We know eating organic can get expensive so we’ve come up with ways to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to eating organic. We’re going to explain how to eat organic on a budget, how to prioritize what to buy and why. First, let us briefly remind you of what it means when a food is certified organic.
- No Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
- No Pesticides, Herbicides, & Chemical Fertilizers
- No Irradiation
- No Hormones & Antibiotics
If those aren’t enough reasons to eat organic, consider that the plant gets it nutrition from the soil and that commercials soils are heavily contaminated with farming chemicals that deplete the nutrition in the soil. Therefore, properly farmed organic foods will have less chemicals (which attack the nervous and hormonal systems) and a higher nutrient content than its commercial counterpart (average of 4-40x nutrient content. Of course, it’s best to eat a 100% organic diet, but that’s not possible for most people. So what are the most important things to buy organic?
#1 Animal Products (Meats, Eggs & Dairy)
- Animals are fed an unnatural diet ranging from genetically modified corn to sewer sludge. Antibiotics are given to deal with disease and hormones are used to stimulate growth.
- Most commercial meats have been irradiated. Irradiation is the process of exposing foods to high doses of radiation (equivalent to ~300 million times that of a chest x-ray) to “sanitize” it. Irradiation destroys vitamins (e.g. Vitamin A by 80%), minerals, enzymes, and creates radiolytic compounds, which are toxic by-products of irradiation.
- Fat stores toxins, which is why they feed the animals so much garbage – to fatten them up quickly.
- The USDA has had to change the standard of what is allowable for human consumption. Now they can sell us animals that have cancer, infectious arthritis, tumors, etc.
- Pasture-raised animals will have lower fat content + more CLA (cancer fighting agent), taste better, and the protein will be more bioavailable.
- Always (or as much as possible) go out of your way to purchase free range organic meats, regardless of the cost.
- Best to Worst: Local Free-Range Organic > Free-Range Organic > Organic > Free-Range > Commercial
- Every time you buy a product coming from these factory farms you aresupporting the very practices and behaviors of these feedlots.
*For the most part, our ancestors were nomadic, meaning they followed the meat around. If meats and saturated fats were so “bad”, none of us would be here because most of our ancestors ate predominately fats, oils, and proteins. The difference is that the animals they were eating were eating their natural diets. Old foods can’t cause new diseases! Animals were an integral part of human evolution and provided us with an enormous amount of bioavailable nutrition; it is, therefore, very important to buy as close to this traditional state as possible (wild-game, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, etc.).
#2 Produce (Fruits & Vegetables)
- Crops that have been sprayed with chemicals have to utilize their own anti-oxidants to fight the damage. Organics will have a higher phyto-nutrient content and contain high levels of phenolic compounds, which are ten times more effecicent at eradicating cancer-causing free radicals in the body than other antioxidants like vitamin C and E.
Minerals Vegetable Ratio Fruit Ratio
Magnesium 60% 90%
Iron 80% 70%
Copper 20% 60%
Potassium 90% 80%
*Average percent loss of mineral content in traditionally grown fruits and vegetables over a 50-year period.
- Refer to EWG’s Clean Fifteen & the Dirty Dozen to help you choose what to buy http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/guide/
- America is known for producing some of the lowest quality grains in the world. Therefore, buying organic will ensure higher quality.
- Due to poor farming, certain grains and peanuts have a high risk of containing alfatoxins, which are dangerous toxins put out by fungi. Buying organic varieties will reduce your risk of fungal infections.
- Coffee & cocoa beans contain some of the highest chemical contents out there. Organic coffee and chocolate are always recommended.
#4 Cooking Oils/Spices/Condiments
- ~ 90% of all non-organic spices have been irradiated.
- Butter & Ghee have a high smoke point, are great for cooking, and should be organic whenever possible (remember fat stores toxins).
- Common cooking oils may contain GMO’s and been highly processed.
#5 Sweets & Snacks
- These tend to be made from low quality ingredients and are loaded with: hydrogenated and highly processed oils, chemicals, colorings, preservatives, GMO’s, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and refined sugars so buying organic will make them less harmful.
- Organic desserts & snacks cost way more so they discourage overconsumption and overbuying. For example, a pint of commercial ice cream might cost $3.00 while Coconut Bliss costs about $7.00 :/
Sample Grocery List: 50% organic & 50% non-organic
Organic: Free-range chicken thighs and eggs, butter, yogurt, potatoes, apples, blueberries, celery, dark chocolate
Non-Organic: pineapple, asparagus, avocado, brown rice, raw walnuts, olive oil, fresh herbs, mushrooms, and beans.
Overall, organic is well worth the price. The average American spends ~ $4,000 per year on medical expenses, so investing in your health with quality foods will go a long way in preventing you from being another statistic. You'll always get less chemicals, more nutrition, and benefit the environment every time you buy organic. Go out to your local farmers market and support the small farmers!
Keep it Fresh!
Chek, P. “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy”
Chek, P. “You Are What You Eat”
Chek, P. “Under the Veil of Deception: What Uncle Sam isn’t telling you about Organic Foods” San Diego, CA
Fallon, S. (Oct. 1999) “Nourishing Traditions”
The Weston A. Price Foundation