Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Now what??

So what does it mean to be "Organic?" This is a great punch list, straight off Organic Valley's website. I think it simply sums it up

1. Nutrient density
Organic farmers nourish the soil that feeds our food. Research shows that organically-produced foods are higher in antioxidants and other nutrients than their conventional counterparts.

2. No persistent pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

Designed by intent to kill living organisms, persistent pesticides can be harmful to wildlife and human health, especially as they contaminate our food, air and water or accumulate in our cells. Synthetic fertilizers require large quantities of fossil fuels to produce, and contribute to soil degradation and ocean dead zones.

3. No synthetic growth or breeding hormones.

Avoiding synthetic hormones (which are frequently given to conventional dairy and meat animals to alter reproductive cycles and speed up growth) means less stress for animals, and reduced human exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

4. No antibiotics.

Overuse of antibiotics in farm animals leads to the development of dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections. Organic farmers instead rely on natural measures to promote and maintain animal health.

5. No GMOs.

Genetically engineered crops are a relatively recent technology with potentially devastating impacts on ecosystems and human and animal health. Organic regulations forbid the use of genetically engineered seeds or animals (including clones).

6. Animal care.

Organic philosophy means raising animals in harmony with nature. Quality animal care keeps animals healthy and productive, naturally. As we like to say, happy cows make the best milk!

Here's the next argument.........
"Organic costs too much!"

I know. Not news to me, folks. Yes, it is more expensive. But here's my justification (and this is coming from a fixed/single-income home where my sweet husband does not climb any sort of corporate ladder. The small income I do contribute goes largely to our food budget) :

I'm not willing to risk it. I am willing to sacrifice in other areas of our lives in order to spend a little more on high quality food. I'm going to try whatever is in my power to strive toward Optimal Health.  And truth be told, I find the higher quality of food we eat, the less we really need to feel satisfied! (We know our portion sizes are out of control in this country and going organic helped us to fix that problem quickly ~ win/win!)

I don't want to ingest controllable chemicals, drugs, or artificial garbage. There are many toxins I can't avoid, so why not do something about the ones I can?

On the $ end of it - Ever heard of supply and demand? If we consumers begin demanding more organic choices (you vote every time you buy something) the supply will go up, companies will begin to compete and guess what? Yup.  We will drive the cost down. This could take some time, but I am already seeing more and more organic products on the shelves of my fav stores and when they go on sale, they are NO MORE expensive than non-organic products. Herein lies the hardest part - you gotta take the time to watch the ads and shop smart!! In our fast-paced, fast-food, quick & easy, eat-on-the-run, culture, meal planning is a thing of the past, but it pays off, I promise. (NOTE*** If you see a great buy - PLEASE POST IT on this blog for all to hear :)

Feeling a bit like this????

DO NOT, I repeat, DOT NOT flip out and feel you need to trade out your entire kitchen right this second.  This, as I've said, takes time. You can toss if you want, but the best way to do this is in a three step process:

1) Decide on the biggest and easiest changes you want to make right away. My recommendation is to focus on Dairy and Meat products (you are getting both the drugs and the pesticides since they eat from the pastures treated with that gunk).  Meal plan it out and then start shopping around for the best buys on these products.  Get used to this for a couple of weeks.

2) Then, inventory the rest of your kitchen and write down the staple items you will replace with higher quality.  The next time you make your shopping list, refer to those notes.

3) Slowly begin replacing most items in your kitchen. Note that not all items will be organic. There ARE companies out there that don't use a ton of the no-no's - but you have to take the time to read and do some homework. Sometimes we just have to go with the cleanest version possible.  I get that and I practice it.

No need to point out that eating out is much harder when trying to rid ourselves of toxins, right?  Restaurants have to provide the "nutritional" content in food, but they don't have to provide the ingredients.  Face it  - eating at home becomes the norm and THAT JUST FEELS BETTER!!!!

The final point I want to make is that I am a realist. I do not eat 100% organic or 100% clean every single meal of every single day.  Some people do, and I admire that so much. But I have a husband, three active kids, and a business.....you know, a life. So while I encourage and support everything mentioned so far, I also feel completely at peace ordering a pizza or dining out for a meal. I do not obsess about it nor do I rid myself with guilt.  I make a point to choose nutritious foods and avoid toxic foods the majority of the time, but know that when I do indulge....it's okay.  At least I'm aware of what I'm eating, and that, friends, is our biggest concern. 

definition of majority: obsolete - the quality or state of being greater

Besides, healthy folks have a bit more wiggle room. :)

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