The Truth about Organic Foods – Part II

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Today we’ll be following up on our radio show and the previous blog on the topic of “The Truth about Organic Foods” with a focus on creating some action steps. 

Q: This is an overwhelming topic for many people. Where do you start if you just want to reduce unhealthy levels of toxins in your diet?

Being mindful is key. Start by observing (or write a list!) of all the ingredients you are consuming through food or absorbing through your skin. After a day of various meals and skincare products, you’ll have quite a few suspicious ingredients you may want to research and then remove.

Q: Should we grow our own fruits and vegetables when possible?

Most definitely! It’s cheaper, hyper-local, and helps people connect to their food more. Do it if you enjoy gardening and use or have good, healthy soil.

Q: What are some other tips for eating healthy on a budget?

Let’s first say that while pesticides aren’t good for anyone, if you’re a woman of childbearing age or have young children, taking steps to reduce your exposure is especially important. Ideally, all of the food you and your family eat would be organic, but not everyone has access to a wide variety of organic produce nor the funds. A way to save some money and still lower your risk is to focus on purchasing certain organic food, while “settling” for other items that are conventionally grown.

Animal products, like meat, butter, milk, and eggs, are actually the most important to buy organic, since animal products tend to accumulate toxins in their tissues (particularly their fat) from the pesticide-laden feed. This can cause the toxins to be in far higher concentrations than are typically present in ‘conventional’ vegetables. For those on a budget, choose organic animal foods first and then think of produce.

Speaking of produce, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to see which foods are worth the extra dimes. Here are some other tips:

  • Eat seasonally and shop sales at the supermarket.
  • Consider buying in bulk. This is the only way we get out of Whole Foods, aka Whole Paycheck, with our retirement account still intact.
  • Eat actual whole food, buy less processed items. Standard carrots are typically less expensive than baby carrots and organic oatmeal is generally cheaper than organic oat cereal.
  • Consider it an investment in your future. Re-arrange your priorities – you may not need a new purse or an expensive car or clothes. Quality food is worth valuing and placing a higher priority on.

While conventionally grown foods may have a cheaper price-tag but it doesn’t show the TRUE COST of the product when it comes to our soil and water quality as well as our future health-care costs. Short-term, sure you save some money, but your’e potentially losing the long-term game here.

Q: What other resources can you share to help listeners make this easier?

To learn more about organic standards and more, check out National Agricultural Library of the USDA

Grab some non-GMO popcorn and settle in for a documentary! GMO OMG has been hanging out on Netflix and is an easier watch; Genetic Roulette has more scientific information.

Consider meeting your farmer to ensure the produce is grown, or animals raised, without pesticides and GMOs. Check out this national listing of farmers’ markets or Local Harvest.

Eat Well Guide – for a directory of restaurants, farms, CSAs and more.

Q: Any other thoughts to share?

Read food labels carefully. Remember that just because a food item is labeled as organic or including organic ingredients, it’s not necessarily healthy…organic creme-filled cookies are NOT a health food.

Washing fresh fruits and vegetables not only helps remove dirt and bacteria, but it can also reduce pesticide residues, though not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing. Remember that you can’t wash off glyphosate (it gets into every cell of the plant) nor can you wash off GENETIC Modification.

The maxim “ you are what you eat” encourages us to consider the impact that organic and GMO foods can have on our long-term health. Choose carefully- what you put in your mouth ultimately becomes your cells, tissues, and organs.

If you want a different health outcome, change your food. Everything else has a smaller effect. There’s a medical treatment for a bad diet but there’s no cure. Tweet this.

Overall, we want encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables, regardless of how they are produced. A GMO vegetable is still considered better than a processed, nutrient-poor food like Cheetos.

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