Monday, May 25, 2009

Eating Organic on a Budget

Eating well can be costly. Mike blogged about this on Friday, and it echoed what I have been trying to convey to friends and family over the past few years.


The reality is that most of us can't eat all organic all the time. So what are the worst offenders? If I can only spend x amount of money, what should I buy? For today, let's focus on produce since that's what is overflowing on our Zone/Paleo plates.

First of all, what does Organic mean? (my mom recently asked me if organic was really any different than regular produce.... I think many people think the same thing- that it's just a label with a high price tag)

Here is a comparison chart to show the different farming techniques used:

Conventional farmersOrganic farmers
Apply chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth.Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
Spray insecticides to reduce pests and disease.Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
Use chemical herbicides to manage weeds.Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.

"But the FDA says it's safe..." Hmmm... should I even go there? My aunt was recently lamenting about when she used to run behind those trucks every summer that rolled through the neighborhood spraying DEET. Oops...

According to the Environmental Working Group, the following is a list of the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies. So if you are strapped for cash, definitely buy organic with these guys:

1. Peaches

2. Apples

3. Sweet Bell Peppers

4. Celery

5. Nectarines

6. Strawberries

7. Cherries

8. Lettuce

9. Grapes (imported)

10. Pears

11. Spinach

12. Potatoes

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