When I first learned about “Organic” food I thought it was just a way for stores to make more money. When I got sick with Endometriosis, I learned more about nutrition & why it is so important. It is the single biggest personal change I have made since I found out about my health issues (fabric is something else I try to buy organic but I’ll save that for another time). Many of the below facts are taken from USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture and helpguide.org mixed with my own experience so please do your own research. I am not a doctor or nutritionist, I just know what works for me and what I have learned over the last 10+ years of dealing with medical issues relating to Endometriosis and previous misdiagnosis.
This will change your life, if you let it.
Organic crops must be grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, or bioengineered genes (GMOs). You would never realize those things are in the “regular” food you eat everyday, but it is. They can do irreparable damage to your body when consumed long term. Many illnesses and allergies are caused by this.
Organic livestock raised for meat, eggs, & dairy products must be raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (such as the ability to graze on pasture) & fed organic feed & forage. They may not be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or any animal by-products. You would never know the beef, chicken, pork and fish you are eating have many of these things in them but they do. Chemicals called endocrine disruptors (often found in pesticides and hormones added to meat) can also affect the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors cause a wide range of problems throughout the body by changing how hormones send messages.
Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as synthetic fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat. This is BAD. Organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is sometimes produced on small and family farms nearer to where it is sold.
Try to purchase organic meat, eggs, milk and dairy if you can afford to. In the U.S., industrially-raised animals may be fed corn, grains, antibiotics, animal byproducts, growth hormones, pesticides, and sewage sludge. These practices can have health consequences for both the animals themselves and people consuming their meat, eggs, or milk.
Fruits and vegetables where the organic label matters most:
According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that analyzes the results of government pesticide testing in the U.S., the following fruits and vegetables have the highest pesticide levels, so are best to buy organic:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Kale/Collard Greens
- Summer Squash
- Nectarines (imported)
- Hot Peppers
Fruits and vegetables you DON’T necessarily need to buy organic (although I follow the skin rule as well – if it’s not in a skin that you won’t eat, it needs to be an organic)
Known as the “Clean 15”, these conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are generally low in pesticides:
- Sweet Corn
- Peas (frozen)
- Sweet Potatoes
Most grocery stores from Whole Foods, Kroger, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, Target, Aldi, Walmart and EVERYTHING in between, have organic foods. Many you can shop online for pickup or delivery and compare prices from home. Other good resources are Farmer’s Markets and small family type farms. They vary in price by store but it is worth it for you to do your research and find a reasonable way to add organic foods to your diet in any way possible. It’s nearly impossible to get everything in organic (especially restaurants, premade food, etc) but every change in this direction is a benefit for your health. I know it has changed mine.
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