‘Going organic’ isn’t just trendy, it’s a way of making sure you don’t consume dangerous chemical pesticides and preservatives.
It’s time to debunk organic food and the ingredients you should be prioritizing buying organic so you don’t break the bank and you do consume as minimally mucked with food as possible.
So what does organic actually mean?
In a nutshell, fresh produce that hasn’t been treated with substances to extend its shelf life or increase its growth that could possibly be toxic for human consumption. The chemicals can be absorbed into the plant through its roots and leaves and then into us!
How do you know its organic?
Look out for labels. For a product to be labelled organic it has to meet exceedingly strict standards, so watch out for companies that may be making exaggerated claims to ‘seem’ organic. Another little giveaway can be that it may be smaller than you are used to seeing on the supermarket shelves and possibly won't last as long on the bench top; but the bonus is you will be able to taste the difference and you won’t be consuming the nasty extras.
Why do we want to stay away from synthetic pesticides?
They are not meant for us, they are meant to kill bugs or force growth. They have been known to do a range of damage to humans, from simply irritating our skin to being linked to cancer.
What should I buy organic?
There are certain fruits and veggies that are low in contaminants and okay to buy non-organic and I have a simple hack to help you work this out.
Simply if you eat the flesh of the fruit or vegetable (e.g. berries, cucumbers & tomatoes) try to buy organic. But if you are not eating the flesh (e.g. avocados, pineapples or bananas) of thick-skinned fruit and vegetables I probably wouldn’t buy organic and you can save your pennies.
Most people have heard of 'the dirty dozen' a collection of fruits and veggies that we should prioritize buying organic (this updates every year by the way). The dirty dozen are currently apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, cherries, grapes, nectarines, spinach, celery, tomatoes, capsicum and potatoes.
What about other food groups?
My rule is that the things you eat a lot of during a typical week, try and find the best quality possible. For example, eggs, milk and coffee. A few more suggestions you should consider ‘going organic’ on would be tea, wine, baby food, beef, chicken, soy products (e.g. tofu, tempeh, milk) and cheese. So just work out what you consume a lot during the week and go organic on that. Simple.
Another way to make sure you do not consume any unwanted nasties is to wash your fruit & vegetables. You can buy fruit and veggie wash which you can usually find in good health food stores or alternatively just make your own using white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, water and lemon juice.
Why is it more expensive?
You have probably heard of the classic saying ‘time is money’. Imagine two people going to the gym, one starts taking steroids/growth hormone and the other goes natural. Which one do you think takes more work and time to get bigger?! There are a bunch of other elements that go into a greater price including things as simple as it costs them money to become organically certified – big pat on the back for all the hardworking organic farmers out there!
I hope I’ve debunked some myths for you around organic food and given you some hacks to help prioritise what to buy when buying organic.