It’s ironic isn’t it that society today is paranoid about how clean our homes, our clothes and our cars are, yet we often give little thought to how clean our food is?
Unfortunately I’m not talking about the dirt you might find on a lettuce, if only it were that simple! I’m referring to the many pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, preservatives, and artificial additives found in our food. Most of these agents are classified as chemicals, and all of them are toxic to the body.
It’s interesting to note that prior to World War Two, organic farming was the norm, as it had been for thousands of years. When chemical farming was introduced to boost yields, our health, and that of the planet, took a dramatic downturn.
To give you a few examples, research has shown:
- The use of pesticides has been linked to cancer, birth defects, early puberty and infertility, asthma to name just a few.
- Children, in particular, are susceptible to the effects of pesticides because their organs are still developing and they are less able to eliminate the toxins.
- The blood from a newborn’s umbilical cord contains 232 toxic chemicals! (A study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group EWG)
- A rise in food allergies in children of 18% from 1997 to 2007 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Kids who consume foods exposed to pesticides have an increased chance of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. (Study conducted by the University of Montreal in Quebec)
- Farmers who use chemicals sprays on their crops have a higher incidence of cancer.
- Chemical farming reduces soil fertility and pollutes our waterways.
- While the effects of chemicals in our environment and on our food is alarming, there is a simple solution: buy organic!
As consumers, we need to get over choosing produce that “looks” picture perfect. It may not have any blemishes, but it’s also devoid of nutrients and flavor. Think tomatoes in particular. Organic fruit and vegetables are higher in antioxidants, minerals and phytonutrients. They usually taste better too.
Some people claim organics are too expensive to buy. While organic food can be higher priced than their conventional counterparts, the price is constantly dropping as the demand for organic products increases. For some items, I often find the price is the same and in some cases, has even been cheaper!
The reason organics are sometimes more expensive is because the Federal Government subsidizes conventional farming, which artificially lowers the price of those foods. Organic farming gets no financial help and is more labor intensive (that’s good for our unemployment rate!).
How to reduce the cost of organics:
All fruit and vegetables are more expensive when they are not in season. Buy fresh organics when they are in season and frozen when they are not.
If you can only afford some organics - be discerning. Some produce has a higher pesticide use than others. Any produce that has a thin skin or that you eat the skin of should be bought organic. Apples, celery, strawberries, peaches and leafy greens are such examples.
Foods that have less pesticide use include avocados, pineapples, onions, oranges and bananas.
** For a full list of foods that should always be eaten organic and those with lower pesticide levels go to www.greenandcrunchy.com/blog
Buy organic produce that is grown locally or join a co-op. Weatherford has an organic co-op that delivers fresh organic fruit and produce every two weeks. For more details email ">
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of priorities. What’s more important: your health or the size of your flat-screen digital TV? Take care of what you put into your body, and your body will take care of you!