Monday, May 21, 2012

Go Organic?

This cartoon captures the essence of how I feel lately about [health/food/environment/cleaning products/political/our country's financial state] issues.  I truly do like to be informed about things.  I love documentaries.  I love to read articles about nutrition and health.  However, since I became a mom, I feel like the amount of information I encounter is overwhelming.   I don't know if I am just paying more attention because I have kids or if the issues are being brought to our attention more than they used to be.  At any rate, I feel like there is something wrong with EVERYTHING I have become accustomed to using: 

Don't use canola oil (it is highly refined).  Don't drink apple or grape juice (arsenic).  Don't use traditional toothpastes (flouride and carcinogens).  Only buy organic produce, meat, and dairy (pesticides, hormones, antibiotics).  Don't use pesticides (chemicals).  Don't use most deodorants/sunscreens/shampoos/soaps/cleaners (chemicals).  Don't buy any kind of processed anything (more chemicals and GMO's).  Don't buy canned tomatoes (they leach BPA from can).

The list could go on.

 There are three possible responses someone might have upon receiving this kind of information: 1) decide it is not really true or too extreme and ignore it 2) decide it is probably true, but too inconvenient to heed, so ignore it 3) decide it is true and make a change.  I have had all three of these responses at different times with different issues.  While the changes I have made have come slowly (and I am still not completely consistent about them 100% of the time), I think that it is important to pay attention to information that is available to us, to research it well on our own, and to make a decision that is best for our family.

This post is mostly about the changes we have made in regards to food purchases.  I am just now getting into learning more about products we use on our skin and around our home, so I might do another post on that in the future.  Anyway, the first organic product we started buying was milk.  And not for ourselves.  For Sophie, when she switched to whole milk as a baby.  After that, I started paying more attention to organic foods and buying some occasionally.  However, it was more expensive, so I never really did anything consistently.  Then, I found this list.  It is a list of the top 12 foods that are treated most heavily with pesticides.  It goes in a progressive order, so apples have the most pesticides of the twelve, while kale/collard greens have the least pesticides.  It gave me some rhyme and reason to buying organic.  I don't have to buy EVERYTHING organic, but I make sure now not to buy these items if they are not organic.

The Dirty Dozen:
1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines (imported--domestic are ok)
7. Grapes (imported--domestic are ok)
8. Sweet bell peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries (domestic--imported are ok)
11. Lettuce
12. Kale/collard greens

And here are the Clean Fifteen (produce with the lowest amount of pesticides--don't need to buy these organic.  Onions have the least pesticides, mushrooms have the most)

1. Onions
2. Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Cantaloupe
10. Kiwi
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit
15. Mushrooms

You can find this list along with 24 other ranked fruits and veggies at this site: And you can go to to find all kinds of information about foods, home products, skin products, chemicals, energy choices, kids' health, and more.  It is a little bit daunting the number articles and info. they have, but it is the best resource if you are wanting to learn more.  Slowly but surely, we are changing the way we buy things around here.  I just have to remember that the extra money we might spend is just an investment in good health!

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