What about Organics and Natural Products?
I spent the last 15min picking up tiny little teething tablets off the ground in my family room. I know I could have vacuumed them up or swept them but at nearly $8 a bottle I really didn’t want to waste them! If I swept I’d be dusting off hair and dirt, so I picked up tons of tiny little beads one by one. Thanks to the Bubba! He tried to help a bit, scooping up some with his chubby sausage fingers saying, “Hee, Do Mom!” (Here you go mom!). Hard to be mad a such a cute little booger!
My attempt to salvage those tiny white tablets got me thinking. What is “all natural” anyway and what should I be spending our money on these days? Is it organic bananas, and all natural teething tablets? I read the label and noticed sucrose (sugar). Sure it’s all natural but I’m giving it to my 5mo baby. I hadn’t checked that previously. Is there a product that doesn’t have sugar, one that’s without unnecessary additives even if they are ALL NATURAL? What about produce and my desire to eat natural foods, organic as much as possible. Notice I said desire, I’m not actually good at this because I have a hard time justifying the extra expense, especially in a large family with one main income!
Last year I planted an “organic” veggie garden but this year I’ve gone even farther to find non-genetically modified seeds because to a celiac stomach, the more familiar and original, the better! Plus I liked the sound of “heirloom” seeds! Even then, are all heirlooms Non-GMO seeds? Not necessarily. The farmI purchased from works very hard to ensure their seeds are true originals! Most of the farm is organic as well. Order seeds in Jan. or Feb. so you can start some indoors and have the rest purchased so you can start working the dirt as soon as it thaws. Flowers at Valentine’s Day remind me to buy seeds. This is the very best way to ensure your produce is organic and non-GMO.
Here is a list I found outlining the top produce items to buy organic and some reasons why. There are also many links to explore at the bottom of that page. Also the site referenced the EWG which has it’s own list that orders produce based on the pesticide load it contains.
Some of the sites I read had different ideas of what to avoid but the “Dirty Dozen” seems to be pretty commonly agreed upon as items you really should purchase organic (or grow yourself). These are the 12 items with potentially the highest levels of pesticides used:
- imported grapes
- sweet bell peppers
Yes, some can be washed but smaller fruits are difficult to scrub as well as individual pieces of lettuce. Although, I’m having thoughts of punishing punishment! Hmmm, “Boys! If you call your brother Stupid Head again you get washing duty!” –It’s just a though.
Some said these are the “clean” produce: avocados, pineapples, mangoes, kiwi, bananas (made it onto both lists- but as far as I understand, the chemicals sprayed to keep spiders off are pretty toxic), onions, sweet corn, asparagus, sweet peas, cabbage, broccoli, and eggplant.
The EWG is an excellent resource for guidance on things we consume. They research all sorts of things from food and drugs to home products. One article I read regarding organic produce helped me understand why my 2 yr old may be having so much trouble with apples (of all things)! I kept thinking, “WHO is allergic to APPLES!” Then I read this: “A non-organic apple has several pesticides,” said Cummins. “One in eight times that a child reaches for an apple, that child is getting a troublesome amount of pesticide residue.”Published June 27, 2007. Although, in that same article they say that buying at Farmers Markets does not ensure that you are getting organic produce (I agree) because organic farms have to meet strict guidelines from the government (I also understand this to be true) . Where I would disagree is in assuming just because a farm doesn’t have the bucks to meet the government guidelines that they aren’t truly organic. The Government may or may not know or be able to fully regulate what is best for us to eat- hence the peanut crisis.
Any hoo… I’m planning to grow what I can and buy what I can’t from local farms while asking as many questions about their growing process as I can. Out of season I’ll do my best to budget so I can afford storebought organic or join a co-op. We will wash all food and eat things in moderation, trying to rotate the foods that can contain pesticide. My diet is decidedly narrow and that is probably the biggest culprit. When I find things I like it’s hard to let go of them and I’m not one to try new things but that’s got to change! I’ve read where people deliberately and systematically rotate foods and find that it can even improve autism.
Now, about the “natural” claim. What does it mean if something is labeled natural? According to one site, natural is defined as:
Definition: Legally, food labeled “natural” does not contain any artificial ingredients, coloring ingredients, or chemical preservatives, and, in the case of meat and poultry, is minimally processed.
And goes on to say:
Meat from animals treated with artificial hormones can (and is) labeled “natural,” as is meat injected with saline solution (claimed to add flavor, which it does, but it also adds considerable weight to a product sold by the pound). Food containing “natural flavors” such as processed proteins that you may or may not consider desirable can legally sport the label “natural.”
I will leave the natural meats discussion to a different day.
Hyland’sdedicates a page to the discussion of wether or not the tablets are indeed safe. You can read it if you like but I noticed a couple things. It says that Belladonna alkaloids are included in the tablets so I went back to the EWG to see if they had anything on it. I found an article about make-up that states
Medieval Italians sensuously dilated their pupils—and blinded themselves—with an extract of belladonna. [They] were under the impression that their daily beauty regimen was 100 percent safe. Which begs the question: Are we similarly deluded today?
Hylands claims that the substance is used as an anti-spasmodic. What is that exactly?
An antispasmodic (synonym: spasmolytic) is a drug or an herb that suppresses spasms. These are usually caused by smooth muscle contraction, especially in tubular organs. The effect is to prevent spasms of the stomach, intestine or urinary bladder.
After reading that I’m not quite sure why it is necessary in a teething tablet. None-the-less we’ll look further. I noticed that some people oppose using them because they claim the Belladonna is an opiate (opium). Wikipedia states that it is used as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. In fact the Wikipedia Encyclopedia goes on to say “the wife of Emperor Augustus and the wife of Claudius both used it to murder contemporaries”. Could that be why it is also called Deadly Nightshade? How would that look on a bottle of INFANT TEETHING TABLETS??
Ingredients: Chamomile, coffee seeds, sugar and Deadly Nightshade!
It also states that “Belladona is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western Hemisphere”. One of the less severe symptoms of ingestion is dry mouth. I wonder, maybe that’s why it’s in the tablets. It is also said to act as a mild sedative which would indicate that it is in fact an opiate.
I noticed the same ingredients are in Humphrey’s 100% Natural teething pellets.
While this is all very interesting I’m not sure I will never use it again because I do know there are benefits to things that you would otherwise not have in huge doses. Almost any medication is deadly when overdosed. The Hylands site states that to overdose on Belladonna alkaloids a child would have to ingest multiple bottles of Teething Tablets. That’s probably true, therefore my main point is not that we should never use teething tablets again (although I may consider it)! I guess what I am taking away from my research is – be a conspiracy theorist….Ha ha! I’ve been called that on occasion but just be smart. If you can’t pronounce it, look it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia. Find out what it really is and certainly don’t believe everything you read online. Me included- Lol! Keep digging, look into things you don’t know about and continue to learn. You can never stop all negative environmental influences on your family but you can certainly continue to learn and control what you can. Moderation- I don’t think I’m very good at that!