Organic foods: are they worth it?

This is something I constantly go back and forth on. Every time I walk past organic produce I picture a light from heaven shining down on it like it’s gods gift to earth (well, I guess in a sense you could say it is but you get what I mean). So here’s the 411 on organic and whether it’s really worth it.

what does organic mean?
An organic item is anything that is produced or grown with a minimum of contaminants, using methods that don’t hurt the environment. Farmers protect the environment by rotating crops. When something is labeled organic, it doesn’t mean it is free of all contaminants, just synthetic pesticides. An item labeled as “100% organic” means that it is not genetically engineered.

what does one have to do in order for a food to be labeled ‘organic’?
The national organic standards board states that in order for a food to be “certified organic”, a farmer must grow the item pesticide and chemical free for 3 years.

is organic produce healthier?
In terms of nutritive content, no not really. The difference is that organically grown produce is safer to eat because of the lack of chemical contaminants. For adults, this isn’t as much of a concern because our immune systems are usually stronger but for children, organic produce could be beneficial because lower levels of contaminants over time may confer a big benefit.

why is organic produce more expensive?
Organic foods require much more labor, yields less product, and is generally not as widespread as non-organic produce. Because of this, it tends to be higher in price. In addition, organic products don’t always last as long so you may have to buy them more frequently than you would regular produce.

how can I promote the organic movement?
Buy locally and buy seasonally. Farmers markets are great ways to do this and also meet local farmers. Get to know them. Ask them about their farms. Educate yourselves about what you’re putting in your body. Another way to promote this is by growing your own produce. Although small, I have started my own mini garden. And I do mean mini. I’m currently growing my own lettuce and green onions. Eventually I would like to expand as I learn about more ways to incorporate these foods into my diet. It’s a slow process.

which organic products are worth buying?
If you don’t want to go full stream organic, you don’t have to. The foods that have been shown to have higher levels of pesticide residues include:
– fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, apples, grapes, pears, cherries, raspberries, and strawberries
– vegetables, such as green beans, spinach, bell peppers, celery, and potatoes
– organic meats

which foods are not worth the effort?
– orange juice and milk
– non organic, low residue foods such as asparagus, bananas, avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, and kiwi

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One thought on “Organic foods: are they worth it?

  1. Pingback: Month 6: Eat Organic « Year of the Detox

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