The Mommy Wars: Round Seven: Organic vs. Regular Food

What This Battle Is About

Organic foods - are produced using methods of organic farming - with limited to no modern synthetic pesticides and chemicals. Some organic pesticides are still used. Organic foods are also not processed using industrial solvents or chemical food additives.

Regular Food - For the purpose of this project, this can be any food that is not organic, but mostly processed and/or fast food as given to children is the main focus of this battle.

Conclusion of the Survey

The results of the survey in regards to the battle between organic and regular food seems to have a heavy lean towards regular food. When you look at the comments of the responses though, you learn the story is much deeper than that.

Most people feel like organic is likely better for themselves and their children, however unattainable for regular people on a budget.

In the corner for organic foods are people who state they want to limit the amount of GMOs in their child's diet and would rather not feed 'pesticides' to their children. While this seems to be the main focus of those who are feeding their children organic foods, it does seem that the cost factor of the organic foods so readily toted as better for you is not as easily affordable.

It seems the compromise for most parents is to make sure that their children are eating 'home grown' or getting their fruits and veggies and simply steering away from the regular processed or fast food.

The consensus for the most part comes down to money. It is cheaper and easier to eat non-organic foods. For those responses, an overwhelming majority given the media hype over organic only foods, for the regular food simply state they are more interested in the 'food pyramid' for their babies and children and trying to make sure they eat healthy.

With money being the main factor, it would seem that health isn't really an issue for most, in that, it appears by the comments given in this survey, most people don't believe that organic is REALLY organic in the first place. The popular opinion of those who took this survey feel like the organic movement is just another tactic by the media to scare the already health conscious parents out there.

There are some people are literally hardcore organic only users, but it seems to be a gray area and it comes down to cost. Not all organic foods are easy to afford, so they pick and choose which parts of their child's diet is actually organic and which foods are 'just fine' that may not actually be referred to as organic on the labels.

Weigh In On The Debate!

What Do You Feed Your Kids Primarily?

  • Organic When Possible
  • Non-Organic Primarily
  • There is a gray area
See results without voting
Source

Pros and Cons of Organic Food

PROS:

  • The main benefit of organic food is the health aspect of not ingesting pesticides and chemicals. This is the main advantage to anyone who may be on a strictly organic diet. There are studies that have shown some pesticide residues can cause adverse health side effects on humans who may ingest them.
  • Eating organic food is also generally more easily digested once eaten. The organic pesticides used in the growing of these organic marked foods are made to be more easily digested.
  • You are helping the environment when you eat organic foods. The organic farming industry reduces the pollutants in the ground water and creates richer soil for plants to grow. With this effect on the soil, it may help the quality of the food to be better when it is eaten. It is also said that organic farming uses less energy than that of the normal farming community and thus creates another help to the environment.

CONS:

  • Cost is the main drawback to organic foods. The cost of organic foods can deter even the most health conscious parent from buying the food. In the economic climate that most working families are in - attempting to make ends meet in keeping a roof over their kids' heads - trying to put food on the table may not top the list if the food is out of the easily affordable range of the budget.
  • There is no scientific evidence that gives a really conclusive benefit or harm to human health from a diet high in primarily organic food. It has been said that conducting any sort of rigorous experiment on the subject is very difficult to do. As of 2012, the scientific consensus is that while "consumers may choose to buy organic fruit, vegetables and meat because they believe them to be more nutritious than other food.... the balance of current scientific evidence does not support this view."

Pros and Cons of Non-Organic Food

PROS:

  • The obvious positive in this side of the battle is convenience. In the modern era of fast and easy, regular foods - including fast food - can be leaned to instead of the more complex counterparts of organic foods.
  • Non-organic doesn't mean that it's not good for you. It is well-known how many servings of fruits and veggies is healthy for a person to consume. The difference really has to do with how those fruits and veggies are grown and farmed. In this case, that means, most people lean towards non-organic, because there really doesn't seem to be much difference in that the 'healthy foods' are not necessarily organic but still good for you.
  • This side of the spectrum of food to give your child, the regular, non-organic side wins out by a landslide mostly due to cost of the food. A burger in the drive thru is cheaper than a non-pesticide apple or ear of corn. In the end, this may be a generational thing, in that parents are all on the go and kids are busy and it is easier and cheaper to stop in the nearest fast food place and buy a $4 meal made quick than to go home and cook a $20 meal and sit at the table with the family.

