Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting Healthier: Part III

(According to Jillian) Why go Organic?

Pesticides. Herbicides. Toxic chemicals being dumped on our veggies/fruits (or injected into our animals).
Organics do the following:
*Help you stay slim and prevent diabetes
*Help you avoid scary hormones
*Help you avoid pesticides and other chemicals
*Help you prevent antibiotic resistance
*Make your food taste better (it's fresher!)
*Make your diet more diverse (eating foods in the correct season!)
*Make your food more nutritious
*Help save the Earth

Pesticide Farmers:
30,000 men who use pesticides in their work on farms were studied by the National Institute of Health. These "licensed applicators" probably had protective gear (goggles, gloves, boots, etc.) but researchers found that if these men used any one of the seven specific pesticides, they had a much greater risk of diabetes. Now, unlike many of these men, we're not just exposed to the pesticides. We're EATING them.

Tomato Story:
Tomatoes are created with the best cancer-fighting health benefits available with no harmful side effects. But what happens when it's grown conventionally and not organically?
1. It is sprayed with up to seven (legal) pesticides.
2. It is picked too early because it must make a long journey across the country or the world from its original location to the supermarket.
3. The tomato is still green when it gets to the supermarket, so it is sprayed with argon gas to make turn red prematurely.
The result? The tomato is no longer the best cancer-fighting vegetable with no harmful side effects, it is now poison. And has also polluted the air from traveling so far.

The most common complaints about organic fruits/veggies is that they don't last as long (something that can actually be welcome after that tomato story!) and they are more expensive. The thing is, if more people bought organic, then the prices would go down. Organic farming is not just good for YOU, it's also good for the EARTH. All around it makes sense. A lot of people (business people, usually) tell us that buying organic doesn't make a difference. We should just wash our veggies and fruits really well. I'll be the first to say that I somewhat agree with it, especially when it comes to the expense. But...not really. Because the people telling us to do that are the ones farming with pesticides. Of COURSE they are going to tell us to not worry about organic, eh? Organic food is just better for us in every way. It truly is. So, I am trying to buy organic whenever I can, now. And if I can't? I just make sure it's still food. Whole food. Food that came from the ground or had a mother.

Plus, I'm going to grow my own tomatoes and peppers and such, so it will be much cheaper to get them organically! In fact, that's a great idea: Grow your own. Or go to Farmer's Markets. The one in Provo is supposed to be great --can you believe I've never gone? Not this year! I'll be heading over there as soon as it starts in May.

Now, if you would like to buy organic and you don't know where to start, Jillian gives the following lists:

Always buy organic (it's just safer!):
1. Meat, dairy, and eggs
2. Coffee (ooh! I'm saving money here!)
3. Peaches and nectarines
4. Apples
5. Bell peppers
6. Celery (I hate celery! Saving more money!)
7. Berries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes
10. Foods you eat a lot

Sometimes buy organic (not necessary, but still a good idea):
1. Processed foods (you shouldn't be eating these, anyway!)
2. onions
3. avocados
4. pineapple
5. cabbage
6. broccoli
7. bananas
8. asparagus
9. corn
10. mangoes

Don't bother buying organic (don't be fooled into wasting your money):
1. Seafood (just buy ocean caught if you can)
2. Water (duh! Just get a purifier)
3. Foods you don't eat that often

So, that's what I am trying to do. Organic never appealed to me before, but now it sure as heck does!


PJ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Emily & Co. said...

It's interesting to think about the difference between organic and sustainable. They aren't always the same. Like organic bananas traveling from where ever they came from aren't sustainable...the "organic" way they are grown is probably offset by the transportation "cost" to the environment. I'm probably crazy, but I like thinking about stuff like that. I used to sell my uncle's corn at the Farmer's Market at Thanksgiving Point...I loved just hanging out there and smelling all the yummy fruits! Enjoy it for me!

Amanda D said...

I'm not sure I buy that about the diabetes. I was just recently told by a doctor that type 1 diebetes isn't genetic, but type 2 is. The doctor I was talking to said, if your parent has type 2, you will get it. Your lifestyle (being active, eating healthy, etc.) affects when you will get it and you may be able to put it off until you die (thus preventing), but it is in the genetics.

I'm all for buying local and eating fresh foods but for me, I think organic is a waste. I'm not overweight because I ate too much fruit with pesticides. I'm overweight because I eat to much cheese and crackers and cake.

I think it's great that you're working on being healthier though, Cheryl. You're an inspiration.

Cardalls said...

actually i think it's the other way around for diabetes. Type I is juvenile which means very young children get it and it's absolutely not preventable, 2 nephews have it, one was diagnosed at age 5 and one at 16. Type II has a genetic component but is quite preventable (not always) through lifestyle and diet. The sharp rise in diabetes recently is Type II and that is due to the obesity rate in our country.

Cheryl said...

Cardalls is right --it's Type 1 that is not preventable. Type 2 is absolutely preventable! In every possible way. And the study that I talked about didn't say men were getting diabetes from being fat, they were getting it from the poison they put on their plants. The ironic thing is that studies done by the National Institute of Health are never funded by people who make money. Be careful of studies done by anyone who makes money off of the results.

And Amanda, you are eating PROCESSED cheese and crackers and cake. The man-made crap that they put into everything now is what is freaking out our hormones. It's not just eating organic --it's cutting out all the other crap, too.

