When to Go Organic?

When to Go Organic?

The term “Organic” has been a buzzword for years, and is becoming more and more prevalent in grocery stores around the country. But what does organic really mean? And when should you invest in buying organic products? With the recent hype surrounding Walmart’s decision to carry Wild Oats organic food products at a more affordable cost than its competitors, most of us normally get tempted to find out why organic food makes a difference.

What Is Organic?

As far as defining the term is concerned, in another opinion, ‘organic’ isn’t actually a term or a word, unlike other marketing terms and words, ‘organic’ describes a regulated way of farming that requires certification and ongoing evaluation to ensure compliance to practices. Some say that ‘organic’ should just be called ‘farming’ and that anything else should be called ‘chemical production’ – one couldn’t agree more.

Anyway, farming organic fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and meats are to do so without the use of conventional chemicals for pest control, diseases, and weed prevention. For a product to be labeled as organic it must meet the USDA’s set

of standards, which supports the animal welfare, preserves natural resources, and prohibits the use of genetically modified ingredients. These farms also undergo annual inspections to make sure these organic practices are being followed (usda.gov, 2014).

When Should You Go Organic?

So what does this mean for consumers and when they should go organic? Organic is not synonymous with more expensive. But on the other hand, finding organic products can be more affordable than conventional and can fit into any budget. For example, many supermarkets, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s offer coupons on organic items and advertise sales in their weekly newsletters. Visiting your local farmers market will reduce the cost of buying organic produce and it will taste better, too! Ask questions and talk to the farmers – sometimes you will be able to strike a deal for deformed produce or buying in bulk.

What Is Not Organic?

In 2013, the Environmental Working Group released their list of the “Dirty Dozen”, which highlights foods that are highest in pesticides and should always be purchased organic. Topping the list were apples and all apple

products (i.e. apple sauce, apple juice) with more than 40 different types of pesticides identified (ewg.org, 2013).

Since most of the nutrients are found in the skin of the apple like Vitamin C and Pectin, a fiber that helps prevent the buildup of cholesterol in blood vessels, you would lose a lot of the nutrients if you decided to peel the apple to reduce the amount of pesticides found on the apple. Other offenders on the list include strawberries, peaches, spinach, grapes, kale, potatoes and celery. My rule of thumb when it comes to buying organic produce is if you can eat the skin or leaf is go organic.

However, produce is not the only food to be considered when going organic – animal feed is also pumped with antibiotics and human growth hormones to increase the production of dairy and meat. With milk being a nutritional staple in many households with young children, it is important to provide them with the purest foods.

Organic food is critical in terms of supporting a healthy body (and planet) and it’s recommended that you choose

organic whenever it is accessible and affordable. There is no price tag on our own individual health, the environment or the ecosystem.