Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Apr

Guide to the Care & Feeding of Organicans, Part 1

A self-described starving student recently wrote to me asking if it’s more important to focus on organic produce or organic meat & dairy at the grocery store. I get asked this question fairly often, so let’s talk about it.

Organic food costs can easily rival student loan payments – so, if you’re young or simply on a tight budget and you have to make a choice, what do you buy? Does organic food of any kind even make a difference (aside from the dent in your bank account)? The answer, my would-be organicans, is yes.

Organic produce is grown without the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals and is environmentally-sustainable. Organic meat and dairy is raised and produced according to similar regulations. The animals can’t be mistreated (a matter of course for regular meat) and they must be fed the food that nature intended. Hormones, antibiotics and fillers are big no-no’s. Organic products of any kind, as a rule, are ostensibly good for the environment. Though there is a fair amount of weaseling and hype in the organic industry (as with any industry) that’s a topic for another time.

Don’t listen to the naysayers. Eating organic food is a healthy habit. Local and organic is even better. But, if you’re on a budget thanks to Sallie Mae, I recommend focusing on organic animal products and buying the cheaper conventional chemical-bathed produce. Just invest two bucks in a really aggressive scrub brush.

scrubbrush

This Photo Belongs to Raraavis619

Here’s why:

A lot of people get excited about organic produce and forget all about the animal products. But what’s the use in eating a bowl of organic salad greens topped with grilled meat that is loaded up with hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals and was fed on greens loaded with hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals? When you eat conventional animal products, not only are you ingesting your very own pharmacological experiment, but you’re supporting (and eating) the non-organic feed that fattened up that hoofed friend.

Like I always say, you can wash the chemicals off a cucumber. I’m not sure how to do that with milk (although this little one has it all figured out).

Apples: If you have to make budget-friendly choices at the market, what do you choose? What are your tips for eating organic without breaking the bank? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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  1. My theory on the cost of eating organic and sustainably grown food is that though it costs more, I hope to save money in the long run by spending less on health care and medications. Plus I’ll have better health now and be able to enjoy my God-given life. In addition, by not buying bread and other processed products like crackers, cookies, cereal, pasta, etc., I’m putting that money to better food. Those things are expensive! A loaf of bread is triple what I paid 15 years ago – ugh! A tip that I have to help pick and choose what to buy organic/non-organic is to use the phone app by the EWG called “Dirty Dozen” which gives the EWG’s latest list of the most/least pesticide laden fruits and veggies. So if something is #40 of the most contaminated, I don’t worry so much about buying conventional but if something is in top 10-15 (like grapes, apples and strawberries which my kids eat a ton of) I always buy organic. And as for meat, I always buy grass fed beef and free range chicken. I feel like I’m poisoning myself with the “other” kind. And eggs….pastured eggs are the SO much better tasting! Totally worth the $$$ since we eat them daily and don’t want “sub-par” food in this body – LOL. Hope this helps someone pick and choose wisely. Have a great day:)

    Debbie wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  2. I’ve given up buying organic produce in favor of putting my money towards organic meat instead. With conventional produce, sure you’re getting a few more chemicals than you’d like, but you can just scrub harder. With conventional meat, however, you’re getting a few chemicals AND hormones AND antibiotics AND who knows what with your food, gross.
    Also, as a yoga teacher, while I’m not going to give up meat (as the rare Paleo/yogi breed), I would rather my meat be respected and treated kindly and this kind of treatment is more likely at smaller farms.

    Annette wrote on January 5th, 2014

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