Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
December 12, 2012

7 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic

By Mark Sisson
326 Comments

A couple weeks ago, I gave you a list of the top 10 foods you should strive to buy organic. Some of you found the list useful, while others felt a bit overwhelmed and disheartened by the information, saying that it felt like they couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t organic. Today, I’ll try to make things a little better by giving you a list of the foods which are perfectly fine in their conventional form. However, even if the following conventional foods are relatively safe for your health, some would argue that you should still buy organic in order to support the workers and protect the environments exposed to agricultural chemicals. That’s totally valid, and it’s part of the reason why I try to buy organic, but it’s not what I’m discussing here. It’s a topic for another time. Today is about maximizing the health of you and your family while cutting costs when and where you can.

So, what common, Primal staples can you buy conventional?

Coconut

You won’t see coconut on any Clean 15 or Dirty Dozen lists anytime soon, because the general public has yet to catch on to its fatty, nutty delights. That said, we Primal people eat coconut. We sauté with coconut oil and slather it onto vegetables, sweet potatoes, hair, skin, and armpits. We drink and make curries with coconut milk and cream. We obsess over coconut butter, paying tribute to its glory with a greasy spoon. And when we’ve been running or training particularly hard – or it’s hot out – we often reach for the coconut water. We like our coconut, so it’s in our best interest to determine whether we should be buying organic or not.

Luckily for us, it doesn’t look like organic coconut makes a big difference. Several studies have looked for pesticide residues in coconut products and come up virtually empty handed. There’s this 2008 study, which was unable to detect any pesticide residues in crude coconut oil. Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, which are generated during the coconut flesh quick drying process and are carcinogenic, were detected in crude coconut oil but were removed in the refining process. Virgin unrefined coconut oil, then, may still contain these hydrocarbons, unless it’s wet-milled and processed without quick-drying the flesh. That goes for both organic and conventional coconut oil, to be clear.

In another study, researchers examined 15 samples of coconut water using two different methods of pesticide detection and were unable to detect any of the 11 pesticides they were looking for.

Coconut milk is also going to be as free from pesticides as any other coconut product. Since it’s made from fresh flesh, not the dried, heat-treated stuff, coconut milk should also be free of poly-aromatic hydrocarbons.

Onions

Onions don’t just make you cry for cutting them, they make pests weep at the thought of eating them. Onions are naturally resistant to pests, which is probably why just 0.3% of onions tested for chemical residue came up positive. Big Agra may cut corners and prioritize profit over quality or consumer health, but that just means they won’t fork out the money for chemicals if they don’t have to; they’re not comic book villains, dumping drums of noxious endocrine disruptors and carcinogens onto their crops to punish us. Not onion farmers, at least.

So, feel free to go wild with conventional onions, because there is very little, if any, advantage to organic onions from a health perspective. Unlike many other fruits and vegetables, conventionally grown onions have the same level of polyphenols as organically grown onions.

Avocado

Avocados are another safe food that ends up with some of the lowest pesticide residues around. Maybe it’s the scaly skin and the way they just kinda “lurk” there up in tree tricking pests into thinking they’re up against alligators. Maybe it’s the fact that a bug got burned one too many times with a beautiful looking avocado that turned out to be stringy and brown on the inside. Maybe pests just hate waiting for an avocado to ripen (who doesn’t?) and give up. Actually, even though a somewhat significant amount of chemicals can be used on avocado orchards, they just don’t make it into the fatty, delicious flesh we crave and consume.

Avocado farmers, both organic and conventional, do use extensive amounts of copper as a fungicide. Copper is an essential nutrient, but too much can be harmful. A single Florida avocado contains 0.9 mg, which is about 100% of the RDI, so don’t go around eating several a day.

Honey

The idea of organic honey is fantastic – who wouldn’t want to eat honey produced by bees who dined exclusively on organic, wild, untouched, pure flowers? I sure would.

But the reality is that bees will be bees. They’re going to buzz around and get into trouble, and they’re not going to distinguish between organic and conventionally-grown plants. I suppose you could surround the bee with only organic plant life, but considering bees have an average range of five kilometers from the hive (and twice that when food is scarce), you’d have to control a lot of land to do it. Plus, you know how bees have those cute furry bodies? Yeah, that fur picks up all sorts of stuff from the air. Not only do you have to worry about non-organic pollen, you also have to contend with every non-organic airborne particle in the area.

Buy local honey. Buy raw honey. Buy honey from someone who raised the bees and (at least kinda sorta) knows where they spend their time. But don’t shell out extra money for organic honey unless you happen to really like that particular honey. Those first two characteristics – “local” and “raw” – should come before organic.

Asparagus

I love asparagus, but even I balk at the astronomical price of organic asparagus. Luckily, it’s one of the cleanest vegetables around. When you read that residues from nine different pesticides were found on it, though, you might get a little worried until you look a little closer and realize that the most prevalent of the chemicals – methomyl – was only detected on 3.3% of samples tested.

Organic might eliminate that small probability of pesticides showing up on your asparagus, but I don’t think it’s worth the price tag. Conventional should be just fine. If you’re really worried, domestic conventional (referring to the United States) is far better than imported conventional.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a hardy bunch, and the hardy among us – the athletes, the lifters, the highly active – sometimes need a bit of dietary starch to fuel their efforts. Conventional sweet potatoes are a fine choice. Their leaves sometimes get eaten by bugs, but since that rarely affects the viability of the underground tubers that people actually eat, farmers generally don’t feel the need to protect the leaves with agrochemicals.

However, sweet potatoes do sometimes have a problem with fungal growth after harvesting, and the tubers have been known to receive a quick dunk in a dicloran bath before being packed and shipped to curtail this. Dicloran (not to be confused with the flame retardant known as dichloran) is a fungicide that gets a “possible carcinogen” rating from “What’s on my food?” It’s also the only chemical to show up consistently in conventional sweet potatoes. On average, a kilogram of sweet potatoes contains 1.69 mg of dicloran. Based on toxicology studies that suggest a dicloran upper limit of 0.14 mg per kg of bodyweight, a 60 kilogram human can easily get away with consuming up to 8.4 mg of dicloran. Peel your sweet potatoes and you’ll get rid of even more.

Farmed Bivalves

I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post on farmed seafood, but farmed oysters, clams, and mussels are essentially “wild.” They’re not kept in ponds, nor are they given pesticide-rich soy and corn topped off with unsustainable fishmeal. Instead, they sit there attached to their moorings in actual ocean water acting like the filter-feeders they are. For all intents and purposes, the farmed bivalves you eat are identical to wild ones. As such, there would be little point to eating “organic” shellfish.

In 2002 (PDF), Greenpeace did an exhaustive survey of all the chemicals used in aquaculture to find out whether consumers eating the end product had anything to worry about. And, while they found extensive usage of parasiticides, anaesthetics, spawning hormones, oxidants, disinfectants and herbicides in fish and shrimp farming, only one instance of chemical usage in bivalve farming was found: northwest US oyster farming sometimes used carbaryl, an organophosphate that inhibits acetylcholine esterase and increases the levels of acetylcholine in the brain (which kills parasites but can actually enhance human brain function, provided you eat or make enough choline).

