You may be asking ‘is organic food really worth it?’
After all, it’s generally more expensive than the conventional product lying next to it, it’s often harder to come by and not all of our favorite foods even have an organic version.
So is eating organic food worth the extra dollars, time spent sourcing it and sacrifice involved in giving up family favorites?
If you think it’s not, this 90-second YouTube clip might change your mind. It’s fascinating and frightening in equal measures!
‘The Organic Effect’
To sum up this short video, an ordinary Swedish family were challenged to swap their conventional food items for organic foods for just two weeks.
A urine sample was taken before the two week challenge and measured by researchers for levels of pesticides – namely Chloremequat chloride, Mepiquat, 3-PBA and TCP.
The parents were disgusted to learn that they, and their three young children, had insecticides, fungicides and plant growth regulators present in their bodies, simply because of their food choices.
Aside from switching to organic products, the family made no other lifestyle changes during the study. And, they still enjoyed all their favorite foods like fried eggs, sausage, pasta and ice cream.
The results after just two weeks were incredible.
Nearly all traces of the insecticides had completely vanished from their systems.
Researchers in this video caution that we still don’t know what the long-term effects of pesticide-laden foods are, and it’s especially worrying as chemicals can cause more harm when combined in different ways than they do when taken on their own.
Eat Organic To Avoid Harmful Pesticides
While we may not know much about pesticides’ long-term effects, here is what we do know:
They Affect the Brain
Many pesticides are considered neurotoxins. One particular class (organophosphates) was actually developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When it was no longer required for that purpose, it was adapted to kill pests instead.
Studies have suggested a strong association between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease.
They Can Affect Children More than Adults
As children’s systems and vital organs are still developing they are more susceptible to toxins than adults.
Preschool children exposed to pesticides in Mexico were found to have less stamina, worse gross and fine eye-hand coordination, worse 30-minute memory, and were less well able to draw a person than children living in other regions that weren’t exposed to the same level of toxins.
And, studies have linked parental exposure to pesticides at home and work with the occurrence of brain cancer in children.
They Cause Cancer
It’s not just children’s cancers that pesticides are linked to – it’s also well established that pesticides cause cancer in animals. While more human research is needed, it’s always a concern when something causes illness in animals.
Just this year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found that a key ingredient in hundreds of crop-control agents and weed killers is a ‘probable’ carcinogen.
Other Reasons to Choose Organic
Organic food doesn’t just mean you’ll cut out pesticides, they also have a ton of other health and environmental benefits.
Organic farming works with the seasons and nature, supporting biodiversity. It also helps preserve the quality of our soil, the delicate balance of ecosystem and, of course, the quality of our food.
Recommended Reading: Here’s Why We Need To Save The Bees + 10 Things You Can Do To Help
Say No to GMOs
By eating organic, you’ll automatically be avoiding GMOs – or genetically modified organisms.
These foods are unnatural hybrids, formed by taking genes from one species and implanting them into another, entirely unrelated, species. They’re also laden with pesticides which threaten our environment and health.
According to the National Geographic, over 60% of food on US supermarket shelves contains one or more GMO ingredients. That makes it pretty hard to avoid GMOs, particularly given the anti-GMO labeling law recently passed in the US.
As anything carrying the ‘organic’ seal must be GMO-free, you can rest easy in the knowledge you’re not eating these ‘frankenfoods’.
Avoid Antibiotics, Synthetic Hormones & Drugs
There’s little point turning to natural cures for headaches or trying to limit your antibiotic use if you eat conventional meat or dairy.
After all, an estimated 20% of all US cows are pumped full of growth hormones to increase milk production.
A particularly notorious growth hormone, rBGH, has been found in milk sold for human consumption. It’s worth noting that this milk was found to be less nutritious too, with lesser amounts of healthy, fatty acids. rBGH, which is banned in Europe but is legal in the US, has been linked to a greater risk of breast cancer.
Organic livestock is free of hormones, antibiotics and growth stimulants. Organic meat also has less environmental impact.
Support & Protect Small-Scale Farmers
Support the farmers who put high-quality produce and environmental responsibility ahead of their bottom line. By buying organic, you’ll create greater demand for more organic farms.
It also means there will be more work available for those who want to work in a pesticide-free zone. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70% increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides, many of whom worked as farmers, ranchers or fishermen.
More Bang for Your Buck
Yes, organic food will often cost more…but it’s worth more.
A review of 343 studies on the nutritional value of organic food in Europe and the United States found that organic crops and organic-crop-based foods contained more antioxidants, on average, than conventionally grown foods.
How To Cut The Cost Of Buying Organic
While buying organic produce is generally more expensive, it’s an investment in yours – and your families – health. Plus, there are a number of clever little tips and tricks to significantly bring the cost of buying organic food down.
We explore eleven of the cleverest ways to reduce the cost of organic in our follow up article which you can read here….