CONS:

  • Fast food in excess is, of course, not good for anyone's system and can be treated as unhealthy. It can be seen as a leading contributor to childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes. Children who eat excess amounts of fast food or processed foods may be more sluggish and that is a direct effect on the child's health.
  • In regards to the non-organic food in general, it is widely the main concern for conventional or non-organic foods exposure to pesticides and chemicals. While the impact of these chemicals have not been fully tested on the effect it may have on the human body, it would be safe to reason that chemicals are not good for the system. in any capacity. The toxins in the pesticides and chemicals have been linked to diseases of the skin, cancer and lung and eye irritation as well as some nervous system issues that some people may experience.

Comments From Both Sides

  • "This is a stupid question. No one would not choose organic. The only reason to not do organic is budget. You shouldn't judge people by how much money they can spend on money."
  • "My wife likes organic more than I do. I'm still waiting to see 1) organic food actually being organic and 2) studies showing that organic food is better/healthier than non-organic. Again, this is a question for science...not our intuition."
  • "We eat organic foods when possible, but not always due to cost and availability. It cannot be good for your body to be ingesting substances that kill other living things"
  • "I feed my children whatever they will eat (within limits). I have a very picky eater, so I am not going to argue with him if he wants to eat something that is not organic. I am just happy when he eats anything besides 5 things that he will normally only eat."
  • "I try to stick with organic because I don't know what's in other stuff!"
  • " I buy organic for ethical concerns, out of a desire to vote with my wallet for better choices, not because I think organic is inherently better for children. I don't judge parents who can't or don't want to buy organic. Dyes and certain preservatives I do think are unhealthy for children, but I also recognize that finding better products is difficult and sometimes near-impossible, particularly if one is tight on both time and money. This is an issue that I believe belongs in the sphere of public policy."
  • "Organic food is a ridiculous, unregulated label that makes the food cost more with little to not benefit."
  • "Refuse to buy organic due to it being impractical and unethical. If everything grown was organic 1/3 of the population that currently has enough food to eat would starve. Non-organic is fine and everything should be washed before eating regardless"

Want to Learn More About the Other Battles?

Go back to the home page of this web series by clicking here.

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Comments 4 comments

thebiologyofleah profile image

thebiologyofleah 2 years ago from Massachusetts

I am really looking forward to reading your Mommy Wars series of articles, I'm about 5 months pregnant for the first time and I am trying to do my research.

As a science-minded person, the organic food debate has been of interest to me even before I got pregnant. I found this article really informative, pointing out both sides of the argument. I love that you surveyed real families and got their opinions. The thing that sticks out for me that I learned a while ago and you re-iterated here is the research doesn't currently support organic foods as having a distinct benefit on the human body. I think the cost issue you raised is another large piece of the puzzle.

Voted up and sharing.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

There are low-cost ways of eating organic food, which is now available at discount outlets such as Aldi. My only regret is not buying organic much earlier, when my children were younger.


rgarnett profile image

rgarnett 2 years ago from KC, MO Author

@thebiologyofleah - I'm glad you enjoyed the article and congratulations on your little one! My whole series is complete for now. I may branch out into other taboo subjects like tv watching and early kindergarten and things. This particular set though really took it's toll on me, so I may need a little break! ;) Thanks for reading, I look forward to hearing what else you think about the other battles!


rgarnett profile image

rgarnett 2 years ago from KC, MO Author

@ologsinquinto - I had no idea that Aldi had organic foods! I do appreciate you weighing in on the subject! Please feel free to share your thoughts and give tips and suggestions as I found that most people want to eat organic but don't think it's affordable. I would love to hear what you have done to help make that happen for yourself :)

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