Organic foods are better for the environment (due to less intensive farming methods), better for your health (especially if you have gut issues like leaky gut, IBS, IBD) but they can be eye wateringly expensive.
Good news, you don’t need to buy all organic foods. I mean, have you seen the price of an organic avocado?! And it’s tiny!!
Some foods are much higher in pesticide residue than others. Typically, fruit and vegetables with a high water content (like strawberries) are higher in pesticide residue than food that is higher in fat (like avocados).
WHAT MAKES A FOOD ORGANIC?
Just because a food is organic doesn’t mean it is healthy. You can buy organic cane sugar, but it’s still sugar. Similarly, organic produce doesn’t necessarily mean it contains more nutrients. Some studies have found organic foods do contain more nutrients, such as antioxidants or omega 3’s, but overall, there seems to be no significant nutritional difference. In other words, whether you eat a non-organic or organic sweet potato, you’ll still get a high dose of vitamin A.
You may be surprised to know that a food labelled as organic is not necessary 100% free of pesticides as under organic farming laws ‘natural’ pesticides can still be used.
The following criteria MUST be met for a food to be labelled ‘organic’:
Farming practices are more environmentally friendly and sustainable
Animals must be kept in living conditions that mimic their natural behaviours (e.g be able to graze or run around)
Produce must not be injected with antibiotics or hormones
Animals must be fed organic feed or foliage
Fruits and vegetables must be grown in good quality soil that is free of banned synthetic pesticides (and has been for at least 3 years)
FOODS YOU SHOULD BUY ORGANIC (if you can)
As I say in my eBook ‘7 Days of Paleo’, if you can, buy ‘The Dirty Dozen’ organic, and try to buy free range eggs and hormone free grass-fed meat (especially if you have a hormonal imbalance or PCOS).
However, don’t sweat it if you can’t afford to do that. Just buy the best you can afford; organic, non-organic, bargain bin…it’s all good food. Or try and grow your own produce in your garden. I’m currently growing spinach, carrots, courgettes, kalettes, pak choy, leeks and tomatoes.
THE DIRTY DOZEN
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. It lists the 12 foods that have tested highest for pesticide residue in that year. This is this year’s (2020) list:
The EWG also publish a list of the 15 foods lowest in pesticide residue (i.e ones you don’t need to buy organic). They are known as…
THE CLEAN 15:
Honey dew melon
It’s important to note that although these foods are ‘cleaner’ you still need to check that they’re GMO free as sometime things like corn can be from genetically modified crops.
Psssssst. For more healthy, whole food recipes check out my eBook ‘7 DAYS OF PALEO’.