Why eat organic?

I wasn’t always a huge supporter of eating organic.  I was a poor college student… a poor medical student… and a poor resident.  In fact, I didn’t start thinking about my health seriously until my husband and I were planning to get pregnant.  Maybe this was a little late in the game at 37 years old… but better late than never, right?

In college, I lived off of lean cuisine microwaveable meals with plastic and drinking 3 diet dr. peppers a day.  In medical school, I survived off a protein bar, sandwich, and microwaveable dinners as well.  Did I mention that I experimented with smoking to help me study?  Ick, what horrible habits!  In residency, I continued with protein bars, microwaveable meals, and hospital food that was free for residents around 9p.  Not to forget, that I made sure I went to a bunch of residency interview dinners to meet potential incoming residents.  Fast forward to getting ready for my wedding day, I went 3 months on a paleo diet and felt incredible and saw real changes in my body without feeling deprived or hungry.  We went organic during my first pregnancy.  We’ve placed more importance on sustaining our baby and helping her maximize her growth and learning with a more nutritious diet.  During my second pregnancy, I again ate organic.  But, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and moved to a more Whole30 diet — eliminating processed foods as well as sweets.  I was able to really control my blood sugars with diet alone, and I feel better without all the processed food and sweets in my system.

Why do I think about this now?  More and more, I feel the impact of a well-balanced diet on my body.  My AGING body.  Perhaps in our youth, we can fake it and make it by eating crap food and maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle.  But as I’m aging, I feel the effects more and definitely sooner.  Additionally, I care more now about what I put into my body and in my family’s.  I would love to teach my kids the importance of healthy eating and what good food tastes like.  So, enter my quest to eat organic as well as grass-fed, hormone-free meats as well as going more plant-based.


Resources:

HelpGuide – Organic Foods: What You Need to Know

HelpGuide – Healthy Food for Kids

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research – Organic vs. Non-Organic PDF

MindBodyGreen – A Doctor’s Top 4 Reasons to Eat Organic

Dr. Axe – Dirty Dozen

EWG – EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Dirty-Dozen-Clean-Fifteen

Time – 4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic

The Organic Center – Bringing you the science behind organic

Food Safety Magazine – 2018 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists Rank Produce Items by Pesticide Level

Association between organic food consumption and metabolic syndrome: cross-sectional results from the NutriNet-Santé study. Eur J Nutr. 2018 Oct;57(7):2477-2488.

Human health implications of organic food and organic agriculture: a comprehensive review.  Environ Health. 2017; 16: 111. 

Organic Food in the Diet: Exposure and Health Implications. Annu Rev Public Health. 2017 Mar 20;38:295-313.

Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives?: a systematic review.  Ann Intern Med. 2012 Sep 4;157(5):348-66.

Nutrition-related health effects of organic foods: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;92(1):203-10.

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Clean Label Project: Methodology

Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health: Health Risks of Pesticides in Food

U.S. Right To Know: Monsanto Papers

U.S. Right To Know: Pesticides

Time: Why Organic is the Right Choice for Parents

NBC News: What a nutritionist wants you to know about pesticides and produce

EH_VENN_GRAPHIC_sm
U of Washington Center for Ecogenetics & Environmental Health

Key Points

  • Eat organic and free-range/cage-free/grass-fed/hormone-free when possible
  • Pesticides are toxic and can lead to health problems later in life
  • Choose organic alternatives to the Dirty Dozen
  • Babies, young children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women are more susceptible to pesticides and toxins in food.
  • Research the labels and get the facts
  • Consider these Netflix documentaries on Health and Nutrition
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Author: Kris

Grew up in a small Texas town. Heavily involved in extracurricular activities: piano, violin, dance (ballet/jazz/tap), tennis, horseback riding (english/western), taekwondo, basketball, soccer, volleyball, percussion, drumline, orchestra, band, mascot, pageants. I had the typical Tiger Mom upbringing. Went to college, medical school, residency, and fellowship. Amidst the ups and downs of life, allow me to share with you my journey...as an "ordinary" person who happens to be an MD.

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