Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Organic Foods Top Ten

At the Green Festival my wife and I attended a lecture by pediatrician and organic advocate Dr. Alan Greene (fortunate last name). The talk was centered around the top ten most important organic foods based on health benefits. Maranda and I both feel that trying to go organic can be a bit overwhelming, with so many choices and a bunch that put a good dent in the pocket book. This list helps to consolidate the most important foods for organic purchase, allowing us to focus on the items that will contribute the most to our health.

There were a couple surprises on his list, check it out:

Dr. Greene's Organic Top Ten

1. Milk - Recently Maranda and I have gone to organic milk, with our original motivation being taste! Organic milk is an entirely different liquid than the standard fare in the supermarket. It tastes far richer, fuller, and doesn't have the slight bitter taste that the commercial milks have. Click on the link for milk at the beginning to read about all the dangers present in standard milk, as well as the significant impact buying green milk can have on farming.

2. Potatoes - This one was very surprising and concerning! We have yet to find a good source for organic potatoes, so we may just grow our own this next year...

3. Peanut Butter - What surprised me about peanut butter was not just the negative elements in the conventional form, but the huge health difference between the two. Check out the link to Dr. Greene's description, it is pretty compelling.

4. Baby Foods - This one is perhaps a no-brainer. The big sticker for us is cost. Conventional baby food is already quite expensive, so it is hard to spend the extra for organic baby foods. This doesn't just include the canned baby foods, but any food that you feed an infant or toddler. Based on the importance of this developmental age, we will be making the switch to organic foods as often as we can find/afford them.

5. Ketchup - Okay, this one really surprised me. Only recently I tasted organic ketchup for the first time, and while surprised by the better flavor, I had no idea that the health benefits could be so significant. Check Dr. Greene's report out.

6. Cotton - More accurately this should be cotton seed oil. This is a difficult one to avoid, as it is not purchased outright but is a component in many conventional foods. The tremendous level of pesticides used on cotton is alarming, definitely one to avoid whenever possible.

7. Apples - Okay, I am happy to say that I was already aware of health concerns regarding apples. Unfortunately, I can't say I do a good job of buying organic apples. With a little research I hope to track down a good source of organic apples (and other fruits), in our area.

8. Beef - While no surprise, this one is particularly tough to accommodate, as organic beef is quite scarce (as Dr. Greene acknowledges). Unless you avoid beef altogether, it may be quite difficult to avoid conventional beef in the near term, although I am sure this will quickly change as more people become aware of the huge health benefits of natural, organic beef!

9. Soy - Similar to cotton seed oil, soy bean oil and meal is found in a huge array of foods and is difficult to avoid. Whole soy beans are healthy, but are rare to find in foods. Buy organic foods is the best way to avoid conventional soy beans in your diet.

10. Wine - A real shocker, as I have never even encountered organic wine to my knowledge? The exciting thing about wine is that buying organic not only avoids pesticides, but also increases your intake of resveratrol, an ingredient that has been shown to slow down the effects of aging.

The great thing about the top ten is that by just focusing on this list, you can make a huge improvement in your families diet, as well as make a significant environmental impact through your purchasing dollar, it's a win-win!


Melissa said...

This top ten list is really helpful! (I have also felt overwhelmed with all the expensive "green" choices.) You've got me motivated to buy green, at least this list, when I get back to the US...