Organic Foods Prioritized

Posted by on Jun 15, 2010 | Comments Off on Organic Foods Prioritized

WHY ORGANIC?

FACT – Pesticides are designed to kill living organisms. I suppose one could take that & go wherever they want with it, but common sense tells me I should keep these chemicals as far away from my body as possible. Beyond common sense, there’s a growing body of scientific evidence linking these chemicals to human diseases, such as brain/nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone dysfunction, and skin/eye/lung irritation.

www.cdc.gov/pesticides

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Number 1 most important product to buy organic – BUTTER.

Animals, like humans, store toxins in their fat (toxins get deposited in fat cells, as an effort by the body to keep them from reaching vital organs). Butter is almost pure fat, so non-organic varieties will carry relatively high concentrations of whatever toxins that particular animal was exposed to. For this reason, butter coming from organically raised cows is best.

www.organicvalley.coop/butter

www.organicpastures.com

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Number 2 most important product to buy organic – MEAT.

Most commercially available meat comes from animals that have been raised in huge feedlots, fed genetically modified, pesticide laden grains – or equally as bad – GMO soy feed which is too high in protein & therefore toxic to their livers.  To cut costs, sometimes “by-product feedstuff” is added to the feed, which sometimes isn’t even food (chicken feathers, garbage, stale pastry, and candy). Sometimes cows are given pieces of other cows (a potential cause of mad-cow disease).  Additionally, they’re injected with steroids to make their meat tender and given growth hormones to speed growth rate.  Some of the animals grow so quickly and unnaturally, that their legs often collapse as they try to stand and support their own weight. Lastly, the animals are routinely given antibiotics to ward off infections that inevitably result from poor diet & crowded conditions.

Of course, the problem with all of this (besides animals living in misery for their short, uncomfortable existence), is that all these chemicals and additives become part of the meat, dairy, and eggs that we eat.  Then they become part of us.

Organic meat comes from animals that (at the very least) have been raised on organic feed (no pesticides), and not given any hormones or antibiotics.  Some organically raised animals live a better, more humane life then their unfortunate commercially raised cousins, but this is not always the case (depends on the values of each particular farmer).

In reference to cows, bison, lambs and goats, perhaps even more important than the organic certification is whether or not the animals were grass-fed.  If they were, their meat will be much more nutritious than meat from grain fed animals – containing more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).  Personally, I would choose grass-fed beef without organic certification over organic beef coming from cows raised on grain.

As for the CHICKENS…..Organic, free-range chickens are best.  If you can get them directly from a local farm – even better. I’ve heard several verbal testimonies from friends and family – saying how absolutely amazed they were when they made the switch from standard, store-bought chicken to the good stuff. “The taste was entirely different….it actually tasted like chicken.”  Similarly, if you’ve never had a local, organic egg, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the fresh taste & bright yellow yolk. Check out your local farmers market if you don’t already have a source for local eggs (if not, free-range organic from the store is the next best thing).

As far as MILK goes, certified organic, raw milk from grass-fed cows is best.  This caliber of milk is difficult, but not impossible to find, depending on where you live.  If you can’t get it, at the very least, it’s a good idea to look for milk from cows that weren’t given growth hormone rBGH (a genetically engineered hormone that boosts milk production). This growth hormone causes the majority of cows to get mastitis (a painful and pussy udder infection) that’s treated with antibiotics.  The antibiotics make their way into the milk, and then ultimately, into us as consumers.  On a side note – marketing twists over the years have led us to believe that 2%, 1%, and skim are best, but these types of milks have problems of their own which I’ll go into at a later date.

I feel like I can keep going, but in an effort not to wander too far off topic, I’ll stop here, knowing that I’ll eventually have an entire page dedicated to this subject. The following links are great resources for finding high quality animal products.

www.eatwild.com

www.organicpastures.com

www.realmilk.com

www.rawusa.com

Eatwild.com, which is a great informational resource, had a nice, little summary on one of their pages….

“The Healthiest Choice. When you choose to eat meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals raised on pasture, you are improving the welfare of the animals, helping to put an end to environmental degradation, helping small-scale ranchers and farmers make a living from the land, helping to sustain rural communities, and giving your family the healthiest possible food. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.”

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Next is PRODUCE

It’s important to note, even though organic produce is best, eating any fruits and vegetables, regardless of how they’re cultivated, is still better than not eating them at all. In a perfect world, we’d eat everything organic, but of course, that’s not possible due to cost and availability. The next best thing is to know which crops tend to carry the most residue, and likewise, which carry the least.

The list below, taken directly from the Environmental Working Group’s website ranks fruits and vegetables from BEST TO WORST. In other words, produce at the top of the list are the least contaminated with pesticides (ok to buy non-organic), while the ones toward the bottom of the list contain the heaviest chemical residue (best to purchase organic). Again, keeping things in perspective, it’s better to eat a non-organic pear than a donut =) Please see www.ewg.org for more details.

