Posted in Healthy Eating

Should I Buy Organic? By Gretchen Scalpi RD, CDE

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter or blog visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

We all know it’s important to eat more fruit and vegetables.  But concerns about the safety of conventionally grown produce versus organically grown has become a subject of concern as well.

 

 Produce that is organic has been produced without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. There are some compelling reasons why people choose to buy organic produce. First, organic produce minimizes exposure to pesticides and other chemical additives. Second, organically raised food is better for the environment. Absence of pesticides results in healthier soil, water, and wildlife. Buying organically grown produce supports small farmers and contributes to biodiversity.

 

Some people choose organic produce because they believe it has better nutritional content than commercially grown produce. The nutritional comparisons between food organically grown and conventionally grown produce, however, shows little difference. Consider also that much of the produce we buy today is not always locally grown. We have many fruits and vegetables available year round because they have been shipped from other parts of the country (or the world).  The fact that a fruit or vegetable is organic does not necessarily translate to nutritional superiority simply because it’s organic. If shipped from far away, it may already be past its nutritional peak.

 

Sometimes the purchase of organic produce is cost prohibitive.  As much as people would like to eat more organically grown food, they simply cannot afford the higher cost.  Most of us have a food budget and have to make choices about what we buy, and perhaps a compromise is what’s called for. There are two things you can do to take advantage of organically grown produce as much as possible.

 

1.Buy local organic produce when it’s in season.  In many parts of the USA, that means taking advantage of certain fruits and vegetables during the warmer months.  Freezing or canning local organic produce is a possible option when those items are out of season.

 

2.Buy conventionally grown produce from the “Clean 15” list, and organic only for those foods that are on the “The Dirty Dozen” list.   “The Dirty Dozen” are the fruits and vegetables which have the largest amount of pesticide residues, and the Clean 15 have the least amount.

 

• The “Dirty Dozen”:

            celery

            peaches

            strawberries

            apples

            domestic blueberries

            nectarines

            sweet bell peppers

            spinach, kale and collard greens

            cherries

            potatoes

            imported grapes

            lettuce

 

•The Clean 15:

            onions

            avocados

            sweet corn

            pineapples

            mango

            sweet peas

            asparagus

            kiwi fruit

            cabbage

            eggplant

            cantaloupe

            watermelon

            grapefruit

            sweet potatoes

            sweet onions

 

Now that the growing season is here, make a habit of visiting your local farmers’ markets and buy local organic produce throughout the season.  To find local markets in your area go to http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

 

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com