I’d love to grow all of my own organic fruit and vegetables. Failing that, I’d love to buy everything organic from a really good local source. Sadly, in the real word, financial constraints mean I can’t afford to buy all of my produce organic. I prioritise my spending towards very good quality, grass fed, organic meat, as I feel that this is extremely important. When it comes to buying fruit and veg, this means I just cannot buy everything organic. I therefore have to choose a few items to buy the more expensive organic versions of, with the remainder being the cheaper non-organic versions.
Organic farming is a more natural approach, free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) and synthetic chemicals (such as herbicides, growth promoters, hormones and pesticides). Crops are rotated and naturally good soil promoted – this produces far more nutritious produce with higher levels of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The chemicals used in non-organic farming may also remain on the fruit and vegetables we eat – some of these chemicals have been linked to cancers and nervous and endocrine problems. These chemicals and farming methods are not Paleo or optimum for our help. The purpose of the chemicals is to make farming more profitable.
How to Choose?
Initially, I’ll shop around to see where I can find good quality produce at good prices. Often certain suppliers will have good offers, or end of day reductions.
I often use the “dirty dozen” rules to decide what I should buy the organic version of – and what I am more likely to be able to get away with eating the non-organic version for.
The dirty dozen is based on testing in the US on a wide range of fruit and vegetables. The items were tested for residual amounts of pesticides and compares, to provide a “dirty dozen” list of items that frequently contain high levels of chemicals. The list also includes items which consistently tested with very low levels of residual chemicals. Whilst this list was compiled in America, I think it is still of value in Australia and New Zealand, as pesticide absorption seems to be based on the structure of the plant and how porous and thick the skin is.
The Dirty Dozen
The dirty dozen produce seems to vary slightly depending on where you look, but these are commonly featured: –
- Strawberries/ Blueberries
Fortunately, not eating starchy tubers, I don’t eat potatoes. I also don’t eat much fruit, as I'm trying to minimise my sugar consumption. This makes my “must by organic” list quite reasonable.
How much of your intake is organic? How do you prioritise what to buy organic?