Organic bivalve farming standards are being unveiled, but, since “conventional” bivalve farming doesn’t use chemicals, those new standards won’t affect the amount of chemical residues that end up on your plate. Instead, they’ll be focused on managing sediment buildup from bivalve farming, with no impact on the actual nutrition of the animals. Regular old farmed bivalves are perfectly fine – and I recommend you eat oysters, mussels, and clams regularly.

That’s what I’ve got, guys. I hope some of you are pleasantly surprised and feel a little more empowered to make educated decisions on whether to buy organic or not. Remember: you have to eat something, and conventional fruits, vegetables, and animals are way better than not eating fruits, vegetables and animals at all.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to let me know if I missed any foods in the comment section!

TAGS:  organic, toxins

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

326 Comments on "7 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Nikki
Nikki
3 years 9 months ago

My beloved coconut is SAFE? WOW, is that going to start saving me money! No more rationing the coconut flakes! Oh, happy day!

Helen
Helen
3 years 9 months ago

I’ve found that organic dried coconut (dessicated/shredded/flakes/chips etc) is often the only choice if I want to avoid preservatives.

Alison
2 years 9 months ago

Agreed. I bought conventional, flaked coconut from the bulk foods section of my grocery store for “snow” for our gingerbread house decorating and was silently outraged to see the third ingredients was propylene glycol.

Mmmmm. Lighter fluid. Awesome.

Jason
Jason
2 years 8 months ago

Propylene glycol is most commonly known as anti-freeze, not lighter fluid. It’s added to food for its property to keep things from drying out completely. It will not ignite.

Alison
2 years 8 months ago

Lighter fluid, anti-freeze, potato, potato. I don’t want to eat it!

Alison
2 years 8 months ago

Thanks for clarifying though, I did think proylene glycol was lighter fluid… I’ve also heard people say it’s “the stuff they use to de-ice planes!” so anti-freeze makes sense.

Marie
Marie
5 months 24 days ago

ethylene glycol is the primary ingredient in automotive antifreeze. Propylene glycol is refered to as antifreeze but not the kind found in automobile’s use.

http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/curlchemist-the-truth-and-fiction-about-propylene-glycol/

Noah
Noah
5 months 23 days ago

It is my understanding that propylene glycol is found in antifreeze, I don’t think it’s accurate to use the words interchangeably.

Michelle
Michelle
3 years 9 months ago

Also, Yippee for local honey. I often wondered how a grocery store honey could get an organic label. Common sense tells me that bees do what bees do! How does honey get an organic label?

Jane Doe
Jane Doe
3 years 9 months ago

It occurs to me that organic when applied to honey probably refers to the practices of the bee keeper with respect to the HIVE — pesticides can be used on the hive to control parasites (mites, etc.)

Mike H
Mike H
3 years 9 months ago
I am a beekeeper. Organic not only refers to how you keep your hives but to where they get the nectar. Bees do what bees do, but it is the same way you get clover honey, orange honey, etc. Bees go to the easy abundant source for nectar. When they find it, they tell their hive-mates and pretty soon almost the entire hive is in the same flowers – if the source is large enough, more than 95% of the hive will be in the same patch of flowers. My honey is not organic for the same reason my free… Read more »
ariosto
ariosto
2 years 7 months ago

Honey is labeled organic becouse after their baby food (honey) is stolen they need to replace it with sugar water as bees producing only so much honey as needed, in ths case sugar is from organic source.

Carla
Carla
3 years 9 months ago

I’ve rarely found non-organic coconut flakes. I buy mine at the co-op in bulk since they are unsweetened, preservative free and cheaper than buying them in the package.

Dana
3 years 8 months ago

Look for a store that sells shredded coconut in bulk, scooped out of a bin. I’m currently paying $3/pound!

Bruce
Bruce
2 years 4 months ago

you’re silly. love that coconut:)

J Kay
J Kay
1 year 8 months ago
The other perspective on organic versus conventional is the local ecosystem – even though the pesticides may not end up in your oil, they may be causing harm to local wildlife. Recently the Philippines faced a huge outbreak of the coconut scale insect and the government wanted to step in an use a potentially dangerous new type of insecticide called neonicotinoides (similar to nicotine). Local farmers and Greenpeace protested against this because it can cause toxicity to bees, birds, and other wildlife (neonicotinoids are known to destroy honey bee colonies for one thing, and the decline in bee populations is… Read more »
Wayne Atwell
3 years 9 months ago

Lately I have been buying mostly organic produce, especially for spinach. Two things I’d like to add to the list that don’t need to be organic are pineapples and bananas. They both have a hard outer shell that are peeled/cut away, so I don’t bother going organic with either of those fruits.

Liz
Liz
3 years 9 months ago

It may depend on where it is that my bananas are coming from, but there are a few things that I buy organic and/or fair trade simply because they legitimately taste better. Bananas are one of them. I think organic ones actually do just taste better than non-organic.
Grapefruit is another must-be organic food for me. Those two are simply based on taste for me. That’s it. Otherwise I buy organic, just to be on the safe side.

Abby J.
Abby J.
3 years 9 months ago

I find that organic onions are MUCH stronger in flavor than conventional. I can hardly cut a single one without having to take a break for the sake of my eyes.

Alice
Alice
3 years 9 months ago

I have found this to be true of organic onions, too.

Ryan
Ryan
3 years 9 months ago

Totally agree with you. They are much stronger and noticed it as soon as we switched over to organic. Had to take a few breaks to avoid my eyes from burning.

anna
anna
3 years 9 months ago

There is another potential problem with some onions – they can be irradiated.

Joseph S.
Joseph S.
3 years 9 months ago

I love the organic onions we buy, so I think I’ll keep doing it. I can taste a difference, even if it is just my mind playing tricks on me. Onions are one of the cheaper vegetables to begin with, so organic isn’t that much more.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Try organic shallots.

Sarah
Sarah
3 years 9 months ago

do you mean one cut to the onion or one whole onion? the onions we have make me cry after cutting about half an onion

Darcie
Darcie
3 years 9 months ago

I just put on my swim goggles while cutting onions. Works like a charm, though it makes one look rather ridiculous…

Tom
3 years 9 months ago

To prevent eyeball irritation, put your onions in the fridge before cutting them.

My wife thought I was crazy for doing it, until Alton Brown proved me right, so she realized I’m crazy for other reasons!

(She also thought “Primal” was crazy. Past tense – she’s coming around!)

Nicole
3 years 9 months ago

I work on an organic farm. The reason organic onions are stronger is because they are fresh. Non organic onions are usually older and can even be from the year before. Most organic growers don’t grow or store mass quantities of veggies. And if you buy local organic you probably getting the freshest veggies possible after your own garden. Also onion harvest time is fall so you may find your onions more potent then.

Michelle
3 years 9 months ago

I agree Liz, many of the products that I purchase as organic is because the superior taste has ruined me and I can’t go back to conventionally grown. Bananas and grapefruit being on that list.

Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 9 months ago

Irradiated bananas are a pain.

