Do We Need to Eat Organic?
Pesticides. Chemicals. Culture. Diseases. Illnesses. Good. Bad. Healthy.
These are the words that are usually associated with our food. We see it on the news, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, etc. So what do you do? Organic or just generic?
First things first, I just want to start off by saying that I am not here to tell you what to do in regards to what you eat. I am here to tell you the facts, and.. you do you.
Over the last 200 years chemicals have been introduced to our foods. It initially started with preserving. Funny enough, there are many natural ways of preserving. For example, vinegar or using fire to dry out the foods. However, these approaches could only go so far. They started using preservatives to help with mold, bacteria, and fungi growth as well as making sure the food stayed bright and yummy looking.
In the 1930’s the U.S began using synthetic pesticides. It was a chemical compound called DDT. They were good at keeping away mosquitos, moths, beetles, and other insects harmful to food. It was fast, cheap, and effective. By 1950, people all over the world started using these pesticides. Then in 1972, DDT had been banned in the U.S since it was linked to preterm births and was severely harming the environment.
Good news, right? Wrong, sadly.
There are many undeveloped sites where American food is grown, such as China or India, that use DDT.
Skip to the year 2001. There is a chemical called chlorpyrifos, which is also known as Dursban. In the year 2001, Dursban was banned from the U.S since it was proven that the chemical was linked to nervous system failure. However, the chemical chlorpyrifos was not banned. Dursban is only a trade name for chlorpyrifos. You can find products all over the U.S containing this compound chlorpyrifos. Not to mention it is commonly spread all over food being one of the most common pesticides used today.
Different Types of Synthetic Pesticides
There are 4 different classes of synthetic pesticides. Those classes being; Organochlorines, Organophosphates, Pyrethroids, & Carbamates.
Each class holds different varying types of pesticides. For example, chlorpyrifos belongs to the organophosphates class.
What are these pesticides and how do they harm you?
Organochlorines are a group of chlorinated compounds. Most of the Organochlorines have been banned all over the world, however many underdeveloped countries use them. Such as China, India, and North Korea. This chemical is incredibly cheap and super effective. The main problem is what they do to the sources around them. Organochlorines cause failure and or harm to the reproductive system, nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system. Hence contaminating the environment. This compound can easily be spread through the air making it easy for plants, animals, and humans to be affected by it.
Organophosphates are compounds from phosphoric acid. This branch contains glyphosate, chlorpyrifos, bensulide, dichlorvos, diazinon, and malathion. Organophosphates are a very commonly used compound in the U.S.
You can find it in brands such as Round Up, Home Defense, and Pyranha. The U.S spreads this compound on crops such as; apples, oranges, strawberries, corn, and wheat.
Did you know in 1996 a Law was passed called the “FOOD QUALITY PROTECT ACT”? Meaning that the EPA must protect children from unsafe exposure to pesticides. Then in 2007 there was a petition that was released by the Pesticide Action Network and Natural Resources Defense Council with the EPA seeking a chlorpyrifos ban based on the growing evidence of risks and harms. The EPA continually kept postponing this petition until 2018, when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave them 60 days to give proof to dispute the petition. 2 months came and they still did not have the evidence. Instead of the judges banning it, the product continued to be used. Then Earthjustice brought them back to court in July 2020. The court gave the EPA until April 2021 for the ruling. Once returned in court, Earthjustice gave their appeal and the EPA was given 60 days to ban chlorpyrifos. It has now been banned in states such as Hawaii, New York, and California.
Pyrethroids are supposed to replicate the compound pyrethrum. Pyrethrum comes from flowers such as chrysanthemums. However since Pyrethroids are man made, it’s more harmful to plants, animals, and humans. They use this compound to keep mosquitoes off our crops. The compound isn’t found so much on our pesticides as it is found more in our household cleaners, bug sprays, pet sprays, and even shampoos. Pyrethroids are harmful in ways that are less compared to the others, however it can still easily cause heachaches, fatigue, stomach cramps, nausea, and brain fog.
Carbamates are derived from an organic compound known as carbamic acid. Carbamates are spread on our food as a pesticide for bug control. Most people keep it in their homes to help with ants, beetles, and fleas.Carbamates can cause harm just by touching. If meant on contact with skin and is not immediately washed it can cause dizziness, headaches, shaking, diarrhea, and sweating. If exposed for long term it can cause brain damage and nervous system failure.
What is Organic?
If you want the definition google gives you, then here it is. Living matter produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents. My definition of organic is anything that hasn’t been touched by chemical processes. They are basically two in the same, however you look at it.
