Sometimes we put the most stock into our luxuries and then reason that we cannot afford to eat organic. When the budget gets tight I write out my expenses to see if there are items that I'd consider more important than my family's health.
Every time, there is nothing more important.
Now, I'm not talking about pre-packaged organic food... that can be debatable and shouldn't be consumed very often anyway. But our produce and meat choices can greatly impact our health.
Perhaps you reason that there is a "dirty dozen" list of the worst non-organic produce that you can just avoid. The fact is, pesticide is also sprayed into the soil which in-turn grows into the produce. If it is GMO (Genetically Modified) then weed killer has already been impregnated into the seed itself! (see GMO tab next)
Below are some helpful shopping tips and some VERY convincing facts to help you to decide where & when to eat organic.....
- Do the Math. A lot of the time the difference in cost between conventional & organic can be .50 per item.....and, in season, your local organic farmer probably has better prices than the grocer.
- Organic, grass fed dairy and meat have markedly healthier balance of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids due to the animals better diet.... rich in grass & insects. Portion sizes are grossly too large, so try a true "serving" which is the size of what you can hold in one closed palm. This will save $$ for more organic produce. You can fill the rest of your protein needs with legumes, seeds, nuts and healthy oils.
- If you have to choose between organic produce or organic meat. . .choose the meat. Eating conventional meat is actually worse than pesticide produce, because the animal has consumed pesticides & GMO's already, but in addition it has been pumped with steroids & hormones and lived in terrible stressful conditions. These miserable animals also release stress hormones into their fat and soft tissue. So you are getting the worst of all scenarios in meat. So even if you were eating organic produce, the meat would erase much of the benefits. HOWEVER, it is a fact that commercial cattle farming ruins our environment the most. So please consume very small portions, and not every meal or daily. Meat is a "supplement", not a main-staple.
- Animals are also pumped with antibiotics so the population is becoming more antibiotic resistant which means illness is more severe, prolonging and increasing hospital visits. So organic local/small farm meat is cheaper when you compare to the medical costs.
- Even with all the debates over which "diet" is best. . .There is no argument against eating organic, everyone knows it reduces toxic chemical exposure.
- Studies vary about nutrient levels (conventional vs organic) but all studies show organic is higher in taste and minerals like iron & antioxidants by up to 40%.
- Organic is the most heavily regulated & closely monitored food production in the U.S. Yes, there are still issues but nothing is a perfect system.
- Organic prohibits the use of GMO's, antibiotics, hormones & chemical additives.
- Buying organic is easier & more affordable than ever. When more consumers buy organic, it increases the supply-and-demand, thus lowering cost due to more competition and availability.
- Organic reflects the true cost of food production. By contrast, conventional products have hidden costs called "externalities" including damage to water sources, wildlife, ecosystem & health care. Meaning you pay the cost for the damages of eating conventional food, like Doctor bills for chronic or mysterious illness.
- Most pesticides are "systemic" meaning they are absorbed into the soil and the into plant in, order to circulate through the plant tissues to kill the insects feeding on them. These cannot be washed or peeled off with the skin. These systemic pesticides have been implicated in the death of bees and birth defects.
- Even if you follow the "dirty dozen" rule, you are only protecting yourself from MAYBE 50% of pesticides. Is that good enough for you and your children?
- Pesticides are contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria since it kills healthy essential soil bacteria. . .increasing the rise of infectious disease. Since the good fighting bacteria is killed it leaves produce & meat vulnerable to e-coli and salmonella.
- Eating conventional produce during pregnancy or childhood increases illness, lowered IQ and birth defects from exposing the fetus or child to endocrine disrupting pesticides.
- Many of the side effects listed for mild/repeated pesticide exposure are similar to the list of symptoms for impotence, disorders & chronic illness.