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No More Excuses! 4 Ways to Make Buying Organic Easier


Years ago, the rules for good nutrition were simple: eat your fruits and veggies. It was as easy as that. But with recent discoveries about the dangers of food chemicals, what it means to eat healthfully is no longer quite as simple.

For a few years, there has been ongoing debate among consumers about whether paying extra for organic food is worth it. According to naturopathic physician, Dr. Kevin Passero, buying organic is in fact worth the additional monetary cost. He says that organic produce and other food items offer increased nutrient content, reduced exposure to dangerous chemicals, and are the only foods that are guaranteed to be GMO-free  — all significant benefits in my eyes.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why many people (myself included) don’t put the extra effort into purchasing organic foods every time they hit the grocery store. Science is proving that the benefits of choosing organic stretch beyond the obvious — so why the resistance?

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, buying organic is frustrating. I’m a busy woman who is often on-the-go, and I need things to be both in my budget and easy-peezy in order for them to work as part of my lifestyle. As with any decision that affects my health, I find it helps to weigh the pros and the cons, and then seek the practical solution. Luckily for you, I’ve come up with some everyday solutions for you to consider as part of this balancing act.

I’ve concluded that there are four main excuses that people give as reasons to opt out of buying organic, and I’ve come up with four practical solutions to make it easy.

1. Organic produce spoils faster.

This is true. But if you think about it, do you really want something in or on your fruit that makes it last longer? Probably not.

The Solution: Go European with this one. Most Americans make one large grocery trip every 1-2 weeks, instead of every few days like people Europe and many other parts of the world typically do. When you hit the grocery store for a big trip, buy the non-perishable items for your household and maybe some produce for just a few days. Come the weekend or a quiet weekday evening, head to the store or a farmers’ market to replenish your fruit and veggie supply. Sure it’s an extra trip, but it’s better than rotten bananas!

  • Need to find a farmers’ market in your area? Local Harvest is a great resource. Buying local reduces the transit time of foods, which means it will last longer in your kitchen.
  • Not close enough to a store for this to be convenient? Start a garden! It’s a great weekend hobby that provides exercise, personal satisfaction and fresh produce. My parents started one three years ago and it’s been fabulous.

2. Organic foods are expensive!

The average American family is on a budget that makes buying organic a luxury expense. I say, if you can afford to do it across the board, fantastic. But if that’s not practical for you, there are ways around it.

The Solution: Be organically choosey. There are some fruits and vegetables that present a greater need for organic purchase than others. Some fruits and vegetables come with natural protection such as avocados, bananas or corn. Since they have an outer layer of protection, they’re a little less threatening than blueberries or strawberries, which for all we know, are sprayed with and directly absorb hundreds of chemicals just days or weeks before we consume them. The Environmental Working Group just released a report that outlines which produce items are best purchased organic (known as the “Dirty Dozen”), and which items tend to be safer because they’re less heavily contaminated.

3. There’s no immediate gratification associated with buying organic.

Some people don’t really care to invest much thought (or money) into organic purchases because the foods don’t make them feel any ”healthier.” They feel just the same after consuming organic strawberries as they do after consuming chemical-ridden strawberries. Let’s be honest — the negative effects of eating pesticide-coated produce items that are possibly poisoning our bodies aren’t something we necessarily feel right away either.

The Solution: Get the facts on the dangers of pesticide exposure. A recent study revealed that pesticides may be linked to ADHD in children. And that’s just the most recent tip of the iceberg. A CNN special on this matter called Toxic America highlights and explores the dangers we face by not taking the threat of chemicals in our food and environment seriously. Despite the fact that you may feel no different physically after consuming organic produce, you should feel a sense of relief knowing you just did something to protect yourself (or your loved ones) from future harm. And, by many accounts, organic food actually does taste better overall.

4. Exposure to environmental toxins is inevitable anyway.

No one is interested in pumping themselves or their children full of chemicals, but many think that in today’s world, it is, to a degree, inevitable. Between UVB, BPA and CO2, it’s easy to get caught up in the jargon and think there’s just no way around the pollution. I would gamble that this excuse is only presented when trying to rationalize the other reasons for not choosing organic. But let’s explore the solution.

The Solution: Understand that this is a fallacy. Minimizing your exposure to toxins is absolutely possible. At the very least, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to try. The President’s Cancer Panel recently released a report regarding the effects of chemicals in the environment on health, According to the report, many cancers and other illnesses could be prevented by reducing the amount of toxic chemicals that Americans are exposed to. It’s scarier than we would have predicted 15 years ago. While we can’t (personally) stop oil spills and CO2 emissions by 16-wheelers, we can certainly limit the chemicals allowed to enter our bodies by avoiding pesticides and other chemicals — and that starts in your home. Rather, that starts in your grocery store.

