Organic food — is it worth the money?
I think so and from what I’ve read, most of the time there is a difference in the nutritional value, not to mention the avoidance of pesticides and the impact on the environment. To me, it’s as much about what I’m NOT eating as what I am eating. This is important if you have celiac disease or other autoimmune or chronic conditions — and most of us have something a little off-kilter going on inside (hey, no body’s perfect). I’m going to resist launching into an anatomy lesson here, but our bodies don’t need the additional burden of figuring out what to do with the pesticide residue that often tags along with conventionally grown foods.
A National Academy of Sciences study stated that, “Low level pesticide exposure can cause serious, developmental risks to infants and children, some with lifelong consequences.” While limiting exposure is especially important for kids, it’s important for everyone, regardless of age. Continually dosing ourselves with synthetic fertilizers and chemicals designed to kill insects, fungal “pests,” and weeds can’t possibly be good for us. If this stuff keeps animals, insects, and bacteria from eating the food, maybe we shouldn’t be eating it either. Uh-oh, does that mean these little critters are smarter than we are?
At least try to minimize exposure by choosing organic when purchasing the following fruits and vegetables (the first list below). These have been labeled the “Dirty Dozen” by the Environmental Working Group after running over 50,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected between 2000 and 2005. If you can’t opt for organic in all your food choices, try to make your conventional choices from the “Cleanest 12” and your organic choices from the “Dirty Dozen” list.
The Dirty Dozen (highest in pesticide residue in order as listed)
sweet bell peppers
The Cleanest 12 (lowest in pesticides)
sweet corn (frozen)
sweet peas (frozen)
Get the full list of results at www.foodnews.org.
I’m anxiously (seriously, I can’t sleep at night) awaiting the spring start-up of my Grant Family Farms CSA weekly delivery of organic fruits and vegetables. Have I mentioned how much I love these guys? Okay, okay — I know I talk about them a lot, but I’m not obsessed or anything. I promise. Well, maybe a little, but the bottom line is — I want safe, healthy, nutritious food that is locally grown by people who not only care about the food they’re growing, but how it impacts the environment as well. Yes, I admit it, I love these people.
Go forth and eat organic food, join a CSA, and thrive!
P.S. The above photo depicts some odds and ends in my refrigerator crisper drawer and the dregs from almost-empty rice bags. Everything is organic. I also had a left-over baked sweet potato and some home-made broth in the fridge. The result was the most wonderful and nutritious soup. Eating organic does not have to be expensive and with a little creativity you can stretch something like this “catch-all” soup for 2 or 3 days.