What does Organic really mean?
In order for an ingredient to be labeled organic means that both the soil and the produce must have been grown and maintained without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). For an animal product to be called organic it must have been born and raised on land that has not been treated with synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, fed 100% organic feed and never receive any antibiotics.
Does Organic Food Cost More?
Unfortunately organic farmers don’t receive the subsidies that conventional farmers do, since it’s also typically more expensive to maintain an organic farm that often gets reflected in the price. However, if you focus on local food that is in season you may find that the prices can be equal in price to no-organic foods – or even a little cheaper.
What 4 Foods Should I Always Buy Organic?
When it comes to shopping organic, I always recommend starting at the top of the food chain and working your way down. First spend your money on animal products, next produce where you will eat the skin, then produce where you take off the skin, and lastly whole grains. Here are some specific examples:
Unfortunately cattle are typically treated with mega-doses of antibiotics, which some people believe has led to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in people.
Like the cattle above, dairy cows are often treated with antibiotics, hormones and fed food that has been sprayed with pesticides. This can be transferred into the milk they produce and then to the people that drink it.
The Dirty Dozen +
Each year the Environmental Working Group produces a list of the dirty dozen +. These are the fruits and vegetables that have been tested and have the most pesticide residue and are therefore recommended to choose the organic option. This year the list includes: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, imported nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, kale/collard greens and summer squash.
Although most grains have been shown to be very low in pesticides, rice is the exception to the rule. Luckily organic rice is typically a similar price to conventional rice especially when you buy in bulk.
Eating all of your food organic may not be in everyone’s budget, however if you stick to this list you can help keep you and your family happy and healthy!