The Truth About Going Organic

Official seal of the National Organic Program

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If money were no object, every food item I buy would probably be organic. Organic food is just more expensive and doesn’t look or feel as nice on this little island. So I pick and choose, and make what I think are the best choices, and you can too.

For those out of the loop, organic basically means food is grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals. You’ve been able to purchase organic stuff for a while now, but in the last few years, as people have grown more and more concerned about health and the environment, it’s becoming much more mainstream. In fact, you’ll now even see big companies such as Nabisco and Kraft selling organic versions of their popular foods.

Is organic worth it? This is a complicated answer, but for the most part, yes. If you can avoid eating chemicals designed to kill and ward off pests, why shouldn’t you? Of course sometimes choices have to be made.

Tips on buying and eating Organic Food:

When buying produce, some things are more worth the money than others. Thin skins fruits and veggies such as apples, peppers, and peaches are best to buy organic for two reasons: Pesticides can penetrate the thin skins, and you are less likely to peel these foods. Delicate foods such as berries are best organic too.

If you’re picking and choosing, pineapples, bananas, avocados are all things that you can get by with conventional varieties, as you’re not going to eat the tough skins. Veggies that are pretty disease resistant, such as asparagus, are also probably okay to buy conventional.

When buying foods other than produce, keep a couple things in mind. First and foremost, the term “organic” does not mean “healthy”. Cookies, soda, and other snack foods are just as bad for you as their non-organic counterparts, and believing otherwise will only cause diet disaster. Second, depending on the labeling laws, these foods may not be made with 100 percent organically grown ingredients. If this is something that is really important to you, be sure to read labels thoroughly so you know what you’re getting.

Farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture (this is where you buy a weekly share of a farmer’s crop; that share is delivered either to your door or a local place where you can pick it up), are great ways to buy organic produce that is less expensive than grocery stores. Always ask if it’s organic before purchasing. There’s a certification process; many small farms don’t have the money to pay for this, but there stuff is organic anyway. Never assume this is the case, however, always ask.

The best way to get produce that you know is 100 percent organic without a doubt? Start a garden. Growing your own food insures that you get exactly what you’re expecting (well most of the time). Plus, there’s not much better than going outside and harvesting the food you eat right before cooking. It’s not nearly as hard as it sounds, and it’s significantly cheaper than buying everything at the grocery store.

Organic food can be a great thing, and something we should embrace when we can. Someday there will no doubt be less expensive and better options, but until then, we have to be able to make the smartest choices, and I hope that this helped you to do just that.

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