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Living Maxwell

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Should You ALWAYS Eat Organic?

Recently, I got a comment from a woman who felt guilty about feeding her kids pesticide-laden, conventionally-grown food and asked if she “should always feed them organic.”

As someone who is very passionate about organic, I am going to be biased about organic food, which should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Organic food does not allow food to be grown with super-toxic pesticides, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) or synthetic fertlizers.

To me, food is medicine, and that means keeping these toxic tag-alongs out of my body.

There are two primary factors when deciding to buy organic: affordability and accessibility.

Can you afford it? Is it available?

A few other things to consider when buying organic.

LOCAL

If I can purchase local and organic, that is absolutely what I try to do.

However, local does not govern my decision-making process. Organic does.

While buying local may keep dollars in the local economy, there are absolutely no standards regarding “local”, and local does not mean organic or pesticide-free.

It is very possible that local farmers are using a ton of toxic chemicals on their crops. Am I supposed to be excited about this tainted food just because it is local?

For some reason, many people seem to think so but I am not one of them.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Without a question, organic farming is much better for the environment than conventional farming.

Not only does it practice crop rotation, but organic farming is not poisoning the water supply, damaging the soil quality, or negatively impacting biodiversity because it doesn’t use super-toxic pesticides, chemicals widely used on GMOs.

Additionally, the workers are not getting sick from exposure to toxic chemicals sprayed on the crops.

USDA ORGANIC SEAL

While it is very far from perfect, I believe in supporting the USDA organic program and the companies that go through the time and expense to get USDA certified organic.

The more people we have involved in the program and purchasing products with the USDA seal, the greater chance we have to make sure that its integrity is maintained.

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I don’t believe that super-toxic pesticides, such as glyphosate, which are allowed in conventional food and prohibited in organic food, have any business being in our bodies.

And this isn’t just some organic food blogger talking about the health risks of chemicals. It is what the medical experts say as well.

According to the President’s Cancer Panel report, 41% of Americans will get cancer and 21% of Americans will die from it. One of the report’s key recommendations is to eat food that has been grown without the use of pesticides.

The report also said that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics shares similar concerns and says that pesticide exposure for children must be reduced. It stated that “epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early-life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems. Related animal toxicology studies provide supportive biological plausibility for these findings.”

Now back to the original question.

Should you always buy organic?

You should be eating as much organic as you can, based on how much you can afford and how much is accessible to you.

Breaking it down even further, I would say these are the priorities.

1) KIDS  I firmly believe that organic for children is much more important than it is for adults because their bodies are still developing, and pesticides and synthetic grown hormones may cause real harm.

If I had kids and couldn’t afford to feed the entire family organic, my kids would be getting all organic while I would switch to a vegetarian, non-GMO diet – a diet that can be done relatively inexpensively.

Kids are the absolute priority, and I would do whatever it took to make sure they were eating “clean” food.

2) MEAT AND DAIRY  If you consume meat and/or dairy products, these are a must to be eating organic. And if you haven’t seen the movie Food, Inc. yet, please do so immediately.

Aside from the fact that conventionally-raised animals are allowed to be given synthetic growth hormones, many conventionally-raised animals “live” in Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFOs), the most despicable and inhumane institutions in this country.

Furthermore, conventionally-raised animals may also be fed GMO-grain.

In laboratory tests, we know that rats fed GMO-corn experienced serious liver and kidney damage.

Do we really want to be ingesting sick animals????

3) FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WITH PEEL/SKIN  Non-organic fruits and vegetables are allowed to be sprayed with toxic pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.

Fruits and vegetables where you eat the skin, such as grapes, strawberries and spinach, are the foods that should be purchased organic. Many of these foods are on The Dirty Dozen list.

Also, do not be fooled into thinking that you can buy a fruit and vegetable wash, even the best one on the market by Vermont Soap Organics, and believe that you can simply wash off pesticides from conventionally-grown produce. It absolutely won’t happen.

Pesticides have penetrated the exterior and are deep inside of the food.

4) COFFEE  Coffee is one of the most chemically-treated crops on the planet. If you’re a coffee drinker, switch to organic immediately.

5) FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WITH NO PEEL/SKIN  Fruits and vegetables where you don’t eat the skin, such as bananas or oranges.

I hear all of the time that eating conventional bananas is totally fine, and I couldn’t disagree more. I have visited banana plantations in Central America, and they showed me first-hand how conventional bananas get lathered with chemicals.

SIDE NOTE: AVOID GENETICALLY-MODIFIED FOODS  On a separate but very related note, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever eat genetically-modified foods.

Click HERE to read the 65 different health risks for consuming GMOs, including liver damage, kidney damage, organ failure, testicular irregularities and many, many others.

In the U.S.,
– 94% of soy
– 90% of canola
– 88% of corn
– 95% of sugar beets

…………….. are genetically-modified. So, if you are eating any of the above (in most processed, conventional foods), you are almost guaranteed to be eating GMOs. Either stop eating them or switch to organic versions of them.

A message from Foodstirs

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Organic Insider

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3 Reasons to Eat Organic Food for Your Health – Glyphosate, Atrazine, Chlorpyrifos

If you haven’t noticed by now, organic is under constant attack in the media for one simple reason — healthy, organic food has become a serious threat to the business model of Big Ag and their chemical-laden GMOs.

That is why you will see pieces such as the recent Wall Street Journal op-ed The Organic Industry is Lying to You  and The Boston Globe’s article on agriculture which tells you to “learn to love” GMOs.

While critics will often say that organic is a waste of money and that the nutritional differences between organic and conventional are negligible, here are three reasons why you should completely dismiss their words — glyphosate, atrazine and chlorpyrifos.

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A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Organic Insider

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Why We Should be Very Worried about GMO Contamination of Alfalfa

Many people are under the impression that organic crops will just “always be there”.

Meaning, we don’t have to worry, we’ll just go to the local farmers market or Whole Foods, they’ll always have organic. These people will figure out any potential problems.

Yet, if you look behind the scenes and learn what is happening with alfalfa, a main source of feed for animals in the organic meat and dairy industries, you’ll quickly realize that the situation for organic is very dire.

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Living Maxwell

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Another Reason to Eat Organic – Lower Your Risk of Cancer by Up to 25%

In the latest President’s Cancer Panel report, it was found that 41% of Americans are going to get cancer and 21% of Americans are going to die from cancer.

What makes these numbers even more sobering is that this data was from a decade ago, and I have heard doctors say that they now believe a minimum of 50% of the population will get cancer at some point in their lives.

Given how deeply cancer has permeated our society, it would seem to make sense that people should be doing whatever they can to avoid contracting this deadly disease.

And according to a recent study out of France, as reported in JAMA Internal Medicine, eating as much organic food as possible is an important strategy to accomplish this.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink