ORGANIC- YAY OR NAY?

According to Huffington Post, Conventional foods differ from organics in several ways, including the use of chemical versus natural fertilizers (i.e., compost) to feed soil and plants. Conventional farmers also use synthetic herbicides to manage weeds, while organic farmers use environmentally generated plant-killing compounds. Therefore, organic produce has significantly fewer pesticide residues than conventional produce.

Organic certification requires that farmers and handlers document their processes and get inspected EVERY YEAR. Organic on-site inspections account for every component of the operation, including, but not limited to, seed sources, soil conditions, crop health, weed and pest management, water systems, inputs, contamination and commingling risks and prevention, and record-keeping. Tracing organic products from start to finish is part of the USDA organic promise. The USDA organic regulations also ban the use of food additives, processing aids, and fortifying agents found in conventional foods, like artificial sweeteners and coloring, preservatives and monosodium glutamate. Can I get an Amen?

Although Organic produce can sometimes get bad publicity for being “too expensive” or “difficult to determine” there’s no doubt that the health benefits of buying & consuming fresh, organic produce outweigh the competition! Scientist and medical professionals agree  that even small amounts of pesticides and other chemicals have negative effects on our health. I mean, pregnant women and mothers are warned on various food labels about the risk of fetuses and young children may be more negatively affected by harmful exposure to low levels of pesticides. I mean isn’t that telling you something?

BEST FOODS TO BUY ORGANIC: (in my opinion)
1. Potatoes: The USDA discovered 81 percent of potatoes tested in 2006 contained pesticides even after being washed and peeled.

2. Beef/ Chicken/ Fish: When animals are conventionally raised, they are fed growth hormones and medications to fight disease and speed growth, which inevitably end up in our hamburgers and our bodies. The European Union actually banned all hormones in beef. Yes- it is that extreme!

3. Apples: Apple peels are supposed to be the healthiest part, offering benefits that help traduce the risk of cancer & heart disease. However, the peel is actually where pesticides accumulate the most & are difficult to remove even after soaking with Trader Joe’s Fruit & Veg Wash!

4. Strawberries: What I’m about to tell you, may make you squirm! Some conventional strawberries are enhanced with a substance containing the contaminant fungicide captan in order to enhance their brightness & color! Can you believe it?

5. Kale, Spinach & other Leafy Greens: No surprises here really. While spinach and kale offer many nutrients with very low calories, they are often sprayed with more than 20 kinds of pesticides before being tossed in our salads or cooked in our omelets. A USDA study found 58 pesticide residues are usually contained in spinach.

6. Peaches: Such a popular fruit here in the Mid West but ridiculously high on the list of fruits that are most susceptible to pesticide residue, and usually contain levels above the legal limits!

7. Grapes: The conventional grape samples contained an average of five different pesticide residues, with almost all (96 percent) containing some pesticide residues.

8. Tomatoes: So you guessed it, regular tomatoes contain pesticides which cause health risks, however, I have some good news! Organic tomatoes are said to contain higher amounts of Vitamin C! Oh yeah!

9. Celery: Again, no surprises- contains many pesticides and are difficult to scrub off due to texture! It is actually the highest contaminated plant…and we eat it!

10. Bell Peppers: These bad boys have been known to be exposed to almost 50 pesticides and were found to carry some of the highest number of pesticides on one specimen (11, to be exact).

This post was not meant to scare you, simply inform you of the dangers associated with many of our “healthy foods”. Make a stance! Buy organic, fresh & local produce to protect yourself and your family. I personally, have made an effort to consciously choose restaurants and cafes that have organic produce on their menu items. Some of my favs in Columbus are: Clean Juice & Core Life.

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