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    Michigan's Avatar
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    Eating only organic?

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    Hey everyone, I wanted to hear your thoughts on food and its quality. Obviously everybody would eat organic foods if it was a little more affordable. What advice do you have for someone who cannot always afford grass fed meat, wild caught fish, free range eggs, etc...? I'm able to get organic stuff maybe 40% of the time. Since I have increased my meat intake, I'm a little worried about the increased hormones and antibiotics I'm getting from my meets, not to mention pesticides from my veggies.

    Any thoughts?
    Thank you

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    noodletoy's Avatar
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    do not let perfection be the enemy of the good.

    i have my doubts about organic produce that is from china or south america. its carbon footprint is terrible, enforcement and accuracy are lax at best and mostly it tastes like cardboard since it's picked unripe and shipped thousands of miles.

    wild fish like sardines can be had dirt cheap.

    pastured local eggs are still very cheap (relatively speaking) as is grass-fed dairy. i do not skimp there.

    any "toxins" in meat gets stored in the fat so just trim or buy very lean.

    i do the best i can on my budget but still figure i am far better off than anybody eating lots of grain, processed foods and junk oils.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    – Ernest Hemingway

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    bazzz's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry about it. There's not a lot of credible evidence to suggest any health benefits to organic over non-organic produce. I think it's a nice idea if you can afford it and choose to spend your money that way, but it's probably not all that important.

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    This is just my opinion, and there will be lots of disagreement, I'm sure.

    For me, the biggest issues on animals are: hormones, GMO feed, antibiotics, and aside from health, disgusting living conditions. Cattle (and dairy) are subjected to them all. So, I've cut back on beef and only eat grass fed. I'm as choosy about cheese, yogurt, and butter also. If I drank milk, I'd be the same. I think it's extremely cruel to feed ruminants grain, so that's an issue also. Sheep/lamb falls here also, but fortunately for me, I can think of many protein sources that are cheaper than lamb, so it's not a big worry.

    Pigs and chickens are omnivores, so feeding them grain doesn't seem as cruel to me. Also, the economics of raising truly foraged pigs is such that if it's done, only the affluent can afford to eat the resulting product (unless of course you're just raising the one pig for your own consumption). Still, they are subject to GMO feed, antibiotics, and terrible living conditions. However, I'm nowhere near affluent. So, I do the best I can. Antibiotic-free, organic (no GMO feed), and if I can find animals only supplemented with feed, I prefer to eat them. I am not above eating CAFO chicken and pork.

    I don't have a lot of experience with goat, and I've vetted my supplier and am satisfied with that farm's practices.

    Free range is a legal USDA definition and means next to nothing. The chickens only are required to have access to outdoors. A small square of concrete is fine. Again, the economics of truly foraging chickens makes these eggs inaccessible to some. Farm eggs go for about $4-6 a dozen where I am. Damn, I can pick up a dozen CAFO eggs at the sleaziest corner or liquor store for less than half that. I'm not above eating these.

    Fish. The thought of my food swimming in antibiotic and feces-laden water gives me the schkeves. I'd rather eat canned wild salmon (mediocre as far as taste) than "fresh" farmed salmon. Wild salmon is of course best. Lower cost (sometimes) alternatives are canned sardines (careful of the oil in these), herring, and others. Remember to prorate those little cans over the per pound price so you don't get screwed. But with cans you get into the issue of BPA in the can linings. Some people believe this is an issue and some believe it's a non-issue. This is a tough category, unless you live on one of the coasts or buy in bulk.

    Produce. There are many producers of produce that sell at farmers' markets that aren't legally Certified Organic, but that could qualify if they were willing to pay certification fees to the government. Check those out. If grocery stores are your only source, and you can't always afford organic, I'd check out The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 here: Summary | EWG's 2015 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ and here: Summary | EWG's 2015 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ for some guidance on which traditionally grown veggies have the highest and lowest levels of pesticides.

    After that, do the best that you can. Avoid "poisons," and you'll be doing yourself a world of good.
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    picklepete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigan View Post
    I'm a little worried about the increased hormones and antibiotics I'm getting from my meets, not to mention pesticides from my veggies.
    There is a large category of animal products that is hormone- and antibiotic-free but not organic (a more expensive and demanding certification). The best options may be hiding in a co-op or ethnic grocery freezer, snoop around. If it's a cash issue one could make it through most of a week with quality eggs, lamb liver, mackerel, pollock, squid, turkey wings spending relatively little.

    I don't buy organic plants. Most of them get peeled, and those that don't (leaves) should be rinsed anyway. Organic produce also uses plenty of pesticides, just different ones.
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    Michigan's Avatar
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    Interesting viewpoints, I appreciate everyone's input!

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    plenty of vegetables are treated with systemic pesticides and those do not rinse or peel off.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    – Ernest Hemingway

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    Quote Originally Posted by picklepete View Post
    Organic produce also uses plenty of pesticides, just different ones.
    And some of the pesticides on the gubamint "approved" list are just as deadly as any conventional pesticide....

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    Just because a food has "organic" on the label doesn't necessarily make it magically healthy... A Twinkie made with organic sugar, and organic flour is just as bad for you as the regular Twinkie...... "Organic" food is no magic fairy-dust laden health tonic....

    Organically grown hemlock is still poisonous......
    Last edited by ssn679doc; 05-28-2015 at 11:43 PM.

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    Organic or not, the amount of pesticide residues found on food items are several orders of magnitude below levels that would be considered harmful, so there's probably nothing to worry about. I never rinse produce unless there's a lot of dirt on it. Even then, I usually just brush it off. The "Toxicity" section of this article is quite amusing:

    Salt, Vinegar, and Glyphosate | Control Freaks

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