Organic. What does that really mean? When people hear or see the word “organic” many of them automatically think “fake” or “tasteless”, but that is in fact the opposite of what it means. Organic food is grown in enriched soil without the use of harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers, which yields a more natural, flavorful, and healthy crop. Organic farmers enrich their soils and control pests by rotating crops, planting cover crops, releasing beneficial insects, and adding composted manure and plant wastes to the soil. This soil naturally contains more nutrients than soil from conventionally grown crops, thus producing a nutrient rich crop.
It is also important to mention that organic farming doesn’t stop at fruits, vegetables, and grains. Organic farmers feed their livestock only organic feed, hay, and pasture. These farmers don’t use antibiotics or synthetic hormones, which in conventionally raised livestock have been linked to early puberty in children and instances of hormone related cancers. They keep their livestock healthy and productive through good nutrition and low-stress living conditions. Many organic farmers also use homeopathic and herbal treatments to keep livestock healthy.
When grocery shopping it is optimal to buy all organic, but it is not always feasible, so when it is not possible and you have to pick and choose what you can buy organic, start with the items listed below. They are on the “dirty dozen” list, which means they contain the highest percentage of pesticide and fertilizer residues than other produce. The list is in order of most to least (of these 12). For a complete list of all produce, visit http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/.
This list is specific to produce, but buying organic meat and dairy is also very important because of the antibiotics, hormones, and fertilizer and pesticides (from their feed) present in these products.
Eating healthy is all about making informed decisions about what you put into your body. Now you can take this list with you to the grocery store and know that you are taking one more step to a healthier you!