Organic produce is usually more expensive.

One of the most frequent questions I get is about organic fruits and vegetables. The difference in cost between organic and non-organic can be significant, and although I want to support organic farmers and companies, sometimes it’s just not possible.

Here’s a recent scenario from a client of mine:

“I went to the store to buy strawberries, because I know they are good for me. But I also heard they are one of the worst fruits because they are contaminated with pesticides unless they are organic. But the organic strawberries were $112.53 per quart, so I finally just left with no berries!”

Ok, I made the $112.53 part up… they were probably $7 a pint, but you get the picture.

Does organic equal healthy?

I talked about organics on our local NBC affiliate, KTAL Channel 6, and answered some questions:

  • Does organic automatically mean healthy?
  • Should we fork over the cash for more expensive organic produce?
  • What’s the best way to wash produce to remove chemical pesticides and fertilizers?

I don’t always buy organic

It makes perfect sense that we should avoid eating chemicals that cause badness in lab rats and in humans who are around large amounts of these pesticides and fertilizers.    AND, buying organics supports farming methods that are good for the environment, and supports animals in a more natural environment.

I support the organic cause when I can. I am all for organic produce and the people who produce it.

HOWEVER, scientific studies have not clearly shown the clinical effects of eating trace amounts of these compounds on our produce.  Let’s say you eat a plateful of nonorganic produce. Will lab tests show increased amounts of those chemicals in your blood stream?  Yep.  Does it matter?  That’s what is not clear.

Here’s what IS clear….

The overwhelming evidence shows that eating plants (fruits, veggies, nuts, seed, whole grains, legumes) and lots of them helps to prevent, treat, and reverse many, many common conditions, whether the plants are organic or not.

Put another way, avoiding plant-foods is more dangerous to my health than eating non-organic produce.  (Dr. Michael Greger said that… not my line.)

So here’s my prescription:

Never turn your grocery cart away from produce just because it isn’t organic.

Buy some produce!   If you can afford organic, choose it, especially with products where you will be eating the skin (peppers, berries, potatoes).  If you can’t afford organic produce, then buy the nonorganic produce. Take it home and wash the heck out of it, scrubbing with running water.

Eat it.

Repeat.

P.S. By the way, studies show store-bought veggie wash is no better than tap water.  Dish soap and vinegar are not that great either for washing produce. Diluted salt water wash removes almost all pesticide residue but takes a lot of salt, soaking for 5-10 minutes, and leaves thin-skinned veggies tasting salty!  Honestly, I don’t have time for that.  But if you do, salt water is the way to go.

I would love to see a picture of your plant-filled grocery cart! Take a pic and post in the comments.

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