It’s been years since I found out how dangerous and toxic regular antiperspirant deodorant is, and since then I have been on a mission to find a safe, natural alternative that actually works. I’ve tried A LOT of different kinds and brands and most have worked for awhile but seem to lose their effectiveness over time. Maybe that’s the way natural deodorants go?
I’ve been using a new natural deodorant for the past 6 months, through the hot Texas summer, and I’m still loving it, so I hope it’s okay to finally share this recommendation.
Kopari Deo has none of the bad stuff- aluminum, silicon, parabens or phthalates. It does, unfortunately, contain fragrance, but I haven’t had a reaction to that like some do. It also doesn’t have baking soda, which makes it less of a skin irritant.
I do find that this deodorant lasts the full day. I wore it to Sea World this Summer and it passed that test! I love how smooth it is and easy to apply (more like a “normal” deo you would get at the store- I missed those). I love the very light scent. And I feel like this is a hydrating (coconut oil), non-irritating option that I can actually apply right after shaving.
Kopari has an auto-ship program that gives you a discount on the product + free shipping, so I get this delivered to my door for just $12 every 3 months. If you would like to try it for $10 off your first order, use this link. Plus – if you don’t love it, you can return it for free!
I also find that I generally need to switch up the deodorant I use, at least a couple times a week, in order for it to stay effective. I’ve been switching off with Alaffia Lavender & Activated Charcoal Coconut Reishi Deodorant. Alaffia is also free of parabens, phthalates, sulphates and aluminum, with the added bonus that it has no artificial fragrances!
There isn’t enough charcoal in this to irritate the skin (it is still a super smooth stick), but enough to provide a bit of an antiperspirant effect. It feels very hydrating and I love the light, natural scent in this one too. I also like that you can get this at the grocery store for only $6, so makes it cheap and convenient. The only reason I don’t use it every single day is that it doesn’t last for an entire day like Kopari, but it is a really good “relief” option.
If it helps, here’s a list of what I’ve tried previously that worked at least for a bit:
Primal Pit Paste – my favorite in terms of the ingredient list, but didn’t last through an entire day.
PiperWai – the most effective natural antiperspirant I’ve found BUT I had a reaction to the charcoal during pregnancy and I’ve never been able to wear it again without major skin irritation (hormones??)
YoungLiving AromaGuard – actually very effective but I don’t like the price + shipping and the scent is a little strong to me.
My mom used cloth diapers with me and I always assumed I would do the same. Seemed an easy way to save some money, while also giving my little one less exposure to harmful chemicals. Plus, it is a great way to help out the environment a bit, keeping (on average) 6,000 diapers out of the landfill.
When I was pregnant and started to research it, it was beyond overwhelming. There were so many different brands, types of diapers, opinions on how to wash, etc. I had some friends give great advice to get me started, did a lot less research and decided to keep things as simple as possible. If you have been considering trying cloth diapers but have been scared that it would be too difficult or complicated, I want to share the easy way to cloth diaper that’s worked for me.
Newborn Days: We did not start cloth diapering until my daughter was around 3 months old for a couple reasons:
Newborns don’t fit in cloth diapers until they are a bit chunkier. You have to buy special newborn cloth diapers, which didn’t seem worth the investment to me. My daughter struggled to gain weight in the beginning, so it took her a few months for her skinny legs to fill them out.
Life with a newborn can be hard. I did not have the emotional or physical energy or time to cloth diaper with the amount of diapers babies go through in the first weeks. Once the diaper count slowed, it felt much more feasible.
We got lots of disposable diapers as gifts from people, so we just used those. I will say that it is amazing how using cloth prevents blow outs SO much better; that reason alone may convince me to start earlier with another baby.
Saving Money: Cloth diapers can be a bit of an investment at the beginning, but overall it is much cheaper in the long-run. There are a several ways to save on costs:
Register for them. When you create a gift registry for your baby shower, add cloth diapers to the list. The covers can be cute like clothes and people like to buy them. This saves you a ton in the up-front investment and was how I built my own stash.
