Is Organic Really Worth It?!

Posted: May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Organic Fruits?  Organic Vegetables?  Organic Clothing?!  Where do we draw the line and is it all really necessary?  When it comes to food, there is no doubt that organic is BEST.  Think of a bug, a gross little creature that feeds on garbage, animal waste, dead animals, etc., etc.  When fresh crops are sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and whatever other ‘cides’ they can invent, these bugs cannot survive.  Interesting isn’t it?  If these sprays are able to kill bugs capable of surviving on garbage and animal waste then surely these sprays can’t be good for us.   Increased levels of pesticides has been linked to cancer.  So we need to stay away.

Buying only organic can get pricey.  Here are some tips on what you can do to reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides while not burning a hole in your wallet.

Dirty Dozen

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has come up with a list of foods that are highest in pesticide level and therefore should be purchased organic when possible.  They are the following:

  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Cherries
  10. Kale/Collard Greens
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes (Imported)

Clean 15

If buying all organic is not something you are currently able to do, due to lack of availability or cost, then here’s another list you may find helpful.  The EWG also composed a list of foods that contain the lowest level of pesticides and are therefore not as harmful to your body when purchased non-organic.  They are the following:

  1. Onion
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potato
  15. Honeydew Melon

Grow a Garden!

Last year we decided to start our first garden.  We purchased organic seeds and organic soil and planted every type of seed we could find.  It was definitely a learning experience, some grew, some didn’t, and some were eaten by our little rabbit friends, but boy did we enjoy the ones that flourished.  Loads of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, arugula,  etc. and herbs galore!   We actually had enough tomatoes from one pack of seeds that we were able to freeze a large amount to use throughout the fall.  Purchasing all the seeds and the soil cost us approximately $35 (we obviously didn’t use any sprays on our garden).  It does involve time, but the amount of money you save and the fact you know without a doubt you have true organic fruits and vegetables is worth it.

Farmer’s Market

If growing a garden is not your cup of tea (I still think it’s worth giving it a try) then opt for your local farmer’s market.  Oftentimes they will have plenty of organic produce at a fraction of the supermarket cost.

Produce Spray

A final resort to help rid produce of harmful pesticides is a produce spray.  Although there are many on the market, you can make your own by simply mixing 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 cup of water.  Place it in a spray bottle, spray your produce and allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.  It’s even a good idea to do this if all you buy is organic; think of all the hands that have touched your produce!

Don’t forget, you are what you eat!  Even though you cannot taste the pesticides in your food, they are there and they are dangerous.  My advice: it’s the beginning of May, start planting!!!

**Remember there is a cure for widespread diseases like cancer,  the best way to cure cancer is to prevent cancer as best we can.   If you like what you are reading help me spread the word by sharing my articles with your friends.  Follow me, Drug free pharmacist, on facebook**

Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

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