By Isabel Reyes
As we are all aware of, Organic produce, products, meat and dairy have reached an all-time high and popularity. Some people consider it a passing fad, but those who are health and environmentally conscious have reasons as to why they mostly consume Organic foods.
A 2012 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reviewing pesticide residue and nutritional content in conventional and Organic produce concluded:
- There were significantly lower pesticide levels in the urine of children consuming organic foods than conventional foods.
- There is little nutritional value difference in organic and conventional foods. However, there was more phosphorus in organic foods. There were also more omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk and poultry.
- Organic produce had 30% lower pesticide residue than conventional produce.
- Organic chicken and pork was one third less likely to have antibiotic-resistant bacteria that conventional poultry and pork.
- The same bacteria in conventional foods are found in organic foods.
Other studies have shown the rhizosphere, the soil surrounding the root of plants, is different in soil treated with synthetic fertilizers. A 2002 study published in Applied Soil Ecology discovered soil treated with organic methods, such as composted cotton, yard waste or cattle manure contained higher levels of various bacterial populations, which are needed for our microbiota, and higher levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese.
It is difficult to purchase all organic goods and whole foods in this economy, but certain foods are lower in pesticides and residues than others. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG):
- “Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.” (Note: The Bushwick Food Coop always carries Organic Avocados and 95% of the time carries Fair Trade Avocados)
- Some 89 percent of pineapples, 82 percent of kiwi, 80 percent of papayas, 88 percent of mango and 61 percent of cantaloupe had no residues.
- No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen™ tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.
- Detecting multiple pesticide residues is extremely rare on Clean Fifteen™ vegetables. Only 5.5 percent of Clean Fifteen samples had two or more pesticides.”
According to the 2014 Environmental EGW rating:
- “Every sample of imported nectarines and 99 percent of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
- The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food.
- A single grape sample contained 15 pesticides. Single samples of celery, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and strawberries showed 13 different pesticides apiece.”
These are the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen:
7. Sweet bell peppers
8. Nectarines (Imported)
10. Cherry Tomatoes
11. Snap peas (Imported)
2. Sweet corn
5. Sweet Peas (Frozen)
15. Sweet potatoes
See full list here
Something to take into consideration is that studies do not address the long term impact of consuming an Organic diet. A lifetime of nutritionally lacking processed foods, pesticides, GMOs, and refined oils all contribute to illness. Our cells sacrifice themselves and do tremendous work to protect us from harmful chemicals we ingest. We are exposed to chemicals daily, eat foods containing chemicals, and drink water containing small levels of contaminants. In my opinion, it’s better to sacrifice those new pair of shoes you desperately covet and invest your money in the cells and bacteria within you providing you with vitality, health and energy. Hippocrates taught us “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Wise man.