Updated 6/13/11

1. Onions (BEST)
2. Sweet Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
7. Mango
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet Potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms
16. Winter Squash
17. Plums (domestic)
18. Cranberries
19. Papaya
20. Tomatoes
21. Cauliflower
22. Honeydew Melon
23. Cantaloupe (imported)
24. Bananas
25. Green Onions
26. Broccoli
27. Oranges
28. Summer Squash
29. Green Beans (imported)
30. Raspberries Cucumbers (imported)
31. Blueberries (imported)
32. Plums (imported)
33. Carrots
34. Green Beans (domestic)
35. Hot Peppers
36. Nectarines (domestic)
37. Pears
38. Cherries
39. Grapes (domestic)
40. Cucumbers
41. Cilantro
42. Kale / Collard Greens
43. Lettuce
44. Blueberries (domestic)
45. Potatoes
46. Sweet Bell Peppers
47. Grapes (imported)
48. Nectarines – imported
49. Spinach
50. Peaches
51. Strawberries
52. Celery
53. Apples (WORST)

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Wasn’t sure exactly how to “rank” this, but I also highly recommend using ORGANIC BABY FOOD for obvious reasons. I remember using “Earth’s Best” before my kids grew chompers.  I think it was the only organic choice back then, but there are probably others by now.  Of course, if you have the time, making & freezing your own baby food is less expensive and healthier.

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Beyond food……..                  COTTON

Farmers in the United States apply nearly one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every pound of cotton harvested. When all nineteen cotton-growing states are tallied, cotton crops account for twenty-five percent of all the pesticides used in the U.S. Some of these chemicals are among the most toxic classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In developing countries, where regulations are less stringent, the amount of herbicides and insecticides and their toxicity is often greater than in the U.S.

wwworganicconsumersassociation.org

That being said, there is no evidence to date that pesticide residues exist in non-organic cotton fabric. The US does not do testing on this, but according to expert, Mary Cordaro, tests in Germany confirm that toxic pesticide residue only exist in cotton batting (mattresses, pillows, etc). So, we might want to contemplate our pillows, since we have our faces in them for a third of our lives, and when it’s time to replace the mattress, something to consider as well.

www.marycordaro.com

Although non-organic cotton fabric is safe to wear, I don’t interpret that to mean we can pretend the entire cotton-chemical business doesn’t exist and doesn’t affect us.  It’s huge & it does affect all of us – As year after year, billions of pounds of these toxic chemicals reach us anyway, via air, water, and soil. By supporting the Organic Cotton Industry, we’re reducing the amount of toxins let loose on this Earth.  A worthwhile endeavour indeed.  It’s not practical to do 100% with this type of thing, but if we all did what we could, just a little bit, the impact would be enormous.

Here are some of the organic clothing companies I like to support:

www.patagonia.com

www.gaiam.com

www.ecolandinc.com

www.maggiesorganics.com

www.cottonfieldusa.com

www.bluecanoe.com

In regard to sheets, although it’s not necessary to buy organic, the one thing I will mention to watch out for are “easy care” “permanent press” or “wrinkle free” sheets (unless you don’t mind snuggling up with formaldehyde).
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A good alternative to cotton is BAMBOO (which is used to make clothing and bedding of all sorts). It’s extremely soft – almost silky.

Here are some facts borrowed from www.greenearthbamboo.com.

Sustainability – The bamboo in China, where our bamboo products begin their life, grows naturally and does not require the use of pesticides, herbicides, or irrigation, other than the natural rainfall that it receives. Also, the bamboo does not require planting as the stalks can be cut off above ground and they will continue to grow, ready for harvest again in just a few short years. Compare this to a tree that may take 70 years to reach maturity. In addition bamboo has a vast root system network that constantly sprouts new shoots. Unlike many other resources, bamboo does not require gas guzzling tractors, pesticides, and herbicides to harvest and bring to production.

~ Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and anti-fungal in its raw state.

~ Bamboo contains a natural agent called bamboo kun which requires no harmful chemicals to prevent bacteria and fungus from cultivating on it–keeping the fabric odor free. This allows for less washing which saves on energy, time and money.

~ Bamboo is extremely soft.

~ Bamboo is practical. Bamboo is more durable and less expensive than silk or cashmere, but has a very high soil release value and can be conveniently cleaned in your washer and dryer.

~ Bamboo is comfortable. Bamboo clothing feels good on your skin, and it’s breathable, which keeps you drier. Bamboo fabric also acts as a thermal regulator to your body temperature.

~ Bamboo is hypoallergenic. Did you know that Bamboo’s organic and natural fiber properties make it naturally hypoallergenic? It is non-irritating to the skin, and works extremely well for anyone having allergies, eczema, dermatitis or other skin sensitivities.


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