Going Organic

It seems like the old adage about apples keeping doctors away may no longer ring true because of mounting research that lists apples as the produce item that is most packed with poisonous pesticides. Unless you’re buying them organically, of course. As I delve deeper into the question of how the food I consume is grown, I lean more toward eating organically. Apples, and other fruits and veggies on the notorious “dirty dozen” list such as celery, cucumbers, and grapes are some of the most pesticide-pumped produce sold, but eating organic can be cost prohibitive, especially for a student on a fixed budget. Thankfully, the United States’s healthful-living watchdog, the Environmental Working Group, says that eating your fruits and veggies is more important than eating organic ones. If you can’t buy organic food, they suggest buying from the “clean fifteen,” which, as you can imagine, are the fruits and veggies with the lowest amounts of pesticide residues. The more I read about what’s pumped into my peppers and sprayed on my spinach, the more I am inclined to buy organic produce–but there’s a lot more to think about than lathered leafy greens. Snacks, like tortillas and potato chips, may be worth buying organically because their ingredients lists tend to include several unpronounceable compounds and GMOs. Plus, it’s not only food that people should be worried about. It’s everything (well, that’s the way it seems sometimes, at least): The EWG has some frightful statistics on all the products I consume, from my shampoo and conditioner to my toothpaste and sunscreen. It’s hard for me to decide what I should give organic priority to. Is what I put into my body more important than what I put on it? What’s most harmful? I’ve begun ditching the dirty and buying some organic produce (sorry, non-organic Pink Lady), and I plan to slowly change over to using organic cosmetics and body care products, too. Is the switch worthwhile? You might remember Michael Y. Park’s post about The Argument Against Organic Food, and there have been even more recent studies showing that going organic is not necessarily “better.” It may not have more nutrients than conventionally grown food (did anyone think it did, anyway?), but it does have lesser amounts of chemicals that you would only handle with gloves on. Before I start going organic, I want to make sure I know why I’m changing over. Here’s a list of my favorite places on the web that I turn to in order to learn more about what I’m putting into and on my body: -USDA’s National Organic Program -Environmental Working Group -Foodfacts -Mayo Clinic’s Organic Food Low-Down -The Green Beauty Guide -Underground Health I understand both why people would want to go organic and why they wouldn’t. It’s a complicated issue, and for those new to it, we just want some honest opinions. What do you think about living organically? What types of choices do you make in the stores? Photo by Carla Prieto

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