The biggest secret to weight loss is to keep your hormones in balance. That is the beauty of metabolism. When all of the hormones work together (by eating food we were meant to eat), then weight loss becomes easy. I'm going to mention this in Part IV, but Jillian (who I know everyone thinks is my guru or something now, which, honestly, is NOT the case) went from exercising four hours A DAY and eating 1600 calories a day to working out only 2 to 3 hours a WEEK and eating 2000 calories a day. And this was just for maintenance! All she did was change the way she ate. That's all I've done. And it works. I've only exercised about 6 times in the last few weeks and I've lost over 5 pounds. And I've eaten until was full, and I've still eaten some processed stuff I like (couldn't pass on the girl-scout cookies!). What amazes me is how quickly my metabolism has fixed itself. Our bodies are miracles!

But I know why it's hard to change --because it's just hard to change. It's easier not to. It's much easier to call it quits and ignore the labels and buy the cheapest stuff. And honestly, if people want to keep doing that, they can. It's not my deal. But this stuff I'm writing about it how I've decided how I'm going to change. And since it's working so well, I've decided I have to share it.

P.S. Amanda, no hard feelings --I hope you know this isn't all directed at you. Just my rambling thoughts!

Amanda D said...

I'm not saying that Type 1 is preventable. I know it's not. But it's not genetic.

Type 2 is genetic. If your parents have it, there's a good chance you'll get it. Not 100%, and a lot of it depends on the diet and exercise and weight. Not all of it though. My BIL didn't get type 2 diabetes until he lost 100 pounds.

I'd like a little medical history on that study before I buy that the pesticides (or whatever they were) CAUSED the diabetes. Were they predisposed all ready? What was their health like? Do you have a link for that study?

If you way overeat on organic cheese, you're going to have the same problem, I think, as you will is you overeat processed cheese. It's all about moderation.

I'm really not trying to start a fight. I think it's great that you are doing what you can to get healthy. And I'm glad it's working for you!

Cheryl said...

True. It is all about moderation. There have been studies done that vegetarians and vegans who eat too much soy also develop problems (like breast cancer). So, yes! Moderation is definitely key.

The study I wrote about didn't say they GOT diabetes --just that their risk ended up being higher. They might have, though. I'm honestly not sure! I would have to look up more to tell you more about that.

I'm sorry about your BIL. I know several people of a healthy weight who have had health problems. It is most definitely not reserved for the morbidly obese. However, the risk shoots up drastically when we ingest poisons, fail to exercise, eat man-made processed junk, and over-eat. It just does. And although the organic side was the point of the post, I honestly believe that it takes all of that to keep ourselves humming along. Even then, it won't be perfect. Cancer can hit anybody. And so can a truck!

P.S. Amanda, you rock. :)

Amanda D said...

Cheryl, I hope you aren't annoyed with me. I really wasn't trying to hijack it and make it about diabetes.

I was one that asked, why organic? So! Thanks for explaining. :)

Cardalls said...

So what do you fix for dinner when you are tired and cranky and can't think of anything else. For me that's when the frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, mac n cheese come out. I just don't want to think about it so out the processed food comes. What are your "go to" meals now that you are avoiding all things processed?? I am usually a meal planner and do fairly well, but especially with being pregnant we eat out more and processed more than I'd like to.

Emily & Co. said...

I know you're asking Cheryl and not me, but I thought I would throw in my two cents...I do most of my food prep in the morning after I get half of the kiddos off to school. Then no matter how hectic the rest of the days gets, dinner's done. Tonight was Chinese Chicken Salad. I use my crock pot for cooking beans and soups. When I know there's food coming, I don't snack as much during the day either. Having a plan is the biggest thing...I just started monthly meal planning so I always know "what's for dinner" and can do my prep ahead of time.

It really is fascinating to study locally grown and organic foods .
What I have found most fascinating is the idea that organic foods have to fight of "pests" themselves (since there are no pesticides used) and create more polyphenols to protects themselves. Which in turn protect us. Pretty cool stuff when you take the time to really consider it.

Cheryl said...

No hard feelings at all! I'm glad you asked the questions you did, and honestly, it was your comment on the other post that made me do this one. :)

I'm already planning a post that lists the types of food we eat and what I've done to make most of them as kid-friendly as possible. Great questions!

YES! I almost put the idea of foods fighting off bugs with their own "immune systems" in the post, but deleted it (not sure why). I'm so glad you mentioned it!

Btw, Emily, will you email me? If you get a chance?

Kara said...


All of my genetic research in school was all sugar transporter genes which are what is responsible for diabetes (all types) If the genes with mutations are passed to you from your parents you will get diabetes at some point from your cells not being able to take in or let out sugars properly. We can prevent it if we don't already have the "bad" genes though, peticides and other environmental problems can mutate the genes in our cells and give us diabetes. Our cells have natural mechanisms to fix mutations but if we get too many our bodies can't keep up any more. I totally agree with the whole organic metabolism thing!!!!

Also I know first hand how terrible that pesticides can be my dad was a custom chemical applicator for all the farmers in Idaho and he almost died many times from them. His nervous system was severely damaged to the point that he could no longer work. It also wreaked havoc on his heart, lungs, and digestive system. The chemicals are terrible!!!!

It is hard to follow when there are so many "easy" things out there but I watch Robin Miller's quick fix meals on food network and it is great for quick at home meals and how to plan in advance for the weeks meals. If you have have veggies chopped up either in the fridge or freezer and leftover meats from other meals then it is easy to make a quick meal. Even when I make lasagne, I make 2 pans and freeze one so I can cook it later with no prep.


Ann said...

Whatever doctor said that Diabetes 2 isn't preventable and that you WILL get it if your parents had it needs to be shot. Not only is it most times preventable, but it's also a lot of the time curable if people are willing to change the way they eat.

Sadly most doctors don't even give patients that option anymore. They just go straight to life-long medication and the diagnosis that the patient will probably end up dying from complications from Diabetes.

It's incredibly ridiculous.