5 things to ALWAYS buy organic

Choosing a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean that every single purchase has to be certified organic. Certainly it can become cost prohibitive, and many times a local option can be just as safe. Save money buying conventional produce with a peel or rind (ie. bananas or pineapples) that you don’t consume- just be sure to wash or change knives after cutting the peel so you don’t contaminate the fruit inside. But, when it comes to these five items, organic should be the only option.

Yes, they may cost a few more dollars and that stinks, but avoiding major health risks are worth every extra penny.

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/cooking/10-ways-to-enjoy-fresh-strawberries#wMJQKC07Xkq6EUk3.971. Strawberries: Hard to believe, but those sweet little berries can have 13 different pesticides lurking on them when grown conventionally. Even worse, because of a strawberry’s texture, those chemicals don’t wash off easily. This is one food where you’ll be able to taste a difference between conventional and organic. The more flavorful organic berries are worth the price difference on taste alone!

2. Tampons/Pads. No messing around with this one, and yes, there is some sticker shock involved. It sucks shelling out $7-$8 for a box of 20 tampons, no doubt about it. And, while it’s tempting to cave and buy the $3 box of 40, don’t do it. Conventional tampons and pads are loaded with pesticides, chemicals, and synthetic fragrance that you don’t want anywhere near your “vajay-jay” let alone in it. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical that’s created when cotton is bleached. It’s also an endrocrin-interrupter…which means it messes with your hormones and girly parts.

Think twice about that “fresh summer breeze” too. Synthetic fragrances come with their own long list of hazards. Parfum & “fragrance” doesn’t belong anywhere let alone our feminine care products. (*cotton in general is one of the most heavily pesticide laded crops, ever notice your new cotton clothes warning you to “wash before wearing?”)

what3. Apples: Everything about fall says apples: from cider to donuts to crisp apples off the trees. Whether you find them in your local orchard or in your supermarket, ask about pesticides. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) stated that apples topped the chart- for the 5th year in a row- with the highest number of pesticides.

If you’re at the grocery store, look for organic. If you’re at a local orchard, talk to the farmer. Many small farms can’t afford tens of thousands of dollars to have their produce certified, even though they may use organic farming methods.

(Click here to see which produce falls on the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15.”)

4. Milk:  It’s no secret that hormones and antibiotics given to cows end up in our milk cartons. Although the nutrients in both conventional and organic are virtually the same, it’s the added hormones and antibiotics you’re trying to avoid. Ideally, if you’re choosing dairy products from cow’s milk, look for those from cows that have not been treated with hormones BST (or rBGH). Another benefit to certified organic milk is the cow was not fed GMO’s.

Again, organic milk is more expensive, especially if you’re shopping a big box store. This is one time Whole Foods or local health store may be cheaper.  It’s way too expensive because your child drinks three gallons of milk a week? While milk is a good source of calcium, it’s not the only one. Try incorporating other calcium-rich foods in diets: fresh mozzarella cheese, dark leafy greens, edamame, or salmon.

safe seafood5. Seafood: Wild is always better than farmed, right? Not necessarily. Keeping track of how each seafood is most sustainable isn’t easy. Thankfully there are a couple of seals of approval to help us. Since you won’t find ‘organic’ on seafood, look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Best Aquaculture Practices, Seafood Trust, or Certified Responsible Alaska Seafood to know that your dinner was responsibly caught and the environment wasn’t harmed.

Monterey Bay Aquarium also has a helpful app so you can easily determine the safest option when you’re at the seafood counter.

(strawberry photo credit)

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