Should I Eat Organic?

In this highly polluted, modern day world, our bodies are constantly exposed to huge amounts of toxins. On top of that, we lead lifestyles that stunt our natural detoxification pathways and allow a lot of noxious substances to accumulate in our bodies. That a recent study at Stanford’s pediatric hospital showed that babies today are born with 200 industrial chemicals in their bodies (when they should be born with none!) illustrates just how scary our toxic exposure and buildup is. While most of it is unavoidable, we have control over what we put into our bodies, and we can choose to eat organic produce and animal products in order to limit our toxic exposure and support our overall health. I understand that organic foods are more expensive than their conventional counterparts and that purchasing all organic is not feasible for everyone, but I encourage you to do your best because of the positive effects on health. At the very least, people should:

1. Buy the organic versions of the “Dirty Dozen” - the nickname given to the twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticides. Pesticides absorb into the flesh of these thin-skinned fruits and vegetables, so peeling them before eating does not offer any protection. The “Dirty Dozen” includes:

  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas
  • Potatoes

For more information on which conventional produce are most and least harmful, visit the Environmental Working Group's site.

2. Choose organic meat and dairy. In conventional farms, animals are given feed containing slaughterhouse waste (e.g. blood, fat, meat, bones, feces), growth hormones, huge amounts of antibiotics (so much so that roughly 75% of the antibiotics used in the United States go to animals in factory farms), and even arsenic-based drugs. Anyone eating products made from these animals ends up consuming this stuff as well. Organic meat and dairy farms, in contrast, adhere to much more stringent guidelines about what is allowed in the feed.

Personally, I do my best to eat organic as much as possible (at least 80% of the time) and, when given a choice, I always select organic over conventional. While more expensive, I consider it a worthwhile investment in my family's health.

How about you? Do you make an effort to eat organic food?

Photo Credit: Herman