When To Spend: Your Guide to Buying Organic
The word “organic”, a labeling term set by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), is stamped on a wide variety of foods today including fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and dairy. These organic regulations focus on food farming and production practices, aimed to decrease the risk of food contamination and increase food safety for consumers.
In virtually every large grocery store chain, the option to buy organic versus conventional fruits and vegetables is offered. And thanks to the growing number of reports put out around the use of pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones and the dangers associated with these products to our health, the demand for organic is increasing.
But the cost has yet to go down.
It’s no question that organic produce grown without pesticides, ionizing radiation, bioengineering, fertilizing, etc, is more expensive than its conventional counterpart.
And while deep down the interest in our health typically drives our major decisions, ingesting a conventional food that 99.99% of the time will feel no different in your body makes it hard to justify that $4.99 pint of blueberries when the same size of conventional ones (which look plumper and juicier anyway) are on sale for $1.49.
So why spend more? There are 2 primary reasons. One is to reduce exposure to the aforementioned contaminants – many of which have been classified as cancer-causing agents, as well as exposure to other toxins including heavy metals and solvents. Heavy metals can contribute to diseases including multiple sclerosis and damage nerve function while solvents can damage proper white blood cell function in the body and compromise the immune system.
Here’s the bottom line: while I do like to try to buy all organic produce, due to cost or unavailability, it’s not always an option. But the good news is not all organic produce is “better” than its conventional counterpart. I’m a huge fan of the following list – splurge on the known ‘dirty dozen’ and save money buying some conventional ‘clean 15′