Pesticides, Hormones, and Sperm, Oh my!

Why choose Organic Food


I often shop at my neighbourhood grocery store for the singular reason it’s at the bottom of my street and extremely convenient. The other day, I wandered around the produce section looking for something affordable and organic and was aghast to see that the once highly priced box of $4.99 lettuce was now a whopping $6.49 and the bag of organic apples that only a year ago were priced at $5.99 were now $8.99.

As a registered dietitian, I know exactly what I need to eat to be healthy. I am also dealing with an autoimmune condition, which is inflammatory in nature, by trying to eliminate substances that cause havoc in my system especially substances that disrupt my hormone balance or cause inflammation and gut dysbiosis. A major strategy of my healing is eliminating pesticides from my diet but now, I’m faced with a dilemma:

I know organic food will help my body heal.

Organic food prices are beyond my budget.

As fate would have it, I found a solution. At my business-networking group, I met a man who calls himself “a clean food entrepreneur.” Of course, I wanted to know more so I investigated his website. I then met with Anthony Cozzi to discuss the nature of his business. I was wary because I used an organic home delivery food-box system before and found I was usually stuck with a bunch of foods I didn’t recognize or understand how to use. (Remind me to tell you sometime about mistaking the hottest pepper in the world for a green pepper. My tongue will never be the same.) Anthony reassured me that I could order exactly what I wanted and even get berries in the winter months. I knew then that Anthony’s business was something I could recommend to my clients because I often feel conflicted when I tell someone that eating organic is essential to restoring their health when I know it’s so costly.

Now that there is a solution, I will give you the reasons I choose to use organic produce:

Eating Organic Reduces the Body’s Toxic Load:

Plants and animals labeled organic have not been treated with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers from synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, growth hormones, antibiotics, or ionizing radiation. So why is this important? Let’s take a look at pesticides.

Eliminating Pesticides from your diet Promotes Hormone Health:

Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. These synthetic estrogens can be found in plastics, prescription drugs, cleaning products, cosmetics, and pesticides. (Read labels for the following: DDT, endosulfan, dieldrin, methoxychlor, kepone, toxaphene, chlordane, and other chlorinated hydrocarbons.) In her article “Estrogens, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” Lorna R Vanderhaegue writes:

“Environmental estrogens cause breast cancer, uterine cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, premature sexual development, uterine fibromas, heavy periods, infertility and in men benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer.”

Pesticides linked to Autoimmune Dysfunction:

Most people are aware of the long-term study of thousands of postmenopausal women and its revelation of the dangers of traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). What has not been publicized until recently is that the study also shows that extended exposure to pesticides may be linked to an increase in the development of autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. One analysis concluded, “These results suggest residential and work place insecticide exposure is associated with the risk of autoimmune rheumatic diseases in postmenopausal women. Although these findings require replication in other populations, they support a role for environmental pesticide exposure in the development of autoimmune rheumatic diseases.”

Eating Organic may Protect Male Reproductive Health:

It is well documented that eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables results in measurable pesticide levels in urine. A few studies have looked at the possible effect of pesticide exposure on semen quality and concluded that men who eat a high percentage of fruits and vegetable with high-residue pesticides, such as spinach, strawberries, and peppers, have a lower sperm count and a lower percentage of normal sperm when compared with men who eat produce with lower-residue pesticides.

And that’s just pesticides! I’ll cover the other substances in future blogs. But now you know why I encourage my clients to eat organic produce whenever possible.

Want to know more?

Click to book your FREE hormone focused nutrition consultation with Nutrigal.

Contact the Clean Food Entrepreneur, Anthony Cozzi at

Further reading:

Vanderhaeghe,L.R. MS, A Smart Woman’s Guide to Hormones, 2011

Amy Myers MD, The Autoimmune Solution, 2015

Terry Whals MD The Wahls Protocol: A radical new way to treat all chronic autoimmune conditions using Paleo principles, 2014


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