Dr. Greene’s Answer:
My organic journey began in a cow pasture, believe it or not. I was walking on a diary farm in Vermont, listening to someone speak about the dramatic improvement in health for a herd of cows when it transitions from being a conventional herd to an organic one. The speaker made an offhand remark about how impractical it is for someone today to be 100 percent organic.
Back at home, I posed the question to my family. What if I switched exclusively to organic food for a year to see what it was like? We were quick to note that our favorite restaurants might be off limits, and that eating with others would be tough. But the family strongly supported my experiment, and I happily made the switch.
I eat 100 percent organic or wild, so I’m far off the conventional food grid. This requires planning ahead to find local food co-ops, grocery stores, and restaurants. It also means I travel with my own food. My family shares my passion for organic food, and we make food choices that are best for our bodies and our planet.
In “Raising Baby Green,” I discuss the best ten organic food choices parents can make for their families. Here are my top three:
- Organic Milk
A glass of milk is like the tip of an iceberg – it represents a whole system of agriculture. When you chose organic, you choose a green system and also gain a number of healthy benefits. A recent study showed that organic milk contains up to 80 percent more antioxidants and healthier fats as well.
- Organic Potatoes
Potatoes grow under the ground, so when pesticides are sprayed, they don’t get directly on the potato, but they will get into the plant’s storage system. In USDA testing, after the potato has been washed and peeled, it has the highest average total of pesticides of any produce. And Americans eat lots of potatoes.
- Organic Peanut Butter
More acres in the US are planted in peanuts than any fruit or vegetable, and most of our peanuts go into peanut butter. Peanut butter often gets a bad rap because of the high fructose corn sweetener, trans fats, and other chemical ingredients. The other problem that non-organic peanuts have is that the farming process facilitates the growth of a mold with aflatoxins. Conventional farmers use fertilizers that heat the soil plus pesticides that kill other life in the soil, and those circumstances create ideal conditions for mold. These farmers address the mold by spraying cheap fungicides. But fungicides are some of the most toxic pesticides. They were the first group shown to cause multigenerational damage.
Organic peanut butter can be very healthy food. Peanuts have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and are packed with antioxidants on par with blackberries. In addition, during the growing process, organic farmers encourage healthy soil that discourages the mold problems.
Last reviewed: November 14, 2010