My very first session - "Why Organic Choices Are Best"- was mind boggling. This was led by Kuerstin Fordham, DC Chiropractor and nutritional coach Megg Thompson ECEMPWT. Both ladies know their research, and both are "Mom's"- making them the perfect combination of "theory vs. real world".
While I've long been a nervous nelly about additives and preservatives- food dyes and the such- I have to admit that I am WAY behind in the organic department. I shudder to think of the things I fed my kids! Fresh veggies and fruits- homemade baked goods, real meat and potatoes.......fortified cereals.....who knew there were so many other things I should have considered. For me- I (like most people) didn't choose "organic" mainly because of cost. As Kuerstin was right up front about- if finances were no option, then we should all be eating truly organic. But we can ALL make small changes to start with. I sure will be!
Now what is organic? And why is it so darn important? (I'm going to break it down as to what I came away with.) Organic refers to the way farmers grow and process fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and meat. They do not use conventional methods to fertilize, pesticides, or antibiotics. They practice soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.
Yes organic foods are more money- but they are time tested and proven safe. You are getting the vitamins and minerals the food is meant to have. ("The average potato vs. its organic counterpart- has lost 100% of its Vitamin A, 57% of its Vitamin C and Iron, 28% of its Calcium, 50% of its Riboflavin, and 18% of its Thiamine. Organic oranges have 30% more Vitamin C than conventional oranges.) While this is all important to me- what really made me nervous was finding out how much safer organic foods are.
Organic foods contain no genetically modified organisms (GMO). These are things that MAN has created to sustain food longer, grow bigger and be more attractive. "The US Government has allowed, even encouraged, the development and release of many GMO's into our environment and food system." GMO's haven't been around long enough for us to see the results. Who knows if they may end up giving us a sixth finger! All we know, is that "A 2009 study published in Pediatrics suggests that organophosphate pesticide exposure may contribute to ADHD in children. OP presticide residues are commonly found on non-organic fruits and vegetables like grapes, apples, and green beans." In studies showing the 7 triggers to negative behavior- the very first is NUTRITION.
Organic is safer. There are no growth hormones. Conventional regulations allow for livestock to get growth hormones to increase the size or rate of animals used for meat or to stimulate milk. What do these hormones do to the humans that ingest that meat or milk? There are six natural and artificial growth hormones that pose a potential risk to human health. "Children, pregnant women, and developing embryos are thought to be most susceptible to negative health effects from added hormones." No sludge is used in organic farming. US Government regulations permit sludge (yes, from sewers that has been dried, and heated. ) "used on conventional farms despite concerns about contamination by high levels of heavy minerals, dioxins, and other chemicals from industrial and commercial sources." Remember when most people just flushed their medication? Those most affected? Unborn babies, infants and children- whose size and the fact that they are still growing make them vulnerable. No radiation. Ionizing radiation preserves food and extends shelf life. Look for a little green circle on meat- with what looks like a plant in brown- it is a law that it has to be on meat that has been radiated. But who knew- it looks like a plant- leading the consumer to think it is a healthier meat! No Antibiotics. US Government regulations permit conventional animals to be treated routinely. So we are eating antibiotics routinely? No wonder the "super bugs" are rampant. No Animal Cannibalism. US Government regulations allow rendered animals products to be fed to cattle, sheep, and other herbivores as a protein supplement. No chemical Pesticides. There are currently NO restrictions on the levels and amounts of pesticides used in conventional farming. Studies have routinely shown that these pesticides affect the nervous system and are toxic. (yet we put them on the plants to keep away pests, it rains, these chemicals go into the soil and the plant drinks them. We eat that plants, so even though we wash the outside- the fruit/vegetable/grain itself is FILLED with toxins.)
As a nation we seem overly concerned with hand washing and germ control. To which our immune systems are not being allowed to work as they were designed. But we need to look "deeper". Its critical that we practice safe food handling techniques from farm to fork. But it is also important that we look even deeper. "Food isn't safe if it is contaminated with mercury, bi-phenol from plastics, or antibiotic and hormone residues. Food ingredients and additives, such as trans fats and artificial food dyes can also pose a food safety risk. These compounds may not sicken us right away, but instead, can lead to illness over time".
So where do we begin? What foods are the worst culprits, and which should we try to buy organic? Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, nectarines, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cukes, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, potatoes, hot peppers, and kale. How many of these are kids favorites? Very scary stuff. Is it just coincidence that diagnosis' of ADHD, ADD, Autism and Food allergies/sensitivities are sky rocketing? I'm thinking not.
For me- I will continue to avoid food additives, preservatives and dyes, but now I will also be looking to see that my meat has NOT been radiated. I will be buying organic whenever possible. Small changes.....but our kids deserve a safer tomorrow.