Dear Green Mama: I am a mother of a beautiful baby boy. I do my best to feed him unprocessed and organic foods. Unfortunately both my hubby and I were laid off and the budget is tight. I have heard of "the dirty dozen" and hoped you could shed some light on it. What are the most important foods for me to purchase organic and what are the ones I can "skimp" on. -- Organic & Budget Conscious Sue
Dear Organic and Budget Conscious Sue:
I applaud you for
working so hard to make sure your son gets the best possible foods. It
isn’t always easy or cheap, but it will pay off. Since you already
choose organic, you probably already have some inkling of how important
it is for children. Pesticides in foods have been linked to obesity, autism, childhood cancers, birth defects and neurological problems in children.
There are, however, some foods that are simple MORE important to buy organic. Consumer Reports says these foods include: ALL meat and dairy (for meat and dairy, I consider organic to be the baseline, try to also get grassfed), the most contaminated fruits and vegetables (or the Dirty Dozen as you refer to them), and ALL baby foods. Why all baby foods? This is 1) because babies are so susceptible to even small amounts of pesticide: their organs and systems are still developing so small effects can have major impacts and they breath and eat more per pound than adults do. As well, they don’t detoxify nearly as well as adults (or in some cases at all). AND 2) Baby foods are often concentrated (and sometimes overcooked and processed and preserved with additives). So, getting a jar of apple sauce means there isn’t just one apple in there with the pesticides of one apple, but rather MANY apples with the pesticides of all of those apples.
To this list, I also add grains, in particular rice, as well as any concentrated foods, e.g. ketchup, apple sauce, tomato paste, etc., and eggs. The organic standards for fish aren’t up and running yet, but I am also very careful about my family’s fish consumption.
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