Organic on a Budget

photo By Cynthia WalkerSometimes organic food can cost more, but that’s not always the case.  There are times when organic is the same price and surprisingly even less expensive!  Don’t assume.  Keep your eyes open and keep checking.  Prices change weekly.

Even still, I understand guarding the pocket book.  That’s why I love the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual list of the top 12 foods to eat organic – the Dirty Dozen™ EWG analyzes the pesticide residue of foods based on testing data generated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and federal Food and Drug Administration.  And if you think that by simply washing your produce you can avoid the pesticides and insecticides you are eating, think again.  The guide is based on produce that has all been nearly washed or peeled.

Since the Dirty Dozen™ is updated yearly, in general the top foods to buy organic are leafy greens, tree fruits (apples, pears, peaches, etc), and berries.  Foods with a thick skin that are removed typically have less pesticide residue (melons, bananas, avocado, corn, hard squashes, etc.)

While studies of the health effects of organic foods vs. conventional are mixed, my take is why take the chances?  This is especially true if you are pregnant, as young fetuses are vulnerable, since they are exposed to most of the chemicals that moms consume.  I think it’s safe to say that organic is a safer choice.

And by simply choosing organic for only 12 foods,  you can put your money where it matters most and reduce your exposure to pesticides by ~80%!  That’s significant for just a dozen items and well worth it!

The benefits of organic go beyond what you are ingesting.  Organically grown means that the farmers and their neighbors aren’t being exposed to potentially harmful chemicals, the soil and surrounding plant life and nearby water sources aren’t being saturated with these chemicals either, and beneficial insects aren’t being killed.  Organic, then, means healthier soil and water for surrounding wildlife and people.

If you aren’t eating organic already, 2013 may be your year to start.  View EWG’s Dirty Dozen list here: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

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