Your Health To eat organic or not to eat organic…

A lot of people seem to be leaning toward purchasing organic foods these days. Is this just a fad or is it actually a healthy and beneficial change to make for your family? Whether it’s milk, eggs, or chicken broth, is organic the way to go?

Grocery shopping is expensive; I don’t need to tell you that. It is something we deal with on a daily basis (if you go to the store as often as I seem to). Organic food is not the cheapest and I like to buy frugally. However, I am reluctant to trade the quality of what I’m putting in my body for another penny in my pocket.

After conducting my own research regarding buying organically, I have come to the conclusion that it is definitely the way to go if you want to be kind to your body. By eating a completely organic-based diet, you can receive about two extra servings of the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. The antioxidants in organic foods are greater and the pesticides are fewer.

Now, I’m not saying that you must strictly adhere to an organic lifestyle. But even making a few organic substitutions throughout the week could reduce your exposure to agricultural chemicals — like toxic metals found in fertilizer — by up to 48 percent.

Moreover, because of the much higher levels of antioxidants found in organic produce, people who eat an organic diet experience less muscle pain, increased heart health and better skin.

There are obvious benefits to eating organically, but there are so many organic foods out there. That can be both overwhelming and costly. If you can only afford to make a few organic substitutions in your diet, these are the musts.

The top food to buy organically is beef. Beef that is not organic contains dangerous hormones and antibiotics that lead to cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Next on the list — strawberries. Beautiful strawberries are excellent for your health but when not purchased organically, they can have up to 13 different pesticides on a single berry. The berry has a surface area covered in tiny bumps that keep the pesticides on the berry. Need I say more?

Another item to purchase organically is cookware. It is great if you are making the conscious choice to eat organically but if you cook that organic beef on the stove in a nonstick pan, it is likely that that pan contains something called PTFE and when it heats up and breaks down it emits toxic fumes that coat the lungs. Yuck! Nothing about that sounds healthy.

If you’re not frightened enough by the realization that you use those nonstick pans, let me ask you a question. Do you microwave popcorn for your Friday night movie? If so, you may want to reconsider. Microwave popcorn bags contain PFOA that is considered to be a likely carcinogen. So before next Friday night, go to your local thrift store and pick up an old-school air popper. I got mine for $3.50 and it’s still going strong.

The easiest way to buy organic is to shop for locally grown foods from farmers you trust. Farmers markets and grocery stores usually have local meats, fruits and vegetables — especially at this time of year!

There are many more items and reasons to buy organically. If you are truly interested in making the healthiest choice for you and your family, please look into supporting organic farmers and businesses so these choices remain available. Check out to learn more about organic options in the Marshall/Minnesota area.

Rein is a professional writing and communication graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University. She graduated from Devanadi Yoga School as a registered yoga teacher.

Her column appears monthly in the Independent.