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Are you a food snob? An elitist? Un-democratic for thinking that organic food and pastured meats are better for you?

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In his recent TIME magazine article Dr. Oz says YES.

Who is Dr. Oz? He is a doctor with a syndicated TV show that is promoted by Oprah. Daytime TV watchers love him! I hear at least once a day how “Dr. Oz says…” Sometimes these things make me cringe, sometimes I think “thank goodness at least someone on daytime TV is talking about this.” until now.

Dr. Oz was a supporter of organic foods. Just a few weeks ago, in reference to the Stanford study, Dr. Oz said:

“The headlines got it wrong. Today I am talking about what may be emerging as one of the greatest threats to your childrens health. Pesticides in your childrens food”

This is based off of research done by Stanford in a four year study comparing Organic and Standard food. They came to the conclusion that nutritionally these foods are comparable. The big difference is that Organic foods are produced without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, artificial hormones, antibiotics and other physical toxins. (see the write up of the study here)

Do you know what the suffix -icide means? It meas to kill. These -icides are meant to kill bugs, fungus, and weeds but they are not selective. They are very harmful to our bodies as well.

“Pesticides are designed to (in most cases) kill pests. Many pesticides can also pose risks to people.” –EPA

How about a short list of health problems scientifically linked with pesticides and peer published scientific articles to back them up? See the full post here.

  • Asthma
  • Birth Defects
  • Neurological effects including autism, reduced IQ, learning disability, poor memory
  • Cancer “Sheila Zahm and Mary Ward, summarized the studies of pesticides and childhood cancer and concluded that the following childhood cancers were linked to pesticide exposure: leukemia, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, soft-tissue sarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, non-Hodgkins’s lymphoma, and cancers of the brain, colorectum and testes. They noted, It is noteworthy that many of the reported increased risks are of greater magnitude than those observed in studies of pesticide-exposed adults, suggesting that children may be particularly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of pesticides. (Zahm and Ward, 1998, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 106)”
  • Hormone Disruption like endometriosis, undescended testicals, precocious puberty in girls, reduced sperm counts and fertility problems.
  • Food Allergies
Lets hop back to a few quote from the Stanford study:
“There were no long-term studies of health outcomes of people consuming organic versus conventionally produced food; the duration of the studies involving human subjects ranged from two days to two years.”
This means there were no long term studies done as to the health outcomes of people eating organically vs. inorganically produced food.
“The review yielded scant evidence that conventional foods posed greater health risks than organic products. While researchers found that organic produce had a 30 percent lower risk of pesticide contamination than conventional fruits and vegetables, organic foods are not necessarily 100 percent free of pesticides. What’s more, as the researchers noted, the pesticide levels of all foods generally fell within the allowable safety limits. Two studies of children consuming organic and conventional diets did find lower levels of pesticide residues in the urine of children on organic diets, though the significance of these findings on child health is unclear. Additionally, organic chicken and pork appeared to reduce exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the clinical significance of this is also unclear.”
Ok, so let me be fair. I took many advanced level biology, chemistry and biochemistry classes in college. Scientists can not say “reduced exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria and a 30% reduction in exposure to pesticides is obviously better for you” without doing multiple studies that are peer reviewed first. That is the nature of the beast.
I always encourage people to use their brains, intuition, and listen to their own bodies to really determine what is best for them.
What is logic telling you?

This is what my brain and intuition are telling me:

  • Antibiotic Resistant bacteria are spreading like wild fire and we have no medical way to kill them. They are evolving faster than the pharmacorps are making new drugs. 
  • 80% of the antibiotics in the united states are given to animals for preventative measures because they live in such unsanitary conditions and are fed such unhealthy feed that they need the antibiotics to live long enough to eat. 
  • That is really gross. 
  • Pesticides are toxic. They are made to kill bugs, which are biological beings like us. Bugs actually have a higher resistant to poisons than we do because of their anatomy. This is why Monsanto is developing GM crops that kill the insects from the inside. 
  • The GM food is “standard” non organic produce too. So they are sprayed with toxic petrochemicals AND are designed to tear your gut up and kill you…erm… I mean… bugs. 
  • “”Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job” – Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications.

