By Brenna Robinson
It can be perplexing standing in the grocery aisle deciding whether to spend a few extra dollars on an organic product or save the cash. After all, isn’t it always healthier to buy organic? Do you feel guilty not buying the organic products for your family? Organic products line the shelves shouting their claims of health to shoppers. The products range from food to clothing, but how do you know when is it smart to buy organic and when is it better to save your money.
The healthy results of buying organic food is not a new idea anyone. We have been so overloaded with the advice to buy organic produce and its benefits that we have lost the ability to discern when it is the best choice. The first tip is to always look for the USDA organic seal to ensure that the product is certified organic. But past that, what should you do? Do you really need to always buy organic produce? Dr. Andrew Weil is a well-known health advisor has addressed the questions when it comes to produce. He lists the “Dirty Dozen Plus” which are 12 plus types of produce that the Environmental Working Group suggests you should buy organic (2013).
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Hot Peppers
- Kale/collard green
- Summer squash
Dr. Weil also addresses the “Clean 15” that you do not need to spend your hard earned morning on organic foods (2013).
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes
When it comes to packaged food, deciding whether to buy organic can be just as perplexing. A useful tip is to read the ingredients. Many natural or healthy packaged foods are comprised of fruit juices, cane sugars, or other whole foods. When it comes to these items, buying organic is your best bet since these are produce items that absorb pesticides if used during the growing process. Prevention.com made a list of packaged foods that you should choose organic (Greenfield, 2013).
- Salad dressing
- Baby food
- Veggie burgers
So now that we have discussed food, let’s move on to other organic products such as body care. Your skin is a living organism and yes, it absorbs whatever you put on it. Doctors have been prescribing topical medications for years that can be absorbed into the body. Many of the chemicals in body care products are toxic and it is best to avoid putting these toxic chemicals on your skin and in your body. The list of ingredients on body care products are even more confusing than what is in packaged foods. A safe bet is to buy organic if you are not comfortable identifying these toxic chemicals. If you do choose to buy organic, make sure that the label says certified-organic. Labels for natural and organic body products are misleading. The label natural can be used for products with any ingredients and the made with organic label can contain 30 percent non-organic ingredients (Martinko, 2014). For a list of 20 toxic ingredient to watch out for visit http://www.treehugger.com/organic-beauty/20-toxic-ingredients-avoid-when-buying-body-care-products-and-cosmetics.html.
Organic clothing, cookware, cleaning supplies and food containers are probably the newest items to capitalize on the organic business. As stated before, your body absorbs every toxic ingredients either via skin or through consuming it through eating. Researchers are still learning how receptive our bodies are to these toxic ingredients and exactly how our bodies react. These products can be pricey, but buying organic lets manufacturers know that people are willing to spend money on quality products that are not harmful to their health.
An increasing concern is understanding the label on the product. Labels can read all natural, made with organic ingredients, and certified organic. Read labels carefully and look for products that say certified organic or the USDA certified organic seal. There is no shortage of the choices when it comes to organic products. The important question to ask yourself is whether it is in your budget, what products are important for you to buy, and if the product is truly organic.
Greenfield, P. (2013, 12 20). 10 Packaged Foods You Should Always Buy Organic. Retrieved from Prevention: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/10-packaged-foods-you-should-always-buy-organic?s=11
Martinko, K. (2014, 02 25). 20 toxic ingredients to avoid when buying body care products and cosmetics. Retrieved from treehugger.com: http://www.treehugger.com/organic-beauty/20-toxic-ingredients-avoid-when-buying-body-care-products-and-cosmetics.html
Weil Lifestyle. (2013, 04). Foods You Should Always Buy Organic. Retrieved from DrWeil.com: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02985/Foods-You-Should-Always-Buy-Organic.html