Top 10 Organic Food Buying Tips

I snatched this from OrganicJar, a fabulous website on organic food.

A report hit the news about a month ago stating that based on a research study conducted by the British Food Standards Agency entitled Comparison of composition (nutrients and other substances) of organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs: a systematic review of the available literature (pdf)., organic food was found to be no more nutritious than conventionally grown food. One thing you might want to consider when making your decision is that the study failed to take into account the insurmountable amount of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that are used to grow food. There were other flaws (see the article – In Defense of Organic Food). While the nutrients may be the same, with organic food you do not damage your cells by ingesting these highly toxic chemicals. Conventional farming also “gives animals antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to prevent disease and spur growth. according to the Mayo Clinic.” I’ve written about this in previous blogs but please do your own research.

Again here are some benefits to consider when deciding on whether or not to eat organic food.
Organic Farmers:
– Apply natural fertilizers, such as manure or compost, to feed soil and plants.
– Use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease.
– Rotate crops, till, hand weed or mulch to manage weeds.
– Give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors.
– Use preventive measures — such as rotational grazing, a balanced diet and clean housing — to help minimize disease.

Top 10 Organic Food Buying Tips

Whether you’re already a fan of organic foods or you just want to shop wisely and handle your food safely, consider these tips:
1.
Buy fruits and vegetables in season to ensure the highest quality.
Also, try to buy your produce the day it’s delivered to market to ensure that you’re buying the freshest food possible. Ask your grocer what day new produce arrives.
2.
Read food labels carefully.
Just because a product says it’s organic or contains organic ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthier alternative. Some organic products may still be high in sugar, salt, fat or calories.
3.
Don’t confuse natural foods with organic foods.
Only those products with the “USDA Organic” label have met USDA standards.
4.
Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly with running water to reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria.
If appropriate, use a small scrub brush — for example, before eating apples, potatoes, cucumbers or other produce in which you eat the outer skin.
5.
If you’re concerned about pesticides, peel your fruits and vegetables and trim outer leaves of leafy vegetables in addition to washing them thoroughly.
Keep in mind that peeling your fruits and vegetables may also reduce the amount of nutrients and fiber. Some pesticide residue also collects in fat, so remove fat from meat and the skin from poultry and fish.
6.
Buy organic food at farmer’s markets when you can.
Not only is this a great way to buy organic food that’s in season but you get to talk to the farmers directly about how the food is grown. Plus you support the farmers who have invested in organic growing processes.
7.
Buy in bulk.
Whether you’re shopping at a natural foods store, supermarket or co-op, buying in bulk is a great way to stretch your food dollar. For beans, grains, lentils and nuts, head straight for the bulk containers. Just make sure you have a cool, dry place in your kitchen to store your dry goods for a few months. Not every item you can buy in bulk is worth the bother. Do the math.
8.
Be flexible.
To nab the best deals on organic foods you need to be a focused, yet flexible, shopper. Always shop with a list but never be afraid to snap up a good bargain when you see one. Write “three vegetables” on your shopping list and then look around at store specials. Do the same for proteins and grains. Never ever buy an item that you don’t need just because it’s on sale or you have a coupon.
9.
Shop online.
Can’t find a local source for the organic food you want? Don’t give up. Hop online. You may be able to order the organic foods that you want online.The GreenPeople directory from the Organic Consumer Association is a good place to begin your online search for affordable organic foods. A roundup of additional organic directories is also available on the site. And be sure to check out this list of cyber-markets offering organic products from Organic Kitchen. Shop wisely.
10.
Grow your own.
If you’re really serious about garden-fresh organic produce, why not plant your own? Seeds are available from companies such as Seeds of Change. And Organic Kitchen has a big roundup of organic gardening tips. Start small. Carrots, radishes and beets are easy to grow.

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