Do we know if pesticides can really cause cancer? Or is that just a myth pushed by the various health “gurus” splashed across the web these days?
I’d say they’re not preferable, but I’d also categorize them in the “20” of the 80/20 rule.
But before we begin, let me say that I am firmly against the addition of toxic chemicals to our food.
I believe pesticides are a result of misguided farming practices meant to protect and increase production that do not adhere to the time-tested methods of crop rotation, resting land, cultivating healthy soil, and more.
We shouldn’t have allowed them in the first place, but they’re here and likely not going anywhere anytime soon.
So why am I not taking this opportunity to rail against them and fight to improve the condition of agriculture in this country?
Long-term readers of mine will know that this site is not necessarily about fighting the system first and foremost, but grabbing hold of the tools we have within that system to make ourselves great in spite of it.
Then a system can change.
With that in mind, let’s look at whether or not this question of conventional vs. organic really needs to matter to us.
Science does indicate a problem with pesticides
Let’s first establish that the idea of pesticides increasing the risk of cancer is not conspiracy-talk. A team of researchers published findings in the December 2018 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine that indicated a lowering of risk by 25% in those who self-reported organic food consumption versus those who did not, at least as it pertains to postmenopausal breast cancer and lymphomas.
Color me not surprised.
Man-made chemicals designed to kill other living creatures do not sound like foods fit for human consumption to me and we probably didn’t need a study to determine that.
But hey, let’s spend some more money, maybe even taxpayer-funded, to find out if man-made chemicals are good for us, right?
Perhaps intuition is a relic now.
But back to the point.
One issue with this study is that it did not correct for any biases. Factors such as socioeconomic standing, fitness activity, or body weight could also play a role and that role needs to be addressed in survey subjects.
Additionally, is there a correlation between organic food consumption and income? And is there a correlation between income and physical fitness? And what is a bigger factor? Physical fitness or organic food consumption? Do they work together, does one supersede the other, or do they offer equal benefit independent of each other and their combination adds no increased benefit?
Enhanced health is not limited to just one factor
Let’s ask another question about why organic foods are better for us than conventional.
Are organic foods better because of something they lack (pesticides) or something they have (additional minerals and nutrients)?
Meaning, does the nutrient profile of a crop have more to do with its health benefits than whether or not it lacks something that is obviously not meant for human consumption?
Of course the answer is both, so why even bother comparing them?
Because we’re seeking answers here, and this is the process to get to an answer that can help everyone and provide the most value, not just those with the funds to buy organic everything.
Why minimize the effects of pesticides?
Because let’s face it, we consume trash all the time.
In fact, if you live in a home that’s been painted and has furniture, you’re consuming trash right now!
From chemicals in the air we breathe to pharmaceuticals and other toxic chemicals that don’t get filtered out of drinking water to even furniture off-gassing fumes in our homes.
They are everywhere. Literally. So making a point of avoiding them all is folly unless you plan to live inside an old dead tree in the woods.
Oh, and if you don’t have a filter on your shower head, avoiding pesticides is the equivalent of straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.
So perhaps we shouldn’t fret about such a small item in our way and focus on something much larger.
Like the “80” in the 80/20 rule.
But what is that “80”?
Start by removing those foods that contain NO tools for your body
A conventional apple or banana may have pesticides or pesticide residue, but they also have the vitamins and minerals designed to give our bodies the tools they need to function at a high level.
You know what doesn’t?
Anything with sugar added.
Something-something #5 and chemically-chemical #3.
Enriched flours (those at least have fake tools that man has added back in after stripping out all the real tools).
Processed foods that are not made with real food ingredients.
When you eat these, not only are you not giving your body the tools it needs to create healthy cells and a healthy immune system, you are actually giving it items that are literally attacking it.
Stripping your body of its offensive and defensive tools, then introducing an attacker? Seems like a bad idea to me.
Imagine this going on every day inside your body, when you eat these things. Breakdowns start to make sense.
This may sound like a downer, but when I hear this, I am extremely encouraged.
In spite of what we throw at it, our human bodies fight and win, over and over again.
Unless we push them too far.
Eventually, after a combination of this ingestion assault, lack of physical fitness, proper sleep, and stress management, some of our bodies break down.
But it takes a long while. Years, decades. That’s how powerful they are.
So, if our bodies are this powerful even when we’re actively sabotaging them, just imagine what magnificent performance they can achieve when you instead join forces!
Organic produce is obviously better for us.
But are we running circles around that big ol’ camel to catch that pesky gnat?
Whether or not you have access to organic produce, can afford organic produce, or can even identify organic produce, you are still right in the game.
And could end up in front of those with all the privileges in the world.
Because you still have access to all the tools to give you a fighting chance to take yourself over the top.
Everyone can be active (my daily workouts require no gym membership and the only piece of equipment is a twenty dollar removable pull-up bar, i.e. free).
We can all eat real food, even if it is conventional (I shopped dirt cheap at Aldi for years until I could afford other stores, buying cheap produce and canned goods with minimal fillers).
We can all stop adding refined sugar to our diets and still somehow survive.
We can all engage in supervised fasting (talk to your doctor first) to give our digestive systems a break and allow our bodies to heal and recharge.
We can all focus on proper sleep, again allowing our bodies the time and space to heal, recharge, and rebuild.
And by doing these things it will be very difficult to not maintain a healthy weight, which may be one of the most important markers for whether or not someone will develop a disease (outside of stress).
This is the “80”.
What does this look like?
You have eliminated non-food food items from your diet.
You are exercising on your own terms with no gym membership or time stuck in traffic.
You are allowing your body the time and space to heal itself and rebuild itself.
The proper tools are enhancing your cognition, boosting your energy and giving you greater drive, resulting in healthier relationships (with yourself and others), and potentially leading to greater income.
You are allowing your body to do this without the added strain of having to fight off totally unnecessary invaders in the form of fake foods.
The best part?
It cost you next to nothing.
You may have even saved money!
Now you’re on your way
You have just taken care of the “80” in the 80/20 rule. And actually, you took care of the “20” part as well.
You have just received 80 percent of the results for 20 percent of the effort.
The steps you took fit right into your current lifestyle and you didn’t have to spend a whole day going from grocery store to grocery store searching out the most pristine foods.
(I’ve done this. It’s a chore with very little return, unless you are fighting a disease.)
You instead have the other eighty percent of your time to focus on your other pursuits, your family, making more money, etc.
And now that you have put your body in a position to succeed, you can look at the remaining twenty percent when you want to.
Maybe start with some inexpensive organic foods, like bananas, apples, corn. Some grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish.
You can buy a can of wild-caught salmon at Trader Joe’s for a couple dollars.
Maybe then you can look into buying a shower head filter.
Maybe check out the databases on this website to see what foods might be particularly helpful to you.
Spoiler alert: some are much more common than you may think!
You can do whatever you want, and frankly you may feel like you can do anything you want!
You can spend that time, knowing your foundation is in place, the best way you see fit, to enhance when and where you want to, and take yourself to a new level.
And you needed no privilege to do it. Your privilege is your desire, and that cannot be given nor taken away.
The abundant health lifestyle is a lifestyle that can be followed by anyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, who your parents are, or where you’re from.
If you’re here, you can have it.
It doesn’t matter what anybody else does, in fact: the food manufacturers, the FDA, politicians, you name it. No matter what they do, they will never be able to take away your power.
Our own lives are still in our own hands, and they can be anything we want them to be.
References: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2707943 https://www.cancer.org/healthy/eat-healthy-get-active/acs-guidelines-nutrition-physical-activity-cancer-prevention/guidelines.html https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2707948
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