Sunday, May 20, 2012

Going Organic, Pt.1




Going Organic. A few people have asked me why organic items are so important to me. Well for starters they are usually higher in quality, safer and more humanely treated. I also don’t have to worry about whether it is genetically modified, or has pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics, etc. I try to incorporate as many organic items as I can into my life. Not just food, but personal hygiene products, clothing and cleaning products as well. I’m going to touch on what is organic produce and how you can incorporate it into your budget.

Organic produce is produce that has been grown without the use of pesticides, ionizing radiation, genetically modified organisms, sewage sludge or synthetic fertilizers. In basic terms, it isn’t being adulterated. It is usually grown in a rich healthy soil that allows the seed to blossom into the tasty, beautiful produce it was meant to become (no interventions). I personally think that organic produce is more flavorful and has a living energy that revitalizes the body.

I’m sure some of you have heard about the “dirty dozen” and the “clean fifteen”. I find these lists to be very helpful when I’m deciding whether to purchase organic or not. The dirty dozen is a list of produce highest pesticide residue, where the clean fifteen is a list of the least amount of pesticide residue. Because I have a monthly grocery budget that I follow, I find it helpful to see where I could save a bit in buying conventional vs. organic.



List provided by: www.foodnews.org
So now that you know which are the highest and lowest in pesticide residue, how can you incorporate more organic produce into your meals? I’ve heard from clients that organic produce isn't unavailable where they shop or buying organic is too expensive, and that’s okay. You incorporate what works for you. If the only organic item available is apples, then apples it is. At least that is one less item that is exposing you to those pesticides. This isn't an all-or-nothing kind of thing. It is about decreasing your exposure to chemicals and increasing your awareness to what you are eating. I always recommend rinsing and cleaning off your produce, whether it is organic or not. You don’t know where it has been and how many people have come in contact with it. Also it helps remove some of the dirt and grit.

A great way to save on organic produce is to buy what is in season. Right now strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, corn and squash are in season. Not only will it taste best in season but it will most likely be on sale. You can find out what is in season by going to www.sustainabletable.org .



Shopping at farmer's markets are also a great way to save money. By cutting the middle man out, you will be saving money and supporting your local farmers. For me, this can be very personal. Getting to know those around you, who's lively hood is based on farming or gardening, can mean a world of different. You can find out about how the produce is grown, where it is grown, and even establish a relationship with these farmers.    



You could sign up with your local CSA (community supported agriculture) and save big. Not only are you supporting your local farmers but you’ll be getting the freshest produce available. Now CSA’s aren’t always organic, but the next best thing to organic is local. Some farmer’s actually raise organic produce but do not have the organic seal due to costs that are involved. How a CSA works is, you pay up front for the produce and every 2 or 4 weeks you will receive a box full of fresh, in season goodies. Some deliver to your home and other you just have to stop by and pick it up. This is a great way to introduce yourself to various fruits and veggies that maybe you haven't tried before. To find a local CSA - check outwww.localharvest.org



Another great way to save on organic produce is to buy frozen organic fruits and veggies. These are my favorite because they are easy to keep on-hand, picked at their peak flavor, and are usually very affordable. I keep my freezer stocked with frozen berries, peas, spinach and whatever else I use regularly. Frozen produce is super convenient and can make putting together a meal very easy. If you have excess fresh fruits and veggies, you can freeze them. There is no point in throwing it away or letting it rot, that's just throwing money down the drain. 


So to sum everything up - incorporate organic produce into your diet. It doesn't have to be expensive and if it is unavailable, then buy local produce from your community. By reducing your exposure to chemicals, you could be not only helping your body but the world around you. 

- Laurie

Photos provided by john's organic world, insight magazine, kaboose and share it fitness

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