as published on Watchfit – Expert Contributor
If you are concerned about your health and toxic exposure then yes organic is the only option, although I would go beyond that and say that we are looking for produce from biodynamic sources. For me personally organic is the only option,
A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows organic milk and meat contains around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic. The study is the largest systematic review of its kind and led by Newcastle University and an international team of experts (i).
Whilst the study has only looked at organic milk and meat, you can also read about the family who went organic for 21 days. During the first week the Palmberg family ate a conventional diet and submitted urine samples of analysis. The analysts found a number of insecticides, fungicides and plant growth regulators. The family then switched to an organics only diet, including soaps and personal care items, for two weeks and during this phase they once again submitted urine samples. The results were dramatic: The pesticide loads in the family members’ bodies dropped in ways that were observable after a single day. (ii)
Organic farming differs from conventional farming in the methods used to grow crops. Conventional farming uses over 500 different types of chemicals where as Organic farming has about 25 approved chemicals that can be used. Conventional famers apply chemical fertilizers to the soil to grow their crops, these chemical fertilisers destroy the minerals in the soil, which in turn reduces the mineral content of the crops grown, so not only are the contaminated with chemicals they lack nutrients. They use insecticides to get rid of insects and disease and synthetic herbicides to control weed growth. Conventionally grown food is often tainted with chemical residues that can be harmful to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. There may be some debate about this but my philosophy is “if in doubt, don’t” and when it comes to my health I want to make the best choices I can and reduce my toxic exposure.
Pesticides have many negative influences on our health, including neurotoxicity, disrupting hormones and suppressing our immune system. It can also affect reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women.
In contrast, organic farmers feed and build the soil with natural fertilizers, they use natural methods such as insect predators, barriers and companion planting to get rid of insects and prevent disease and they use crop rotation, tillage, hand weeding and mulches to control weeds.
Aside from pesticide contamination as mentioned conventional produce tends to have a lower nutritional content then organic produce, hopefully you will see that organic foods are the better option. However, in some cases organic produce can be hard to obtain and for some people budget becomes an issue and in this case it is better to eat non-organic vegetables than no vegetables at all. I would just advise scrubbing them and peeling them where possible, or removing the outer layers. You can make up a simple vegetable wash of water and vinegar on a 1:1 ratio, I like to add Silver Shield to my vegetable wash.
You do also have the option to selectively buy organic produce, certain foods have higher or lower amounts of pesticides due to a number of factors. The Environmental Working Group (EWG: www,ewg,org) regularly produces a list called the Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen and this enables to identify which food to always buy organic and those that you don’t necessarily need to buy organic. This is a quick reference to the list
CLEAN FIFTEEN: Lower in pesticide residue
- Sweet corn – ensure this is not genetically modified
- Sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
DIRTY DOZEN: Always buy organic
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
In the case of milk, it is best to avoid cow’s dairy for a number of reasons but if you do choose to stay with cow’s dairy then always buy the full fat organic version. It is best to avoid all wheat/gluten grains whether they are organic or not – stick to organic gluten free grains such as rice and quinoa.
When it comes to personal care products, always read the labels, I only use and recommend organic products – 70% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream. One of the main reasons for choosing organic produce is to minimise our exposure to chemicals, pesticides and toxins so if we are removing these from our diet we don’t want to be putting them back into our bodies via our skincare.
If you are ready to take action and want to find out more about choosing and living an organic lifestyle then connect with me by clicking here, and find out how I can help create a bespoke plan for you, and get you started on your wellness journey straightaway.