Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Organic Produce: What's the Real Deal?

What You Can Buy Non-organic and What You Should ALWAYS Buy Organic



When it comes to organic produce, sometime it can be pretty pricey...and sometimes not (hello Super Walmart and PriceRite who sell cheap organic produce!). We all have heard the horror stories about harmful pesticides, and the stories are pretty accurate if you think about it. If the levels of pesticides can kill or keep away "pests", what is it doing to our bodies and health over time? 


Some fruits and vegetables have protective layers of skin, making it okay for us to buy those particular items non-organic. Some produce skin is eaten with just a quick wash or wipe, and that can be extremely harmful to our health if it is laden with pesticide - especially high amounts. You know some of your anti-organic friends have said things to you like, "organic is just a scam", or "years ago there was no such thing as organic and everyone was fine". Well if you feel the need to buy everything organic, maybe one would feel like its a scam if its not completely necessary to do so. Some produce is completely fine to be eaten non-organic since the pesticide is not likely to penetrate into the fruit you finally ingest. And years ago there was no "organic and non-organic" thinking, but back then farmers took the loss of their crops being partially destroyed. In the money-fueled day and age we now live in, the pesticides are thought of as necessity to them, in order to prevent taking a financial hit to their livelihood. 


But don't forget, a lot of local produce is actually organic, but farmers do not take the time or spend the money to become Certified Organic; it is hard to do, has lots of strict perimeters and guidelines, and is costly for them to do. So be sure to ask farmers at your local farmers markets or local produce stands. They may very well be pesticide-free, so just ask them. It is always better to buy local produce anyways. For the safeness of it potentially not containing harmful chemicals, and also it being local you are supporting local business, and finally, the produce has not traveled great lengths so it is fresh and in season! Yum! 


Thought to be safe due to their thick skins - the pesticide residue stays in the skin or peel, not contaminating the fruit flesh that you eat. Always wash your produce before eating it:


avocado


bananas


pineapple 


kiwi


mango


papaya


Some produce requires less pesticide because it attracts less animals or insects:


asparagus


broccoli


cabbage (peel away the outer "protective" layers and do not use those)


garlic (it keeps insects away and is used as a natural pesticide!)


onions (lots of protective layers)


Some produce should ALWAYS be purchased organic because the pesticides are sprayed directly on the fruit and it is the part that you eat and that people usually do not peel prior to eating. Even if you peel them, likely it will not make a difference since the peel is not thick enough to keep the chemical away from the fruit you eat and can likely harm your health - especially over time:

Fruits (in order from highest pesticide content to lower pesticide content): 


Peaches
Apples
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Grapes
Pears
Raspberries 
Plums
Oranges
Tangerine
Cantaloupe
Lemon
Honeydew
Grapefruit
Watermelon
Blueberries


Vegetables (in order from highest pesticide content to lower pesticide content): 


Sweet Bell Peppers
Celery
Lettuce
Spinach
Potatoes
Carrots
Green Beans
Hot Peppers
Cucumbers
Cauliflower
Mushrooms
Winter Squash
Tomatoes
Sweet Potatoes
So there you have it folks. Please always wash your produce and think in terms of safety and health. I know people may think it is "over-thinking" it, but the chemicals used these days, due to cost effectiveness, are scary. There are natural pesticides available, produce and certain plants that naturally keep away unwanted visitors, but how many companies use them?

Do you buy all organic, just some, or are your purchases based on price alone? What do you think?



4 comments:

  1. great post!! i never think to buy organic, but looking at your list.. almost all of the fruits and veg i eat are high in pesticides.. eek!

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  2. Wow. Thanks for this! I especially like how the list goes from highest to lowest pesticide impact. Good to know!!

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  3. I'm glad you all liked this piece and found it helpful. If there is anything else you would like to see more of, please let me know :)

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  4. great post! I will try to buy organic more often if I can afford it.

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