There are few things in this fleeting world that get me all riled up, but last night while cleaning up after dinner (which of course was organic, including the cleaning supplies), one of those few things came on television!  You see, my husband turned on Fox news, which we enjoy often, and Stossel was on.  We love watching Stossel; he is great.  However, last night he was reporting on "Stupid Consumers", and one of the reports was on organic food.  You can watch this episode of "Stupid Consumers" on Stossel's website.  I completely comprehend what Stossel was trying to get at when it comes to consumers falling for creative and profitable marketing and advertising trends.  But come on Stossel, Justin Wilson? Justin Wilson is with the Center for Consumer Freedom, which sounds great, right!?  Consumer Freedom, woohoo!  Less government, yes please! But the Center for Consumer Freedom seems to me that they might just have their own agenda, and it is not to give consumers freedom.  It seems to me that they work to misinform, mislead, and completely confuse people on the truth.  More on this in a minute; lets talk about the report.

Lets start with Organic foods.  According to Justin Wilson, Organic food is “just a scam”, those of us who purchase organic produce and other products are being “led around by our nose…”, the organic label is all about marketing, “that’s about all there is to it…”, people like organic to “stay ahead of the trend, if your cool friend says I eat organic and what do you mean you do not use reusable bags…there is a little guilt and a little bit of wanting to be cool.”  Wow! Did I just hear that correctly, people eat organically to be cool and stay ahead of the trend?  I happen to know a lot of people who make a conscious choice to purchase organic foods and products, not because it is trendy, but because they believe it truly is healthier. However, according to Wilson, he says that studies have been done over and over again to show that the health benefits of organic food over conventionally grown food is “negligible to zero”. That is interesting, so organic food is not any healthier for you than food that has been grown using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides?  I am not convinced.  Why would you want to eat food that has been sprayed with pesticides (neurotoxins)?  We are already burdened by an unthinkable and unavoidable amount of toxins on a daily basis, so why eat foods sprayed with toxic chemicals.  

Lets say there is not a difference in the nutritional content between organic and conventional foods, at all. Why choose organic?  Well, I choose organic to reduce my body burden of toxins, but not because it is trendy, cool, or because marketing says so. I believe food grown in healthier soil, without the use of pesticides that have been linked to a number of health concerns, is obviously superior.  Why wouldn’t I want to feed myself, and my family, the best food available?  The way I see food is simple, if the food does not bring nourishment, energy, and life-long wellness to the body, then one must wonder, what purpose is it serving? 

What you eat is a choice, a freedom, so choose wisely.  Make educated choices, not choices based on what the Center for Consumer Freedom says; they say trans fats and high fructose corn syrup are fine in moderation.  It is almost as if, in their attempt to “promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices”, they are actually speaking out against health and wellness.   Perhaps it has something to do with some of the businesses that fund their organizations, like restaurants and food companies, which they “cannot” disclose.  I do not know.  Perhaps their heart is in the right place; I am not to judge that.  If you really want people to have consumer freedom they must first be educated, and people cannot be educated if nutritional information is not disclosed and people continue to send mixed and unclear messages about what is good and what is not. 

I agree that we should not be policed by the government on what we can and cannot eat.  However, the public must be rightfully informed on what is in the food they are eating.  In my opinion, going on the Stossel show and basically saying that people that spend money on organic foods are stupid is disrespectful, arrogant, and flat-out ridiculous.  That is not the way I would promote consumer freedom.  Instead of saying it is a waste of money, unsafe, and a placebo, based on “studies” which were never defined, how about bringing the attention of the consumer to the back of the product they are purchasing as well as educating the public on what pesticides are and why they are dangerous!  Learn to read labels and understand the ingredients list.  Mr. Wilson gave the example of the juice, and said if there were two options of juice for the same price and one read “natural” on the front, people would go for the one that is natural.   Maybe so, but why not educate people to turn the bottle around, read the ingredients, understand what they are reading, and then decide which one they want, regardless of what the front of the bottle reads.  This allows people to make an educated choice rather than look at everything as a marketing scheme, which is what the Center for Consumer Freedom appears to do.  On the show, he said it is pretty much all marketing, which leads people to believe that we should run from “natural”, “organic”,"local", and “cage-free” products, in order to avoid being suckered and unfairly knighted a “stupid consumer”. 

The way the message was delivered was misleading.  Not to mention, the question an audience member posed at the end of the show (not seen in the video) was not really answered, and it ended with Mr. Wilson saying that Monsanto is good and would decrease the amount of pesticides used.  All I can say is wow! We will have to cover genetically-modified foods in another post. 

