Buying Organic: Ploy or Necessary?

Organic Produce

Is buying organic worth it? Or is it all a big marketing ploy to get you to pay more money for your food? The answer: a little bit of both.

Buying things like “Organic Mac and Cheese” or “Organic Cinnamon Rolls” can be completely disregarded. Simply adding a label with that designation does not mean that it is healthy. But that doesn’t mean that organic items don’t have a place in the food industry.

What Is Organic?

What is organic? Well, it is the way food was produced for thousands of years. Using soil, sun, and care with very little chemicals and human intervention. Today’s food industry is wrought with hybridization, genetically modified foods, pesticides, chemicals and more. What does that do to our body? That is a discussion for another post. But suffice it to say, it is always best to avoid these things when possible.

Should I Buy Organic?

However, not everything needs to be bought organic. That being said, there are certain items that are better for you when organic. Those primarily consist of produce items. And how do we know which ones to buy organic and which ones can be bought conventional?

Each year the Environment Working Group (EWG) releases a shopper’s guide to pesticides found in common produce items. Their report details which items contain the highest concentration of chemicals and pesticides. They have categorized the 15 foods with either very little or no pesticides as the “Clean Fifteen”. These foods can be eaten conventional and do not need to be bought organic. The “Dirty Dozen” is a list of the foods that have the highest concentration of pesticides and should be bought organic whenever possible.

Dirty Dozen

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
    +EWG’s Dirty Dozen Plus:
  13. Hot Peppers +

Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn*
  3. Pineapples
  4. Sweet Peas Frozen
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas*
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew Melons

* Per the EWG, a small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from Genetically Engineered (GE) seed stock. Buy varieties of these crops if you want to avoid Genetically Engineered produce. I personally buy these organic.

Buying produce in accordance with these lists can help us to save money on some items, while not compromising our health. I highly suggest you consider using this guide to reduce the pesticide and herbicide consumption of your family. It will also save you money by helping to cut down on unnecessary expenses often associated with eating organic.

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