Organic foods have gone from specialty stores to supermarkets everywhere. But if you’re like most of us, you may not really know what organic means let alone which higher-cost organic foods are worth your shopping dollar. Here’s the smart way to shop organic without sacrificing the “green” in your wallet. In Canada, anything labelled as “certified organic” must meet criteria set by the Canadian General Standards Board. In general, that means that the crop is grown without the use of commercial (or chemical) fertilizers, free of herbicides and not from a genetically modified seed.
Organic does not mean pesticide-free. Surprised? Don’t be. Most people don’t realize that since pesticides are found in the air and our environment in general, nothing can be completely free of them. “Natural” and “free-range” doesn’t mean organic either.
QUICK FACT According to Greenthinkers, by avoiding the top 12 contaminated foods, you can lower your pesticide exposure by a whopping 90%. Why go organic? Canadians are starting to be more concerned with what they’re putting into their bodies. While organic foods don’t contain more vitamins and minerals, they are becoming more popular because they are grown without intentionally added chemicals.
Where to start In general, since organic foods cost more than their non-organic counterparts, declaring your kitchen an organic-only haven can be hard on your shopping dollar. At the same time, depending on where you live or your food likes and dislikes, finding organic versions can be impossible.
The good news is that the Environmental Working Group in the U.S. has made it easy to identify which produce is most likely to contain pesticides. The following are the top twelve common fruits and vegetables identified by the Environmental Working Group that contain the highest pesticide load:
1. Peaches 2. Apples 3. Sweet bell peppers 4. Celery 5. Nectarines 6. Strawberries 7. Cherries 8. Lettuce 9. Grapes (imported) 10. Pears 11. Spinach 12. Potatoes Fruits and vegetables that were ranked the lowest in terms of pesticide load include onions, avocadoes, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mangos and frozen sweet peas.
You are what you eat Think about the foods you and your family eat the most. That could be peanut butter, milk or potatoes. Whatever seems to fly out your cupboards or refrigerator the most is what you should think about buying as organic.
Just remember that by making a few smart choices, you can ease into eating organic without going out of your mind.
Go organic with these 12 fruits and vegetables: 1. Peaches 2. Apples 3. Sweet bell peppers 4. Celery 5. Nectarines 6. Strawberries 7. Cherries 8. Lettuce 9. Grapes (imported) 10. Pears 11. Spinach 12. Potatoes