I was a bit disappointed to say the least, but it’s OK, Stossel, we still like you, and we could never stop watching Fox News! Next time you should bring on someone who actually believes in health and wellness for people through education!

 

I have posted some studies (there are many) I came across in looking further into this issue.  Please enjoy, and if you would like more information or would be interested in reading my paper titled, “ Honey, Pesticides are Killing the Kids: The Importance of Organic Produce and products for a Country Full of Sick Kids” send an email to drflynn@organichealthinstitute.com.

 

Just a few studies:

A study from Environmental Health Perspectives (2006) journal demonstrated that “organic diets reduce children’s organophosphorous (OP) pesticide exposure and the health risks that may be associated with these exposures. This reduction in exposure was dramatic and immediate for the OP pesticides malathion and chlorpyrifos, which are commonly and predominantly used in agricultural production and have no or minimal residential uses. The findings for the OP pesticide exposure in children from this study therefore support the conclusion made by the National Research Council (1993) that dietary intake of pesticides could represent the major source of exposure in infants and young children.”

Pesticides are linked to several chronic health effects, including respiratory problems such as asthma, neurological, reproductive and developmental problems, and cancer.  Health effects due to toxic pesticides is seen more severely in children than in adults, because children tend to eat more pesticide-burdened foods such as fresh fruits, fruit juices, and vegetables.  In addition, they “eat more food per body mass than adults” (Curl, C.L., Fenske, R.A. et al. Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington USA).

A study from the journal, Pediatrics, concluded that their hypothesis was supported by their findings that exposure to organophosphates in children may contribute to the prevalence of ADHD (Bouchard et al, 2010). In another article, in the Alternative Medicine Review, Dr. Walter Crinnion looked at the nutrition differences between organically-grown foods and conventionally-grown foods.  In the article, different studies were reviewed, and though there were not always clear-cut lines in the nutritional differences between the two, organic foods did show to have higher levels of vitamin C, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and phytochemicals (anthocyanins, carotenoids, flavonoids) than the conventionally grown foods.  In addition, “organic fruits and vegetables appear to have the potential to diminish the mutagenic action of toxic compounds and inhibit the proliferation of certain cancer cell lines.  Furthermore, when you choose organic foods you are choosing foods with far less pesticide residue (Crinnion, 2010).

By free choice I choose organic!

References:

 

1.     Crinnion, Walter J. “Organic Foods contain Higher Levels of Certain Nutrients, Lower Levels of Pesticides, and May Provide Health Benefits for the Consumer” Alternative Medicine Review 15 (2010): 1-10.

2.     Curl, Cynthia L., Fenske, Richard A., Elgethun, Kai.  Organophosphorous Pesticide Exposure of Urban and Suburban Preschool Children with Organic and Conventional Diets. Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington USA

3.     Bouchard, Maryse F., Bellinger, David C., Wright, Robert O., et al. “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides” PEDIATRICS (2010)

4.     Organic Food Worth the Price: October 28, 2011 

5.     Consumer Freedom

Posted on 10/31/2011 12:00 AM
Currently rated 5 by 2

How are you feeling today? Happy, sad, depressed, anxious, tired, stressed, content, indifferent...?  What have you fed your body today in order to make certain that every cell gets the best nourishment possible so you can function at an optimal level?  What if I told you that the food you eat plays a major role in the way you feel.  Unfortunately, we have become a country dependent on convenience and speed, but even the local fast food joint is not fast enough in its service for our fast-paced lifestyles.  When we depend on quick, highly processed foods to give us nourishment we are giving away our health and wellness to an industry only interested in making money, not making sure you get nourishing foods.  If you sacrifice your health for a few extra minutes in the day you must consider if the so-called extra time is really worth the risk of fueling yourself with dead food; food you spend hard-earned dollars on. 

Take a minute and think about what you have had to eat today, what you have you fed your family?  An even better question, what is food? According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, food is "material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also : such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)."  That is simple enough, right?  It is something you consume in order to nourish the body and to give the body energy and necessary nutrients it requires to live.  So, a fast-food burger with fries and a soda is the same as a spinach salad topped with fresh organic veggies, with organic baked chicken breast, olive oil and lemon juice as a dressing, with some yummy organic blueberries and a water, right? They are both providing the body with proteins, carbs, and fat, so either way you are food.  Good, but one I would consider dead food and the other living and nourishing food. 

