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All-organic food for baby? Kylie Jenner isn’t the first to try it

By Leah Den Hartogh [1]

BELLEVILLE – Reality television star Kylie Jenner gave birth to a baby girl [2]on Thursday and, according to media reports [3], has vowed to make the switch to eating organically.

She isn’t the first celebrity to switch to organic living. Celebrity tabloids are filled with stars like Kourtney Kardashian, Courtney Cox, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman saying they all believe in eating organically [4].

But what are the benefits of feeding your child only organic foods?

Kingston business owner and mother of four Natalie George says she feels the extra costs to go organic are more than worth it. 

She opened her all-organic store Go Green Baby [5] almost 10 years ago.

“For us, having organic products is about eliminating all those toxins and all of the pesticides and chemicals in the environment and making sure that our babies and children are safe.”

The harmful chemicals and pesticides [6] that are used in regular food production affect babies [7] even more than fully grown adults because their systems aren’t used to them, she said. 

“Babies are already born with what I call a toxic load, and so when you start to introduce food to them, they are really small and their bodies can’t handle things the same way our bodies can.”

She suggests new mothers ease into organic food by buying based on what you eat the most.

“It’s really about finding ways to prioritize, because it can be really expensive to go organic and it can be hard to achieve in somewhere like Canada where we don’t have year-round growing conditions.”

She recommends people avoid buying non-organic when it comes to the “dirty dozen [8]” – 12 foods that, according to a U.S. organization called the Environmental Working Group [9], should be purchased organically whenever possible. The 12 include celery, peaches, strawberries, and apples.

The cost to become completely organic isn’t worth it for Lindsey Anderson, a recreation and sports services student at Loyalist College.

“I choose not to eat organically. It’s too expensive and there really isn’t any nutritional difference between organic and non-organic!” she said over a Facebook discussion. 

Anderson and her son instead grow the foods from the “dirty dozen” and she will buy the rest of her food at the grocery store, she said. 

For foods to be considered organic, they must consist of at least 95 per cent naturally produced ingredients and be certified by the Organic Products Regulations passed by the federal  government in 2009.

In Canada, the organic food market is a $3.5 billion industry, with over 3,000 certified organic producers alone, according to Statistics Canada [10]

Multi-ingredient food products need to contain at least 70 per cent organic content for them to qualify for a Canadian organic label, according to Statistics Canada.

There are many different types of classifications within the organic food market. Demeter is one of the higher levels; to receive a Demeter certification, the entire farm and the surrounding area must be organic in case of cross-pollination.

Just north of Belleville, in the municipality of Tweed, is one of only 35 certified Demeter farms in all of Canada. 

Kathryn Aunger, the owner of Earth Haven Farms, said that the people who buy products from her farm often do so for health reasons.

“The people that are finding us – these are people that have serious health issues. These are people that have Crohn’s disease, Lyme disease, irritable bowel – they’ve got all kinds of things wrong with them,” she said.

“I would say that we have a call a week from someone who is trying to (find a source for) a higher-end food product, and they respect what we are doing.”

But not everyone says an all-organic diet is essential. According to the Dietitians of Canada organization [11], “there is not enough scientific evidence to say that organic food is more nutritious than non-organic food or that there are any health benefits to eating organic foods.”