3/27/11

Organic Journey: My First Step

Since the day I found out I was pregnant I wondered, 'Should I go organic?'  I did for the first trimester.  During the second we began packing and getting ready to move.  It was tough, always stopping in a pit stops along a rather unimpressive bit of highway that boasted little to no resources in the dead of winter.  All of the tourist traps and trappings were closed for the off season and in each little town, I should say village, there was usually only one motel and one restaurant to keep up with the winter traffic.  Usually these places served bergers, fries and if you ordered salad with dressing on the side, they usually forgot to put in on the side and gave you a humungus piece of garlic bread with it all and dumped croutons all over your salad that weren't listed on the menu.

This was so unbelievably annoying I just stopped asking for anything in particular.  But before I gave up entirely I asked for a soup.  It wasn't even a french style soup and it came out with bread and melted cheese, greasy pork in it and a ton of something I couldn't identify.  Truly, I was at a loss as to how to best provide a healthy diet to my unborn.

I was glad I'd made it count when I could, but then I'd begun eating unhealthy I couldn't stop any longer.  As a much larger pregnant woman my food resolve had deminished with the introduction of highly processed starches, fatty meats and sugary candies.  I was done for.

The rest of my pregnancy was a struggle.  The unhealthy food compunded by a very stressful new job led to preeclampsia that probably could have been avoided.  The labour was very hard lasting 50.5 hours and resulting in a hammorrhage.

Could it all have been prevented? I think so.  What's the point of this diatribe, you ask?

Today I watched the documentary Food, Inc. And while I knew the contents of the film before I even grabbed it off the shelf, it took a long time to get ahold of.  The film, if you've never seen it is worth borrowing or owning, especially if you're environmentally conscious.  It's a documentary about the agricultural and farmining practices of the United States.  It focuses on the industrialization and exploitation of genetical engineering, farming practices, workers and the environment to produce inexpensive but unwholesome foods.  These foods then have negative effects on the population.  If you think this doesn't affect Canadians because, "Get real Amanda, you're talking about the American system of doing things, Canada's way different;" guess again.  Where does most of our food come from?  Where?  Not Canada. Hell, Canadian traditional farmers are struggling just to keep up.

Let's get really real.  There's not a lot out there that is natural and when there's outbreaks of viruses and contaminants in the USA, it affects us too.  All of those large food chains are up here too.  Want to know something really shocking?  Tim Horton's, as Canadian as it gets right?  Wrong.  Timmy's is owned by Wendy's, an American food chain.  Hmmmm, is nothing sacred anymore?

Seriously, I think I might go Organic because I think it's the fastest way to change my daughter's future.  They said in the film that after three days alone of giving cows grass after giving them the corn feed they were being given to fatten up, a study found that the switch to their natural healthy feed of grass cleansed out their digestive system of 80% of the harmful E. Coli Bacteria known as E. Coli 0157:H7.  This bacteria is only born into their systems if the cows are cross contaminated or if the cows are fed unnatural feed for too long, such as corn.

Okay, I want to get a little less technical.  In my own life, my mother in law was perplexed.  She took her children (they lived on a farm) to a local 4H meeting. You'd think they'd be learning healthy farming lessons, right?  Well, you be the judge.

Her children were given animals and when they went to a meeting, a farmer was the presenter for the night.  His children won every year for the best cows and he was asked, how'd they do it.  He presented those present with the feed that he fed them.  It was a genetically modified and sterioid enhanced grain and corn based feed.  She was flabbergasted.  This past year she was told the same thing when she decided to raise chickens and turkeys by the man who sold her the chicks.  She decided to use plain old feed and her chickens and turkeys were amazing!  I saw them myself this summer and ate them this winter.  The Turkeys were huge and the chickens were so great tasting, she really didn't need any of that unhealthy feed anyways because what she had instead turned out to be fantastic.

So, starting tomorrow; we're going to eat everything as we usually do until we run out and when we need more of anything we're replacing ir with healthier, preferably organic, alternatives.

Because?  As quoted at the end of Food, Inc. I get to vote three times a day where my food comes from, and I want to vote for healthy food my child will grow stong on, an environment that's green in her future and for an agricultural industry standard that refuses to use steroids, growth hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, fillers and unnatural foods for the specified animals. I also want to prevent build up in my system and in hers that can create health issues down the line, including infecting her own future children.

Here are some resources:
  • Vegetable Seasons by the Foody.  A list of veggies and fruits that are season in certains times of the year which indicates what will be best to buy organically for both price and taste. 
  • The Dirty Dozen by Organic.org.  A list of the veggies and fruit that harbor the most pesticide or chemical residues.  The rest of the website is great to for FAQ's and 'Going Organic' tips.  Thanks to my friend Chelsea for this one.
  • Hungry for Change.  The official site for the movie Food, Inc.  You can also watch the trailer at this website.
  • "Canadians are going Organic" by Canada.com.  A great article summarizing the benefits of going organic and the discussion about the difference between the organic culture in Canada and the US.

Great videos discussing the organic issue and details about the organic process:
Hope this helps anyone considering going organic or at least naturalizing the way they eat.  Join me in my movement to eat local, eat organic and eat healthy!

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