Shopping Organic Produce

Have you ever found yourself standing in the produce aisle wondering if you should buy the same berries in organic for two times the cost? Then, you start questioning if I buy this organic, should I buy everything organic? Does it matter that much? Sometimes I even hear, well I did not eat organic as a kid and I am fine.

It is expensive to eat all organic, and the bigger your family is the more expensive it is. My boys will eat a whole container of organic berries as a snack! Some Mommas can easily afford that, but some mommas have a hard time affording healthy food in general. We are all in different situations, but we all want to eat healthy and feed our babies healthy food.

Here is how I do this… As an APRN, I do feel that consuming large amounts of pesticides and herbicides can be neurotoxic and disrupt the endocrine system. They have also been associated with carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Organic fruits and vegetables have also shown to have up to 40% more antioxidants.

I do not buy ALL organic. I always buy organic milk for my kids, and I split their milk between cow’s milk and almond milk. We split meats (sometimes organic and sometimes not). For fruits and produce, I try to follow the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen.

Since this mini-series of shopping organic is focusing on produce we will start there. The dirty dozen are the 12 offenders with the highest pesticide load. I use this as a guide, and make them priority to purchase in organic.

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Nectarines
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas
  12. Potatoes

According to food news, there is a dirty dozen plus which also includes hot peppers and domestic blueberries, which may contain organophosphate insecticides.

There is a growing amount of research showing that even small amounts of these pesticides can have negative health effects. These effects can be more profound in fetal development and the developing child. For those of you who grew up on non-organic food, just know a lot of these chemicals and production methods were not used in the 1980s.

Now for the Clean 15: I never (or hardly ever) purchase these items in organic. They have shown to have little amounts of pesticides under the peel.

  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn (watch for GMO)
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Sweet Peas
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potatoes
Honeydew Melon

Now… we all want to provide our families with healthy and nutritious meals (even though I am so guilty of throwing my hands up and letting my twin toddlers skip meals, because I am SIMPLY tired of fighting with them to eat), but here is the kicker.

As a nurse that worked in endocrinology, I believe that eating nonorganic can affect weight loss. Experts do not all agree on this matter, and I am sure it will be a heavily debated nutrition topic in the coming years. Nonorganic foods are packed with synthetic ingredients and pesticides. Our bodies do not recognize these synthetic ingredients and receive no benefit from them and may store them as empty calories “or fat”. In the end, you are consuming lots of extra calories of synthetic ingredients.

Pesticides have also shown to disrupt the endocrine system, which can affect your ability to lose weight, an example being low thyroid function. Foods can absolutely affect thyroid function and with lower thyroid function, women typically struggle to drop weight.

Stay tuned for The Organic Milk Debate and Organic Meats