How to Avoid Pesticides on a Dirtbag Budget

Tiffany Fernyhough

As more and more research comes out exposing the ill effects of pesticides in our food, it is time to consider how we incorporate a healthier diet on a dirtbag budget.

Scratch of the Surface

The Halloween Special on Joseph Navarro's Burn It Nutrition podcast was where I first heard of the terms 'Mansanto' and "glyphosate'. And any search of the terms on google yields troubling results that includes the possible carcinogenic effects of glyphosate as well as accusations of the company knowingly poisoning its consumers. Glyphosate is in short a weed killer, and Mansanto made its name by introducing 'Roundup Ready Crops' that are glyphosate resistant. This means that farmers can now use glyphosate to kill the weeds but not their crops. The problem for us is that the full effects of glyphosate are not yet completely known, however the knowledge we do have of the effects are for the most part extremely damaging. Joseph Navarro's conversation with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, senior researcher at MIT, elaborate on this topic a lot more and I would highly recommend giving it a listen to understand just what we are getting ourselves into by blindly consuming. 

The Solution

So it seems relatively straight forward - clearly the answer is to eat organic produce only, right? Well, that is easier said than done.

The first step is to realise that yes, this is going to cost a little more than no-name brands and fast food, but our bodies and what we fuel our bodies with is an investment. An investment into bigger, longer adventures and pushing our bodies further. 

Here are just some ways in which we can reduce our exposure to pesticides:

- Organic frozen fruit and vegetables are a cheaper alternative to buying fresh produce. Frozen goods also last longer so you can buy in bulk and not need to worry about things rotting while you are away. This is especially good for those out-of-season fruits. 

- If you are willing to invest the time, make your own trail treats so you know exactly what ingredients are going into your meals. Check out this story for a few good tips.

- Buy food labelled 'non-GMO'. Genetically engineered crops are mostly designed to be glyphosate resistant, meaning that they will have been sprayed with the chemical prior to harvest to kill the weeds attacking the crops. By purchasing non-GMO products, we reduce the risk of exposing ourselves to high levels of glyphosate. This also includes purchasing meat that has not been fed GMO grains. 

- For our adventure days, don't worry we can still have our light and convenient dehydrated foods! Companies such as Backpackers Pantry, Mary Jane's, Outdoor Herbivore, Patagonia Provisions and Clif all have if not all organic ingredients then organic options to save our pack weights and time. 

If you have any other suggestions for how to reduce our exposure to glyphosate and how to combat its ever growing presence in our daily lives, please feel free to share! 

Published: October 28, 2017

Tiffany Fernyhough

Outdoor Educator from Hong Kong + New Zealand | Currently in Alberta, Canada

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