Organic Living, REAL FOOD

A healthier home in 5 weeks: {week 1}

As I began searching for resources on organic eating, I came across information about chemicals that are all around us. I was surprised to learn how many of these toxins were in my home. In fact, it seems like almost all the products I use on a daily basis from tupperware to shampoo to sunscreen contain toxins that have damaging long-term effects anywhere from ADHD to cancer.

I made a goal to eliminate whatever toxins I could from my home immediately, and those that I can’t do now, I will eliminate when we move this fall. I realize spring cleaning is over, but summer is a great time to prepare for the upcoming school year.

I’ve broken down the most frequent toxin exposures into 5 easy weekly steps. Obviously it’s impossible to eliminate exposure to all harmful things, but there are small simple steps you can take to limit the risk to young (and unborn) children.

{Week 1 Challenge: Organic Food}

Buy organic produce, meats and dairy starting this week!

Chemicals directly sprayed on fruits and vegetables cannot simply be washed off, some residue will remain no matter how diligently you scrub. These pesticides have been linked to cancer, ADHD and autism.

If you cannot afford to buy 100% organic, then buy these dirty dozen as organics and the clean fifteen you can buy non-organic.

Dirty Dozen (contain the most pesticide residue- Buy Organic!)

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce

Clean Fifteen (little to no pesticide residue)

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions

Why should you buy organic meat? The main reason is because 70% of antibiotics in this country go to farm animals. That’s right, cows and chickens. Why? Because they are fed unnatural diets that fatten them up faster and live in cramped quarters- they are fed antibiotics to prevent them from dying before they go to market. Unfortunately, these antibiotics create superbugs (heard of MRSA?) which spread to humans from contaminated meats or crops (like spinach) contaminated by animal waste. Even chicken feed is found to contain high levels of arsenic that is passed on to our children.

Here’s a great article about why it’s worth it to buy organic eggs (try finding someone local!) and how buying hormone-free milk reduces your risk of cancer.

I know you’re really not going to like this one, but I have to put it out there. Studies have shown that processed meats cause cancer. This includes lunch meat, hot dogs, sausage, pepperoni and my favorite, bacon. Fortunately, you CAN buy organic versions of these foods that do not include the cancer-causing nitrates! Applegate Farms is a favorite brand of mine, found at Whole Foods.

Week one is definitely going to be the most challenging week, but it will also have the greatest long-term impact on your family. You’ll find that organic meats can be quite expensive, which is another great reason to base your meals primarily around vegetables and use meat sparingly. I have quite a few meatless meal ideas on my Fabulous Foods website. The thing to remember also is exposure amount- a tiny amount of chemicals won’t cause immediate harm, but repeated exposure over time can, so don’t feel guilty if you have to resort to fast food or “normal” food from time to time but try to limit exposure if you can.

Also, and this is my personal non-scientific opinion…I believe that a normal healthy body is designed to fight toxins including those used in pesticides and if we feed our body healthy foods most of the time then it will be prepared to combat the toxins we do introduce from time to time. However, if we are fueling our body primarily with junk, it won’t have the tools to effectively combat the toxins and  then our body starts to break down and results in headaches, fatigue, weight gain, and possibly even cancer.

Continue to Week 2

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