Buying Organic: Is it worth the extra money?

My favorite family trip of the year is just around the corner. Every fall, we head to Applehill in Placerville to pick apples and marvel at delectable apples treats such as apple pie, apple turnovers, caramel apples, pressed apple cider and cider donuts fresh from the fryer. The only thing different this year is that I plan on visiting only the organic apple orchards. The more I’ve worked to clean up our family’s diet, the more I’ve learned the importance of eating organic food. Apples are number one this year on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2011 list of the most heavily pesticide sprayed crops. Buying organic assures that you are not ingesting toxic chemicals. It also assures that you are not consuming Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s). Conventional corn and soy, our nation’s largest crops, are all now GMO. In addition, studies have shown that organic produce and meat are more nutritious than conventional. Buying organic dairy and meat assures you are not consuming added hormones, antibiotics or other synthetic drugs that were fed to the animal.

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Web site is a great place to get updated information on organic produce and other health/environmental issues (including water quality). This year they released an updated version of the “dirty dozen,” a list of fruits and vegetables that are heavily sprayed with pesticides. The EWG Web site offers a small printable list you can carry in your purse or wallet. For a $10 donation, you can receive a shopping bag tag (similar to a luggage tag) that features the “dirty dozen” printed on it. And, they now have a smart phone app. Look up “Dirty Dozen” in iTunes for the free app or type the following into your browser:

Other products to eat organic are almonds and coffee. They are also among the most heavily sprayed crops. If you consume processed sugar, eat only organic; otherwise it’s a GMO. Please note that there are some products that you don’t have to eat organic (to avoid pesticides) such as bananas (and other “thick skinned” fruit), asparagus, avocado and sweet peas. Check out the EWG Web site for the full list.

Adapted from one of my blog entries on Blogger: Thriving GFCF, Gluten (wheat) Free and Casein (milk) Free. A family living and thriving without wheat and dairy.