I Eat Organic For My Children

The debate is never ending about whether organic foods are any more healthy for you than non-organic. Just recently, a “reporter,” for a national news media outlet, said that organic products weren’t worth it. This same reporter also confused “natural” and “organic” and as a avid reader of this blog you know that “natural” is no where close to “organic.” So what makes organics worth it for me and my family?

Lu, C. et al “Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2006, 114 (2), pp. 260-263

This study, along with some others, is the key reason I choose organic foods for my family and children. If you don’t have time to read the study here is a summary. Children between the ages of 3-11 had their urine sampled twice each day for 15 days. The first five days the children ate as they would normally eat. The second five days, the children ate organic substitutes for their normal food. The children did not need to learn new food tastes. If the children ate an orange, they substituted it with an organic orange. The last five days, the children went back to eating normal.

So, what did the study find? The first five days, the researches found significant pesticide breakdown products appearing in the urine.  Within 24 hours after the switch to organic, the amount of pesticide breakdown products became non-detectable and stayed that way until the non-organic diet was reintroduced.

So what does this mean to me? (This is my opinion only): There have been no conclusive studies that show the short term or long term effect of pesticide residue in children. That worries me simple because we don’t know. I know that many days my boys will put away just as much food as I do. Since, their bodies are a third the size of mine, I worry that their exposure is proportionally greater.

I first heard of this study when I listened to Dr. Alan Greene, MD, speak at a MOSES conference several years ago. That year our farm had just recently been certified organic and we were still in the phase of “giving organics a try.” We weren’t going to toss aside any of our conventional methods just yet and seeing all the dreadlocks in the crowd made me second guess what we were getting into.

Dr. Greene’s story of how he switch from just an “ordinary” MD to a leading advocate for organics and green living is moving and inspirational. You need to check out his website and books. (This is not a paid promotion for his products). In the keynote, he spoke about this study and also that many naysayers of organics often say “but the amount of chemical residue is insignificant, it is measured in parts per billion and cannot affect our hormones, etc.” He then went on to list common medications that we WANT to affect our hormones and they work in parts per billion: birth control pills, Viagra, etc. That really got my attention.

I understand all the barriers to eating a 100% organic diet (accessibility, affordability, etc). Trust me, I deal with those issues every time I go shopping. But if eating organic is important to your family, it can be done. Don’t take my word as truth. Do some of your investigating and find out what is good for your family. Everyone needs to be their own health/food advocate.

This post is not in any way meant to make my non-organic farming friends feel bad. I know that all farmers choose what is best for their families, animals and land. I just wanted to share with our readers why our family chooses organic and why I think it is SO worth it.


Zweber Farms is a 4th generation family operated organic dairy.  We are proud Organic Valley farmer members and sell our milk under that label. We also specialize in sustainably raised beef, pork and chicken and sell it directly to customers in Minnesota.Visit our website to learn more, www.zweberfarms.com

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