To buy organic or not to buy organic, that is the question. We are pummeled with a lot of information about organic food. But what are the most important things for us to know to help us make informed decisions when buying our food? Here is a quick bit on what I consider to be five key facts on buying organic…
- It is better for the environment. Pesticide run-off gets into our water supply and conventional farming techniques use more energy and deplete the soil. When we buy local, organic produce from our farmers’ markets or in our grocery stores, it has not traveled as far as products you may buy that are shipped in from around the globe. Therefore, it doesn’t take as much fuel to transport these items and they have less of an environmental footprint.
- Organic produce has been found to have at least two times the mineral content (calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, etc.), less heavy metals and less pesticide residue than conventional produce. Pesticides, which are poison designed to kill living organisms, have been linked to diseases such as cancer.
- Everything we buy at the grocery store sends a message to the big food corporations about what we as a society want to eat. So the more processed food and sugary drinks we buy, the more money these companies will put into producing and marketing them. On the flip side, the more organic, local produce and meat we buy, the more likely these companies will realize the profitability potential of these items and the more money they will invest in them.
- You cannot wash off the pesticides. Just like we absorb things through our skin, pesticides are absorbed into food when the crops are sprayed, so you will still be exposed to traces of them when you eat conventional produce.
- Pasture-raised animals that primarily eat grasses (the food these animals have always been supposed to eat) have greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, the good type of fat that helps to decrease inflammation in the body. Animals raised in feedlots that have a corn-based diet have a greater amount of saturated fat, which has been linked to obesity and high-blood pressure, among other health issues.
Yes, buying organic is more expensive. If you can’t afford to go all-in, I suggest you focus on buying organic meat and dairy, as well as items listed as the “Dirty Dozen” below, which is produce that has been found to have the greatest traces of pesticides. The “Clean Fifteen” below are produce that has been found to have the smallest traces of pesticides. The Environmental Working Group compiled these lists. For more information, check out their website – http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
The Dirty Dozen (or The Filthy Fourteen?)
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Nectarines (imported)
- Snap Peas (imported)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Sweet Potatoes
~Love, peace and (organic) veggies~