Choose a cheaper type and splurge on the brand. Cloth diapers come in all types, with all-in-one and pockets being much more expensive than the prefold + covers. Brand matters too- I suggest choosing a top quality brand that lasts many washes and wears to avoid future replacement costs.
Buy gender-neutral. If you can use diapers for multiple kids, that helps save a lot on the investment. I have some super girly options, but most of my patterns and colors are more gender neutral for more flexibility in the future.
Get them second-hand. I did not do this but wish I had known about the huge market for used cloth diapers. You can strip clean used diapers. Or, if that is unappealing, I am constantly seeing people selling their stashes that they’ve never even used because they bought and never actually tried it.
My Routine: I use prefolded cloth diapers in covers during the day. There are lots of ways to fold the prefolds and it really depends on your baby’s gender and habits. I have found that the angel fold has worked best so far for us.
Since they have wetness protection, I usually only change the covers when it is a poopy diaper. Wet diapers go straight into a wet bag. Before 6 months (starting solids), dirty diapers also went straight to the wet bag. Now, I use a diaper sprayer attached to my toilet to rinse out any solids before putting in the wet bag until laundry day.
I use cloth wipes so that I can keep everything together and not need both a trash can and wet bag. Cloth wipes are much better at wiping and more gentle on the skin anyway. I put the wipes in a diaper warmer with a homemade solution of coconut oil, lavender essential oil and water.
At night, I use pocket diapers with extra hemp inserts for additional absorbency.
Laundry Routine: I end up washing my cloth diapers every 3-4 days. I dump everything in the wet bag into the washer and throw the wet bag in too. Wash cycles vary greatly based on your type of washing machine and hardness/softness of water. I would recommend searching for your machine type on the Fluff Love University website for detailed instructions on the best way to clean your diapers thoroughly and keep them lasting.
For detergent, I prefer to use powder because I have to add Borax to my washes to prevent mineral build up with the hard water at our home. You can see a list of recommended options here, but I generally use either Seventh Generation or Tide Free & Clear. I have been able to get rid of all staining by laying the items in the sun; I have never used bleach on my diapers.
Using prefolds & covers helps reduce drying time. I always air dry my covers on a rack to preserve the elastics and my wet bags too. Inserts & prefolds can go in the dryer and it usually takes 2 cycles to dry them.
Traveling: I still use disposable diapers if we are traveling or will be out and about for a few hours. Generally if we are just going to the grocery store or somewhere short & nearby, I will keep her in a cloth diaper. I do keep a small wetbag in my diaper bag just in case.
Getting Started: People definitely have their preferences for what style and brands to buy. My goals were to save money and make things as simple as possible. And I had two main things I looked for in deciding on a brand of covers:
Double gussets = two layers of elastic around the leg holes. Gives a great, flexible fit even for a kid with skinny legs and I have never had a problem with leaking.
Snap closure. Velcro just doesn’t last and it sticks to everything.
Here’s what makes up my stash of cloth diapering supplies:
Covers: I like my mix of one-size and size 1 & 2 options that come in two different brands to allow more flexibility with choosing colors and patterns.
Planet Wise Wet Diaper Bag: Go for the large size. I have two of these, one I keep in the bathroom and one for the nursery. They are easy to hang and have lots of colors/patterns to choose from. I also have a medium sized one for my diaper bag / swim bag.
As a first time mom, registering for baby items was totally overwhelming! Luckily, I have plenty of friends with great advice that helped me out. I thought I would share a few of my very favorite items that we’ve used with our baby girl so far, all of which you can be confident are very safe for your little one.
For Bath Time:
Natural Sea Sponge – I was so hesitant about this one because why not use a wash cloth? But, this is SO soft and perfect for bathing a little one- it soaks up lots of water so you can squeeze it out over baby in better control than you could a cup.
Coconut Oil – Cradle cap? dry skin? baby acne? cracked nipples? This has been more effective than any lotion or baby oil that I got, and it just has one very natural ingredient. Plus, you can use it for SO many other things!
Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer and Breast Milk Warmer – I did a lot of research and this was the best, safest warmer for bottles of breast milk. It takes a little bit more time than the others, but I’m confident it is not harming any beneficial properties by warming too fast, and we have never had an issue with hot spots.
Harlow’s Earth Waterproof Crib Mattress Cover – Organic mattresses are ridiculously expensive, so we found this super cheap solution to prevent the off-gassing of all the toxic chemicals and flame-retardants in regular mattresses.
Woombie Convertible Swaddle – Our baby girl was swaddled from birth and still is for both nighttime and naps. Made with a two-way zipper, this is SO easy to use, even more so than the velcro ones. Plus, it’s super breathable if you have a hot-natured babe like our little one. And, it has buttoned arm holes for when you need to transition out of the swaddle when they start to roll over or if your baby likes one or two arms out for comfort. They have an organic cotton version too.
Organic Muslin Swaddle Blankets – While we haven’t used these for actual sleeping yet, they are the perfect lightweight, breathable blankets for Texas weather. They double as burp cloths and car seat covers and nursing covers. Plus, they come in the cutest fabric patterns!
Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard – This pack n play has no flame retardants, no PVC, no phthalates and no lead, so it’s totally safe for baby. Plus, it is super lightweight, folds up into a small backpack carrying case and is easier to set up/take down than any I’ve seen.
Prince Lionheart Ultimate Wipes Warmer – Everyone told me a wipe warmer was not worth it, but we love ours. Baby girl hated diaper changes in the beginning, and cold wipes made it worse. Now that we are using cloth, this is perfect for storing our cloth wipes in- I just add a mix of water, coconut oil and lavender essential oil and they are warm and ready to use. Baby girl’s bum is so spoiled!
Buttons Flannel Baby Wipes – Once you use cloth wipes, disposables will never compare; they are so much better at cleaning up the mess.
Silicone Teething Rings – These rings are non-toxic, phthalate & BPA-free and have several different sensory bump patterns for baby to chew on.
Green Toys Shape Sorter – Baby girl is loving the colors and shapes and putting everything in her mouth. I’ll be buying more of these Green Toys- they are 100% recycled plastic and have no BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings.
At my 28 week appointment, I took the dreaded pregnancy glucose test. Since my pregnancy nausea was still pretty bad at the time, I was most nervous about trying not to throw up for an hour on an empty stomach. I never would have imagined that I would get a call the next day saying I didn’t pass. The following day, I had to do it all over again. This time, I had to drink 2 of the glucose drinks and get my blood drawn 4 times over 3 hours. I was extremely nauseous and faint, but resting in the fact that if I got through those 3 hours, it would all be over.
On Monday, I got the call that I had failed and was officially diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GDM). I was shocked. I didn’t know much about GDM at the time, so I went into full on planning & research mode to figure out how to fix it. I was also scared; my plans all along had been to deliver at a birth center instead of the hospital and I was nervous this diagnosis would risk me out of that option. Plus, what did it mean for the baby and for my own health? How did this happen to someone healthy like me?
That week, I got my glucose monitor and started the 4 times/day finger pricks to test my blood sugars. I researched the gestational diabetes diet recommendations extensively and immediately began following them- mostly adding in more snacks and protein. Because of my continued pregnancy nausea, my diet had not been great (lots more carbs than my diet pre-pregnancy), but I was committed to try my best. I was surprised to find that sticking to the GDM diet recommendations, my blood sugar levels continually tested high. Post-meal levels were okay, but I was only passing around a quarter of my morning fasting levels.
When I went in for my next doctor’s appointment, they were alarmed at my results. I told them I was following the exact diet recommendations given and didn’t know what else to do. Besides recommending a 30-45 minute walk every night after dinner, they didn’t have any other ideas for me. At my pleading, they gave me one week to try to have PERFECT morning fasting levels; if I didn’t, I would be put on medication (glyburide) to control my body’s insulin response. Getting put on medication would officially label me as high risk and guarantee a hospital birth with continuous monitoring and insulin during labor. Plus, after researching the medication, I wasn’t confident it was safe for my baby either. I was devastated.
