Walk through the grocery store any time of the year and you will likely see two categories of foods: organic an non-organic.
While for some foods, like crackers, or chips, it may seem unimportant, for others, like fruit and vegetables, organic designation is a big deal.
It comes from the root of customer education and self-informing, whereby people are becoming more and more concerned about the toxins they are exposing themselves too, and how this affects their risk of cancer, disease, day-to-day health and functioning, and even one’s ability to lose weight.
And while the concerns are valid, in terms of it is always important to be an informed consumer, looking out for the best products for your health, there is a significant second concern: cost.
For many people, going organic is cost prohibitive and does not conform to the need of “eating healthy on a budget.”
But here’s the good news: you can still be healthy, lose weight and maximize your daily functioning, even if you don’t go organic. Here’s how:
Pay Attention to the Dirty Dozen
Labelled as the most susceptible fruits and vegetables to chemical exposure, if you are thinking of buying anything organic, look up the dirty dozen and conform to this list. Many fruits and vegetables are far more gravely affected by pesticides and these are the ones to be aware of.
Wash all Your Produce
Many of the pesticides that are used on non-organic produce can be dramatically reduced simply by washing your food. Fill the sink with warm water, add in 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and allow the food to soak for 20-25 minutes.
Organic Produce May Still be Sprayed
It is important to remember that even if you are buying organic produce, there are certain chemicals that are permitted to be sprayed on certified organic food. If you are going organic thinking you are completely eliminating your exposure, it may not necessarily always be the case.
Organic Food Won’t Fix It
If you aren’t filling your diet with whole foods, that are free from processed ingredients, eating a variety of brightly coloured fruits and veggies. and engaging in regular physical activity, simply going organic isn’t necessarily the answer to becoming healthier. First, spend some time improving your health habits and working to improve your lifestyle – fruits and vegetables as the mainstay of your diet are always healthy, regardless of whether they are organic.
As an educated consumer, you may have heard lots of negative press and fear-inducing information about eating non-organic food. If it is an option for you to eat organically, especially for the dirty dozen, it can indeed be very beneficial. But more important is for you to pay attention to your overall health and wellness and work to adopt, healthy sustainable habits that will support your goals towards weight loss and improved energy. From there, with a new, energized, healthier outlook, you can choose what is best for you when it comes to organic food.
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH – Viand Nutrition