Sunday, January 18, 2009

Start Eating Organic--Your Life Depends On It

This is a post I wrote back in August on my Diabetes Insipidus blog. I no longer update that blog, but I wanted to share this post with all of you. It goes back to people's mindset, which directly affects what they eat. You may not think these go together, but I assure you they do.

Someone who is closed-minded and watches TV constantly will likely not care about what they eat. They will eat "anything that tastes good". I put my family in the closed-minded group because they just don't care. Open minded people who don't watch TV regularly, often times are the people who eat organic. You will see them in organic section of your local grocery store, trying to get by.

I was asked to do a post about diet, so here is my bizarre view on things. I updated a few things.

There are still a lot of reluctant people when it comes to "going organic". I think there are a few reasons for this, but I will only speak about 1 big reason.

The main reason is their pride and being in denial. Americans are living their lives in constant denial, fed by the TV. You are being programmed by your TV and it tells you what to talk about with your friends and family. It feels like one big soap opera to me. Turn your TV off, throw it out and start thinking for yourself. I refuse to partake in these stupid, pointless and distracting discussions with family. When I used to work outside of home, before I even walked in the break room I knew what everyone would be talking about...

It is absolutely amazing what is available on the internet these days. You no longer even need a TV--not that I ever felt you did. However it is so easy to get weather, traffic updates, and news online. If anything you will save yourself a lot of money each month and won't be bombarded with prescription medication commercials. The costs of dish/cable TV is getting higher and higher especially if you subscribe to anything other than basic cable.

Americans are in denial that this country is falling to tyranny. We are in denial that we are sick, overweight and basically a laughing stock of the world. This country won't be the superpower of the world much longer, but we are in denial of this too. America is free and happy. Nothing is wrong! Right...

This denial extends to many aspects of most people's lives. They are afraid to say "no" to their doctor. People blindly fill their prescriptions each month without once questioning why they need a pill to "fix" their new disorder or disease. Meanwhile they have 2 other pills to counter the side effects of the first pill. None of these pills will cure a darn thing. It just makes you profitable to the pharmaceutical companies. The longer they drag out your life, the more money they make. At 25, you may be on 3 medications by the time you hit 60 (if you even live that long these days) you'll probably be on 20 medications. That's a lot of money.

When you try to talk to someone about eating organic, you get 1 of 2 responses. The first one is, "Oh it is just so expensive". I agree that is more expensive especially if you are used to eating Hot Pockets and frozen pizzas. Frozen organic foods aren't the way to go. You should be in the produce section stocking up on salad and fresh veggies. After all, processed food is processed whether it has a organic tag on the box or not.

I think people underestimate how much they will save in their lifetime by eating organic. It is a long term investment in your health. Everyone who owns a home, pays for homeowner's insurance. For each month you pay for it, do you complain about it? Not likely because you have it for the future in case something unforeseen happens to your house (e.g. tornado, storm damage, fire). This should be your same attitude with eating organic. Don't complain about the costs because it is your "insurance" for the future. Eating organic on a budget is still possible, you'll just have to make some sacrifices.

Remember there is a reason why organic items are more expensive. Not many people really understand what "organic" means. There are specific rules these foods and farms must follow and I think all food should have to follow these rules. Other countries naturally have organic foods in their country, so that may be why people from outside of the US, don't understand the fuss with organic foods. I don't think people from other countries understand how bad food is in this country. You can read a summary of the organic requirements in PDF here.

Not all organic foods are equal though. Typically smaller organic farms are better than the large organic farms. It has been said that Horizon was caught with violations, but was left to continue their business. In addition to this, late last year it was alleged that the organic private labels at Target-Archer Farms, Walmart-Kirkland, Safeway and Wild Oats were NOT organic when labeled as such. There was a lawsuit filed against Aurora Organic Dairy in this case.

When you have an organic farm it actually takes time and proper care to sustain these animals. Animals in a non-organic farm are constantly on antibiotics, given growth hormones and even fed hershey's chocolate and potato chips. Do you really want to eat an animal that has been eating potato chips and chocolate. I personally refuse to eat Hershey's chocolate and have given up potato chips for good. Someone in the family actually thought cows ate grass. I laughed out loud because it was so ridiculous, but sometimes the most obvious things aren't obvious to others. Cows do not eat grass unless otherwise stated when buying it (i.e Grass-fed Beef).

I recently saw an article stating that they will now be irradiating spinach and lettuce because of the e-coli outbreaks. This is absolutely sick. We do not know what happens to our gut when we eat these foods on a regular basis. According to this article, the irradiated foods MUST be labeled. I guess that makes me feel a LITTLE better. Remember this when you buy non-organic spinach and lettuce, look for the Radura label! In the article it states that Romaine lettuce is next to be approved, so that they can begin irradiating bagged salads. Last year all raw almonds are now irradiated and can still be called "raw" despite this.

One of the biggest problems with food in this country are the loopholes in labeling laws. These loopholes allow companies to label foods trans fat free, calorie and sugar free even if it isn't! You might be asking yourself, how are they doing this!? Well for example, a food can be deemed trans fat free as long as it has <0.5 grams. Now companies are intentionally creating smaller and smaller serving sizes in order to avoid having to label them.

Any partially or fully hydrogenated oil in the ingredients list is a trans fat. No exceptions. Next time you are in the butter section, look at the labels for the "butter alternatives". Most of them will LIE and say there are 0 grams of trans fats per serving, but if you look at the ingredients list, a trans fat will be on there.

Another example of the labeling loopholes, is in the artificial sweetener Splenda. I don't recommend using this stuff because its safety hasn't been tested properly. This is yet another FDA loophole in how food additives are approved.../sigh The serving size on Splenda is intentionally small, so it can hide the 4 calories in each packet! There are calories in the packets because it is bulked with maltodextrin and dextrose. Both of those are simple sugars. Not only does Splenda have a caloric value, there is also sugar in it. This is extremely dangerous considering diabetics use Splenda to control their blood sugar levels.

Lastly, companies are not required to label GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients in foods. Most families are eating GMO and don't even realize it. In the US, the most common GM foods are soy, wheat, corn, canola oil and newly approved sugar beets. Since these are such common ingredients in soups, sauces, frozen meals, your family is likely eating GM foods on a DAILY basis. Most big name food companies use GMO and won't even tell you. You'll have to contact them, but often times they can't guarantee that it isn't GMO due to contamination.

The food labeling loopholes are what's keeping Americans sick. If you went to wal-mart, picked up a can of Campbell's soup and it said made with genetically modified organisms do you think most people would buy it? Probably not. The free market would force companies to clean up their foods or go out of business. That's how things are supposed to work. However with the gatekeeping FDA in charge, it's practically IMPOSSIBLE to get food laws changed.

This illustrates why eating organic is practically required in America. If you don't, then you'll have NO IDEA what you are eating.

The next response I get when I begin talking about organic food is ridicule, giggles, and stupid jokes. "I don't eat organic and I'm doing fine." Meanwhile that same person had a heart attack, cancer and last week was complaining about headaches and joint pain. I'm sure some of you have been around these people. This is the person's defense mechanism kicking in because of their ego, pride and being in complete denial.

You can see we have come full circle. Close-minded people just don't care at all. They are oblivious to what is going on in the world. Often times, by choice.

If you have a long list of health conditions, your first move should be diet. Not a pill. Start eating all organic, whole foods and you will be shocked by how much better you'll feel.

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