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Two years ago, I wrote a post listing 14 reasons every kid should eat organic. I loved writing that and getting it out to the world. I’m a big believer that the right diet can help a child to thrive and even heal certain disabilities and difficulties for some kids.
But I never gave my *own* journey to eat healthy a second thought. In fact, when our budget is slim or time is tight, my husband and I forego clean eating for ourselves making sure the kids are only eat GMO free foods at home and whenever possible if we’re dining out.
It’s not easy to eat GMO free, but organics are simply better for you. Most of those original 14 reasons applies to adults too, but as you age eating clean is as important as it is for a child. Here are 6 possible benefits of eating organic as you grow older:
- Cancer Prevention
Pesticides are linked to cancer. According to Rodale Wellness, more than 260 studies link pesticides to a range of cancers. In fact, The President’s Cancer Panel also suggests eating organic to reduce your risk.
- Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
A Rutgers study published in JAMA Neurology found that “pesticides and Alzheimer’s disease could be intricately linked.” Patients with DDE exposure were more likely to have Alzheimer’s, especially if they had the gene which produces a higher risk.
- Reduce Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
A 2014 study done by David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles found that certain pesticides inhibit an enzyme that breaks down these toxins in your body. These people were more likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease. These last two diseases are very important to me as I age, since Mom had one and Dad had the other.
- Lower Risk of Dementia
Many of these studies also link general dementia to pesticides. That’s not surprising since many of them contain neurotoxins.
- Reduce Risk of Heart Ailments
Science Daily recently reported on a study that found that pesticide exposure can contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease in premenopausal women. This is critical for women, since heart disease is a top killer of women.
- Increased Exposure to Pesticides as We Age
According to the National Pesticide Information Center, as we age, our skin gets thinner and may increase exposure to pesticides as well as the skin being more susceptible to damage. Additionally, some pesticides can bioaccumulate, building up to toxic levels in our bodies. As you age, your systems need to work harder to detox your body as well leaving you more vulnerable.
Finally, the Washington Post reported last year that more people are developing dementia and dying it from it, compared to 20 years ago. Could heightened pesticide exposure be a reason? Either way, our bodies are being exposed to more pesticides than ever before and that’s why making sure you eat a healthy diet, full of protein plant food, mostly USDA Certified Organic and free from GMOs is a must-do for busy parents, especially if you are raising kids with extra challenges. Good health is an important tool for busy parents like us.
Not only do I hope to live long enough to help my kids succeed in whatever future challenges they face, I also want to be healthy and sharp when I get older. That’s reason enough for me to take a renewed effort – right now – to work hard to remove GMOs from my life, even though it can be challenging!
Everywhere I look, though, people make clean eating into a challenge. They push extreme cleanses, or going a month without any fun foods, or whole days spent cooking and prepping. Who has time for that? As it is, I cook daily and it’s exhausting. So naturally, I skimp on my own meals. But no more! We need short cuts to eating healthy that work for us, so we don’t have to work even harder to make the right food choices. And simple hacks make it easier to get back on board when you do overindulge. Here top shortcuts I use.
8 Easy Hacks to Eat Healthy – for Busy Moms
- Smoothies for Lunch
A meal in a blender, smoothies are healthy, filling and easy to whip up. The key is adding the right ingredients. I recommend the following ingredients for an easy smoothie: Your favorite protein powder, powder probiotic and/or vitamin supplement, fresh green kale or baby spinach, whatever fruit you have in your fridge or freezer, and organic dairy or nondairy milk. You can add hemp, chia or flax seeds too for a little extra power punch, or stevia if you need it a little sweeter. I love to experiment with new flavors too. What smoothie recipes do you love?
- Buy Lots of Organic Bananas and Apples
These are some of the best produce to have because they require practically no work and they last a little longer than others. You only have to wash apples. Bananas and apples are easy to carry and eat on the go and create no mess, so I make sure to have lots of them. Bananas can do double duty in your smoothies too, especially when they start to turn!
- Stock Up On Protein Bars
If you’re like me, you have had a “bad run in” with some bar or other and took them off your “go to” snack list but I encourage you to try again. Taste different brands until you find one that you actually like. There are lots of them that have weird textures, so always sample first. Make sure they are full of non-GMO or organic ingredients, fruits/veggies and proteins and not too high on the sugars and of course, read the allergy statement if you are allergic. They are perfect for breakfast when you’re on the go!
- Have Lots of Containers
We don’t do BPA plastic but PEVA bags seal up safely and tighter than disposable zip bags! If you have a ton of pouches on hand, it’s easy to pack loose items, like grapes, popcorn or seeds, to drop in your tote or gym bag.
- Double Duty Drinks
Even if you don’t have time to whip up a smoothie, you can stock up on organic protein drinks for when you’re on the run. And, add fruit to your water drinks. Frozen organic strawberries makes a perfect addition to seltzer water in your water bottle and citrus is perfect for water. And finally, you can also buy organic beer and wine, so you have no excuse not to “drink” healthy too!
- Organic Cold Cuts
I’m not a sandwich lover, but wrap a few slices of organic or non-GMO cheese and deli meat up in some lettuce, and I’m good to go! As a gluten free family, we’re no longer big fans of bread and often just replace it with produce, we’ve started buying organic cold cuts – especially cheeses – to give us a healthier snacking experience. At night, sometimes we just lay it out on the cutting board with nuts and fruit, too, for a lighter dinner. (Pairs lovely with that organic wine too!)
- Nut or Seed Butter Packets
These are the best things to have on hand for when you are in a rush. I love the ones that come in packets so I can just squeeze the into my mouth for a snack! Of course, you can easily put them on a celery stick or dip your fruit slices in them for a more substantial snack.
- Ready Pac elevAte Salads for Meals
Easy to eat on the go, elevAte organic superfood salads are antioxidant rich, high in omegas and contain plant-based proteins. Three of their brands contain antibiotic-free chicken, and are Non-GMO Project Verified, Organic or Gluten Free. elevAte even has a vegan salad, as well as 3 that are vegetarian. Not only that, but the salads come in fully recyclable packaging, printed with soy-based inks and are made from FSC Certified material, ensuring you that they “come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.” (Be sure to rinse and recycle when done eating!)
These hacks make it quick and easy to eat clean and the best part? No cooking! I cook for the kids about a million times a day. Ok, it’s really twice but it feels like a LOT more when you do it 365 days a year – and more on holidays, augh!
Of these hacks, the Ready Pac elevAte Salads were my favorite. It’s exactly the kind of food I love, and so delicious, providing a quick and easy lunch that I don’t have to think about. It’s full of ancient grains, plant-based proteins, nutrient-dense greens, nuts, legumes, and seeds that are rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, ensuring my meal is full of naturally occurring vitamins and antioxidants. You can check out elevAte foods on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We bought these salads at Wegman’s in Bethelehem. It was hilarious…we had dropped off Zoe for respite care and took Amelia out for the day. We figured we’d do some light groceries first, but when we went into to the store, wowwee! The aisles WERE BIG. The produce section was twice the size at our regular Wegman’s, with twice the aisle size.
And did I mention the aisles were big? LOL! And the specialty/organic/gluten free foods aisle? HUGE, plus there were free samples everywhere on a Saturday morning. It was honestly like a family outing! Totally fun, especially if you’re natural foodie geeks like we are 🙂
It’s your turn to share! What easy hacks do you use to eat healthy when you’re on the run? What flavor salad would you like to try from Ready Pac elevAte?