Organic is Better!
Although eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables is better than skipping fruits and vegetables altogether, it is important to minimize your exposure to the pesticides contained in conventionally grown foods as much as possible for good health. Pesticides pose various health dangers and have been linked to nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone system effects, and skin, eye and lung irritation. Conventional farming methods are also damaging to our environment and local economies. By consuming organic fruits and vegetables, you improve your health and support more sustainable farming practices.
How to Obtain Organic Produce
There are several ways to obtain organic produce. You can of course continue shopping at your grocery store or go
to Whole Foods and purchase organic foods there, but perhaps the price tags scare you away. The Environmental Working Group has created a guide that currently lists 49 items ranked from least contaminated to most contaminated. Simply by eating the least contaminated conventional produce and avoiding the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables or replacing them with the organic option, you can lower your pesticide consumption by nearly 80% and hopefully keep your grocery bill in check. The twelve most contaminated conventionally grown items to be avoided from most to least contaminated are:
- Blueberries (Domestic)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Kale/collard greens
- Grapes (Imported)
You can access the full list here: http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php.
Another option is to grow some of your own produce. If you’ve got the space and enjoy gardening, this could be a good way to go. However, it will require some research and materials and an upfront cost to get started. Of course, you’d be saving quite a bit over the long run as a packet of seeds costs about two dollars and will yield more than the one pound you’ll get at the store for the same price.
A co-operative, on the other hand, leaves the farming to others while you sit back and enjoy abundant amounts of organic produce. A co-operative is a community effort that supplies local and organic produce at wholesale prices. Rawfully Organic Co-op, a non-profit, is one such example. Rawfully Organic Co-op “[supports] a raw food lifestyle, our local farmers, and our local economy!” By purchasing either a half-share ($47) or a full-share ($87) on their website, you receive a huge enough amount to last you and your household at least a week, depending on your consumption and size of household.
Another co-op in Houston is Central City Co-op. This co-op offers a variety in sizes of produce shares that are less expensive than Rawfully Organic; however, membership is required (there are different levels of membership, some costing more than others, and you can also volunteer in exchange for membership). I recommend asking around and doing some research on the co-ops in your area.
Yes, please skip the chocolate sprinkle donut and extra-butter microwave popcorn (I don’t care if it’s whole grain) for the conventional apple if you need to, but hopefully you can start introducing more and more organic foods into your diet using the methods discussed above.
As stated by Rawfully Organic Co-op, “When we support organic farming, our dollar supports a cause that is sustainable, healthy, and loving.” Go organic and achieve good health while being kind to the environment.
– Roma Singh