Organic, Clean, Natural...what do they really mean?

I've come to realize that the term organic is often viewed in people's minds as the equivalent to healthier, bland, expensive and fancy. The biggest issue I have with these types of views is that the person is under-informed and the products and services are being marketed in a completely misguided way.


Produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.

According to the USDA

"USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.

Produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest.

When packaged products indicate they are “made with organic,” this means they contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients."

So what does this all mean?

Most importantly, organic food and products are better for you and the environment because of the chemicals that are not used. Yes, they cost more but you have to determine what's best for you, your finances and your health.


A clean label means simplifying the ingredient list and removing ingredients that are not easily recognized or preferred by consumers.

While food and drugs are regulated by the FDA, cosmetics and skincare are not. For this reason, there is nothing stopping a company from claiming to be "clean" when they are not. So always read the ingredient list and do your research.


Perhaps the most misleading of them all is the natural label. Ultimately this label means absolutely nothing to the consumer, although it's marketing genius because people buy into it.

According to Medical Daily

"While people might believe that natural foods are just as good as organic, in reality they’re not nearly as tightly regulated, and often contain plenty of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and other unsavory ingredients like chemicals that could be toxic at high doses."

The important thing is to read the ingredient list before you purchase. Try to stay away from a long list of ingredients and those you don't recognize. Organic produce is now offered at very affordable prices, whether at Walmart, Aldi or through a local CSA (farm co-op).