Monday, April 19, 2010

Organic Foods

One large component of the “Food Revolution” is the growing interest in organic foods. As people become more health and environmentally conscious, they are becoming more and more interested in eating organic foods. In fact, they are the fastest growing sector in the food market. There is no universally accepted definition for what is organic but here are some general guidelines:
  • Fruits & vegetables: Grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or ionizing radiation
  • Meat & animal products (including eggs and dairy): From animals that do not take antibiotics or growth hormones
  • Processed foods (e.g., cookies, pasta, sauces): Made with a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.
The dangers of conventional foods are still scientifically inconclusive. Some studies state that organic foods are way better than conventional foods; others have shown that there are no nutritional advantages to eating organic foods over conventional and some state the complete opposite. Currently, choosing organic is very much a choice guided by your personal views on health, science, and the environment.

I’m not a scientist so I can’t say whether or not organic foods are healthier than conventional foods on an elemental level. But I trust my instincts on what food should be and make my decisions based on them. Whatever your beliefs are around the nutritional benefits of these foods, I would like to point out that when you eat conventional foods, maybe you are getting the same amount of nutrients, but you also get a healthy dose of pesticides and other foreign chemicals with it. These chemicals have been linked to diseases like cancers and allergies. Is that a chance you are willing to take? And a thought for another post, pesticides are just plain bad for the environment.

Whether you agree with my personal views or not, I’d like you to follow one of my beliefs and that is minimizing the bad stuff. I don’t think it’s reasonable to completely eliminate all the foods that are bad for us from our diets but if we set a mindset of minimizing, we can make small choices with big results. One of those is buying organic for a group of fruits and vegetables called the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen is the twelve most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. If you want to purchase organic foods but only have a limited budget, these foods are where you should invest. Here are the Dirty Dozen in order of worst to less worse:
Sweet bell peppers
Bonus Tip: Download this list onto your phone or write it in your notebook that you keep your grocery list so that you can always refer to it when you are food shopping.

Thanks for reading the long Monday post. This is such an expansive topic, I could go on for a long time.  In the meantime, check out these recent articles: 
 Have a great week and happy shopping!

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