What my body is telling me:

  • I was eating a Standard American Diet full of processed, refined foods, chemicals and junk. No organic because I had better things to spend money on. Not really even eating whole foods. 
  • I was infertile with PCOS, Endometriosis, Prolapsed uterus, and it was impossible to loose weight no matter how hard I tried. I tracked religiously, I exercised like a mad woman and I kept gaining weight. 
  • I was lethargic, depressed, and unable to function well.
  • I switched to eating hormone and antibiotic free meat (not organic, not pastured just hormone and antibiotic free) and eating whole foods. 
  • I bought the “Dirty Dozen” , fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues, Organically or just did not eat them. 
  • I bought the “Clean Fifteen” vegetables more. 
  • I washed my produce with vinegar that helps remove pesticides from the plant matter. 
  • I still ate junk food occasionally, lots of grains and stuff I don’t eat now. 
  • I got pregnant in less than a year of the doctor telling me there was no hope and to start saving for fertility treatments. 
  • I switched to eating a more organic, more pastured meat, lower grain diet and got pregnant with #2 after my second post partum period. 
  • 3 years later I have not had an ovarian cyst, endometriosis pain or complications, my periods are regular and pain free, my acne is cleared, I am losing weight and I am healthier than I can remember ever being. 
This is obviously just my story, but there are many like it. 
So I ask you, is organic food healthier than non organic? In my opinion Yes. You can make your own decisions.

Does eating organic food make me an elitist? Un-democratic? Part of the 1%? A member of the food Borjuase? 

Short answer : NO
Long answer: Obviously not everyone can afford to eat organic food. It is expensive and it is hard to get unless you know where to find it. I will be posting a guide on how to eat as healthy as you can on a budget next week.
For now do what you can.
  • Avoid conventional foods on the “dirty dozen” list.
  •  Eat more on the “clean fifteen list”.
  •  Eat seasonally and locally as much as you can.
  • Shop the sales. A lot of grocery stores loss lead with produce.
  • If you eat meat at least get hormone and antibiotic free meat.
  • “Just Eat Real Food”-Underground Wellness
What do you think? Was Dr. Oz spot on? Did he sell out? Was this all a misunderstanding? Are people who want clean, reliable, safe food to eat elitist?
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This post shared on: Tiny Tip TuesdayThank Your Body ThursdayYour Green Resource

About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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30 Responses to Dr. Oz and Food Snobbery

  1. Lori R says:

    Fantastic article Amanda! Love it.

  2. Heather says:

    I think that it is a shame that someone so well known is being so contradictory, but I almost expect it now out of anyone mainstream – unfortunately. I also want to address organic being too expensive. I think you can think in the short term and say, everyone should garden a little bit 🙂 Even if it is a couple pots on an apartment balcony, or some herbs in your kitchen window. Not that that will feed a family trying to eat more organic fruits and veggies, but it is a start. And then if you think about the longer term issues related to not eating organic foods, spending a little extra now is an investment into your health future. I think education is key to all of this though, and most people listen to the biggest voices out there. Unfortunately, Dr. Oz is one of those voices, and it is disappointing to see how he is using his platform.

    • Amanda says:

      I agree! Not only is a garden (however big or small) a great place to get fresh organic produce, but it saves money and gets people out of the house! There are so many benefits to gardening. During WWI and WWII they encouraged every home to have a victory garden, preferably with 1 chicken per person to keep the family in eggs. These things were highly encouraged so families could feed them selves. It is very interesting how things have changed in such a short amount of time.

  3. I think this is crazy. So I’m a food snob because I have allergies? This is why I never watch Dr Oz. He’s all about promoting fads and diets and unhealthy ways to lose weight. I’ll bet anything he got paid big money by Monsano to say these things.

    • Amanda says:

      Yeah he doesn’t even take food allergies into account! And honestly food allergies DO make me much more of a picky eater because I get so sick if I eat gluten I just avoid it at all costs. Does that make me a snob? No that makes me not want to writhe in gut pain.

  4. Laura says:

    I think eating clean food does make us part of the 1%, but not in the way Dr. Oz (what a boob) implied. I think it makes us part of a small, but fortunately growing, percent of the population that knows all the crap on the market right now is killing us. I’m not as clean as I could be or would like to be, but baby steps, right? Dr. Oz’s entire article was way out of line, and so blatantly obvious that he’s sold out to Monsanto.

    • Amanda says:

      I think we all have room for improvement. I think it is great to have goals to strive for. No one is perfect but every little step helps!

  5. Audrey says:

    I try to buy organic when I can, but I also don’t think this is an easy “black and white” issue. There are a lot of “grey area” foods that fall in between pure organic and gunked up with bad stuff. I think that’s why some people say there’s not a huge difference, and in some cases that is true. I think the most important thing is to research what you buy so you can buy good-for-stuff whether it’s labeled organic or not.

    • Amanda says:

      I agree completely Audrey. And standard grown vegetables and meat are still a much better diet than most Americans are eating with processed food. It is all shade of grey.

  6. Lauren says:

    Wow! I’m looking forward to your guide coming soon. I need to eat better, but we’re also on a tight budget.