Consequences of Not Going Organic
Not going organic can lead to multiple health issues. Not just for you, but future generations. Studies over the past two decades have led scientists to believe that continually foods affected by pesticides can cause children to have birth defects, hormonal dysfunctions, higher chances of cancer, ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, and other brain disorders. These tests were done with rats, The first generation that ate the pesticides, ended up losing weight and became malnourished. The second generation of rats also had weight loss, but some tested positive for testicular and breast cancer. By the third generation, even though no pesticides were given to them at all, they turned out to have the most complications. About 50 percent of offspring had multiple diseases, emotional and physical problems, hyperactivity, abnormal sperm, and premature puberty.
These health problems are just caused by pesticides. Now let’s dive into what processed foods do to you.
Ahhh.. It’s been a long day and you don’t have the energy to cook a fresh meal for you or your family. You whip out a box of whatever it may be and serve it. You think at least my family or myself has had food. While this might not be an issue every once in a while, if you grew up in a household like mine, this was almost everyday. We had fresh meals on the weekend, if that, but it usually came with boxed mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, stuffing, or even gravy. The damages that occur when you eat processed foods at least once a day is significant, let alone multiple times a day. Your body can not process processed foods. Your body will reject it every time. Which can lead to many health risks. Even if you diet, exercise, and drink plenty of water, that will not save you from the health risks or side effects. What are these health risks/ side effects? Well let me give you a nice long list:
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Cancer (all different kinds)
- Gallbladder failure
- Liver failure
- Pancreas failure
- Hormonal issues (PCOS, graves disease, etc)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Thyroid issues
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Brain fog
- Increased hunger
These may not happen to you… but just like pesticides, you will pass on the unbalanced chemicals from your body to your child’s body and to your grandchild’s body and to their grandchild’s body. Do you yourself suffer from any of these? Do you know anyone else who may suffer from these? If yes, look at the diet that is being consumed.
But Cherly, I eat healthy, even organic. I only eat bad every once in a while and I suffer from some of these things.
Well, here’s an interesting look at it…
Organic Isn’t Always the Healthiest Option (even Vegan)
Just because something says it’s organic, does not mean it’s good for you. For example, a box of ‘Organic Mac n Cheese” usually contains trisodium phosphates or sodium phosphates. Which is man-made salt to preserve your food and normalize the pH balance. Do you remember the google definition of organic that I gave a few paragraphs ago? Since sodium or trisodium phosphates have actual earth rocks in it, it can be used in organic foods and be promoted as organic.
There are many health effects when it comes to these basic additives. Such as: kidney issues, headaches, bloating, dizziness, high blood pressure, increased chances of type 2 diabetes, and increased chances of heart disease.
There are other things outside of these that are put into our “organic” foods. They would be carrageenan, guar gum, xanthan gum, gelatin, glyphosates, ascorbic acid(synthetic form of vitamin C), agar, lecithin, carnauba wax, citric acid, natural flavors, and much more. There is a link at the bottom of the page to show you more items to watch out for when buying “healthier” products.
What the Hell Should I Eat?!
The answer is as simple as counting to 3.
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or a crazed meat eater, I have the answer to all of it. Eat clean, fresh food. Buy organic where you can.
What is Clean Eating?
Eating clean is eating the purest of foods. Fresh Organic fruits, vegetables, meats/eggs, dairy and grains. When buying meat, eggs, and dairy it is always ideal to buy organic, pasture free, hormonal free, and antibiotic free products. At bare minimum just check your ingredients. An amazing example of a product that you can buy that is affordable and part of clean eating is Daisy. Daisy does not add any additives to their products. When it comes to grains, pay SUPER close attention to what they add. There are many “organic, gluten free” products that are heavily processed. I really recommend the brand Dave’s Killer Bread.
If you are gluten sensitive, I highly recommend staying away from most gluten free products. If you are vegan or even vegetarian, I highly recommend staying away from “vegan” promoted products. Most of these products are produced with an immense amount of chemicals and very little pure ingredients.
What To Do From Here?
This is where I leave for you to decide what to do next. I could go all day on why eating clean is your best option, but I hope this summary has helped in your decision making. If you have decided to take the next step in eating Clean, I have a few links that might help you. Anywhere from books, groceries, non-toxic household items and even toys that are environmentally friendly!
Hippie Literature –
Cite me! I dare you.
- Earth Justice – https://earthjustice.org/features/what-you-need-to-know-about-chlorpyrifos
- Synthetic Pesticides – http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/synthetic_pesticide.html
- Organochlorine pesticides, their toxic effects on living organisms and their fate in the environment – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5464684/
- Public Health Statement for Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids – https://wwwn.cdc.gov/TSP/PHS/PHS.aspx?phsid=785&toxid=153
- Generational Harm of Pesticides – https://www.ecowatch.com/generational-harm-of-pesticides-2596453994.html