Thursday, January 14, 2010

The case for organics

Organic or not organic that is the question. Why would anyone want to pay sometimes double for the same item just because it has "organic" stamped on it? This is a question I'm sure many people ask all the time. My answer to that is simple, because I know too much.

When I began this journey called parenthood and became completely entrusted with the care of two precious human beings, I began to question things I had never really questioned before. #1 being food. I wanted to know, how can I best feed my children the most healthy food in this highly artificial, industrialized food system. (Ok, I couldn't verbalize that until after I had read many books on the subject but that IS what I was thinking!) The following books guided me through this maze. What to Eat, by Marion Nestle, Disease Proof Your Child, by Joel Fuhrman, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Micheal Pollan, Hope for Harvest by Jane Goodall. Most recently I read Living Fresh by Sara Snow (she lives in Indy folks, she's local!). So all these books have done much to change my thinking about how to feed my kids. The first I read was What to Eat, which kind of catapulted me on to the "food" journey. From there I read Disease Proof Your Child, which was a wake up call I needed. This guy is a pediatrician (if I remember correctly it's been 3 years since I read it) and a food/health expert. He goes a little far out on his eating, but this book did get a point across that food and quality of food, especially organic does effect a child's health. He suggested to at least by organic milk for your kids and that is something we have done since then. Reading the Pollan books helped me understand the history of food industrialization and the effects it has upon our land and it's inhabitants (yes that includes us!) Jane Goodall's book helped me learn even more about the environmental impacts of this as well as shedding some light on the state of livestock in our nation too. (Revolting!) Jane also made a good suggestion about buying organic. She said yes the prices are higher, but look at them like you would a tithe as supporting these producers that grow organic is going to make our soil, water and children healthier. That has helped me go ahead a buy somethings organic that seem somewhat price prohibitive. Sara Snow's Fresh Living has a great list of the dirties foods (with respect to chemicals) and the cleanest. She suggests if you can't buy everything organic, at least try to buy the dirtiest ones organic.
Top 10 Dirtiest Produce
1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes (imported)
10. Pears
Top 10 Cleanest
1. Onions
2. Advacado
3. Frozen Sweet Corn
4. Pineapples
5. Mango
6. Frozen Sweet Peas
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwi
9. Banana
10. Cabbage
11. Broccoli (added that because we eat a lot of this!)
I also feel personally, although I am unsure if there is considerable research confirm, that the introduction of herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals to our food production is the cause of much of the cancer in this world. No one can convince me otherwise, not that there wasn't cancer before all this, there certainly was, but was it as wide spread?
So I'm not posting this to get all "better than thou" on you. I don't buy all organic by long shot. I'd love too, but sometimes we just don't have enough $ in the budget or organic is not available. Thankfully being near Bloomington, IN there are more options that most places in this state. I encourage you to research this topic for yourself and decide what you can live with. That's what I'm doing!


Virginia Peach said...

I heard somewhere that organic celery can cause health problems as when celery is attacked by pests, it releases its own chemicals to deter them by itself, and these chemicals can cause some throat irritations.

But I agree, we try to eat as organically as possible. We try to grow our own vegetables and also buy locally so things are as fresh as possible. We feel so much healthier for it.

Butts said...

Never heard that about the celery, but it's not suprising, plants are amazing things!

We do our own garden too. We hit the local farmers markets as well. I am big on local too. I'll probably do a case for local soon too! Thanks for reading, your Brook's friend right?