By: Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Chavi Morawiec
Like many first time moms, I make sure my child has the best nutrition. After all, their development depends on nutritious food. For example: When I feed him a pear, I am also thinking about nutrients he is absorbing from it like Vitamin C! It is an important vitamin that helps fight disease. Organic berries have more antioxidants than conventionally grown ones. Conventionally grown produce is shown to significantly reduce the nutrition profile of many foods, hence why I make sure he eats organic foods.
Did You Know Pesticides Hurt Children The Most?
Organic food is richer in essential nutrients than conventionally-farmed produce. You are what you eat! Babies have a highly sensitive digestive system. In fact, when we start to introduce food, usually at 6-7 months, it is still in developing stage. Hence why it is recommended to introduce one food at a time- to make sure there are no allergies or sensitivities. Now imagine 100s of chemicals also present in your homemade pear sauce. Scary isn’t it?
Chemicals are hard for their system to process- Organic food has 95% less chemicals. Their liver doesn’t start to mature until the age of 7, so the toxins are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Exposure to pesticides can cause digestive issues which may not present themselves initially; sometimes it can take years of exposure for any ailments to surface. Animal testing indicates that pesticides can cause permanent changes in brain chemistry that may lead to behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and even long-term damage to the brain and nervous system. Did you know- 1000s of pesticides, approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for agricultural and non-agricultural uses, have been linked to brain/central nervous system, breast, colon, lung, ovarian cancers … as well as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” and more. This makes me wonder why childhood cancers are on the rise.
Pesticides can also block absorption of the nutrients that are vital to their healthy growth and development. These toxins damage the gut wall and directly alter our microbiome which subsequently increases the risk of health problems such as diabetes, obesity and auto-immune diseases. Think about it- Pesticides are toxic chemicals that are designed to kill, repel or otherwise harm living organisms. In 2017, the foods in the USA with the highest levels of pesticide residues were: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.
But It Is So Expensive! Where Do I Start?
The cost of health impacted by pesticides is even higher, and sometimes there is no turning back! But here is what I do to maintain an organic diet:
- Initially, I started slowly incorporating organic foods like just the fruit or just a vegetable.
- Anything on the Dirty 12 list must be organic. No exceptions whatsoever! Unless, I’ve researched the farmer well and know their standards, apples, cherries, peaches etc are always organic. I also freeze organic fall fruit to make homemade sauces or desserts during winter months.
- Eat more vegetarian meals- I buy organic lentils, beans and Rice in bulk or larger bags. And I only buy from a well researched seller who is able to provide full traceability of their products. Eating 3-4 vegetarian meals can be extremely beneficial to our health and lighter on the wallet.
- Eat what’s in season- Seasonal produce is cheaper due to higher yield. Nutritionally they carry the exact vitamins needed by your body for that season. Food grown outside of their season or natural environment need a lot more human assistance in forms of pesticides, waxes, chemicals and preservatives to grow and look appealing to us consumers.
- Less is More- When you eat organic food, your body is able to absorb more vitamins and minerals. Which keeps your body satiated and without cravings. Did you know chocolate craving could indicate a magnesium deficiency? And did you know our soil is extremely depleted of magnesium due to pesticide use?
Something as simple as a common cold can be a cause of sleepless nights for both the parent and the child; throw in immune comprised conditions or mysterious illness to the mix and you’ve got a years of running from one Doctor to another. Every parent dreams of their child living a healthy and disease free life. By eating organic foods and avoiding harmful chemicals, you can give your kids a great start to a healthful life.
Have a question for me? Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to connect.
Chavi Morawiec is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto. She regularly contributes Alternative Health articles to The Bloom Living Blog and our social media channel – @bloomorganicbazaar. She is on Maternity leave at the moment and will resume taking in new clients in March 2019.