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Organic Food IS Healthier but it Might Not Matter

Many people are confused by the sometimes conflicting reports about the benefits of eating organic food.  The industry-driven propaganda that suggests organics are nutritionally equal to conventionally grown food divert the focus from the real problem, namely the toxic soup of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that contaminate food and cause a myriad of human and animal health problems, including cancer.  There is no way industrial food manufactures can report on the health benefits of their despicable practices, so they keep trying to confuse the issue.

Yet, if you are one of the millions of people who buy organic in an effort to protect your family from the known toxins in , you may be surprised that I'd suggest it might not matter.  But, there is more to healthy eating than just the manner in which the food is grown.  For one thing there is the packaging that the food comes in, and for another, there is the little talked about issue of the containers you cook your food in.

It is well established that BPA (an endocrine disruptor used in can linings) leaches into canned foods, and although many baby food manufacturers have pledged to rid their containers of this toxin, it is still used in nearly all other canned goods and many other types food of packaging.  While media focus on BPA  is needed to educate the public and induce policy change, we shouldn't ignore the fact that Styrofoam and plastic can be just as toxic due to PVCs and other little known toxins.

Another under-reported issue with healthy eating is the container you cook your food in.  The two most widely used in the U.S. are plastic (in microwaves) and non-stick cookware; both are toxic nightmares and completely undermine our efforts to eat healthy, nutritious food.  Nearly every food designed for microwave cooking is packaged in plastic, even organics and those marketed to children.  In addition, nearly all the containers marketed as "microwave cookware" are plastic; most even contain the moronic statement:  "microwave safe" (means the dish won't disintegrate).

Non-stick cookware has become a staple in most homes as manufacturers' slick ad campaigns convinced us we didn't need to work so hard to clean our pans.  But they fail to mention we pay a high price for that little convenience:  breathing toxic fumes and ingesting particles that mix into food, even with normal usage.  The fumes can be deadly to pet birds and common sense dictates they are just as dangerous to other pets and human beings, especially children.

There are ways to protect yourself and your family though.  Start by buying fresh food instead of canned or frozen.  Skip the plastic bags found throughout the produce department, opt instead for paper or even better, cloth bags.  Also, don't waste money on the reusable grocery bags sold nearly everywhere for about a dollar; they're usually made in China of some pretty nasty synthetics; they're also not very sturdy.  If you don't have the money to invest in quality cloth bags, simply use clean cardboard boxes.  They're free, reusable, recyclable and very sturdy.

 When it comes to cookware, there are several options; stainless steel, or porcelain coated steel are safe & durable. And I love good old-fashioned cast iron.  One of the biggest misconceptions about cast iron cookware is that food sticks to it making it difficult to clean.  This is so NOT true!  If food sticks while cooking it's because it hasn't been properly cared for, which can be remedied with a simple process known as "seasoning".  You can also use enamel-coated cast iron which is easier to care for, although, over time, it can become scratched and stained.

In the microwave, ALWAYS use glass cookware.  If you purchase microwaveable meals packaged in plastic, its fairly easy to remove the food from the container and transfer it to a glass plate or bowl and follow the cooking instructions.  Even paper containers (often used for soups or mac & cheese) can have toxic linings; transfer food to glass dishes before cooking or adding boiling water.

Safe cooking utensils are those made of metal, wood & bamboo.
eggs cooked in cast iron

Organic food IS healthier than the toxic products sold by industrial agriculture, but just as important are packaging and cooking utensils.  Providing healthy food to our families is an act of love; don't allow slick marketing and cheep products to undermine your efforts to nurture with nutritious meals.

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