|Organic Produce from our CSA|
This is a continuation of my previous post on how to reduce health care costs by improving your own health. As I discussed, an investment in your family’s health will save you a lot of money on future doctor’s visits, hospital bills, and premiums.
My next recommendation to improving your health is to switch to organic foods from conventionally grown foods.
There are two concerns with conventional grown foods: genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticide use.
GMOs: Certain crops like corn and soybean have been genetically modified for various reasons. Most people do not know that the cereal they are eating or oil they are using have GMO ingredients. Approximately 93% of soybeans and 70% of corn have been genetically modified. Things such as the canola oil and popular kids cereals will have GMO ingredients.
I always hear, “I have eaten non-organic foods all my life and I turned out fine.” That is very true, and many people will be okay, but many will not. And the rate of those that will not appears to be increasing. The explosion in GMO foods only began in the 1990s and although proponents of GMOs claim they are safe–that rise of GMOs also coincides with the exponential rise in food allergies and other major illnesses such as asthma and autism. There also has not been enough testing on the long term effects of GMOs to assess their safety. Proponents of GMOs say it is safe because of course you will not get immediately sick if you eat a GMO food, but they have not tested the systematic consumption of GMO foods for an extended period of time. And yet there is widespread anecdotal evidence of its harm.
From www.allergykids.com: “In the last twenty years we have seen an epidemic increase in allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism, including a:
- 400% increase in food allergies
- 300% increase in asthma, with a 56% increase in asthma deaths
- 400% increase in ADHD
- and between a 1,500 and 6,000% increase in autism.”
Compare that with the growth in GMOs: “GM crops is the fastest adopted crop technology, 80-fold increase from 1996 to 2010, year-to-year growth of 9 million hectares or 7%.” From http://chartsbin.com/view/578
In my humble opinion, there are too many questions and too many unknowns with GMOs. I do not believe GMOs cause all allergies, or all food allergies for that matter, but my heart of hearts tells me that it does play a role, and maybe even a significant one.
Further Reading: GMO Health Risks from The Institute for Responsible Technology
I also recommend this video. Although her assertion that the US has the highest cancer rate is not accurate from what I was able to verify from my independent research (although it might have been accurate at the time she did the video), she is spot on with allergies and her personal story is compelling.
Pesticides: Pesticide use has been linked to cancer, neurological disorders such as parkinson’s disease, birth defects and infertility. Obviously farm workers who are in contact with pesticides on a daily basis have shown to have more immediate effects, but to think that we let our kids eat fruits and vegetables with pesticide residues boggles my mind. Pesticides are many times absorbed by the fruit or vegetable and cannot be washed off. And children are at higher risks than adults because their bodies are still developing and they consume more per body weight than adult. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends that children be fed organic foods to reduce their exposure to pesticides.
Benefits of Organic
An easy way to protect ourselves and our children is to just buy organic. Organic foods are grown non-GMO and are grown without (or limited) the use of pesticides. Yes, organic foods can be more expensive, but there are ways to buy organic on a budget. Eating organic is just eating food the way it was meant for it to be grown–without adding man’s chemicals to it and without it being genetically modified. The way God made it, in my mind, is certainly the best way to enjoy it.
In addition, it has been consistently shown that organic produce retains a greater amount of nutrients. You get more bang for your buck. In the end, it is those nutrients that makes us stronger and easier to resist illnesses and disease. For a more detail discussion on this read my blog Your Health: Why Soil Matters and Is Organic a Scam – Nutrient Differences.
By buying organic, you are investing in your long term health and you are investing in your children’s health. And that means lower health care costs now and in the future.
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