Today the media is flooded with conflicting information regarding buying organic. Organic produce is often more expensive and there are mixed opinions on if organic produce is more nutritious than non-organic. While walking down any aisle in the grocery store common labels that can be seen are certified organic, organic and natural, but what do they all mean? It is best to be informed in order to make your own decisions on whether to purchase organic.
Conventional vs. Organic
What makes something organic resides on the process in which the item or ingredients are grown. In conventional farming, pesticides and fertilizers are used to deter bugs and weeds from harming crops. If a product is organically farmed traditional pesticides and fertilizers are not used. Organic farming strives to reduce pollution and conserve water. Instead of using chemicals to rid crops of weeds, organic farming uses crop rotation, mulch and manure.
Certified Organic, Organic, and Natural
The labeling of an organic or natural item can mean many things. If an item carries the USDA Organic seal that means that product is one hundred percent organic based on the product itself or the ingredients made to make the finished product. The USDA requires strict regulations in order to receive the USDA Organic seal. Other products can use the name organic if they are 95% organic, but are unable to receive the seal. Natural ingredients are not organic and sometimes the natural labeling can be confusing to consumers.
Fruits and Vegetables
According to the Mayo Clinic, additional tests and studies are needed to truly know if consuming organically grown fruits and vegetables provide any additional health benefits in comparison to non-organic produce. Dr. Travis Stork, from The Doctors suggests buying organic fruits and vegetables that you do not peel before eating. Non-organic fruits and vegetables can contain pesticide residue on the skin if not washed properly. There is discussion if the consumption of these small portions of pesticides are deteriorating people’s health and contributing to disease. Dr. Travis Stork suggests to purchase non-organic fruits and vegetables that do have a peel because harmful pesticides and fertilizers are caught in the peel and do not pass into the edible portion.
How to Eat Organic on a Budget
Purchasing organic produce can be expensive. If you have decided to try to incorporate some organic fruits and vegetables into your diet, your wallet does not to have to take a big hit. Visit a local Farmers Market in the morning. Many smaller farms are looking to unload their organic fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the cost you will find in your local super market. If you do not have access to a farmers market, starting your own garden can be a viable option. Having your own garden allows you to have more control over what is placed on your fruits and vegetables.
The decision to purchase organic is a personal one and being informed is important. A great source of information is a Certified Nutritionist or your doctor. The most important thing as you take this journey to a healthier lifestyle is that you are consuming fruits and vegetables as part of your diet. Wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly and eat them often.