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What should I buy Organic?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I think I am finally going to jump in with both feet, and start buying more Organic foods. But I really don't know what is most important to buy organic, and what doesn't really-really matter (for the sake of money). I do wish I could afford to eat strictly organic, but I'd have to have my own farm for that

So, I have printed out the Top 10 worst fruits/veggies for harboring pesticides and Top 10 that you can worry about the least (the little pocket size guide floating around out there).

I am for sure going to be buying organic milk and eggs. Does that mean I really need to be good about all dairy products as well? Such as butter and cheese? Or does the cooking process somehow make them okay non-organic? (doubtful, right?)

My big confusion though is dry/pantry/baking/grain products:
bread, cookies, tortillas
rice
pasta
beans
flour sugar
spices & seasonings

How much do these things harbor pesticides? It seems they should be the cheap things in my diet to help me cut down on meat, but a bag of organic rice at my local grocer was like $5! If it needs to be organic, I sure hope it's cheaper at TJ's or Whole Foods.

What about these also:
condensed soups like cream of chicken and mushroom (usually Cambell's)
chips
mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings

I am going to try to buy my meat & poultry organic as well as money permits, but I think I'll really have to cut back on our consumption to afford that. DH is a Southern "Meat & Potatoes" kind of guy, so it's going to be really hard! Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Anything else that should be organic that I'm forgetting? Thanks!
post #2 of 22
I try to buy organic when I can, and when it looks fresh (sometimes that's a challenge). However, we are a family of 5 who eats a LOT of fruits and vegetables so cost is definately an issue. I can usually find pesticide free tomatoes and I will buy those over organic for the sake of cost. Tomatoes harbour a lot of pesticides so that is one vegie I was told to be careful with. Bananas are also something I buy organic. I know it's low on the "list" but they are sprayed several times, even on the trucks.

If it's an outrageous price different I don't buy the organic. We eat a lot of fruits and fruits in themselves are very cleansing. We also eat a very healthy diet with no processed foods whatsoever.

However, meat is where I don't compromise. I only buy organic or actual free range meats. I prefer free roaming bison. I also only buy organic milk for dh and organic goat milk for the rest of us. And free trade organic coffee.

I buy my grains through a grain co-op so they are organic, but grains are on my low list of organic priorities.

Aside from the pesticide residue, organic is farmed more environmentally friendly. It's just better for our planet. I try when I can, but it's not always possible and when I can't I don't beat myself up over it.
post #3 of 22
There's another thread in this forum about the "dirty dozen"-those fruits and veggies that would be best bought organic. Check it out.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yes, the dirty dozen guide was the one I was talking about. But what about things that are NOT meat, dairy, or fruits/veggies? These things are very rarely ever talked about (dry goods), so I have no information on how important it is to buy organic on those. Anyone know where I can find this info?
post #5 of 22
Daisy Mommy -

I don't know. But is your reason for buying organics to avoid the pesticides, or to make good choices for the environment?

I'm political, so I really try to put my money where my beliefs are, and I'll buy organic in whatever is available.
post #6 of 22
Definately spend the $ on organic meat, poultry, and dairy, and preferably grass-fed. The nutritional content in grass-fed, organic meats & dairy surpass convential products, by far. Concidering the health benefits, you get more nutrients for your $ when you buy organic.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by daisymommy
I am for sure going to be buying organic milk and eggs. Does that mean I really need to be good about all dairy products as well? Such as butter and cheese? Or does the cooking process somehow make them okay non-organic? (doubtful, right?)

Pesticides and other toxins are fat soluable, and therefore are more concentrated in fat. Butter and cheese are extremely high in fat--so you should buy organic. No, cooking does not destroy these types of toxins!
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
White Feather, while I care about the environment and try to do things to help conserve it, my wanting to buy organics is more for my own health. I hope that doesn't sound too selfish

And ah yes--I forgot about toxins settling into fat. Good point about the butter and cheese!
post #9 of 22
: Wondering the same thing....
post #10 of 22
Could someone post a link to the list? I want to print it out and put it on my fridge to remind me.

thanks!

-Angela
post #11 of 22
:
post #12 of 22
I would definitely say if you are going to start buying organic, start with meat and dairy. Like an earlier poster said, toxins are accumulated in fat, and organically raised animals are exposed to a lot less toxins on the whole. They also eat a far more nutritious, whole, organic diet, with no animal by-products (think feathers and animal excrements), so the meat you eat is more nutritious as well. Another reason (environmentally) is that the production (money costs and time) of producing meat is already huge, and the toll on the earth is by FAR higher for non-organic animals. Also, the companies raising organic animals are also buying organic feed (supporting those farmers), and not buying chemical products for their farm (not supporting those companies). It's a chain reaction. By investing in the organic variety now, you're contributing financially to something worthwhile. I guess it depends where your values lie.

However, I once heard David Suzuki at a lecture say that people overlook the importance of buying grains and beans organically. They are the most genetically modified crops on average, and they are also exposed to the most pesticides. The reason for this is that they are produced in such immense quantities that companies want to increase crop yield and in turn, profit. Also, grains and beans harbour a lot of pesticides simply due to their biological structures, not to mention they are often also processed with chemicals not listed on labels to improve shelf life.

