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Why we switched to an Organic diet

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During conversation I had someone ask me why I buy Organic. They said they had heard it was just for sick people, which really got me thinking. I suppose there's some truth in that, as it was certainly my concerns about the growing list of health problems I was suffering with that got me investigating the effects of unnatural chemicals on the body.

I can't speak for others but let me paint you a picture of my own experiences; I used to be very happy eating intensively farmed, processed and even GM labelled food, or so I thought anyway. I was slim and appeared outwardly healthy but suffered a great deal of IBS related symptoms day to day. I figured it was just something I had to live with, just part of being me. Sound familiar? The general consensus regarding this now very common health problem is that there is unfortunately no cure and all you can do is get on with it and avoid certain foods. I didn't want to have to avoid tomatoes, peppers and garlic since they are so full of vital nutrients and some of the few vegetables I actually liked!


The epiphany:

For years I just lived with my problems until eventually they became so bad that I'd had enough and I decided to do something about it. I donned my investigatory cap and spent endless hours of online and library research and started to see patterns in my symptoms related to certain foods. Unlike the majority I didn't switch to a Gluten Free diet, at the time there wasn't many products around but perhaps it was my over-attachment to bread stuffs that made me trial organic wheat bread over gluten free in the end! :D

The reason I didn't cut out wheat completely was that I only seemed to suffer when eating certain wheat products. One of the worst offenders I found was the breakfast cereal Cheerios (manufactured by General Mills and Nestle), so much so that I eventually cut it out of my diet in favour of corn or rice cereals. Another product that would quite quickly cause me a lot of bloating and sickness was a lazy packet-pancake mix that we regularly enjoyed made by Bisquick (a US product sold via Costco), upon which was a statement about it containing ingredients sourced from genetically modified crops. Initially the GM label on the pancake mix didn't bother me one bit, after all I'd previously looked it up and completely believed the reassurances about the safety of such organisms at the time. Occasionally I would still eat a bowl of Cheerios, I must be a sucker for punishment knowing that it was a likely culprit for my digestive upset but I figured the odd bowl here and there wouldn't kill me and they were tasty! For a while I had the same reactions after eating it until one day it just seemed to stop being an issue. I decided to run a longer experiment on myself to see if I could now tolerate it and all was well, as well as could be at the time anyway.

The epiphany came shortly after upon reading a news story about Cheerios, in which it reported that the brand had scrapped the use of GM ingredients in the cereal. Was that the reason that I could now tolerate eating it? Needless to say the discovery spurred me on to investigate the real differences between GM and regular crops in more detail, and I was interested to know if other people were also experiencing what I was. Sources stated that the UK manufacturer of Cheerios didn't use GM wheat to begin with but it's difficult to know for sure since there are legal loopholes regarding the percentage of an ingredient that cover whether or not a company has to disclose its existence, plus we did regularly shop at Costco so may have been buying a US manufactured box. My investigations lead me to realise that the chemical causing me problems may be one that isn't listed on any ingredients list but that I was ingesting all the same – the pesticide Glyphosate. Many genetically modified crops have been altered specifically to be able to survive massive exposure to the chemical which is supposedly meant to be completely eliminated after washing the resulting crop before eating. This experiment would suggest otherwise although I know it's not entirely scientific:

After studying nutrient absorption and leaky gut syndrome and it's links to IBS, I realised that traces of Glyphosate might well be hitch hiking a ride straight into my blood stream and causing my inflammation – if not the coincidences were sure piling up. I didn't need much more convincing to embark on a much larger personal experiment and so we decided to go about switching to a 100% Organic diet.


The crazy thing is, years ago there wasn't such a thing as Organic vs 'chemical' food since everything was Organic! We blindly trust that the scientists have done enough research on the residual chemicals in our new food to ensure that we are completely safe to consume it. If there was a problem we would know about it by now right? No chemical company would ever be greedy enough cover up any adverse results in order to sell their product even if they've already invested millions in creating it, right? OK, the point of this post is really to explain why I personally chose to cut out the chemicals in my life, not to wander into the conspiracy zone but the thing is there is a lot of evidence out there that suggests that chemical companies have not been entirely truthful. Whether I want to go into it with you now or not, doesn't stop the fact that the mistrust I have for corporate honesty is another big reason I had for choosing to go Organic!


So what has been the result of our Organic experiment? I feel better than I have ever felt in my life! Although some may see it as something of a placebo effect I would have to disagree since the difference is so huge. I do not suffer anywhere near the kind of bloating and nausea that I used to directly after eating, the times that I do feel bad I can put down to eating non-organic food when out at restaurants etc and to my monthly cycle. My IBS symptoms have vanished and I can enjoy bread, tomatoes and chillies to my hearts content! As for Ryan, he used to suffer some issues but certainly not to the extent that I did, I don't know why my system is more sensitive than his but it does seem to be the case worldwide that some people suffer worse than others. As much as he hadn't really thought about it before, he does agree that he feels better nowadays and complains about feeling tired and uncomfortable in comparison when he eats anything non-organic.


Have you made the switch to Organic already? Or are you considering it? Do you suffer from IBS or other intolerance issues? We'd love to hear from you! Please share your experiences with us and other readers in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Before you comment please read our Community Rules to help keep this a positive and friendly place!

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Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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