The accidental reason eating more fruits and vegetables is STOPPING you from LOSING WEIGHT

As a vegan whose diet depends on fruits and vegetables, I was shocked to discover that the healthy foods I thought I was eating have many hidden dangers caused by the toxic pesticides that industrial agriculture companies use to produce food cheaply.

Like you, I knew that pesticides could be dangerous, and so I made sure to wash all of my fruits and vegetables myself before eating them– but I had no idea how toxic those pesticides really were. After doing some extensive research into the topic, I was forced to make better choices as a consumer in order to protect my mental and physical health.

What Industrial Farms Don’t Want You to Know About Pesticides

The pesticides used by conventional (non-organic) farms impact your hormone ratios, causing spikes and drops in progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. Hormonal imbalance not only makes you feel like you’re experiencing puberty all over again, but can also lead to serious health complications such as weight gain, insulin resistance (the fast track to Type II Diabetes), and breast cancer.

Your Hormones and Your Health

Balanced hormones are important for keeping your body healthy and mood boosted, but can be easily thrown out of whack by contaminating your body with chemical-coated foods.

The components of pesticides contain endocrine disruptors, a category of chemicals that cause hormones to malfunction. The most threatening endocrine disruptor, xenoestrogen, stores itself in fat cells and is known for it’s estrogen-like effects. Our bodies work very hard to monitor and maintain balanced levels of estrogen, but when xenoestrogen is brought into the equation, it throws off the balance and leads to estrogen dominance in women and low testosterone in men.

Estrogen Dominance is a Threat to Women and Men

According to researchers at Energetic Nutrition, estrogen dominance often “begins with mild symptoms in younger years [and] often becomes moderate in the mid to late 30s, and severe by the time a person reaches their mid-40s.”

At mild levels you may experience weight gain, severe menstrual cramps, insomnia, or prostate problems.

At moderate levels: depression, anxiety, miscarriage, autoimmune disorders, or impotence. I personally know many women who have had their mental health suffer due to hormonal imbalance, often caused by xenoestrogens found in food, makeup products, birth control, etc. Mental health has a significant impact on your happiness, ability to maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle, and overall quality of life.

It’s a necessary pillar of wellness that is often neglected in the conversation surrounding health, despite the fact that 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year. Foreign hormones present in pesticides can poison your body AND mind, and keep you from living an active, healthy, happy life.

Severe or prolonged hormone imbalance can cause even more serious health complications, like breast and uterine fibroid tumors that can be life-threatening.

This may seem to be a women’s issue, but the threat to prostate health in men should be taken very seriously. In fact, estrogen dominance/ low testosterone puts men in danger of prostate cancer and heart attacks that they’re already at elevated risk for.

How to Protect Yourself

The best way to stay healthy or improve your wellness is to minimize your exposure to endocrine disruptors by avoiding pesticides. In short: go organic.

The extra few dollars spent on organic products are an investment in your health that could save you thousands of dollars in preventable medical costs in the long-run (anti-depressants, chemo, and daily insulin injections really start to add up).

But, if you’re on a tight budget like me (shout out to my fellow struggling college students), here’s the “dirty dozen” containing the highest level of pesticides that you should ALWAYS buy organic:

  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • apples
  • celery
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • bell peppers
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • cucumbers
  • potatoes
  • blueberries

As a rule of thumb, I make sure to buy organically any foods that are consumed with the skin intact. Keep in mind that organic produce is usually labeled with a sticker that begins with the number 9.

A great way to ensure you’re buying organically is to explore the farmer’s markets in your area. In my experience, local farmers are usually more than happy to tell you all about how they grow your food while you shop (and sample all of their delicious plums, peaches, and strawberries…*drools on desktop*).

You’ll become a more educated consumer, save your health, and even enjoy some free samples. It’s the simple joys in life, right?

Sources: Family Life Goals, NIDDKEnergetic Nutrition, Women in Balance, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Life Extension