7.01.2014

WE EAT | Organic


Truth be told, I want to feed my kids healthfully.  My dietitian brain says - I MUST feed them well- EVERYthing organic, pre-washed, washed again, no sweets, no sugar, healthy proteins - steering clear of all saturated fats.  

And then I'm whipped back to reality and my mom brain says I MUST, but then there is always room from some of that fun stuff (like marshmallows and chicken nuggets).  


Seriously though.  Offering your kiddos the healthier option more often than not and making those treats an occasional occurrence is the healthiest (and most affordable) leg to stand on.  

The number one thing I come across as a mom chatting with other moms is the confusion over organic vs conventional (non-organic).  The grocery store can be a scary place to go when shopping for yourself.  Throw the obligation of feeding a couple of small mouths in the mix while standing front and center, empty basket in tow, you'll find yourself in a bit of a dilemma attempting to decipher between the vast array of produce available, and this is all before the mere thought of the term ‘organic’ comes to mind.  
That word is sprinkled throughout your grocery, placed randomly, or so it seems, on fruit, meats, and packaged goods- what does it actually mean?  While definitely not random, the word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. The USDA requires that organic produce be developed without using conventional pesticides and fertilizers made with artificial ingredients, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
New organic foods are appearing daily with our choices now ranging from organic cereal to butter. Butter.  Organic butter is healthy (not.) Most families (like ours) cannot afford to go completely organic. But, which foods should you buy organic whenever possible, and which are okay to buy non-organic?
Meat, Dairy, and Eggs: Free of antibiotics, added growth hormones, and pesticides- organic meat, eggs, and dairy products are among those products I would recommend choosing organic over the conventional product. Organically raised animals eat an organic diet that does not contain pesticides or fertilizers. In the organic spectrum- I would suggest to purchase these items whenever available and as budget allows. We buy organic milk and yogurt 100% of the time, organic cheeses about 50% of the time (because that stuff is really expensive for the amount you can purchase - and we eat a lot of cheese), and organic meats when available.  
  • Meat including Beef, Pork, Chicken, and Turkey
  • Milk and Dairy Products
  • Eggs

Fruits and Vegetables: The Environmental Working Group has developed two lists of produce items in regards to going organic. The Dirty Dozen are fruits and vegetables that are most likely to have higher trace amounts of pesticides, and the Clean 15 are those fruits and vegetables that are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues.  Most often I purchase the following organic fruits & veggies (when available and on sale): 
apples, grapes, spinach, kale, strawberries, blueberries, & potatoes (we eat the skins).  
See the FULL LIST {here}

Know Your Terminology. The terms “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. You may see “natural” and other terms such as “all natural,” “free-range” or “hormone-free” on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don’t confuse them with the term “organic.” 

Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled with the organic seal.
The Cooking Light website has awesome clarification of some of these terms {HEREand again related the baby food making {HERE}.  I used this as a resource when I started thinking about making Parker and Jolie's first baby foods {Part I HERE and Part II HERE}.
Not all foods have to be purchased organic. Packaged or highly processed foods such as chips, pasta, crackers, bread, cereal, oil, and canned or dried fruits and vegetables don’t have a difference in safety and nutrient values between the organic and non-organic versions.  Those organic fruit snacks or organic cookies aren't doing much for you outside of increasing your grocery budget.  
The Envirnmental Working Group provides excellent insight, as well as a full list (beyond the clean 15 or dirty dozen) They also have a PDF download for easy carrying when shopping for your produce.  Before I had these down to a science in my brain I actually did carry it around as a reference.


The gist.. Dietitian over her shops the conventional most of the time and splurges on the organic for some of the important things.  

What about you?  Organic all the time, most of the time, or not at all?

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8 comments:

Crystal said...

I'm in love with the Kitchen!!

b8292c58-fa19-11e3-8751-a7edd377b1d9 said...

Pretty much the same as you when it comes to buying organic!

I also try to only buy grass-fed butter (Kerrygold!). It has lots of Vitamin K.

I was so glad the recent study on saturated fats came out and concluded they've been villified unnecessarily and that processed foods are becoming the real health problem. I'm a big fan of eating real food! Kids need lots of fat for their brains and general growth anyways, just from non-junk sources.

Bethany said...

I usually splurge on the organic meat & eggs. My son(18 months) goes through whole milk like crazy. I have to limit him to the max ounces he is allowed per day based on doctor's recommendation or he would drink me out of milk in a day. It's difficult to buy organic milk when its several dollars more expensive than the store brand. Thankfully he's finally started liking apple juice (very diluted).
It can be really helpful to make your own snacks if you want to know what ingredients you're eating - fruit leather, granola bars, & crackers can be made without too much stress.
I also love the kitchen, by the way!

Lori said...

Not at all ~ and I have lived to be in my mid-fifties! Does it help that I rinse everything really well? Oh, and I love your kitchen too!

Lisa Odom said...

My mom died of breast cancer and I have talked to several doctors about organic food versus nonorganic. I have been told by my mom's oncologist and several gyn's if I could only do one category of organic, do dairy. I have three daughters and they have always been big milk drinkers. Keeping a gallon of milk in the fridge has been very expensive over the years, but I believe it has been so worth it. The steroids and other drugs they give dairy cows to keep them producing milk is supposeldly the culprit for early puberty and can lead to breast cancer. Do you know about this from your studies? Anyways, I buy organic dairy products as much as possible. I also buy mostly organic meat. I hate that purchasing food has become so difficult.

Lisa Odom said...

My mom died of breast cancer and I have talked to several doctors about organic food versus nonorganic when it comes to this and females. I have been told by my mom's oncologist and several gyn's if I could only do one category of organic, do dairy. I have three daughters and they have always been big milk drinkers. Keeping a gallon of organic milk in the fridge has been very expensive over the years, but I believe it has been so worth it. The steroids and other drugs they give dairy cows to keep them producing milk is supposeldly the culprit for early puberty and can lead to breast cancer. Do you know about this from your studies? Anyways, I buy organic dairy products as much as possible. I also buy mostly organic meat. I hate that purchasing food has become so difficult.

Sapphire said...

You look so beautiful in that gray jacket and white flowing shirt!! Where is it from?

The Yarbrough's said...

Loving the kitchen and you are way too cute!! :)

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