Friday, November 13, 2015

Organic Shmorganic

There is so much debate on whether to buy organic or non-organic "conventional" food.  Some  say that local produce here in Bahrain is pretty organic since our farms are not the 'industrial-sized' farms (like in other major exporting countries) using excessive amounts of pesticides and other chemicals.

I won't talk about the importance of always supporting local farmers and buying locally grown foods in this post but there is merit in buying local foods.  For foods not locally grown, we need to think a little deeper into what we must buy organic and what we can buy conventional.

When it comes to nutritional value - both organic and conventional foods carry the same amounts.  But that's about the only thing they have in common. And yes, it's true that organic costs more than conventional.  But how do you put a price on the food that goes into your body and your family's?

There are other factors that play important roles in helping you decide on whether to go organic or not.  My main concern (and fear) is the amount of pesticides that is sprayed onto the crops.  Here's an alarming fact (source) :
The US uses 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides a year, but only 0.01 percent actually reach the intended target - the bugs.  The rest ends up contaminating the food. 
Convinced yet?

The key to going organic is baby steps.  Note that I have not gone completely organic because a) it's not necessary and b) we don't have a lot of 'organic' options here to cover all my family's nutritional needs.

Bear in mind that even if the label says 'organic' - you still have to read the contents and make sure that the ingredients are few (or none!) and pronounceable.  If you see codes, put it back on the shelf.

There are some food items that you should avoid buying because of the amount of pesticides absorbed in them, they are called the "Dirty Dozen Plus".  Brace yourselves.

  1. Peaches
  2. Apples
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarines
  6. Berries
  7. Cherries
  8. Pears
  9. Grapes
  10. Spinach
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers
  13. Kale
  14. Lettuce
  15. Potatoes

Things that don't fall under this list are OK.  There's a more detailed list referred to as the "Clean Fifteen":

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Eggplant
  6. Sweetcorn
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangos
  10. Cauliflower
  11. Onions
  12. Papayas
  13. Pineapples
  14. Sweet peas (frozen)
  15. Sweet potatoes
So next time your at the grocery store and in the produce section, look at the label a little longer and make better decisions.  Your body will thank you.

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