Monday, May 6, 2013

Reducing Toxins Part 2: Eating "Clean"

This is the second post in my series on reducing exposure to toxins.  The first post covered some reasons why reducing toxins is important for healthy child development and how toxins are linked to problems in learning.  Today's post is a list of ideas for reducing toxins from food.  Remember, try not to be overwhelmed.  See if there is at least one area in which you could make improvements to get started.

1) Buy organic produce to avoid herbicides and pesticides. If you can only buy some organic food then use the EWG's list of the "Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15" .
2) Save money on chemical-free produce and support local agriculture by purchasing a "farmshare." This is a good option for people who can pay a lump sum at one time to purchase a "share" and are flexible enough to eat whatever is in season. Our family receives a weekly produce basket from Kellogg Valley Farm. We get a good amount of food for the money, we are encouraged to regularly eat vegetables (otherwise they will go to waste), and our produce is nutrient-dense because it is picked fresh the day we get it, rather then shipped for days across country. I have the added benefit of saving gas, because the basket pickup is at my house. If you are interested check out AR Farmshare

3) Buy meat, eggs and dairy from animals raised on pasture without hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. AR Farmsharealso offers meat and egg shares. There is a "food resources" page on the blog "Real Food in Little Rock." Ask produce farmers about chemicals used and animal farmers about what their animals eat and how they are cared for.
Arkansas just passed a law legalizing the sale of fresh milk from the farm. Talk to me if you want to know more about this.

Quality food is expensive because it is a lot of work to raise it. Money can be saved by purchasing locally in bulk. I used to think quality food was too expensive. I was one of those "coupon queens" - seriously. But when I saw the health problems my husband, my children and myself were facing; I decided to change my priorities. In my case, I found that I had money for good food, I was just spending it on other things - many of which were not that important. Here's a really good article, "Healthy Eating Shouldn't Cost an Arm and a Leg."
Azure Standard is a resource for saving money on health food items. They deliver to customers in Little Rock each month.

4) Avoid processed foods with unrecognizable additives. Two which are especially harmful to the brain are MSG and partially hydrogenated oils. If you want to reduce chemicals from food sources, the most helpful thing you can do is read lists of ingredients. If you don't know what something is, Google it. (Or just assume that if you don't know what it is, then it isn't "real food.")
5) Drink and eat from glass. Plastic containers and water bottles contain estrogenic chemical hormone disrupters (BPAs). This is also found in canned food in the lining inside of the cans. Avoid processed drinks. Look into getting a quality water filter.

Our society has strayed so far from healthy eating, that there is a rather big learning curve for most people. My focus in this post has been on avoiding toxins. Nourishing Our Children, a chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation is a great place to start if you would like to learn about the type of diet which promotes healthy child development. They have a very user-friendly easy to follow website.

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