Confused about what to buy organic? Here are the foods that you should always buy organic without breaking the bank.
It’s the height of summer and probably the time of year that you are eating the most produce.
From cherries, to peaches to leafy greens in summer salads, fresh produce is at the center of most meals at this time of the year.
You might be asking yourself, is it really worth it to buy organic?
Since it’s likely that you’re consuming more fruits and veggies in the summer, you may be putting yourself at risk of being exposed to harmful pesticides, so you may want to think about purchasing organic.
Making the decision to switch to organic food doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank or take out a loan to buy produce. You don’t even need to purchase all organic fruits and veggies.
In this video, I gave the scoop on the foods you should always buy organic and how to do it without breaking the bank!
Here’s where you can start:
How to buy organic food on a budget:
Start by swapping out foods that have the highest pesticide residue for organic instead.
How do you find out what those foods are?
Each year the Environmental Working Group produces a list called the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. It’s kinda like the Emmy awards for fruits and veggies, without the red carpet 🙂
The Dirty Dozen are the 12 that have the most pesticide residue so you definitely want to buy organic. The Clean 15 are those that are okay to buy conventional, or non organic.
So use this list to save money while buying organic. It will help you to focus in on those highest offenders and removes some of the confusion about what to buy organic.
At the top of the Dirty Dozen list are: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, and peaches. Cherries are on there too. All of the fruits and veg that we tend to eat a lot more of in the summer.
These soft-skin fruits and veggies (like nectarines, strawberries, and spinach) are grown closer to the ground, so they use more pesticides to fight the insects.
Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce.
I want to call some key highlights of the report:
- A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides.
- Spinach samples had, on average, twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
Think about how many times you eat strawberries and spinach in the summer.
You can catch the rankings and full report here.
Is organic food really healthier?
In a study done by the British Journal of Nutrition, they found that organic crops had a much higher concentration of antioxidants in produce like carrots, broccoli, apples and blueberries. This review included data from more than 300 studies.
Research from the University of California, concluded that organic tomatoes had almost double the concentration of a beneficial flavonoid known as quercetin, compared with conventionally grown tomatoes. Quercetin lowers inflammation and supports heart health.
A recent report prepared for the European Parliament, suggested that ‘pesticides are harming children’s brains’.
In addition, ‘researchers found that women’s exposure to pesticides during pregnancy, measured through urine samples, was associated with negative impacts on their children’s IQ and neurobehavioral development, as well as with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnoses.’
If you’re looking for a few other ways to save money here’s what you can do:
Head over to a farmers market in your area and buy local. In some cases this is cheaper than buying organic. The produce is better for the environment because it didn’t have to get on a truck and travel a million miles to get to where you are.
Also when you eat foods that are grown closer to home they’ll be at the peak of their nutrition since they didn’t have to travel a far distance to get to you.
Think about how you feel after a long road trip!
Want to know the best foods to buy at the farmer’s market this summer? Check this out!
The produce grown on local farms will also tend to have less pesticide use. Buy in bulk and then freeze so that you have healthier produce through the year.
If you want to dig a bit deeper, Canadian Organic Growers has lots of resources on organic growing practices.
Experiment with growing your own food
Start small with things like herbs or tomatoes. It’s also quite easy to grow leafy greens as well.
I love this beginners guide from Sonima on growing your own food.
Yes I realize you will have to shell out a little bit more to purchase organic but when it comes to the Dirty Dozen you really can’t afford to spend less on food.
Buy foods that have to be peeled
If you absolutely cannot purchase anything organic due to costs or where you live then buy foods that need to be peeled. Foods like carrots and pineapples that need to be peeled before eating will minimize your risk of exposure to pesticides, however leafy veggies should almost always be purchased organic since there is no barrier from pesticides.
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