Pregnancy is certainly a lesson in loss of control. Of course, I’m sure God designed it that way to prepare us for parenthood. I’ve felt out-of-control for my entire pregnancy… nausea I couldn’t fix, diet I didn’t want to be on, hormonal emotions, and now this. I had no idea how emotionally taxing a diagnosis like this could be. You blame yourself. You worry about what it means for the baby you’ve been trying so hard to protect. And the constant blood testing and attention to diet is a continual source of stress and anxiety. And don’t forget, you’re not supposed to be stressed during pregnancy- it’s bad for the baby. Ugh.
I was determined to not let this diagnosis get the best of me. I continued my research. Google-ing “natural ways to lower blood sugar” or similar searches came up with nothing. No one online seems to want to try this; they all just assume that you will end up on medication or insulin and recommend you simply try your best to eat healthy for baby. Finally, I pieced together some different ideas and resources to make a plan.
By a complete miracle, I was able to have perfect blood sugar levels that next week and return to the doctor with confidence that I could continue without medication. But the next week, Thanksgiving came along… I splurged and enjoyed just one holiday meal & dessert and my fasting levels couldn’t recover from it; my levels became unpredictable again. I was defeated as I walked into the doctor’s office the next week, certain they would put me on medication this time. But my midwife was gracious and knew how hard I was working- she said it was probably due to a lack of routine, and once again I was given one last week to try.
Since that visit, I’ve been able to keep my blood sugar levels totally under control. Even the morning fasting ones. Praise God! So, for those of you pregnant mamas diagnosed with gestational diabetes who are looking to stay off medication/insulin and want to control it naturally, I want to share what’s worked for me in hopes that you can have the same success. I can’t point to one particular thing that made the difference; it wasn’t until I did all of these together that I was finally able to bring my levels under control.
Prayer – I’m listing this first because I truly believe God is the only one who has the power over all of this. I consider it a miracle that He’s kept my levels low when they were SO high and unpredictable to start with. Pray before each meal and each finger prick- that dependence on Him will help calm you and help relieve the never-ending cycle of stress that only causes higher levels.
Minimal Carbs – Aim to eliminate carbs completely from your diet. Everyone processes carbohydrates differently, so there’s not really an exact amount that’s “safe.” The nutritionists who write diets for GDM will give guidelines like 25 carbs for breakfast & lunch, 35 for dinner and 15 at two snacks. And they’ll say that as long as you balance with a protein and fat, those carbs will not convert to glucose. If I followed this ridiculous protocol, I would be on medication today. The only thing that worked was when I basically eliminated carbs from my diet; that means no bread (not even multi-grain), no rice, no potatoes, no corn, no oats. It even means avoiding high glycemic produce, like fruit (some can tolerate berries, but I haven’t really been able to).
Eat High Protein, High Fat & Veggies – Focusing your diet around these items is the best way to avoid blood sugar spikes. Healthy fats are especially great at keeping blood sugars stable and keeping you full. I can’t stomach it with my nausea, but I’ve seen several recommendations that a teaspoon of coconut oil before each meal can help a great deal. I just try to include it in what I make instead. Search ketogenic recipes for meal ideas that fit this diet; I also have quite a few here on my blog – veggie noodles with lemon cream sauce being my fave. My favorite snacks have been: cashews, cheese sticks, Greek yogurt and Graze meat sticks. Breakfast is the hardest on rushed mornings, but I try to alternate between hard-boiled eggs with breakfast sausage links, scrambled eggs with avocado and Greek yogurt with nuts.
