To buy organic or to not buy organic?
That is the question that many of us ask ourselves while standing basket-in-hand in the grocery store. Buying organic can be extremely pricey compared to the non-organic options; sometimes for good reason. Recent research has shown that organic farming produces safer and more nutritious food. However, buying everything organic is not always a conventional option, and may not always be necessary.
What does “organic” mean?
The USDA National Organic Program defines organic as follows:
“Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled “organic,” a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.” (read more here)
Here are the top 21 foods that you should always buy organic.
- Hot Peppers
- Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & collard greens)
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Tomato Sauce
These foods have been tested and shown to have a harmful amount of pesticides present when not grown organically.
Other non-food items that should also be bought organically:
Cleaning products – See my article on the dangerous chemicals in Household Cleaners Here
Cookware – Nonstick pots and pans typically have a chemical called PTFE present. This chemical will break down into toxic fumes when it is overheated. Exposure to PTFE can coat your lungs and cause long term damage as well as breathing problems.
Food Storage Containers and Water Bottles – Most polycarbonate plastic food storage containers and water bottles contain Bispenol-A (BPA). BPA can seep into your food through the plastic. BPA exposure can lead to breast cancer in women, reduced sperm counts in men, and many other menacing symptoms (read more about BPA Here). My advice: buy glass when possible!
And lastly, behold the list of foods that you do not need to buy organic.