Do the Terms Organic and Natural Really Mean Anything?
The terms natural and organic are two terms that are floating around all over your grocery stores, baby blogs, baby stores, skin care products and even Instagram. They are two terms that are quickly paving their way in our busy and often times unhealthy society.
But just how important are those two words and just what do they mean?
You're standing in the cheese aisle searching for some cheese and you notice brands that say natural and then you notice just regular ole' brands. So without a thought you just pick up the natural one because you assume it is just better for you...FREEZE... and put that cheese back please and let's have a talk first.
The term natural is one of those widely used terms that can mean great things and can also mean jack squat. Companies can say anything is natural and can sell that to you as if it's a better option than the other competitors out there because the term isn't regulated.
So is "natural" a better option?
As it turns out, the only way to know whether or not it really is the more "natural" option when comparing food items, skin care items and so forth, is to do your own bit of research. Whoa...no one said you had to take out a magnifying glass and start googling every ingredient you see listed, BUT you can tell just how natural something is in comparison to competitors by simply reading the label.
Often times, the fewer ingredients an item has (particularly in food) the better. The easier the words are to pronounce and understand, then the better. However with natural skin care products you'll see long scientific words followed by the short term in parenthesis, so just note this for future reference. For example, coco nucifera is simply coconut oil.
Truly natural products will likely tell you exactly where the funny looking, hard to pronounce ingredient came from and will often also include whether or not the product is free of popular, unhealthy additives (such as GMO free, Paraben free, sulfate free, etc...). It's pretty easy to compare labels of products and to use judgment when deciding if something natural is indeed a bit healthier. It's even better when you search out ingredients and brands, but truthfully that extra work isn't really always needed. I mean hello, you have a screaming toddler at the grocery store and she isn't all about mama play detective on her phone when she's ready to get the heck out.
As a "natural" baby boutique owner, the term plays a big part in my life. I believe in the term when I know about the product but I also know that the term can be overly used and used incorrectly.
Sometimes as the consumer we have to do a little bit of research or at least just a little bit of label reading and comparing to know if we really are getting a much more natural product.
Every product/company in our shop has been researched by me to ensure that you are indeed receiving a natural, healthy alternative.
So is the term organic really all it is cracked up to be? YES!
Unlike the term natural, organic products and companies have to undergo lots of observations, requirements, checkups, certifications, assessments and more to ensure that the company/product follows the USDA's guidelines for organic. That little organic seal you see on the package of your organic products means A LOT. If it didn't pass regulations, then it wouldn't be there. That circular seal means that the product is 100% or 95% organic and has met all USDA certifications (if it is 100% they will denote that on the packaging). Any organic labeling that does not include the seal simply means that your product contains a certain percentage of organic ingredients. For example, the term made with organic ingredients, means that your product was made with 70% organic ingredients while anything less than that will just denote which specific ingredients are organic in the ingredient list (usually with an asterisk).
So is it really organic?
While sure we can argue that we were not there during the farming, manufacturing and so on of our product, we can be rest assured that these companies are following everything they can and are supposed to follow, in order to pass all surprise checkups and annual checkups. Organic companies have a passion and are not only passionate about providing healthier products but also about providing these products through a much more eco-conscious process than other companies. Why would they go through the headache and the cost to be an organic company just to fool you? They wouldn't and they wouldn't likely pass their certifications. Organic farming can be much more costly, time consuming and quite a headache in my opinion, so they go through this headache for YOU.
When you see that seal, you know that the company and the USDA has gone the extra mile to provide you with the healthiest product that they could. And luckily for organic eaters, recent research and studies has shown that organic food REALLY is healthier as they contain much higher nutritious content (more vitamins and antioxidants) than non organic items.
So as it turns out, organic really is what it is cracked up to be. And as for natural, well natural isn't always better, but if it turns out to really be a natural option, then it is likely a far healthier option than the other brands out there.
So now I am off to enjoy my snack bowl of some organic fruits and raisins and some non organic fruits. You know why? Well because sometimes we can't afford all organic, sometimes not everything is readily available in organic form and as it turns out, we have to live a little. Do the best you can with the budget and resources you have to a healthier, much more organic and natural lifestyle.
And still enjoy chocolate. Because everyone needs that stuff.