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

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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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Whole30 Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup

Continuing on my cold weather craze of some comforting hot soup, I came across this recipe.  I was looking for something quick and easy to store if I didn’t get a chance to make it during the week.  This is what I stumbled upon and after making it… it doesn’t disappoint!!  The hubs and 10 month old baby loved it!

Here’s the original recipe: 40 Aprons –  Whole30 Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup (Paleo)

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Whole30 Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup

This Whole30 Instant Pot chicken tortilla less soup is full of flavor and so easy to make! Super quick and filling, this Mexican soup is creamy, spicy, healthy, and low carb.
 Course: Soup
 Cuisine: American, Mexican
 Keyword: instant pot, soup, whole30
 Prep Time: 5 minutes
 Cook Time: 20 minutes
 Time to Pressure: 20 minutes
 Total Time: 45 minutes
 Servings: 4  servings
 Calories: 324 kcal

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 10-ounce cans cans tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-3 teaspoons chipotle pepper powder if on Whole30. 1 teaspoon for mild, 3 teaspoons for hot. I used 1 tsp.
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 zucchinis chopped or cut into 1/2″ half moons
  • 1 red bell pepper cubed (my addition)
  • 1 14-ounce can can full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream whisked until smooth
  • 1 small can diced green chiles (my addition)

Garnishes:

  • fresh avocado slices
  • red onions , sliced thin
  • fresh cilantro , chopped
  • coconut cream or greek yogurt or sour cream
  • lime juice
  • shredded cheese , if not paleo or on Whole30
  • tortilla strips or chips, if not paleo or on Whole30

Equipment Needed

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle boneless skinless chicken breasts with salt. Add the chicken breasts to the Instant Pot. Sear both sides.  Add the remaining ingredients in order, through zucchini.
  2. Secure the lid on the pot. Cook at high pressure for 18 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for ten minutes, then use the manual release. Pull out the chicken breasts and add coconut milk and diced green chiles. Switch Instant Pot to Sauté mode and stir to combine. Dice chicken, then return to soup. Serve hot, topped with garnishes of choice.

Recipe Notes

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can make this Whole30 chicken tortilla-less soup in the slow cooker. Add all ingredients, except coconut milk, in order listed. Cook on low heat for 7 hours or on high heat for 4 hours. Remove chicken breasts and dice. Stir in coconut milk, then return chicken to slow cooker. Serve with garnishes.
If you’re not on a Whole30, use 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce in place of the chipotle pepper powder. It’s better than the powder – trust me!