- Grow an organic fruit and veggie garden. Organic food is never treated with toxic pesticides or made from genetically modified organisms. Certain foods have been named “The Dirty Dozen” because of the high risk of toxins from pesticides. Kids can grow organic celery, spinach, bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and kale in their veggie garden and can’t wait to taste them. When kids eat a rainbow of veggies, they get all the nutrients they need to build strong minds and bodies.
- Choose fruit first and save sugar for special occasions. Kids can grow organic apples, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, grapes, and blueberries right where they live to avoid the toxic chemicals from the conventionally grown fruit. Eating organic fruit right off the tree makes the perfect snack or dessert that kids love. Fruits are filled with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, with none of the chemical additives, fat, sugar, or salt in processed snack foods.
- Go for Whole Grains. White bread has the bran and germ removed from the grains along with much of the nutrients. Kids can make sandwiches from organic whole wheat bread, rich in fiber and vitamins. Popcorn, a whole grain, is a healthy snack kids love. Organic old fashioned rolled oats take only minutes to cook from scratch to make a yummy oatmeal for breakfast.
- Choose healthy unsaturated fats from organic plant foods, such as avocados, nuts, and seeds, which are good for the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Unhealthy saturated fats come from animal products like meat, milk, and butter. Processed foods, fried foods, and margarine contain trans fats which are harmful to the heart’s health.
- Eat plenty of protein rich plants, like quinoa, beans, nuts, seeds, and many vegetables that also supply lots of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. When eating a variety of healthy foods, the amino acids combine to form protein chains in the body to provide plenty of protein.
- Drink filtered water and water infused with fruits instead of soda. Sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks cause weight gain and tooth decay. Eating a whole fruit is a better choice than drinking fruit juice because it is packed with fiber. Kids can cut pieces of fruit and add them to a large container of water in the refrigerator for a refreshing drink. Pure water is vital to good health. Kids can carry a thermos of fresh water with them to keep hydrated.
- Read the labels on processed foods to help make healthy choices and learn to cook. Real food is made from ingredients kids can find in nature, like whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, herbs, and veggies. Avoid packaged, canned, and prepared food and choose fresh organic options as processed foods are filled with chemicals to make them look better and last longer. Kids gain a life long skill when they learn to cook whole, simple foods from scratch.
- A healthy diet prevents many diseases. In the 1980’s, Americans started to eat more and more convenient, cheap processed foods, high in fat, sugar, and salt with chemical additives, fillers, and dyes. This American diet caused a dramatic rise in diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
- Heart disease, the number one killer in the United States, can be prevented by eating organic whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Because of processed foods and fast food restaurants, Americans are eating twice as much fats as they ate 50 years ago. Kids can plant an organic fruit and veggie garden to have easy access to fresh, inexpensive food.
- Foods in their original form are the healthiest. Kids can choose their favorite fruits and veggies to grow in their garden and learn to cook from scratch. Kids want to eat what they grow and gain self confidence when they can prepare a dish for their family. Family recipes can bring folks together cooking in the kitchen.
- Being active is good for the whole body. Many kids spend about seven hours a day using electronic devices indoors. Inactivity can weaken the brain and body parts. American Academy of Pediatrics advise limiting kids’ screen time to less than two hours a day. Gardening activities include both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Kids can have fun adventures and get healthy exercise working in the garden.
- Kids can prevent diseases like colds and flu by washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating or preparing food. Contaminated food sickens hundreds of millions of people each year, especially from raw fish, raw meat, and raw eggs. Cleaning kitchen counters, cutting boards, utensils, and hands helps prevent sickness.
- Human made toxins in the environment pollute the air, soil, and water. Pesticides are put on our conventionally grown food and sprayed in our cities. Families can avoid these and other human made chemical poisons by using natural cleaning products, air and water filters, and eating organic food from their garden.
Human made toxins have polluted our planet and the life on it. Choose Certified Organic even if it is more expensive because organic is sustainable. Organic produce has more nutritional value, is more delicious, and creates a better environment for everyone.
Buying organic is choosing the organic cycle, where the compost feeds the soil, the soil feeds the plants, and the plants feed the people. Planting native plants attract beneficial bugs to control pests and create a balanced ecosystem. Food is medicine. Grow an organic veggie garden where you live. Eating fresh, local, seasonal, organic fruits and veggies saves time and money at the doctors office and on prescriptions.
Unfortunately, conventional agriculture plays a large role in air, soil, and water pollution as synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides pollute our rivers and drinking water, and then the food is shipped to processing plants and enhanced with too much fat, sugar, salt, plus additives, fillers, and dyes. Transportation of food averages 1500 miles from farm to table and adds to the greenhouse gases.
When we grow our own organic fruit and veggie garden and replace processed food with super food from the garden, we turn the tide on the alarming rise in diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Unhealthy toxic chemicals have poisoned the consumers, the workers, the water, soil, and air. When we use our consumer power and buy organic, we can change the world.