Riki
Riki
3 years 9 months ago
Yes, bananas are definitely one to buy organic! (or at least the waxed, eco ones). They taste creamier, softer, sweeter, and don’t leave that weird waxey feeling on your tongue like pesticide ones. A friend of mine worked at a banana farm and won’t eat them since then, as she couldn’t believe the amount of chemicals they put on them. This is because, through the power of natural selection, bananas should have died off a long time ago. 1. they are asexual, so they are artificially reproduced, and 2. they are attacked ravenously by a particular bug or fungus (can’t… Read more »
W.J. Purifoy
W.J. Purifoy
3 years 9 months ago
Last century (the mid-90’s) I read that the pesticides sprayed on bananas were making the male workers sterile. That’s enough to make me buy organic. Now, that is just the most popular variety of bananas. I’ve recently started buying plantains and I love the flavor. Traditionally they are used while still green but I buy the ones that are starting to turn color. I peel them and put the peels in the trash because I assume they are covered with pesticides. I cut them in half both lengthwise and crosswise and lay them on the griddle beside the eggs I’m… Read more »
Louise
Louise
8 months 29 days ago
Hi Purifoy I understand about the bananas But what about the plantains do you think they need to be organic or it doesnt matter? And why? Please answer asp I also love the taste of plantains they much better taste than bananas to me but I dont know where in the london uk they sell organic plantain do you know? thanks All anwers are welcome to from others please someone help if any one know about jackfruit and breadfruit too about needing to be organic or not me personally buy everything organic because I know its better but some things… Read more »
Laurel
3 years 9 months ago

I have read however, they spray bananas when they are first developing and continue to spray them intil they are full grown. this is in one of the Latin American countries. I think I will stick to organic bananas.

Marco
3 years 9 months ago
Hi There, while I agree with Mark’s post and already practice this with certain foods as listed here, Coconuts are probably the most organic of all as no one really needs or wants to spray them with anything LOL. They just are. I would like to say, however, there is another reason to buy organic Pineapple and Bananas. Having lived in Costa Rica for over a decade, one of the largest industrial pollutants we face here is the Pineapple and Banana crops. These industrial chemicals wash into the ecosystems and pollute everything downstream. There are many banana workers who have… Read more »
Ashley
Ashley
3 years 9 months ago

+1

My mom visited the banana farms in Costa Rica and has NEVER eaten a banana again. She saw children with horrible birth defects and heard stories of chemicals spraying the areas where workers live. Buying organic can show these companies that we don’t accept this!

Anne Wayman
3 years 9 months ago

Well said. Organic is soooooo much better for the planet
,

D'Arcy
D'Arcy
3 years 9 months ago

I guess that’s true if your only concern is your own health, but conventional bananas are sprayed with a host of chemicals that are extremely damaging to the folks who farm them, as well as the surrounding ecosystems. Organic bananas don’t cost all that much more. I would say it’s pretty irresponsible to buy conventional bananas. Just sayin’! 🙂 I don’t have the scoop on pineapple production. Anyone else?

chrystal
chrystal
2 years 28 days ago
I’m sorry but I find this statement and the others about how they’re not much more so put out that extra. It’d be nice if we could all buy organic. But as a young single mother in college it’s not that easy. If I can save as much as one penny it’s a victory walking out of that store. I live on a food budget of only 150 dollars a month with a very hungry 3 year old. And because I get student aid for my tuition. That one check off sets me for months on weather or not I… Read more »
Xin
Xin
2 years 27 days ago
Chrystal, and anyone else who is quite poor and really wants health: You might consider volunteering at a CSA (community shared agriculture) co-op, or any other organic foods co-op… or look into “WWOOF”-ing. You may be able to trade/barter hours and labor for fresh organic produce. There are also folks who have land but no time to garden it and would love to give you some of the share of the harvest if you help (similar to WWOOF-ing on, say, weekends.) If you develop a good relationship with farmers, many are willing to trade labor for their organic produce. This… Read more »
Xin
Xin
2 years 27 days ago
Oh, regarding the disingenuous claims of labels, I find that in-depth research and contacting of companies/farms I’m going to rely on for my food can often lead to a lot more detail as to how that food was raised/nutured ’till it got to your table. As others in this thread have noted, there is a noticeable difference in freshness and quality of all sorts of produce — even among batches, and among different organic farms. For instance, I now buy my herbs and spices (like rosemary, or true cinnamon) from a group of dedicated herbalists, rather than the organic stuff… Read more »
chrystal
chrystal
2 years 27 days ago

Xin I thank you for this response. I never have thought of that before mostly because my nights and weekends are literally filled with homework. But if I can find one of those options and literally make the time your right its something to look into. Thank you.

jfreaksho
jfreaksho
3 years 9 months ago

I can’t do conventional bananas- I don’t know what they use, but I’ve had my lips go numb from brushing against the outside of a banana. Not doing that again.

Mary
Mary
2 years 9 months ago
I have found that there is a world of difference in taste between organic bananas and conventionally grown. Apart from the taste, the ….cides used on conventional bananas are a major health hazzard to anyone who comes in contact with them. A biologist friend visited a banana plantation in Spain and did the tour. At the end, everyone got a banana to taste. He, being the biologist, threw his banana skin at the base of the tree thinking the nutrients should go back to the earth/tree. The guide had a fit, and rushed to retrieve the peel, and into the… Read more »
Xin
Xin
2 years 27 days ago
l’ve found that there is a world of difference between organic and “conventional” produce in general in terms of freshness and flavor. Strong flavor will generally mean that the chemicals, vitamins, etc. producing that particular flavor are far more present and undegraded. I wonder if this has to do with freshness. I almost always buy locally now (Whole Foods is the exception; not always local) for vegetables, and from what I know of, many chemical constituents of plants (vegetables) degrade quickly. This is why herbalists and exceptional foodies often preserve their spices in special tinted jars these days. I wouldn’t… Read more »
owen
owen
2 years 8 months ago

It’s a good point that it may not benefit us, the end consumer. However, there are good reasons why organic bananas are better – better for the workers (exposed to dangerous chemicals in conventional banana production) and better for the environment. For these reasons, I pay the extra (~$0.20-$0.30/day) amount per day to have organic bananas.

Will
Will
1 year 2 months ago

Hey,

Bananas should really be organic. Your right that they have a hard shell but pumped full of toxins to ripen quicker. These have proven to leash into the fruit. Organic bananas are sprayed with a much safer spray.

Claire
Claire
3 years 9 months ago

Coconut oil for skin and hair care, fine. But armpits? As in deodorant? Please enlighten me.

Kim
Kim
3 years 9 months ago

This recipe really truly works! I also add a bit of lavender essential oil.

http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2010/02/homemade-all-natural-deodorant.html

Joyce
Joyce
3 years 9 months ago
I use a similar recipe and I cannot believe how well it works. I made my first recipe in the summer and no problems with perspiration, odor, etc. I works much better than conventional antipersperants or any I have tried from the health food store. In the summer (we don’t have AC) it will melt, so I kept a tablespoon (a soup-type spoon, not a measuring spoon) next to it, would give it a quick stir around and then would apply whatever was left on the spoon to my underarms, used the rounded side; very easy and efficient. Amazing stuff… Read more »
Merry
Merry
3 years 9 months ago

Take a look here for the “enlightenment” you seek!
http://www.primalpitpaste.com

TriCiCi
TriCiCi
3 years 9 months ago

Smear armpit with Coconut Oil, then dust with Baking Soda using a powder puff. Works awesome. No yucky Aluminum seeping in through your skin.

