This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Buying Organic: Healthful Choice or Yuppie Trend?

Well, both.  I had never even heard the term "organic food" before 1999.  I'm sure there were a handful of "hippie" commune farmers who had always grown their own vegetables before then.  And I'm sure there were always the "crackpot" environmentalists who believed in using sustainable farming methods.  But until the last decade or so, those people were on the fringe. Well that's all changed now and almost overnight mom-and-pop-organic-farms have become a staple in the pantry of the health-conscious, environmentally aware, and the trendy.

It all started for me when my daughter had a diaper rash that just wouldn't go away.    I had also recently watched Oprah where her guest, Dr. Andrew Weil, had spoken about a wide-spread but mostly unknown allergy to dairy that plagued many children and adults.  He mentioned that for some people it may be the protein lactose which they don't digest very well, but for others it may be the amount of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides present in the dairy that made them sick.  I decided to go dairy free to see if it would help my constant hay-fever-like-allergies (they went away within 2 weeks) and to buy organic milk for my daughter to see if it helped her rash.  The rash went away.  Completely.  Within days.  A few weeks later I bought regular old milk again (thinking I had cured her and could return to regular habits) and her rash came back immediately.  Curious.  We have had organic dairy products since then.

It's fairly common knowledge nowadays that a lot more than milk  is in our milk.  That's true of many foods.  I am all for buying whatever organic products your budget can accomodate, but if you're like most me, you're going to have to pick and choose what you buy organic because it is so expensive.

I opt for organic dairy products first, followed by organic frozen fruit (because I eat a smoothie every day).  Next I'll go for antibiotic-free, hormone-free meat.  Then organic eggs.  Then organic vegetables.  Finally, if I'm feeling really rich I'll buy organic shampoo and conditioner.  I try to prioritize based upon our consumption, availability, and my ability to make natural substitutions that while not organic, may at least be less processed.  Our family doesn't eat a lot of meat or dairy, but we do eat a lot of fruit, eggs, and veggies.  I can afford to be all-organic on the dairy and meat because I don't have to buy very much.  I make the fruit and eggs a priority because we consume a lot of them.  I can find a lot of veggies at farmers' markets or locally grown so I don't worry about organic as much with them.  Personal care products are a minefield of chemicals but they are also easy to make yourself from stuff in the kitchen (but that's another post...).

Organic is healthy.  It's also very trendy.  Be both:  choose one item you consume a lot and see if you can switch to organic.  There, don't you feel better already? 


karen@fitnessjourney said...

I am guilty of not buying organic. It is just so darn expensive. That is a good suggestion about switching out the item you most often consume.

Anonymous said...

Love the one item at a time. I think I'll try it.

Beth said...

Let me know how the "one item switch" works for you - how it impacts your grocery budget and if you notice a taste difference. Everything in moderation!

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