Food is much more than what’s on our plates, it affects our whole life. Most of us are lucky enough to have easy access to food and probably don’t think twice about where that food came from or how it was grown.

Eating healthy can be easy but it can also be hard to know where to start. World Food Day is an annual day to create awareness across the globe around healthy food sources, world hunger and educating more on how to make better food choices. Something we are so passionate about at Food Matters.

One of the biggest questions I still get today is “Do I really need to choose organic?” 

With more evidence coming to light and more medical cases being connected to the herbicide glyphosate, my answer is YES.

The herbicide glyphosate is found in the well-known weed-killer, Roundup, one of many products from Monsanto that contains this. This pesticide is an ingredient that activists have long battled to ban, due to increasing reports that the chemical is a carcinogen, also contributing to birth defects and autism.

Many people don’t know that this substance is not only found in many household products and pesticides, it also found in the food we eat.

Alarming traces of harming pesticides and herbicides substances are still being found in our food. From household products to fruits and vegetables to even our children’s breakfast cereals (Cheerios, Nature Valley Granola, Fiber One Oatmeal, Lucky Charms,& Quaker products).

How does this affect the health of my family?

As discovered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, glyphosate is a Group 2 substance, that is a probable human carcinogen. Researchers have also discovered the chemical compound could be linked to a host of health ailments and diseases such as Parkinson’s, infertility and a range of cancers.

Even if you’re not a gardener or working directly with the chemicals, you can still be exposed and affected. Recent findings have reported evidence of glyphosate residues in foods, that can aid in intensifying other food-borne chemical residues and toxins found in the environment.

Just last year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its second round of test results measuring glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, in popular oat-based cereals and foods.

In the latest batch of testing, all but two of the products tested contained levels of the potentially-carcinogenic weedkilling chemical beyond the health benchmark set by EWG. You can download a list of the results here.

Here are some of our tips to avoid these chemicals and make healthier choices for you and your family:

  • Opt for organic produce. Based on the research of EWG these are some of the MUSTS when buying organic: Strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomato, celery, and potatoes. Check out the full guide from EWG of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen here. 
  • Avoid processed and packaged cereals and snacks.
  • Check your cleaning product labels and do your research before you buy, or better yet - create your own! Not only will you help your wallet but you'll help your health and the environment too.

Is buying organic really worth it?

Yes! Choosing to buy organic when you can increase your consumption of vitamins, minerals while decreasing your consumption of harmful pesticides and chemicals. Here are 6 reasons you should try and buy organic when you can.

  1. Organic has less chemicals: Conventional farming continues to use synthetic herbicides, pesticides and insecticides produce by large corporations such as Monsanto.
  2. Organic produce has more nutrients: The majority of farmland soil is depleted of nutrients to grow healthy, sustainable and bio-diverse soil. Nutrient deficient soils mean fewer nutrients present in the crop yield.
  3. Organic farming is better for the environment: The farming methods used for organic farming means less use of synthetic chemicals, delivering better soil quality, less soil erosion, more plant diversity, a wider diversity of insects, soil fauna, microbes, birds and bees!
  4. Organic doesn’t have GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms, are seeds and grains that have been altered at the DNA level. Done to increase profit and food production, studies are beginning to show the long-term effects of consuming GMOs resulting in tumors and organ damage.
  5. Organic supports local and smaller farms: When you choose to buy organic you are choosing to support farmers that are local and smaller, meaning that they can profit and continue to grow larger.
  6. It’s better for your health & the health of your family! Each decision you make ultimately comes back to your health. Conventional produce with pesticides and chemicals accumulate in our bodies over time, add that to the environmental toxins we are exposed to every day which can lead to long-term health effects. 

Now, more than ever, we have the information available to learn more about the farming and food industry, helping us to make more informed decisions for ourselves and our family.

If you want to learn more about what is making us sick, we have an entire section devoted to this inside Food Matters TV.

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