Satisfy Sugar Cravings Safely – I know, pregnancy cravings are real and having gestational diabetes, especially over the holidays, is just the worst. Of course you have to eliminate sugar (and always avoid unsafe sugar-free products), but I’ve found a couple ways to satisfy my intense cravings for sweets: Stevia leaf naturally helps to lower blood sugar, so I’ve been using that in the tea that I drink or to sweeten Greek yogurt a bit. And dark chocolate is also helpful to lower blood sugar- make sure to get a bar that is 75%+ cocoa and soy-free. My go-to nightly snack has been whipped coconut cream (high in good fat!) sweetened with a bit of stevia and topped with a few dark chocolate chips – here’s the super easy recipe.
Walk After Dinner – Every single day. For at least 30 minutes. This is one of the hardest from a scheduling perspective and because it is uncomfortable when you are hugely pregnant and tired. The first week is the hardest, but I promise your body will start to crave it. It will help with digestion, relieve indigestion/heartburn and is also great at getting your body ready for labor.
Herbal Supplements – I talked with both my naturopath and the herbalist at my local pharmacy to see if there were any supplements to help with blood sugars that would be safe for pregnancy; they recommended two that I’ve been using these past months. I take Diaplex before meals (started with 2 pills before each meal, but I’ve gone down to just two before lunch now) and Glukokine once in the evening right before bed. Since I had done my research and talked with the right people, my doctor’s office was fine with me taking these; as always, you should check with your doctor before taking any medication or supplements during pregnancy.
Drink Lots of Water – If you are diabetic, one of the most common symptoms is frequent thirst, so this shouldn’t be a hard one to implement. Hydration is one of the best ways to control insulin response, so you should be drinking around 2 gallons per day. I know you are already peeing every 30 minutes, but this is crucial to stabilizing your levels. Add some fresh lemon slices to your water for even further blood sugar stabilizing benefits. And, more importantly, drink water every time you wake up at night – it’s crucial to not let yourself get dehydrated overnight and I really think this made a huge difference with my fasting levels upon waking.
Consistency – Ultimately, I’ve found that a consistent routine is key to predictable levels, especially the morning fasting ones. Schedule your meals and snacks to be at similar times each day. Keep a food journal to track what you are eating to see if anything affects your levels. This is not a typical diet where the occasional splurge is okay; you have to stick with it. Wake up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time each night. A strict schedule is the last thing I wanted to implement before a baby entered my life, but it’s certainly been worth it.
Note: Don’t be surprised if you stop gaining weight or even lose weight once you put this protocol into place. I was a bit alarmed that I’d only gained 12 pounds by 37 weeks, but my midwife assured me that it is completely normal since it’s all being done in a very healthy way. I’m not crash dieting or exercising too much; it’s safe. Enjoy this one benefit to all your hard work and be excited that you will have less to lose after baby!
Lastly, I want to encourage you mamas not to blame yourself. The diagnosis isn’t your fault. If you are trying everything and still failing your levels, it is not your fault. Your placenta is causing this and sometimes it is not something you can control. Do your best and be at peace with that. I’m so proud of you for trying.
P.S. A great resource I finally found online was a UK website on gestational diabetes. I definitely recommend that you check it out for great information, ideas and encouragement.
We’ve all been there… you’re in the grocery store looking at the rows of meat, most on sale for only a few dollars per pound. You’re overwhelmed with all the confusing labels, not even sure what they really mean. You see the small section of organic meat and they want to charge you an outrageous $13 for a package of chicken breasts. Considering you need a 3 of those for meals this week, it’s just too much. You decide to be budget-conscious and go with the cheaper meat, feeling a little better that you’ve at least picked the “all-natural” option. Can you relate?
Since “organic” became a thing, it’s been controversial. People think it’s a Whole-Foods-created hoax to charge consumers more money. With so many different opinions out there, its hard to sift through it all and find the facts. What’s the truth here? Is organic meat healthier than natural? Are organic vegetables more nourishing than conventionally grown ones?
