Making sense of organic labeling can be difficult, and many consumers do not understand the significance of the USDA Organic label. Since October 21, 2002, the following guidelines were established by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) to assure consumers know the exact organic content of the food they buy.
On foods like fruits and vegetables, look for a small sticker version of the USDA Organic label or check the signage in your produce section for this seal.
The word “organic” and the seal may also appear on packages of meat, cartons of milk or eggs, cheese, and other single-ingredient foods.
Foods such as beverages, snacks, and other processed foods use the following classification system to indicate their use of organic ingredients.
100% Organic—Foods bearing this label are made with 100% organic ingredients* and may display the USDA Organic seal.
Organic—These products contain at least 95–99% organic ingredients (by weight). The remaining ingredients are not available organically but have been approved by the NOP. These products may display the USDA Organic seal.
Made With Organic Ingredients—Food packaging that reads “Made With Organic Ingredients” must contain 70–94% organic ingredients. These products will not bear the USDA Organic seal; instead, they may list up to three ingredients on the front of the packaging.
Other—Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may only list organic ingredients on the information panel of the packaging. These products will not bear the USDA Organic seal.
Keep in mind that even if a producer is certified organic, the use of the USDA Organic label is voluntary. At the same time, not everyone goes through the rigorous process of becoming certified, especially smaller farming operations. When shopping at a farmers’ market, for example, don’t hesitate to ask the vendors how your food was grown.
1. You’ll become more mindful.
Which one takes longer and really makes you slow down? Eating clean also means eating with purpose and savoring food. That means a better relationship with everything from radishes and radicchio to red velvet cupcakes (which you’ll no longer crave).
2. You’ll save money.
Kiss sick days and medical bills goodbye when you get nutrients from eating clean, real food. Plus, shopping locally and in season makes sense– and cents. Planning clean meals for the week is cost-effective if you make a list and stick to it, as there’s no chance of overspending at the store.
3. You’ll live longer.
Study after study has shown that consuming these foods can lengthen your life-span. And in a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, European researchers have found that increasing your produce intake to more than 569 grams per day reduces your risk of mortality by 10 %.
4. You’ll have better relationships.
Preparing clean meals takes time, just the kind of time that allows for easy, relaxed conversations with your kids, spouse and other family members and friends. If they’re too busy with screen time to share stove-top time, point them to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2014 study, published in Public Health Nutrition, showing good health comes from home cooking.
5. You’ll be smarter.
Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts keep our minds sharper and our memories stronger by a whopping 24 %, proved a study published in spring 2015 in Neurology. Our brains also function better with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, as shown in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, while they slow and sputter down when we fill them with sugar (including alcohol), fast food and the wrong kinds of fats. If that’s all too much too think about, remember one point from the Nature Reviews Neuroscience report: A balanced diet means better brain health.
See also 9 Amazing Brain Boosters to Add to Your Diet.
6. You’ll have more energy.
Adam and Eve were onto something when they bit into that apple: Fruit is just one of many clean foods that provide an instant dose of energy. High-fiber fruits like apples take longer to digest and can instantly stave off that afternoon slump while providing critical vitamins for the evening ahead. Other pick-me-ups include quinoa, almonds, eggs, kale, citrus fruit and a good-old-fashioned glass of water.
7. You’ll be better in bed.
Mamma mia! Women with metabolic function in Italy and other regions of the Mediterranean enjoy a healthier sex life than those in the US, thanks to the components of their diet– yep, vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and olive oil. That’s what researchers found in a comprehensive study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research.
8. You’ll help the planet survive.
There’s an oft-quoted statistic that food travels approximately 1,500 miles from farmer to consumer in the United States. By eating seasonal and local foods, as recommended by Clean Eating, you can help reduce your carbon footprint. As the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in 2003, “The major threat to future survival and to US natural resources is rapid population growth”and “the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is more sustainable than the average American meat-based diet.
9. You’ll be stronger.
The lean protein that comprises part of the clean-eating philosophy builds lean muscle mass and boosts metabolism, found a study presented at The Obesity Society’s annual meeting in 2014. Some mighty choices for your muscles (in addition to animal-based products like chicken, fish and lean beef) include quinoa, chickpeas, nuts, spinach and seeds.
10. You’ll be happier.
Food and mood go hand in hand. And the better the food, the better your mood. If you need to brighten your day, go for berries, bananas, coffee, lean proteins, chocolate, omega-3 and turmeric fatty acids, all proven to boost your mental state.
The digital detox is nothing more than taking a break from your devices. While on vacation, we are constantly connected over social media, email, and by using our devices to find the best restaurant on Yelp or the best route on maps. “Some of the changes I’ve noticed in clients after they’ve taken a digital detox are that they are more balanced and calmer in their lives due to periodically stopping the continual digital exposure throughout their day.”Try to have at least one hour before bedtime where there is no digital stimulation so you can unwind. Don’t let digital devices stay on at night next to you unless it’s mandatory.
And although others take a more hardcore approach with week-long ‘summer camps’ or designated holidays, pledging to take just one day offline while you travel means you can reap the benefits of a detox, without sacrificing the joy of staying connected to your family and friends or taking the perfect Instagram or Snapchat shot.
Some suggest that the discipline in these smaller detoxes can be hugely beneficial to your mental state, and you can implement them on a smaller scale in your everyday routine.
This video points out the daily grind, and why we could all use a break.
This concept can be difficult at first, the benefits are real. Many detoxers find a real world connectedness that enriches and enhances our lives in a way no Wi-Fi connection can.
These short-term benefits are just part of the story. Mentally, even a short break from electronics can have long-term benefits that can make you happier and more successful in every aspect of your life.
Today, in a world where the average user logs almost 2 hours per day on social media alone, this idea is somewhat terrifying. Dr. Yvonne Thomas, a psychologist and therapist based in Los Angeles, puts it simply: “You can be so preoccupied with your digital devices that it’s all too easy to inadvertently sacrifice time, relationships, sleep, focus, productivity and balance in your life. Many people are not even aware of the toll their extensive usage of digital devices costs them until they have suffered a loss or upset because of this.”.
Could this cure-all of the tech world provide more benefits to the humans using the tech than the devices themselves? Digital detox devotees think so, and they’ve started a movement that seems to grow louder and larger with every tech announcement or app update.
Not convinced? Try it for one week.
How to detox without losing your job or social life.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to detoxing. Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, believes in a ‘digital sabbath’, while Google chairman Eric Schmidt believes in scheduled ‘on’ and ‘off’ times, and commits to gadget-free meals.
When traveling and taking a vacation, every notification you receive– emails, instant messages, text messages, social media notifications– takes a moment to acknowledge, another to process and another (or a few depending on how soon that deadline really is) to forget. Suddenly the notification, even if you neglected to react or respond to it, is a significant distraction from what should be a chance to explore another culture and enjoy some time away from the screen. Multiply this by the 50+ notifications many of us will receive in a day, and you can start to get a sense of what you’re losing to your device.
Dr. Thomas has seen first-hand how deep the benefits can be. “Some of the changes I’ve noticed in clients after they’ve taken a digital detox are that they are more balanced and calmer in their lives due to periodically stopping the continual digital exposure throughout their day.
“Try to have at least one hour before bedtime where there is no digital stimulation so you can unwind. During this digital-free time period, try to connect with yourself through meditation, reflection or awareness. Don’t let digital devices stay on at night next to you unless it’s mandatory.