Fruits and veggies. There are many, many fruits that you should NEVER buy conventionally, especially for feeding to kids. They follow a pretty predictable pattern. Soft fruits, which soak up chemicals so easily, leafy vegetables, which have large surface areas and soak up a lot of chemicals as well, and root vegetables, which actually grow and feed off of the soil that is accumulating pesticides. Fruits/veggies with hard or thick peels are generally safest, such as avocados and bananas. These have shown to have little to know chemical residues in studies. However, there is also the issue of genetically modified foods, which have potential hazards even yet to be discovered (scary!). With organic food, you are guaranteed no-GMOs.

Good luck in your decisions, I hope you come to the best solution for your family.
post #13 of 22
Just as a note: Organics are generally much cheaper at the natural foods stores than they are at a grocery store.
post #14 of 22
I buy organic for both reasons, health and environment. From the environmental perspective, on average, I don't think it matters whether you buy your strawberries or your beans organic. So, if you can only afford one or the other as an organic choice, choose the one that makes the most difference to your health - which would probably be the strawberries.

As for things like butter, technically it's important to buy organic because toxins accumulate in fat. However, if you only use a tiny bit of butter, that might not be a big load for you. OTOH, if you only use a tiny bit of it, buying it organic is a small percentage price increase in your overall grocery budget. Just some points to ponder

My ranking for things to buy organic is:
Red meat
Dairy
Poultry
Eggs
Nuts (high oil content makes them accumulate toxins)
Cooking oils (same reason as above)
The "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies
Dry bulk goods - grains and beans
Other fruits and veggies where the price difference is negligable (potatoes and broccoli are often not much more than their conventional counterparts)
All other fruits and vegetables
Spices and condiments (since they are used so sparingly, and the price difference sometimes can be tremendous. However, it's easier to find organic spices in bulk, which brings their prices *way* down - usually even lower than conventional spices in bottles)
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by daisymommy

I am for sure going to be buying organic milk and eggs. Does that mean I really need to be good about all dairy products as well? Such as butter and cheese? Or does the cooking process somehow make them okay non-organic? (doubtful, right?)

My big confusion though is dry/pantry/baking/grain products:
bread, cookies, tortillas
rice
pasta
beans
flour sugar
spices & seasonings

How much do these things harbor pesticides? It seems they should be the cheap things in my diet to help me cut down on meat, but a bag of organic rice at my local grocer was like $5! If it needs to be organic, I sure hope it's cheaper at TJ's or Whole Foods.

What about these also:
condensed soups like cream of chicken and mushroom (usually Cambell's)
chips
mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings

I am going to try to buy my meat & poultry organic as well as money permits, but I think I'll really have to cut back on our consumption to afford that. DH is a Southern "Meat & Potatoes" kind of guy, so it's going to be really hard! Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Anything else that should be organic that I'm forgetting? Thanks!
Good for you for starting with the lists. That helps a lot. I agree with a pp about grains and beans being grown genetically modified. That is a problem. We do not buy organic bread or rice but we do buy organic cereal. I buy organic unprocessed sugar and flour, but rice and bread is too expensive for us organic. We buy some non organic cheese but try to buy most of the dairy and eggs organic. As for packaged foods, I prefer to try to buy organic just because I think those companies are often smaller and better for the environment. (that is a simplistic statement but there is actually a lot of thought and research behind it)
post #16 of 22
Just to add a tip...

I'm not sure where you live, but I live in a tiny town (12,000) so this would probably be possible for you too.

I don't end up paying too too much more for my organic groceries, but then I can't really compare too accurately as I've always bought organic. Even if I was eating conventionally, I would only purchase healthy, whole foods which would probably work out about the same anyways.

I buy my meat and dairy from local organic farms, so in some cases (i.e. red meat) it is cheaper than the conventional kind.

I buy my fruit and veggies from the farmer's market, again cheaper.

I found out through word of mouth places I could buy huge amounts of organic grains and split a bag with friends.

Also, if you have the time, not buying preprocessed foods (inc. cereals, macaroni and cheese, pizza, etc.) saves a lot of money. Throwing some organic oats, nuts, raisins, oil and honey on a sheet and baking it and you'll have organic granola for less than you'd pay for the sugar and trans-fat laden variety at the store!

post #17 of 22
To piggy back off of Blissfull_maia's post, depending on where you live you may want to check into CSA's (community supported agriculture). There are many certified organic farms that do weekly deliveries of organic produce at pretty decent rates. That way, not only are you doing the organic thing, you are supporting the community and eating what is actually in season, following your seasonal cycle.
http://www.localharvest.org
post #18 of 22
I really struggle with the organic grain part. I make most of our bread and the local grocery store sell 5 lbs bags of both ww and all purpose flour for $.89 for five lbs. I can get a good conventional bread firt $2.50 and make it for $.30. Organic flour is 5 times more expensive and to buy it made it $3.50 and to make it is about $1.50.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
there is also the issue of genetically modified foods
Does anyone know if Strawberries (non organic) are genetically modified? My dad & I were talking about the "good ole days" when strawberries used to be small & flavorful just the other day...

thanks
post #20 of 22

Grains and strawberries.

Grains- to a pp, I think what I was comparing was the cost of whole, organic flours to conventional pre-processed loaves.

Strawberries- almost all non-organically grown strawberries are genetically modified... even the seeds of local farms use these seeds. They are one of the most GM crops in North America. They are usually engineered to have an antifreeze or cold resistance gene to extend the growing season, which is normally derived from cold-water fish. Also, many of them have growth hormones added to their DNA as well.

HTH!
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