When you begin a weight loss or management journey one thing you hear all the time is buy organic. More people are recognizing the need to avoid pesticides and buy organic food, but the cost sometimes prohibit buying all organic.
Let’s discuss why organic is so important though. In the 1930’s farmers began using synthetic pesticides and began to see increases in their crop yields. This increase in yields came about because pesticides kill organisms, weeds and bugs that can harm crops.
After almost 100 years of use many commercial farms are now dependent on pesticides to control these organisms and insects. Unfortunately, these pesticides also have an adverse effect on humans, killing the good bacteria we need to remain healthy. Some of the impact has been an increased number of obese people and the number of chronic diseases rising.
Our GI tract is a delicately balanced environment where roughly 500 different strains of bacteria compete for space and nutrients. When there is a healthy balance – called eubiosis – few symptoms exist. However, dysbiosis can occur when an overabundance of potentially harmful organisms prevails. One thing that upsets the natural micro floral balance is consumption of foods exposed to pesticides.
Below is a list from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of dirty and clean foods. Something that is lacking from the list are three beverages that are consumed possibly daily. I feel you must purchase these three things organic:
Wine (Grape juice)
You will notice that grapes are on the dirty dozen list, but many people don’t think about wine, or juice.
You can find the full list of the EWG’s recommended list at this link. Below are the top several in each category.
Dirty Dozen Top 6
Clean 15 Top 5
The above lists will help you purchase items that are in the fresh section. The other challenge is interpreting labels. For a food to be labeled organic it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. It cannot have synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, biotechnology, or have been exposed to irradiation.
Some of the known health effects associated with pesticides include skin issues, gastrointestinal, carcinogenic effects, respiratory, reproductive, and endocrine disruption. Each person will be affected differently based on exposure therefore it is important to make wise choices with your purchases.
Consider visiting local farmers markets to purchase your produce. They may use a label “certified naturally grown”. This label means that the food was grown using the standards for organic farms, but it is not certified organic. The certification process takes many years and is costly.
When it comes to products like eggs you will also see “free-range, “certified humane”, “pastured”, and “all natural”. Unfortunately for these labels there is not a governmental standard. By visiting a farmer’s market, you can talk to the farmer and find out exactly what their practices are.
By purchasing organic products, you will reduce your exposure to chemicals and fake hormones improving your own hormone balance. You will begin to experience improved digestion, increased energy and probably lose weight.