The Organic Myth

Hi there, and welcome to Mod Vegan. My name is Margaret, and today I want to talk
with you about why I think organic fruits and vegetables not worth your money. Intro. Organic food is expensive and it is unnecessary. And I realize that saying that is going to
offend a lot of you. There are a great many people within the vegan
community that think that it’s very important that we encourage people to start eating organic
fruits and vegetables and buying all organic at the same time that we encourage them to
go vegan. And I think that is nonsense. And I’m going to tell you why. Often when people are buying organic, they
buy less. And that’s because organic is a lot more expensive. If you live where I do, in particular – I
live practically near the arctic circle in Calgary, Alberta which is in Canada – and
far north in Canada – and where I live it’s extremely expensive to buy organic fruits
and vegetables. They are going to cost at least 50% more,
sometimes even 100% more than the conventional version. And if that causes you to purchase less fruits
and vegetables, then I don’t think that’s a good idea. Now, I have nothing against organic foods. I will buy organic if it’s the same price
as conventional or less. But I don’t go out of my way to purchase them. And I don’t suggest that you do either. People who can afford organic fruits and vegetables
– that’s great. Eat organic fruits and vegetables. But I don’t think that it’s fair to convince
the rest of society that they need to follow suit. John McDougall, in his new book “The Starch
Solution” recommended to his readers that they not purchase organic if it was going
to mean that they are going to eat a single less fruit or vegetable. If you’re going to eat one less serving of
fruits or vegetables a week, because you’re buying all organic, then don’t do it. It’s far better to be eating more fruits and
vegetables, more grains, more good food, than it is for you to be buying organic food. And this is hard to get through to people,
because the image of organic has been sold to people so successfully. I’ve met actually a lot of people who smoke,
but eat organic because they think that it’s going to ameliorate the results of smoking. And that is simply not true. What organic does is it often makes people
who don’t have the same amount of money as others, who live in places where they don’t
have access to organic food, feel that they are not able to eat a healthy diet. And so they just give up and they eat a conventional,
standard american diet. And that’s so much worse for their health. And it also makes veganism seem very privileged. If you eat a plant-based diet, but you tell
everyone that they need to eat organic, what you’re in effect telling them is that they
need to have the same income as you in order to eat your diet. And while I realize that some people are able
to still buy their groceries for their family even though it comes at great cost to them,
I don’t think you should have to make a choice between paying for your healthcare and paying
for fruits and vegetables. Most of the time, organic is simply a status
symbol. There are very few foods where it makes a
great deal of difference and there are some foods where it basically makes no difference
at all, like tropical fruits. There may be some things – and again, this
is oversold, the idea of the “dirty dozen” – it’s completely oversold. I will buy organic strawberries if they’re
close to the very same price as regular strawberries, but that’s the only time that I even worry
about it. And I think that for the majority of us, you’re
so much better served by giving your family fresh fruits and vegetables, and the idea
that it’s somehow made these items toxic, just because they’ve had conventional pesticides
sprayed on them is a misnomer. First of all, one of the most widespread myths
about non-organic food is that it less nutritious. I don’t know where this idea came from, but
it’s completely false. Organic food does not contain any nutrients
that are not found in conventional produce. The only difference is that slightly more
phosphorous in organic fruits and vegetables, but that doesn’t even make much of a difference,
because we get plenty of phosphorous for our bodies out of conventional foods, so it really
is completely unimportant. Back in 2012, the Annals of Internal Medicine
did a study that was not paid for by any industrial group that showed that the nutritional content
of fruits of vegetables that were organic and non-organic are exactly the same. And so, I would encourage you to take that
to heart, to realize you’re getting just as many nutrients from your vegetables and fruit
if they are from a conventional grower as if they’re from an organic grower. The biggest fear, I think, when it comes to
conventionally raised produce, is that it has a lot more pesticide residue than regular
organic fruits and vegetables. But that’s not really quite true either. There can be pesticide residue on organically
grown fruits and vegetables, they’ve shown that. And also, when you rinse of fruits and vegetables,
almost all of those pesticides come off, and any remains that are in the fruits and vegetables
