Does Organic REALLY Matter?

It happens every time you go to the grocery store and peruse the produce section. You stop in front of two bins of apples, one of them marked “organic”, and you wonder does it really matter?  The answer is yes and no. Anytime you eat non-organic fruits and vegetables, you are risking ingesting small amounts of pesticides that were used on the food during growth. While eating 100% organic is a great thing to do, it’s not always realistic for families on a budget. Organic food does tend to be a bit more expensive, so thankfully the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases an annual statement about which fruits and veggies are the most important to eat organic, based on studies showing pesticide levels found in them per year. 

14 most contaminated foods according to EWG

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Summer Squash

15 least contaminated foods according to EWG

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn (only frozen- also remember you are risking GMO corn if you don’t buy organic)
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Sweet potatoes

So, what are the benefits of eating organic? Here are a few:

  • Organic foods, especially raw or non-processed, contain higher levels of beta carotene, vitamins C, D and E, health-promoting polyphenols, cancer-fighting antioxidants, flavonoids that help ward off heart disease, essential fatty acids, and essential minerals.
  • Levels of antioxidants in milk from organic cattle are between 50% and 80% higher than normal milk. Organic wheat, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, onions and lettuce have between 20% and 40% more nutrients than non-organic foods.
  • Organic food contains qualitatively higher levels of essential minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium), that are severely depleted in chemical foods grown on pesticide and nitrate fertilizer-abused soil.
  • Organic food isn’t genetically modified. Under organic standards, genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are prohibited.
  • Organic animals aren’t given drugs. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified vaccines in farm animals. Source

Again, while it’s important to try and eat some of your veggies from the organic section, the EWG says eating non-organic fruits and vegetables is better than eating none at all! Also, remember that organic does not always mean more expensive. If you stay on top of sale items at your grocery store (or shop at the farmers market), you may end up not spending more than you would on non-organic items.

USDA_Organic

 

By Courtney Perry

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All About GMO’s

We’ve all heard that we are supposed to avoid GMO’s, but do you know what GMO actually stands for? Do you know why they are bad?

Recently I was at a Monsanto/GMO protest in Asheville, North Carolina and I overheard two women talking about how horrible GMO’s are and the negative impact of eating them. In the middle of her sentence, one of the ladies stopped and said “what does GMO stand for anyway?” To my surprise, her friend had no idea either! I feel this is probably not an uncommon scene. While it’s great to avoid something you know is toxic, it becomes easier to avoid it if you really understand why. It’s like quitting cigarettes- it’s a lot easier to quit knowing specifically what it does to your body and lungs as opposed to just knowing “it’s bad for you.”

So here is a crash course on GMO’s:

What does GMO stand for?

 GMO stands for “genetically modified organism”

What exactly are they?

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in order to achieve a desired trait. These new plant and animal hybrids would never be found in nature, they must be laboratory generated. 

So, what’s the big deal?

Genetically modified food is unstable and problems and side effects are constantly being discovered. In addition to this, the long term effects of eating GMO’s are currently unknown. When the DNA structure of a plant or animal is altered, the outcome can be disastrous. GMO’s are believed to decrease nutritional value, increase toxicity, and possibly cause problems with food allergies.

Here is a great article from the Non GMO Shopping Guide website that outlines the main problems with GMO’s: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/why-should-i-avoid-gmos.html

How can I avoid GMO’s?

1. Buy organic (100% organic foods will never contain GMO’s intentionally)

2. Familiarize yourself with the most common GMO foods:

  • Soybeans
  • Corn
  • Rapeseed/canola
  • Sugar beets
  • Cotton (used in cottonseed oil and some dairy products)
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Papaya
  • Zucchini

3. Purchase 100% grass fed beef

4. Buy products that are specifically labeled as GMO-free (Molly’s Suds does not use any GMO ingredients in any of our products!)

5. Start a garden if you have the time/space! You will know exactly what has gone into the foods your grow

6. Buy local! It is a lot easier to find non-GMO foods at your local farmer’s market than at the local supermarket 

Check out more great information at the Non GMO Proejct’s website! 

NON GMO

What do you do to try and stay GMO free? Do you and your family make an effort to eat organic?

By Courtney Perry