Five Ways to Live an Organic Lifestyle
September 7 to 13 marks National Organic Week – Canada’s largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. In honour of everything organic, we’re sharing our five favourite ways to live an organic lifestyle!
More than ever, people are looking for ways to make conscious, everyday sustainable choices and the word “organic” is on everyone’s lips.
But there’s more to organic than you think!
It’s not just about what you buy – it’s an approach that considers the impact of the choices we make every day. Guiding principles of the organic movement consider health, fairness and care for humans, animals, local ecosystems, and the global environment.
Read on for five ways to make your lifestyle more organic.
1. Eat Organic
Your food choices matter! Making the switch to organic foods is one of the main shifts people make towards a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
Certified organic foods and beverages must meet a number of standards and strict requirements to bear the Canada Organic logo (all products must be 95% organic or more to meet these standards.) Look for this certification on the stickers or signage of produce, meats, and packaged foods.
Price and accessibility to organic foods may pose issues for some, but there are strategies to help everyone get more organic food into the diet.
- Shop in season and locally whenever possible for the freshest and most affordable options.
- Consider canned or frozen organic options for variety, savings and extended shelf life.
- Be selective in what organic foods you choose. Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases guides that identify commonly contaminated fruits and veggies. The latest dirty dozen guide and clean fifteen can help you make decisions on what you spend your organic dollars on.
Check out more of our organic shopping tips and some of our favourite organic recipes.
2. Keep an “Organic” Home
Many of the household purchases we make aren’t food – but there are still organic options to consider.
Textiles – you can buy bedding, towels, and clothing made from organic fibres like linen, hemp and cotton grown without toxic pesticides, fertilizers, or GMOs. Natural fibres are generally easier on the environment than synthetics and recycled textiles are also becoming more available, offering another sustainable solution.
Household Cleaners & Personal Care – Ingredients in common household cleaners and personal care products can be inhaled or enter the body through the skin, exposing us to potentially unhealthy side effects. Certain harsh ingredients can also harm waterways and ecosystems when they go down the drain.
The Canada Organic certification only applies to food products. You can look for the USDA Organic label for textiles and personal care products, or the Global Organic Textile label for textile products. Both of these are reputable certifications.
There are also more alternatives available, with many companies offering formulas that won’t compromise your health or the environment. Your local CHFA member retailer carries a selection of green household cleaners and personal care items ranging from dish soap to lip balm – plus all the ingredients to make your own!
Our DIY Approach to Green Cleaning lays out what to look for on labels and recipes for cleaners you can make with common household staples.
3. Get Familiar with Label Reading
Take a closer look at what you’re purchasing – even a quick label check can help determine if the products you’re purchasing are safe and sustainable.
Producers working to create environmentally friendly and healthy products strive to bring transparency to product labelling, and some key things to look for on all product labels include:
- Canada Organic Logo
- USDA Organic Logo
- Free-range/grass-fed/pastured/hormone and antibiotic-free
- Simple, recognizable ingredients
- No harmful chemicals, artificial colours, dyes and flavours
- Free of GMOs
- Locally made
GM foods are not currently labelled in Canada, but you can rest assured that all certified organic products are GMO-free. You can also look out for the Non-GMO Project Verified logo, a voluntary standard that provides label transparency for products without GM ingredients.
4. Get to Know Your Food Producers
Foods that are raised and grown with natural, sustainable agricultural practices don’t always bear an organic certification. Looking into the food production in your area can help you better understand where your food comes from and help you make conscious choices.
Learn more about the organic practices of farmers in your area by chatting them up at a farmer’s market, arranging a farm tour, or even connecting through social media. You may even pick up some inspiration and pointers to grow your own organic garden.
5. Have Some Fun with It!
Celebrating Organic Week is one way to have fun and share the love of living an organic lifestyle, but you can keep the momentum up all year long.
Organize an organic potluck or picnic, or even start an organic recipe swap or bulk buying group. Take advantage of a seasonal local harvest and set up a preserving party. Host an organic cookbook club and get others on board.
These are ways to advocate and educate others on the benefits of organic options and help make them more accessible and affordable to others.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON HEALTHIERBYNATURE.CA