Wellness

The Truth About Organic Foods

As the general public is learning the truth about pesticides and our food, organic has become a much more popular subject. This is an informational post for those of you who may be interested in the subject and thinking of making the transition.

Organic food isn’t just a trend anymore. It’s gaining traction as a movement as people are recognizing that our food system is broken. Given the rise in obesity, chronic disease, autoimmune and other health concerns including the increase in allergic reactions, behavior and neurological conditions, we are starting to wonder if our food may be at the root of some of these issues.

In regards to weight, research suggests that eating conventionally grown foods coated with pesticide residue can increase your appetite and cause weight gain. Here’s why: chemicals can damage our cells during digestion, producing inflammation. According to Dr. Salerno, founder of the Salerno Center for Complementary Medicine, “the more fat we have, the more these pesticides are stored. And, not only do we ingest the pesticides and our bodies hold onto them, but when they are released, they cause more inflammation.” The result can be an increase in insulin signaling the body to store more fat rather than burn it.

If you are concerned about the cost of organic food, there are ways to start transitioning to organic foods without breaking your budget. And, the good news is that organic foods are starting to come down in price due to demands. According to the USDA, “Organic food is one of the fasting growing segments of American agriculture.” It’s ironic because all food used to be organic before processed food came along!
Here are some tips to help you transition easily:

1. Portion and prioritize: Always to try to buy organic meats and dairy because of the combined risk of pesticide, antibiotic use and other hormone exposure. If necessary, plan your consumption of these products. For example, if you have meat one day, then don’t have cheese.

a. Tip: write out your weekly and monthly spending to see where you may be able to cut back on ‘non-essential’ spending. Then you can add the savings towards your grocery budget.

b. Purchase a whole chicken. The cost per pound will be cheaper compared to just the legs, wings or breast. You can use the whole chicken, even the bones to make healthy broth.

2. Look for organic frozen produce which may be cheaper than fresh, especially if the fruit or vegetable is out of season.

3. Freeze any leftovers or fruits that are about to get too ripe in order to cut down on waste.

4. Buy local and in season if possible. Most locations have farmer’s markets available. Or even check out your local farms to see if you can buy directly from them!

5. Follow the ‘dirty dozen’ to help you choose the best foods to buy organic. For example, if you have a choice between organic red peppers and conventional asparagus, choose asparagus. Asparagus need less pesticide treatments because it can naturally repel pests. (Want to know more about the dirty dozen? See link below)

6. Buy in bulk and unpackaged if possible. Some stores sell foods like organic rice, oats, nuts, etc.

a. Tip: Buy spices and herbs like this too. Many times, we purchased a jar of spice only to use it a few times.

At the end of the day, eating organic is COMPLETELY up to you. It is important to do your research before making a decision like this. If you do choose to transition to organic, your body will thank you!

To learn more about the “dirty dozen,” go to this page:

http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214

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