Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Power of Organic Foods

In today’s culture, most of us have little time to think organic. We are a society that’s constantly on the go, in which we naturally think of convenient solutions. That includes unhealthy choices, such as eating at the nearest fast food restaurant or choosing snacks from vending machines that are high in sugar instead of nutrients. Research has shown that most of us are moment thinkers, in which we make fast decisions based on that particular moment.
Atlanta nutritionist Richard Villaire says “people like a quick fix, especially when it comes to hunger. We are moment thinkers, where the priority becomes satisfying that hunger quickly and not smart.” He then adds “there are healthy options out there that people could easily incorporate in their diet. One of which are organic foods, which are not farmed with antibiotics or pesticides.”
Coincidentally, organic food chains are beginning to appear around the nation, with one of the most well-known carriers being Whole Foods. According to Reuters, a prominent online news website, Whole Foods is “the biggest seller of organic and natural food products in the United States.” (Baertlein, 2011, Reuters) Whole Foods store manager, Stacie Clark, says “our store has seen a lot of growth within the last two years. Customers are starting to realize that there is a vast amount of organic alternatives for many of their favorite foods.” However, those of us who are still on the fence about switching to organic, wonder if there is an extreme difference in the taste within these foods. Clark mentioned how “most people automatically associate healthy foods with a bitter taste, which is why they never give it a try. Many of the products that we sell here at Whole Foods taste just as good as some of the non-organic products out there.”
Of course there is going to be a natural difference in taste with produce. But for all other foods, it shouldn’t be too drastic. With snack foods, organic is a better route to take, in that they don’t contain all the sugar that non-organic snacks tend to have. You can still consume your favorites: popcorn, cookies, chocolate bars, etc. They just won’t be damaging to your body, because they are made with organic ingredients and typically have higher levels of both vitamins and nutrients. Other snack options include both organic fruits and peanuts.
Clark stated that at her Whole Foods location, “both organic fruits and dried snacks such as peanuts, trail mix, etc., have had an increase in sales within the last three months.” She also said that “most of these sales are coming from the younger consumers such as college students.” Is it a fad? Or are these younger consumers starting to realize the benefits organic foods have on both the body and their long term health. Nutritionist Richard Villaire seems to think that the younger generation “is starting to understand the effects of eating bad foods.” He goes on to say “We live during a time where many people are concerned about their appearance and will do whatever it takes to maintain it. If that includes eating organic foods, some are definitely willing to do just that.”
There are also a variety of restaurants in the Atlanta area, that cater to such individuals, who are on the go and don’t have time to pick up organic snacks or prepare their own meals. Organic restaurants such as R. Thomas Deluxe Grill, Urban pL8 and Evos are just a few that are becoming popular around town with consumers. These locations sell such foods as organic sandwiches, baked goods, and even popular entrees.
Former store manager of Evos, Mirta Lawes, stated that “At first business was slow when I first started managing Evos. People weren’t about organic foods yet and eating healthy. Everyone still wanted a burger from fast food spots like McDonald’s.” She then went on to describe how “with time, word of mouth spread, and more people started to come to the restaurant. It was fantastic, people became aware of the great food we sold at Evos and how it’s possible to eat well, yet healthy.”
Will organic foods replace the favorites of many? That is still unknown. But what is known is that in order to live a healthier lifestyle, you have to open your mind and make the change.

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