Is Organic Better?

A few years ago, organic brought thoughts of a farmer's market on weekends, your garden in the summer, or the hippie market on the corner that sold granola. Then came Whole Foods, and now Walmart, Target, and even most conventional supermarkets, carry some organic produce. So what's the deal...is conventional produce really that bad?

Keeping bugs away from your lettuce is one thing, but common sense says that soil which is stripped of its nutrients won't have anything to transfer to the plant, or argue that spraying vegetables and fruits with organophosphate insecticides, which are toxic to the nervous system, is a good idea. Fact is, we have very little quality topsoil left due to synthetic chemical over-fertilization, rapid crop turnover, and the subsequent runoff.

Organic, Free-Range, Wild and Pastured are expensive, you know that, so is it worth it? Lets take a look at the foods that if you're going to throw down the extra dough are worth it.

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Worth the Extra Dough:

1. Lettuce & Other Leafy Stuff
Romaine, spinach, and especially kale, which is more krinkly, have a lot of surface area where pesticides love to hang out and get lodged in spaces. Even hand washing barely gets all of that chemical residue off and you're going to eat it. Endosulfane and Vikane don't sound so appetizing, do they? Definitely the most important food to buy organic.

2. Dairy
I have a full write up on Dairy HERE, but beyond the conditions dairy cows are forced to live under, the hormones and pharmaceuticals they are forced to take, the milk is pasteurized destroying all the beneficial stuff in it to begin with. If you like dairy, raw milk is the only way to go. But, due to its fragile nature, (and government regulation), it does not travel well, so it has to be bought at a farm. If you like it, want it, need it, do a local search for a local farm.

3. Fish
For the most part, farm raised fish is disgusting. In a feed lot for fish who need wild plants for nutrients to grow quality meat, they are fed everything from dog food, soy, and even corn. Fact is farm raised Atlantic salmon would be completely white if they didn't feed them orange beta carotene flakes.
Get your wild fish HERE

4. Apples
Listed as the dirtiest pesticide laden fruit, conventional apples are picked way too young before they develop most of their vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, then sprayed with wax to 'mature' in a warehouse or truck across the country. Get apples, and your other fruit as local as you can, organic, and preferably in season.

5. Cucumbers
Anything that is plump and contains a lot of water is best to get organic. Pesticides wash into the soil and are absorbed into the plant making not only the skin coated with junk, but the fluid inside contaminated.

NOT Worth the Dough

1. Avocados
Most fruits high up in a tree, in a hard casing or shell, are not sprayed that much, and have the coat to protect its flesh. And, unlike an apple, this protective coat, (skin), you do not eat.

2. Nuts
A hard wooden coat is even better!

3. Mangoes & Pineapples & Coconuts
As with avocados, fruit grown up in a tree with a hard protective coat is a lot safer than the exposed stuff close to the ground.

4. Onions
Just like they make you cry, onions scare bugs to death. They are naturally resistant to pests.

5. Mushrooms
Not a big fan for the bug crowd.


-Leavitt Dec 2012

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