Go Go Organic!
Once upon a time, in the exact same place you are now, the food was ALL organic, full of the nutrients we need and no one was consuming chemicals everyday in large quantities.
We are no longer in that time.
FAIR WARNING: It's about to get a little dark and gloomy but I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, our soil has been so depleted by conventional farming methods, erosion and atmospheric deposition that minerals such as iron, magnesium, iodine, copper, calcium and potassium are much lower than they were 100 years ago.
In fact, a study at UCLA took up spinach in 1953 and measured the nutrients, finding that one serving would give you your daily supply of iron. In 1977 they took spinach from the same place and measured the nutrients, finding you would need 43 servings to reach the same amount of iron. That is a drastic drop, and it is only getting worse.
PESTICIDES & HERBICIDES
Today, billions of pounds of pesticides are applied globally on agricultural fields, parks, schools, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals, nursing homes and gardens.
Canada uses over 50 pesticides that are banned in other countries that have been linked to prostate & breast cancer, infertility, genital deformity and birth defects.
The average child eats over 5 servings of pesticides each day in their food and water.
54 different pesticide residues can be found on conventional strawberries. That includes 9 known carcinogens, 24 suspected hormone disruptors, 11 neurotoxins, and 19 developmental or reproductive toxins.
Furthermore, in 2017, there are now several crops that are almost entirely genetically modified. This means that their genetic material has been altered using gene splicing. The most common GMO crops include corn, soy, canola, and sugarbeets
Over 200 million acres today are planted with GMO seeds and over 1000 patents already issued for genetically modified foods.
Over 90% of processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients.
Along with the socio-economic and environmental impacts (that would require a whole other blog posts), the health impacts that have been associated with GMO crops include reproductive issues, vital organ damage, increased risk of cancer, and the increase in immune cells associated with asthma, allergies and inflammation. They have not been around long enough to measure their complete impact but these are some correlations that have been noted thus far.
Those are just a few reasons to GO ORGANIC!!
Here is the hope! Organic farming practices work to naturally replenish the soil by rotating crops and using natural fertilizer that contains a variety of nutrients, not just the bare minimum they need to grow. They do not spray harmful herbicides and pesticides on their crops and they do not use genetically modified seeds or crops.
I often recommend going organic to clients who need to reduce their toxic load, get their hormones back on track, lose weight and much more. It is always surprising to people how much better they feel when they go organic, but it’s not always easy. It can definitely get pricey and it’s not always so simple to find good quality organic produce.
Here are my recommendations for getting started:
FOCUS ON THE DIRTY DOZEN
You may have heard of the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen. These are lists developed by the environmental working group that outline which foods are the most pesticide laden and which are still generally pretty clean when conventionally grown.
Because it can get pricy to go 100% organic, I recommend starting with just making sure that if you are buying produce on the dirty dozen list that it is organic. The clean fifteen can always be bought conventionally, although will still have higher nutrient value if organic. The grey area in between is up to you. As always, be realistic and do what you can!
Here is a quick look at the list for your reference:
TRY OUT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS MARKET
A lot of the time, the cheapest way to get organic produce is to visit your local farmers market. In Toronto, we have over 35 different farmers markets to choose from in good weather and 8 of them are brave enough to stick around all winter long.
Find one near you and talk to your local farmers. Keep in mind they may not have the certified organic seal of approval (it’s hard to get and very expensive for the farms and companies!) but they may observe organic practices. Get to know the farmers, find the ones you trust and get the cleanest food you can find!
Toronto has a website entirely dedicated to all of our beautiful markets! Check it out and find one near you!
SIGN UP FOR WEEKLY DELIVERIES
Getting the hang of the dirty dozen and taking the time to scope out farmers markets can definitely take up quite a bit of time. Here is where organic grocery delivery systems come in handy.
Personally, I highly recommend Fresh City Farms. NOTE: I AM IN NO WAY AFFILIATED. They offer a variety of options for weekly grocery delivery for however big or small your family is. Whether you need veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, bread, juice, kombucha or all of the above they source the highest quality, organic and as local as possible varieties for you to choose from.
Most of the bag options are designed to deliver the freshest most seasonal produce each week. They allow you to swap out ingredients as you please, without extra charge and you can always put your bag on hold as often as you need to without being charged!
They deliver directly to your door or to a pickup spot at a participating storefront (usually local coffee shops or bistros) near you!
Before you freak out and think that is such a fantastic service, it must be super expensive… it’s not! I get a bag of fruit and vegetables, enough to feed two people for a full week, for just $28. I feel like there is no way I would be able to go to any near by grocer or health food store and get the same amount of quality organic produce for that price if I tried!
The service saves me time and money. PLUS! They are local. Fresh City has their own farm in Toronto that they source from as much as possible. This means you’re helpin’ out the good ol’ environment and your local economy at the same time as you are nourishing yourself to the fullest!
Fresh City Farms makes it so that there really is no excuse not to at least try to get in more organic produce. I love that they sometimes send me fun new ingredients that I have never worked with before because they are so seasonal. For example, celery root! Check out my celery root . I never would have experimented with celery root had it not been for the inspiration of Fresh City Farms’ bag of produce.
If you want to try it out, use my customer referral link to get $25 off your first bag! That would make your first bag literally $3…Yea. Pretty sweet deal.
So give it a go, experiment, have fun and again, just do what you can!
CERTIFIED ORGANIC IS NOT A HALL PASS
Not all organic foods are necessarily good for you! You can have organic jelly beans that are still FULL of sugar and highly processed. Same goes for your organic cookies, cakes, macaroni and chips.
That being said, these products are often cleaner than their counterparts so if you are a going to indulge, they are probably the better choice.
I just have to stress that it doesn’t mean you can eat organic cookies for breakfast everyday and improve your health. They’re still cookies, friends!
I will admit, however, Earth + City does make a super delicious Cowgirl Cookie that almost passes for a healthy breakfast and I do enjoy that from time. They use only banana and date for sweetener and it’s a gluten-free oat base. I’m sure I’d do better on a green smoothie in the morning, but still, gotta enjoy life!
IT’S NOT DO OR DIE
As always, I am all about keeping it realistic. If you can’t find something organic or just can’t afford it this week, no worries. It’s all about being educated and making better choices based on the knowledge you have whenever you can.
Even just switching from conventional to organic apples alone will help to reduce your toxic load and improve overall health. You will FEEL it.
Do what you can. Take care of yourself. Enjoy life.
The Realistic Holistic