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Breaking down natural health terminology

Organic Food
Organic Food
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With all the different closely related natural health terms it can be confusing, even to the most avid health nut. It is extremely important to be able to disseminate between the various types of products you are purchasing if you deem yourself to be holistic.
To make it a little simpler, I have broken down some of the holistic terminology below.

What is Holistic or Holism?
According to, "Holism is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts.[1][2] The term holism is derived from Ancient Greek holos ὅλος, meaning "all, whole, entire, total."
Basically HOLISM boils down to the whole system. For example, looking at the person holistically you evaluate them from a spiritual, emotional, and physical standpoint. The person can treat their "whole" self; mind, body and spirit using holistic principles. Having knowledge that one system can affect another because it is all one unit.
What is Organic?
According to, "Organic foods are produced using methods of organic farming – with limited modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, though organic pesticides, such as Bt toxin, are still used. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.[1] The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialization of agriculture that became known in the 1960s as the Green Revolution.[2] Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations."
The term ORGANIC can be tricky and only farmers truly know the ins and outs of growing a fruit or vegetable organically. Most consumers are clueless and depend mostly on the organic labeling on products. Sometimes they can be deceiving or dishonest. Be sure to use a trusted source. If you can grow your own food, that’s even better. You know if it is truly organic.

What are Natural Foods/Products?
According to, "A natural product is a chemical compound or substance produced by a living organism – found in nature.[2] In the broadest sense, natural products include any substance produced by life.[3][4] The term natural product has also been extended for commercial purposes to refer to cosmetics, dietary supplements, and foods produced from natural sources without added artificial ingredients.[5]"
Watch out for the deceiving “natural” label. It could just simply mean there are natural components in the product with a hundred chemicals included. For example, some natural products are not labeled organic due to food safety standards.

What is Green/Sustainable Living?
According to, "Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and personal resources.[1] Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.[2] Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's natural ecology and cycles.[3] The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development."
Green Living involves several different components: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE is the common cliché used. It is based on the premise that if individuals put natural resources to good use we will have less pollution as well as healthy food and water to consume. One component affects another component. If you look at the Earth holistically, you can see that if the air is polluted it rains down as polluted water, and if the water is polluted, then it causes water treatment factories to release chemicals into the water to be treated as “safe” for consumption. Chemicals in the body cause weaknesses in the body’s immune system which creates an environment for disease. It is a dangerous cycle we must all work on breaking for our very survival on this planet.

Hopefully this information clears up some of the confusion you may have about holistic health. Stay tuned for new holistic health articles in the near future.
– Kharisma@2014

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