Where To Spend Your ‘Organic’ Dollars

Herbalism isn’t just about the study of herbs for medicinal uses, it’s also about looking at health from a holistic approach. It’s about understanding how to optimize body health so you are less prone to disease and toxins. Food is a major portion of healthy living and with New Year’s right around the corner, many of us will be making the resolution to eat healthier, which often includes more fresh fruits and veggies in our diets. When you make the decision to eat fresh produce, you’re often faced with a new decision: organically grown vs. conventionally grown. It can be overwhelming trying to decide if you should spend the extra money to get organics, and what if you want something that isn’t offered as an organic option in your grocery store? Or perhaps your concern is more financially based because eating strictly organic can be expensive. Below is a breakdown of the produce that you’ll want to buy organic and the stuff that you can go conventional with, if you want to. Either way, if you can’t find organics, it is better to eat fresh fruits and veggies rather than forgo them altogether.

Go Organic

Through the years these items have consistently tested for high levels of pesticide residue (even after being washed) and it is probably best to purchase them organic whenever possible. You should note: organic does not always equal safe to consume and you should still thoroughly wash your organic produce before eating it.

  • Apples – Not sure if the Evil Queen is behind this one or not, but apples always make the list (and are often the worst offenders) of “most pesticide residue” on and in this fruit by the time it reaches your hand.
  • Berries – Some berries tend to be worse than others (I’m looking at you strawberries), but in general you can probably count on berries to be on the no-no list.
  • Stone fruits – What is it about peaches, nectarines and plums that make them so hard to grow without lots of pesticides?? It’s a bummer for sure, because they taste so darn good.
  • Greens – With the exception of cabbage, many greens like spinach, kale and lettuce, tend to be on the no-no list. If you can afford to go organic on these…I would.
  • Grapes – This one makes me SO sad. I love purple grapes like no other and I’ll go through a pound of these bite-sized, little bits of goodness in a weekend. Knowing that I eat them in such quantity, I always go organic with these little guys because they are one of the worst when it comes to pesticide reside. Darn.

Go Conventional

Personally, I still try to buy these items organic when I can but sometimes my grocery store doesn’t offer them or my food budget can’t handle the cost for the organics so I buy the conventional. These conventionally grown items still have some pesticide residue but it is often less than the offenders above.

  • Thick-rind fruits – Often you’ll find that fruits with a thick rind, like pineapples, watermelon and cantaloupe contain less pesticide residue…probably thanks to that thick rind!
  • Sweet corn – They’re low on the pesticide residue list but may be a GMO variety, so you’ll need to check that…but low pesticides, at least!
  • Onions – These always make the good-to-go list and are one of the easy choices when picking conventionally grown produce.
  • Sweet potatoes – These yummy tubers are getting more and more popular with the rise of sweet potato fries and they are on the good-to-go list; however, their counterpart, the standard potato is not on this list…yet another reason these orange potatoes are so darn good for you!
  • Avocado – Guacamole fans, rejoice! The avocado is good for you, organic or conventional…ole!

In the end, it is up to you if you want to choose organic and good for you for eating fresh fruits and veggies in the first place. If you’d like to learn more about pesticide reside testing and the levels of pesticide residue that have been deemed safe, click here to visit the official EPA, USDA and AMS pesticide residue site. There is also third-party, non-profit organization that uses results from government testing to compile a comprehensive list of produce and their levels of pesticide residue and you can find that here

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