Going Organic

Going Organic benefits people and our environment. Organic farming uses 45 percent less energy, produces 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, and supports healthy soil. Purchase fruits and vegetables when they are in season and buying organic does not have to be expensive. Farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups are great ways to get good priced in-season produce.

“Organic” Definition

Most of the ingredients do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, genetic engineering, sewage sludge, antibiotics, irradiation in production. At least 95% (by weight) of ingredients must meet these guidelines.

Organic is applied to foods grown without:

  • Conventional pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer
  • Hormones and antibiotics

“Organic” Food Labels

Organic sticker or label on organic foods with only one ingredient (fruits, vegetables, milk, meats)

Organic label when food has 2 or more ingredients, indicates 95-99% of ingredients are organic

100% Organic label, the product contains only organic ingredients

Made with Organic Ingredients, indicates 70-94% ingredients are organic

One of the main reasons for choosing to eat organic is to lower one’s exposure to pesticide residues.

Researchers from Stanford University found organic produce has a 30% lower risk of pesticide contamination. Additionally, they found that organically farmed chicken and pork contain lower levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Fruits and Vegetables to Buy Organic


“Clean” Fruits and Vegetables

Organic does cost a bit more than conventional, but with some produce the cost of organic may not outweigh the benefits. These 15 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have been found to be grown with the least amount of pesticides:

clean 15

You can visit the Environmental Working Group‘s site to download a copy of the Clean and Dirty Lists


4 Tips to Reduce Pesticides on Produce

To minimize you risk of pesticide exposure utilize the following tips:

  1. Throughly wash fruits and vegetables.
  2. Use a brush to scrub any residue off produce when washing.
  3. Peel skin off the foods listed under Dirty Dozen
  4. Toss outer leaves of greens

Additional Foods to Purchase Organic

Meat: organic meat does not contain added hormones or antibiotics

Milk: organic milk is derived from cows not given growth hormones


Keep in mind that Organic does not necessarily mean a food or product is healthier. Organic processed foods (cookies, chips, etc) still have empty calories and still requires consumption in moderation.

The many health benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables definitely outweigh the exposure to pesticides. If cost influences your purchasing habits, choose foods from the “Clean list” and throughly wash or scrub all produce.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Heathy Eating on a Budget

21 thoughts on “Going Organic

  1. I never would have thought potatoes would be on this list. Call me naive, but I never knew pesticides were used in the potato growing process. Great tip!

    • I wouldn’t have thought celery, guess bugs like everything, haha. Its pretty hard to find any conventionally grown food that doesn’t use them.

  2. Pesticides are everywhere, unfortunately. Nowadays it is quite difficult to find ‘totally clean’ veggies and fruits. After that reading I am very happy that pineapples, grapefruits and kiwis are on the ‘clean’ list as I can’t buy them locally as I do others.

    • I agree…pesticides (and bacteria) are everywhere, that is why it is so important to wash our produce.
      You can try to grow your own but even then one can question if the seeds are ‘clean’.

      • Seeds are one problem but the other is … if you don’t use poisons but neighbours does, you most likely won’t have anything grown as all ‘animals’ will move to the only save place 🙂

      • The thing that is bothering me is how can we be sure that the food we just bought is really clean? I know, I’m complicate too much already, but you made me thing about that again 🙂

      • We put trust in our inspectors to help protect us and insure we receive foods as described. Additionally, this is where we see how amazing our bodies are at protecting us. They help filter and protect us from toxins and free radicals everyday. We can only try to make the good choices.

    • When I first came across the dirty dozen I was surprised at the foods listed. I try to buy mostly organic but find my biggest obstacle is having my kids pick an organic fruit over a conventionally grown fruit. Conventional fruits are much bigger and brighter, like a light flashing “buy me”

  3. I’ve always thought that “organic” was just hype that markets used to charge customers more for produce, but since I began my fitness journey and learning about the food industry and eating clean my perception has changed completely.
    Just remember to ALWAYS wash your fresh produce, even if it says “washed and ready to use” because you never know what trace elements remain!

  4. Well written! I am not all that up on the “organic” so this article helps out alot. I’ve been a meat and potatoes guy all my life, but never really gave much attention to how much pesticides and the such have played apart nowadays. Thanks again 🙂

    • Thanks 😀 I think it is important to draw attention to the fact that we are ingesting remnants of what ever is used to grow our food. It’s kinda similar to when fat-free was all the rage. It wasn’t until 10+ years that we realized the change in the bond created a trans-fat, which our body treats like a saturated fat. The unfortunate part about all of this is it takes years to realize the effects of the foods we consume.

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