The Organic and Whole Food Glossary

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The world of organic produce is a different one with many terminologies that can leave you confused. If you’re planning to go certified organic, it’s best to know what every word stands for. The best thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with every word just so you don’t get lost in the world of whole food.

Here are some of the most common terms that you might stumble upon.

ORGANIC produce is food grown and processed without any use of artificial fertilizers, synthetic chemicals, genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), or food irradiation.


ORGANIC IN-CONVERSION pertains to food that comes straight from an organic farm currently undergoing the three-year certification process. The product may be labeled as such after 12 months of using organic farming methods and practices, meaning the farm has been audited at least once and it abides by all necessary requirements.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC products mean they have passed all the requirements of a three-year certification process. This assures the integrity of the produce for the consumer. There are a set of standards to achieve the certification, all of which are internationally recognized. The standards certify operators through annual audits conducted by an independent third-party auditor.

BIODYNAMIC FARMING refers to an advanced, organic growing method. The method does not involve the use of any chemical spray or artificial fertilizer. The plant is seen in a holistic context, involving the influences and conscious balance of soil, water (in both soil and atmosphere), sunlight, warmth, and the cosmos contributing to the growth of the plant.

BPA stands for bisphenol A. it is an industrial chemical used to make certain resins and plastics. Companies often use it in the lining of some food and beverage packaging to extend shelf life and protect food from contamination.

CONVENTIONAL produce refers to food grown and handled with regular commercial methods, where synthetic chemicals, food irradiation, artificia

l fertilizers, and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) may have been used. The Honest to Goodness range of conventional products varies under strict criteria, carefully selected to make sure pure and simple products have had minimal processing and have nothing artificial in them.

FAIRTRADE is a certification initiative advocating for better wor

king conditions and improved terms of trade for workers and farmers in developing countries.

GMO refers to Genetically Modified Organism (GMO). GMO, or Genetically Engineered (GE), produce involves the process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another to transfer a desired trait or characteristic. The outcome of the product is the GMO itself. The process of organic food production prohibits the use of GMOs in any stage. That is why you can rest assured that every certified organic or biodynamic product you buy is GMO-free.

GLUTEN pertains to the composite of proteins found in grains, like barley, spelt, and wheat. Some people are allergic or intolerant to gluten, causing an upset digestive syst

em upon consumption.

HEALTHY FATS are either polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats. These are healthy fats that help balance the cholesterol in your blood; they lower the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol, increasing the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol. Switching to healthier fats from trans and saturated fats can reduce your risk of heart disease.

INSECTICIDE is a substance used to kill insects.

OMEGA 3 & 6 (FATTY ACIDS) are examples of polyunsaturated fats. The human body does not and cannot naturally produce them, which is why you have to consume food containing these fatty acids. The omegas are essential because they are a crucial part of human cell membranes.

PESTICIDE is a substance that can kill insects and other pests.

PLANT-BASED food refer to produce that come from plants, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes.

PRESERVATIVES are substances added to food to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life.


S are indigestible plant fibers. They feed and strengthen the probiotics or the live bacteria.

PROBIOTICS are live bacteria and yeasts that live inside your gastrointestinal tract. Your digestive system needs them because they assist in digestion. Probiotics also function to balance the “good” and the “bad” bacteria.”

SULPHUR shows up on food labels as the numbers E220-228. Some food contains it as a preservative to prevent food discoloration, which often happens in dried fruits. Food with sulphur or sulphites can trigger gastric irritation and asthma attacks.

SUSTAINABLE refers to the ability to maintain a particular level without causing damage to the environment or the depletion of natural resources. Sustainability ensures that the needs of the current population are met without compromising the ability of generations to come to meet their future needs.

SUPERFOODS are extremely nutritious, making them beneficial to your overall health and wellness. They are helpful in maintaining good health and they might help in preventing disease, although studies have yet to prove the latter.

WHOLEFOOD are food that went through minimal processing or refinement.

All these words and meanings will help you browse through a local market or an organic shop without worrying if you’re buying the right product. Choosing organic food over conventionally-grown food has isn’t a trend, but a must.

Here are the basic reasons why you should make the shift from nonorganic to organic produce.

  • It’s more nutritious than conventionally-grown produce.
  • No harmful pesticides have been used, reducing pesticide exposure.
  • Organic produce have no chemical additives or artificial preservatives.
  • Organic farms are great for the environment because they contribute to sustainable living.
  • Native animals and wildlife thrive in their natural habitat.
  • Organic food tastes better because they are more flavorful given the natural processes they went through.
  • Organic food promise quality over quantity.
  • Organic produce don’t compromise the welfare of animals.
  • Organic landscaping help combat soil erosion and increase soil fertility.

Buying organic food is so much worth it than consuming conventional counterparts. Plus, organic food taste amazing and they are sure to satisfy your taste buds. It may take time to fully make the shift, but it’s possible to do so.

Looking for a “Certified Organic” logo is something that you would be used to in time. Remember, once you go organic, it’s impossible to go back.

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