This week’s healthy eating tip is one of the most basic tips, but also one of the most oft ignored tips. I knew about some of the importance of following this tip for a very long time, but used finances as an excuse to ignore it. The tip I am referring to is eating organically. Specifically I will focus on eating organic produce.
So, we’ve all heard the reasoning. Organic produce has less pesticide residue, pesticides are bad; therefore, organic is better. This is all true, however it took me understanding how bad pesticides really are and how much really is in non-organic produce to convince me to make the shift.
Firstly, I’m going to explain something that was unclear to me before I went organic. I did not realize that the pesticides do not only stay on the skin of the fruit or vegetable. I had some picture that if I soaked my fruits and vegetables long enough then perhaps I could eliminate most or all of the pesticides. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Soaking your fruits and veggies will definitely help remove a lot of the pesticides, but sadly many fruits and veggies end up with pesticides on the inside of the fruit because they absorb it from the pesticide ridden growing location. Along with water and nutrients, the produce sucks up all the yucky pesticides as well. Not to mention, many soft skinned fruits are very difficult to thoroughly clean.
So, the only way to really begin to escape the pesticides is to buy organic produce. Though pesticides can still sometimes find their way onto organic produce the amounts are tenfold less than in traditional produces.
Now then, why do I even care? Are pesticides really that bad? Organic is sooo expensive, is it really worth it?
Let’s start with the bad news first. Why pesticides are so bad.
Pesticides have been linked to innumerable diseases and health issues. I could literally write an entire research paper on the problems that have been connected to pesticide levels. Everything from fertility issues, to cancer, to Parkinson’s disease and endocrine problems have been linked to some degree to pesticide use. Honestly, we don’t hear about the myriad of issues nearly as much as we should given the severity of the health issues, and the prolific use of pesticides. I just don’t have a peace subjecting my body to these poisons, especially when my daughter is breastfed and gets the nutrients and toxins I provide her directly from my diet.
Now, there is good news. While organic food can be expensive, I have discovered there are many ways to eat organic produce more cheaply.
The number one way to save your pennies while eating organically is to eat what is in season. With a little bit of exploring your area you can find the least expensive place to buy organic produce (farm market, grocery store, produce stalls etc), and when you purchase in season produce you may find that it is not much more expensive at all.
Of course, since we’ve been spoiled we often like non-in-season produce. Sometimes I just have to pay the little extra to get this luxury, but thinking ahead helps in this arena. Whenever any organic produce is on sale I purchase extra and wash, cut and freeze bags of the in-season sale stuff. I also plan to begin canning to make even better use of my produce. Then I also get the added benefit of yummier produce that was frozen or canned at its peak… which usually tastes a lot better than the off season expensive stuff.