Ever go down the aisle and find that almost 60% of all foods are labeled “Organic” or Natural?? And then the million-dollar question pops up in the back of your mind: Is it really organic? Along with other annoying questions: Are they nutritious? What is the difference between organic and non-organic? The frustration to understand exactly what organic means and how to incorporate an organic diet is absolutely overwhelming. Here, InformateDFW gives you the information to shopping organic.
Let’s start with the basics. What does Organic mean? According to an article on helpguide.org, Organic foods are those that are grown on safe soil, with no modifications. No synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, petroleum-based fertilizers, or sewage sludge-based fertilizers. These foods are completely clean from any chemicals that might alter them, their taste, and their nutritional value.
What are the benefits of eating organically grown foods?
-Fewer pesticides– Non-organic foods tend to hold massive amounts of pesticides and stick around in non-organic foods even after they are rinsed. Pesticides are chemicals that kill any insects or pests that destroy the foods that are grown.
-Fresher foods– Foods that are grown organically have a better and sweeter taste and also contain several of the nutrients that most conventional foods don’t. After reviewing 41 studies, certified nutrition specialist Virginia Worthington concluded that organic foods had 27% more Vitamin C, 21.1% more iron, and 29.3% more magnesium.
-Better for the environment– Organic foods must go through a certain process that qualifies them as organic by the government. Most of these practices help the environment and the production or organic farming. For example, it helps reduce pollution, energy consumption and also helps with the conservation of water.
-Organic animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal byproducts– In the same article, it is mentioned that the use of antibiotics breeds bacteria that can build immunity towards antibiotics. Once you have consumed foods with antibiotics, they will then create immunity towards antibiotics in your body.
In the article by helpguide.org, there is a list of foods that have been categorized as foods that contain the most pesticides. Try buying these foods organic. The list contains foods such as:
Now when it comes to labeling, it can get a little confusing. There are different labels out there that can throw you off.
Here are some of the most common labels and their meanings:
–100% Organic– These are foods that are made completely organic and are government approved. USDA approval seal
–Organic– 95% organic and will contain the USDA approval seal.
–Made with organic ingredients– 70% organic and will NOT display the USDA seal.
–Contains organic ingredients– Less than 70% organic and will NOT display the USDA seal.
So what are some tips to get the best out of your organic-food shopping?
–Shop at farmers’ market-These types of markets tend to sell produce and fruit that is locally grown. Locally grown organic food is the freshest and most delicious.
–Shop for in-season produce/fruit– When produce or fruit is in-season, it means its being grown and produced heavily which means costs will go down.
–Shop around for the cheapest produce– Check out different farmers’ markets in the area and see which one gives you more bang for your buck. Sometime you can find fruit that is $1 cheaper elsewhere. Sooner or later it will all add up.
–USDA approved– Make sure that it is labeled properly to know that the government has inspected it and it has gone through the specific qualifications.
–Couponing– Believe it or not, clipping coupons has its benefits. It can actually provide you with some great savings on organic food.
–Bulk Up-Head to your local Sam’s Club or Costco to buy in bulk. These stores provide special pricing when you buy in big amounts. Organic food is not an exception.
Souces: foodmatters.com, USDA.gov, organicgardening.com, helpguide.org