Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organic on a budget Pt. 2

We're all looking to be good stewards of our money, especially in the given economy. As mentioned in a previous post, a more wallet-friendly way to switch to an organic menu includes buying products that typically have a higher concentration of chemicals.
According to Dr. Alan Greene M.D. , author of Raising Baby Green, the following is a list of items that should be priority in your quest for organic: (Dr. Greene's Organixc RX)
  • Milk - “When you choose a glass of conventional milk, you are buying into a whole chemical system of agriculture,” says Dr. Greene.
  • Potatoes - "In recent USDA testing, the Environmental Working Group found that 81% of potatoes still contained pesticides after being washed and peeled, and the average potato had the highest total amount of pesticides of all of the 43 fruits and vegetable tested."
  • Peanut Butter - "More acres are devoted to growing peanuts in the U.S. than to any fruit, any vegetable, or any nut (peanuts are legumes, like beans or peas). More than 99% of these acres are conventional. Peanut Butter is the leading use of all these acres of peanuts."
  • Baby Food- "If I were going to pick only one time of life to eat organic, it would be from conception through age 3. Our bodies and our brains grow faster during this period than at any later time. Babies eat more than adults, pound for pound, and they are more vulnerable to environmental toxins. The EPA has concluded that carcinogens average 10 times the potency for babies than for adults, with some chemicals up to 65 times more powerful. The EPA does not yet have a formal policy addressing babies' exposure to chemicals that affect their bodies in other ways, such as their hormones, immune systems, or their brains - even though babies are clearly more vulnerable."
  • Ketchup / Catsup - "Just switching from conventional to organic catsup could significantly increase the nutrients in America's diet and decrease conventional tomato farming methods...And you might want to think about switching to organic marinara and pizza sauce at the same time."
  • Cotton - "...according to some studies, cotton accounts for 10% of all pesticide use, 25% of all insecticide use, and more total insecticide use than any other crop. And those used are among the most toxic. The World Health Organization estimates there are 25 million global poisonings and 20,000 deaths from all pesticides each year, not to mention the enormous damage to wildlife. Cotton is a major contributor."
  • Apples - "Consistently named as one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables, apples make my list because they are more popular than the other fruits and vegtables on the list... In 2005, apples were the second most commonly eaten fresh fruit after bananas) and the second most commonly used in fruit juice after oranges), making them the biggest pesticide concern among fruits. Apples are a major source of our exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which some studies suggest are linked to decreased intelligence and increased attention problems in kids, as well as changes in hormone levels for some adults."
  • Beef - "I suggest replacing conventional beef either with grass-fed organic beef, or with a variety of other plant or animal sources of protein, such as organic eggs, garbanzo beans (a huge source of plant protein around the world), quinoa (a wonderfully complete protein), or soy."
  • Soy - "More than 72 million acres are planted in soy. Soybean pesticide use in the US ranks second only to corn. In recent years soy has been the domestic crop found most contaminated with organophosphate pesticides. Beyond this, soy leads the way in genetic modification, with 87% of the soy planted in the U.S. genetically modified (62 million acres). Choosing organic is one way to be sure the foods you eat are GMO-free."
  • Corn -"More pesticides and more chemical fertilizer are used to grow corn in the US than any other crop. Most of the corn, almost 50 million acres of it, is GM corn."
  • Wine - "In my opinion, the closest thing to a Fountain of Youth nutrient may be resveratrol. It is found in the skin of red grapes, and has been shown, in at least some circumstances, to have gentle antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, neuroprotective, anti-aging, and life-prolonging effects... In testing, organic wines average 32% higher resveratrol levels than their conventional counterparts."
  • One other way to save: buy generic. Many stores are beginning to come out with their own generic brands of organic foods. Some to check out: Archer Farms (Target - some AF products are organic, but not always wallet-friendly), O Organics (Safeway), Whole Foods generic brand, Trader Joe's brand, and Wild Harvest (Albertsons). Keep an eye out for your local store to come out with its own organic brand.
Check out this link to the Organic Center's pocket guide to produce. Use it to identify which fruits and veggies should be purchased organic to reduce dietary pesticide exposure.

By choosing to purchase these items (or products with these ingredients), you will most likely be lowering your total concentration of consumed chemicals. Makes sense.