It's tough to find a meal that the whole family will eat. No matter how hard you try, there is always a picky toddler who just wants another peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an ornery teenager who always finds something to complain about, or a spouse who forgot to mention earlier that he doesn't eat sweet potatoes. Add the task of making these meals healthy and nutritious and it's enough of a challenge to make us think about just ordering another pizza. But how can we make healthy meals that won't cause a riot at the dinner table every night? A simple way to make a big difference in your family's nutrition is to buy organic foods.
By switching to organic bread, peanut butter, and jelly, we can give our little toddler a healthier version of his favorite meal without him putting up a fight. Don't forget that organic foods are not just for adults trying to lose weight. A diet full of organic fruits, meats, and vegetables is vital for children as well. Children and infants need chemical-free foods to develop fully functioning bodies. Too many toxins in a child's diet may block absorption of essential nutrients children need for proper growth. Because children are at particular risk, the EPA is keeping a watchful eye on the foods that children most commonly eat: apples and apple juice, orange juice, potatoes, tomatoes, soybean oil, sugar, eggs, pork, chicken and beef.
When it comes to the foods we eat, cost shouldn't be the only consideration. The food you consume has a big impact on your health, both mental and physical. So, when you are tempted to go with the regular peanut butter over the organic version because it is a dollar cheaper, think twice. Organic peanut butter has a short list of ingredients, all of which we can pronounce and probably find in another aisle at the store. When we read the regular peanut butter ingredients, however, we notice how much of a difference there is. There are preservatives and other chemicals that sound like things you would find in a chemistry set. All of these synthetic ingredients are worrisome, but what's scarier is what's left off of that list - like pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and other chemicals used on the peanuts.
Organic foods are labeled as such for a reason. It means that they were produced, manufactured, and handled following strict organic regulations set forth by the USDA. 100 percent organic foods are completely free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Non-organic foods can't make this promise, and what's worse is they don't mention what pesticides or chemicals were used on them. So when we see roasted peanuts as an ingredient in non-organic peanut butter, these aren't the same peanuts as the organic. These have been treated with pesticides and other toxins that will make their way into our bodies. It's a scary thought, but true!
When it comes to organic milk, meat, eggs and other animal products, there is a lot more at stake than just the health of your family. Looking first at the health aspects, non-organic livestock are tainted with synthetic hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. They are also, for the most part, treated terribly. They are locked in small cages and almost never see the light of day. Organic livestock are fed organic food, not treated with any steroids, hormones, or antibiotics, and are given access to the outdoors. It's easy to see that it is better for our health to eat organic animal products. But, by choosing organic food, we are also making a profound statement to our families about how to treat animals.
If we had tried to walk into an average grocery store 10 years ago and buy only organic items, we would have walked out empty handed and frustrated. Luckily for us, the organic market has exploded since then. Besides just the special organic markets, many grocery stores now offer a wide selection of organic foods. There are organic alternatives to almost any food that we can imagine.
To find organic grocery stores, farmer's markets, and restaurants with our Organics Network Locator, just punch in your zip code and instantly find which ones are nearest you.
Eating organic produce is a simple and important way to make a lasting change in your family's health. It also allows you to teach your children the importance of eating healthy, supporting pesticide-free farming and the humane treatment of livestock. By making this change now, your children will grow up healthier and with a greater respect for the environment in which we all live.
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