  7. Ashley says:

    That’s a lot of info to take in, but thanks! I wish I could grown my own garden vegetables rather than purchase at the grocer. I try to buy from the farmer’s market or from my cousin’s farm when I can.

  8. Jenny says:

    I definitely consider myself a food snob! This was a very informative post! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lindsey G. says:

    Love this post – I definitely agree with YOU!

  10. Laura Broach says:

    I am so glad you posted this! I am not a snob, I just want to protect my body and my child’s body from anything potentially harmful on or in our food!

  11. Great info, Amanda!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Crystal says:

    Very happy to see your post addressing Dr. Oz and his flip-flop on organic and local grown produce. I too have seen my health improve in big ways from changing the way I eat to pesticide and GMO free produce. I am grateful for all I have learned in the past year, and I dislike people who try to keep the rest of the population in the dark about the problems with our food system. Keep on getting the good word out there!
    I wrote a blog post myself about this issue and I linked to yours at the bottom.
    http://thequeenstable.blogspot.com/2012/12/dr-oz-calls-my-family-elitist-as.html

    • Amanda says:

      I agree completely Crystal! It is something that has to be addressed. It is interesting to see the AAP released guidelines to feed children organic food because of the health effects of pesticides. It may effect them more but it has impact on everyone’s health. Heading over to your blog now to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Excellent article, Amanda! I’m still in shock at the outright contradictions he has with HIMSELF! This type of shameless flip-flopping in print an on-air is so ridiculous, and it would actually be funny, if it weren’t for the millions of people who watch his show everyday and take what he says to heart as sound medical advice.

    Thanks for linking to my post! I’ll add yours to my Further Reading section.

  14. Myndee says:

    Thank you for this post. I work hard to ensure my family eats mainly organic, but lately we have been lazy and eating out more- and God knows where that food comes from! Posts like yours are exactly what I need to keep myself and my family on track.

    • Amanda says:

      We have all been there! I know when I was pregnant I had to fight to make dinner every night. Why do they have to eat every day?!? You are definitely not alone 😉 Chipolte has hormone free/antibiotic free meat raised “humanely” (whatever that means), milk products from pastured animals, local produce when it is in season and practice sustainable business practices. That and some local hand made food places are my go-tos for when I am feeling lazy.

  15. Sarah says:

    I have bought locally grown, organic foods for many years and have been accused of being a food snob too. The way I look at it is it’s a matter of priorities. I would rather spend more money on safe, healthy food than go out to eat or to the movies, etc.

  16. Kelley Johnsen says:

    It is sad to see him sell out to main stream media and companies, but expected.

  17. 'Becca says:

    I think that supporting organic food is “elitist” only if you believe that organic OUGHT to be more expensive and that anybody who says, “But I don’t have that much money!” is just a stupid whiner. It’s true that many people have tight budgets and that, when you compare like items, organic often costs more. But it doesn’t cost nearly so much more as it did a decade ago, and as demand for organic food rises, prices will continue to drop–it’s basic economics.

    I certainly agree that organic food is healthier and that a more natural, vegetable-centric diet is healthier. I’ve seen a lot of improvements in my immunity, digestion, hair and fingernail quality (even though I actually eat LESS protein now), and many other areas of health, as I’ve improved my diet.

    About your fertility, though, it is my experience and observation that:
    *Doctors often diagnose PCOS when a woman has irregular cycles, without doing adequate testing.
    *Doctors often underestimate the fertility of women with irregular cycles.
    *There is a phenomenon (I don’t know what to call it because, although 7 members of my family have had it, none of us has ever heard a name for it) in which a woman has very irregular, long cycles until she has managed to conceive and give birth to one child, and after that she is much more normal and has no trouble conceiving.

    So, it may be that your cycle problems were at least partially misdiagnosed (I don’t know much about endometriosis) and your fertility was improved by having the first baby, not by improving your diet. But of course, a healthier diet is still good for you!

    • Amanda says:

      I most definitely had PCOS. My hormones were wonky, I had insulin resistance, and the chronic ovarian cysts that popped and caused tremendous pain. I do agree that a lot of doctors do not run the correct tests but mine sure did (well the 3rd doc I saw did anyway).

      I agree that prices will drop as demand rises and supply jumps to meet it! It is more expensive and some people are not able to make them all a priority, that is why it is important to know what the most and least toxic conventionally grown produce is.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  18. I’ve never been a fan of Dr. Oz… but lately he’s really getting my fired up!

    Great post!

  19. Organic Food says:

    Fresh food tastes better. Organic food is usually fresher when eaten because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.

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