Today I fed my baby girl strawberries for the first time, but being an over protective mom I made sure they were organic. Am I nuts to go this far? Do I really need to splurge and feed her something that is organic? Well, when I was pregnant, I made sure I ate well and did not eat any preservatives, HFCS products, fake sugars, food colorings and additives. I figured, why would I want to ingest these fake products and chemicals and give them to a fetus who is growing inside of me?
So when my child started eating solid foods a few months ago, I researched organic foods, baby foods and how to make your own baby/toddler foods (the Beaba baby cooker is amazing!) Which brings me to the picture above. Seriously, would you feed your tiny little baby cheese from a can? Okay, maybe you would, but with so many stories out there about the increase of children with hyperactivity, ADHD, autism, aspergers, sensory integration, developmental problems, neurological issues, child cancers, etc. it really started alarming me. They don't know what is causing the rise in these disorders, but it really makes you wonder if it is from our environment and the products we put in our bodies.
But not that I have gone overboard here or to scare you, but it really makes you think. Now, I know what you are saying, that a lot of kids out there are raised on the most processed, synthetic, artificial factory foods out there like Cheetos, Ding Dongs, and McDonalds and turn out just fine. Well, the scary thing is that most of the foods we ate as children do not have as many of the 'bad' ingredients that are in foods today.
So, to start figuring out how to give my baby healthy food choices, I started looking at organic foods and their benefits.
Researching organic foods, I found that the pesticides in them were harmful, but I did not realize how bad. What harm? Well, some research I found here stated the following: Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancers, and decrease fertility.
Why buy organic?
Buying organic helps decrease toxic chemicals in the air, soil and water, and decreases pesticide drifts from toxic farm water down to the oceans. Eleven years ago, genetically modified food (GMO) was not part of our food supply; today 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMOs! By NOT eating organic milk, eggs, cheese and meat/poultry products, you are at risk at ingesting artificial hormones and antibiotics, as well as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Hmm, makes me wonder if this is why Thyroid cancer is on the rise?? Just a thought.
Oh, and make sure when you buy products that the label states, "Produced without antibiotics, synthetic hormones or pesticides" because if it says "Our Farmers Pledge to not use hormones" then it's their word against yours- they are pledging they won't, but there is no guarantee. Don't you love their marketing technique of careful word choice? It's like when labels say 'chocolate flavored' on the packaging, that means it is not real chocolate.
The USDA's own tests show that most non-organic produce contain residual pesticides even after washing them! In a perfect world, we would buy all of our groceries organic. Unfortunately, organic food is still more expensive! Ever heard of the store, Whole Paycheck? But the costs are getting lower.
I found a list of must buy organic fruits and veggies, so hopefully you can buy these organic and the rest you can buy non-organic so they are easier on your wallet. They recommend purchasing the following products organically from this link (based on findings from the USDA and Consumer Reports):
Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides
After researching organic products, I then started looking into food additives, preservatives and synthetic products and their effects.
I have a hard time reading food labels and wanting to ingest so many of these fancy chemical words into my body. For something like cheese, why can't it just say: Cow milk, cheddar, whey proteins?
Take the Easy Cheese for example. What do you think of the ingredients they have listed?: MILK, WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, WHEY, CANOLA OIL, MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF SALT, SODIUM CITRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, LACTIC ACID, SORBIC ACID AS A PRESERVATIVE, SODIUM ALGINATE, APOCAROTENAL (COLOR), ANNATTO (COLOR), CHEESE CULTURE, ENZYMES. Yikes!
Or how about childrens cereals such as Lucky Charms, which used to be my absolute FAVORITE:
Whole Grain Oats, Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellows 5&6, Blue 1, Red 40, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Oat Flour, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Color Added, Natural and Artificial Flavor. Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), a B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), a B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.