This New Year’s I’m making the jump to organic. I’ve been moving that direction steadily, but 2012 is the year to go whole hog. But for many others, just switching over to organic produce is a great start. Work with what you can maintain given your grocery availabilities and budget. Either way, you’ll be improving your family’s food without having to plan huge meals, pour over cookbooks or scribble out shopping lists on old receipts. You have to buy groceries anyway, so buying organic isn’t adding more to your workload.
Simply put, organic does cost more. But you get what you pay for- cheaper foods are full of processed ingredients and conventional produce is laden with pesticide residues. If you have a tight budget check out the dirty dozen, a list of fruits and vegetables that have the highest pesticide residues and avoid conventional harvests of those items, otherwise keep the rest of produce traditional.
There are tons of benefits to organic foods. Here’s a crash course of some of the reasons many people are spending extra money for organic:
· Organic produce is pesticide-free. Pesticides can cause low birth weights, birth defects, impaired cognitive development, neurological problems, hormone disruption and certain types of cancers.
· Some pesticide residues are absorbed internally in produce, and thus aren’t washed away by even the toughest scrubbing. In addition some pesticides are designed to adhere tightly to the surfaces of fruits and vegetables so that rain doesn’t wash them off, making it hard to get them off of your produce.
· Organically labeled animal products must practice humane treatment of animals. That includes that hormones and antibiotics cannot be used on animals. Furthermore these animals must have outdoor access and livestock need to have access to pastureland.
· An organic label means that organic food producers must adhere to regulations regarding soil and water use, resulting in more sustainable land use.
· Organic foods cannot contain Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. These are foods that are genetically engineered to be pest-resistant. This technology entered our agricultural system in the 1990’s and has since skyrocketed in our crops; 80% of corn and 93% of soy are genetically modified. There is not any research as to how humans react to these altered foods, despite its widespread use.
So whether it’s whole hog or just small bites, going organic is an easy and attainable resolution. Happy New Years!