Ok, so some times we don’t always eat organic whole foods [hello pregnancy cravings…] but as the meal planner for my household, I try to make sure we are eating as many organic whole foods as possible. I try to stick to an 80/20 rule. 80 percent of our meals and daily snacks should be organic whole foods and 20 percent allows for grabbing food while we’re on the run, being invited over to dinner at some one else’s house, etc.
But WHY? Why is it so important? Despite growing up in California for 20 years, my family didn’t really try to make a healthy food transition until I was in middle school. I probably don’t know the real reason why my mom made the conversion, but what I do remember is my brother and I struggling with ADHD. We were 12 and 10, and being put on adult doses of medications like ritalin, strattera, and adderall. I remember coming across several articles and books at the time linking poor diet, primarily of processed foods, leading to attention deficit disorders. I’m sure there we other reasons my mom made the change, but that sticks out in my mind as a big one.
Let’s flash forward to my adult life. My weight over the past 6 years has fluctuated enormously bouncing in between 130-178. Yes, 178 was my highest, and I was sitting at that weight when I became pregnant. Luckily, while I was pregnant, my body burned that fat as fuel to sustain the life of my child. Also, the month before I got pregnant, I switched to a clean eating diet that is very similar to the Paleo movement. So, I set myself up to have healthy eating habits while I was pregnant and didn’t gain too much weight throughout that 9 month process. What motivated me to take on clean eating, besides being at my highest weight? Well, being overweight was the motivation for me to do some research on how I should lose the weight. I didn’t want to cut out food groups [not even fat] and it seemed the best way to lose fat while not removing any 1 food group from your diet is to eat organic, fresh foods.
You see, in my research I found that a lot of food, even “fresh” food, has chemicals in or on it. When we consume those chemicals, our bodies don’t know how to digest it. In fact, our bodies kind of procrastinate digesting it, because the chemicals are so unlike any other food our body has experience digesting. Well, you can’t just have chemicals floating around in the body, bumping into important organs, so this is how the body stores them, until it can figure out how to digest them: The body coats each chemical in a layer of fat, and then sends it off to be stored with the other fats. Eating processed food LITERALLY makes you fat. This is why detoxing became such a craze! People are desperate to get these fat-coated chemicals out of their bodies! Yes it’s true, you can eventually detox from all of that junk, but how do you maintain your clean slate? Eat organic. Your body knows those foods, and has the ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients from those foods.
My husband will some times tease me, because I’d rather buy organic chocolate chips over regular chocolate, or organic cinnamon sugar cereal over cinnamon toast crunch. While these foods aren’t the healthiest in nature, and should be eaten in moderation, I know that when push comes to shove, my body is going to have a way easier time digesting organic chocolate made from cocoa beans and sugar cane than it will trying to digest hydrogenated oils and fructose.
Flash forward to me being a parent. Our babies have virgin digestive systems. We nurture those tummies with awesome breastmilk, but then what? There is an epidemic of childhood obesity, and yet parents have no idea how to take preventative steps to help their children! Do we give them a SlimFast instead of whole milk? NO. Give them fresh, whole foods, free of chemicals. Get back to the garden, back to nature. Since the organic craze has become more and more popular, there are organic versions of all your favorite foods. Cereals, crackers, yogurts… and of course, fruits and vegetables. Make it fun, let your kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. When I’m strolling around the produce aisle, my baby grabs what she wants off the stands, and I let her! I want her to feel like she’s independent and can make healthy choices for herself.
I was really inspired by 2 documentaries on this subject:
my all time favorite: “Hungry for Change”
and also “Fed Up”
If you also want more information and a more detailed explanation on the harm processed foods and chemicals do to our bodies, I highly recommend “Hungry for Change,” it is by far the most informative and empowering.