Every cell in a kid’s body needs energy to work. This energy comes from the food counted in calories that is eaten and digested by stomach fluids and is turned into glucose to power the cells in a kid’s body. This food energy is renewable when kids eat another meal. Much of the food today is processed with too much sugar, salt, and fat and grown with chemicals which have resulted in a huge spike in obesity, diabetes, and cancer in the population. Our planet of more than 7 billion people runs on energy from non-renewable fossil fuels from coal, oil, and natural gas, which have caused air and water pollution and contribute to global warming. There are five interconnected sources for clean renewable energy: solar panels, wind farms, hydroelectric dams and turbines, geothermal heat pumps, and biofuels from plants. Our planet needs all of these technologies to work as a team to replace fossil fuels. Studies show that as many as one in four kids today will have jobs in the renewable energy fields by 2030. By working in a renewable energy field, kids can fuel the planet with clean sources to energize our future. By growing an organic raised bed veggie garden in their backyard, school, or community garden and learning how to cook from scratch, kids can find peace and happiness while fueling their bodies with clean whole foods.
Kids can find happy eating when they anticipate a favorite home cooked meal with their grandma, taste the perfectly prepared dish made she made with love, and enjoy the satisfying feeling of fullness afterwards. Good food is one of life’s greatest enjoyments and studies have shown that eating fresh organic fruits and veggies can increase happiness, self esteem, and self confidence. When kids eat the foods they love, they enjoy not only the present flavors that tantalize our senses, but the memories of past times spent with friends and family. Types of food preferences are interwoven with a sense of identity and culture. Every culture has delicious healthy recipes for preparing fresh food from the garden that bring happiness and enjoyment. However, many processed foods in our society today are highly addictive, causing cravings of foods that bring an emotional and physical pleasure, but are really doing damage to young bodies and minds. When families shift to a whole food diet, using healthy organic versions of their favorite foods cooked from scratch, their taste buds will change over a period of weeks. Families can visit the Farmers Market together to choose local organic in season veggies, fruits, and herbs, where kids can taste the raw veggie to understand the flavors and ask questions of the farmers. Things that grow together in a season go together well in a dish. Kids find that food cooked from scratch, especially from their organic backyard garden and eaten with family, is more delicious and makes them feel better after eating. Families can discover happy eating in an endless variety of nutrient-rich, health promoting fruits and veggies from their own organic garden with amazing flavors to love.
Let’s get dirty and play in the soil, as microbes in the dirt can make kids healthier. Our modern emphasis on hyper-cleanliness has taken a toll on kid’s development. Scientists have shown that early exposure to microbes is beneficial to kids immune system and without this exposure kids can develop chronic conditions including obesity, severe allergies, and asthma. The benefits of the microbe transfer from the environment to the toddler has been lost in the last 100 years as parents have battled to keep germs and dirt at bay. Some parents even apply antimicrobial hand sanitizers every time their kids play outside, which kills the very organisms that can keep them healthy! Letting the dog lick and cuddle the baby will decrease his risk of developing allergies and asthma and will teach the child to be comfortable around animals. Beneficial microbes in our guts are in charge of digesting most of our food; they combat disease causing microbes, create vitamins B and K from scratch, and have a key role in shaping the child’s body development. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and miso, are probiotics that feed the gut microbiota creating improved brain development and healthier kids; they are especially important to eat after taking an antibiotic that kills both good and bad bacteria. Eating fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, and apple cider vinegar, supports the growth of probiotics in the system. Kids that have an organic veggie garden can come in contact with lots of beneficial microbes as they create a compost pile and root about in the rich organic soil. Microorganisms in the soil form intimate relationships with the plant roots to increase their ability to utilize water and nutrients. This micro-universe takes the organic material in the soil and turns it into useable food and nutrients for the plant, which grows veggies rich with nutrients for kids. Kids need to play in the dirt to contact beneficial microbes that keep us healthy.
During the short winter days, kids need food to lift their spirit. Everyone knows that eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables is the number one habit for healthy living. They are also the foods that most lift our spirits. However, healthy organic foods tend to be more expensive and people have found it is easier and more convenient to consume prepared processed foods. Studies have shown that trans fats, which are vegetable oils that have been transformed into solid fats, increase the risk of depression, cancer, and cardiovascular system problems. Trans fats are found in a vast array of processed foods, baked goods, French fries, candy, crackers, fried foods, and at fast food establishments, as they tend to have a longer shelf life and greater flavor stability. Fresh picked organic fruit and veggies are sweet and flavorful as well as an incredibly rich source of vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, flavonoids, plant sterols, and antioxidants, making kids healthier and happier. Local organic foods, that have been harvested early in the day before coming to the Farmers Market, look and taste better, and are able to retain more nutrients than foods that have traveled half way around the world and take four to seven days to reach the supermarket shelves. Growing organic food in a school garden, backyard, or community garden, makes it convenient and economical to eat much more in season fruits, berries, and veggies. Researchers have told us over and over again that half of a typical meal should consist of fresh fruits and veggies, but most kids and adults don’t eat anywhere near that amount. Kids eat what they grow. Pointing kids to the joys of growing and cooking their own food instills positive eating habits, leadership skills, and better attitudes. Cooking and eating is about enjoying and taking time to eat healthy food and socialize around the family table. Local organic food lifts the spirit, with a variety of fresh, diverse ingredients, delicious flavors and delightful aromas that balances bodily systems and supports mental performance.