Eating organic is something we can do both for ourselves and the planet. It makes you feel safe, healthy, and ‘green.’ It is a subject near and dear to my heart.
For the 12 foods listed below, eating organic is much more than a ‘feeling.’ They have been proven to be often drenched in deadly chemicals, so you don’t ever want to put them in your body unless they have that ‘certified organic’ sticker!
There are other foods that often don’t get as much spraying ect. and you can get away with non organic if you have to. Make sure you know the difference!
Why Eat Organic?
1. Better health through reduced allergies and diseases Organic food is not raised using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It therefore, does not contain any traces of these strong chemicals that can affect the human body. This is particularly important for children, foetuses, pregnant women or people with sensitive immune or digestive systems.
2.Better health through more nutrition Care and maintenance of soil, and preventive farming methods like crop rotation create fruits and vegetables that contain up to 50% more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than commercially farmed foods.
3.Better taste and Quality Many people believe that because organic is produced in smaller closer farms, it gets the perfect balance of nutrition and that ATTENTION that creates healthier plants.
4.Save the environment As harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, there is minimal soil, air and water pollution; thus ensuring a safer world for future generations to live in.
5.Animal welfare Animal welfare is an important aspect of producing organic milk, organic meat, organic poultry, and organic fish. People feel happy that the animals are not confined to a miserable caged life while eating organic animal products.
6. Non Genetically Modified By choosing organic you automatically eliminate genetically modified crops. We are just now beginning to be understood the problems of genetic modification for our bodies and the world.
Why Not to Eat Organic:
1. Its expensive; sometimes twice or three time the price. This just doesn’t seem fair. 2. The selection of organic produce is not extensive enough. 3. Some stores don’t sell enough organic so the produce sits too long before sale.
12 Foods You Must Eat Organic.
These foods look healthy but unless they are organic they have the highest levels of toxicity.
1. Apples: This healthy powerfood has to look perfect or consumers are suspicious. New to the top toxic spot, apples are susceptible to more than 30 insects and at least 10 diseases, and so are sprayed many times during the growing season. Fungicides and other chemicals are also added after picking to prevent tiny blemishes that can accumulate during storage of up to 9 months. Read the possible health benefits of apples at Apple Benefits.
2. Celery: “Nobody likes to find a caterpillar-damaged stalk in their celery bunch,” says Stuart Reitz, PhD, a research entomologist with the USDA.”
3. Sweet Bell Peppers: They have no bitter compounds as insect repellents. The creases at their crowns may provide nooks for pesticides to accumulate, says Philip Stansly, PhD, an entomologist at the University of Florida.
4. Peaches:Farmers may spray peaches every week or two from bloom to harvest—and peach fuzz can trap pesticides says peach breeder John R. Clark, PhD, a horticulturalist at the University of Arkansas. The USDA Pesticide Data Program found 62 pesticide residues.
5. Strawberries:Are delicate and prone to disease, including fungal attacks that can turn them to mush during transit and storage. Millions of pounds of methyl bromide are used every year by California strawberry growers. It damages the ozone layer, so it is banned in many parts of the world. “This chemical has an uncanny ability to damage DNA, which creates a host of problems, ranging from reproductive effects to cancer and neurological damage,” explains Gina Solomon, MD, MPH, chief scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council. “Since the chemical is also highly volatile, it is easy for it to drift and affect workers and nearby communities.”
6. Nectarines: – imported are a genetic mutation of peaches so have the same weakness and “need’ the same support.
7. Grapes:To prevent that rot that easily happens, farmers spray aggressively with fungicides. The USDA Pesticide Data Program found 34 pesticide residues.
8. Spinach: Those green leaves are loved by grasshoppers and other insects and the plants themselves suck up chemicals from the soil. for example spinach has been shown to contain DDT from the soil which was banned over 10 years ago. You don’t want to just pass though on spinach though. It’s too healthy as you can read here. Spinach Health Benefits
9. Lettuce: Like spinach there are large surface areas to protect.
10. Cucumbers: Without spraying can be very delicate. The USDA Pesticide Data Program found 35 pesticide residues.
11. Blueberries: The berries are targets for insects such as blueberry maggots and bagworms.
12. Potatoes: are sprayed 5 or more times throughout the growing season to protect against various pests. After harvesting, another round of spraying occurs in the packing shed to ward off molds.
Extras on dangerous list:
13. Kale/collard greens: Like spinach and lettuce have large surface areas to absorb sprays.
14. Cherries: If just one of the western cherry maggots is found in a shipment, the entire load of fruit must be dumped so growers spray out of fear of losing their crops.
If you are familiar with Star Wars - the following video is a great spoof and a strong message supporting organic farming. This is a link to a movie from not so long ago, in a supermarket not so far away…
http://www.StoreWars.org Join the adventures of Cuke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Cannoli, Chewbroccoli and the rest of the Organic Rebels fighting against Darth Tader and the Dark Side of the Farm.
One way to remember these lists is that the safe foods have thick rinds that you usually don’t eat. There are a few exceptions. for example, asparagus and mushrooms spring up so fast the insects don’t have time to attack. Sweet potato has its own unique bug protection.
The dangerous list can be generalized by foods that have lots of surface area such as leaves or skin which we eat.
Is Organic Always Safe?
Some people are still a little cautious of the organic produce food found in large regular stores, which you can’t always verify.
I prefer to buy my food at the farmers’ market, where I know exactly where it is coming from. You get to know the farmers and their integrity. Also, I do tend to buy according to the Dirty Dozen and the 15 least contaminated produce types. (You can read more about farmers’ markets and find one close to you here: The Joy of Farmer’s Markets)
My Personal Strategy
The ‘Dirty Dozen’ is a list I take seriously, and I will not buy the produce on them unless they are organic. I have a history of poor health. If there is an occasion where I buy non-organic, I soak them in my favorite fruit and vegetable rinse that takes away some of the chemical. Nothing can remove all the chemicals, so if organic strawberries are not in my budget, then I really don’t eat strawberries.
If you do not care about putting chemicals into your body, then do it for the earth and for the poor workers that are getting sick from working with these toxic chemicals. For instance, methyl iodide (used in strawberries) is a serious health risk to the people who work in the strawberry fields and to the families who live nearby. They are getting sick from it. Fortunately, in the summer, I can grow my own strawberries and know a good farmer that grows organic ones too.
I am the head chef at Real Food for Life and author of the GREEN means LEAN and Balance Your Body e-books. I turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free eating and cooking.