Even though my parents had money, we were very, VERY frugal. I’m talking only-two-squares-of-toilet-paper-per-person frugal. It was drilled in my head from early on to never spend money on things I didn’t need and to save every penny I ever made. This kind of early programming turned me into an incredibly guilty spender. Whenever I would buy anything, I would proceed to agonize over the fact that I just spent my precious money on SOMETHING! I would stress and stress over it until I finally succumbed to my mental agony and returned the item, feeling relieved that I finally had the money back to hoard away.
So you can imagine my panic attack when my health research led me to the next evolution in my wellness path: Organic eating. I am the type of person that can do things cold turkey. I go balls to the wall, all out, full-force. So even though many authors were saying to dip your feet into organic eating, I knew I wouldn’t listen: I dove straight in. And I then proceeded to hyperventilate into a paper bag when I realized my monthly grocery budget had doubled.
I literally had to keep re-reading the benefits of organic eating to continually remind myself WHY I was eating organic.
Like I said, in the beginning, I went all out. I thought that I had to do everything perfectly to reap the benefits. I didn’t know about the two most important lists that aid in transitioning to the world of organic eating: “The Dirty Dozen Plus” is the list of the 12 most contaminated and pesticide filled produce. The plus includes three new produce items that have been added to the list by The Environmental Working Group, because they are contaminated with pesticides exceptionally toxic to the nervous system.
The second list is called “The Clean 15”. All the produce on “The Clean 15” bore little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form. I was unaware of this list, as most of the information out there led you to believe you had to start eating EVERYTHING organic from the get-go. I just went and purchased EVERYTHING organic, instead of starting with The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 and easing my way in. Whoops.
What is Organic?
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines “organic” as follows:
“Farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations produce organic food. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.
￼￼Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.”
Why I decided to eat only organic
These are the benefits of organic eating that motivated me to make the switch, despite my paper-bag-breathing panic attacks:
• The less chemicals weighing down your body, the less it has to filter toxins out and the more it can direct that energy to healing other problems and boosting your immune system
• When you eat organic you’re relieving your body from the taxing process of filtering chemicals, carcinogens, and ingredients that overpower your immune system.
• Food grown without the help of synthetic chemicals is safer and healthier to consume
• Organic food reduces your cancer risk
• Most pesticides contain neurotoxins and carcinogens
• Chemicals used on crops have been linked to chemical-related illness such as Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, birth defects, impaired neurological development, and leukemia to name a few
• Organic food is pricey, but it’s still cheaper than chemo
What I have learned about organic eating
• People will make fun of you
• People will roll their eyes at you
• People will let out heavy sighs when you ask if something is
• People will snort when they open your fridge and see organic
• Organic food costs more because organic farmers don’t
receive federal subsidies like conventional farmers do which means the price of organic food reflects the true cost of growing.
• If anything goes wrong with you, people blame it on organic eating. “Oh you have a cold, must be all that organic food.”
• People think organic food means food that squirrels eat…seriously.