Thursday, November 5, 2009

To buy, or not to buy ORGANIC?

It's hard sometimes when you walk down the aisle and you reach for the Organic option, but then you look to your right and the non-organic version is $2.00 less... on a more strict budget this year, you sigh and put the Organic one back.  Plus, sometimes you wonder if just because it says ORGANIC on the packaging, is it really better for you?

With produce, some fruits and veggies are more likely to contain contamination from pesticides and other chemicals - those are better to buy organic.  Basically, if you eat the skin, you will most likely want to buy organic.  Bananas, Pumpkins, Avocados, etc. you can get away with the non-organic versions if you find a big price difference at the store.  I've noticed lately that the organic produce is either the same price or only slightly more, so for only a few cents more, I'd rather opt for the local or organic version!  Here is a link with a list of fruits and veggies that are more or less likely to harbor contamination.  Still, try to buy locally as much as possible, and even better yet, try growing your own this spring!!

With packaged foods, the organic is most likely better for you, but be sure to look at the ingredients list too - don't just rely on the front of the package or the "organic" label.  If it has more than 5 ingredients then be sure you read each ingredient in the list... if they are things like nuts, fruit and grains, then you're good... but if it's things you can't pronounce, then usually bad.  Especially avoid partially hydrogenated anything - your body doesn't know how to process it and it makes your body keep the bad kind of fat that you can't get rid of!  Also, be sure you look for whole wheat, and not bleached white flour.  Avoid all of those food colorings too, like Yellow #5 - instead, look for natural colorings like Annatto color, which is from a seed.

So, sometimes it is worth the extra cost to purchase something you know will be better for your family.  Don't discount the non-organic version right away though - be sure you read the label, you might be surprised to find that it contains whole grains and nutritious ingredients, it's just not "organic"!

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