Organic 101

January 31, 2012 — Leave a comment

 The term organic seems to be popping up a lot these days. You might find it on your bananas, on your milk, or even on your canned soup. Everyone is saying how great organic foods are for you, but what good is all of that without knowing why? I’m all for naturally grown, pesticide-free food, but unfortunately not everyone can afford their sky-high prices. In the perfect world I’d totally recommend buying everything organic, however if you’re on a tight budget, not everything absolutely HAS to be. To best understand how and why it’s imperative that we look at the facts behind the process.

Organic simply refers to the method in which farmers use to grow and process their products. It is a system that maintains soil fertility without the use of potentially dangerous pesticides or fertilizers. Much like the tricky marketing used with various other healthy benefits, organic labels can be misleading as well. If a package states that the product is “made with organic ingredients,” then it is actually only 70% organic, according to MayoClinic.com. 95% for foods labelled “organic,” and completely organic for those labelled “100-percent organic.” There are plenty of reasons that merit the want to reduce exposure to harmful substances after knowing that they’ve been linked to certain cancers and ADHD, as well as a handful of things in between.

One common misconception people often argue is that they don’t need to buy organic foods where the skin is not consumed because the skin acts as a barrier against pesticides. It’s easy to understand why people would think this, but unfortunately isn’t always the case. 20% of all pesticides are what we call “systemics.” These pesticides move into the plant through the roots and into the vascular system. From there they move to the surface where they stop viral pathogens from growing, or kill/ward off insects. Some pesticides are actually 100% systemic. Thus the skin of produce doesn’t always protect us from consuming potentially dangerous substances.

There is a group of products called The Dirty Dozen however that I really encourage all people to buy organic. These are the items that studies have shown to posses the most traces of pesticides and fertilizers. By knowing these twelve products it will help those on a tight budget avoid unnecessary overspending when considering organic food, AS WELL AS reducing your exposure by as much as 90%. The list is as follows:

– Celery

– Peaches

– Strawberries

– Apples

– Blueberries

– Nectarines

– Bell Peppers

– Spinach

– Kale

– Cherries

– Potatoes

– Imported Grapes

Please do not avoid these foods altogether because all of them are great for achieving a well-balanced healthy diet, but please DO buy them organic. If you’re going to fork out the cash to limit your exposure to pesticides, these are the products to splurge on.

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