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14 responses to “No More Excuses! 4 Ways to Make Buying Organic Easier”

  1. Brian says:

    Great article, Casie! Is there any advantage to buying non-organic produce from a farmer's market vs. a grocery store in terms of the amount of pesticides? I wish I could buy all organic fruits and veggies, but they're so expensive…I like the dirty dozen list…that will help me prioritize what to splurge on! :)

    • CasieT says:

      Definitely agree with the prioritizing! I've been doing it and it helps a lot. I tend to be so busy and on a budget so its nice to buy produce little by little. I also test myself by buying limited produce. I buy just two pears and if i eat them, then great! But if I dont, not only did I save my save myself from the wasted expense of buying six (like I would normally do) but I know next time that I can only buy one. There's nothing wrong with only buying what you KNOW you'll eat in a given period. (even though the best thing to do is to buy six pears and eat all six…..)

    • CasieT says:

      Oh! and yes, there are advantages from buying at a Farmer's Market. Not in terms of pesticides (although you need to confirm that they are, in fact, organic), but in terms of freshness and quality. Since produce from your farmer's market is sourced “just around the corner” there is less opportunity for produce bruising and cross contamination. It will also last longer because it there is less transit time “from farm to fork”.

      • Brian says:

        Thanks, Casie! I totally agree about the freshness advantage of farmer's markets. I'm amazed how quickly the produce from the grocery store goes bad.

  2. Lissa says:

    Thank you for this article. I'd like to add to numbers 3 and 4. I feel that many people do feel it's not worth going organic because of the said reasons. Even though the results for going organic is not immediately evident, it is in the long run. If we are all able to lower the amount of toxins we take in (and use on our skin), that may reduce doctors visits because of “unexplainable illness” and other health concerns that appear unexplainable. “Going organic” may also reduce the need for medications, whether over the counter or prescribed. I've eaten primarily organic for years and have felt all the better for it, rarely incurring a cold or flu. I also employ going to farmer's markets and growing a garden in the spring, summer, and early fall months.

  3. Linda Lander says:

    I have read several times that all food marked may not be organic. How do I know that the foods I'm paying extra for to get organic, safe food, is in fact organic? The labels say organic so reading labels don't guarantee it is organic. The laws/rules in regard to organic have been diluted to the point that much of what we see in grocery stores marked organic actually isn't. How can I determine the difference?

    • CasieT says:

      Thats a great question. The term “organic” has locks on it and those locks are governed by the USDA. You want to look for companies that have the “USDA Organic” icon on their label. This icon means the supplier has been inspected and certified to supply “foods are produced without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, irradiation or bioengineering. Organic farmers are required to adhere to certain soil and water conservation methods and to rules about the humane treatment of animals.”

      That being said, I believe that to have your products certified costs some money. If you're sourcing a smaller company or independent farmer, they may practice organic methods but not yet applied for and paid for the certification. This is common in farmers markets. So if you're going to a farmers market, you'd want to either talk to the supplier and feel him or her out, or call the city the regulates the farmer's markets in your area. All suppliers applying to participate in farmer's markets must meet criteria and also must be inspected (from what I understand).

      Another thing to look out for is products that say “organic ingredients.” This might mean that some ingredients are certified organic but not all. Lastly, look out for the words “all natural.” Many people think “organic” and “all natural” are synonymous but that couldn't be farther from the truth. There is no government lock or technical definition for “all natural” so some food manufactures pull a fast one and try to trick you into assuming their product is organic.

  4. BethF says:

    Do hydroponic vegetables like tomatoes and peppers contain pesticides? I didn't know if these were just as good as organic or not.

    Are other countries more strict with the use of pesticides? I ask this because from the Dirty Dozen list is says to avoid domestic blueberries. So are ones from other countries safer? I also noticed that hydroponic peppers I buy tend to be from Canada or Sweden, and I buy these because it's rare that I see organic peppers in the store (even in Whole Foods)

    So if I can't always buy organic, are there safer countries besides ours that I should try to get produce from? Or safer grow methods?

  5. CasieT says:

    I would still vote that organic and traditionally grown local fruits and vegetables are still a safer bet. I don’t know the agricultural practices of other countries but I doubt many of them would be safe and fresh by the time they got here. Depending on the location of the country, the produce may be bruised and have a nutrient loss by the time we get it. Regarding hydroponic vegetables, they might be nutritionally equivalent (as they say the tests indicate) but something about it just doesn’t feel right to me. Plus there is no regulation on their sources so they could be using GMOs. Not good.

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