Lynsey
Lynsey
3 years 9 months ago

some people get irritated by baking soda, in that case you can use arrowroot instead. that’s what i’ve been doing for nearly a year – no stinky pits 🙂

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Arrowroot has high nitrate levels and can be used in curing meats by replacing pink salt. I’m not sure what the nitrate effect, if any, would be through human skin absorption. Nitrates are used to breakdown proteins and keep the meats more pink. Pinker armpits?

Cate
Cate
3 years 9 months ago

I have not used any deodorant iin probably two years now. When I did use a deodorant, it seemed that I did have body odor. Go figure…

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 9 months ago

Cate,
the people around you might have a different perspective about your statement.

Eva Putnam
Eva Putnam
3 years 9 months ago
OIL PULLING Per Dr. Mercola’s article: “Coconut oil is a powerful inhibitor of a large variety of pathogenic organisms, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, largely due to its naturally high lauric acid content… The second technique I’ve been using for the past year is called “oil pulling” with coconut oil, which has reduced my plaque by another 50 percent, allowing me to go two months between visits to the hygienist, instead of one. Oil pulling is a practice dating back thousands of years, having originated with Ayurvedic medicine. When oil pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut… Read more »
Laura
Laura
3 years 9 months ago

I do it and it works. It somehow makes your teeth look whiter, too.

Joyce
Joyce
3 years 9 months ago

Ayurvedic oil pulling is done with sesame oil, which is considered very healing and penetrates into the tissue, loosening toxins so that they can be expelled by the body. So, if you use 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 sesame oil, you will be getting the benefit of both oils. Joyce

Dawn
Dawn
3 years 9 months ago
Yep, my parents use it for their armpits and have no complaints. They were both having trouble with itchy pits and found that the coconut oil works quite well. I’ve tried it and on my pits and face and have been pleased with the results. It took a while to get past the ooie phase; you know cooking with it and then slathering it on your body. I discovered putting it in a different container mad the difference, mentally. I also use it on my hair (once a week) and leave it on while I work out in the morning… Read more »
Alice
Alice
3 years 9 months ago

Wait, I eat coconut oil, but what is coconut butter?

Brad
Brad
3 years 9 months ago

An addiction waiting to happen

mars
mars
3 years 9 months ago

+1

Z.E.S.T.
Z.E.S.T.
3 years 9 months ago

+1 The best brand, in my opinion (and the only one I know of, go figure) is Artisana coconut butter. google it, and be warned.

Darcie
Darcie
3 years 9 months ago

The chocolate stuff is pretty amazing, but it has added sugar. I eat too much of both. 😀

Cheryl
Cheryl
3 years 9 months ago

haha!

Michelle
3 years 9 months ago

Coconut butter is heaven on a spoon

Annie Sires
Annie Sires
3 years 9 months ago

pulverized dry un-sweetened coconut flakes. Like making peanut butter but with flakes.

Violet
Violet
3 years 9 months ago
Good reply to Alice’s question. I am from the UK and when one of the success stories mentioned coconut butter, I went shopping. I found ‘coconut butter’ by a company called Tiana at my local Holland and Barrett. It’s organic coconut oil for cooking and baking – firmer than coconut oil and without a coconut flavour. I think it’s great. (And will take a spoonful of it just to eat, as well as cooking with it. I also like coconut oil, but this makes for a change.) So, imagine my surprise when I went to the US and bought some… Read more »
Janknitz
Janknitz
3 years 9 months ago

Easy to make your own coconut butter in a food processor. Add a little coconut oil to help it break down. Lots of instructions on the web, just google “homemade coconut butter”. And it’s MUCH cheaper if you make your own!

Kent McCann
3 years 9 months ago

Woot so my bulk onions from BJ’s wholesale are good to go!

Joe
Joe
3 years 9 months ago

Good stuff as usual, Mark! Thanks for the info!

pi314
3 years 9 months ago

In all fairness very little of the food NEEDS to be organic, if it is just good whole food.

Yes, it *MIGHT* taste better (placebo, anyone?) or *MIGHT* have a bit less of the not quite so good stuff (e.g. antibiotics), but I think that the Paleo movement is doing itself a great disservice to preach the party line of “grass-fed beef only” in a world where the great majority consider wheat products food…

Harry Mossman
3 years 9 months ago

Which is why Mark’s flexible, reasonable approach will win out over rigid paleo.

Joe
Joe
3 years 9 months ago

+1

Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 9 months ago

+1

Mark A
Mark A
3 years 9 months ago

the grass-fed part has nothing to do with organic. It just means the cow is eating what it’s evolved to eat. Just like when paleo/primal folks skip the grains. It’s because that’s how we have evolved.

But as others have mentioned, Mark has continuously said – and reiterated in today’s blog – that balancing health benefits and budget are important considerations.

go organic it's better for the planet

Grass fed animals have room to move and pick and choose their diet just like we humans insist it is our right to do. Grain fed animals are kept like factory chickens except without the roof!!!!

Doug D
Doug D
3 years 9 months ago

I disagree. We eat grass-fed and organic not just because they *might* be more nutritious or . We eat that way in part because organic also has no pesticides, herbicides or any other chemicals grown on them. We get enough of a toxic load just from breathing and drinking. I’ll stick with my organinc and grass-fed foods, thanks.
Besides, I don’t particularly care what others think of as food. For me, grains don’t cut it and I’m FAR better off without them in my diet.

Riki
Riki
3 years 9 months ago

do some research there I think pi314. it’s for your and the planet’s benefit. But if you can’t afford it, it’s better than packaged foods (which is why I’m guessing you’re on here?)

JohnC
JohnC
3 years 9 months ago

Exactly what I’ve always thought. Would it be nice to eat grass fed beef consistently? Sure, but it’s completely unaffordable and impractical here and for much of the world not living somewhere ideal in the U.S.A.

lethargist
lethargist
3 years 9 months ago

There are a lot of reasons to buy organic that have nothing to do with pesticide residue. The most important is the difference between growing food in live soil, fertilized with manure and compost and growing it in a dead soil-like medium dependent on petroleum-based chemicals. In the end, the land is all we have. We need to take care of it. Please buy organic.

Harry Mossman
3 years 9 months ago

+1

Krys
Krys
3 years 9 months ago

+1

Imogen
3 years 9 months ago
Yes, to this. A lack of pesticide residue is important, but not if the “food” is essentially empty calories in the shape of a vegetable. I buy organic avocadoes because the others more often than not, rot before, or concurrently with ripening. I can open a wrinkly, completely black organic one and it is ripe and delicious, and keeps for a few days like that (placed into the refrigerator once ripe), before beginning to rot, which is a much slower process with the organic ones. We eat avocadoes a lot and this has been my consistent experience for the past… Read more »
Cynthia
Cynthia
3 years 9 months ago
Like others have commented, one of the things I love about MDA is that it’s sane. Not over-the-top-be-absolutely-100%-optimized-every-second. With that said, I agree that pesticide residue isn’t everything. I’ve read that non-organic onions are (often? usually?) irradiated to improve shelf life. I’d rather not be the human test subject for that. There’s the GMO issue. I don’t think any of the items in Mark’s post have been gen modded (so far) but that’s hard to keep track of so buying organic erases the issue. I’ve also read that thick skins (citrus/bananas etc) can mean pesticides aren’t ON the fruit (after… Read more »
Mark A
Mark A
3 years 9 months ago

They test the part that you eat.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

+1

In addition to “organic” I’ve also seen and heard the term “biodynamic agriculture”. I have yet to look into the specifics. Anyone care to chime in?

