By now most of you know that I’m a huge advocate for organics. However, I do know that going completely organic requires either more time (to garden or visit organic farms) or more money (to shop organic sections and organic markets) than many people have. I get that, believe me.
I think, from my own experience, that easing into organics is an effective way to work around the problems of time and money. If your heart is telling you that you need to go organic but your schedule and your wallet are saying you can’t, then you should focus on going organic where it matters most. In other words, buy organic versions of the foods that are most dangerous when grown conventionally.
There are several great lists of what foods you should choose when prioritizing your organics shopping. The Huffington Post has an excellent one and recycling site Greenopolis has a very thorough one that tells you not just what to buy but how to buy the best.
Here are 5 of the most important things vegetarians need to buy in organic form:
An Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis found 13 pesticides on the conventional strawberries they tested. But it gets worse:
Strawberries have a large surface area and all those tiny bumps, which makes the pesticides hard to wash off,
so you’re ingesting more of those chemicals,” explains Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and public
health at New York University and author of “What to Eat.”
The linings of microwave-popcorn bags may contain a toxic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is used to keep the popcorn from sticking to the bag. to the paper. According to the EPA, PFOA is a likely carcinogen.
We don’t know all of the hazardous effects of PFOA yet, but we have some evidence of a link to cancer, as well as to effects on the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems,” says David Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.
Buying organic microwave popcorn may not be enough. “Organic” means grown organically, not necessarily packaged organically.
But organic popping corn and pop it yourself on the stove or in an air popper.
3. Bottled Water
Most of us have heard that many hard, reusable plastic water bottles might be bad for us because they may contain BPA, or bisphenol A, another endocrine disruptor according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
For adults, the biggest concern with BPA is that it may increase the risk of breast cancer in women and reduce sperm counts in men,” says Dr. Carpenter, who explains that BPA can leach out into the water in the bottle.
To be safe, buy an unlined stainless steel or BPA-free plastic bottle for each member of the family.
If you’re an ovo-lacto vegetarian, you need to pay attention to this one. Dairy products account for a reported 60 to 70 percent of the estrogens we consume through our food. Even worse, 17% of dairy cows are treated with the hormone rBST (or rBGH), which stimulates growth hormones. This has been linked to more than one form of cancer.
The researchers at the Environmental Work Group analyzed 89,000 produce-pesticide tests to identify the most contaminated fruits
and vegetables and celery topped the list.
In terms of the sheer number of chemicals, it was the worst,” says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the EWG.
Celery stalks are very porous, so they retain the pesticides they’re sprayed with — up to 13 of them, according to the EWG analysis.
Some of these things may not apply to you. If you hate celery, then substitute one of the other items that is most important to buy organic. Start with just five and then add five each month as your finances and schedule allow. Maybe you can grow your own herbs or get all of your tomatoes from a gardening friend. The important thing is to find ways to work around time or money when it comes to eating safer food.
If you have some workaround ideas of your own, please share them so that other readers who feel unable to go organic can benefit!