Thursday, May 27, 2010

Should I Go Organic?

Have you found yourself caught between your wallet and your health when it comes to deciding whether or not to go organic?

Organic foods are foods that are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products are not fed anti-biotics and growth hormones in their diet.

Not all foods need to be consumed organic. I use the word "need" because ideally, all foods should be eaten organic. However, it is just not economically viable for most people to go on a fully organic diet. Three general principles that you can keep in mind the next time you go grocery shopping:

1. Foods that has thick skins are less susceptible to pests and thus one can expect less pesticides to be used in their farming process. Examples include bananas, oranges, lemons, pineapples, watermelon.

2. Some foods are just traditionally grown with little to no pesticides. Examples include onions, avocados, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and honeydew melon.

On the other hand, foods that are generally higher in pesticides and are worth considering going organic are celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale, collard greens, cherries, potatoes and grapes.

If your grocery budget does not permit going organic on all of these foods, I personally would recommend varying your consumption of these food items over periods of time. For instance, try not to have spinach as your only source of leafy greens for an extended period of time. And whenever possible peel off the skins before consumption. Although these are not ideal work arounds, it helps to balance your money and health.

3. If you have to spend your precious dollar on organic, I would recommend spending them on organic red meats if you eat them at all. The growth hormones and anti-biotics used in rearing animals for food are just way to scary to be ignored. This is one of those things I wouldn't want to take a chance on. If this is not something you can afford, I would suggest cutting back on your consumption amount.

There is a recent article on that talks about the value of going organic. It's quick and pretty good read. Below is a direct excerpt from the article:

"First, it is more important to eat fruits and vegetables than to skip them for fear of chemicals. But you can go selectively oragnic for the produce that contains the highest pesticide levels: apples, celery, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, spinach and strawberries. Seasonally available local organice produce can be bought for a fraction of the out-of-season cost. Preserve them for later use by freezing, canning or dehydrating. But remember that local coods might not be organic and organic foods are not always local. And then, you can always grown your own."

So what would you do? Would you go all organic at all costs? Or moderate based on the kind of food? Or even think that organic for health is over-rated? Take the poll and let me know what you think.

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