NorthernMonkeyGirl
3 years 9 months ago

Biodynamic is like Organic Plus. It goes a bit too far for me – it’s about planting, treating and harvesting in line with the cycles of the moon and energies (so you harvest roots when energy is flowing towards the earth, but harvest leaves when the energy is flowing to the sky). There are also herbal preparations, which may or may not be buried in cow horns.

See http://demeter-usa.org/downloads/Demeter-Farm-Standard.pdf too 🙂

Mark A
Mark A
3 years 9 months ago
Biodynamic is even more rigorous than organic. It involves using specific kinds of organic fertilizers and pesticides, timing of the agricultural cycle to a lunar calendar, integrating animals and plants on a farm to ensure a balanced agricultural environment (in terms of the manure, soil, microflora, etc.). Some of it sounds a little hokey to me, but most of it is just farming at it’s most basic. The animals eat the grasses and other naturally occurring plants, produce manure, and the farmed plants get nutrients and pesticides from the manure and other fermented by-products of farming. There’s currently no government… Read more »
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Thank you for your post, I now will add biodynamics to my “things that make me go hmmmm” list.

JohnC
JohnC
3 years 9 months ago

Most of what you describe comes from “Permaculture” practices, the “biodynamic” part is all the mysticism and “woo” that was tacked on to standard permacultural practices which are based on observation and science and practicality above all.

JohnC
JohnC
3 years 9 months ago

Biodynamics has a lot of standard organic / permaculture ideas mixed in with a lot of counterfactual mysticism that I would charitably call “woo”.

Opera
Opera
3 years 9 months ago

+2!!!

Doug D
Doug D
3 years 9 months ago

+1 Totally agree!

go organic it's better for the planet

+1

Chicken Lady
3 years 9 months ago
My husband and I keep bees and sell honey. In small operations like ours, honey extracted and put into a container for sale is typically STRAINED by purely mechanical methods (ie. stainless steel screening of progressively fine degree) using GRAVITY. This keeps dead bees and wax chunks out of the finished product. Ultra-filtration involves heating the honey and pushing it using high pressure through filters that screen out all pollen. Pollen is what’s used to identify a honey’s provenance–pollen has DNA. Ultra-filtration is what makes honey “UN-RAW” (and untraceable!). It’s necessary when you’re processing hundreds of thousands of gallons from… Read more »
Groktimus Primal
3 years 9 months ago

Proposed wew word “Organimacal”

Harry Mossman
3 years 9 months ago

Thanks Mark. Reasonable posts like this are part of the reason Primal can become the mainstream standard, whereas rigid approaches like strict paleo can never be anything but a fringe movement.

Luckily, I am able to get every kind of organic produce at the Sacramento Natural Foods co-op at reasonable prices. (At least every kind of produce that is produced on the west coast, plus a few exotics like bananas.)

I do try to always buy organic for the environment and the workers, but I understand that not everyone can.

Ben
Ben
3 years 9 months ago

But who would want to contribute to conventional farming unless its the only thing available…. just sayin

rob
rob
3 years 9 months ago

I’m with you it’ll be a cold day in hell before I support those parasites, just the thought of it makes my blood boil.

mamab
mamab
3 years 9 months ago
Well, I don’t like conventional farming any more than anyone else. BUT – without it, how will the roiling masses of people going to eat? I can’t imagine all the city dwellers growing a garden, keeping a couple of pigs, chicken, milk cow etc in their back yards – thats even if they have a back yard. I grow a lot of my food, but we get frost 9 months of the year, live remotely and do not have access to a whole lot of organic food… so contributing to conventional farming just happens. Just saying, conventional farming is here… Read more »
Amy
Amy
3 years 9 months ago

Even if it’s not ideal, conventional farming *is* feeding the masses. It’s a miracle in it’s own right.

Our next step is taking conventional far along the organic route as possible. 🙂

Kat
3 years 9 months ago

For the record, organic production has been shown to produce similar or higher yields as conventional. It’ll do better as the climate gets crazier.

“The researchers found that yields in developed countries were almost equal between organic and conventional farms, while food production in developing countries could double or triple by going organic.”

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2007/07/organic-farming-can-feed-world

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago
I agree about the next step. Feeding the masses using modern agriculture techniques is also highly subsidized through legislation. That is the seen. But lets put on our “Bastiat Hat” and think about the unseen, such as an increase need for health care due to the masses having poor diet. Healthcare is also subsidized and driven by more legislation than true market forces. Subsidization can take the form of lower taxes to niche producers to the outright transfer of money to specific sectors. Either way both are wealth transfers that distort market signals that negatively affects the end customer.
Amy
Amy
3 years 9 months ago

“For the record, organic production has been shown to produce similar or higher yields as conventional. ”

To be complete skeptical, I doubt it. Conventional farmers are into yields as a marker for profitability. Agricultural colleges and private research firms work on yields full time time. If organic was really capable of those same low cost high yields, I tend to think they’d be all over it.

But hopefully I’m wrong. If you are correct, then pulling conventional towards organic should be an easier task then I’m thinking it is right now.

lethargist
lethargist
3 years 9 months ago

This brings up a conversation I would love to see on MDA. It’s clear that without cheap carbs, without cheap oil, the current population of 7 billion would be impossible. Just how many people living primally could this planet support? What are the implications of this uncomfortable question to those of us who believe we are eating and living as we were designed to live?

SharonV
SharonV
3 years 9 months ago
Among educated countries, the birth rate is already falling. As developing countries develop further, their birth rates will fall as well. We have better birth control options than ever before, and we are able to choose the size of our families. Also, there are many people out there who have developed fertility issues due to their consumption of a SAD diet. The extent of this is alarming, since the SAD has only been advocated since the 70’s, only enough time for 2 generations. Overall, this leads me to believe that people ating traditional non-SAD diets will quietly replace the others.… Read more »
Riki
Riki
3 years 9 months ago

demand created supply. don’t buy something, and people will stop making it. create a need, people will supply it. plain and simple.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Rut roh, the Say’s Law debate continues…

The reader’s digest version.

Say: If individuals wish to procure a good they must give something in return that is also desirable to individuals. Therefore in order for one to be a consumer one must first be a producer of a good in which others find utility.

This is like the chicken vs egg debate of economics. I for one am still reading and thinking on the matter.

