• Mandee

Why I Went Organic

Many of my friends playfully make fun of me because I try to only eat organic and non-GMO foods.  When I first started, they’d accuse me of hopping on a new fad that everyone was doing and predicted that it would die out soon.  That was over 10 years ago. And the thing is, it’s not a “new fad”. I’ve been saying for years that what we call organic food was just regular food to our grandparents and great grandparents, and it’s nothing new.  There was no need to differentiate during their time because much of the conventional food we have today didn’t exist 60-70 years ago.

I wasn’t always aware of the differences in organic and conventional food.  In the summer of 2009 I attended a conference with my husband. There was a booth at the conference where a man was showing the differences between organic and conventional food. One of the things that stood out to me was how long it took conventional food to spoil, compared to organic food. Organic food spoils significantly quicker than conventional food. I learned that this was because the organic food didn’t have preserving chemicals like the conventional food did.

Another thing that stood out to me was the size of organic food compared to conventional food. The organic food at the booth was noticeably smaller than the conventional food. I learned that this was because there were no growth hormones or chemicals added to the organic food.  This really struck a chord with me because I’ve read multiple times that we eat much larger portions than our ancestors and that contributes to the obesity problem our society faces. I was, and still am, part of that problem, so I was intrigued.

Over the next month or so I read a myriad of articles that explained the benefits of organic foods, browsed websites on making the change to organic food, and I learned what a GMO is. I have to be honest, understanding what I had been eating really pissed me off. Here I thought I was eating good food and instead I was literally eating gross chemicals!  Making the switch to organic food also taught me that not only did food contain pesticides, but some food was made with chemicals. Certain cereals had the same ingredients as chemical cleaning supplies.

Grab my smelling salts; I was freaking horrified.

It took me awhile to learn and understand organics, non-GMOs, chemicals, and all the ins and outs of that.  Now, my family and I only eat food that contains ingredients that I recognize as real food and the less ingredients, the better. 90% of what we eat is organic and I try hard to stay away from GMOs and farm raised fish.

Have these changes made me lose weight?

Some, but not as much as I’d like because my portion control is, well, out of control, and organic cookies and candy are still cookies and candy.  And that’s something I’m currently working on, but I feel better eating real food, both physically and mentally. My grandmother ate real food. My great grandmother ate real food. They were some of the strongest, healthiest women I know, and they didn’t have health problems until they were way past middle age. I’ve buried more than a few friends my age from health problems that I remember used to be considered “old people diseases” as we used to call it.

One of my high school friends died from stomach cancer in November of 2015.  He was a 36 year old former football star in otherwise perfect health. He had a stroke in June and at a follow up appointment for the stoke, they discovered the cancer. A few years ago I lost back to back friends to complications from diabetes.

In my mind, the rise in diseases coupled with the lowering of the ages of those affected has to be at least somewhat food and chemical-related. I’ve read articles where the CDC has admitted that certain chemicals can cause cancer if there’s regular exposure to them.

Well, ingesting them is probably pretty regular, no?

I’m not an extremist with this.  I don’t judge others if they don’t feel the same way I do.  I don’t try to force my eating habits on others, and I admit that I still have a lot to learn.  I’d just like to err on the side of caution.

Can’t be too careful, right?

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