Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not all 'healthy' is created equal

I have a friend (and I'm kinda hoping she doesn't read our blog!), that recently tried to make the "switch" to organic foods based on my recommendations.  After almost a month she emailed and said "I don't see any difference.  It's too expensive and frustrating.  I'm going back to the way we did things before."

This is a topic I could disucss for days, so, let me address here a few reasons why all things labeled 'organic' are not always healthy.

As with all things in life, I like to take a comprehensive approach.  In parenting, there is no "one" method that works best for each child.  Our kids are not textbooks, so we need to adjust what we do and how we respond for each one differently.  With exercise, you can't just run for 30 seconds everyday and expect weight to fall off. With being healthy, you can't just make a switch to buying foods that have "organic" on them and expect to feel different within a few weeks.  In fact, eating organically is a long term investment.

Many of the pesticides that leave a residue on our foods are known carcinogens and cancer takes years to surface.  By eating organically now, I'm investing in my children's future by not exposing them to harmful chemicals.  Likewise, organic foods do not contain GMO's (genetically modified ingredients).  GMO's have not been around long enough for us to know their true impact.  Again, until we know the long term effects, we try to avoid them.

With milk, chicken, and beef, the non-organic versions contain antibiotics (which can lead to antibiotic resistance), and hormones to make the animals mature faster.  Those hormones are passed on to the person eating the food, or drinking the milk.  Doctors are noticing that children are maturing faster (girls as early as second grade) and some have linked this fact to the hormones in our food.  Obviously, just a month of eating organically won't make a difference here.

In addition, the 'organic' industry has exploded so there's a lot of money to be made by misguided consumers.  Just because something says "organic" on it, does not mean it's healthy for you.  Granted, when choosing between a regular and an organic cookie, the organic is the lesser of two evils, but not by much.  Cow manure is considered organic but you don't see me feeding that to my kids either.  :)

Our bodies were not made to process refined white flour and refined sugar.  We were made to eat foods that are whole, natural, and fresh.  Just because a cookie has an organic label on it, doesn't make it any easier for our bodies to process.  Does that mean that we only eat fresh, whole, natural foods at our house? No.  But we're careful about the quantity.  The bulk of our diet is made up of the good stuff.

We also (in that comprehensive approach) make sure that our kids get plenty of exercise and we take daily vitamins (with extra D and probiotics).

If you're considering a switch to 'healthy' eating, I encourage you to do some research on your own.  And give it more than a month.


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