs, and meats can all be farmed organically, and there are specific practices and goals that must be adhered to in order to ensure organic status. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the goals of organic farming:
- Enhancing the quality of soil and water
- Reducing pollution
- Creating and maintaining safe and healthy habitats for livestock
- Raising livestock in a way that allows for natural behaviors
- Promoting a self-sustaining cycle of resources
When it comes to crops and produce, organic farming prohibits the use of most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, encourages crop rotation to keep soil healthy and land fertile, and avoids genetic engineering. Livestock must be raised in healthy and natural living conditions that allows access to fresh air and outdoor space, animals must be feed an organic diet, and antibiotics and growth hormones are not utilized.
What Does It Mean to Be “Certified Organic”?
Companies and farms that choose to follow organic practices can choose to seek out organic certification from the USDA. During this process, certifiers will visit the company to ensure that all organic standards are being met. Once a business has been certified organic, an annual review and inspection is required to maintain the status.
Green Chef, is the first USDA-certified organic meal kit company, and shipments feature organic produce and eggs.
Are There Health Benefits to Eating Organic?
Since organic farming avoids pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, and growth hormones, the most obvious benefit in choosing to eat organic is that foods are free from these substances; however, are organic foods better for you? Are they healthier?
Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, points out that studies have shown that organic and conventionally grown foods are on par nutritionally. There doesn’t appear to be a boost in minerals, vitamins, or nutrients that comes from choosing organic produce. Still, if you want to steer clear of pesticides, organic produce is a good way to keep your diet clean. One thing to keep in mind is that thin-skinned fruits and vegetables are most likely to contain pesticide residue. Every year, the environmental working group puts together a list called “The Dirty Dozen,” which outlines conventionally grown produce most likely to have pesticide residue. 2021’s list contains strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, cherries, peaches, and pears as the biggest offenders. Thicker-skinned fruits and vegetables like oranges, bananas, and squashes are less likely to contain pesticide residue.
When it comes to livestock, in addition to avoiding antibiotics and growth hormones, many proponents of organic eating appreciate the animal welfare aspect. Since organic meats must be raised in a way that allows for natural behaviors and access to the outdoors, animals raised organically generally enjoy a better quality of life.
Are There Downsides to an Organic Diet?
The biggest downsides of an organic diet are cost and access. Since farming practices are more expensive, organic foods cost more to produce. This additional cost is passed on to consumers, and organic foods can be as much at 10%-50% more expensive than their conventional counterparts. Following an all-organic diet can be pricey, so one approach is to focus on the foods most likely to contain pesticides. Or, if animal welfare is the main driver for choosing organic foods, focusing on choosing organic meats and dairy.
Access can be another challenge. While many grocery stores now offer some organic options, it may be difficult to find organic alternatives to all of the meats and produce items on your weekly shopping list. You could go full homesteader and set up your own personal organic garden in the backyard, but if you lack the space, time, or green thumb required, another solution is to subscribe to a certified organic meal kit delivery service, like Green Chef that will take care of the sourcing for you.
I’m Ready to Eat Organic! How Do I Get Started?
Getting started with organic eating is easy. You can start by making small swaps in the grocery store and keeping an eye out for vegetables, fruits, herbs, meats, eggs, and dairy that are stamped with the USDA organic logo. If you’d like to make a larger lifestyle change, it might make sense to switch to a grocery store that specializes in organic foods or maybe even start growing more of your own produce at home using organic gardening techniques. You can also sign up for a delivery service that will do the sourcing and meal planning for you, like Green Chef. Since Green Chef is certified organic, you can feel good about the ingredients you receive, and you’ll also reap the benefits that come with meal kit delivery. You’ll save time shopping and planning, and you’ll enjoy the convenience that comes with selected meals online and having all the ingredients and recipes sent to your door. With Green Chef, you can choose from three different meal plans, Plant-Powered, Keto + Paleo, and Balanced Living. Whichever plan you choose, the meals are quick to prepare and will be on the table in 30 minutes or less.
My Subscription Addiction reviewers have had great experiences with Green Chef, and it’s also one of the highest-rated meal kits as voted by the MSA community. Currently, Green Chef has a community rating of 4.8/5!
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Do you follow an organic diet? Have you tried Green Chef? Head to the comments section and let us know!