When you embark on the journey of eating for wellness and making conscious food choices, being aware of where your food comes from is a great start. The industrialisation of food has meant the addition of additives, preservatives and pesticides, all of which can be harmful to our health and to the environment. Additionally, it means that there are generally only a handful of large farms growing the majority of any particular crop throughout the country. This means that distribution is costly both in terms of money and resources, so producers take measures to preserve their foods to extend their shelf live after their long journey to the supermarket. By being conscious of where your food comes from, you can make the decision to choose organic, local, seasonal, REAL foods, free from harmful additives and pesticides.
Here are some tips to help you avoid the toxins in conventional foods by making conscious choices about the foods you choose to eat.
By far the easiest way to know the origins of your food is to simply choose organic! Organic farmers treat your food and the planet with respect. Unlike industrialised farms, they do not use chemical pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers. They use sustainable practices to keep you and our planet healthy.
Choosing organic is particularly important for your meat and dairy foods. Animals on conventional farms are not only fed antibiotics and hormones to maximise production, they also eat crops contaminated with pesticides. All of these toxins remain present in the meat or animal products and are ingested by you when you eat them.
While certified organic produce is always ideal, sometimes your budget just won’t allow you to choose organic for ALL your produce. In this case, at least choose organic for the EWG “Dirty Dozen” , as these fruits and vegetables contain the highest amounts of pesticides. Also, make your non-organic choices mainly from the “Clean 15” list, as these have the lowest measured amounts of toxins.
If you want a particular fruit or vegetable but can only find it conventionally grown, have a think about WHY the organic version is not available. Is it out of season, meaning that the conventional item has actually been frozen and stored for months? Is it in season in some other part of the world and has been shipped for days to get to your fruit store? In these cases, I always choose to use an alternative fruit or vegetable that is currently in season and available organically.
Buy your fruits and vegetables from local organic farmers who can charge much less for their produce because they don’t have to pay for distribution. Additionally, you’re helping to sustain your local economy and you’re ensuring that thousands of litres in fuel are not required to get the produce from the farm to your table.
Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program or shopping at your local farmer’s market is also a great way to buy foods which are both healthy for you and the environment. CSAs are generally organic farms and do not pour pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and fungicides into the earth.
Another simple way to avoid food additives & preservatives is to grow your own! Whether you live in a small unit or you have acres of land, you can grow your own herbs, fruits and vegetables. This not only provides immense satisfaction and healthful harvest, it also saves you money and is good for the sustainability of our planet.
Many foods come from half way around the world to land on your kitchen table. This means that they’re sometimes harvested early, robbing you of nutrients. It also means that to make the trip they are filled with additives and preservatives to maximize productivity and enhance longevity. To find out where a food comes from, simply check the label. It will say something like “Product of Australia” or “Made In Italy” or “Product of Sri Lanka”.
Buying food that comes from just down the street, or at least within your home state, accomplishes two things. It helps to ensure you’re not receiving nutrient-poor foods or foods heavily loaded with food additives and preservatives, and it also reduces the carbon footprint and helps the environment.
Knowing where your food comes from is an essential part of avoiding additives & pesticides in your food. This is vitally important for your own health and the health of your family, as well as the health of our planet. Make conscious food choices and take measures to buy your food as real as you can get, from sustainable resources. You’ll be glad you did.
For more information on how to avoid food additives & pesticides in your foods, take a look at these websites:
Additive Alert with Julie Eady: Home of “Additive Alert – Your Guide To Safer Shopping”, a comprehensive look at what food additives are and why they are used, the safety of food additives in Australia and how to read and understand labels. A great guide for consumers.
Additive Free Kids with Tegan Benfell: Tegan’s goal is to help you beat these dodgy food manufacturers at their own game and learn how to no longer fall for their sneaky tricks, how to find the good food manufacturers who are genuinely using real food in their products and doing the right thing by us, and also to find easy and affordable additive-free options for your family in a way that can be fun, colourful and tasty without the use of ANY harmful additives.
The Chemical Maze with Bill Statham: Home of “The Chemical Maze Shopping Companion”, a great little book you can take shopping with you to quickly and easily decipher the ingredients list on packaged foods. This pocket-sized book lists what the “numbers” on the ingredients list actually are, how they affect your health, and has a handy smiley face or sad face to indicate whether it deserves a place in your shopping trolley.
I hope this post has inspired you to choose organic! If you found this post helpful, please share with others to help enlighten them about how to avoid food additives & pesticides in their daily lives.
To your health,