decrease your pesticide exposure by eating organic
Our greatest source of pesticide exposure comes from food.1 Pesticides are either water or fat soluble. Water soluble pesticides easily leave your body through the kidneys. Fat soluble pesticides like to stick around and accumulate in fatty tissue. Most pesticides are fat soluble, which is why they are a major health concern. They don’t just wash out of our bodies within a few days of conventional food consumption. They stick around for years and wreck havoc on our bodies as they continue to pile up from daily exposure. It is this daily accumulation of multiple pesticides within our bodies that can lead to neurodegenerative illness, respiratory problems, birth defects, kidney and liver damage, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disease, and cancer. It all adds up. And it’s killing us.
Avoiding exposure to new toxicants is the first step in any detox. By eating organic, you will reduce the amount of stored toxicants in your body over time. If you don’t put the pesticide in your body in the first place, you won’t spend hours and dollars trying to get it out later.
People often complain of how expensive it is to eat organic, and I always want to joke back, “Do you know how much a new liver costs?” Although its true that eating conventional food won’t require everyone to have a liver transplant, you pay for the pesticide build-up in your body in other ways you may not notice. The price of eating organic does not compare to the long term costs of toxic pesticide and heavy metal accumulation in our bodies (yes, pesticides do contain heavy metals like arsenic, copper sulfates, lead, and mercury). Eating organic is inexpensive health insurance. By eating this way, your preventing long term health complications that are likely to show up.
Cost seems to be the biggest obstacle to eating organic, but there are many ways around the high grocery store prices. You can find a ton of mommy-bloggers giving you tips on how to eat organic in a budget-friendly manner. One mommy blogger even wrote a book about it. I have even seen e-courses on this topic. With all of the resources available on how to eat organic on the cheap, you have no excuse not to protect yourself from harmful pesticides. We shop at farmer’s markets for the “spray free” versions of produce, watch the weekly grocery store sale fliers, and buy in bulk through Azure Standard. We end up eating organic for the same price, if not cheaper, as conventional food.
For example, conventional Fuji apples at Fred Meyer are $1.79 a pound. This past week organic Fuji apples were on sale at Fred Meyer for $1.49 a pound. If I buy organic Gala apples at Azure Standard, they’re even cheaper at $1.06/lb. I recently bought organic, grass fed extra lean ground beef on sale from Thundering Hooves for $3.82/lb, compared to $3.94/lb for the conventional version at Fred Meyer. I weekly check multiple grocery store fliers for organic produce sales and I scan the Thundering Hooves newsletter monthly (they deliver meat once a month). This takes ten minutes a week, tops.
If you can’t afford an all organic diet, the critical foods to eat organic are those on the Dirty Dozen list and anything that comes from a cow (beef, milk, and dairy products). Foods that are higher in fat will have a tendency to contain more toxicants, as many harmful environmental toxins are fat soluble. Also note that this year blueberries, a fruit requiring very little pesticide (if any), ranked 5th on the Dirty Dozen list. Dr. Walter Crinnion, an expert in environmental medicine, addressed this issue by concluding that most blueberries are not directly sprayed with pesticide but contaminated “from other agricultural areas.” Since this could also happen to organic blueberries, I’m not too worried about eating conventional ones.
I didn’t eat organic until I moved to Seattle in 2006. Eating organic took my health to a new level and I believe that it greatly contributed to the disappearance of the bladder disease I suffered from called Interstitial Cystitis.
What about you? Have you gotten over a chronic health condition from eating organic? Or do you just feel better in general?
Want more information on eating organic? Check out this article by Dr. Crinnion.
Everyday Detox Tip:Wash your organic produce with pesticide wash before consuming (I recently bought Environné Fruit & Vegetable Wash at Trader Joe’s). Just because it’s labeled organic doesn’t mean it’s 100% free of pesticide or heavy metal contamination. Pesticides and heavy metals travel through the air, water, and wind, which end up contaminating organic produce. Organic produce may also have organic spray residues.