Why Going Organic is Important to Your Mental Health and Wellbeing
By Charlie Fletcher
There’s just something about a global pandemic that makes us want to live a healthier life. And most of us have plenty of free time as lockdowns continue into the foreseeable future. In this way, social isolation provides a unique opportunity to better ourselves, both mentally and physically. For starters, it may just be the perfect time to introduce organic products into your daily life.
It’s no secret that organic foods are more nutritious than their conventional counterparts. Going organic is also better for the environment, by a wide margin. Farming without pesticides keeps the surrounding natural environment safe, including bird and animal populations. Further, “organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy.”
But the benefits of adopting an organic lifestyle don’t stop with improved health and environmental stewardship: Going organic can give your mental health a much-needed boost, fueling a greater sense of personal wellbeing. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of going organic, and how to best adopt a lifestyle that promotes positivity and mental wellness.
You Truly are What You Eat
Scientists have long touted the connection between our physical and mental health. And in times of turmoil and social unrest, cultivating a mostly positive mental state is vital to our wellbeing. Your social environment, general life satisfaction, and presence of a support system are all factors that directly impact your mental health, but your diet plays a big part as well.
If your diet primarily consists of processed foods and refined sugars, for example, you may experience long-term impairment to both your brain and body. Research indicates that your digestive system effectively guides your emotions, and unhealthy, pesticide-laden foods can induce increased feelings of anxiety, sadness, and depression. What’s more, the antibiotics and growth hormones used in a slew of conventional food products have also been proven harmful, even affecting child development.
Among humans from all walks of life, physical and mental health coexist. Poor physical health fuels negative thought patterns and emotions, and vice versa. By recognizing that connection and going organic, you are taking your first steps towards a more fulfilling life.
A Well-Rounded Organic Lifestyle
It’s important to note that changing your diet is just a small part of making the switch to organics. Nearly everything you purchase, from shoes and apparel to kitchenware and household cleaning products, can be made with green materials and sustainable production methods. By making organic, eco-friendly products an integral part of your daily life, you can (literally) breathe easier.
Going organic can also give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, as you’re making a real difference where the environment is concerned. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organic production methods must promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity, while eschewing the use of harmful pesticides and GMOs. The good news in 2020 is that more and more companies recognize the myriad benefits of organic production methods, giving consumers more organic product choices than ever before.
When shopping for organic and sustainably sourced products, start at your local farmer’s market or co-op, and take a close look at product labels. The only way to completely ensure that a particular product contains no conventionally grown ingredients or GMOs is when it’s affixed with a “100% Organic” label. Keep in mind that products “made with organic ingredients” are only required to contain 75% organic ingredients.
While the nuances of organic labeling rules may seem trivial, understanding label distinctions and terminology is one of the first tasks you’ll encounter as you work to integrate more organic products into your life.
Making the Switch to Organics
You likely won’t require professional intervention as you make mindful purchases of organic clothing, cleaning products, and home decor items. Changing your diet is a different story, however. Before making significant changes to your diet, it’s in your best interest to seek guidance from a medical professional.
Even during a pandemic, you can safely consult with your primary care provider, thanks to technological advancements in the realm of telehealth. As the threat of COVID persists, in-person office visits may not be required for minor health issues, such as questions about your diet. Telehealth allows you to access your health care remotely, with services that include virtual appointments and remote patient monitoring.
Your doctor or nurse practitioner may remotely monitor your heart rate and blood pressure during the process of going organic. During your follow-up visits, make sure to report any changes in mood or behavior as well. You may notice a boost in your mood almost immediately upon going organic, but don’t worry if the process takes time.