Some health professionals say eating organic is a lifestyle, I believe it is a privilege. Organic food is grown and produced according to a set of standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Organic foods are theoretically free of:
• High fructose corn syrup
• Artificial colorings and sweeteners
• Growth hormones
• Synthetic chemicals–fertilizers and pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
Organic produce is expensive and if you cannot afford to be 100% organic, do not beat yourself up. Let me be honest here: I do not eat 100% organic. It is hard and quite frankly almost impossible to do. I do not want to create “mom guilt” among my readers. We have to many things to worry about.
My advice? Start small and take baby steps. We can only do so much but you have the power to make decisions. You are already ahead of the game by investing the time to teach taste, encourage self-feeding, and offer a variety of nutrient rich foods. The good news is organic foods are popping up all over the place (Wal-Mart, bulk buying clubs, Target, etc.) making them more affordable.
If organic foods are too pricey for your wallet, don’t stop eating fruits and vegetables. The nutritional benefits of produce outweigh the risk of chemicals. Produce, especially a variety, will provide you with the nutrients and phytochemicals needed to defend against disease and infection.
Annually, the Environmental Working Group ranks produce by its pesticide content, called the “dirty dozen.” This list changes each year so make sure you get the most up-to-date list online. Currently the “dirty dozen” list includes:
Top 10 Ways to Minimize Chemical Overload in Children
1. Refer to Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s guide to Pesticides”.
2. If there is a produce you consume a lot of, commit to purchasing that specific item organic
3. Buy frozen organic produce
4. Visit your local farmer’s market and buy local produce from a local farm with many different crops
5. Buy produce in season
6. Start small but grown produce around your house or in window boxes (edible landscaping)
7. Buy products free of High Fructose Corn Syrup
8. Look for food items that use natural food colorings such as beet juice powder and are free of artificial colorings
9. Purchase products in bulk
10. Add variety to your produce; don’t eat the same thing all of the time