Monday, September 24, 2012

Is Organic Really Better for You?

You have probably heard on the news that a new study found organic produce to be no more nutritious than conventional produce. The basic message was "don't waste your money on organic." This is a perfect example of how facts can be manipulated to purposely deceive us into feeling safe when we are actually in great danger.

I have never heard anyone claim that organic food is more nutritious. High five to those researchers for totally missing the point! The reason organic food is better for you is that it contains little to no pesticide residue or traces of antibiotics, and it is never genetically modified. This was actually admitted in the new study. However, the media chose to only shine the spotlight and bellow in the bullhorn that there is no nutritional difference. If you want to read an in-depth critique of the study, this is a good one.

Pesticides are sprayed all over fruits and vegetables, not to repel, but TO KILL anything that tries to eat them. (Pesticide, homicide, suicide...hmmm...) It's absolutely insane to think that this does not affect us. While we obviously don't immediately drop dead like bugs do, we are getting low doses of these toxic chemicals every single day.

This is an actual picture of a worker handling Monsanto's Lasso, which is an herbicide used on corn and soy crops. Do you think they feed their children what comes from these fields? I doubt it.

While I hate to quote animal studies, as they are horribly cruel and often pointless, this fact sheet on Lasso shows exactly why we need to be alarmed. Remember, this is just one of the chemicals dumped on our food. According to Sustainable Table, there are 5.1 billion tons of insecticides (to kill insects), herbicides (to kill weeds), rodenticides (to kill rodents), and fungicides (to control fungi, mold, and mildew) used every year.

Here is an awesome video of a simple science experiment a young girl did with sweet potatoes. The results are pretty shocking. I don't want to steal her thunder so just watch it before you read on. It's only 2 1/2 minutes long.

So, basically, she found that the conventional sweet potato from a chain grocery didn't sprout at all, ever. The store manager told her it would never sprout because it had been sprayed with Bud Nip. The supposedly organic one from the chain grocery store sprouted wimpy vines after a month. The organic one from the local organic market sprouted huge vines in just a week. Of course this is not a controlled study, but it does make you think.

According to Pesticide Management Education Program:
"Bud Nip (Chlorpropham) is moderately toxic by ingestion. It may cause irritation of the eyes or skin. Symptoms of poisoning in laboratory animals have included listlessness, incoordination, nose bleeds, protruding eyes, bloody tears, difficulty in breathing, prostration, inability to urinate, high fevers, and death. Autopsies of animals have shown inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining, congestion of the brain, lungs and other organs, and degenerative changes in the kidneys and liver."
It's funny the media didn't mention that! Please don't be fooled by these sneaky tactics. I know it's tempting to think organic doesn't matter, especially with the cost of groceries (and everything else) rising rising rising. Like many others, the recession has hit our household hard. We have had to make tough decisions and cut out many things we enjoy simply because feeding Evie is our top priority. Kids are so small and their systems are so new that toxins, pesticides, etc. are much harder on them. Everything inside them is still developing. Once in awhile I will buy non-organic food if she is not going to eat it, but we try to eat all organic whenever we can afford to so that we will be around a long time to watch her grow up.

The Environmental Working Group puts out a guide to the most and least contaminated fruits and veggies. They call it the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean 15." I have found this to be a wonderful resource. Can you guess which fruit is the worst? It's the apple! Click here to to see the whole list. You can download the guide from their website and they even have a Iphone App to use while shopping. Of course if you are like me and don't have such fancy gadgets, you can print out the guide and take it with you. :)