Many of us understand the benefits of eating a clean diet full of whole foods. However, eating healthy does not always mean that we are eating organically. Organic.org teaches us this:
“The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic as follows: Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.”
Additionally, the USDA further defines organic animal by-products such as dairy, meat, eggs, and poultry as those produced without antibiotics or growth hormones. The use of many non-organic methods in food production has been linked to increase the likelihood of various chronic diseases including: respiratory issues, GI complications, prostate and breast cancers. inflammation, toxicity, etc. Moreover, many of these non-organic techniques have been found to cause birth defects, hormonal issues, high metal toxicity, drug-resistant superbugs, etc. As a result of this newfound awareness of the foods found on the grocery store shelf, I want to help you become more prepared than ever in taking control of your healthy, organic eating by offering a few tips.
First and foremost, I encourage you to buy your dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) as well as your meats organic. Avoid genetically modified, hormone and antibiotic-ridden meats and minimal pasteurization can change your health almost entirely.
Secondly, try your best to decrease your pesticide consumption by understanding which produce faces the most exposure. Below is a list of The Dirty Dozen, which should be eaten organically.
The foods with the highest pesticide loads are:
- Bell Peppers
- Imported Grapes
An additional quick tip here is buy these foods in-season and use appropriate preservation methods to be able to enjoy them out of season.
Lastly, you must shop smart! The number one complaint I hear about organic foods is the cost. Try these little tips to soften the blow to your wallet.
- Shop local. Farmer’s Markets and produce stands offer affordable produce and keep our local businesses flourishing.
- Buy in bulk. Join a wholesaler like Costco or Sam’s Club, which offer organic food products.
- Educate yourself. Know what is likely in season, so you know when organic is likely at its cheapest. For examples, strawberries are often twice the cost during winter months.
- Purchase when necessary. Certain foods like grapefruits and pineapples have thick outer skins that can help prevent unwanted pesticides from penetrating the food source you will consume. So buy the rest of your produce organically and wash thoroughly those that you can get by with buying non-organic.
Remember, you are what you eat.
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC