I am often asked questions about my shopping rituals. With the next few blogs I would like to share the considerations and thoughts I hold in mind, when I source and purchase foods for my family…
Let me preface this discussion by admitting that I love food. All genuine foods. I particularly love traditional foods (anything you can hunt, pick or gather that is not altered from it’s original state) but my absolute favourites are organic produce and real foods made from authentic organic products.
What I don’t like are false foods or horribly processed products pretending to be food. These lifeless products are so processed and lacking in nutrition that our bodies do not register them as real food; not long after we have eaten them, our survival instincts kick in and we start foraging for foods with substance. If we then choose more eye-candy foods instead of the wholesome nutrition that meets the needs of our dynamic bodies, the cycle will continue. We will eat and continue to eat, moving from one processed food-thrill to another, creating problems not only with our wardrobes but also with our loved ones because we are unhappy and unwell.
Some parents ask, “Do our kids really need to eat fruits and vegetables? My kids don’t eat them and they seem fine?”
Or they may state,
“Buying organic foods is just a scam – organic foods aren’t really any better for us!”
The important thing to remember is that foods today are very different to the foods we were given as children. Many of our modern foods contain genetically modified ingredients (to which no one knows the health implications) and an array of other chemicals lingering from modern farming methods and manufacturing.
What we do know is that many of the chemicals we breathe, absorb and ingest, compromise our digestive and immune strength.
Approximately 70% of our immune strength is found in our digestive system and our immunity can easily be compromised unless we consistently focus on strengthening our digestion.
While I may be passionate about food, I am like a dog with a bone when it comes to protecting the health of our children. Sadly many of them have extremely poor digestive function — which allows them to become vulnerable to allergies, behavioural issues and chronic illness.
There are many reasons why infants and children are more at risk than adults, including:
- the foetus and infant have immature detoxification systems and the blood-brain barrier is not yet formed;
- children are smaller and so receive more concentrated doses of the toxicant; children consume less variety of food, so they might receive a higher exposure to a chemical contained in a favourite food;
- children play and breathe closer to the floor where contaminants accumulate in air and dust;
- children consume more food and water compared with adults, and
- they also breathe more air on a mg/kg body weight basis.
A five-year United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report entitled “Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children”, found that infants would consume up to seven times the amount of water on a mg/kg body weight basis than that consumed by adults. Water can be a source of exposure to toxicants for children, especially to children living in areas where groundwater is contaminated with pesticide and nitrate runoff.
Q: “Do I believe all organic foods are health foods and the cure all for health problems?”
No I do not.
Manufacturers can sell non-organic food under a brand name that includes the word “organic” or they can advertise products as “made with organic ingredients” and yet still use a number of other poor choice ingredients. More then ever we need to become food critics and ALWAYS look at the ingredients lists of products we purchase.
Genuine organic produce however is grown in healthy soils using a natural, seasonal cycle and safe, sustainable agricultural practices that do not rely on:
- Genetically modified seeds
- Synthetic chemicals (such as fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides) or growth regulators
- Livestock feed additives
It is important to note that good digestive health is fostered through applying a number of healthy lifestyle habits – not solely eating organic foods.
. . . . .
- Which Foods When eBook for more detailed information about nutrition for infants and young children.
- Lunchbox Solutions interactive eBook for information and over 70 easy recipes and healthy lunch ideas.
- “Shop For Health! Part 2” — the 2nd article in this series.
. . . . .
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani