My apologies for the delay in posting this one! But I’m certain it would be worth the wait. Our good friend and nutrition nut Stacey Yunger has got another gem to help us on the right direction regarding one of our biggest challenges – food:-)
Remember – June is Operation:Make it Happen month so let’s make the changes we need to make and generate change for the good!
Natural Confusion – A Guide to Organic
Healthy, clean, natural, biological, and organic all go hand in hand. We think that the more “natural” a product is, the better it is for us. As soon as a product is processed or touched by something man-made, we assume we should avoid it. As a society, we are striving in a more natural direction.
Going back to the basics, nature has always been a provider of food through hunting and gathering. Now, the process has been simplified and we can easily walk into a grocery store at any time and be faced with a vast selection. We have lost the direct connection with nature for the most part and when it comes to selecting fruits and vegetables we face a big dilemma – should we buy organic? As a dietitian, I have to say I am more excited about fruit and vegetable consumption than worrying about whether the product was organic or not. Ultimately, the benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables outweigh any harm, but there is a lot of research that still points us in many directions.
There is no definite answer on whether we should go completely organic. The research done on the consumption of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides used in conventional farming does not conclude anything definitive. However, there is still a concern considering the lack of concrete evidence. Do these farming practices make us more susceptible to carcinogens or cause any other effects on our bodies? We do not know for sure, but we need to keep in mind that the levels of exposure are very small. Furthermore, no research has concluded that the nutrient composition of organic fruits and vegetables is of higher quality either. One thing we do know is that organic farming is less destructive on our environment, but this does come at a steeper cost, which is why consumers often shy away from buying organic.
I am not going to take a stand on whether we should go in one direction, but I am going to give you some guidelines to help in choosing which fruits and vegetables are worth spending the extra money on. The Environmental Working Group has created two sets of guidelines: “The Dirty Dozen,” which includes the fruits and vegetables most contaminated by chemicals and “The Clean 15,“ which are less affected.
The Dirty Dozen +2 (2015 update)
– Sweet bell peppers
– Cherry tomatoes
– Snap peas
– Hot peppers
– Kale and collard greens
The Clean 15
– Sweet corn
– Sweet peas
– Sweet potatoes
Please keep in mind that these are simply guidelines. This does not mean that we shouldn’t consume the dirty dozen, it simply means that if given the choice, go organic with these items. The vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables definitely outweigh the potential harms. Whether we choose to buy organic or not, it is always recommended by Dietitians of Canada to rinse fruits and vegetables with water before eating them in order to remove any chemical residues, fertilizer, or even nature’s very own – dirt!
Stacey Yunger is a registered dietician serving the West Island community and contributor to the improvement in healthy eating and lifestyle of Canadians. For more information or questions, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trainer Profile: Kareem Rawlins
Experience Personal Training – 5 years | Nutrition Counseling – 3 years | Group Fitness – 3 years