Should you Go Organic?

April 4th, 2014 | By Marjie No Comments

 

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Have you ever zeroed in on an organic item at your favorite market, taken a look at the price, and made a u-turn to your usual picks instead? Organic foods – in many cases – are still significantly higher in price for several reasons: (a) it is expensive for farmers to become certified as organic farmers; (b) there is more waste in organic farming because fewer or no pesticides are used; (c) feeding livestock naturally and allowing the animals to live free-range cost more than high-volume ranching. As with everything we purchase, from clothing to cars to appliances to food, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is often true. It certainly is when it comes to organic foods.

So, how can we buy organic without breaking the bank? Here are some tips:

  • Start gradually, buying one of two organic items with each trip to the grocer. First time, pick up organic milk and eggs. Next time, add a few produce items. Then, meats and cheeses. Watch the impact on your budget … and on your health. We think you’ll find the organic items worth the added cost.
  • Buy directly from local farmers and/or head to farmers’ markets on a regular basis. You’ll find incredible prices on organic foods … often less expensive than in supermarkets, and usually fresher. Check www.localharvest.org to find local vendors.
  • Talk with local farmers and ranchers. They can tell you when to find the best prices on in-season items, for instance.
  • Look for the private label of your supermarket and specialty stores. Bigger stores usually offer their own organic food lines. This allows them to pass along savings up to 20% or more.

And, how can we tell when “organic” makes the most sense for our families?  Here are some ideas:

  • Some foods are traditionally heavy in pesticides. If you are cautioned to “wash this food well before eating,” you might consider replacing that purchase with an organic alternative. You should still wash organic foods, but to clean off dirt and the spread of human-borne germs, not chemicals and toxins.
  • Consider purchasing only foods that are in season. Produce that is locally grown and currently in season may be better for our environment because they are not using fossil fuels and energy to travel long distances to reach your store’s shelves.
  • Think about each food’s nutritional value. Is it better if grown or made organically? Was it processed using significant amounts of sodium or saturated fats? If so, would it be better to purchase a fresh and/or organic version of the item?
  • Consider how your purchase will be helping (or hurting) local commerce. Will buying organic benefit local farmers and ranchers? Perhaps. It might also hurt local trucking companies. There’s no one perfect scenario.

The most important things to keep in mind when you consider buying organic foods are the health and wellness of yourself and your family. Will an organic product be better for your body? If it is hard on your budget, how can you make small changes that will add up to big improvements? What good habits and information are you passing along to your kids?

The bottom line is that organic foods are, generally speaking, healthier than non-organic, and certainly healthier than heavily processed foods. Remember that a healthy diet’s best companion is a good exercise program. When you’re eating and playing with your health in mind, that’s the best fitness plan!

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