CNM promotes natural and organic food as part of our holistic approach to health. But what is the difference between organic and non-organic food? Understandably, consumers are wary of spending more for a seemingly identical product. This Organic Week Ireland we’ve been looking at what you get and don’t get with organic food, how to consume more organics without breaking the bank, and why CNM teaching is pro-organic.
GP Dr Laura Quinton graduated in Nutritional Therapy at CNM:
“As a doctor with an interest in nutrition I often advise people to eat organic, which has benefits in terms of animal and environmental welfare. Organic avoids processes such as genetic modification, cloning, routine antibiotics and hormone drugs.
“No-one can conclusively prove whether an organic lifestyle is a healthier one. However, a recent study showed organic food contains up to 40 per cent more antioxidants which help to combat the free radicals implicated in many chronic diseases. Organic food certainly contains fewer pesticides, which can have an impact on foetal development, and a study commissioned by the European Parliament recommended pregnant and breastfeeding women eat organic food because of this.
“We can’t always wait for the absolute evidence to tell us what is right or wrong for us, we have to make our own choices.”
Tip: “If you’re aiming to switch to organic, start with the ‘Dirty Dozen’ fruit and veg (visit soilassociation.org), explore plant-based protein sources and creative ways of making your money go further.”
Nutritional Therapist Georgie O’Connor lectures at CNM:
“With organics, you generally get fewer pesticides, fewer herbicides, fewer hormones, fewer antibiotics, no irradiation and no GM! Some of these are implicated in disruption to normal body function, which can result in disease, allergies, chronic conditions, infertility, depression and obesity.
“Adopting an organic lifestyle is a major way of reducing the stress of detoxification from our bodies. With organic, we can at least put the nutrients we are eating to their proper use in our bodies rather than just mopping up the chemical burden of additives and pesticide residues.
“Organic certification does not allow the use of food produced through GM (genetic modification) or containing GM derived ingredients. Increasingly in our shops, non-organic food contains some GM element. It is worth noting that most livestock in the UK is now fed GM animal feed, so practically all meat and dairy products in the UK are now indirectly GM and unlabelled as such. Anything that contains soy derivatives such as stock cubes, some gluten free alternatives or other composite products, is quite likely to be GM. Maize, soy and cotton are the world’s biggest GM crops.
“GM foods allow for genetic combinations that could never occur in nature and may introduce allergens and toxins to foods, as well as introducing antibiotic resistance via the food chain, adversely changing the nutrient content of a crop, and creating ‘super’ weeds. Glyphosate, a herbicide already widely used on crops and even in gardens, is especially heavily used on GM crops, with documented damage to health and the environment.
“Organic farming is also less damaging to the environment. It helps to sustain more diverse ecosystems, using less energy and producing less waste. Buying organic is a consumer’s most direct way of influencing food producers to use planet friendly practices.”
Tip: “The expense of achieving certified organic status may be financially beyond small local farmers, who may actually be organic in all but certification. Try to find out more about them by shopping locally from farm shops and farmers’ markets. So long as you know and trust the people involved, a shorter and seasonal food chain is just as important as an organic label. And don’t forget about growing your own, wherever you possibly can.”
Naturopath Hermann Keppler is the Founder & Principal of CNM:
“Food gives us life, energy, and immunity. Our immunity governs our susceptibility to illness or infection, and the speed and extent of our recovery.
“Once upon a time, all food was organic. Change only came during the 20th century. Many of the chemicals and technologies that go into our food, and indeed into our personal care products (which are rapidly absorbed through the skin), are recognised individually as being toxic. The effects of combining them or of receiving multiple doses of them, remains largely untested.
“Whether by co-incidence or not, the number of people experiencing allergies and certain serious and chronic illnesses has increased. Our health services are currently buckling under the weight of society’s ailments. In contrast to naturopathic medicine, allopathic medicine focuses on the symptoms rather than the causes of illness, and overlooks the effectiveness of natural therapies such as natural Nutrition.
“At CNM our Nutrition courses teach students to use whole and organic foods as medicine. It is a concept that was known to many indigenous societies. In the rush to industrialise our food supply, it has been largely disregarded in the west. In their clinical practice on the course, CNM Nutrition students can quickly see for themselves how eating unadulterated food is a fundamental step on the path to increasing wellness and vitality. As advanced students under professional supervision, and when they graduate as Nutritional Therapists, they are able to support many clients’ return to health through specific dietary changes.
“Put simply, the naturopathic approach which we teach at CNM is based on providing the body with all the conditions it needs to help itself heal, naturally. Since Nutrition is the cornerstone of health, students on CNM’s non-Nutrition Diploma Courses, such as Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy, also learn about Nutrition and other natural therapies, alongside their own specialism. Their multiple skills and holistic approach make them highly effective natural health practitioners. Those training as CNM Natural Chefs learn to create delicious food with the emphasis on nutritional and therapeutic value.”
Tip: “If you are considering making the change to organic, first of all find out more about the impact of food on your mental and physical health. Understanding the reasons for change will increase your motivation. Beyond eating as ‘close to nature’ as possible, there is no one-size-fits-all diet as we all have unique constitutions. For personalised advice, therefore, consult a CNM practitioner, who can show you how to make small changes to your diet that can result in a big difference to your health.”
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