Going Organic – Gradual Steps for Healthier Family Eating

Have you tried reading food ingredient labels lately? It can be like trying to read a foreign language. As parents, we strive to provide our children with a nutritious, balanced diet. However, as consumers we may unknowingly purchase a never ending list of products that that contain pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics, and other unwanted or even toxic chemicals. So lately, I read more labels and have found myself gradually purchasing more and more organic products. But where do we draw the line? Let’s face it…whether based on availability or sheer affordability, it’s a challenge to buy everything organic.

So that brings me to an old Earth Day episode of Oprah that aired recently. Among her featured guests was Sophie Uliano, author of the eco-conscious book “Gorgeously Green – 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life.” Sophie gave an excellent starting point for parents like me, who need some extra guidance on the whole organic movement.

Here are the common children’s food items Sophie recommends parents purchase organic whenever possible:

  • Baby Food.    Non-Organic Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of pesticides and babies are extra vulnerable to pesticides. 
  • Animal Bi-products – Dairy, Meat, and Eggs.   Non-organic dairy, meat and egg products contain growth hormones and antibiotics given to animals. 
  • Apples, Grapes, Potatoes, Strawberries, Green Beans, Cucumber, Raisins, peaches, nectarines, pears, spinach, lettuce, bell peppers, and cherries.   These non-organic produce items have been found to contain the highest levels of pesticide residues. 
  • Peanut Butter.   Some non-organic peanut farms use fungicides or chemicals to treat mold. 
  • Rice (brown, white and wild).   Non-organic rice is grown in large amounts of pesticides. 
  • Corn, Wheat, Oats.   Non-organic corn, wheat and oat products contain organo phosphate pesticides and are found in many processed foods, like corn chips and popcorn that are common snacks for our children.

If you can’t buy organic produce, an important step you can also take to help reduce pesticide exposure from fruits and vegetables is to use a fruit and veggie cleaner. You can find them in your produce area at most grocery stores or use the easy to make recipe provided by Sophie Uliano.

Fruit/vegetable cleaner recipe:
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp baking soda
20 drops of grapefruit seed extract

Combine ingredients in bowl and transfer to spray bottle. Spray mixture onto produce and rinse after 5 minutes.

So while it is almost impossible to buy everything organic, there are certainly items we expose our children to more than others. Perhaps going organic on these products will be a good start to healthier food choices for our families. After all, every little change makes a big difference.

What are your thoughts on buying organic foods?