Is Organic Food Really Worth the Extra Price?

It has been pretty well established that eating more vegetables and fruits is healthy for us.  Buying organic adds to the food bill, but how much difference does it make to your health?
Let’s take a look at what organic means in the U.S.A.  (Europe has higher standards.) For the most part “certified organic” simply means that the crops have not been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides.  Unfortunately, this does not mean that the soil has been carefully prepared so that the pesticide-free produce has plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, organic farmers must be more soil-conscious because rich soil is more resistant to bugs.

Today we are exposed to thousands of chemicals that have never existed before in our history. All of those chemicals must be processed through the liver and kidneys. Pesticides are neurotoxins. That means they kill insects by attacking their nerve cells.  Pesticides are just as toxic to human nerves. We just happen to have more nerve cells, so killing off a few thousand at a time does not kill us. But how good can that be for our health in general?

A Harvard study from 2010, showed that kids exposed to pesticides were twice as likely to be diagnosed ADHD. This study appeared in Pediatrics.

People with high levels of dichlorophenol (a product of a herbicide) were more likely to have allergies to peanuts, eggs, milk and seafood, according to researchers at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine.

A study found in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring showed that mothers exposed to pesticides had a two to seven times risk of having a child with the most common form of childhood cancer- acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Pesticides and chemicals can interfere with the delicate dance of the endocrine and hormonal system, according to the World Health Organization.

The list of commercially grown foods with the highest amount of pesticides includes coffee, strawberries, bananas, apples, celery cherry tomatoes, grapes, peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers, kale, collard greens and summer squashes.

Pesticides are manufactured to resist rainfall, so just rinsing your produce is not enough. You can make your own spray by mixing 1 TBLS lemon juice, 2 TBLS white vinegar with 1 cup of filtered water. (Be sure to use organic lemons.) Rinse well or soak,  spray and wash, and rinse again.

So, even if organic is not always in your budget you can help protect your family and yourself from neurotoxins. This is one area of chemical exposure you can control. There is so much we cannot avoid, and it is the cumulative burden that may tip our bodies over into the cellular damage that precedes a disease state.

I mentioned coffee and I highly recommend organic coffee.  Marie et Cie, at the corner of Riverside and Colfax, is one of my favorite places for organic coffee. They also offer light meals and home-made goodies, some gluten-free, served with a great French vibe.

Donut Prince on Olive Street in Burbank, close to my office at Reese, has a coffee bar with an organic selection. Don’t go unless you can resist the donuts! No gluten-free selections here.

Starbucks claims to use coffee from crops that are not sprayed, but are not certified organic. Let me know any other cafes that serve organic coffee and I will list them in a future blog.

Hope you are enjoying all the wonderful summer fruits and veggies, and now you know how to have the flavor and health benefits, and avoid the toxins.