There’s so much buzz about organic foods these days. It’s becoming more and more mainstream all the time. Conscientious moms (and dads) are voting with their dollars and big business is finally listening. You may even purchase some organic milk or maybe organic apples at your house. If you’re like I was initially, you go to pick up the gallon of organic milk, and you’re eye catches the price difference of the conventional milk. You may feel a twinge of uncertainty – is this really worth it or am I being taken for a ride here? Or, you may all ready know what I now realize, that organic foods are very important for growing children’s bodies, and you feel a bit mad that you have to pay more in order to provide your kids with food that’s not covered in cancer-causing pesticides or that didn’t come from genetically modified seeds. You may even wonder (yes,I have wondered this), what was I thinking when I signed-up for this parenting thing? I certainly never realized how much I would be thinking about things like food and poop (that’s a whole other story). But, here I am and I am thinking about those things because I have little people who are counting on that fact.
What is Organic Exactly?
So, back to what’s all the buzz about organic? Well, first let’s define organic. I’ll refer to Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician, who spells it out on his website: “Organic refers to the way agricultural products-food and fiber-are grown and processed. It is an ecological system that relies on healthy, rich soil to produce plants that resist pests and diseases. Organic farming prohibits the use of toxic and persistent chemicals in favor of innovative practices that work with nature, instead of against it, such as crop rotation, cover crop planting, beneficial insect release and composting. In the case of livestock, no antibiotics or synthetic hormones are permitted. Organic production also prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic practices mean: No pesticides to contaminate our soil and water or injure farm workers; No fertilizers to runoff and contaminate rivers, lakes and oceans; And, a healthier and more sustainable environment for us all.”
So, Why is This Issue So Important for Our Children?
The chemicals used in conventional farming are known to pose many health risks to humans, especially children. Children’s cells are literally made out of the food they eat. The nutrients and the non-nutrients, like the chemicals and artificial ingredients, are the building blocks for their cells and their cells in turn build their organs. Cells also communicate with other cells. If children’s cells are being built out of toxic chemicals, it’s easy to see how they may start talking jibberish to each other and how they may not be building the healthiest of bodies.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Children are at a greater risk for some pesticides for a number of reasons. Children’s internal organs are still developing and maturing and their enzymatic, metabolic, and immune systems may provide less natural protection than those of an adult. There are “critical periods” in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual’s biological system operates. Children may be exposed more to certain pesticides because they often eat different foods than adults.”
A study conducted by the University of Washington tracked a group of preschool children. There were 18 with organic diets and 21 with conventional diets. Their urine was analyzed for evidence of exposure to five different kinds of toxic pesticides. The researchers found that the average total was six- to almost nine-times higher for children with conventional diets than for children with organic diets.
Okay, But Why Does Organic Food Cost so Much More?
There are many reasons organic foods cost more – it is more labor intensive due to not using pesticides to protect the crops, there is more cost in creating and maintaining healthy soils that will produce nutrient-rich, healthy plants, and government subsidies offered to conventional farmers may not be available to organic farmers. Whatever the reasons, it is important to realize that while the cost may be more for the organic foods, the benefits for our families are much greater. I only have one chance to help build those bones and those hearts and those eyes, and since it took 30 years for the government to realize that DDT was responsible for so many medical problems and deaths of many children before it was banned in the US, I’m not going to leave it up to the EPA to decide what’s safe for my growing kids. I know intuitively, and I’m sure you do too, that foods that aren’t sprayed with a host of chemicals are a lot healthier for everyone, especially kids.
It becomes a matter of adjusting our spending priorities and doing the best we can to protect our children from the chemicals that are so prominent in our environment. Buying organic foods, even if it is just some of our weekly groceries, is one way we can protect our children.
Health Kids, Happy Moms @ http://www.nourishyourkids.com
Two moms, one a Holistic Health Educator and the other a Holistic Pediatrician, help moms raise healthier children.