How to eat organic on a budget

What is organic food?

Organic is a labeling term that indicates food and products have been produced through approved methods. These methods include cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

Because of thee restrictions organic foods are higher in nutrients, antioxidants, omega 3’s, lower in nitrates. These foods contain no artificial chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, toxic metals, genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In order for a food to be labelled organic, the product must be free of artificial food additives such as artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, flavoring, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

As well as being better for you organic farming has goals farming practices are designed to meet the following goals:

  • Enhance soil and water quality
  • Reduce pollution
  • Provide safe, healthy livestock habitats
  • Enable natural livestock behavior
  • Promote a self-sustaining cycle of resources on a farm

Organic farming aims to use predatory insects or insect traps to control pests over pesticides as well as proper living conditions for livestock.

Natural does not mean organic:

Natural and Non GMO is on a lot of foods. Labels such as “all natural” or “100% natural,” implies that the product contains no artificial ingredients. However, there is no legal definition of the term, and different companies define it in different ways. The only time this term has any formal meaning is when it appears on meat and poultry products. Unfortunately, they are still usually caged and fed unhealthy grains which makes the meat an unhealthy fat ratio and filled naturally with unhealthy hormones such as cortisol.

Ways to buy “healthier” options that are not certified organic:

  • Buy in bulk (Costco)
  • Shop store brands but read labels!
  • Buy from farmers and farmer markets
  • Buy in season (less pesticides)
  • Grow your own food without pesticides
  • Peel the skin off non organic foods and always wash your vegetables
  • Canned fruits and vegetables typically have lower pesticide residue; the canning process removes most toxins.
  • Buy frozen foods, frozen organic food is usually cheaper.

Buy off the EWG’s Clean Dozen and avoid the Dirty Dozen:

The “dirty dozen” refers to 12 fruits and vegetables that the nonprofit Environmental Working Group says are among the most susceptible to pesticide residue, and thus most profitable to buy organic. Each year these change so be sure to subscribe to the EWG’s website.

Dirty Dozen

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes

Clean Fifteen

  • Corn
  • Melons
  • Mushrooms
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocado
  • Onions

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