This word makes us think of rolling green hills, cows grazing, crops blowing in the wind and of a hard-working farmer harvesting his land. Consumer Reports found that 1 in 3 people thought “natural” = “organic.” Companies put this buzz word and pictures of idyllic farms on their labels to make you buy the product, and even pay more for it. While the term “organic” is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, “natural” isn’t; it has no clear definition. (Source: ABC News) So, although we may assume these foods would be minimally processed or not containing any hormones or artificial ingredients, it is in fact meaningless.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires all organic foods to meet strict standards on how those foods are grown, fed, handled and processed. Any food with the USDA Organic label must pass organic certification annual inspections. Unlike conventional foods, this ensures that the food has been grown using no toxic pesticides, no synthetic growth hormones and no petroleum-based fertilizers. And that it has been processed without artificial colors or flavors, without artificial preservatives and without GMOs. (Sources: Consumerist and Organic: It’s Worth It)
Additionally, there is another important label you might find on organic foods – “Non GMO Project Verified.” This certification is managed by a non-profit organization that believes you “should have access to clearly labeled non-GMO food and products.” It is a very strict verification process, ensuring that no more than 0.9% of the product contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with complete absence being the goal. “This is in alignment with laws in the European Union (where any product containing more than 0.9% GMO must be labeled);” Europe is way ahead of America on this and other dangerous food ingredients. (Source: Non GMO Project)
Is Organic Healthier?
Now that we understand the labels, the real question becomes: is organic really better for you than natural/conventional? There are studies that have found organic produce to be no more nutritional than its conventional counterpart. That makes sense – an apple is still an apple and will still have the same amount of calories. But, which version causes your body harm? Let’s look at what “organic” labels promise not to include to see what effects those in conventional food might have on our bodies:
Toxic Pesticides: Pesticides are intentionally toxic substances used to kill living things – aka poison. They are used consistently in conventional agriculture, even though many studies have shown to cause chronic health impacts like cancer, hormone disruption, neurodegenerative diseases, and reproductive issues. Children are especially at risk, even from minimal exposure, because they absorb more and don’t yet have fully developed brains or immune systems. A study by Harvard University and the University of Montreal found that exposure to pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables may double the risk of developing ADHD. (Source: Toxics Action Center) Oh, and one of the most commonly used pesticides, organophospate, was first developed as nerve gas in WWII. Hmm.
Beyond the harmful health effects, they also make our food less nourishing. One of the most popular herbicides (used to kill weeds) on the market is Monsanto’s product RoundUp – the main ingredient, glyphosate, steals nutrients from crops. And when pesticides are applied to crops, as much as 60% of the antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables are lost. Antioxidants are what help your body fight cancer-causing free-radicals.
As for how they effect our meat: “In a potato, the pesticide residue is .003 . in a piece of animal flesh, it is .281, nearly 100 more parts per million in every bite. It would take you over 90 days of eating conventionally grown potatoes to get the same amount of pesticide residue that one serving of chicken contains. Why? Because not only do the animals’ bodies collect and concentrate the poisons into their flesh, their feed is allowed to have 20% more pesticides used than that of crops grown for human use.” (Source: Natural News)
Watch this video to see how levels of chemicals changed in the children of a family who switched to all organic:
Synthetic Growth Hormones: Growth hormones are widely used to increase weight gain in animals and enhance milk production in dairy cattle, one of the most well-known being rGBH. These synthetic hormones mimic estrogen and, when they are passed on to us as we eat, can have serious side effects. After studies showed a 55-60% increase in breast cancer for women, rGBH was banned in many countries around the world; it’s still allowed in the US. Many researchers believe that steroid hormones cause children to undergo puberty prematurely, who are now entering much younger than just a generation ago. Just a small amount of these estrogenic hormones can have significant impact on children, both on their development and risk of obesity. (Sources: Genetic Roulette, Health.com)
Artificial Colors: You would be hard-pressed today to try to find an item in your pantry that doesn’t have artificial dye in the ingredients list (Yellow #5, Blue #1). Most artificial colors are made from coal tar. Gross. And more research has been coming out lately linking food dye to brain cancer and ADHD. Not good. (Source: Forbes) While research is still limited on this newer additive, many countries around the world have decided to ban these.
