*** We are not health experts or doctors. All opinions and experiences stated here are our own, and we are not responsible for any conclusions you may come to as a result of this article.
There’s much debate in Internet land about whether or not organic food is really that much different or better than it’s mainstream counterpart. One search of the web and you’ll find a myriad of stories, studies and articles, both about why organic food is so much better, and also about how pesticides don’t really hurt you much at all.
I first started my study on diet vs. health in the year 2001. When I had Maddie near the end of 1999, it was a dangerous and traumatic birth, and both of us nearly died. However, nearly a year and a half after her birth, I was still experiencing debilitating physical symptoms that kept me mostly bedridden for the first year and a half of her life. I hated it. We had tried for years to have a child, and now that we had one, I couldn’t even play with her. I couldn’t care for our house. I would sit and dream about how awesome it would be to vacuum the house or wash the windows. It’s only when you literally can’t do these things that you realize what a blessing they are. I went to our family doctor numerous times with my complaints of severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, and a list of roughly 25 other symptoms, but all the tests turned out negative and I was repeatedly told “there’s nothing wrong with you.” Obviously, something was wrong if I could barely function. I’d force myself to complete my 4-hour workday from home and then collapse on the couch, unable to do anything for the rest of the day. It was horrible.
Finally, I took the drastic step of eliminating everything from my diet except for organic fruits and vegetables, organic lean meats, and organic nuts. I also took a health supplement that came highly recommended by a family friend.
Within 30 days, 80% of my symptoms had disappeared.
From that time on, I’ve experimented on and off with eliminating certain things from my diet. For instance, I can assure you that if I eat white flour or sugar for too many days in a row, more than one or two, I’ll become bloated, irritable and fatigued.
Then this past fall, Maddie started experiencing gastrointestinal problems. Severe cramping and other symptoms that mimicked what I’d read about gluten intolerance. After urging Maddie to stop eating white flour for several months, the symptoms became too unbearable and she finally gave in to a flour-free diet, but she hated it. Feeling badly for her, I emailed my awesome chiropractor about what the causes of gluten intolerance are. After all, gluten intolerance is a relatively new phenomenon, and most of our diseases and disorders are nutrition or environmentally related.
His answer? There’s no such animal as gluten intolerance. The symptoms of “gluten intolerance” are, in fact, simply a result of Mosanto’s Roundup, which is sprayed on nearly all wheat crops in the U.S.
Now, I’m a skeptic at heart, and I don’t believe anything anyone says about this kind of stuff without doing my own testing and research. Not even my trustworthy chiropractor, who has spent 4 decades researching health issues and their causes, and working to heal people naturally.
After finding articles that backed up his claim, we went to the store and purchased our first bag of organic flour and sugar. I wanted to test his theory. I made something gooey and delicious, like cookies, and fed them to Maddie, and to myself, since white flour always makes me bloated and irritable.
Hmm, no gastrointestinal problems for Maddie, and no bloating or irritability for me!! We finished off that bag of flour within a two-week period, purposely making a myriad of baked goods to force the issue, but the problems never surfaced.
Intrigued, I now wanted to test the theory with organic pasta. Those of you who buy organic pasta know that it is three to four times more expensive – at least – than non-organic pasta. I was worried about how this would affect our food budget, but then, by the grace of God, I found a “loophole.” I was casually talking with my sis-in-law about our issues, when she mentioned that she buys her pasta at Trader Joe’s. Not only is Trader Joe’s pasta cheap (99 cents for a 16oz. container) but it is produced in Italy and not in the U.S. Why, you may ask, is this so important? Because Roundup and most other pesticides are banned and illegal in Italy, as well as in many other foreign countries, and as such, is pretty much the same thing as buying organic pasta! WOOHOO!!
We stopped at Trader Joe’s, picked up a few packages of their pasta, and did another two-week experiment. Again, no GI issues for Maddie or for me!! And you know what else? I didn’t find myself craving and gorging myself on the Italy-produced pasta like I did on regular pasta!!! I had a little bowl of whatever, and was done!! Maybe the addiction that white flour products like bread and pasta hold isn’t about the wheat itself, but about what we in the U.S. are putting on it!! And can this be a key as to why the obesity rate of U.S. citizens is so astronomically higher than it is in other countries, even in European countries like France, Italy and England, where they love their food just as much as we do?
As I went to research for this article, I tried to look at both sides of the story. I found articles such as this one that insist that the pesticides sprayed on our crops really aren’t that bad.
I also found articles supporting the fears about pesticides. This article on Wikipedia gives an in-depth look at the sprawling list of health problems attributed to pesticides on our food, and it ain’t pretty. While some articles seem to want to remain neutral on the subject, others give compelling reasons about why organic foods are scores better, not just for our bodies, but for our environment as well. This particular article focuses specifically on Roundup and the dangers associated with it. And this article explains the amazing and stunning difference between grass-fed beef that is not fed antibiotics or hormones, and commercially sold beef.
Now, I realize that, among all the research and rhetoric, a big concern about buying organic vs. non-organic veggies and meat is the issue of money. However, there are ways to get organically grown meat and produce on the cheap. Some ideas?
1. Grow Your Own. Even if you have a small yard or simply a balcony, put your most-consumed plants, such as lettuce and tomatoes, in a pot or in your yard and grow them yourself. It’s not only cheap, the taste of organic food will amaze you!
2. Head to the Farmer’s Market. Lots of great organic choices abound at Farmer’s Markets, and you can also get more info on where to buy organic in your area.
3. Join a Community Garden. Nearly all areas have community gardens or CSA’s. Check out this website for more info.
4. Cut out the Junk. You’ll have more money in your grocery budget for organic foods if you stop buying the chips, pop and processed foods.
5. Get your beef from the butcher. Our beef farmer raises grass-fed, organic beef with no antibiotic or hormone usage. Yes, you do have to spend a lot more at the outset, and you do need a deep freezer, but the meat we get from them costs roughly $3.50 a pound, which is the same price as the poor quality meat at the grocery store!
You may or may not believe the “hype” about the dangers of pesticides on our food, but even common sense dictates that our bodies were never made to ingest chemicals of any kind. We encourage you to do your research thoroughly before casting your consideration of organic foods to the wayside. No amount of money savings is worth your life.