have been shown not to cause any ill health effects. And another really important thing to remind
yourself is that if you are eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, beans, rice – all
those kinds of foods – it doesn’t really matter so much if they’re organic, because one of
the key most unhealthy aspects of conventionally raised food is antibiotics. And obviously, there are no antibiotics in
plant foods. Interestingly enough, organically raised livestock
also has antibiotics. And that’s simply because when those animals
get sick, they must take antibiotics. And of course it would be extremely unkind
for a farmer not to treat an animal that is extremely ill. And really, the main difference between organic
and conventionally raised livestock is that conventionally raised livestock can be given
antibiotics sometimes simply as a prophylactic, or in order to even assist in the growth of
the animal, whereas organic animals are not given antibiotics prophylactically, they’re
not given them as kind of a prevention, they’re only given them when they need them. Which is better, but of course, if you’re
vegan you don’t have to worry about that, because you’re not consuming animal products
in the first place, so you’re reducing a great deal of the source of pesticides and antibiotics
in your food. And you’ll notice that I said “pesticides”. And that’s another important thing. When it comes to pesticides in your food,
remember that if your cattle are eating conventionally raised soybeans that are grown using lots
of pesticides, that pesticide gets into their body fat. And body fat retains pesticides more than
the muscle tissue of an animal, and so that cattle will continue to absorb more of those
pesticides. And as I’ve mentioned in previous videos,
including my video on rendering plants, a lot of animals eat the fat of other animals,
because it’s the least expensive. And so, you’re kind of getting an extra “boost
of animal fat, which is high in pesticide residue, and it’s also being given to those
animals and it may even contain hormones and things like that. So, you’re kind of recycling – if you feed
cow fat to other cows, you’re going to be increasing the amount of pesticide residue
in their fat even more by feeding them the fat from dead animals. Finally, it’s important to recognize that
organic foods are considerably less efficient than conventionally raised produce. When an organic farmer is growing things,
they tend to use more land to produce less. The crop yields are much smaller. And that’s because the pesticides that are
used by organic farmers really aren’t quite as effective. A lot of the methods where they use different
kinds of bugs and things like that are not as effective. And that’s another thing – My parents did organic gardening when I was
young, and I remember that in organic gardening magazines they were always talking about ordering
ladybugs to kill aphids and things like that. And if you feel that it’s wrong in any way
to kill insects, organic farming actually kills quite a few more insects in some ways
than even conventional growth does, because they’re using these animals in order to kill
other animals as a form of natural pesticide. So it’s just a lot more complex, I think that’s
the bottom line. It’s more complex, and it requires more land
to produce less food. Which ultimately means that there is more
water runoff, more waste of water in organic produce than there is in conventional. Now there are some exceptions to this, but
overall organic production is 34% less efficient than conventional. But there are certain foods that are not that
bad, strawberries are only about 3% less efficient and soybeans are only about 11% less efficient. So if you want to buy organically raised soybeans
and things like that, like the non-GMO organic soy, that’s not so bad. Neither are strawberries – those are two products
that are very similar yields, but a 34% loss in productivity really does mean a lot of
extra land use, a lot of extra waste, and it’s not so great for the environment. Obviously I think that a lot of us were very
wealthy and we could afford to eat only organic foods, we probably would. But most of us are not in that position. And if you’re not in a position where it means
absolutely nothing to you to spend extra money on your food, I would recommend you pretty
much just stick with conventional produce, with conventional fruits, conventional grains. And give yourself a break. Remind yourself that what you’re doing for
your health by eating a plant-based diet is so much infinitely more healthy than even
eating a plant-based diet and eating one less serving of fruits and vegetables a day. What really matters is that you’re eating
healthy food, and that you can do on a very reasonable budget, and please don’t worry
about whether that food is organic. This is a topic that I probably am going to
address later. I’m curious what you guys think, so please
let me know in the comment section below. I’m sure that a lot of you probably don’t
agree with me, so please say something. I hope you enjoyed this video, if you did,
and you think it’s helpful, please give it a thumbs up, and subscribe so you can see other great videos
like this, and I will see you in my next video. Take care, bye!

