Organic Verse Conventional

First thing — a suggestion to eat many vegetables is always the first advice I would give to anyone trying to improve their health {lose weight, clear skin, gain more energy, etc.}. Get your fresh produce in! Whatever it takes.

And then the conversation continues — we can look a little deeper into quality, nutritional value, industry and other details that impact our health and environment.

Conventional Farming:

This means that crops are grown with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers often containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). More here.

The Negatives of Conventional Farming and Produce:

  • Increased disease risk.
  • Depleted soil, therefore less nutritional value in food.
  • Unsustainable farming practices that pollute our water (including drinking water!).

Organic Farming:

This means that crops are grown without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sewage sludge or irradiation. More here.

The Main Benefits to Organic Farming and Produce:

  • Higher nutritional value in food (more vitamins and antioxidants).
  • Nourishes the soil and environment (true farming is a complete ecosystem with no pollution waste).
  • Reduced risk of disease as there are no unnecessary and potentially harmful pesticides, toxins or GMOs.
  • Better taste than conventional counterparts.

A Little Trick: Produce Labels (PLs):

PL codes that start with a number 9 {the little grocery store stickers on produce} are organic. Those starting with a 3 or 4 are conventional. And an 8 starting number means genetically modified (I have still never seen one of these! Most of the GMO produce is used to make non-organic processed/packaged foods and oils).

I Personally Buy Organic Whenever Possible. On Top of Everything Listed Above, Some Additional Reasons:

  • To support the industry. Remember that we vote with every single dollar we spend. Organic farmers care about their products and their consumer, I trust them – I would not say the same toward conventional farming.
  • Better energy from food, more flavor and bang for your buck in terms of health and vitality.

It is completely understandable if you can’t always buy organic – due to cost, availability or otherwise. I would say to start by focusing on buying those listed on the Dirty Dozen organic. The Dirty Dozen means that pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or other harmful chemicals used in conventional farming were sprayed directly on the part of the plant that we eat.

The Dirty Dozen:

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Potatoes
  • All Leafy Greens (Kale, Arugula, Collard Greens, Spinach, Parsley, Dandelion, Swiss Chard, etc.)
  • All Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, etc.)
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

Other Foods – In Addition to Produce – That I Would Buy Organic If Possible:

  • Tea and Coffee
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Chocolate
  • High Risk GMO Crops: Corn, Soy, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Canola, Sugar Beets, Papaya, Cottonseed Oil.
  • Eggs!, Meat! and Dairy!

((My dog Jane LOVES pumpkin puree – I just mix it in with her dry dog food. Yum Yum)).

I can dive deeper in posts down the line, as the conversation is extensive (let me know what you’re interested in with comments below), but this is a good 101 for starters.



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