What You Need to Know About Buying Organic  


2013-Dirty-Dozen-EWG

Dear Leah Renee, 

I buy organic whenever I can.  I know it’s better for me and I stick most to the dirty dozen list.  How much better is it, really, to buy organic foods? ~Nancy, OR

There’s a lot of buzz over organic foods, and for a good reason.  I’m not sure if you’ve done a taste test, but I find organic to be much more flavorful and vibrant in color than conventional versions.  Sometimes we choose to make certain health decisions because we’ve heard across the board that it’s better for you (has anyone seen that video asking people why they’re gluten free?!  Here).  In case you’re not sure why you should be buying organic, here some info:

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), organically produced foods use methods that preserve the environment, avoiding most pesticides and antibiotics.  USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use.

Berries

This is all good; organic means less harmful chemicals, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering. And as you see, it goes far beyond the farming of just fruits and veggies.  Dairy, poultry, beef, rice, nuts, and seeds are some examples of considering buying the organic versions.

For instance, livestock (beef and poultry) is vastly different when comparing conventional to organic.  On the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) website, there was virtually no restrictions or specifications what-so-ever for conventional versions in livestock production.  There are over 150 antibiotics approved for use in animals.  Organic prohibits them.

organic beef

Let’s talk for a second about items I haven’t mentioned that can be purchased organic.  I’m referring to sauces, frozen meals, cookies, cereals, breads, ice cream, crackers, and candy.  These items have a few things in common.  The certified organic label on them will in fact mean they maintain a high level of quality when it comes to processing and I LOVE the fact that it means no GMO’s.  I always buy organic corn chips since 90% of corn is GMO.  Does it make them healthyNo. When we choose to eat out of a package or box, organic or not, chances are it’s either too high in sugar, fat, sodium (salt), or empty calories.  So while the organic version is still better than the conventional version, you’re still not getting the same kind of nutrients as  real, whole foods.

Personally, I buy meats, nuts, and seeds, and rice organic.  When it comes to fruits and vegetables, I stick to the dirty dozen list, but add a few more to it.  I do feel it makes a difference and I truly support organic practices.  If you want to see what skin care I buy organic, see this past post here.

What items do you make sure to buy organic?

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