51 thoughts on “The Organic Myth

  1. Absolutely! I think it comes down to priorities: people obsess about chemicals in food and GMO while they eat meat and smoke. I always ask them: Do you know someone who died from GMO and non-organic food? No? What do you think causes people to die in millions, any ideas? Oh, you would have to change your diet and lifestyle, wouldn't you?

  2. Yes, Its just finding the ones that are cheap and close in price. Organic spinach, green onions and carrots are very cheap ones to get. I agree its not realistic $ to only eat organics. The spinach tastes better organic and so do the heirloom tomatoes, I honestly can tell the difference in the spinach and tomato, they have richer tastes. Margaret you will never convert me to full GMO lol 😀
    I enjoyed this helpful video and always click the like thumb 🙂

  3. Think I can only afford to buy about 60% of my daily calories organic. I try to buy most grains organic, cause I consider them dirtier than that drity dozen. Can't affort to buy all fresh produce organic, though I do prefer the taste over conventional. Also I've worked on organic farms in the past, I think their approach is preferable over conventional, which I've also seen from close by. I've tried organic soy, but I don't like the taste of that tofu and less than 5% of my daily calories come from soy, so I'm not too worried. Though I agree with your point that if one has to restrict in order to get organic, then get conventional.

  4. I'm glad you mentioned the effects on insects in organic farming. It's plausible that insecticides used in conventional farming reduce insect suffering since it creates less biomass per hectare. of course this is from the perspective that insect lives are net negative.

  5. back in my university days I had a discussion with a friend about organic food and was swayed to not be in favour of it for some of the reasons you mentioned here. you mentioned a few more reasons than I previously knew, I learned something from your video today, as per usual! also, more recently someone told me that organic mushrooms are just a huge scam because all mushrooms are grown in sort of like an underground pit and never require the use of pesticides anyway, but the organic company will put the label on it and charge more, meanwhile the regular ones are literally the exact same product. I don't know how true that is, I never looked into it. but yeah, I just stay away from organic. I live in Saskatoon so its pretty expensive here too.

  6. We buy mostly conventionally grown foods. I try to eat as many avocados as possible. We buy a lot of marked down produce from QFC.

  7. I'm so glad you made this video, Margaret!! I always wondered if there was an acctuall difference between organic and "normal", but honestly, never enough to research it. lol Now I know! ^_^ Thank you very much!!

  8. I guess it depends on if you're getting organic produce from a farmers market or not, if you even have those in your area. But at farmers markets I get produce cheaper than conventional produce at the store. But I agree buy it best price available whether organic or not rather than limit the volume of your purchase.

  9. I work at an organic store, and often the fruits and veg rot very quickly. A lot of things also go off, because they're so expensive- people don't buy them. Additionally, the meat tastes super salty… I think they're preserved with salt or something :0

  10. Thank you so much for this video. I always look at the organic products and simply can't afford them. We have been guilted and shamed if we don't buy organic…especially the dirty dozen. I love all of your videos, but this one is definitely at the top. We can always count on the accuracy of your information as you cite all of your sources. Thank you again for another greatly informative video.

  11. You are a voice of reason and sanity, as always. Awesome video, it led me to have a quick search for vegan fertilizer, and found this interesting article –
    The comment section is more enlightening than the article itself.

  12. Conventional food taste like shit and i end up throwing it out. I guess it taste better if you live around farmers market or get it from whole foods, but they'll be just a bit cheaper than the organic one. Organic is better, but if you cant afford it, then i guess you are stuck with tasteless fruits.

  13. Your sensible science-based approach is so refreshing! So much wiser not to encourage the "Whole Paycheck" boutique way of shopping for people who struggle to feed their families.

  14. Dr. Greger agrees! Buy conventional and if you care to avoid pesticides on a budget, wash with a 10% salt water solution. That said I do think a push toward organic does have it's benefits if for nothing else than the awareness of non-organic, GMO and pesticide rich produce. I've heard of studies that showed crop yields of properly managed organic produce could rival or beat that of their GMO pesticide laden brethren.

  15. I always go with the "normal" products. This is honestly the reason why people say being vegan is expensive. I don't care what banana's I buy as long as I have some 😀

  16. Thanks for this info hon, I wasn't aware of a lot of this! I eat plants only of course but I always aimed for as many organic plants as possible. I think I might stop worrying about it a bit now.

  17. Thank you so much for this video! I liked that you included research! Thanks for spreading truth and helping to stop the fear mongering!

  18. I grow my own veg and fruit. they are organic and healthy I am sure. good thing too, they cost me close to nothing, actually gets me to spend less at the grocery store and are fun to tend to, motivate me to get out and get so me fresh air while tending my garden 8D

  19. as for the dirty dozen, it might not be as BS as you think it is. my parents used to work as market gardeners and the (legal!!) use of dangerous chemicals is astounding. I remeber my dad telling me he had a conversation with a strawberry farmr who used a chemical that needed to be used at least 2 weeks before sales in order to be safe, but used it merely days before. his excuse was "people don't eat strawberries often enough to be a real danger"… but if you apply that to any and all foods people buy and eat, then it does have danger.

  20. I'm not sold. I hate Monsanto and I won't eat anything sprayed with Roundup. Furthermore, here in America, because of lack of labeling laws, the only way to know your food is GM-free is to buy organic.

  21. Wow that is really putting yourself out there to be criticized by vegan foodies. I think you are correct that eating organic is mostly conspicuous consumption. My saving/investing strategy has been working lately so I feel I can splurge and recently I have bought some Costco organic frozen produce. It is quite good quality and competitive with the conventional frozen produce in other stores. Most of my calories I consume are not organic. While the health benefits of eating organic are small if any there is evidence that the health effects to farm workers handling conventional pesticides are real.