Trish
Trish
3 years 9 months ago

True but if people practiced restraint then the thousands of tons of food sent to land fill every year would probably go a long way to feeding the masses

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 9 months ago
So you’re telling me starving kids in Uganda would gladly have my lima beans? Even granting your dubious assertion, the question is why do people overbuy? For purveyors of food, when they toss perfectly good product, the reason is always some arbitrary nanny-state reg. By the time I buy it, it is already too late to change the buying pattern. I certainly don’t throw out very much food if any but when i do, I’ve overestimated how much the 3, 2, and 1 year old will eat. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am pretty loathe to throw… Read more »
J
J
3 years 9 months ago

Those of us who are on a budget. And the “but think of the healthcare costs down the road” line of thought is nice, but not feasible for us living week-to-week where every dollar is accounted for before it’s in the bank account. I can buy a dozen small organic pastured eggs for $3.49, or I can buy two dozen extra-large regular eggs for $2.49. Yeah, they were from unhappy chickens, but how unhappy is my family going to be when it’s still 3 days til payday and we’re out of our food staples?

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
3 years 9 months ago

+1

Nathan
3 years 9 months ago

Good point. Not to mention that going from potato chips to strawberries is a far bigger leap towards the healthy than going from organic strawberries to conventional ones. You don’t have to buy organic to eat healthy.

CrazyCatLady
CrazyCatLady
3 years 9 months ago

I suspect that Maple Syrup is another that you don’t need to worry about.

Amy
Amy
3 years 9 months ago

Yes – the organic standards are mostly about keeping the trees healthy. There’s very little in maple syrup production that needs the use of pesticides.(I had a website client who was a maple producer going organic and she gave me an overview of the standards.)

Charlayna
3 years 9 months ago

Birch syrup probably belongs on this list too.

lisa m
lisa m
3 years 9 months ago

I love my cheese burgers far to much to do any of this stuff. It is interesting to read about though.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Ahh-haa! Proof to the half full/half empty debate. 1) Not full 2) Not empty 3) Not the undecisive ping-ponger, but 4) The “hey! I thought I ordered a cheeseburger!”.

Validation.

Stacey
Stacey
3 years 9 months ago

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have oyster and mussle farming all around. I stay away from all of that. Our waters are polluted! We have big signs everywhere to not ingest anything in these water and yet we sell all of those things mentioned in your article. Buyer BEWARE!

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Interesting. I eat raw bar once a week and often see shellfish from Olympic Pennisula area. I stick with seafood from the Prince Edward Sound.

Amy
Amy
3 years 9 months ago

Mark – Thanks for this post on what’s okay to eat conventional – that’s why I enjoy this blog so much. 🙂 Lots of flexibility while still pursuing the ideal.

Patrick
Patrick
3 years 9 months ago
I really like the ideas and nutrition philosophy supported by MDA and its followers, but I find it hard to believe that Mark, and others, are comfortable eating conventionally grown food. I think the amount of pesticides used on any specific crop is a moot point. Just the fact that we have become accustomed to accept the ingestion of ANY toxic/carcinogenic chemicals is just a measure of how far our culture has strayed away from a healthy and sustainable existence. It is the internalization of economics over health and people. I no doubt consume conventionally grown produce and foods from… Read more »
Alyssa
Alyssa
3 years 9 months ago

It’s not a matter of being ‘comfortable’ with conventional food. It’s a matter of addressing the harsh realities that sometimes, people are just lucky they can afford more than Ramen. I am thankful that I personally am not in that position, but there are plenty of people who are, and I think it’s important to try and see things from their perspective.

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
3 years 9 months ago

arent you lucky that you clearly dont have to worry about money? buy what you want, and there is still money left at the end of the month! just seems to me, people with this attitude never needed to “budget” b/c money was never a problem…

Patrick
Patrick
3 years 9 months ago

Actually, I have a pretty strict budget and have been on foods stamps for years. Money has been a problem for a long time. With the state’s assistance, buying organic has become easier, no doubt. I realize there are economic barriers that need to be addressed, but I think even people on a budget can do a lot to incorporate more organic/pastured foods into their diets. I didn’t mean to trivialize this…..

Nathan
3 years 9 months ago

Some organic compounds can be toxic as well. As I stated in previous comment. I’d rather see people eating conventional fruits than potato chips. After all, switching from junk food to fruit is a huge leap compared to switching from conventional fruit to organic fruit.

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 9 months ago

On such a large scale, the choice is either ingest tiny amounts of unfriendly chemicals or ingest large amounts of unfriendly bugs. Let’s not pretend all that is natural is healthful.

Xin
Xin
2 years 27 days ago
“…ingest large amounts of unfriendly bugs. Let’s not pretend all that is natural is healthful.” Humans have been consuming bugs for a very long time. Though modern-day bugs, or the specific bugs which get into our produce, may not necessarily have only eaten extremely cleanly, given the current state of global, ubiquitous pollution. (I would not eat a cockroach in a modern-day city. If I were alive 10,000 years ago and encountered a cockroach, I likely would. The same goes for the common “fried crickets”.) Regardless, there are standards for both organic and non-organic produce regarding the allowable amount of… Read more »
Xin
Xin
2 years 27 days ago

There are, for instance, stories of Native American chiefs who would pick the bugs off of their bodies and eat with relish as they sat and talked, noted by the white men who conversed with them at the time.

Bugs are also (still) commonly eaten in parts of Asia, especially southeast Asia.

I’d imagine they’re eaten in Africa as well, along with frogs, etc.

(Perhaps I am missing a deeper, unstated argument you have as to why ingesting large amounts of bugs is “unfriendly,” though?

It certainly does not seem inherently so.)

Xin
Xin
2 years 27 days ago
Kudos for speaking from a perspective that actually strives towards objectivity, regardless of whether you’re always able to “choose to eat” an organically grown crop over an organic one”. What is common is rarely objectively… healthy these days, and I seem to find that treating “convenience” and “availability” as equivalent to “fine” promotes an inertia and incorrect approach to the chemicalling of the earth. …while the solution is likely MUCH more complex than “just don’t use those chemicals, ever”… simply accepting more or less unnecessary chemicals in our foods and environments in a “set amount” — which has in many… Read more »
George
George
3 years 9 months ago

Keep forgetting to buy sweet potatoes, guess I think of them as being a bit too “starchy” but I’ll do some research on them, have heard they are really good for you, and I’ll probably buy some this weekend. Honey has a lot of (natural) sugar, so a little goes a long way but has all kinds of great properties, think I’ll pick up some raw, local produced honey for a change of pace. Thanks Mark!

Lauren
3 years 9 months ago

Sweet, I eat a lot of these vegetables already (non-organically) so this makes me feel a bit better about my food choices!!

Michelle
3 years 9 months ago

One thing I worry about with non-organic coconut oil is chemical extraction and deoderizing processes that can be used. Maybe I am just paranoid?

Joyce
Joyce
3 years 9 months ago

No, you are not paranoid; I agree with you. There is nothing wrong the coconut itself-it’s the chemicals/deoderizing agents that are used that are bad for you. I think organic is still best for Coconut oil.

Sterling
Sterling
3 years 9 months ago

Mark: What about yams? Same as sweet potatoes. I much prefer yams.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Yams are not the same as sweet potatoes. Careful, if Chris Kimball reads or hears this talk he may slap you.

