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Why Not Organic?

By Cristina Cascio, Agua Serena Spa Director

Lately I’ve noticed people turning up their nose at organic products and foods. Some seem downright annoyed. I overheard a woman at the drugstore plainly tell the clerk who was attempting to share the benefits of their new organic sunscreen, “I don’t need organic; I’m over it!” I found that incredibly interesting and had to probe further.

How can a process with (literally) the most pure intentions end up with a bad rap? In the luxury spa world, we do our homework and work to find products that include ingredients our bodies crave. These essential nutrients allow us to enjoy the most benefit without the suspicion of added chemicals, dyes, toxins or preservatives. Of course we can find less expensive and more readily available products to use, but in our industry, the goal is to find creators who put their emphasis on every ingredient and who take pride in the methods with which they produce those products. We invest time getting to know the people behind the brands; we investigate their practices and training techniques; and we make sure they stand behind their product with the utmost integrity. Isn’t that important to everyone or are we out of touch with the needs and wants of our consumers?

I reached out to our trusted source here at Agua Serena Spa to inject another point of view. Dr. Bruce Underwood is the resort’s expert on healthy living and preventive care who provides services for both guests and staff. I asked the Doc his views on organic products and loved his response, “The most important part of eating is to get all of the essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids our body needs daily. Eating organic helps in lowering the toxic load on your liver and kidneys, but it does not provide all the essential nutrients. Quality products are also necessary.”

In recent years, we have seen increased attention on the debate between organic and non-organic, and the final outcome after decades of research is far from clear. After striking up a conversation with Ida from the drug store about her comment to the clerk, asking more questions about how she felt and why, it turns out the root of her frustration is in the indecision on the subject…and understandably so! You may have heard about the larger scale study that came out of Stanford University in 2012, which really fueled the fire of anti-organics. The conclusion stated:

“The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

I could hear the vindication in peoples’ voices, even my own sister’s when she shared her, “I told you so,” but the last sentence in that conclusion is still enough for me to take the organic route. You better believe that anytime I have the opportunity to “reduce exposure to pesticide residue and antibiotic resistant bacteria,” I’m jumping on that! Not just for myself either, I have to make that critical decision for my spa guests as well. There is no other choice on the matter that will allow me to sleep at night.

I feel blessed to work with skincare lines like Primavera, whose creators have such passion for the amazing products they produce. They are family owned and work closely with their organic farmers in 16 countries to source the 125 native plant ingredients necessary to make their products. That means ingredients like lavender and witch hazel are brought from France, tea tree from Australia, eucalyptus from Portugal and so on. Their materials indicate exactly what percentage of the total product is certified organic and it is rarely outside of the 90% range. They are a company which shares values of authenticity, transparency, respect and responsibility, and give us confidence knowing we can be proud of the products and services we provide our guests.

So, why not organic? The research pros and cons will continue, and yes, you may have to pay more for peace of mind that you are avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals, but making that decision for your body feels good…and you are worth it! You’ve only got one shot on this earth, so as they say, ‘don’t count every moment of the day, make every moment count!’

certified organic ingredientsOur decision to spend more money and time on the products we offer is really not a choice at all when you consider the research. Note these proven facts:

  1. Our skin absorbs things incredibly easily. Just look at the birth control and nicotine patches so commonly used these days. Some studies have even shown that applying Vitamin C topically can be even more effective for skin damage than taking it orally.1
  2. Only 10% of ingredients have been tested for safety; yes, that means 90% of ingredients in your personal-care products have never been tested for safety by anyone.2
  3. Quality organic brands can trace the ingredients they use back to the farm on which it was grown, strongly supporting sustainable farming methods. They also use a special cold distillation process so we can enjoy the most effective results.
  4. Only 7% of organic ingredients contain pesticides versus 38% in conventional ingredients.3
  5. Organic ingredients are known to contain more compounds known as phenols, which are believed to have cancer fighting properties.4

Agua Serena Spa is located at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells. For more information visit aguaserenaspa.com or call 760.674.4100.

References: 1) http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/may2009_Revitalizing-Aging-Skin-with-Topical-Vitamin-C_01.htm; 2) http://www.lilou-organics.com/whyuseorganic.html; 3) http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1355685; 4) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jonny-bowden/the-organic-food-lie_b_1866043.html

One Response to “Why Not Organic?”

  1. enquire within says:

    how ever much or little organic food may be proven or disproven one thing is for certain they are better for you however much or little. any improvement to our health is a move forward. doubts have to be rid of but i have the impression the big comps are running scared and know just how powerful this competition can be.

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