Should I Choose Organic? Does it make a difference?

Short answer, yes.

But organic isn’t always cheap. And for many, it’s harder to find. Though more and more supermarkets and local grocery stores are beginning to carry organic produce and foods, it can still be a challenge to stock up on organic.

As challenging as it is, why should you consider shopping for organic?

Dairy and meat

If you’re going buy anything organic, then opt for your animal meats and dairy. The problem with traditionally raised animals is that they are routinely injected with hormones (rBST) to help with growth and increased milk production. Also, they’re fed GMO (genetically modified) feed and grains that aren’t part of the animal’s typical diet. They are also given antibiotics on a prophylactic basis (to prevent disease) which we then in turn get to ingest with our meal …yum! (If you haven’t already, check out The Meatrix for more on this.)

I emphasize choosing organic here because the practices in non-organic farms have been linked to producing animal meats and dairy that cause health concerns. These are a direct result of the poor health of the animals. These health risks include:

  • Increased obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • High estrogen levels in women and early puberty in girls
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Infertility
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation


Produce

One of the main reasons to choose organic produce is pesticides. The stuff they spray traditional crops with has been shown to cause disruptions to digestion, the nervous system as well as oxidative damage to various organs.

GMO is another concern. An overwhelming majority of soy and corn used in the US is genetically modified. With huge controversy over the safety of GMO crops (check out this outstanding documentary Genetic Roulette for details), my personal recommendation is avoiding them till more studies can definitively prove they are healthier (not just safe). Organic produce cannot be genetically modified, so you’re safe choosing organic in this case.

My third concern involves the nutrient depletion of soil. Due to “modern” farming practices, the soil used to grow our produce has been stripped of the minerals needed to grow the most vital and nutrient dense foods. In fact, comparisons of nutrient content of veggies 50 years ago to today have shown that most conventionally raised crops today are less than half as nutritious as their counterparts from back then. Organic growing practices require soil rotation and fertilization practices that ensure more nutrient dense crop yield. Watch the video below for more on the effects of soil depletion:

So can you make organic more affordable?

If only money grew on (organic) trees. If you’re on a budget or having trouble going all organic, all the time, here are some ideas to help you maximize your dollar.

  1. If you have to pick, choose organic meat and dairy. Reduce your consumption and find high protein and calcium plant based foods like legumes, whole grains, leafy greens and nuts.
  2. Shop at the farmer’s market- you might be able to find local farmers who follow organic farming practices but are not certified. This means you can reap the benefits of local food without the price tag. Check out this helpful search engine to find one near you.
  3. Join a CSA. Check out this CSA resource.
  4. If you have to choose what to buy organic, choose smart! Use the EWG Dirty Dozen as a guide.
  5. Stick to real whole food- processed food is already more expensive and organic labels drive up the prices even more! Stick to foods that don’t come in packages, with labels and with ads.

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