Advice to help take your first organic steps

03.22.2007

Advice to help take your first organic steps

From the good people at Go Organic! For Earth Day:

Advice to Help You Take Your First Organic Steps

Dr. Alan Greene, renowned pediatrician, helps parents Go Organic! for Earth Day

Moms used to have it “easy” when it came to mealtime. You fed your child five servings of fruits and vegetables a day along with some protein and whole grains and the nutrition job was done. But just when your child is finally eating his veggies, rising concerns about effects of farming practices are bringing a whole new problem to the table. While many parents agree the best defense is going organic and choosing foods that are grown and processed in harmony with nature, some feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information to sift through.

To help parents get started, this April, more than 3,500 conventional grocery stores and 40 leading organic manufacturers are joining forces for Go Organic! for Earth Day (www.organicearthday.org). This campaign helps consumers learn the facts about organic food and makes taking the first steps to going organic simple. Dr. Alan Greene, one of the world’s most trusted and beloved pediatricians, father of four and author of ‘From First Kicks to First Steps,’ is a strong supporter of the campaign.

“Like a growing number of pediatricians, I advocate feeding kids organic foods whenever possible,” said Dr. Alan Greene. “Growing children are developing brain function and internal organs to last a lifetime, so their food should be the most nutritious available.”

Dr. Greene’s top five reasons why children should go organic:

1. Kids are over exposed. Tests done by the Environmental Protection Agency to set acceptable risk levels for pesticide residues were conducted using 154-pound adult men, not 40-pound preschoolers. Recently, the Consumers Union and the Environmental Working Group released studies confirming that children are over-exposed even if their exposure is within current legal limits.

2. Children are more vulnerable. Due to their size, fast metabolisms and less varied diets, children are more vulnerable to developmental damage and health problems associated with exposure to concentrations of chemicals and pesticides.

3. High daily doses. More than one million children between the ages of 1 and 5 ingest at least 15 pesticides every day from fruits and vegetables.

4. Developmental damage. Exposure to pesticides before or after birth is linked to hyperactivity, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays and motor dysfunction.

5. We don’t know the full effects of pesticides. It took 30 years to conclude that DDT caused serious health problems in children and determining the safety of a conventional pesticide may take the same amount of time or more.


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Dr. Greene’s First Steps to Going Organic

• Look at what your child eats. It’s smart to look at the foods that a child eats most, and try to make those choices organic. Children eat far more fruits and vegetables per pound of body weight than adults, so that’s a good place to start. Organic produce also tastes better, so getting your kids to eat their five a day should be that much easier.

• Avoid the “Dirty Dozen.” The Environmental Working Group developed a recommended list of fruits and vegetables consumers should always buy organic, if possible, because their conventionally grown counterparts tend to be laden with pesticides. The “dirty dozen” are apples, cherries, grapes (imported from Chili), nectarines, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, bell peppers, celery, potatoes and spinach.

• Look for and know the label. On foods like fruits and vegetables, look for a small sticker version of the USDA Organic label or check the signage in your produce section for this seal. The word "organic" and the seal may also appear on packages of meat, cartons of milk or eggs, cheese and other single-ingredient foods. Beverages, snacks and other processed foods use the following classification system to indicate their use of organic ingredients:

o 100% Organic—100% organic ingredients.
o Organic—contain at least 95% organic ingredients (by weight). The remaining ingredients are not available organically but have been approved by the NOP. These products may display the "USDA Organic" seal.
o Made With Organic Ingredients—must contain at least 70% organic ingredients. These products will not bear the "USDA Organic" seal; instead, they may list up to three organic ingredients on the front of the packaging.
o Other—Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may only list organic ingredients on the information panel of the packaging. These products will not bear the "USDA Organic" seal.

• Try Going Organic for a day. Go organic this Earth Day. Check out www.organicearthday.org to find out about Earth Day events, special promotions and money-saving coupons at participating stores in your area. Coupons can also be obtained by calling 1-866-I-GO-ORGA (NIC). Also on the site you will find delicious organic recipes, a sweepstakes for an all expense paid trip to The Crossings wellness spa in the scenic Hill Country of Austin, Texas, organic facts and informational materials and a fun “Test Your Organic Smarts” quiz.

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click here to go to Go Organic For Earth Day website