James Beard award-winning chef Rocco DiSpirito discusses his new book, Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious, on the Clever Cookstr podcast. Below, he gives three reasons why we should all eat organic.
In this excerpt from Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious, Rocco DiSpirito helps those who aren't already aboard the Organic Express understand three reasons why eating organic is right for both you and your tastebuds.
1. You won’t be eating pesticides.
I love strawberries. Give me a bowl of big, sweet, and juicy berries with an overwhelming strawberry-ness that spurts a little juice down my chin, and I’m in heaven.
But if those strawberries are not organic, I’ve got trouble in my bowl. Turns out that there are forty-five pesticide residues on conventionally grown strawberries, according to a USDA pesticide data program. Six of these residues are known or probable carcinogens. Sixteen are suspected hormone disruptors. This means they act like estrogen in the body and disrupt natural thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism.
Seven are neurotoxins and thus harmful to the brain, thinking skills, and memory. Six cause developmental or reproductive issues, and twelve are environmental toxins, which do things like kill honeybees. (To find out how many pesticide residues are on your favorite foods, check out the website: www.whatsonmyfood.org.)
If it’s not organic, this wonderful berry, which is full of fiber and antioxidants and low in sugar, is in reality a little nugget of poison.
2. You’ll supercharge your body with nutrients.
You’ll come across information that claims the opposite, that conventionally grown food is more nutritious than organic food, but don’t believe it. One of the most eye-opening studies on this issue was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. It was a “meta-analysis” (statistical study) of 343 peer-reviewed publications that looked into significant and meaningful differences in nutrients between organic and conventionally grown crops. Compared to nonorganic crops, the study concluded that organic fruits and vegetables:
- Contain higher concentrations of a range of disease-preventing antioxidants.
- Are higher in vitamin C, a nutrient important for practically every system in the body, from skin to the heart.
- Have higher amounts of magnesium and zinc. Found in almost every cell in the body, magnesium serves a vital role in most of the body’s biological activities. Zinc is also involved in the metabolism of fats, protein, and carbohydrates, among other duties.
- Contain higher levels of carotenoids, nutrients that, among other health benefits, reduce the risk of degenerative diseases and cancer.
- Have higher concentrations of lutein, a valuable carotenoid in fruits and vegetables that helps protect against heart disease and some cancers, and has been shown to reduce the risk of eye problems, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
3. Your food will taste better.
There haven’t been a lot of studies done on whether organic food tastes better than conventionally grown food, so I’ve had to apply my own test, the Rocco Taste Test. When I started cooking with, and eating, organic foods, I couldn’t believe the superior flavor of organic produce, and pasture-fed, responsibly-raised meats.
With organic ingredients, you don’t need to add a lot of extra flavoring. If you already purchase organic food, you know that there is a depth of flavor, improved texture, and quality to these ingredients that simply does not exist in much of the mass-produced food of today.
Courtesy of Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious: More Than 200 (Mostly) Plant-Based Recipes for Everyday Life