Humans eat a wider variety of foods than any other creature on Earth. We have entire warehouse-sized grocery stores filled with nearly every edible thing on the planet. But there is one thing that we need to worry about: food toxins. All the pollutants, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals used in commercial agriculture will eventually find its way back to us through our food. By spraying pesticides on our produce, injecting animals with steroids, or using food additives, we are slowly POISONING ourselves. Avoiding this seems daunting, almost impossible, but there is a very simple way to decrease the amount of toxins we allow into our body—by eating organic foods.
Organic produce is certified through the United States Department of Agriculture to be free from chemicals and pesticides. We can eat an organic apple and not have to worry about what kinds of poison were sprayed over it. It's scary that we can't do the same thing with a non-organic apple! It has been known for a long time that many of the pesticides in the fruit and vegetables we eat contribute to our toxin intake. The levels of pesticides found in our produce are small enough to pass safety laws, but these laws don't take into account how our bodies store up these toxins over time to unhealthy levels. Children are especially vulnerable. By simply switching from regular to organic produce, however, we can eliminate many toxins from our diet, as well as send a message to farmers that we, the consumers, do not want these chemicals in our food.
For those of us who enjoy meat, dairy, and other animal products, we need to remember that cage-free, organic animals are treated completely different from traditional livestock. Conventional farms tend to cram as many animals as they can into a small space and then pump them full of steroids and hormones so they will produce more eggs, milk, and meat. Conventionally raised food animals are also pumped full of antibiotics to ward off disease. All of these chemicals and toxins don't just disappear – they end up in the food we buy at the store.
One of the biggest things we can watch out for are foods or drinks with bright colors. Unless these colors are from natural fruit juices, they are most likely from food dyes extracted from coal tar. Consuming something extracted from coal tar sounds bad enough, but the problem is that most of these foods are marketed toward our children. We need to be on the lookout for these bright colors, especially after the American Cancer Society stated that ingesting coal tar in foods is known to cause cancer. To avoid ingesting toxins like these, be sure to read the labels of the food you buy, and make sure that you aren't buying more than you think.
Sometimes we forget how the food we buy gets from the ground to the store. We've all grown up not thinking about how many hands our bread passes through before it gets to our dinner table. The trouble is that many of the foods we buy are over processed. They've gone through so much chemical processing that they lose many of their important nutrients. What's worse, those nutrients are replaced with toxins. Refined sugar and sugar alternatives are typical examples. Artificial sweeteners might as well be served in a laboratory beaker. By sticking to foods that aren't processed, we can be sure that there are little or no toxins added between the time when the food was grown and when it reaches our plate.
It may seem that grocery shopping has now become a complicated chore. You can make shopping easier by using the Organic Liaison Organics Network to find grocery stores and farmer's markets that sell organic foods and groceries, as well as organic restaurants in your area. All you have to do is type in your zip code. By choosing organic whenever you can and avoiding processed foods, additives or dyes, we can significantly lower the amount of toxins going into our bodies.
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