Why eat organic? Here is a quick and easy guide to help you choose when and what to eat organic, even on a budget.

There is nothing more important than the quality of food we choose for our children, leading to better health, happiness and development.  Organic foods are cultivated, stored and produced without the use or intervention of chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, fumigants and other toxins.

The US Environmental Working Group organized tests to measure the incidences of pesticides in jars of baby food by Heinz, Beech Nut and Gerber. The study found potentially harmful levels of 16 different pesticides including toxins that promote cancer, affect brain function and disrupt hormonal systems.

Even at so-called “harmless” levels these toxins have been linked to abnormalities in behavior, perception, cognition, and motor ability during childhood. Even if you do not plan to feed your child organic foods forever, the first 6-12 months is the most important.

Recent data from the NAS strongly suggests that exposure to pesticides and neurotoxic chemicals at levels that may be safe for adults can result in permanent loss of brain function if it occurred during the prenatal and early childhood period of brain development.

Fetuses and infants are more at risk to toxins than adults because they have immature detoxification systems, the blood brain barrier is not fully formed yet which put toxins in direct contact with the central nervous system, they are smaller and receive concentrated doses of toxicants.

MRI studies show that the brain show that the largest growth in total brain volume occurs in the first year of life. Which is why exposure to neurotoxins can have long-lasting and permanent effects on the brain structure and function. 

Reducing Pesticide Exposure!

Option A) BUY ORGANIC FOODS

Organic foods allow a child’s body to focus on growth and development rather than having to combat the range of antibiotics, hormones, artificial pesticides and genetically modified organisms that are now found in generic produce.

I hear many people say that they “cant afford” to buy organic foods, but the truth is buying organic foods will save every family more money in the long run when they don’t have to pay for medical bills and prescription medications. Healthy eating  is the best investments we can make for ourselves and our children.

Option B) PRIORITIZE SOME ORGANIC

When grocery shopping on a limited budget there are some foods that are contain higher levels of chemicals and are necessary to buy organic. See the fruit/vegetable chart for which foods have the highest levels of pesticides, it is most important to buy these organic. Lettuce and leafy greens should always be organic, fruits with thin skin such as peaches, strawberries, blueberries and apples.  http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Option C) USE A FRUIT AND VEGETABLE WASH

When you are unable to buy organic produce, the next best alternative is a fruit and vegetable wash, and rub them down with a fruit and veg cloth. Buy these non-toxic produce wash at any local health food store. Micro fibre cloths work best for removing excess residues from waxy fruits such as apples, peppers and cucumbers.

Reducing Exposure to GMO’s, Antibiotics and Additives!

The usual rules apply, stick to the outside of the super market, shop at local markets as much as possible, and try your best to buy free-range meat!

In Canada, it is especially difficult for farms to be approved as “organic”, even though they are producing toxin-free foods. If you have access to organic meat that is generally affordable at local meat markets and grocery stores then great! However, most times it can be hard to find organic meat at the same place where you buy the rest of your food.  Here are some options for making better meat choices.

Option A) Buy Free-range!

When you are unable to find or afford “organic” meat or eggs, it is really important to look for selections that say “free range”. Which is the closest thing to organic, and in some cases no different.

Option B) Buy hormone/antibiotic-free!

The next best option is “hormone/antibiotic free”, which is usually cheaper than organic, and more readily available throughout regular grocery stores. When it comes to the meat world, the smaller/local company is almost as good finding the “organic” brand, and even better, given that many organic products come from other countries.

Option C) Buy Local!

Local distributors are smaller companies, not typically mass producing animals using hormones and GMO feed, and less likely to be carrying infections requiring antibiotics. The best and most cost effective way to buy meat if to find a local farmer/distributer where you can buy half cow/pig/bison and split it between several friends and/or family members.

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