Let me shine some light on the matter, shall I.  So, the hamburger from a fast food joint (I chose the best fast food place I could, and no it was definitely not McDonalds) will have about 390 calories, 19 grams of fat, 16 grams of protein, 650 mg sodium, some vitamins and minerals like A, C, iron, and calcium.  "Do you want fries with that? If your answer is yes, and you get a small order of french fries you add 400 calories, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, 54 carbs, 245 mg sodium, some calcium and iron, and NO vitamins!  Then to top it off you want a cola, right? Of course!  The large cola (32 fl ounces) will not add fat directly, but you will end up drinking 65 grams of sugar, 267 calories, 69 carbs, some sodium, potassium, phosphorus, fluoride, and no vitamins. 

  • You get a grand total of 37 grams of fat, 1,057 calories, and 23 grams of protein, and 162 carbs, plus over 900mg of sodium, in one meal. 

OK, so what about the salad with baked chicken, olive oil and blueberries?  One cup of spinach has 0 fat, 7 calories, Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, Bs, and calcium and iron (Popeye was not lying), selenium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.  1/2 a chicken breast (baked, no skin) has 1 gram of fat, 27 grams of protein, 130 calories, and no carbs, as well as iron, vitamin C, folate, niacin, calcium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus.  A tablespoon of olive oil offers healthy fats, omega 6 mainly, but some omega 3 fatty acids. It has 14 grams of fat, 119 calories, 0 carbs, is mildly anti-inflammatory, and has vitamins E and K. A cup of blueberries (organic is best) offers 0 fat, 84 calories, 21 carbs, 4 grams of fiber, vitamins A, C, Bs, E, K, folate, as well as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, copper, and a small amount of sodium.  I could go on and on comparing, but you get the idea. 

  • This nourishing meal offers a total of 15 grams of fat (healthy fats from the olive oil, not corn-fed meat and fried potatoes), 340 calories, 27 grams of protein, and 25 carbs, and 102 mg of sodium (77mg from the chicken, 1mg from the blueberries, and 24mg of sodium from the spinach).   It seems to me that we have everything backwards and upside down.

So, you can chose to eat something that gives the body beautiful nourishment with more than 1/2 the fat, 1/3 of the calories, and comparable protein for those of you Paleo followers.  OK, you get the idea, right? The salad choice is a better choice.  We have to change the way we think about food.  Our bodies are starving for nutrients that whole foods have to offer. We might be eating enough to make obesity an epidemic, but the foods we are choosing are not nutrient-rich choices.  We do not just have an obesity epidemic due to the foods we are consuming and the lack of physical movement we get, but we have a major mental epidemic concerning what real food is.  If you eat a salad people call you a rabbit, if you eat seeds or nuts some might say you are eating bird food. If you chose to drink water instead of soda you must be on a diet. If you just say no to eating out at certain restaurants you get made fun of by your friends, and heaven forbid you start losing a little weight and your skin starts glowing, because then a family member will tell you to eat something, you look too thin....AHHHH!!! People, wake up, choosing to eat healthy, organic, whole foods is not weird! What is weird is choosing to eat dead food that has been manipulated, injected with hormones and antibiotics, genetically modified, and processed to the point you cannot even recognize any of the ingredients.  Not to mention, all the preservatives added, the food coloring to make it "pretty" and "fun", the flavors added, and so on.  And then they put the food in a box, wrap it in plastic, or place it in a can (deplete of nutrients, in most cases).  They make it easy and convenient for you. All you have to do it open it, squeeze it, drink it, microwave it, mix it, and all in the name of convenience, and all with a price tag.  The price tag is your health, the health of your family, and all those you care about. 

Convenience is great, but how long does it take to make a salad at night so it is ready to take to work in the morning?  How difficult is it to wash off some berries or an apple?  What about grabbing a handful of walnuts or almonds?  By the time you leave work to get to the fast food joint and back you could have made a salad for every day of the week.  Not to mention, how much extra money would you have in your pocket by choosing to not eat out?  We have to change the way we think about food.  We spend more time researching the next car we are going to purchase or the next home we are going to live in or which school to send our children to than we spend researching the food we eat.  The food that gives you the nourishment you need for your brain to function to make all these important decisions in life, the food that keeps you alive and vibrant so you have the energy to keep up with your kids and are there to watch their kids grow up.  We have to change the way we think about the importance of food.  We should be more concerned about our food budget than our entertainment budgets.  We are spending less money on food now then we did back in 1949, according to one report from Huffington Post.  We spend less money, why, because we have manipulated the food in such a way to make it as cheap and convenient as possible.  Keep in mind, cheaper is not always better, we are spending less on food but getting fatter!  Yes, the same report from Huffington Post said that in 1959 28% of adults were overweight and in 2009 it increased to 64% of adults!  Spend less money on crappy food, so you can supersize it and eat more, and gain weight! Awesome! 

