One I've been wanting to write for a while....but have been at a loss of how to do it.
So I'm going to lay it out easy. Very very basic, and completely incomplete.
I encourage you to fill in the blanks and
do a little research on your own,
and then decide what's best for YOU and your family.
Don't "go organic" because you heard it was a good choice, do it because you did some homework and feel like it's a good change for you to make, because you want to.
Here are some basics.
Why I started
I used to laugh at the people who would pay extra for something labeled organic! ha! jokes on them! "I've been eating produce laced with fertilizers and pesticides for years and I'm as fit as a fiddle (what does that mean?)" I'd say. "People have been eating this way for years--it MUST be fine!" right?
And then.....a few years ago, while bouncing between Lyme and MS diagnoses, my doctor put me on a suuuuuuper strict diet, which limited a lot of food options, but also included as many organic choices as possible. why? Because my body was fighting a war against itself, and adding extra, non natural things (teeny tiny traces of pesticides, growth hormones, GMOs, etc) would only confuse my body more, and make it harder for my system to determine what exactly it was fighting.
So for us the choice was easy.
As many organic options as possible.
As few non natural, or "fake" things going into my body as we could.
What does organic mean? I don't really like the word. I think it's overused, and can be terribly misleading.
Just because it's "organic" doesn't mean it's healthy.
An organic cookie, is still a cookie. Full of sugar and fat and what not.
Organic sugar, is still sugar my friends.
This is how I try to think of the word organic--imagine this.
cue daydream music.
You're driving along a beautiful country road. No other cars, houses, people. Just you.
A field of wildflowers stretches out to snowcapped mountains in the background.
The sun is shining down, and you are flying your hand up and down, out the window.
You have a snack. A granola bar. A double cheeseburger. Hey--this is your daydream--you choose.
You have a wrapper left over, and don't want to clutter up your shiny red VW bus (is that what you are driving? that is what I'm driving).
You toss it out the window.
One small item, out in the vast wilderness won't make a difference, right?
You are right, it won't. (note: this blog does not encourage littering, this is a metaphor people, don't litter!)
A few weeks later, you're driving back a long the same road. Your old trash has probably blown away by now. You throw another water bottle out the window and move along.
Now you could do this over and over, thinking it won't make that big of a difference.
And hey, maybe it won't.
But the point is, your trash doesn't belong in that big beautiful field of wildflowers.
When I think of eating organic I try to avoid the "litter".
Can it be avoided all together? no.
Unless you are some super crazy hippie freak (said in the most loving, admiring way), it can't.
But can I make small choices to make sure I'm not constantly dumping trash out my car window?
yes. And I try hard.
Example: No matter how small the amount, I don't want to eat the pesticides they sprayed onto my apple.
I eat a lot of apples in my life, and over time it's sure to build up.
My body wants food, real food. Only food. Not chemicals.
Example: I want my food to contain REAL ingredients, and as few as possible.
Peanut Butter should contain 1, maybe 2 ingredients: Peanuts, and (sometimes) salt.
Not sugar, molasses, fully hydrogenated rapeseed oil, fully hydrogenated soybean oil, monoglycerides (what?!) and diglycerides (huh!?) (these are from an actual "peanut butter" label).
Why does peanut butter need those things? What are those things?
The beautiful field of wildflowers (your body) may continue to be beautiful and thrive with all the extra litter....it could happen, I'm sure.
Or, all your trash (weird ingredients that aren't actually real food items), might pile up in one place and begin to harm the field.
First a few flowers die in spots.
Then more littler starts to gather.
People driving by see the trash pile and maybe add their trash to it also.
In your body--as the "trash" builds up, it's easier for sickness and disease to move in.
It starts to weigh you down.
Our bodies are aaaaamazing, and can do so much.
Why not try to fuel them with things that are best for them?
What to eat:
Why buy organic produce?
Well, so we can ingest as little of those unwanted chemicals as possible.
But unless you are rich (if you are, can we be friends), it's hard to afford 100% organic everything.
I like this list--listing produce from best to eat, to worst (the lower or "worse" you get on the list, you should try to buy those items organic).
This is another HUGE reason to plant your own garden--you are in control of what you're putting into your soil!
The whole growth hormone thing FREAKS me out. And antibiotics??! I don't want those either.
But organic meat/cheese is so expensive!
That's why I have been working hard to incorporate more meatless meals into our week, so we can spend the money on good, junk-free meat. And please trust me--coming from someone who hardly ate any red meat for years-- good, grass-fed beef really tastes one-bazillion times better than the cheap store bought stuff. I promise.
Check your farmers market. I think you'd be surprised to find that good quality local meat may not be as much as you think it is--especially if you're not eating meat every day.
Our family eats a lot of cheese (mmmm....I love cheese) and I have no problem telling you that crap-free cheese is expensive! So for right now, I pass on organic cheese. Hormone free cheese, yes....but not totally organic. I do my best in other areas, and feel confident that non-organic cheese won't kill me.
When you have a growing (hungry) family, it's really hard to keep it 100% organic.
So I don't stress about it, and just do what I can.
All your "middle shelf" items. (cereals/crackers/snacks/etc.)
this is where we go back to our peanut butter example above. Keep it simple: if there are ingredients you don't recognize, or can't pronounce, chances are, you don't want too many of them in your body.
it's just litter. There are plenty of items that aren't labeled "organic" that are perfectly healthy choices--just check the labels for unknown ingredients.
I'm stopping here.
I feel like I'm juuuuuuust getting in to it, but if organic is not yet your thing,
then this is already a lot to take in.
My challenge to you this week is to just do your research on "organic".
Whatever that may mean to you.
Find a balance that works for you and your family.
Just become more aware of what you are putting in to your body.
If you still haven't watched Food Inc, I really encourage you to do so.
It explains so much of this in greater detail.
Also read Food Rules by Michael Pollan. It's a quick read--it will take you an hour or so and is very informative.
I would love to hear any feedback you have!
Why you eat the way you do, or how to make it more affordable.