Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2016

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26 Hudson Valley Parent n August 2016 By JENNIFER BRIZZI R aising your offspring to be healthy eaters is a bit more complex than only buying organic kale. When I was an expectant mom, and long before, I vowed I'd feed my babies only home-made pureed or- ganic fruits and vegetables. But with the chaos of being a new parent, that was soon supplemented and then re- placed with quicker things, my good intentions lost to the hectic reality of day-to-day life as a parent of small children. And as they've grown into teenagers, I control less and less of what they eat when they're not with me, and I can only hope that something has rubbed off when they make all those daily food choices. Long after they've stopped cook- ing us dinner, our parents' influ- ence lingers. When I was a kid, we shopped in natural foods stores. My father had a huge organic garden in the backyard and my parents fed us healthy international meals. Although there surely was the occa- sional TV dinner or fast food burger, the bulk of our diet was nutritious, locally sourced and full of variety. So that's the kind of food I still crave and choose to cook most of the time. We really only control what our kids eat for a relatively short por- tion of their lives. After that it's up to them. So if we can instill in them a love and respect for food and for themselves and others, then we're doing really well. As consumers, we're seeking out organic foods more and more, with national sales skyrocketing, supermarket chains expanding their organic produce sections and farms new and old deciding to go organic. We're learning that when we buy natural foods that are free of hor- mones, antibiotics, GMOs, chemical pesticides and other toxins, that what we put in our bodies will be as nutritious and harmless as possible. Buying organic can be harder on the family budget, but there are ways to make that impact less severe. Even if you can only afford to purchase it a third of the time, that's healthier than none of the time. Also, often the older a fruit or vegetable is, the less nutritious, so sometimes fresh and local foods raised or grown according to organic principles, even if not certified, can be a great alternative to organic pro- duce that has traveled from across the country or overseas. For some foods, that organic des- ignation is more crucial than for oth- ers. Certain items are more heavily sprayed with pesticides and should be bought organic whenever possi- ble. Called "The Dirty Dozen" by the Environmental Working Group, the 2016 list includes peaches, nectar- ines, apples, strawberries, cherries, grapes, sweet bell peppers, toma- toes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, "Even if you can only af ford to purchase [organic] a third of the time, that's healthier than none of the time." JENNIFER BRIZZI Tales of an organic mom

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