Food & Fitness

Should I buy organic?

I have been reading the amazing book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by the very talented Barbara Kingsolver. Her book is about how she and her family spent an entire year living on a farm, growing their own food and eating local. It’s fascinating to be able to read about such a unique experience! One of my favourite issues that she addresses in the book is that of choosing organic.

Barbara Kingsolver's books

When I first started my healthy journey, I dismissed the organic movement. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe that organic was important; I just didn’t really prioritize it or properly understand why it matters. Barbara Kingsolver explains it very well, to the point that I am making a concerted effort to choose organic whenever possible.

Buying organic sometimes means that you need to pay an extra few dollars. Sometimes organic foods are the same price as regular foods; other times, you may need to pay a couple dollars more or even twice as much for the organic option. But it is worth it. It’s worth it because pesticides do a considerable amount of damage to the environment. Pesticides harm the ecosystem and stick around in the soil and water for decades after they have stopped being used. They also contribute to vastly decreasing the nutrient content in the food we eat and can even contribute to illness and disease. Why would we want to put that stuff into our bodies? Why would we want to put it in our foods?

Under the heading Losing the Bug Arms Race in her book, this section really hit home with me (emphasis with bold is my own):

Twenty percent of … approved-for-use pesticides are listed by the EPA as carcinogenic in humans … In 1948, when pesticides were first introduced, farmers used roughly 50 million pounds of them and suffered about a 7 percent loss of all their field crops. By comparison, in 2000 they used nearly a billion pounds of pesticides. Crop losses? Thirteen percent.

is organic healthy?Certified organic products

There are many products which are not certified organic because of the sheer cost for certification. This might be the case for some local farmers. I recommend visiting local farms to see how they’re run. If the farmer doesn’t use pesticides and their food is “pretty much” organic, then I believe that it’s a great option. Just because it isn’t certified organic doesn’t mean that the products aren’t going to be healthy for you.

Organic processed foods and the health halo

Lots of processed food products, such as cookies and crackers, are jumping on the organic bandwagon. Don’t buy into this health halo! Just because a box of cookies has the label “organic” on it, doesn’t meant that it’s automatically healthy. It can still contain plenty of artificial chemicals and ingredients. That’s why it’s very important to always read food labels!

How do you feel about it? Do you try to choose organic foods? Does it matter to you? Do you feel differently about organics after reading this article?


  1. Andrea@WellnessNotes

    I buy organic most of the time. We belong to an organic, year-round CSA. I also buy a lot of produce at Farmers’ Markets. Not everything at the Farmers’ Market is organic, but I really like to support small farms that farm the “right way,” even if they are not certified organic. To keep costs down, I often choose cheaper options. For example, I love cherries, but they are so expensive that we only have a few a few times a season. However, there are lots of cheaper fruit options out there.

  2. Lacey Q

    I just finished reading this book last week! I liked the book so much more than I thought I would. It definately made me think more about the choices I have available and I have actually been buying more locally & organically when possible. I loved that the book didn’t feel “preachy”, just her experiences.

  3. Jody - Fit at 53

    I would love to eat all organic but unfortunately my budget does not let me. I try to buy the things that are most important in terms of like the dirty dozen list organic. Got to keep a roof over the head so I do what I can do for now…

  4. Dr. J

    The problem, Sagan, is that that stuff and more is in our bodies and there is nothing we can do about it! It is in the water and the air, and it is in organic and free range foods. That is what we have done to ourselves.

    All I can offer is that you stay as fit as you can and detox with saunas for example or other reasonable methods and live the happiest life you can.

    That’s as optimistic as I can be 🙂 I could be a lot more pessimistic but why?

  5. Pingback: Why eat organic?

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