Why Buy Organic?
Think organic food is just an expensive fad that Prius-driving suburban housewives are buying? Think again!
Is Organic Worth It?
A question most consumers ask themselves is: Why buy organic? There are many reasons why organic food is far superior to conventionally grown food, from health to environmental reasons. Many people are discouraged from buying organic food despite knowing the benefits, because the price tag is (typically) higher. In this article, you will not only learn why you should buy organic, but how to buy organic without blowing your grocery budget out of the water.
What’s the Difference Between Organic and Conventional?
There are many key differences between organic food and conventionally grown food.
According to organic.org,
“Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.”
(Side note: Some assume that the USDA organic label on meat, eggs, and dairy also means that the animals are treated without cruelty. This is actually not true. Labels such as “organic”, “cage free”, and “grass-fed” do not guarantee humanely raised animals. If you opt to consume animal products, I encourage you to visit a local farm and see with your own eyes how the animals are treated before purchasing.)
The Dangers of Pesticides & Herbicides
The Risk to Consuming Conventional Foods
Pesticides and herbicides have been linked to minor and major health issues such as: Headaches, dizziness, a whole slew of different types of cancer, autism, infertility, birth defects, gut dysbiosis, systemic toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, various autoimmune disorders, and more.
Glysophate (well known as the main ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup) has been labeled by the World Health Organization as a probable carcinogen.
The Risk on our Environment
Since toxic pesticides and herbicides were literally developed to kill living things, it’s probably a no-brainer that they throw off the balance of our ecosystem and kill more organisms than intended. Pesticides wipe out beneficial insects and microorganisms that are crucial to healthy soil and subsequently healthy plants.
There is strong evidence to suggest that the reason honeybees are dying off is caused by the use of toxic pesticides. Without honeybees, well, our food supply (and the food supply for wild animals) would dwindle drastically.
According to PANNA.org,
“Bee populations have dropped 30% per year since 2006.”
For these reasons, supporting organic farmers and consuming organic food is better for our health and our environment.
Why buy organic? Because it is a major risk not to buy organic.
How Can I Tell if Something is Organic?
In a grocery store, certified organic products are marked with a USDA organic label.
However, you can also talk with local farmers and head to the farmer’s market to find organic produce that may not be certified organic. Often, small farmers cannot afford or have to jump through hoops to be certified by the USDA but still refrain from using pesticides, antibiotics, etc. Trusted local farmers often use more ethical practices than large farms that are certified organic by the USDA. I highly recommend creating relationships with your local organic farmers.
Where Can I Buy Organic?
Virtually every grocery store carries a variety of organic food now. The obvious stores are Whole Foods and Trader Joes (and Earth Fare if you’re in the south east region of the U.S.) Other stores such as Aldi, Walmart, Kroger, and Target also carry a decent selection of organic food. (Target not so much with produce, though!)
In addition, you can find organic food online with Thrive Market or Amazon without having to leave your home!
Tip: I buy Frontier organic spices on Amazon – best quality I’ve ever used.
Buying Organic Food on a Budget
- Buy in bulk: Like I referenced above, I like to buy bulk spices online. For my other bulk needs, stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s have a great selection of bulk items. Often, bulk is cheaper. Stores even offer discount prices if you buy a certain amount of an item (My local Whole Foods offers a discount if you buy a case or box worth of select products!)
- Compare prices: Prices on the same or similar products can vary greatly per store! I usually shop at a couple of different stores + the farmer’s market for various items to get the best prices. In my area, Trader Joe’s has great quality produce for much cheaper than other stores – when I can’t get to the farmer’s market or local farmers are not offering what I need, that’s where I go! But, for organic bulk items, I head to Whole Foods. Stop at a few different grocery stores and write down the prices of the items you buy the most frequently and compare. (Take the cost of transportation in account, too – if granola is a dollar cheaper at Kroger but another store has the best prices on everything else, perhaps it’s not worth it to use gas to head to Kroger for one item.)
- Shop local: Not only is it great to support local small business anyway, they often have the best prices – and if you build a relationship with them, they might cut you a deal every once in a while! Head to your farmer’s market and see what you can find. Like mentioned above, small farmers often cannot get the USDA certified organic for various labels – and because they don’t have that expensive label, they can sell their organic items for cheaper.
Ready to Get Cooking with that Organic Food?
Try these yummy recipes:
- Carrot Cake Waffles
- Blueberry Cheesecake Smoothie Bowl
- Hemp Seed Matcha Cheesecake
- Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwiches