The Great Produce Debate: Should I Buy Organic?
Maybe you have run into this problem at the grocery store: Should I buy organic? Would local be better? Which things are okay to purchase that are grown conventionally? All of a sudden your quick shopping trip becomes overwhelming and you want to scream or drop your basket and leave the store. I’ve been there, maybe you have too, so let’s break this down and gain some insight.
There is a big push for purchasing organic produce and for good reason. Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, which can wreak havoc on our health when consumed. When we buy USDA Certified Organic produce from the store, we are being guaranteed that the farmers are using methods of controlling pests that do not include the use of pesticides.
We want the fruits and vegetables that we consume to do their best for our bodies. When we eat organic fruits and vegetables, we don’t need to worry about pesticides and can simply enjoy the deliciousness before us. Our bodies can easily extract the nutrients from each piece of produce and utilize the nutrients. When we eat non-organic fruits and vegetables, our body has to first fight off the chemicals we are consuming before it can even think about utilizing the nutrients.
Pesticides and Disease
Pesticides have been linked to a plethora of disease and illness. Consuming pesticides has been linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, reproductive health problems, and a plethora of cancers. These are all super scary things. By eating organic produce you can reduce your exposure to pesticides and therefore reduce your risk of illness. I encourage you to check out the articles I have linked here and to do your own research. Be mindful of who wrote the research as well-- if you find a study that dismisses the links and it is funded by Monsanto, then be weary of what you read!
Organic = Expensive
I hear you. Purchasing organic fruits and vegetables can cost a bit more than buying conventionally grown products. And when you’re tight on money I can understand how that could seem low on your priority list. If you’re strapped for cash but still doing your best to eat healthy, use the EWG Dirty Dozen list as a guide. If it’s on the list, it has the highest concentration of pesticides, meaning these are the ones that you absolutely should buy organic. You can also check out EWG’s Clean Fifteen to see which options you can feel really good about purchasing conventionally. Keep a list handy in your wallet or on your phone for easy access while you are shopping!
Buying organic produce might be a little more expensive, but it’s totally worth it. The way I figure, you can either pay for organic produce now or pay for medical bills later. Your choice, but I’m guessing the extra you spend on organic produce now will be far less costly!
Chances are there is a Farmer’s Market near you and if you can find one, you should check it out! By shopping at a Farmer’s Market you support local farmers, get produce that is in season, and reduce your carbon footprint (your fruits and veggies haven’t traveled far to get to you so they are fresh!) Use this site to find a market near you and head out to meet farmers in your area! For more information on eating local, check out 5 Ways to Eat Local In Your Own Town.
Talk to the farmers at your market. Registering as an organic farm can be really costly and some small farms just can’t afford to pay those fees for the label of organic. Ask the farmers how they grow their produce and what they use for pest control. By talking with the people who grow the food you can easily determine whether the produce is organic or conventionally grown. Plus, you might get some great cooking tips along the way!
There is no such thing as a perfect diet. Instead, keep striving for progress. Start adding a few things that are organic (especially if they are on the Dirty Dozen list) every week and build your health that way. No need to do it all at once and overwhelm yourself! Just do what you can to better your health every day.
Which organic produce will you buy this week?