|A consumer's guide to |
Organic vs. Conventional Produce . . .
We are trying to eat healthier but our budget is limited and the higher prices for organic can be a challenge. Also, we don't want to be fanatical---if it is not necessary.
An acquaintance, who seems to us overly cautious, told us of the dangers of eating non-organic bananas. It seemed to me that the tight covering of the banana peel would protect it.
For help in determining what produce was most important to be organic I sought the insight of a produce manager. He was less help than I had anticipated.
Recently I read an enlightening book by journalist who went "undercover" and obtained employment as a California farm worker, a fast food employee, kitchen help in a popular chain restaurant and as a produce worker in a large big-box store, where her manager
was a young man with no previous produce experience.
I started researching and this was the common-sense list I settled on.
BEST TO BUY ORGANIC
What? Fruits and Vegetables with thin or edible skins
Why? They tend to get sprayed more and absorb more pesticide residue.
Apples are heavily sprayed and often washing and peeling doesn't get off all of the chemicals. Also, because the skins have lots of vitamins it is best if you can eat the peel.
Blueberries, the highly touted anti-oxidant powerhouse, are sprayed with dozens of pesticides making them, unfortunately, among the "dirtiest" of fruits.
Grapes have thin skin and are sprayed various times during the growing process.
Peaches and Nectarines are heavily sprayed and their delicate skin absorbs the chemicals easily.
Celery has no protective skin; they absorb harmful chemicals rapidly that don't wash off. The chemicals have been linked to ADHD.
Bell Peppers have soft skins and lack a protective layer putting them on the must-buy organic list.
Potatoes are among the most contaminated vegetables. If you can't find organic, it is best to use sweet potatoes.
Spinach is loved by bugs and is among the most heavily sprayed leafy greens. I am trying to buy most salad greens organic.
Fortunately we have had our garden to rely on these past few years. Each year we expand and try new things. Many items can be simply grown in bags and pots. For the cheapest, safest, and healthiest try growing some of your own.
For ideas, check this out.