Artificial Preservatives: Preservatives are used to help prevent the growth of bacteria or fungus, to prevent oxidation causing discoloration or rancidity and to inhibit the natural ripening of produce. Sulfites and nitrates are common preservatives that cause allergic reactions in many people. (Source: Sustainable Table) More research is needed to determine the long-term side effects of these.
GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms are created by putting the DNA from one species into another to get benefits from both. For our food and farming purposes, this means creating a seed that makes a plant produce its own pesticide or makes it pesticide resistant so that farmers can spray without damaging the crop. It sounds like a great idea, except that it’s all a science experiment in genetic alteration, resulting in mutations and unpredictable side effects, creating toxins, allergens, carcinogens and triggering inflammation. Some of the crops highest (90%+) in GMOs are canola, corn, soy and sugar beets, all of which are extremely common in processed foods. Unfortunately, infant formula is full of both GM soy and synthetic growth hormones (and high levels of aluminum too).
The best example of what this does to our bodies is this: GM corn is created to include BT toxin within the seed. When an insect eats the crop, it is designed to break open the stomach of the bug and kill it. It does the same to us, opening up tiny holes in our intestines leading to what’s called leaky gut. Then, when food passes through our intestines, it slips through these holes, entering our body… our body attacks those particles, seeing it as an invader; over time, we develop food allergies to those items. To watch an illustration of this or to learn more about the health effects of GMOs, read my other blog post here.
What About Antibiotic-Free, Pasture Raised & Grass Fed Animal Products?
None of these are promises made by an “organic” label, but fortunately many producers who have an organic certification will also believe in these practices too. While a big part of this is related to the humane treatment of the animals, there are also some health effects to consider. When animals are kept in close proximity to each other in cages all day, keeping the cages clean is impossible, leading to poor hygiene and the spreading of disease. Antibiotics must be used with these animals to prevent illness and ensure they survive to sell. When we eat the animals, these antibiotics are passed on to us, worsening the antibiotic-resistance epidemic. In fact, 80% of all antibiotics are used with animals rather than prescribed to humans.
As for pasture-raised and grass-fed meat, it is important to know the sources of the meat, eggs and dairy that you buy. I buy my eggs from a local farm (at the grocery store!) called Coyote Creek. The chickens are allowed to forage for food naturally on organic pastures; they are also fed soy-free feed. The grass-fed meat that I buy ensures that these cows aren’t being fattened up by GM corn and soy feed. They naturally graze the fields, ensuring I am getting the most nutrients from soil rich with minerals. “Research indicates that grass finished meat has superior ratios of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids, linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.” (Source: Eat Wild)
How to Shop:
Even if you’re now convinced that buying organic is worth trying to avoid all those detrimental health effects and ultimately healthier for your family, you may think I simply cannot afford it. Here are some tips on how to make it possible:
Compare & coupon – Where you shop can make it or break it. I’ve shopped around and discovered that usually a natural foods store can have the best pricing. The organic produce & meat at my local grocery store, HEB, is usually several dollars more (sometimes double!) that of a natural foods store. Farmers Markets can also be inexpensive since you are buying directly from the source. Read about how I’m able to buy all organic on a budget here.
Buy fresh – Organic processed and pre-prepared foods are expensive. Stick to the edge of the store as you shop and load up with fresh ingredients to cook at home.
Avoid the worst – There are some fruits and vegetables higher in pesticide residue. If you can only buy some items organic, at least avoid the conventional dirty dozen. And always thoroughly wash your produce when you get home!
Plan ahead – Meal plans, grocery lists and a strict budget can help you stay on track as you shop.
Or you can look at it this way: Is high-quality, organic food really that expensive by comparison? This awesome 11 yr old kid makes a pretty good argument… “It seems to me that we can either pay the farmer or we can pay the hospital.”
Do you think you’ll make the switch to buying organic?