Organic food, a very lucrative business

Okay so there's a lot of healthy food talk going on in here at the moment. And as I have some time to spare on studying this topic, I am going all in on my organic and raw food experiments and contemplations. Like I said, I got a tips about chia seeds, never heard of them before, but after reading about their nutritional values, I decided to give it a go. What they claim is that these seeds contains:

2x the amount of protein of any other seed or grain
3x times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
5x more calcium than milk plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones.
2x the amount of potassium in a banana 
3x the iron of spinach
copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids.

Salvia hispanica, or chia as it is commonly known, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. They are today also spread all over South America as well as Australia.

It is said that chia seeds were cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times and economic historians have suggested that it was as important as maize as a food crop. These seeds can be eaten raw as a whole seed in salads, sandwiches or other things. It can also be used baked in breads, cakes and biscuits or placed in water or fruit juice - these beverages are known as chia fresca in Mexico. The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and that is what I've done here today. I soaked the seeds in water, let is stand for 15 minutes until they got this jelly-like look, and I simply poured a couple tablespoons of it into my smoothie. The taste is almost nonexistent, and the texture is reminiscent of the seeds found in kiwi and strawberries. Wouldn't I know they were in my smoothie, I would have never been able to feel the difference.

With most hyped things in our society, I am normally very critical to begin with, as I want to get down to the bottom line and see the purity of the things I'm exposed to. The same with these seeds and the organic food industry as a whole. Is this or that made into a trend just to make us spend more money or does it actually bring us forward and give us something substantial? I certainly support the cultivation and production of natural foods that helps our world in terms of environmentally friendly packaging, harvesting and shipping. And I can also see that innocent seeds and beans are way healthier than for example tobacco and nicotine, which in the sixties was brainwashed into every second human being to enjoy and get addicted to.

The nutritional benefits of these seeds, if we use them as an example, sounds simply awesome. Who would not want to have a spoonful of all those goodies every morning? But are the seeds really that nutritious and good for you that you're willing to pay $10 USD for a small bag that contains one cup of seeds? We must not forget that the organic market is an extremely lucrative business. Only in the U.S, the sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.8 billion in 2009. So obviously there is a lot more than a simple human beings wellbeing that is considered when things like these are put on the market. So what is it really that makes you think that some of the "super healthy" $50/kilo- seeds are more healthy than let's say the $5/kg raisins that you'll find in your local supermarket? Successful marketing of course, a trend that is spread like a virus, we all know how that works, yet many cease to question. And even if it might be the case that some seeds are a tad more healthy than your typical inexpensive black bean or your locally grown avocado, will it really make all that big difference? And how many thousands of seeds will you need to ingest to see a real result and be able to compare?

I am not saying these things are bad for you, I certainly believe that a raw diet with as much natural and unprocessed food as possible is very good for us, as much as is locally produced good for the environment. But what I question is the price you have to pay for some of the canned and packed organic foods. Should it really be so costly to stay healthy, when much of the important minerals and vitamins are to be found much cheaper?

There are a few reasons to why people choose organic food over conventional food, all from the very legitimate environmental concerns to personal taste preferences, but studies also say that when it comes to one persons individual health, there isn't too much difference in the end. This is something you yourself have to determine on each of the individual product and produce that you purchase, and put that in relation to the other benefits.

While I enjoy these little seeds and do understand the nutritional benefits of them (at least from what I have read on Google and the packaging itself) I will probably never see a direct result nor a change of wellbeing based on the consumption of them. The high price of the seeds will therefore not very likely make me consider them my first choice of calcium, omega 3, protein and antioxidants. All of which I already get plenty in my normal, healthy diet. My normal diet consists of as much locally produced foods, fruits, vegetables and nuts that I can get my hands on, I'm eating the fish that we catch ourselves while sailing and I obviously stay as far as I can from mechanically separated meat, fish and poultry.

I am a human so I do step outside of my ideals occasionally. Sometimes I feel I have no other choice than buying imported beef or air-shipped fruits as the selection is limited where I might be at one particular moment. Also I can't and won't always know what exactly has been done to the plate I get served in a restaurant. But I do my best in cutting out middlemen and unnecessary packaging and processing, for the sake of health and our environment, without taking it to the extreme. The small things we can do better that suits our wallet, taste preference and lifestyle is good I believe, as long as we know what we are doing and why we are doing it. That is a phrase and meaning I will always repeat and it can be applied in so many areas in life.