Mark A
Mark A
3 years 9 months ago

Although in American grocery stores, yam and sweet potato are used interchangeably. You almost never see true yams except in specialty etchnic markets.

I think Mark has a post about this too.

Alexis
Alexis
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah I dont agree with this at all. I think organic over conventional any day is better.

Alyssa
Alyssa
3 years 9 months ago

He’s not arguing that conventional is better. He’s giving the ‘lesser of the evils’ for people who simply cannot afford organic.

AC
AC
3 years 9 months ago

I use an app called “seafood watch””. I believe the Monterey Bay Aquarium participates. Anyway, if you type in the seafood you’d like to eat, It will let you know whether farmed or wild or any other restrictions are better or worse for you. For instance fish from Vietnam is a no-no.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

There are pilot programs that track fresh seafood to where the seafood is caught. A few restaurants by me have 2D barcodes that provides the catch date, the boat name, the destributor (if any). Neat stuff.

Tracy
Tracy
3 years 9 months ago

What about fresh coconuts? I had heard the were dunked in some chemical to preserve them which leeches through the shell. I buy two a week and they are only 69p in Uk supermarkets but this has put me off a bit.

Emily
Emily
3 years 9 months ago

I have heard young Thai coconuts are shipped in formaldehyde to preserve them and keep them “fresh”. Apparently, one of the tell-tale signs is any coconut water drawn from Thai coconuts have a bluish tint to them. I’ve tried looking for a reliable source on the web to confirm or deny this but haven’t found one. Anyone else heard of this? I’ve stuck to organic coconut just to be safe.

Sharon
Sharon
3 years 9 months ago

I wonder if it would be possible for some knowledgeable person(s) to set up a fact finding website for food. Ya know, like the political ones or the other ones that sort through all the weird things passed around the internet.

Probably impossible or it would have been done by now. I can only dream.

Denise
Denise
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah, I’ve sadly always heard that too. There are people importing organic young coconuts but you have to buy WAY more than what I could use, especially as they go bad quickly without the chemicals.

French
French
3 years 9 months ago

@michelle@primalsmoke:

Coconut oil is either refined or unrefined. The refined is the stuff that gets processed (sometimes chemically) to deoderize, etc.

The best way to be safe with coconut oil is to always buy unrefined.

Greg
Greg
3 years 9 months ago

Great post. Would like to see something similar about fish, re mercury levels etc.

Warren
Warren
3 years 9 months ago
Regarding honey, I also keep my own beehives and sell my excess honey. In addition to buying raw, I also feel it is crucial to seek out wild and/or treatment-free honey. Virtually all beekeepers (organic or conventional) use treatments in their hives in an attempt to control outcomes and kill non-bee organisms such as mites, fungi, and bacteria. They also give the bees supplemental feed in an attempt to boost productivity. Conventional beekeepers are known to use toxic chemicals to treat their hives. These chemicals are so dangerous, the beekeepers must wear hazmat suits, respirators, and chemical resistant gloves when… Read more »
Helga
Helga
3 years 9 months ago

My husband has been keeping bees for several years. There is absolutely nothing on earth quite like homegrown honey still in the waxy comb. Occasionally having to scoop out bits of bees is a small price to pay to enjoy this delicacy (though not, of course, for the bees)!

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

Even though I read the thread about bee keeping, it wasn’t until your post that the SNL skit with Conan Obrian dressed as a bee keeper claiming he was a member of the Village People came to mind. Thank you!

Helga
Helga
3 years 9 months ago

I’ll have to look that one up on YouTube!

Mark A
Mark A
3 years 9 months ago

I read about rooftop beekeepers in NYC who were baffled that the honey was so dark brown and odd tasting. It turned out that the bees were drinking a lot of cola from discarded cans, cups,and bottles. Things started to improve when other rooftop gardeners started putting in flowering plants that gave the bees a better food source.

jackie
jackie
3 years 9 months ago

what about the chemical fertilizers? that’s one reason why i try to eat everything organically grown.

LisaLisa
LisaLisa
3 years 9 months ago

I’ve heard this too, and also that there is often spraying of an entire shipment in transit…particularly avocados, coconuts and bananas.

Clint
Clint
3 years 9 months ago

When buying honey, be sure to ask the beekeeper if he uses miticides on the bees. Some beekeepers do this and all honey should be removed before it’s applied. Best is to find a beekeeper who doesn’t use them at all.

jaime
jaime
3 years 9 months ago

Great article, but what about buying organic to do our part for soil and water health as well as for the workers who are picking, harvesting and handling the food? I think buying organic is more than just what’s getting through the plant skin or in our own body.

Alyssa
Alyssa
3 years 9 months ago

“However, even if the following conventional foods are relatively safe for your health, some would argue that you should still buy organic in order to support the workers and protect the environments exposed to agricultural chemicals. That’s totally valid, and it’s part of the reason why I try to buy organic, but it’s not what I’m discussing here. It’s a topic for another time. Today is about maximizing the health of you and your family while cutting costs when and where you can.”

Nick
Nick
3 years 9 months ago

Don’t like the idea of beekeeping and like even less, the selling of “excess” honey. You should allow the bees to keep any “excess” honey. After all they made it for themselves, not humans.

Helga
Helga
3 years 9 months ago

Fair enough, but everything you eat is food taken from the maw of some other creature. The key is BALANCE.

And in defense of backyard beekeepers, those of us trying to raise bees with a hands-off, chemical-free approach, we are now being seen as bee guardians. When Monsanto takes an interest in the “health and welfare” of honeybee populations –and they have–watch out!

Keenan
Keenan
3 years 9 months ago

“domestic conventional (referring to the United States) is far better than *domestic imported.”

Don’t you mean “conventional imported”?

Kurt
Kurt
3 years 9 months ago

I have always wondered about leg of lamb from New Zealand. I Think they are pasture raised and not fed GMO grains. Any thoughts on this?

Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 9 months ago
When I grew up in NZ back in the 70’s, we drove to the mountain (to ski) 4 hrs away most w/ends and holidays in autumn, winter and spring and my main memory was seeing paddock after field after land mass sprinkled liberally with sheep. They were EVERYwhere. White fluff against mid-dark green. All the time, for most of the drive, standard sight, ad nauseum. Sometimes cows, mostly sheep. We saw it, ate it, yum, mutton.. I didn’t really notice how few there were as I started making the drive myself in the mid- late 1990’s. I was sort-of a… Read more »
Neo
2 years 5 months ago
Im glad you left NZ! We have always and still are GM\GE FREE!…. Where are these rows and rows and rows of GM Horticulture that you speak of? Although not a fan of 1080, how else do you save our Kiwi’s? 10820 is generally only dropped in deep bush Inaccessible for preditor control, not where Veges are grown. I have absolutly no problem finding Organic food in Auckland, from local Farmers markets to NZ owned and operated New World supermarkets who sell plenty of Organic certified produce, and continue to increase their range, and some even getting RATA certification (RATA… Read more »
Karma
3 years 9 months ago

Luckily where we live (Belize), everything we get is local, fresh, free-range, grass-fed and organic. They don’t use any chemicals around here. And cows, chickens and whatnot just graze on the land. Got to love it. 🙂

Helga
Helga
3 years 9 months ago

That was once true of Ireland, but now I’m told they’re importing chickens from Asia.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago

That makes me a sad panda.

icitizen
icitizen
3 years 9 months ago

Mark
interesting list
thanks for the details
is important to have distinctions
and choice

Jennifer
Jennifer
3 years 9 months ago

Hey guys. I may have just not noticed if someone has brought this up, but does anyone know how this non-organic produce would tie into GMOs? I know I try and buy organic (local, when possible) not only because of the pesticide usage, but because the seeds of organic produce are not allowed to be genetically modified. Anyone have any other info on this? Thanks in advance!!

