Guest blog by Sam Hadadi
The Organic Shopping List
In our earlier article, Should I Go Organic? Part One, we looked at:
- what organic means
- is it healthier for us
- healthier animals
- the impact on the environment
and we looked at various conflicting thoughts on whether organic is best.
Obviously, price can play a role into which foods we choose to buy. With organic foods often coming with a higher price tag, the organic market can be seen as a luxury (90 per cent of organic sales come from North America and Europe, for example).
So, if you do want to eat more mindfully, and choose organic foods, but are mindful of the price tag, what do you do? Are there certain organic foods that should be prioritised?
Here’s our guide to the top ten foods that you really should be buying organically, if at all possible – you could print it out and keep it in your shopping bag for easy reference…
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so goes the saying anyway. Yet, non-organic apples contain more pesticides than pretty much any other food on supermarket shelves. A 2015 report found that 99 per cent of apples tested are served up with a side of at least one pesticide1.
If you love a glass of warm milk before bed, or you often pour your kids a cold glass at snack time, then it’s worth considering adding organic milk to your shopping trolley. The same goes for cheese and yoghurt, too! Organic dairy is not pumped full of antibiotics or growth hormones, and the cows must be fed 100 per cent organic feed, that’s free from GM crops. Want to go the extra mile? Fill up on a pint of grass-fed milk!
Not only is celery one of the most versatile veggies around but it’s also full of fibre and vitamins B and C. However, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it’s one of the most treated crops around – it was found to contain around 64 different types of pesticides. So, it’s worth reading the label.
4. Cherry Tomatoes
If you’re chopping up juicy cherry tomatoes to scatter atop your salad, or to stir through your sauces, then you might want to seriously think about buying the organic version. The EWG ranked tomatoes tenth in the list of “dirty” products. Plus, since you eat the skin, always give them a good scrubbing!
The cucumber also finds its way onto the EWG’s 2015 report of the dirtiest foods. If you can’t afford to buy organic cucumber, then give it a peel and remove its waxy skin before eating.
The EWG found that grapes can contain more than 15 different types of pesticide residues. Again, try to go organic, or at the very least, wash them thoroughly before eating.
7. Leafy Greens
From kale to spinach, cabbage and broccoli, we all know that we should pile our plates high with leafy greens. However, wherever possible, try to toss organic kale or spinach into your home cooking. You see, their large leaves offer plenty of surface area for pesticides to “stick” to, and they’re not always that easy to wash off.
Here at Lucy Bee, we are big fans of buying organically-reared and grass fed meat. Non-organic meat can be pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. If you find organic meat too expensive to buy, then consider cutting back on the amount you eat – try enjoying Meat-Free Monday, for example, or buy cheaper cuts and cook them for longer.
Potatoes are fantastic at boosting our energy and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a crispy, fluffy roast potato? However, they’re also one of the 'dirtiest' foods you can buy, according to the EWG report. They found that your typical spud has more pesticides by weight than any other type of food.
Sweet and juicy strawberries are one of our favourite summer treats. However, many strawberries contain pesticide residues such as Captan, which is a likely human carcinogen and has been found to cause tumours in rats. It’s also been found that 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to each acre of strawberries…
Other foods high on the list include pre-packed salad; oranges; citrus fruits; peaches; peppers; chilies; nectarines; and cherries. If in doubt, try to buy these foods organically.
Peaches are best bought as organic produce
If having to choose what you don’t need to buy organically, these so-called 'clean' foods include:
- Avocados (only around one per cent were found to contain pesticides)
- Kiwi fruit
What Else Can I Do?
So, apart from arming yourselves with our shopping list, and knowing exactly what to buy organic, what else can you do? Especially when it comes to tightening those purse strings and saving pennies?
Here are some of our top suggestions if you do want to eat as healthily and as consciously as possible:
Buy Locally and Seasonally
As well as being tastier and fresher, buying seasonal foods can also help you to save money. If you’re on a budget, try eating in season and see what you can find at your local farmer’s market, too! You can also try an organic box scheme to ensure you get fresh, organic produce delivered right to your door.
Grow Your Own
If you’re up for a new challenge or feeling green-fingered, then take the worry (and the cost!) out of eating by growing your own. Start small (unless you’re already a seasoned gardener!) with herb gardens, and work your way up.
About Lucy Bee
Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin.