Let’s be clear: in the best of all possible worlds, all the foods we eat would be organic. There is no such thing as a conventional food that is better for you than its organic counterpart:
- Organic crops contain significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus and significantly less nitrates than conventional crops.
- Organic fruits and vegetables have fewer pesticide residues than non-organic produce, lower levels of pesticides, and less overall pesticide toxicity than fruits and vegetables grown with chemicals.
- Fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides contain between 19 and 60 percent more cancer-fighting flavonoids than conventionally grown produce. Flavonoids are compounds that combat oxidative damage which permits free radical accumulation.
- Conventional meat contain the residues of the antibiotics and growth hormones fed to animals living in stressful conditions, not to mention the threat of disease such as Mad Cow Disease and Avian Flu.
- Conventional dairy products, especially those that are not fat free, have an even higher concentration of antibiotics and growth hormones than meat.
- Farmed salmon have up to 16 times the levels of toxic PCBs found in wild salmon, largely because the chemicals accumulate in fatty tissue. PCBs are persistent, cancer-causing toxins that were banned in 1976 but continue contaminating food supplies and the environment.
Unfortunately, cost and availability make it impossible for everyone to eat organic foods all the time. So if compromises have to be made, what are the most important foods to be eaten organic? It’s the ones where their conventional counterparts are most likely to carry unhealthy residues of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, and growth hormones. These include:
Conventional meat and dairy, Farm raised fish, Strawberries, Peaches, Apricots, Cherries, Grapes from Chile, Cantaloupes from Mexico, Green beans, Celery, and Spinach.
If you do have to purchase and eat any of these items, be sure to trim the fat and wash the produce before cooking. Water alone is not enough to remove the chemicals. Add some vinegar or lemon juice to the water before spraying, soaking, or scrubbing the fruits and vegetables. Then rinse thoroughly.
Remember to wash the outsides of melons, squash, and other produce with disposable rinds since cutting can carry contaminants into the edible core. Discard the outer leaves of leafy green vegetables. Be sure to wash organic produce as well, since all fruits and vegetables can carry bacteria and other contaminants from the soil and fertilizer.
One way to maximize your consumption of organic foods is to frequent local farmer’s markets and to join the Community Supported Agriculture movement. Do whatever it takes to tip the scales of this vital balance in favor of organic. For more information visit www.OrganicConsumers.org.
Coaching Inquiries: Do you go out of your way to eat organic? Are you willing to spend more for higher quality? Do you know any organic farmers or ranchers? How could you become more of a green consumer?
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
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