I’m just on my way back from the Perform Better conference. I’m on their speaking circuit and the first of the three Summits they have each year was this past weekend in Providence. Great group of attendees and fellow speakers.
As I was talking, the topic of organic foods came up. I shared some of the evidence and information that’s out there.
And then the "most" important question came up — "Do YOU eat organic foods?"
It made me think of a blog we wrote a couple years ago called "Organic foods are a waste of money." That surely caused a bit of a stir — we were called "hypocrites" for not sticking to our guns recommending "healthy foods." Others emailed saying since they can’t trust us anymore, they’re unsubscribing from our newsletter list.
That’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but since the question came up again this weekend I thought it would be good to share some new insights and opinions on the topic of organic foods.
In that previous blog, I summarized a study that was published, basically showing there was no nutrient differences between organic and conventional foods.
In the past we’ve belonged to a CSA (community supported agriculture) and supplemented with weekly trips to the Farmer’s Market. We also grow about a dozen different vegetables & fruit in our own garden, from tomatoes and zucchini, to Swiss chard, arugula and grapes. We’re surely not making Martha Stewart nervous, but we have fun with it, enjoy teaching Ella (and ultimately Sophia) about the food we grow and eat. We also surely benefit from the convenience, cost and flavors and there are data that shows families who grow their own vegetables have kids who eat more of them.
This year since we’ll be gone several weeks out of the summer, we didn’t join a CSA since we’d miss so many of the weekly deliveries, though if you have access to one, it’s a great, great investment in your health.
A CSA is simply where you buy a share of a farm — we paid $500 and get weekly, local crops, from May – December. That’s well worth the price. Find one in YOUR area by visiting Local Harvest.org. These are the greatest way to buy the best vegetables and fruit from YOUR area. Our previous CSAs guarantee nothing they carry will come from more than 50 miles away … and, as I said, local means tastier and much higher in nutrients. If it’s organic too, it’s a great bonus.
We love the Farmer’s Market as well for a number of reasons.
- First, we believe eating locally is your best option when you have the choice. Many times the local farmers do also follow organic standards, yet may not be "certified" as such because of the associated costs. You should ask the farmers how they grow their produce to find out.
- We are fortunate to have a great market where we can also buy all of our meats from the farmer’s market — chicken, meat, pork and eggs (not technically meat, but from an animal). From all we’ve seen and read and personally believe, the benefits of meats (speaking inclusively for all meats) is safest, cleanest and best for us and our family. We’re willing to spend more money on these quality products. Not that this is the ONLY way to eat well, but it’s what we believe is best for our family.
"The food on the end of your fork is the
most powerful medicine in the world"
We want to know where our food comes from … we know the farmers and they know us.
You know your hair dresser by name and you likely know your mechanic and your tailor. Doesn’t it also make sense to know the person growing the food you’re eating and feeding to your family?
I’d say about 50% of our produce & 100% of all our meats (and milk) are organically produced and are from local farms. We do buy all organic meats, chicken, pork, etc. The produce that we do buy organic is that which has softer skin that we’ll eat. So I’m not paying extra for organic bananas, but will for organic raspberries as an example.
"More important than eating organic foods,
is eating local foods"
And we do that by "following" these three "rules."
- Grow them ourselves.
- Buy them from a Farmer’s Market
- Buy local produce when we can from the store, focusing on organic when we eat the skin of the fruit/veggie
We get it. This may not be practical or realistic for you. Eating ANY produce at all is surely better than none. And eating less processed foods as a whole is surely a win win.