Walking into the grocery stores these days can be enough to send you into a full- blown anxiety attack. Row and rows of produce, meat, packaged foods, and frozen items can leave your head spinning. Not to mention the confusing marketing, everything from no artificial flavors, all-natural, sugar-free, fat-free, locally supported, no added hormones, no GMO, farm fresh, and of course organic. Today, there seems to be a misconception about “going organic.” Why wouldn’t there be with all this crazy talk and billions of dollars in marketing? Going organic is about making a decision to eat “cleaner” foods and choosing foods with no synthetic chemicals or fertilizers. Becoming organic is about living and obtaining a lifestyle, guaranteed to keep you healthier and living longer while preventing toxic chemicals from being absorbed into your body.
Here are some ideas to get you started. You don’t have to become 100% organic right away, especially when you’re just starting out, and demographically that may be exceptionally hard for a lot of us. Remember that buying from your local farmer ensures knowing where your food is coming from, it’s fresher, and will have more nutrients since it’s not being trucked across the country, and most local farmers use little to no harmful chemicals or pesticides. Another great thing to keep in mind when grocery shopping if you’re not sure if your produce is organic: check the PLU codes, organic produce will usually be a 4-digit code starting with #9 and genetically modified foods (GMO) will begin with the #8.
First, write out your grocery list. Pick the top 5 produce items your family consumes every week and start buying those organic. Then every time you go to the grocery store incorporate 1 or 2 more produce items. As time continues, you’ll be buying all your produce organic and not even thinking about it. Or you can start with the dirty dozen. The list of top 12 items that are the most contaminated with pesticides includes apples (they are the #1 fruit heavily treated), lettuce, celery, and strawberries. For the full dirty dozen list, visit www.farmfoodieandfitness.com/the-dirty-dozen-fruits-and-vegetables-with-the-most-pesticides.
Another great place to start buying organic is with animal meats and byproducts. This includes, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and milk. These are also great to buy local if you can’t find everything organic in your grocery store. Find a local farmer that butchers their own meats. You’ll be able to see their living conditions, what the animals are fed, and even ask the farmer questions. This is great for knowing where your food is coming from and how it’s being handled.
One last place in your grocery store to start buying organic is peanut butter. Choose organic or even try other nut butters like almond, sunflower, cashew, or pumpkin seed butters instead. Fungicides are used on peanut plants to prevent mold; these fungicides are highly toxic to our endocrine systems so choose organic or a variety of nut butters.
These simple ideas should be a great place to start if you’ve decided to go organic!