What does organic mean to you?
Do you perceive it as an unnecessary expensive ‘health trend’ that is a waste of money, with no superiority over ‘normal’ food?
Unsurprisingly, this is what a lot of people think when I talk to them about organic food.
It is no wonder that people are under this impression because we live in a world where it is ‘normal’ that our food is sprayed with carcinogenic chemicals (carcinogenic meaning a cancer causing agent). Yep, you guessed it, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
You know the stuff that people have to wear highly protective clothing and airtight facemasks to protect themselves from when spraying it.
The stuff that we eat every day.
Now, what’s so bad about pesticides anyway? They spray it on our food so it must be safe for human consumption right? WRONG.
These harmful chemicals have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, birth defects, infertility, endocrine disturbances such as thyroid diseases/ diabetes and many more diseases. It is well documented in hundreds of research journals, yet so many people are still oblivious to this.
What I find strange is the fact that nowadays we have to accept organic food as a new ‘trendy’ expensive way to eat. However, organic food is simply just food. Food that has not been tampered with, genetically modified or dowsed in chemicals. I therefore find it misleading and unfair that organic food has to take on this negative adjective. Really non-organic food should take on the adjective and be called ‘toxic food’. And ‘organic’ food should just be called food.
It is no coincidence that our great grandparents who grew their own food and didn’t eat the mass produced processed rubbish that lines our shelves today, did not get cancer as children or young adults and many of them did not die of it either. In fact it used to be quite a rare disease. Nowadays however, childhood cancer is on the rise as well as adult cancer. In particular childhood liver cancer is on the rise. This is no surprise when you consider the constant bombardment of chemicals and toxins that children receive through their food, water and environment on a daily basis.
You’ve probably heard of the now banned insecticide DDT, of which nearly everyone was exposed to in the 1950’s-1960’s. This insecticide, so ubiquitous many people still carry traces of it in their bodies, FOUR DECADES after it was banned. Latest research into DDT has been linked exposure to a quadruple increase in breast cancer risk.
Now look at the statistics, 1 in 2 people will get cancer. Do you think eating 5 portions of vegetables per day is enough to prevent cancer? No, quite simply it is not. Especially if those vegetables and fruits are not organic and are drowned in carcinogens! In effect, every time you eat non organic food, you are poisoning your body. It is quite counterproductive actually to try and prevent cancer by eating more vegetables, when the vegetables are coated in cancer causing toxins. The toxins found in pesticides are fat soluble, and therefore accumulate in fatty tissue such as the brain. No wonder there are such strong links between pesticide use and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Accumulation of toxins is pretty scary, because they will not cause instant symptoms, therefore people carry on consuming them believing they are fine. Meanwhile, under the surface the toxins are building up, causing free radical damage to the DNA, causing mutations within the body, accumulating, causing more mutations, until BANG, a cancer diagnosis is suddenly landed upon you. It can take years of damage to get to this point, all the while the individual believes they are in perfect health.
The effects can be so severe that even a mother who has a high toxic load from excessive pesticide consumption can pass this on to the baby. Studies have reported an increased risk of childhood brain tumours among children whose parents had farm-related pesticide exposures during pregnancy. It is important for people who have had a high exposure to pesticides to do a chelating detox to remove these toxins from the body well before trying to conceive (certainly not to be done while pregnant as the drawn out toxins will be passed on to the baby).
It is also really important to feed your baby an organic diet for as long as possible as their tiny livers and kidneys are not developed enough to deal with such a daily bombardment of chemicals in their system. Furthermore, the blood brain barrier which helps prevents most harmful substances passing through into the brain is not fully developed until 2 years after birth. Therefore, toxins from pesticides can freely run through and start accumulating in the brain from a young age.
Now, organic food is too expensive I hear you say. Well if you are on a really tight budget and really don’t think you can afford to buy organic food then you can use the ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen’ guide to prioritise which items should absolutely be organic and which are less important to be organic. As below, the dirty dozen are foods that are hard to wash the pesticides off from as the skins are porous so the toxins penetrate beneath the skin. The clean fifteen are foods safer to buy if not organic…
Otherwise, it is time to assess your priorities. What is more important, your health, or buying that new pair of shoes this month? Put the money towards eating an organic diet rather than buying that new top, or going out for those expensive cocktails. Your daily Starbucks coffee that you fork out for without even thinking twice about could be used much more wisely.
Organic food comes at a slightly higher price because of the extra time and space it takes to grow the produce. Similarly, a cow living the ‘organic life’ will generally produce about 25 per cent less milk than a conventional cow who is pumped full of antibiotics and hormones and also requires more land, meaning that a two-pinter of the supermarket’s organic milk costs £1.03. Its non-organic equivalent is about 76p. (This blog post doesn’t even cover how organic farming is so much kinder to animals which is a whole different topic for another day. I wanted to focus on the health side for the purpose of today’s blog post).
However, eating organic food does not actually add that much to your weekly shopping bill, especially if you can source things from places like Lidl and Aldi, which all now sell organic produce. Another good way to keep the cost down is to sign up to receive a weekly box of organic vegetables. Able and Cole do a variety of different sizes all at a reasonable price. Or see what vegetables you could grow in your own back garden!
As you start to dig deeper in to the world of natural health and start realising just how much of the stuff in our environment impacts our health and you will soon realise that it goes way beyond just eating organic food. I have just about nearly switched to a whole household of natural organic, non-toxic products in my house. This includes things like cleaning products, beauty products including shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, hand-wash, body-wash, moisturisers and makeup. Even down to getting rid of plastic containers/ lunch boxes and switching to glass or BPA free ones and swapping Teflon pans for ceramic. It’s taken me along time to make this transition! But it is just worth mentioning that it is not just what we eat but what we absorb through our skin and what we breathe in as well that impacts our health.
Hopefully after reading this you can now see why organic food costs a little more, how harmful consuming pesticides and carcinogens on a daily basis is for your long-term health and the correlation between this and chronic diseases, especially cancer.
I hope that you feel informed and inspired to try and seek out organic produce whenever you have the chance to!
If you would like to read more on how to reduce your cancer risk then read my blog post here.