Friday, May 29, 2009
When to buy organic and when to let it slide
Since I've been focusing more on expanding my nutrition & healthy kitchens business, a lot of people ask me when it is necessary to buy organic foods and when its not. With our economy in a slump, organic foods are not always cheap, but in the long run they are 110% better for your health. You see, in most other countries, the food industry has set higher standers in what products they allow in the grocery stores. Anything unsafe (i.e. pesticides, chemically enhanced foods, etc.) are not allowed. Therefore almost everything is fresh and organic. In our lovely country (not to bash) the FDA lets the ingredient list slip by so that it has a longer shelf life and is then cheaper for us to buy. Oh yea, gimme some of that! (said sarcastically). Here is a great article that explains just how to save money while shopping for the best produce and other fresh foods!
There are many reasons to buy organic foods. The USDA Organic label tells you that fruits and veggies weren't raised using manmade chemical pesticides, fossil fuel- or sewage-based fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. On meat, the label indicates that the feeds provided met those same standards, and that the animals weren't administered hormones and antibiotics. Bottom line: "Organic" is more sustainable and healthier -- for the environment and farm workers, certainly, and often for you and your family.
How is organic healthier? It's healthier because some studies suggest that organic produce has more nutrients than its conventional counterparts, probably because the soil is left in better condition after repeated plantings; and healthier because you avoid ingesting any harmful pesticide residues left on conventional produce.
But, particularly as the economy sags and millions of Americans lose their jobs, it can be hard to afford the often-premium price charged for organic foods. That's why we've published this updated list, based on Environmental Working Group's latest compilation of government data about pesticide residue.
The fruits and vegetables on this list were the least likely to have pesticides detected on the parts you eat, after typical washing, whether or not they're certified organic. (Remember, though, that the farmworkers and the farm soil, will thank you for any organic purchases you can make.)
4. sweet corn
7. sweet peas
15. sweet potato
For a list of the foods most likely to be contaminated, see The Daily Green's feature Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods To Buy Organic.
Have a great weekend and go to your local farmers market- SUPPORT!!