You’ve probably heard the hype around organic produce – with more and more options popping up in grocery stores and the organic sections getting bigger, you may from time to time, find yourself asking why. Especially because the price tag is often higher than conventional produce. And it’s totally fair enough to be asking why… so in this blog post I’m going to try and cover as much as I can as to why those few dollars extra on organic produce really is worth it. For not only your health but also for your future bubs. We often find that this is information that isn’t commonly discussed, unless you go digging! So let’s shine the light on the good and the bad when it comes to the food industry.
According to the Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the definition of organic food is:
“Organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.
Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control.” 1.
So in essence, organic food and farming aims to remain as close to nature as possible. Inevitably, with the growing world population and the constant demand for more food and produce, farmers and the agriculture system has been under extreme pressure to grow, make and produce more to fulfil the ever growing demand. Because of this, certain practises have been developed and adapted, that make the growing and harvesting process more efficient, and therefore increases overall yield. This is of course in the interest of the food industry, because the more food we can produce the more people we can feed ~ HOWEVER, more often than not, this ‘increase in efficiency’ and harvest potential has numerous negative consequences, because it simply isn’t as nature intended.
The use of certain herbicides and pesticides is enormous in the conventional food system and many of which are made up of an extensive concoction of chemicals that quite frankly, aren’t to be ingested if you’re interested in optimising your health. The Environmental Working Group found that 70% of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables contain up to 230 different pesticides. An example of just ONE of these potential pesticides used is called glyphosate.
Glyphosate acts by disrupting an important nutrient pathway in plants. This pathways is how the plants generate important nutrients (that are also important for us when we eat them). When ingested, glyphosate also disrupts our intestinal wall, triggering inflammation and inflammation is at the root of most diseases. And this is just ONE of the potential hundreds of different chemicals that can be contaminants on our food.
A study by Kubsad et al., 2019, found that exposure to glyphosate makes genetic changes to rats that can be linked to increased disease in their grandchildren and great-grandchildren! These compounds can make changes in the epigenetics of the sperm and egg of the individual exposed (yep, that’s us), we then pass that on to the next generation and those genetics keep going for generations to come.
Not only is there the potential to impact our epigenetics, some reports also state that the micronutrient levels are 25% more in organic vegetables, compared to conventional grown produce.
HOWEVER, there is good news. We can change this.
So eating organic wherever possible is always best, but for some this may not be achievable. So if that is the case for you, the clean fifteen and dirty dozen by the EWG is an awesome guide. The foods on the clean fifteen are the least effected / accumulative of pesticides + herbicides or require less while growing. Whereas, the dirty dozen contains the most effected foods & heavy sources of pesticides.
If you were to only buy a couple things organic, the most important would be strawberries and leafy greens!
So you might be wondering how this fits into preconception prep? If we are actively trying to nourish our bodies to carry a new life, it just makes no sense to be also filling it with foods covered in herbicides + pesticides.
We have dedicated 2 whole modules to low-tox living in our Conscious Conception online course and we explore the importance of organic food here as well and give you a tonne of practical tips to implement into your life.
By Maddison Milton
Holistic Dietitian & Yoga Teacher
Women’s Wisdom Co
1. What Does Organic Mean?, BBC Good Food, 2020, https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/organic
2. Kubsad, D., Nilsson, E., King, S., Sadler-Riggleman, I., Beck, D. and Skinner, M., 2021. Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology.