By now most of society has heard all about switching out regular pesticide and genetically modified (GMO) riddled foods to healthier, pure organic products. The benefits of going organic are known to help with weight loss and disease prevention. In fact, it is believed in most cases to help ward off many of the cancers that Americans are diagnosed with everyday and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Organic is the way to get started and there swaps for consideration.
With the health benefits undeniable, it seems like an easy choice to make the switch, until one goes to the grocery store with the intentions of turning over a new leaf and become completely overwhelmed by the task of altering the grocery list and life style. Speaking personally, when this writer first started introducing organic products into the fridge and pantry, there was confusion and a need for research. There was not an understanding of knowing which products were actually organic and which ones were acceptable to leave conventional. Although, the goal was to eventually live an 100 percent organic lifestyle, realization of a gradual approach was noted and acknowledged.
Here is a compiled list of the first three organic switches, personally tested. These steps have become the basics to a beginning on developing a good foundation for a healthier lifestyle:
A lot of people don’t realized what actually goes into standard cooking oils, the most popular options being vegetable oil and canola oil. Well, the answer is a genetically modified organisms. Both corn and vegetable oil, commonly made out of soybeans, are on the top ten list for GMO contaminated foods. Most of the corn and soy consumede everyday has been genetically modified to either create their own insecticide right in the produce, or to resist herbicides. Both of these have caused infertility and high mortality rates in small rodents. So, what’s the swap?
Organic olive oil and coconut oil. Both have amazing health benefits and can stand up to high temperatures while cooking. Olive oil is known as a healthy fat, its main properties consisting of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats which contribute to lowering the risks of heart disease and can regulate blood sugar levels helping to combat type 2 diabetes. Coconut oil also has similar benefits considering blood sugar levels as well as immunity to certain viruses and bacteria.
Fruits and Vegetables
Today many commercial farmers are known for spraying chemicals on the crops purchased at one’s favorite supermarket. Insecticides to kill any unwary insect who happens to stop by for a quick lunch, herbicides to control weeds and fungicides to prevent rot and mold are the top tree pesticides used today. Add GMO’s to the that melting pot and one may start feeling a little disturbed when walking down the produce isle. Though ideally, it is suggested to buy all organic here, that may not be an option for many people. Luckily, not all fruits and veggies are created equal.
Fruits with a thick skin like bananas, oranges and lemons are generally safer to eat conventionally unless using the zest, then opt for the organic version. Strawberries, apples, grapes, etc, where the skin is consumed, however are better to eat organically.
When it comes to vegetables, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers and spinach are all strong offenders of pesticide residue.
As far as GMO’s are concerned, just refer to the Price Look Up codes (PLU codes) located on the little stickers on the fruits and vegetables. If the 4 to 5 digit numbers starts with an 8, it is genetically altered, and if it starts with a 9 it is an organic product. If it starts with any other number it means that it is unspecified and most likely conventionally grown with pesticides.
Hormones. It was discovered that 22 percent, nearly one fourth of dairy cows in the U.S. have been injected with a genetically modified recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH). The purpose of this lab created hormone is to unnaturally force cows to increase their milk production by 15 percent, increasing the levels of IGF-1 (insulin growth factors-1) in the milk they produce. Humans also have IGF-1 in their systems; increasing this hormone has scientists concerned with a growing rate of breast and colon cancers in society.
Yogurt, ice cream, cheese, milk, butter and other dairy products can all be contaminated by rbGH. Luckily organic options are becoming more and more prominent in the grocery isles. Simply swap milk out for unsweetened organic almond milk, but still continue to consume dairy products like cheese organically. It’s all a matter of individual preference.
Once these simple swaps to an everyday diet are made, it will be easier to continue down along the organic path. In the future, consider swapping out grains, proteins and canned goods. Eventually eating all natural will become second nature and will ensure a diet free from chemical contamination.
By Andria Hanson