Updated: Nov 27, 2019
Ah, organic grocery shopping. First thought that comes to mind…expensive, right? When we think organic many of us resort to thoughts of more money, it’s trendy, or just too difficult to buy organic…If you are someone that can choose organic for every item at the grocery store that is wonderful but there are some who need to be a little pickier to stay within a budget especially if they have many mouths to feed. It can be daunting to go through the grocery store and decide how to buy produce and other groceries while honoring a budget. Many choose to avoid organic because they associate it with unnecessary expense. But contrary to this belief, choosing organic isn’t always pricier than non-organically grown produce. Buying organic is all about “smart shopping”.
In a perfect world, we would still be growing our own food and working for our own diets with our own gardens, but the world just isn’t set up that way anymore for many of us. We’re too busy and have packed schedules that don’t allow for the care needed to tend to a garden and grow each bite. It’s a big deal when we have the time to grow even just one tomato plant, right? The country has many mouths to feed which means we need mass amounts of produce to keep everyone happy. Because of this, farms have changed in scale from the past and so have their growing; which is where pesticides herbicides and GMO’s come in… farmers need to make as much produce as they can without the risk of a small harvest from pests or small produce size. I can’t blame them too much for adopting these more convenient techniques but the truth is our health is at risk because of it.
A study published by Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who eat organic produce are less likely to have organophosphate pesticides in their bodies, the "most commonly used insecticides in the United States for more than three decades." The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies these pesticides as "highly or moderately toxic.”
Have you ever noticed that some apples and other produce are shinier than others? That’s because the shinier ones have been sprayed with a shellac material to keep their wax coating and preserve shelf life. This is the same shellac many car companies use to wax their cars with. Organic produce does not get sprayed with this coating!
What does all of this mean when it comes to our health? This means that the potentially harmful products are exposed to the inner and outer layers of the food we are eating. This is so bad for our bodies because pesticides cause inflammation which can lead to disease and conditions that can go unknown for some time. We are now seeing more correlations to this type of farming and mass scale growing techniques to their effect on health. These manifestations can show their heads later in life through cancer and other inflammatory conditions becoming more prevalent. Putting our bodies at risk of this can be avoided by simply understanding more about which foods we should prioritize to be organically grown when we purchase.
This is all about understanding the product itself; like the skin and the outer layer that can become toxic from the chemicals. Think about a grape versus a banana. A grape has a very thin layer of skin surrounding the fruit while a banana has a harder outer layer that we peel off and don’t actually eat. Same goes with a tomato and a watermelon. We consume the outer layer of the tomato but remove the rind of the watermelon. The thinner the skin of the produce where we consume the outer layers are the products to prioritize buying organic to avoid toxins. When it comes to a watermelon, it still is always ideal to purchase organically but if we need to save a few bucks we can let this one easily slide. That outer layer is so thick most of the pesticides won’t be able to penetrate the actual fruit we are going to eat. Organic options apply to all groceries in the store including wheat. Wheat has a very thin stalk and when farmers use pesticides it is almost impossible to avoid consuming those toxins because we can’t exactly wash the bread or pasta after they have gone through their processing. Wheat is a big issue when it comes to choosing organic and in my opinion, we should always try to go organic when we buy wheat products.
Washing is also an option of course. I wash all of my produce before eating it. Unfortunately washing will not help remove the chemicals that have already penetrated their way into the inside of an apple. This doesn’t mean washing is worthless because there is still dirt and other materials that can find their way on the produce that needs to come off. So please still wash!
Think of this while shopping the produce aisle and use this for smart shopping to save a bit of money while also saving your body at the same time. Knowing when to buy certain produce based on their seasonal harvest cycles and the actual type of produce can change the price we pay as well. There are plenty of resources that can help guide you through the seasons of various produce and I have attached a link for you here! The truth is organic living doesn’t have to be so intimidating or expensive. Just take a little more TLC when you’re out shopping and you may find you can still stay within a budget while your body smiles and thanks you.
SNAP is a great resource for healthy food and tips. Check out this website link to learn more on seasonal produce.
Written By Alex Taylor
Yoga 2 Barre Teacher