A recent study linked ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) with a common chemical, organophosphate, found in pesticides, herbicides, solvents and plasticizers. As published in the journal, Pediatrics, exposure to levels common in the United States may contribute to the prevalence of ADHD. Most of our contact with this chemical is in the form of food, drinking water, and residential use (for example, it is used in some flea and tick pesticides).
For me, this is yet another example of why I place a high priority on eating clean, organic food. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of pesticides and chemicals, and there are a rising number of researchers and experts recommending an organic diet especially for children and pregnant women.
Thankfully, in at least one study, children fed an organic diet quickly showed lowered amounts of pesticides in urinary biomonitoring. While ongoing research on the effect pesticides have on children continues to be dismaying, I find it encouraging that it doesn’t take long to dramatically lower your family’s exposure.
However, many people feel they cannot afford to buy organically. They may feel concerned about their current diet, but struggle to know how to eat better while on a budget. I feel passionate about helping the average person on an average budget make better eating choices. I am a mother of two with a husband in college, and eating well on a budget is close to my heart and wallet.
Let me give just a few tips on how to reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides that doesn’t involve a lot of cost.
1. Stick with the staples. If you live off of packaged foods, it will be expensive to buy all of it organically. Shop for ingredients, like potatoes, carrots, frozen vegetables, whole grains, and fresh organic or pastured meats.
2. Learn simple, everyday recipes that use those staple ingredients. The more you cook from scratch, the more you save. The more you keep it simple, the easier it will be to maintain.
3. Download the Dirty Dozen list of produce to know the most important produce to buy organically and don’t worry about the rest if your budget is especially tight.
4. Buy a filter for your drinking water that specifically filters pesticides.
5. Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides in your house and yard. Be an advocate in your community for more ecologically sound systems in parks and schools for weed and pest control.
What tips have you found helpful in implementing an organic diet? Or, what prevents you from eating organically?