Buying organic. What to buy?

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When buying organic, especially in a supermarket, you can easily become overwhelmed. It’s sometimes hard to decide which items you should be buying organic and which items it is ok to skip over. You can find just about anything from organic tooth paste and laundry detergent to cereal and diapers. The question is, what are the items you REALLY should be buying organic and which items can we live without? When you buy something organic you are buying it because of a few reasons. Maybe because it’s more nutritious, healthier, humanely raised, grown and ripened naturally.

The most important products to buy organic are your produce, meats, vegetables, dairy, and eggs. It is very important to buy organic fruits and vegetables where the skin is eaten. Organic doesn’t always mean healthy; you’ll find items such as organic chips, candy, and frozen foods. Some of these items you can skip over. They are more expensive and lose mostly all their nutrition in the pre-packing process. Always read labels when buying organic pre-packed items and make sure ALL the ingredients are organic in the ingredient label not just ONE. Below you will find information on the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” from the Environmental Working Group’s website. The EWG lists the fruits and vegetables that should be bought organic and which ones you can live without buying in organic.

Highlights of Dirty Dozen™ 2015

EWG singles out produce with the highest pesticide loads for its Dirty Dozen™ list. This year, it is comprised of apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes.
Each of these foods tested positive a number of different pesticide residues and showed higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce items.
Key findings:
99 percent of apple samples, 98 percent of peaches, and 97 percent of nectarines tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other produce.
A single grape sample and a sweet bell pepper sample contained 15 pesticides.
Single samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.
The Clean Fifteen™

EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ list of produce least likely to hold pesticide residues consists of avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticides on them.
Key findings:
Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.
Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.
See the full list (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php).

The definition of “organic,” according to the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA): Animal products sold or labeled as organically produced are not given any kind of antibiotics or growth hormones, are only fed with organic feed and are not administered any type of medication aside from vaccinations or to treat an illness. Fruits and vegetables that are labeled and sold as organic are grown without using most pesticides or fertilizers with synthetic ingredients; there is no irradiation treatment; seeds and transplants are chemical-free; the fertilizer is natural (http://www.eatingwell.com/food_news_origins/organic_natural/why_buy_organic_7_questions_about_organics_answered?page=2).

Hopefully this information will help you eat cleaner and smarter when it comes to organic.

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