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Do you buy organic?

We’ve all heard the rumors that this organic thing is just a phase. A way for big businesses to squeeze even more money out of health-conscious consumers like us.

So, is it true? Is organic just a phase? Are we wasting our money on products with this trendy label? Or is it actually better?

Many people choose to spend more for organic foods, which they assume to be safer. They want to reduce their exposure to pesticides and “super-bacteria” (the scary, antibiotic-resistant kind).

We all want to keep ourselves and our families healthy.

Naturally, then, we want to know if our organic goodies are actually safer than their non-organic counterparts. That’s what I want to talk about today.

When it comes to general food-poisoning bacteria, researchers found no difference in risk between organic and conventional products. That is, both have an equal chance of contamination by Salmonella and Campylobacter.

And pesticides, you ask? 

Well, first off, we know they’re bad for us. There’s a ton of evidence linking pesticide exposure to chronic illnesses like diabetes, Parkinson’s Alzheimers and several types of cancer. Not good at all. In places like Salinas Valley, California, agricultural communities suffer higher rates of pregnancy complications and birth defects, too.

Even much smaller-scale exposure, like when we use insecticides in our homes, could possibly linked to diseases like childhood leukemia—just something to think about, and hopefully raise awareness about too!

So non-organic, pesticide-laden produce is bad for the environment and bad for the communities that grow it—but what about us?

A 2006 study seems to have confirmed what many of us suspected already: the pesticides we spray on our food also end up in our bodies. Researchers tested pesticide levels in children aged three to eleven (by measuring breakdown chemicals in their urine) on a normal diet and an organic one. 

The results were crystal clear. Just five days of eating organic dramatically reduced pesticide traces in their bodies.

And adults?

A study placed thirteen men and women on a diet of mostly conventional (80%) and then mostly organic—a week for each. Surprise, surprise, pesticide levels showed nearly 90% lower in the organic week!

So, is organic food safer?

It’s safer, but if it means the difference between you eating produce or not eating produce (because you can’t afford or can’t find organic) then you are better off eating non organic.

Want to try out the plant-based life, but scared to begin? My Wild Nutrition: 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality Program makes it so simple, so easy, and so delicious, you’ll never want to go back! 

xx

Donna

Resources:
S Mostafalou, M Abdollahi. Pesticides and human chronic diseases: evidences, mechanisms, and perspectives. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2013 Apr 15;268(2):157-77.
M T Munoz-Quezada, B A Lucero, D B Barr, K Steenland, K Levy, P B Ryan, V Iglesias, S Alvarado, C Concha, E Rojas, C Vega. Neurodevelopmental effects in children associated with exposure to organophosphate pesticides: a systematic review. Neurotoxicology. 2013 Dec;39:158-68.
C Smith-Spangler, M L Brandeau, G E Hunter, J C Bavinger, M Pearson, P J Eschbach, V Sundaram, H Liu, P Schirmer, C Stave, I Olkin, D M Bravata. Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review. Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66
L Oates, M Cohen, L Braun, A Schembri, R Taskova. Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet. Environ Res. 2014 Jul;132:105-11.
V A Rauh, F P Perera, M K Horton, R M Whyatt, R Bansal, X Hao, J Liu, D B Barr, T A Slotkin, B S Peterson. Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide. PNAS May 15, 2012 vol. 109 no. 20.