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Two of the most common questions we hear are “Why does organic matter?” and “Do I have to buy everything organic?”

Organic foods matter if you care about your produce not being sprayed with harmful pesticides, decreasing your risk of cancer and other diseases, inflammation, and the amount of toxins in your body, and helping the environment through better farming practices. The difficult part is that buying organic is more expensive and sometimes, marketing tricks us into believing that organic automatically means healthy. It does not. An organic doughnut is still….a doughnut.

What should you always be buying organic?

It depends on what exactly you are consuming. Here are five tips to help you get started:

  1. Search for the “Dirty Dozen” online. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an organization that researches which twelve produce items are most likely to contain the highest level of harmful pesticides. You can find that list online. EWG’s 2022 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ can be found here. I always make sure that we buy all produce on this list organic.
  2. Foods with thicker peels and skins (think bananas and avocados) are usually ok to buy conventional, because the peels protect the actual fruit that’s being consumed. When you’re shopping on a budget, this can help with offsetting the extra cost of the dirty dozen fruits and veggies that you’re buying organic.
  3. Dairy and meats should always be bought organic, pasture raised, and grass-fed and finished whenever possible. Raw dairy is most nutritious and helpful to the gut, but is not always readily available, so keep that in mind. Organic is your next best bet. After eating all organic and grass-fed meats for a while, you will also start tasting the difference between that and conventional meats and poultry. We dive into the details of dairy and meat more in the health coach training program.
  4. Oatmeal should always be bought organic. This may surprise you, but most brands of oatmeal are contaminated with Roundup (yes, the same Roundup you use to get rid of weeds). Even oats that are labeled non-GMO were found to have high levels of roundup, which is why it’s imperative to buy oatmeal organic.
  5. Packaged goods are not always healthy in the first place, so it’s important to check labels and ingredients carefully. However, buying a packaged good in its organic form most often means that pesticides have been reduced, which reduces your risk of eating carcinogens, neurotoxins, and reproductive toxins. Keep in mind, however, that just because you’re buying something that is organic, it doesn’t mean that it’s not loaded with sugar and fats.

Hopefully this provided some clarity on what to buy organic. Over the decades, I do think spending the extra money on organic foods makes a huge difference and makes you feel better overall. Let us know what some of your favorite ways to eat organic are!

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