Helga
Helga
3 years 9 months ago

Read “Seeds of Deception” and watch “Genetic Roulette”, both by Jeffrey M. Smith, the leading US activist against GMOs.

Shelley
Shelley
3 years 9 months ago

Artisana Coconut Butter is the bomb! Heaven on a spoon! Warning: It is addicting! Yum to the O!

Scott
3 years 9 months ago

As a small time beekeeper, I must say thanks! I can’t tell you how many times people try my raw, local (my hives are 100% untreated and organic as well but I’m just within 5 miles of non-organic farmers so I can’t get the distinction)honey for the first time and literally can’t stop from smiling because they can’t believe the flavor explosion. Especially when compared to supermarket honey, raw, local honey is, well….special.

Helga
Helga
3 years 9 months ago

Too right! Our first year, the honey tasted like mint, because we had some mint plants that had found their way into our yard from our neighbour’s yard. The bees couldn’t get enough of it. That was truly the most amazing honey I’ve ever tasted.

We are admittedly a bit stingy with our honey, and only share it with family and friends.

primal_alex
3 years 9 months ago

Parmigiano Reggiano is organic by law in Italy.

Don’t spend twice for one just because it proudly exhibit the “I’m organic” label.

Just my two cents.

Pam
Pam
2 years 9 months ago
I always have two pots of honey on my table: one very local and one organic, from Italy (I live in Southern France). I like to change kind often, different tastes, different textures… I read that when it comes to organic honeys, the beekeepers are not allowed to use paints or plastics in the hives and that the hives must be set up in areas far away from highways, industrial areas, etc. I guess there are quite a few controls to get and keep the organic label (called AB in France), so I think that might be safer to buy… Read more »
Jim McVean
Jim McVean
3 years 9 months ago

Wanted to comment that in this country sweet potatoes and yams are essentially the same. One would have to go to Africa to get true yams.

Susan
Susan
3 years 9 months ago

We now keep bees and harvest our own honey. Beware that most bees are FED SUGAR WATER and sprayed with chemicals for diseases. Unfortunately, even ‘organic’ honeybees are usually fed sugar water and sprayed. I got local honey from our farmers market for years where the bees were fed inorganic sugar water.

Kat
Kat
3 years 9 months ago

Just wanted to point out that using the word “organic” in any relation to seafood (of the saltwater variety) is a misnomer. There is no such thing as organic seafood, whether farmed or not, since there are pollutants in even the most remote areas of the oceans!

That being said, please do your research on sustainable species and fishing practices beforehand. Searching ‘sustainable seafood advisory lists’ on wikipedia gives a great list of organizations. Although wild is usually best, mussels, for example, are actually more enviromentally-friendly when farmed- harvesting wild mussels can often involve dredging which damages the ocean floor.

Ev Barney
Ev Barney
3 years 9 months ago

Mussels are one of my favorite foods. They are a MUST HAVE on my birthday! I’m glad to know the farmed ones are best.

Ev Barney
Ev Barney
3 years 9 months ago

Thanks for helping my food budget! I’ve been popping the extra for organic coconut and avocado because of the fats, (all the poison is in the fat, right? Guess not!)

jacquie
jacquie
3 years 9 months ago

Check out the slums of India and the leprosy settlements…..what can we do for them?

Riki
Riki
3 years 9 months ago

urine of fasting people has been tested for chemicals, and high levels of pesticides show up. So they accumulate in our system (fat and cells in general).

jacquie
jacquie
3 years 9 months ago
A lot of people in this world dont have enough to eat, how can we as a compassionate affluent society helps those? This thought was triggered when I was thinking on feeding the world on organics. I eat largely organic and fresh local farmers market stuff, i am very fortunate i also have clean water. But i have memory flashbacks of some extreme poverty i had seen in.India. One fine day after a month of no fruits, i decided to go to the fresh market….it was 30 mins drive away in a tut tut, a motorised rickshaw, i saw a… Read more »
Riki
Riki
3 years 9 months ago
um, buy them food? I donate to charities regularly, in the mean time, take care of your health and that of the planet. pesticides ruin the environment, so it’s also about taking care of the planet we all live in, for without it, people have nowhere to live. So when you buy your organic food, you are making a responsible choice for the future of the planet. An investment in it. Meanwhile, give what you can of your time and money to those in need. Imagine if everyone did that? What a would it would be. Everyone can do their… Read more »
Helga
Helga
3 years 9 months ago

Contrary to what Monsanto would have us believe, there is no shortage of food in the world. There is, in fact, a surplus. The problem is that the poorest populations can’t afford that food.

During the Great Famine in Ireland (1845-1852) an estimated one million people died because a single crop –the lowly potato– failed year after year. It’s hard to believe, but throughout the famine, Ireland actually EXPORTED large quantities of food to England! The food was there, the money to buy it wasn’t.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 9 months ago
“Charities are largely counterproductive. Their main beneficiaries are not the intended recipients, but the givers. They get some tax benefits, but mainly they get the holy high of do-goodism. Frankly, the idea of charity itself is corrupting to both parties in the transaction. “For instance, take Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Both are geniuses at their businesses. But they’re the type of geniuses I consider to be idiot savants. If they really wanted to improve the state of the world, they should continue doing what they do best, which is accumulating wealth. Or, actually, creating it – as opposed to… Read more »
Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 9 months ago

Amen brothah.

trackback
3 years 9 months ago

[…] for Thought:  Dissecting Anti-Nutrients: The Good and Bad of Phytic Acid, 7 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic & Top 9 Most Important Foods to Buy Organic Filed Under: Daily WOD · Comments […]

Val
Val
3 years 9 months ago

Has anyone thought about the idea that these foods still have been altered. Look at the size difference between organic vs conventional. There’s not just a little difference the conventional foods fruits and vegs. are HUGE! Thats enough to keep me from buying anything conventional. Don’t forget about the bad fertilizers they use as well.

Madama Butterfry
Madama Butterfry
3 years 9 months ago

I went to a playgroup end-of-year morning tea party and someone brought conventional strawberries. The giant monster strawberry I bit in to made me want to gag; the flavour was bland, the texture was floury, but I was brought up to be polite so I finished it. Wish I’d never started it. Grotesque foodstuff.

Victor Dorfman
3 years 9 months ago

Ah, good to know about the coconuts. Here in Miami Beach, local hustlers chop down coconuts and sell them with a straw popping out to thirsty tourists. I’ve always wondered whether the crap they use to maintain the oceanfront park seeps into the coconut somehow…guess not!

wpDiscuz