Organic On A Budget

It’s no surprise to us that there is a significant price difference between organic products and non-organic products. The majority of people can’t afford to do all of their shopping at Whole Foods Market and high end specialty stores, and that’s ok.

I have often wondered why it costs so much to eat food in its natural state. Wouldn’t you think that it would cost more to eat processed foods, since they require more time and effort? Weird…our world is so backwards.

Well, here is a guideline to help you prioritize the foods that you buy organic. If you can’t buy 100% organic, use this list as a guide to know what is the most important and what might be ok to get non-organic. It might surprise you when you see that fruits and veggies are not at the top of the list!

Priority Foods to Buy Organic

1. Meat, Eggs, & Dairy-

Pesticides are not the only things to worry about when buying foods. Meat, eggs, & dairy carry loads of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO products, infected puss (so gross!), and pesticides. If you haven’t already, I recommend watching the movie, Food Inc. This movie is incredibly impactful and informative about where our food comes from and the living situations of conventionally grown animals.

Farmers have managed to genetically modify chickens so that their breasts grow much larger in proportion to their bodies and in less than half the time in order to maximize profits. They inject them with hormones causing them to grow rapidly. These hormones are transmitted to the meat, eggs, and dairy (in the case of cows) and ultimately our bodies when we eat them.

The living conditions of conventional animals are horrible. They stand in their own feces all day, in a barn or stable, usually with no windows or fresh air, piled on top of each other. This causes many illnesses to be transmitted to other animals. To prevent losing all of the livestock to disease, the animals are injected with various antibiotics to fight off the diseases. These antibiotics are also transmitted to our bodies through meat, eggs, and dairy. This causes many problems, including the growing issue of antibiotic resistant infections, not to mention, killing the natural good bacteria in our gut leading to further diseases especially in the digestive tract.

If organic meat is not available, the next best choice is free range poultry (and eggs) and grass-fed beef. This simple factor makes a huge difference in the structure of the food molecules and quality of the food. Did you know that the difference between conventionally grown beef and grass fed beef is like night and day? The ratio of good fats (omega 3´s) to bad fats is rediculous!  Conventionally grown beef is fed corn, which is not natural for cows, they are supposed to graze in the fields right? When cows are put in closed quarters and fed corn feed, their meat contains up to three times more fat and calories. Grass fed meat is much leaner and contains a fountain of vitamins, good fats, and important minerals to keep our bodies healthy and lean. Grass-fed beef contains three times more Vitamin E than grain-fed beef. It is also known that free-range eggs have the following qualities as opposed to commercially grown:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol

  • 1/4 less saturated fat

  • 2/3 more vitamin A

  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids

  • 3 times more vitamin E

  • 7 times more beta carotene

2. Fruits and Vegetables

Various studies and websites agree on the most important fresh produce to purchase organic and the ones that are safer to buy non-organic. Here is a list of those you should purchase organic or not at all due to their very high levels of pesticides and herbicides:

  • Peaches and Nectarines: Peaches require a large amount of pesticides to grow conventionally and have extremely delicate skin, making them the top organic fruit pick – with nectarines not far behind.

  • Apples: Apples are the second priority when choosing organic produce, as their pesticide loads consistently test high.

  • Bell Peppers: Bell peppers are the number one vegetable to buy organic. They have thin skins and are heavily sprayed with insecticides.

  • Celery: Celery lacks a protective outer layer and needs many different chemicals for conventional growth, making it number two on the list of vegetables to buy organic.

  • Strawberries: Strawberries rank high on the organic priority list. They are treated with very large amounts of pesticides, including fungicides. When purchased out-of-season, they probably come from a country with inadequate pesticide regulations.

  • Cherries: Cherries continually rank high for pesticide contamination.

  • Lettuce and Spinach: Lettuce and spinach are often found to have high levels of various pesticides – sometimes very potent types.

  • Imported Grapes: Imported grapes are likely to have higher pesticide levels than domestic. Vineyards may be sprayed with a number of different pesticides throughout the growing season. Because grapes have a permeable skin, even peeling will not eliminate the residues.

  • Pears: Pears consistently show high levels of pesticides when tested

  • Potatoes: Potatoes are at high risk for pesticide contamination and may also be affected by chemicals, such as fungicides, in the surrounding soil.

3. Coffee

Conventional coffee farming depends heavily on pesticides and herbicides. Furthermore, coffee is typically grown in countries where these chemicals are not strictly regulated.

Safe Non-Organic Foods

These foods have the lowest pesticide residue compared to others, so you can save money and buy these commercially grown products.

  • Broccoli

  • Eggplant

  • Cabbage

  • Banana

  • Kiwi

  • Asparagus

  • Sweet peas (frozen)

  • Mango

  • Pineapple

  • Sweet corn (frozen)

  • Avocado

  • Onion

There you have it! There is today’s Thrifty Thursday tip for the day. Remember to ALWAYS try to buy local and support your farmer’s market or local coop! You make a decision to who you will support with every dollar you spend! Spend wisely today!



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