You’ve probably heard that eating organic is better, but when you check the prices you wonder: Is it really that much better? I couldn’t agree more. It’s a completely valid question. I was asking that to myself a few days ago when I realized the organic milk I wanted was almost a dollar more expensive than the already-expensive milk I usually bought. Well, to answer that question, it’s important to go back to the basics.
What makes something organic?
Organic means that it’s a product free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), there was no routine use of hormones or antibiotics, and no harmful pesticides and fertilizers were used. This is important because when you ingest these things they stay in your body and eventually can have an impact on your health.
Still, there’s a budget to consider.
Although the ideal scenario would be to consume everything organic, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not always possible ($$$). So, the solution is to prioritize.
The first thing you should buy organic is the meat (especially chicken). When it’s labeled organic, animals are free to be animals. They eat what they would naturally eat, there’s no GMO products in their food either, they get to walk around, enjoy the sun and have a normal animal-like life, which makes them healthy. Also, they aren’t administered antibiotics just for the sake of it. Hormones and antibiotics stay in the animal, so when you eat it, they go into your system too.
Secondly, it’d be eggs and dairy. It’s pretty much the same as above. If an animal is healthy, so is its milk or eggs. What they eat turns up there, so you’d also be consuming the GMO, hormones or antibiotics they received.
In the case of produce, the main problem is the amount of pesticide residue a product might have. Because of that, the Environmental Working Group created a list called the Dirty Dozen, which measures which fruits and vegetables have the highest amount of pesticide residue. They also have a list called Clean Fifteen with those that have the least amount. The list is updated every year, so here’s the latest:
Dirty Dozen 2022
Here are the top 12 products with the highest amount of pesticide residue, but the complete list is actually 46 products. Find the complete list here.
- Kale, collard and mustard greens
- Bell and hot peppers
Clean Fifteen 2022
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Honeydew melon
- Sweet potatoes