Eight Foods to Always Buy Organic (Plus the Three I Don't and Why)
I get asked the same question all the time…”Should I buy everything organic?” There is not an easy answer, because there are a lot of factors, but I’m going to at least tell you the eight foods to ALWAYS buy organic and the three that I don’t.
Before I go on to the list, there are two general ideas that I want to suggest.
The down and dirty truth is that our food supply is really just sucky! (If you’ve watched any of the food docs on Netflix, you probably know this but that’s not what I want to get into here.) For that reason, we should be on alert more than ever about what we are putting into our bodies rather than trusting labels and advertising.
I understand that budget is a concern for many so do the very best you can and stretch your budget for food at the expense of other line items since what you put into your body greatly determines your immediate, and more of a concern, your long term health.
OK…to the lists.
Eight Foods to Always Buy Organic
All produce on the Dirty Dozen List. These are the produce items with the highest levels of pesticides. Exceptions to this would be buying from a local farmer that I can personally discuss how he treats for bugs, weeds, etc. If the farm isn’t certified organic but uses sustainable and chemical free practices, I will buy non organic from him or her.
Microwave popcorn - Every part of conventional microwave popcorn is like poison from the popcorn itself to the oils it is popped in and the bag in which it is contained. All of these factors play into your popcorn. Look for Quinn Microwave Popcorn bags or better yet, buy a jar of organic kernels and make it on the stovetop in a large pot with coconut oil. Old school!
Chicken and Turkey - Poultry that is organic must be fed organic feed so this is a much better choice than conventional, natural or those labeled “air-chilled”. (The only label that matters is organic, ignore the others.)
Dairy - For the same reasons as poultry. The better buy is to find a local dairy that produces raw or low-heat pasteurized dairy products. My favorite national brand is Organic Valley because they use small farms and are a little more on top of the quality.
Soy and Corn products of all types - Even Non GMO soy and corn are sprayed heavily with chemicals during growth cycle, so go for organic which inherently has no GMOs.
Wine - Grapes are very finicky as we learned living in Napa Valley. Because of this, they are sprayed with many chemicals to get as high a yield as possible. Look for a local Scout & Cellar or Dry Farm wine distributor or look for organic on the label of wines. It will be prominent in most cases, but occasionally, Trader Joe’s and other brands will produce a wine that is organic and it is in fine print on the bottle so go ahead and check out your favorite wines, too, even if “Organic” isn’t the first thing you see. This is always a bonus find!
Coffee - Our favorite caffeine fix is #3 most sprayed plant on the planet behind cotton and tobacco which means it is the #1 most sprayed food item. No need to go on, right?
Organic Grass Fed Red Meat - Let me clarify…the only organic red meat I buy is 100% grass fed and finished. You might find this if you buy grass-fed meat from a farmers market or a local farmer. They are certified organic meaning the grass is not treated with anything that isn’t organic. If so, go for the organic and grass-fed. Otherwise, see below why I just don’t buy organic red meat.
What I Don’t Always Buy Organic and Why
Clean 15 Produce - Basically, the good sister of the Dirty Dozen. If produce is on the Clean 15 list then I make a judgement call based on price. If it is nominal difference, I will buy organic, if not I won’t. The one caveat is if you buy things that have a peel (i.e. avocadoes, bananas, melons) make sure and wash them first since you will most like cut through the peel which would then expose the fruit to whatever is on the peel.
Organic Red Meat - Most organic red meat is still grain fed which completely negates the organic methods of raising the cattle and here’s why; whether it is beef, lamb or even bison, these animals were made to consume only grass and just like humans when we eat too many carbs and sugar, these animals get overweight quickly and, therefore, diseased when they are fed corn, wheat and soy even it is organic. Skip organic red meat unless it is from a farmer you can talk to and be assured that the cow was NEVER fed grain.
Fish/Shellfish - Seafood is not regulated by any organization so if it says organic, it could still have contaminants. Look for wild-caught fish instead. By the way, mussels, clams and oysters are some of the most sustainable and well-raised seafood you can buy. Safe Catch is a great company for canned tuna. Use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website to check out your favorite fish varieties.
Now that you know what to buy, how about an easier, economical way to get Real Food meals on the table every night without all the planning involved? Become a VIP (free to sign up) and get my free Simply Real Food™ ebook plus be the first to know when my subscription based meal plan service will be available.