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Archive for the ‘Organic vs. Non-Organic’ Category

apples This is something that so many of my clients constantly ask me – is it worth it to buy organic? Even a few weeks ago a good friend of mine sent me an article where it said organic produce was tested for nutritional value, and it didn’t differ much from regular produce. So clearly there’s quite a bit of confusion over the matter.

First and foremost (and to address my good friend) organic produce does typically tend to be higher in nutrients, and that’s because organic farmers practice crop rotation. This is a method where the same crop is not planted in the same spot over and over again, like in conventional farming. This insures that certain nutrients in the soil do not get depleted. Here’s an example: leaves (such as lettuces) thrive on nitrogen; fruits need phosphorus; and roots (such as carrots) love potassium. So if every year carrots were to be planted in the same soil, soon enough that soil will contain much less potassium. That’s why crop rotation is so important. If we look at the nutritional value of most fruits and vegetables today, they are significantly lower than they were 50 years ago. A good example is the potato; the nutritional values from 1951 to now are shocking:

  • Nearly 100% of vitamin A has been lost
  • 57% less Vitamin C and Iron
  • 50% less Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • 28% less Calcium
  • 18% less Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

The loss of nutrients with conventional farming is just one aspect. Soil rotation also insures less insect and disease attacks, and to deter weeds. Sadly organics are not completely chemical free, but there are significantly less chemicals used with organic farming. We are constantly bombarded with chemicals, so less is always better. Finally, and this is my reason for choosing organics, is that it is against organic practice to use Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) or to irradiate foods. These are two topics I will discuss in another article, since it is extremely important and something everyone should know about.

Now I know that choosing organic can be very pricey. I always look to see what’s on sale or I try to buy locally, since in the States they tend to use a lot more chemicals. I also don’t buy everything organic. These fruits and veggies ranked the highest in terms of “pesticide load” so you should always try to buy the following organic: Organic

  • Peaches & Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes – Imported
  • Pears

You can get away with buying the following non-organic since they ranked the lowest in terms of pesticide load:

  • Cabbage & broccoli
  • Bananas & kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas
  • Mango & Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Onions

Just keep in mind that if you don’t buy organics – always wash your produce really well, or invest in a good vegetable and fruit wash (I use Nature Clean All Natural Fruit & Veggie wash). One last word of caution: I would recommend you always look out for the following: Corn, Canola, Soy and Wheat. These are the top 4 Genetically Modified foods (incidentally, also the top 4 allergens now). So I would highly recommend you try to only purchase these organic. And read labels very carefully; these products are contained in over 70% of all grocery items. I know I see Corn Syrup or Canola oil everywhere!

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