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When is it worth it to buy Organic?

posted Jan 10, 2012, 5:42 PM by Amanda Bontempo   [ updated Jan 16, 2012, 6:50 AM ]
We are often faced with everything being offered in an organic option. Organic apples? toothpaste? linens? YES, even candles and mattresses are being offered organic these days. Of course you want to do right by your body but loosening the pursestrings en masse is pricey and not worth it. Something marked organic simply means the produce
 was grown while avoiding synthetic chemical inputs including fertilizers and pesticides. T

he Environmental Working Group developed the ominous dirty dozen, a list of produce that typically have highest pesticide residues. Should you choose to invest your hard earned cash in organic produce, use these guidelines to decide when to buy organic and when to be satisfied with conventional. 

Produce aside, organic products are often advertised as being a healthy option. But use your brain juice, just because something is "organic" does not mean it is healthy. Think about it, pretzels in the vending machine might be organic but they don't have any less calories and are likely still be made with processed flour, sugar, salt and pumped full of additives and preservatives.  So just because a food is organic does not mean it is any less fattening. 

Dirty Dozen: Buy organic! Apples, celery, berries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell pepper, potatoes, lettuce, kale/collards
Think about this, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are definitely healthy superfoods but they can pose potential risk unless you go organic. Berries can have more than 13 pesticide residues each.  All those tiny hills and valleys (translation: seeds) pose potential pockets to house pesticides making it impossible to wash off causing you to eat more chemicals. Similarly, peaches and cherries are thinned skinned fruits that are treated with multiple pesticides too. Instead of peeling the skin off and missing powerful nutrients, choose organic and eat the skin to avoid tossing all the healthy fibers, vitamins and minerals.  Lastly, celery may seem innocuous enough but don't let those fibrous stalks fool you. Celery is very porous so it retains the pesticides they are sprayed with.

Clean Fifteen: Save your money, conventional is ok! Onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms. Thick skinned produce may be purchased conventionally but you should stil wash the inedible peel before digging in to avoid contaminating the flesh of the fruit with residues including bacteria from handling. This is especially truth if you or someone in your family is suffering from a weakened immune system. Wash with warm water and your garden variety handsoap and just remember that the friction while washing is more important than any special formulations sold in pretty bottles.

Let me finish by emphasizing the single most important point of this post. The benefits of eating conventionally grown fruits and veggies outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. 

More to come! Spill The Beans on milk, beef, eggs and spices.