are your thoughts on the importance of consumption of organic foods
for cancer survivors?
Here are some of the factors I have taken into consideration regarding your question.
However, I still consider this an issue with many loose ends. Therefore, I have chosen to consume organic fruits and vegetables generally following the rankings listed by the Environmental Working Group, focusing on purchasing organically for their list of the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of potentially carcinogenic pesticides:
Foods That Tend to Be High in Pesticides
These are the choices I have made for consuming my foods at home. I do not obsess about the lack of availability of organic foods in restaurants. I will add that I purchase many food items organically that are not on this list, and I also occasionally purchase non-organic foods that are on the list. I try to balance availability and cost, knowing also that I am trying to maximize taste of my foods by purchasing fresh, local, and in-season foods when possible.
Regarding meats and dairy foods, I have chosen to eliminate meat items from my diet, focusing on filling my plate (and body!) with the multiple known health benefits from consuming plant foods (fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and more). It is easy to obtain an appropriate protein quality and quantity from a plant-based diet built around the beans, legumes, small amount of organic dairy and eggs, and seafood that I consume.
For people who choose to consume meats and dairy foods, my recommendation is to choose sources from animals permitted access to natural grass grazing in order to minimize (even eliminate) use of growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide residues. In addition, grazing on grass optimizes the manufacture of cancer-fighting fatty acids (conjugated linoleic acid = CLA) within the meat and milk products.
In my experience, organic foods TASTE better :-) (My husband will also vouche for this observation!) Food is more than biochemistry. I want to be enjoying my food at the same time I know that its thousands of phytochemicals are helping to optimize my health while minimizing potential environmental toxins.
As a cancer survivor and Registered Dietitian, I first needed to examine if I believed the phrase "we are what we eat". Yes, after much study, I do believe that, and even more importantly, I believe "we can become what we eat". I have made my food choices with intention based on the simple philosophy that I wanted everything going into my mouth to be nurturing my recovery. Recovery covers many aspects of life, from spiritual to physical.
Organic foods help me connect to both the earth and universe, knowing I am making choices that have the potential to both optimize my own health and that of our planet.
FAQ posted 4/04
Fruits and Vegetables
P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI 48113