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Organic vs Conventional | A walk in the Pesticide Park

By Leonette Le Roux from Ecoshopper. Please visit www.ecoshopper.co.za

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Can pesticides effect my child's development? No parent will ever knowingly poison or inhibit their child's growth or development, right? Do many of us feign ignorance because it's convenient, after all, we were raised on conventional farming and we turned out just fine? Do we ignore the warnings on pesticides because our children seem perfectly healthy? Can you really take that chance?

Children are, in particular, susceptible to the effects of pesticide exposure since they have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals.
Exposure to toxic malathion and chlorpyrifos, examples of organophosphates, (a class of commonly used pesticides), can greatly be reduced by switching your children to an organic diet. Although putting your children on an exclusively organic diet is near impossible, switching the foods that they consume the most of first, is a fantastic start. If your kids drink a lot of juice, then make juice the first item to switch to organic only. Another way to curb exposure is to wash your fruit and veggies very, very thoroughly, scrub the grub! For instance, to remove mould and wax from fruit, and help them last longer in the fridge, mix a cup of organic vinegar in a large container of water, soak fruit for 10 minutes, and voila!

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Organic food is more expensive to buy, yes, but doesn't the best stuff always cost more? To supplement your grocery budget, why not try a great family project: an organic veggie garden. Enjoy your children's amazement as they grow and harvest their own strawberries or carrots, right in the back yard! You will spend quality time with your kids, everyone gets some exercise, you de-stress, and the result is your own delicious organic food!

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If you live in a city, you can grow veggies and fruit in almost anything, from flower pots to old boots, you can even start a community project and grow crops on the roof of your building, all you need is enthusiasm and a bit of elbow grease.
Finding time to cultivate and switch to a healthy lifestyle is not high on the average working parent's agenda, but it should be. Conventionally grown fruit and vegetables from the supermarket are convenient, sometimes even partially processed so we can prepare meals in under 15 minutes. If mealtimes have become a chore, or a quick bite on the way to the next activity, you have lost focus. The truth is that fresh, locally grown organic food should be on the very top of the list, especially if you have growing children in your house.
We find ourselves splat bang in the middle of a food war. With all the media coverage and sometimes blatant propaganda concerning organic vs conventionally grown food, it's no wonder the average consumer is fed up. Major studies have been conducted, but they are almost completely off topic-Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, Stanford study finds for example. Most informed people do not question the nutritional value of conventionally grown food, but rather what effects modern farming methods are having on their health, the development of their children and the effect of all the pesticides and chemicals on the environment.
So, be informed, research your food as you would research your next car. It's what keeps you alive, you should know what research was done to develop it, was it made with non toxic materials, were all possible precautions taken to insure your safety and the safety of your family? If you have to ask these questions about your mode of transport, surely you should be asking them about the things you and your family eat?

By Leonette Le Roux from Ecoshopper.  Please visit www.ecoshopper.co.za