I am truly at a crossroads… Crossroads of this importance have been few and far between in my life. Up until this point, my major life decisions have been where to go to college, is it the right time to get married to the love of my life, and are we open to trying for a baby?
Well, I loved my time at Villanova University, the love of my life and I are still going strong 9 years later, and you guessed it …the little guy finally came in December! So where are the crossroads you ask?
Well we just hit the six-month mark and have been cleared to begin incorporating “solid foods” into the little guy’s diet. I had already decided that I would try to prep as much as I could at home with the exceptions being the rice cereal that all babies seem to start on and the times that we travel and don’t have access to all of our baby food making supplies. But the true question is how important is organic, especially when it comes to a baby?
I never explored the idea of “organic” until 2009. Up until then, I was barely able to prepare my own meals from scratch let alone worry whether the actual ingredients were organic or not. To be honest, I didn’t even know what “organic” technically meant. Sure it sounds healthier, but is it really worth the additional cost?
After quite a bit of research I found, the USDA defines organic food to be produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.
Without getting into specifics and in order keep things simple, I think that we can all agree that the closer we get to nature, the better. If you could choose between an apple the HAS been treated with pesticides vs. an apple that has NOT, you likely would choose that apple that has not been treated.
However, the apple that has not been treated is probably a bit more expensive. Is the absence of these chemicals worth the additional cost?
The EPA reports that pesticides can interfere with the nervous, hormone and endocrine systems, and act as carcinogens in the body. Produce that is grown organically has less fungicide, herbicide, and insecticide residue (more expensive to monitor). Rinsing our fruits & veggies will reduce but not eliminate pesticides. So in an ideal world, we would all buy local, organic produce all the time, but for many of us, organic produce may not be available or may not be within our budget.
I like to use the DIRTY DOZEN and the CLEAN 15 as my rule of thumb.
The DIRTY DOZEN is list of produce has also been tested and contains the HIGHEST amounts of harmful pesticide residue that penetrates the skin and is not easily scrubbed away. If possible, aim to buy the following organic:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Kale/Collard Green
The produce listed in the CLEAN 15 can be purchased conventionally (not organic) because it has been tested to have the LEAST amount of pesticide residue.
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
Save money on the Clean 15 produce so that you can splurge with organic produce from the Dirty Dozen.
Although not exact, another rule of thumb you can use, is that if the produce has a peel such as an orange or a banana, you can consider getting these items conventionally (not organic) as you can “peel off” much of the pesticide residue.
As Robyn O’Brien mentioned in her piece for the Prevention and The Food Revolution Network:
Admittedly, the high price of organic food can irritate anyone. But the scrutiny that these foods undergo is enormous and expensive, driving prices at the cash register and for those producing them on the farm. Why the costs? Because the cost structure on our food supply offers taxpayer-funded resources called subsidies to the farmers using genetically engineered seeds and saturating crops in insecticides and weed killers, while charging the organic farmers fees to prove that their crops are safe.”
So now that you know the rule of thumb that I do for myself, what about prepping food for baby?
Up until now the only food that has touched his lips is Mama’s milk. There is a pristine little digestive system that has been untouched by modern food processing methods, pesticides, and GMO’s and I would like to keep it that way. For now, it is organic all the way for this little guy.
Stay tuned for our money saving ways to stretch your dollar the farthest when it comes to buying organics. Until then…
Live your WHOLE life!
Meg & Shannon