Lets change the way we think about food.  Food is to nourish the body.  Look at food in its most natural and organic state; it is beautiful, colorful, vibrant, and full of mouth-watering flavors that dance on the taste buds.  Not to mention the amazing health benefits of whole foods!  Do you ever wonder why we are a nation of obesity, sickness, autoimmune disorders, cancer, gastrointestinal issues, etc..?  Could it be the food?  What if eating whole foods and super foods is the answer to optimal wellness? What if what you eat does matter?  What if it is that easy?  Think about it.  If food does not bring nourishment, energy, and life-long wellness to the body, one must wonder, what purpose is it serving?

Respect the food; respect yourself!

More to come....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/08/how-much-do-americans-spe_n_414700.html

Also, If you have not been on Jamie Oliver's Food revolution website, what are you waiting for?

http://www.jamieoliver.com/us/foundation/jamies-food-revolution/home

Posted on 9/12/2011 12:00 AM
Tags: health | revolution | food
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So I am on the phone with another medical student, and we are talking about the importance of naturopathic medicine and how all the hard work will pay off after we graduate.  As I walked and talked around the house I noticed something moving up my driveway.  It was a man with a hose!

What on earth was this random man doing on my property with a hose? Oh my word, I thought, there is something coming out of the hose!  I looked a little harder and what do you know the man is spraying something on our rocks, near our trash can! "Oh my goodness", I yelled to my friend on the phone, "there is a man outside spraying pesticides!"  Without giving much thought to the fact that I was dressed in my pajamas, I ran downstairs and hurried out the front door.

Still on the phone with my friend, I asked the man what he was doing, and if he was spraying pesticides (of course I already knew the answer as the fumes mulled me over as I exited my house).  His response was a simple yes, followed by a puzzled look as if thinking what's it to you?  I asked him why he was spraying on my property and he just said it did not matter since the houses were close together.  Interesting I must say.  "Pesticides are completely safe, even for kids and animals" he ignorantly said.  I thought my heart might break through my chest as my anger began to build.  "No they are not safe" I responded. I do not care what you say, pesticides are a neurotoxin" I continued. 

I guess I offended him and started telling me that if I was going to talk to him like that that he did not care.  I told him it was not anything against him, it was against the pesticides! "but they are completely safe" he said. 'Oh my goodness, did he really just say that again?', I thought.  My friend still being on the phone chimes in, little did I recall that she was on speaker phone so he heard what she had to say as well.  "People just do not know, they are just ignorant to the truth" she said.  Meanwhile, the new neighbor, yes she is new, I have never met the lady, pulls up, probably wondering why I am talking to her bug guy.  All the while a neighbor across the street is watching us go back and forth from his front porch.  I do not know why he was so interested in the scene, I mean there was no neck or eye rolling involved, and I kept my hand movements to a minimum. 

Anyway, I told the man he should be wearing a mask, and he proceeded to tell me that he has been doing this for two years without a mask and is perfectly fine.  In addition, he said pesticides are safer than they were back in the 1970's, and that the people spraying the pesticides back then are the ones with a tremor now (he did not say tremor, but he shook his hand back and forth as though that is what he was referring to).  Hmmm, so perhaps in another 30 years or so his hands will be shaking as well, and if I am still in AZ, perhaps he will be one of my many patients that I have to treat for environmental toxicity. Poor guy, he has no idea.  Of course he thinks they are safe, otherwise he would not be spraying them on people's property, especially not without protective gear.  He has been deceived, and like many other Americans, does not see the issue with spraying neurotoxins on people's property, let alone, breathe them in day after day.

Before I go, I must tell you one more story.  So, how about I was driving out of the neighborhood one morning I drove past a man and his son.  The little boy was probably 3 years old, and guess what he and his dad were doing together....?  You guessed it, they were spraying round up on their front yard.  I think my heart stopped and my mind went wild.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  Hey dad of the three year old, have you ever heard of baseball?

Posted on 9/28/2010 12:00 AM
Currently rated 5 by 1
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