  22. I wish this were true, but unfortunately the science seems to disagree with you on this one:

  23. I buy almost exclusively organic foods. I am also privileged to live in Denmark. Here one can buy a good variety of organic foods in supermarkets to a decent price. I am agreeing though, that it is more important to eat whole plant foods with lot of fruits an vegetables than eating organic. So if you have a strained economy and/or less variety in organic produce, one should not feel bad about buying conventional produce.
    But Margeret, you forgot to mention the detrimental effect, that artificial fertilizer has for the microlive in the soil, which in the course of time make the soil infertile. And that many pesticides are degrading to slowly in the environment. And to produce artificial fertilizer and pesticides demands a lot of fossil fuel. So even if you don't care about buying organic for your one health, there is still a good argument based on environmental issues, if you are an ethical consumer. Though I still think for environmental reasons, that it is more important to avoid animal products.
    My vision for the future farming is veganic farming, where all our organic waste (inclusive human feces and urin) are propely turned to soil by composting. And maybe we will utilize a little bit animal manure from animal sancturies to make biodynamic preparations.

  24. I agree that eating conventional fruits & veggies is better than less of the organic. But I dont agree on the aspects regarding the environment. Pesticides & excess/artifical fertilizers harm the environment a lot, even wild life. Of course there are residues of pesticides in organic produce as well since it spreads in all wind, water & soil & not just limited to any particular plot of land (even found on the poles…). But if organic farming became more & more the standard then there would be less & less pesticides globally, in all produce. Buying organic might perhaps not make an immediate individual effect, but it might on a long term effect, especially if the demand increased/more & more people bought organic/it was more produced. That being said, I wholeheartedly agree its a bad idea to tell people it has to be organic even if they cannot afford it, or giving people a bad consciens about not buying organic, since l also agree that avoiding or drastically reducing meat consumtion is the very best option for both ones immediate & long term helath as well as that of the planet. But – for those that can afford it, it would be a huge long term support for the planet to increase the demand for organic fruits & veggies. Also, think about workers conditions in developing countries. Many of them get to spray pesticides on large fields without any protection. They suffer massive health problems. For them, organic makes a huge difference. I could never buy a non organic banana. Not after watching the documentary "Bananas". I guess what I mean buy this last part is, there are some things worse than others & bananas is one example were I always buy organic, where as other things I'm not as strict/go buy prices. Grapes & bell peppers are apparently also heavily sprayed with pesticides, so those I also avoid non organic. Otherwise I let the price decide. I have a rule that is if the price of the organic version is less than 25% higher (per weight) than the non-organic I buy the organic. If it costs more than 25%, I buy the conventional. But that's just what works for my pocket. Everyone must consult their own of course.

  25. I mainly eat organic because I want to reduce the pesticide use as much as possible. That, and pesticides get absorbed into the plants, so it's best to reduce pesticides for your health anyway. It is much more difficult eating organic on a budget, but it's still doable. Yes, I do eat a bit less fruits and vegetables than I would prefer, but I'm considering looking into how certain fruits and vegetables are grown and compare the conventional and organic versions. So I can see if I could buy the cheaper conventional version without too much harm both for the planet and my health. Maybe this would be a good series for your channel, if you're interested of course. 🙂

  26. What about planting in my garden? That would be better? Obviously I can't plant everything but I can have some fruit trees and some produce and potatoes.

  27. This doesn’t really relate to the video, but who all knows that the word “organic” was first (and is still used) as a scientific term meaning to have carbon in a chemical compound? But now it’s turned into this whole other thing meaning not using pesticides and growth hormones and things like that. ( fun fact, not even water is organic)

    (Also, I don’t want to offend anyone when it comes to what they believe, or the choices they make, I’m just honestly asking)

  28. You are full of it lady!!! If you are telling people to eat monsanto poisoned foods you are a sick cookie. John if he said this he is also lost. Grow your own food and don't eat poisons sicko!!! You most have shares in the chemical and drug industry!!!

  29. About antibiotics in animal products…animals must be fed non-medicated feed 30 days prior to slaughter to clear them out of their systems, as also any milk from a medicated cow (most commonly to treat mastitis), is "hot" and also dumped. If you send a medicated ("hot") cow to auction, and gets tested during slaughter, or you send medicated milk, you are in BIG trouble with the USDA, after three violations you have to take a course in safe food production. So we are not all chugging antibiotics. Not saying I don't have an issue with the mass treatment of livestock with antibiotics, but that's another topic.

  30. I worked on organic farms….they use very dangerous products….copper sulfate is just one…..never buy organic…total scam

  31. Why do the organic morons keep pushing the lie that roundup is used on crops…..roundup is a weed killer never used on crops…it would kill the plant instantly….I have also worked on several organic farms they use copper sulfate as a pesticide… kills everything…even the bees in the hives….it polluted the water supply…Never buy organic…'s a total scam….plant a garden instead

  32. I don't agree with you on this much at all. The pesticides used on organic are not synthetic and therefore our bodies can break them down. You need to do your homework better.

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