If you’re new to healthy eating, I’d probably recommend that you SKIP this post! :) It can be a bit overwhelming to think of making all these changes. Instead, I encourage you to follow this link, then scroll down to the very beginning of this section of posts where you will find very basic tips on starting to eat a healthier diet!
Today, I’d like to share the foods I feel should be a higher focus for organic purchasing and eating. Please be reminded of my Organic Food Disclaimer and how I don’t think non-organic farmers are evil and all that stuff.
First let me share the list of Produce I try to purchase organically if possible. According to Organic.org, the produce which contains the HIGHEST amounts of pesticides are: Peaches , Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Pears, Grapes (imported), Spinach, Lettuce and Potatoes. Fruit Wash does help remove some pesticides, but it is my understanding that the pesticides are not only on the skin of the fruit or vegetable, but also inside the fruit or vegetable, especially in the above listed foods.
Other fruits and vegetables I do purchase organically if possible, but if I don’t have a ready source, I don’t sweat it. I almost never buy organic bananas, avocados, watermelon, oranges or pineapple because their skins are so thick and they are quite low on the pesticide list!
Beyond produce, I highly recommend that you look into organic Milk and Meat and Eggs from sources you trust. Our family prefers to drink raw milk from cows that are pasture fed. We also prefer our meat and eggs to come from animals that are allowed to roam freely on pasture.
Why? Well, most conventionally raised cows are fed a less than stellar diet of GMO grains, when really, their stomachs were designed to eat grass. In addition, they are usually raised in crowded feedlots and given several rounds of antibiotics to help them survive those crowded feedlots. They are often also given steroids to make their meat more tender. Those antibiotics and steroids become a part of the milk or meat, which means that if we eat (or drink) from these sources, we are ingesting them too. (Here is an article with great information about why Grass Fed is best.)
Conventionally raised chickens are usually cooped up in tight quarters and never allowed to free roam and peck around and do all the normal things God created chickens to do (including but not limited to attacking their egg gatherer – ah, what a memory). Chickens are also often given antibiotics to protect from infection due to their living conditions. (source)
Last but not least, let’s talk about Grains. If at all possible, I encourage you to find organic or “chemical free” grains. Conventionally grown grains are almost always genetically modified (GMO), making them a completely different food than their original little selves. Legumes fall into this same category. Of all the organic food I place as a priority, Grains are the highest. Organic grains are not GMO, making them much safer to eat. I found this page on Seeds of Deception to be very helpful in talking about which foods are usually GMO and best to avoid.
It’s important for me to note that not all organic farmers have an organic certification. The farms around here where I purchase my milk, beef, chickens and eggs are actually NOT “certified organic”. It costs quite a bit of money to acquire and maintain an organic certification, so some farmers choose not to go that route. However, after visiting with these farmers I purchase from, I know that all of them are truly organic, just without the label. It saves them money and it saves me money for them to not have the “organic label”. Does this make sense? (Local Harvest is a great resource for finding locally raised, healthy animals.)
This wraps up my Should I Eat Organic Food? series. I’ll now be moving on to share more about my pantry and freezers, compiling big lists of all my favorite foods to buy. Plus, I plan to share more about how I buy food in bulk, store my bulk food and afford bulk food.
Are there some other questions you have regarding organic food that I forgot to talk about? Did you ever read about my very scary free range rooster encounter? I’m still not over it.