When I first heard about organic food, I wasn’t convinced.
I thought it was just another fad and a way for companies to make more money from consumers.
Initially, there appeared to be no physical difference between an organic cucumber and a non-organic cucumber.
And if there was a difference, it was that the organic cucumber (or other fruit or vegetable) was smaller.
The most visible difference was the price.
I wondered why anyone thought I’d pay more for a smaller cucumber.
It made no sense to me, and for a few more years I continued eating normal fruit and veg.
Then I began seeing an increase in reports about GM products, chemtrails and a company called Monsanto.
I started reading the reports and was alarmed about the all the possible side-effects pesticides can cause.
For all these years, I thought that eating my 5 fruit and veg a day was keeping me in good health.
I did not imagine that same fruit and veg could be causing extreme long term damage to my health.
Now, you may be thinking, miss me with all that conspiracy BS. And that’s fair enough.
I admit that I still find myself questioning a lot of what I read.
However, I’m also a believer in the saying “there’s no smoke without fire”.
So, I started going organic, slowly swapping out my non-organic fruit and veg.
And at first, I was not impressed.
I was spending more on this stuff, and it was lasting a fraction of the time.
After only a few days, the same varieties of fruit and veg began rotting.
I had more waste while spending more money.
Then the penny dropped.
Clearly, that’s the difference between organic and non-organic fruit and veg.
That’s what supposed to happen.
Fruit and veg should not last well over a week, but it does because it is laden with pesticides.
The other difference I noticed when I purchased my fruit and veg from farmers markets is that organic fruit and veg is “ugly”.
Well, technically, it’s free form, not ugly.
Compared to what you see in the supermarkets that is.
Those of us who’ve been shopping in supermarkets for most of our lives are used to uniform, “perfect” looking fruit and veg.
Going organic is an expensive luxury
I agree and disagree.
Honestly, I still don’t buy all organic products and the sole reason is the cost.
I often wince when I see the cost of organic products versus the cost of non-organic.
And it’s not uncommon for me to stand with both in my hand for more than a few minutes debating which to buy.
There is no denying that switching to all organic is not a realistic option for many people.
However, I do believe that our health is the foundation of everything else in life.
I also think that a lot of us have a disposable income and it’s a matter of choice how we spend that money.
If health is not a priority, you will not see the value in spending more on organic food.
But, if health is important to you, there are ways to begin transitioning to a more organic lifestyle.
Why choose organic over non-organic products?
Especially, considering organic fruit and veg costs more and rots quicker.
1. Organic produce has a higher nutritional quality than non-organic produce
As well as containing no harmful pesticides, GM crops or antibiotics, “organic crops are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown ones.”, according to research led by Newcastle University.
2. Non-organic produce contains a lot of harmful chemicals
According to the Soil Association:
- Over 320 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and these are often present in non-organic food
- Farm animals account for almost two-thirds of all antibiotics used in the EU and these are passed down to us through the food chain.
- Over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported each year to feed the majority of non-organic livestock.
3. Organic food is fully traceable
In Europe, organic produce is fully traceable back to the farm. This means that when you choose organic produce, you know where your food is coming from.
4. Organic farming is better for animals
Organic farming standards ensure animals are truly free range and have the highest welfare standards.
5. Organic farming is also better for the planet
Organic farming works to protect natural resources and significantly reduce water and soil contamination.
8 ways to make going organic more affordable
1. Start small
Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produces a list called the Dirty Dozen which reveals the fruit and veg with the highest levels of pesticides.
You can see the complete 2016 list here. It is a US list, however, it’s a good starting point.
Start by swapping organic varieties of the Dirty Dozen fruit or veg.
You could also reduce your consumption of those items on the Dirty Dozen list.
Reduce the variety of fruit and veg that you eat and increase the quality.
Think, less is more.
Rather than using 6 varieties of veg in your soup, use 2 types of vegetables and make them organic.
3. Plan ahead
Meal planning can seem tedious to some, but it can help you reduce waste as well as the cost impact of switching to organic.
This approach simplifies the shopping process as you know exactly what you need to buy and you can even work out the cost.
4. Make use of your freezer
Fresh organic produce typically does not last as long so freeze fresh food, seasonal produce and leftovers.
If you’re super organised, the best approach is to shop for all your produce and on the same or following day prepare and either freeze or refrigerate all your meals for the week ahead.
5. Shop around
mySupermarket is a good way to compare the cost of your shop at the main supermarkets here in the UK.
Look for money-off vouchers and discounts and take advantage of special offers and bulk deals.
Remember, as long as you have space in your freezer, nothing needs to rot and go to waste.
6. Buy produce in season
Initially buying organic fruit and veg can feel restrictive as there is less variety. This is simply because the produce is grown and sold according to the season.
Eating seasonal fruit and veg that not only ensures the best flavour but also makes it more affordable.
7. Transition to a plant-based based lifestyle
As I follow a mainly plant-based lifestyle, I don’t have to worry about the cost of organic meat and dairy.
However, I know they are expensive. So, transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle can reduce the cost of consuming organic products.
Of course, as with anything health related, it is vital that you do your own research and choose a lifestyle that best meets your health and well-being needs.
The best way to know what you’re eating is to make it yourself.
Grow your own fruit and veg. Even with a tiny garden, or a window ledge, you can start growing your own food.
You could start with herbs and then expand from there.
You can also reduce costs by making your own juices, smoothies, soups, condiments, seasoning and bakes.
Beyond fruit and veg
Organic produce extends well beyond fruit, veg, meat and dairy.
It’s just as important to be aware of what you put on your body, as well as in your body.
Beauty products, clothing, cleaning products and bedding are just some of the other areas where you can make organic choices.
Wherever you choose to start, use Organic September as a stepping stone to going organic and living a more organic lifestyle.
NB: Always look for the EcoCert and Soil Association accredited certification to be sure a product is organic.
How do you feel about going organic?
Let me know in the comments section below.