Before Meghan was born, I didn’t buy much organic food. I figured I was doing well to be eating a good amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and didn’t think buying organic was worth the extra cost. To be honest, I was blissfully ignorant at the time. I hadn’t done my research and therefore didn’t fully understand why buying food that was organically grown was so important.
Then Little Miss Meghan came along and I started reading about baby and toddler nutrition. What I’ve learned has completely changed my outlook. Not only is buying organically grown food totally worth the cost, not going organic could be detrimental to my little girl’s health. That is not something I’m willing to live with.
Foods that are organically grown are grown without the use of pesticides. Pesticides are chemicals that are used to repel insects and pests. They are sprayed directly onto most produce that is not labeled “organic”. It’s not like you can just rinse the vegetable and hope all the chemical will come off, the residue remains and then is ingested by whoever eats that vegetable. (The only time you can be happy your little one refuses to eat his veggies!) These pesticides are dangerous and can have many long-term health effects, many of which are just being discovered. If you choose organic, you can be confident that your child is not ingesting these dangerous chemicals. There are other reasons to choose organic, but avoiding pesticides is the most compelling reason for me.
The Health Effects of Pesticides
Pesticides have been linked to a variety of health issues. Children are particularly susceptible to pesticides because they have smaller bodies that can’t handle the toxic load and they are still growing and developing. Exposure to pesticides has shown an increased risk for:
- reduced IQ
- learning disabilities
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- childhood cancers, including leukemia, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, soft-tissue sarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cancers of the brain, colorectum, and testes.
This list was more than enough to convince me to go organic. I couldn’t bear to think that my choices at the grocery store could possibly contribute to Meghan’s health in a negative way.
It’s no secret that organic foods are usually pricier than the non-organic variety. I didn’t go totally organic all at once. In fact, there are still some foods that I buy that are not organic, and there are times when I can’t totally control what Meghan eats. (Like when we travel to someone else’s house, for example) I try my best to ensure the bulk of Meghan’s diet is pesticide-free. I started with the list of the “Dirty Dozen” and decided those foods would be on my absolutely-must-buy-organic list. These are the top 12 foods that are found to be the most pesticide-laden. This is a well-circulated list, but if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:
The Dirty Dozen
- bell peppers
- sweet corn
- sweet peas
- kiwi fruit
- sweet potatoes