Friday, October 1, 2010

How you make your choices

Just a warning--I'm in a really bad mood today......

I catch a lot flack sometimes from other people for the choices I make for my kid. Which I think we can safely say all moms experience this.  Everywhere I turn someone is unhappy with what I'm doing as a parent--friends, mothers (my mother and MIL), daycare provider, even my husband! So I just want to politely say SHUT UP.  I make my choices based on the information I have available to me, what my family can afford, and what I think is right best for my kid. 

Now I've been accused of not taking advice well.  I think my friend is actually scared to give me her opinion because she thinks I take everything personally.   I believe there's a difference from someone telling you what worked for them or sharing an experience they have had or heard about, and someone telling you what you're doing is wrong--or even that what you're doing is "silly" or "stupid."

Yesterday my husband saw me feeding Mimi some Tyson chicken nuggets out of desperation because the kid was starving and HE hadn't made dinner yet.  He says to me in a snide voice "do you even know what you're feeding her!? did you read the ingredients!?"  Yes honey, it's chicken and breading.  Will the occasionally frozen chicken nugget kill her? No. I mean really? God he sounded like one those smug moms who "only buys organic" because of the propaganda brainwashing us into thinking "organic is always better." 

My approach is to look at what Mimi eats the most (ie exposure risk), where pesticides are concentrated the most, and see what organic products are available in our area that I can afford.  The local grocery store I shop at also has a really nice assortment of both LOCAL and ORGANIC stuff, and I will buy organic fruits and vegetables when they're in season and available at a price I can afford.  Knowing where your food comes from can be just as important as whether it is organic or not ( imported fruit was four times more likely than domestic to have illegal pesticide levels, and imported vegetables were more than two times as likely, according to an FDA study from 2006).  Yes, I said "when I can afford them."  Our budget is tight. I can't afford to buy ALL organic, so I do what I can.  I also don't think organic is always better, safer, or superior.  The two things I regularly purchase organic are apple products (juice, applesauce, etc) and dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese). 


Apples (and some other thin-skinned fruits)
Washed, conventional fruits with delicate skins like peaches, apples, nectarines, and strawberries are especially pesticide-laden, whereas tougher-skinned veggies like onions, avocadoes, and sweet corn require and retain far less chemicals, according to an analysis of 87,000 FDA and USDA pesticide tests.  Apples were found to have 42 Pesticide Residues by the USDA Pesticide Data Program.  Now--take this excessively large number with a grain of salt---not all "found residues" are found at levels toxic to humans.  Some "toxic levels" haven't been established yet--which is pretty scary, because that means there's no legal limit that grower's produce can't exceed....
Applejuice and applesauces were tested separately because they are considered processed and have varying levels of pesticides in them as well. 
Resource Link:  United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP)

Milk-(and other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, cream etc)
Now a disclaimer--Mimi gets organic milk, organic yogurt, and some organic cheeses.  Not all of her cheese is organic, and I don't buy ice cream made from organic milk, but she doesn't consume ice cream in the same quantities as she does milk.  If she gets non-organic stuff I don't panic.  And I try not to be smug about it. 
According to the USDA Pesticide Data Program, Milk contained on average12 pesticide esidues.  These included
4  Known or Probable Carcinogens
8  Suspected Hormone Disruptors
4  Neurotoxins
3  Developmental or Reproductive Toxicants\

Now let me let you in on something you might not expect---domestic organic milk also contained some of these pesticide residues--but in lesser percentages (about 1/3 of the amount of conventional domestic milk).  I know what you're thinking "What!? My organic milk is supposed to be all organic!"  Wake up and smell the pesticides sister!  Use of pesticides is so broad and excessive that it's ubiquitous in our environment.

So am I saying that because I use organic milk and some fruits that my kid won't get cancer? No, there are so many other physiological factors, genetic factros, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors that come into play there...

Am I saying that if she ate conventional fruits (especially apples and peaches) and milk she will get cancer? No, but hre risk may be higher due to increased exposure to known carcinogens.  I don't think you can deny that.  

Am I saying I'm better than you because I buy these products organic? God no. This is one of the plethora of decisions I make for Mimi.  Mothers are faced with decisions everyday.  What I don't understand is why mothers think that there's one true way to do things? I can raise my kid differently than others and we can all still be making the best decisions based on our situations.  

So I'm going to keep on buying my organic milk (which only cost $1 more per gallon) and my organic apple products.  And i'll still sleep at night even if you judge me and think I'm being smug.  


Anonymous said...

Wow you're doing better than me! I think you already demand a lot of yourself, so when people do demand something from you, it's already the straw that breaks the camel's back :). I think this whole organic obssession is only recent, and the kids before that turned out okay! Of course it's better for you, but it doesn't mean the rest is all bad. At least that's my perspective. One thing I know for sure, is that you shouldn't parent for other people - it's between you, God and your child! :)

laurapile said...

I buy some organic stuff just cause it has less sugar and crap in it. I bought my little guy his first yogourt today and it is organic and a lot more pure then the non-organic stuff. I think you are doing an amazing job! just look at how happy Mimi is! I always say Mother how you want to mother :)

Organic milk is a small fortune in Canada like 7$for 2L and they don't even sell the 4L tubs...that's a bad sign!! haha! everything grocery wise is more here though...I went down to the states to a price chopper and I was amazed at how cheap everything is!! we pay 25$ for 6 chicken breasts! haha...totally crazy!

Kyle and Court said...

Sophia gets chicken nuggets all the time for lunch. Take THAT, Franco. =p