Organic: The Clean Dozen
MYTH VS. FACT
Myth: “I can’t have any dairy foods like milk…I am lactose intolerant. They hurt my stomach.”
Fact: Dairy is full of protein, calcium, Vitamin D, potassium and essential for athletes. Though you may be lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy dairy in your diet! For milk, you can try Lactaid as it is easy on the stomach. Yogurt is only 2% lactose so typically in smaller portions, it can be a good choice. Whey protein isolate is less than 1% lactose and the optimal protein post-workout. Mixing whey protein in Lactaid or blending it with water and fruit is a great way to refuel after a workout.
Sports Nutrition 101
Should I Eat Organic?
To buy organic or not…that is the question! Is it healthier? Is it less toxic? Are there certain foods I should buy organic? Or, is it all just marketing?
The truth is there are certain foods that are a better investment of your organic buck than others. “Organic” is a designation used by the USDA National Organic Program to certify food (fruit, vegetable, meat and dairy) that is produced without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, genetic engineering, radiation or sewage sludge. To use the classification “100% Organic”, products must be either completely organic or made of all organic ingredients. To use the classification “Organic”, products must be made with 95% organic ingredients.
Is organic healthier? Research says the jury is still out. Yes, organic foods have less pesticides and additives, but does that actually make the squash have more nutrients? No, squash (or any other vegetable/fruit) is still squash. If you are weighing out where to spend your organic buck, when it comes to fruit and vegetables, the rule of thumb is buy organic when you have to eat the skins and buy conventional when you peal the skins off.
Check out the “Clean Dozen” you should buy organic:
The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Using a vegetable scrubber, soaking produce in a bath of water and baking soda, or using vegetable wash can still be an economical approach to reducing your ingestion of these toxins.
Now let’s talk meat, poultry, eggs and dairy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, organic foods, including meat, are produced without the use of growth hormones, antibiotics, conventional chemicals, ionizing radiation and bioengineering. Thus, animals raised organically live in clean environments, have access to graze outdoors and are fed organic feed. Instead of receiving antibiotics and drugs to prevent disease, these animals are raised in cleaner living conditions. So, when grocery shopping, look for “free-range” poultry, eggs, meat or dairy, or “pasture-fed” meats as nutritionally these have more omega 3 fatty acids which improves the American diet’s omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.
If you can afford to buy organic everything, that is great as you will consume less pesticides, toxins and hormones. But if you have to spend your organic buck wisely, choose organic meats, poultry, dairy, eggs and fruits/vegetables where you have to eat the skin. However, no matter if you buy organic or conventional, remember that trying to eat a variety of foods in your diet is the most important thing. Fuel up with fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and healthy fats and eat less processed where you can.
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian for Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and serves as the sports dietitian for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Soccer Dallas, Jim McClean Golf School, Texas Christian University Athletics, and University of Texas at Arlington Athletics. In addition, she is an adjunct professor and dietetic intern preceptor for Texas Woman’s University, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington and is a state media representative for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. . She received her Bachelor of Science degree in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Masters in Exercise and Sports Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.