In addition to being lazy, I’m cheap. Until I did some research, I assumed labeling something organic was simply shorthand for here’s a sucker with too much money and not enough brains. I’ve learned that’s not really true.
While it is true that organic food is often more expensive than non-organic, I’ve realized three things. One, because I’m practicing portion control, I eat less on the Lazy Low Cal Lifestyle so I’m spending less money at the grocery store anyway. Two, the health benefits outweigh the extra cost. And three, organic is not always more expensive.
When I read this on the Prevention website, I decided to give organics a try.
“Eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables exposes you to about 14 pesticides a day. A study supported by the EPA measured pesticide levels in children’s urine before and after a switch to an organic diet. After just 5 days, the chemicals decreased to undetectable levels.”
They went on to list the “dirty dozen” most contaminated produce. If I can, I always buy these organic. If you can grow them yourself, that’s ideal. But if you can’t, buy them in season from local farmers at farmers’ markets. You’ll see better prices and less of a carbon footprint with less hauling around the country. Better still to develop relationships with these farmers so even when Farmer’s Market season is over (for those of us in the shivery parts of the country), you can still take advantage of what they grow by buying directly from them or finding out which grocery stores they distribute to. Maybe even approach your grocery store to carry their produce. Also, visit www.LocalHarvest.org for organic foods near you.
Buy these organic whenever you can …
We eat a lot of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower at my house so even though they aren’t on this list, I try to buy them organic whenever possible simply because of the amounts we eat. Plus, I’ve always heard that you should buy organic produce if you eat the whole fruit or vegetable, like what’s listed above. But for things like bananas, oranges, pineapples, and such, there’s no need because the peel stops the toxins and you don’t consume it. I don’t know for certain that’s true, but it makes sense to me.
Of course, besides being ec0-friendly, the main benefit to organics is that they contain fewer pesticides and additives.
I haven’t made the leap to buying all organic dairy, but I will tell you I switched to Almond Breeze almond milk when I read that cow’s milk can have pus and other disgusting stuff in it. Plus, almond milk comes in shelf-stable cartons that don’t have to be refrigerated until they’re opened. It also has significantly fewer calories than cow’s milk. (45 vs. 130 in 8 ounces) If you must buy cow’s milk, definitely go organic.
You can go online and print coupons from organic dairies. Try www.Stonyfield.com and www.OrganicValley.com. Heck, you can go online and print coupons from all your favorite companies, not just organic. But I suspect we’ll start seeing more and more organics coming to our local grocery stores and we won’t have to seek out specialty stores as much. I’ve started to see organic store brands, too. Proof that organics is hot!
I’ve seen some studies about organic meat that make me seek out and pay extra for organic, grass-fed beef and poultry whenever I can because they can’t be given antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed made from … ick … animal by-products. But frankly, I buy a lot less meat these days because it tends to gross me out if I think about it too much and because, I’ll say it again, I’m cheap. And, in case you’ve forgotten, because the correct portion of protein per serving is only three or four ounces, you CAN afford to buy the better, organic meat.
What about “free range,” you ask? It conjures up chickens frolicking over hill and dale, joyful in their little games of Freeze Tag and Capture the Flag. Unfortunately, all it means to the USDA is that the poultry has outdoor access — green grass or hot pavement is all the same to them. Also, the birds may have been debeaked which is just as painful as it sounds.
Ignore the “free range” label and look for the words “pasture-raised” along with a Certified Humane Raised and Handled seal of approval. That means the birds have shelter but can also forage naturally. Not only is it nicer for the poultry, it’s nicer for you too. Their eggs contain more Vitamin A and omega-3s and they have less overall fat.
What do you think about organics? Have you made the leap? Why or why not?