Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: O is for Organic Options

It's Monday, and the start of another busy week! Thank you for the support and feedback on my recent knowledge of my thyroid problem. I've now been on the synthroid medication for three days, and I feel like I already have more energy. I know that it's probably my mind playing tricks on me (like I've willed myself to have more energy) and that these things take time, but the bottom line is that I'm hopeful about it all.

BIG WEEK here! On Wednesday, my beautiful little bambina is going to be ONE YEAR OLD!! I can hardly believe the last year has gone so quickly. My due date was the 7th, and last year on the 8th I had given up on her coming. Haha - only one day late but I felt like I was just going to be pregnant forever. Then on the 10th the doctor had me come in to be induced, only to find that I was already in labor when I got there (and I didn't even know it, ha). It's been a fantastic year!

O is for Organic Options

Or-gan-ic. In the last few years, the word "organic" has outgrown its status as an adjective and become a way of life for many people across the globe. It means a fresher, cleaner, more simple world for our families. Pure. Pollutant Free.

Of course, somewhere out there - there is a mom that has no idea what the word organic means, and she's feeding her children organic food with her nose in the air only because it's the trendy thing and everyone is doing it. For the rest of us, choosing organic items is a balance. Organic items are usually more costly and harder to find (in some cases).

Here are some ideas for educating your family on what it means to be organic, and how to better your lifestyle - even if you're not organic 100% of the time. 

What Does 'Organic' Really Mean?

There is a lot of talk about the true meaning of "organic" is. Many people assume that the terms natural, hormone-free, and free-range are all interchangeable with the word organic, and that is not true. These words are allowed to be on food labels even if the product is not organic. 

In fact, some of the products that you may think are 100% organic may also not be.

In order for an item to say that it is organic, it only has to have 95% or more organic ingredients, and can include the USDA Organic Seal. Most items that are completely organic will state that they are 100% organic. To learn more about understanding labeling, visit the United States Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Marketing Service.

Pick & Choose Your Organic Foods

If you want to purchase organic foods, but don't have the budget to allow for it all of the time - try this! Purchase organic foods that don't have peels. For items like bananas, apples, avocados, etc that have a protective peel, there is less pesticide residue.

Plant a Garden

One way to ensure your family gets quality, organic food is to grow it yourself! Oh, how I long for the day when we have a yard big enough for a vegetable garden (we currently live in a townhouse with limited yard space).

In the meantime, we keep our eyes open for deals at local family farms, farmer's markets, and local items in the grocery store. A fantastic resource for finding these places near you is FarmAid.org.

Family Resources

Buying organic products isn't just better for our bodies, it's better for the world. Here are some learning resources for the whole family to check out on what it means to be organic and the difference we can make a little at a time.

The Omnivore's Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan:
A New York Times bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us-whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed-he develops a portrait of the American way of eating. The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.

Growing and Eating Green by Ruth Owen:
Growing and Eating Green is a book exploring the careers available in the food industries, from farming to marketing the foods and everything in between. This is book two in a series of books about "Green-Collar Careers" and there are two others currently planned in the series. There is no reason to read them in order but rather to pick this book due to interest in a career in the Food Production Industry. The book gives the reader information about how to be a person who grows, moves, or markets food grown in a green environment. Farming obviously seems green but it is interesting to find out how far from "natural" as a society we have become. The "Career Profiles" include all areas and genders and are insightful into the variety of possibilities that are now becoming available to someone who wants to stay close to the earth. The chapter about "Organics" is very good and clearly explains the differences. There is a clear glossary in the back and any child trying to decide what he/she wants to do and who enjoys working with his/her hands, would learn about the career possibilities in his/her future.

I think I could go on and on. My husband and I recently started purchasing organic cotton linens and other organic household items. I hope the items above help you understand organic items a little bit better and help you see how they can make our world a greener place!

3 comments:

  1. Awesome post Holly! I recently did a post on eating organic on a budget, but I really didn't have the time to cover much. You did a great job summarizing a lot of different aspects of organic.

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  2. Since Nate was born, I've been trying to shop healthier and more organic. It IS killing my budget, so I have had to scale back a bit. I make organic produce my priority and dairy my runner up. It's so sad that eating food without pesticides costs more money! Glad you're feeling more energized (whether it's in your head or not)!

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  3. I love buying organic but as you said it can be tough on the budget! Our Farmer's Market has some pretty good deals though and we have a garden in the summer (but it didn't do too well this year). The past 2 years we have also saved money on buying organic meats buy splitting a pig and cow with my in-laws and just keeping it in the deep freeze. Tough on the budget in short terms but saves so much money overall.

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