Here are 10 things I’ve learned from eating organic for 30 days. I hope this helps if you intend to do the same…
All Sustainable Food Changes Start with a Documentary – If you poll your friends who have recently become vegetarian, vegan, or joined the war on McDonald’s, chances are they started that movement after a 90 minute documentary on the amount of harmful chemicals we’re consuming or after watching how McDonald’s french fries do not rot or change shape after a month. I love documentaries! The one that really influenced me to go organic was “Food, Inc.” The part where the chickens are pumped so full of hormones to grow so fast that they become so fat they can’t even stand up….that was an eye opening moment. If I’m then eating that chicken…what does that mean for me?! If you’re on the verge of cleaning up your diet – order a pizza, grab some fast food, and any other unhealthy option you can find (because this will be the last time you have those foods) and do a documentary marathon starting with “Super Size Me,” “Food, Inc,” and “Forks Over Knives.” You’ll be disgusted and inspired all at once.
Look for the 9 – When you buy fruits or vegetables, purchase with the ones that have a code that starts with a 9 on them – that tells you they’re organic and free of chemicals. Sub-tip: You’ll never be able to buy organic bananas. They all go bad before any human has a chance to buy them and take them home for consumption.
Chop & Freeze ASAP – When you buy organic produce you need to cut it up the day you bring it home, put it in little plastic bags, and throw it in the freezer. You’ll save yourself the disappointment later when your $7 strawberries grow moldy before you had a chance to eat them.
Organic Doesn’t Equal Size 2 – Organic means “produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.” So, technically you could eat all organic and your entire diet could be made up of organic chocolate, organic cookies, and organic candy. Organic (in my opinion) will provide health benefits simply by not consuming pesticides, harmful chemicals, etc but it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll lose weight. Bummer. I know. Typically (based off no facts) if you’re eating organic though, you’re going to end up eating more fruits, vegetables, and a healthier diet overall. It becomes harder to find “treats” and extremely hard to eat out if you’re eating organic, so you might as well just select foods that are good for you and save the organic candy bars for weekends so that you can not only have internal benefits, but fit into pants you haven’t fit into in years.
Find The Circle – Labels are confusing and who the heck knows where to start?! I spent 30 days researching this…so just save yourself the time and do what I say. If you want to eat as organic as possible, shoot for buying only items with the labels that look like this:
Any other label that references “organic” or “organic ingredients” that does not include this circle logo typically means <70% organic in total.
Going Out To Eat is a B*t#h – You really just can’t be sure of any ingredients when you go out to eat. The theme of restaurants is typically “we do our best to source locally” and I just don’t have a good measure of “do our best.” My best is 100%, what’s your best?! I have found, in Columbus at least, the restaurants with the highest number of organic ingredients are Northstar Cafe and Bare Burger. There are a few others that I didn’t have a chance to try this month but intend to visit going forward. My recommendation – if you can mostly eat at home then don’t fret about organic when you go out to eat if it’s not everyday. Going out to eat is a major part of our social calendars. It’s what we do when family visits, when we meet up with friends, when we have business meetings, etc. If you can keep it organic the other 80-90% of your meals, then a basket full of non-organic bread at dinner isn’t the end of the world. Sub-tip: Keep medicine in your purse or car for potential stomach aches that may follow when you do have a non-organic meal.
You Don’t Have to be Pregnant to Have “That Glow” – If you eat organic for 2 weeks, people will start to tell you that your skin “has a glow about it.” You will feel prettier which will make you happier.
Say Goodbye to “Blah” – I have been blogging about my every day since Jan 1. When I read my Jan, Feb, and Mar posts I constantly said I felt “blah” in the mornings. I could never explain it but it was nearly everyday. After eating organic for 30 days and reflecting back on how I felt this month, I only felt “blah” 2 out of 30 days (both were the day after I went out to eat) compared to only feeling good 2 out of 30 days in the past. I’d say my general energy has been better, but the biggest benefit has been waking up and not having that pukey-eh-blah-am-I-sick feeling in the morning…commonly referred to in my world as “food hangovers.”
Don’t Tell Others What to Do – I’ve blogged about this notion in the past but feel so strongly about it I’m mentioning it again. As this pertains to eating organic – a preliminary sharing that you try to eat primarily organic foods is enough sharing with people. If they want to learn more, trust me, they’ll ask you….or they’ll read your blog and follow your lead. Telling people how they should eat or reminding them of the chemicals in something or how we’re all going to die from toxic taco seasoning someday is really not the best way to make friends. Food is a sensitive and emotional topic for many as it’s the primary thing that fuels us or depletes us, that makes us gain weight or lose weight, that heals us or makes us sick. Just be. Just do your thing. If you want to start a chemical free food campaign, show people by your actions and trust me….more people will follow your lead. People like to see people do, not talk.
Be Pretty & Wear Lipstick – When you eat better you feel better, when you feel better you are happier, when you’re happier you dress better, when you dress better you spend more time on your makeup, when you spend more time on your makeup you end up wearing lipstick, when you wear lipstick you feel important and smart. The gist is…put your physical self as a top priority. We can’t possibly sustain all the things we have on our schedules and in our lives if we don’t. Take care of yourself. Do it. Stop waiting for things to be perfect. Be healthy. Drink a lot of water. Rest well. Wear lipstick. Feel pretty. The rest is just non-dairy icing on an organic cake!
I did it!